One Swiss Army Knife to Rule Them All

Wenger Giant Knife 2007

The largest Swiss Army Knife I’ve ever seen.  At around $2300, you’d probably need to spend a fair amount on reinforced pockets in your pants to carry the monster.  Is it practical?  Of course not!  But I bet you’d do a double take if you ever saw one in person – I certainly would!

The Ghost of Weekends Past

Not really sure what happened to the weekend – vanished in a puff of ethereal smoke (or was that just a cloud of MDF dust that got so dense it momentarily became self-aware?).  The workshop is covered in the stuff, despite 20 cubic metres/hr of air filtration, and the 2HP TruPro dusty.  Some of the tools are insufficiently (dust) guarded, particularly the router table, which, being under significant rework has lost connection to the standard collection system.  If all the MDF dust got wet, it’d probably papier mache together into to a mold that I could cast copies of Stu’s Shed from.

Come the end of the current project, there will have to be a major cleanup/dust-off out there, and a vow (which I typically can never stick to) of not starting any more projects until the proper systems are fully in place and working.

I was out there last last night (hope the neighbours are still talking with me!) fighting to get the kitchens close to completion.

Aaron from Torque Workcentres came for a visit yesterday morning (we started the day at 6:30am to get the maximum possible done), and we got my Torque Workcentre running like an impressively well oiled machine (or not, as the case may be – inside joke).  It is working exceedingly well – the main arm that supports the tool (router typically) now glides along the X axis with the lightest touch of a finger.  There are more adjustments for the machine than I was aware of – there has been a lot of thought put into the engineering, and it really makes a difference all the subtle tweaks that can be done.  I’ll document those in future articles.

I was going to have the MDF top flush with the cast iron router table, but late last night got sick of trying to get it all sorted, so decided instead to stick with how it was originally designed, and mounted the MDF directly to the workcentre.  I still maintained the cast iron router table at one end, and just accepted I’ve lost some working range.  It isn’t a huge amount, and it may not have any real impact on me anyway – time will tell.  I was using the router table, and the Torque Workcentre happily last night, so both router positions are well justified.  If you don’t have/need a cast iron router table, then cutting an opening for the router mounting plate at the right end of the table, directly into the MDF is a good solution.

I didn’t photograph it, but I set the pin routing guide into the table – this is a metal pin with a small diameter end (7mm) that engages into a template channel so the overhead router cuts identical items.  In this case, my “channel” was a single hole, and the router was offset to one side, resulting in probably the easiest circle I have ever cut or routed.  Ever!

In this case, I was only routing a partial depth pattern – a circle cut with a cove bit, repeated in 4 locations and with 2 different diameters to produce the stove ‘elements’

Kitchen Detail

I was quickly switching from tablesaw, bandsaw, disk sander, linisher, router table, torque workcentre, drill press and Domino, turning out component after component.  When a workshop is set up properly, it is amazing how easy and quickly tasks become.

Cut an opening for a sink? Done.  Duplicate the opening on the router table? Done.  Stack-cut a handle for the oven, then round the edges? Done.  Join it accurately and strongly to the project? Done. Elements cut, wheels made. Fun stuff.

Cutting Toy Wheels

Using the Carb-i-tool wheel cutter, scrap MDF was utilised to produce stacks of wheels.  Here the Lidwig Claw can be seen being used to good effect, holding the 4″ dust collection hose right at the point of shaving and dust creation.

So a profitable weekend – just don’t know where it went so fast. There is still a few small tasks to do to finish the cabinets off, then they can head out to their new homes for painting, and playing.

Goin Ballistic

Been hammering out the two toy kitchens (or more precisely hammering, gluing, screwing, drilling, routering, dominoing).

Hard to imagine just how much work and time goes into this sort of project, and if I had more time I could add extra feature after countless feature.

I am struggling to even remember where I was up to at the start of the weekend (I think carcasses, but no doors). Since then, all door hinges rebated (on the Torque fwiw), and doors attached. Knobs and taps made from toy wheels (in total I made about 30 wheels)

Sink hole cut (one done on the Torque, then sanded to final shape, the other using a pattern copying bit on the router table). Faucets made (bandsaw), attached with twin dominos, oven handles the same.

The stove top worked rather well- using the pin routing feature of the Torque (a partial depth hole drilled in workpiece, then the pin engages this hole under the stove top, allowing it to be spun underneath an offset router to create a circle.

So close to finishing (whew), and I am looking forward to getting the MDF dust out of the shed- it is a real mess in there.

Ozito Uni Jaw

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a Superjaws, it’s a Jaw Horse, it’s the Ultimate Superjaws…

No – I’m confused.  It isn’t the Ultimate Superjaws that GMC took on so it wouldn’t compete with the Superjaws (or is it?), it is the (cue fanfare)

Ozito Uni Jaw

Seen in a local Bunnings.  It actually has some interesting attributes – the front jaw moves, rather than the rear jaw.  It has a limited range of movement, but by initially positioning the rear jaw and securing it, this is a pretty common method.  No idea of the price, accessories (if any), and if it is a reworked version of the never-released

Ultimate Superjaws

Anyone else see a similarity between the two?

Stu’s Shed ad feature

Hey cool – The Sewing Revolution are still using the “As seen on Stu’s Shed” thing in their advert!  I like it 🙂

One thing I was hoping to show a bit earlier than now, is the extensions for their “Sewing Revolution” to increase the maximum diameter of their template. I was planning on using it to lay out a poker table, but other projects have overtaken it.  So as not to hold off mentioning the extensions….

The Sewing Revolution

Both the Sewing Revolution 6/8 and 5/7 have an extension template to increase the effective maximum diameter of the original template from 13″ diameter out to a 40″ range.

Sewing Revolution Wedge

With the addition of the TWC in the shop, all templating tools take on extra importance – jig creation is a powerful technique and tool.

 

New Australian Wood Review

Has just come out.  Particular reason I’m mentioning it is I have a follow up article to my panel clamp article – a look at a wide range of hand clamps that are on the market (and a quick review of the Mustarka Rabbeting Router Bit Set).  There is also a review of the Torque Workcentre (not by me – get a second opinon!).

My clamp article wasn’t particularly complimentary of some commonly available clamps….. but hey, do you want a review that just says everything is golden, or one that actually calls a spade a spade?

Walko Surface Clamps on Order

After recently using the Walko Workbench, one thing that really impressed me was how functional and useful the Walko surface clamps were.  With the TWC, I think they would be perfect, with a matrix of holes cut into the MDF top to fit the Walko Clamps where-ever needed.

WALKO Surface Clamps

I’ve got 2 sets on order (apparently floating somewhere off the coast of Australia as I type) from Ideal Tools (they have a dedicated WALKO website now online).

The beauty of these clamps is they are really low profile, clamp very irregular shapes, quick action, fit anywhere (at least anywhere there is a round dog hole) and did I mention low profile?

Once they arrive, I will convert my TWC to a massive radial arm drill, and cut regular dog holes over the surface of the workbench’s sacrificial MDF top.

Speaking of the top, I have determined that because of the cast iron router table I am using at one end of the workcentre, my top needs to be 40mm thick.  I could do this with one thick MDF sheet (I assume sheets that thick are available), but instead I am going for 2x 16mm sheets, with an 8mm sheet sandwiched between them.  These will be screwed, not glued together, so once the first surface is completely wrecked in time by cutting/routing into it, I can simply flip it over for a new top, then rinse and repeat for all the other sides.  I expect it will be some time before I need to actually replace all the sheets!

I could always go 5 sheets of 8mm – wonder if that would be better?  My only concern is ensuring the sheets remain as flat as possible – whether regular screws are suitable, or perhaps regular bolts would be even better to ensure they are held tightly together.  A trick learned from the Ideal Tools course where lines drawn on the top intersect above each screw (or bolt), so that you know exactly where they are when setting up for through-surface cuts which would otherwise result in an untimely meeting of carbide and steel.

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