A moment of clarity

I was (attempting) reading the Leigh Dovetail Jig manual the other day, when I had a moment of clarity.  The Leigh template guide does not fit the Triton routers, and that is unfortunate because Leigh have built into their template guide an eccentricity which allows for a very fine tuning of the fit, and accuracy of the dovetail jig.

My clarifying moment was that the new sub-base I was about to review, along with a number of different sized brass template guides from Professional Woodworkers Supplies, will take the Leigh adjustable template guide

Leigh Template Guide

(Image snapped on an iPhone, so sorry about the clarity)  As you can see (and I’ll do an actual review in time), the Woodpeckers Sub Base has a number of holes so it can fit a very wide range of routers on the market, including the Triton, and as part of that, allows a very common form of template guide to also be used.

Triton Spares

It has been a long wait, but there has been some progress made on getting Triton spares available again.

An ex-GMC employee took it onto himself to buy the spares as the companies went into liquidation so that they would still be able to be made available.  He has moved to the west (WA), and it is taking some time to sort through them all out again, but as he does so, they are being listed on eBay through his eBay Store.

There isn’t a lot listed there at the moment, but it will begin to populate properly in a fortnight or so.

And for those looking for Triton Biscuits, (other than through the above-business/eBay store), the company that was making them for Triton is now able to sell them directly to the public.  They are called a “Size 7 Biscuit”, available from bix.com.au

A quick preview of Frontline

You know you are onto a good thing when you have a guest in the shed, and you just have to rave about a tool you are reviewing, and this is absolutely the case with the Frontline Engineering clamps that arrived today.

I will do a comprehensive review of this clamping system in the near future (actually, I will probably do it as a combination of written and video) – there is a lot worth covering with this system.

In the meantime, I had an opportunity to have a good chat in my shed this morning with the inventor of the product (well I hope that is right!) – he certainly knew the product range and design backwards. It helped a lot getting that hands-on exposure to the product, and its various features, and it really opened my eyes to a product I have seen from a distance numerous times (as an in-store display), but not realised just how good it is to justify a much closer look.

Probably a good thing, otherwise my wallet may have already had to pay the price, and these are not cheap, but with these clamps you really get what you pay for. I’m seriously impressed by them.

Panel Clamping

Panel Clamping

The picture here is from the Frontline website (and the in-store displays), but as much as it does explain the product well, it also does it an injustice.  Sure, you do get the idea that the clamp is great at making panels, but unless that is specifically what you need, you may completely overlook the other aspects of this system, as I have until now.  You also miss out on the scale involved.  Given that the boards in the photo are around 2x4s, you start to realise the actual size of these units.

This may look to be a clamp limited to only one task (and by the look of the graphic, one that it does do very well), but it certainly isn’t a one task wonder.  The biggest thing I had not realised, is this is a sash clamp, pure and simple.  Just because it has the upper channel in all the images, this system does not require both the upper and lower channels, and by removing the upper section, you have a sash clamp with up to 4 tonne of clamping force. 4 tonnes is astronomical for a sash clamp – almost unheard of.  If fully utilised, there would be glue everywhere but between the boards.  The fact that the components have been designed and manufactured to cope with this sort of loading goes to show the quality of the tool’s manufacture.  I mean how many other sash clamps you know incorporate thrust bearings in their design?!

Where it does come to panel clamping, it appears quite unique in that it fully loads up vertically, getting all the panel components properly aligned before the horizontal loading even starts to be applied.  Glue between the boards doesn’t get wiped off as would happen if the boards were bought into alignment after the clamping had begun.  Another thing that impressed me was there was finally some real suggested clamping pressure, so the opportunity to starve a joint of glue is reduced. The guidance is once the boards are clamped in line vertically, then bought together horizontally (just), one half-turn of the clamp handle (equating to 2mm of travel) is all that is required to achieve proper clamping pressure.

So as mentioned, I will do a more intensive review of this clamp in the near future, but in the meantime, don’t do what I have in the past, and just miss the Frontline display – the amount of engineering involved in these are an ideal combination of simplicity, and elegance, and worth a much closer look.

Clamps Clamps Clamps Clamps Clamps

I’m currently working on the panel clamp review article, and it is proving hard-going on some levels.

Some clamps are easy, in fact it becomes difficult limiting how much I write about them!

Doing reviews over a range of tools in a particular genre is really interesting – you get to really see the ins, and outs o different designs, and it doesn’t take long to really become attached to some of the models.  It certainly helps decide what tools should be in one’s own workshop.

One thing I haven’t got in the shop at the moment, is a decent range of large clamps (I’m always very envious of people with a picture-perfect display of clamps on the shop wall), and doing this review is certainly inspiring me to pick a brand, and have a collection of their clamps in a range of sizes.

There are some beautifully engineered examples out there.

Coincidence

Got an email from Incremental Tools today, and one of the items on sale is the very book I was mentioning by Perry McDaniel

Now available in an electronic form, it includes the cutting board, and the wesbite also provides the Trivet plan for free.

Incra Projects and Techniques

Incra Projects and Techniques

And of course, this is the chopping board I have always intended to make

Chopping Board

Chopping Board

You don’t need an Incra system to make it, but it sure does help!

An Interesting Gauge from Bridge City Toolworks

Prototype Gauge

Prototype Gauge

It is not yet available for sale, but it looks an interesting (and innovative) tool.

An article on the gauge can be found here (Image sourced from their website)

The gauge takes into account the width of stock in the left-hand slot (as seen in the above-photo), and the kerf of the blade (be that tablesaw, bandsaw, router bit etc up to 1/2″)  A very simple, and clever concept.

Neil Scobie DVDs – Brief Excerpt

Some excerpts from one of Neil Scobie’s instruction DVDs, showing some of the steps involved in creating an Erosion Bowl.  On the full 85 minute DVD, Neil provides detailed explanations and demonstrations of each step involved.

www.neilandlizscobie.com

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