SSYTC064 SpinChill

It may not be woodworking, but we all enjoy a cold beverage of some description, and we have all been stuck on occasion wanting it cold a lot faster than conventional methods will allow.

Here is a quick look at a way of using a power tool (drill) and a bucket of ice, along with a Spin Chill bit (from who I found through Kickstarter (crowd funding)) to get a bottle or can to drinking temperature in 60 seconds.


Although I put up the small storage shed last weekend, I really didn’t get a chance to actually make use of the space.

Today, I had a crack at trying to sort out the garage (where the majority of my machines are stored).  For a while it didn’t seem to be going particularly well – too much stuff, not enough storage, but slowly, slowly, things began to fall into place.

In the end, the 8m3 shed was filled to the brim – I would struggle to fit anything more in there at all.  And once I got that much stuff out of the garage, it was just sufficient to provide sufficient flexibility to move things around. As far as the decision to go with a shed rather than using a storage unit – I am storing pretty much all that I intended to, and now I’ll have a shed to show for it after the 2 months is up (the intended time I thought I’d need the unit). If it happens to be more than 2 months (every chance the way things always go), then I’ll be ahead on the cash stakes.  Money for jam.

So it is a shed of sorts – not able to handle large materials, but I can access each of the machines in there – the tablesaw, router table, jointer, thicknesser, both bandsaws, drill press, CNC (while I still have it), the lathes, and even the benchtop machines – there is an existing workbench along one wall in the garage.

Sure it is all a compromise, but hey – anything beats the last 5 months!  The thicknesser and tablesaw can only be run off the generator – no 15A power available otherwise.

IMG_4119 IMG_4121

Tomorrow I might even get to make some sawdust.  Exciting!


With Eager Anticipation

This is something I have really been looking forward to ever since I heard it was being developed.

As mentioned a ways back, Teknatool (inventors of the 4 jaw self-centreing chuck for wood turning, and the DVR lathe) have turned their attention to other products that could benefit from the significant ease of operation, power and easy variable speed of the DVR motor.

One such product is the drill press, and Teknatool have chosen the Wood show in Las Vegas to demonstrate the prototype.

It is a perfect synergy.


The drill press is constantly assessing the drilling operation. If the computer detects anything abnormal, such as a catch (happens often as the drill bit is just exiting the workpiece on the far side, which sometimes results in it simulating a helicopter!), a slipping bit etc, the motor will cut out surprisingly quickly. They use this same feature on the lathe for when the chisel takes too big a bite and catches.

It can detect if your bit is blunt or damaged, or if you’ve gone and caught some clothing around the bit. This is going to be an awesome drillpress!

Complete control over the variable speed, digital speed readout, constant speed with the DVR motor ramping up the power as needed to maintain the speed under load.

Expect around 9-12 months before products start hitting the shelves.



The display at AWFS is also very interesting – if you look closely at the picture of the chuck on the right, it looks like a SuperNova2, but I suspect this is actually the new interchageable jaw chuck (it doesn’t use twin bolts to hold each jaw on – one set can be slid out, and the next set slid in – toollessly (is that a word?))


Interesting to see the accurate digital readout of depth, load set speed etc.  The ability to zero off your drill bit (very important for accurate drilling, given they are all different lengths!)

Given that the motor is direct-drive to the shaft, I was surprised to see that the head is fixed, and cannot tilt, and the table is such a traditional design with a coarse thread height adjustment.  Wasn’t expecting that – it still leaves a margin for inaccuracy if the operator doesn’t level the table properly.

It may be that this is an example of the head-only model (will seek clarification) – they are first releasing the drillpress head, so you can upgrade your existing drill press, and then down track releasing a full drillpress model.  Upgrading an existing drill press will obviously be cheaper, but you have to wonder what innovations Teknatool will bring to the lower half of the drill press!

***Update*** I can confirm that this specific example was a DVR drill press head mounted on an existing base, and is not an example of the full Teknatool/Nova Drillpress solution.

Irrespective, the addition of DVR technology into the drill press is a massive step forward, and I am certainly looking forward to the next tool to receive the DVR treatment – the tablesaw is certainly in their sights. Will this become a serious contender to the SawStop?  The DVR motor may be capable of providing that sort of capability, and without the blade destruction of an aluminium brake slamming into the blade teeth.  Of course I am speculating wildly!

In any case, I can’t wait to see the new drillpress on the market!

SSYTC048 Who says drill bits are boring?

Some can do more…..

Where it comes to the reasons for drilling holes, the reasons can be many, and varied – I’m sure you can think of dozens of reasons without me making a list.

One of those reasons is as a pilot hole for screws.  This can be to prevent the timber splitting from having a screw boring in, pushing the timber aside to the point that the surrounding timber cannot withstand the pressure. Some timbers being a lot more susceptible than others.  Alternately, (and not necessarily exclusively), it can be because the force required to drive the screw into the timber is more than the screw’s torsional strength.  We’ve all had screw heads shear off, or the driver cam-out, burring the head.



What happens to the head of the screw is what we are talking about here.  After drilling a pilot hole, the screw head can be treated a number of ways.  If it is a dome or similar, it is designed to sit proud of the surface, so job done.  But often that is not the case, or desirable.  You can drive the screw home, then push a bit further, to have the head pulled into the timber.  Works in some cases, but can lead to an unsightly crush zone around the head, or if the timber is not strong enough, you can destroy the wooden thread you have just cut with the screw and then you might as well have used a nail for all the strength you’ve gotten.  If the timber is too dense, you can again burr the drive or the screw head.

The solution is to countersink.  This is normally a two stage operation – after drilling the hole, you then pick up you countersink tool to create the recess for the screw.  These can be used with a drill, or like the old Triton countersink, be done with a handtool.

counter_sink_Weldon HLLXCW10


In the past, I have been known to pick up a second drill bit that is the diameter of the screw head, and use that to create the countersink.

If you have a lot to do, drilling the pilot hole and countersinking in one step saves a lot of time.  There are a few bits on the market that can achieve this, such as this one from Amana Tool

countersink-photoPhoto 17-06-13 22 24 30

These are drill bits, fitted into a holder with carbide tipped countersink.  You can drill and countersink to your heart’s content.  Even if the drill bit blunts or breaks, it can be easily replaced and the carbide countersink will keep on cutting.

These are much more convenient than the two step operation, and in a CNC machine, depth is controlled by the program, not by the human user.  Where you are using them free-hand, it can be easy to be a bit inconsistent in hole depth, so the screw is a still a little proud, or becomes fully recessed below the surface (and the countersunk area is a larger diameter than is necessary).  If your intention is to fully bury the screw, then fill the resulting hole with a flush-cut dowel, then no problem – the inconsistent depth is a non-issue.

But what about using them freehand (as in handheld drill), when you do want the depth consistent (which would be a majority of the time I’d hesitate to say)?

For the rare few with a surviving Triton drill, you are fine – very comprehensive, built in depth stop.


For the rest, well Amana Tool has a solution for you.  Build an adjustable depth stop into the countersink bit.  What’s more, ensure that it can be adjusted independently of setting the drill bit length/replacement of drill bit.

55234Photo 17-06-13 22 23 10The depth stop has quite a range, so you can set it anywhere between having the countersink just cut the surface for the smallest screw head (and less), right through to being able to fully recess the screw head below the surface.  Obviously, because you have that range you can cater for a number of different diameter heads, and different thicknesses.

Plenty of chip clearance as you can see, and the hex bolt in the photo above is the height adjustment.

This gives you great consistency, hole after hole without having to use the eyechrometer, or having a piece of tape stuck to the bit as a crude depth stop.

drill-bit-tapeHowever, you do have to consider the material you are drilling into – will it be affected by the spinning depth stop – be this any scratches, or heat effects from the friction?  You could use tape or similar where the hole will be drilled, even a moveable thin plastic plate with an oversized hole in the right place, and compensate for this extra thickness in the height adjustment.  That would be pretty effective.

Or you could get the non-marring carbide tipped countersinking with adjustable depth stop and thrust bearing bit from Amana Tool.  Ok, it is not quite called that, but that describes the bit pretty well.  Just call it the No-Mar Countersink 🙂

nomar-countersinksPhoto 17-06-13 22 22 14 Photo 17-06-13 22 21 53

So what do we have here?  Well it is a carbide-tipped countersink.  It has an adjustable depth stop.  The depth-stop is free-spinning on a thrust bearing, and it has chip clearance and the ability to adjust the depth stop independently of the drill bit. If you look closely at the final picture above, you can see a semicircle just to the left, and behind the bit.  That was caused by the previous height-adjustable countersink.

This one, as the depth-stop touches the surface, the depth-stop stops spinning minimising the amount of friction heat and scratches in the surface.  You could again go one step further, and carefully hold the depth stop so it isn’t spinning even when it touches the surface, but just keep fingers clear of the bit.

So that’s it, a range of countersinks, Amana Tool brand from

Photo 17-06-13 22 26 05If you want to see them in action, I even shot a quick video for you. Don’t shoot me on the quality of photos or video – circumstances are still very much in flux (resolving soon, knock on wood) 😉  Drill is the Festool CXS btw.

SSYTC048 Who says drill bits are boring?

Hard Yards

In the next day or so, issue 2, 2013 of ManSpace will be on the shelves


No idea how I managed to get my articles across the line for this issue – those were some hard yards!  I’d just finished a major evolution at work (relocating about 550 staff and students in a major building reorganisation), and then as I was writing the articles themselves I was physically packing and moving house.

My articles in the current issue include:

Sharpening Drill Bits (3 pages), looking at the Drill Doctor vs the Tormek w DBS jig

Nova Comet II Lathe (2 pages)

6 Step Project – creating a kid’s blackboard (3 pages)

Let me know what you think of them!

For those who cannot get ManSpace, along with their Facebook page, they now have their website up and running ManSpace.

If you go into “In the Shed”, then “Tips and Tricks”, you will find 9 articles I wrote for previous issues. (The deck article is not one of mine!)


Rest in Pieces

Bit of a bummer day on the tools, getting jobs finished around the property.  Self inflicted in each case too.

Started when trying to use the wrong tool for the job – using a log splitter like a sledge hammer.  Other than the fact that a log splitter has a much softer metal, so does not transfer impact properly (and deforms easily!), the handle is not designed to absorb the impacts I was delivering, and split itself.

The main failure however, was my Bosch (green) 710W drill.  It has been used, and abused for years and years – 14 to be exact.  Thought I’d manage to kill it more than once, but it kept running.  Had the insulation almost smoking, but it survived.  Until today, when trying to drive large screws (bugle-headed hex 100mm screws!) was just too much torque, and the drill overheated just that bit too far, and the gearbox mechanism failed.  The drill still goes forward, but it is well down on torque, and I will mega-test it before plugging it in again, to test the internal insulation.

But as far as it goes, it is in the dead-tool basket.

So I shopped around for a replacement, and specifically a corded drill.  There is plenty of room for cordless, but I still like to have corded models.

After my previous drill experience, Bosch certainly was a strong contender, but I didn’t let that influence me too much when looking at the range of models out there, at least in my local district.  After a couple of stores and not finding enough choice, I headed into Total Tools.  That is where I found my range.

And settled on……. a Bosch!  Specifically, the GSB16-RE.  That doesn’t mean much to me either, but it is a basic drill – what I needed, and could justify.  It is effectively the Bosch blue version of the drill I had. 700W.


(Bosch blue is the professional range).  It cost around $130 or so – so not too scary.  NOT chosen to drive those bugle screws though – no need to torture another drill to death!

I did try to find something (corded) that could drive the screws – needed something with very high torque.  I know there are plenty of impact drivers out there, and at some stage I’ll get one, but just not this week!  I did try a corded Makita impact driver (230W, 100Nm) failed dismally, and I ended up getting a $17 Koken bit for my socket set to finish the job.  Not sure if it is 100Nm or not – the green Bosch with 30Nm was driving the screws, and got most home until it hit some real hardwood.  Would have thought there would be a more noticeable difference (granted I did kill the drill to achieve it).

The guys at Total Tools (Carrum Downs) did let me have a play with a couple of ‘real’ impact drivers – tried a 14V Panasonic and it drove without a problem.  Didn’t struggle (but could tell it was working).  Didn’t see what the 18V Panasonic was like, but I did get to try the Milwaukee 18V.  Not sure what it would take to stop it, certainly not that 100mm screw!


The Panasonic 14.4V has 150Nm torque, and the Milwaukee 18V has 158Nm.  So there is the benchmark when I do come to the point to choose an impact driver.

As to the sledge hammer, they also had the Stanley FatMax 10lb fibreglass handled sledgehammer.  Done deal.


Dremel Chuck

Was having a bit of a peruse of Dremel accessories down at Masters, and came across the keyless Dremel chuck.  Sounded like a pretty convenient idea – instead of having a number of different collets, you can change your Dremel so changing between bits is toolless, and it doesn’t matter if you are changing between different shaft diameters. Also means you can use small drill bits without having to purchase ones specifically for Dremel.


Original bit securing system

The original system does work, no question about it.  But it could be more convenient, and toolless bit changing has a certain attraction.


Dremel Toolless Chuck

When you take the chuck out of the packet, don’t expect it to work exactly like a spare chuck for a drill/drill press.  It needs to be mounted on the Dremel to work – as it screws up and down the shaft thread it opens and closes the jaws.  Solid little unit, and doesn’t crush like the aluminium collets of the original system when they get stuck in the shaft of the Dremel.  It may not be for you, but always good to know these sorts of things are out there (and at $20, it isn’t too impacting on the wallet).

Ready for the next revolution?

With the addition of the DVR motor to the lathe, it was transformed into a stunning machine, powerful, energy efficient, futuristic even.

So the next revolution? (Sorry about the pun!)

Teknatool are developing a DVR drill press!

No more belts, pulley slippage, belt vibration.  No more bogging down of a drill bit as the bit meets resistance and because of the pulley ratios, the motor is stalled.

The ability to easily tilt the drill head over and angle it to the workpiece which is maintained on a flat surface, rather than having to angle the workpiece to a fixed head.  I know there are some drill presses that can achieve this, but few and far between.

Instead of drilling a hole at whatever speed that the drill press is set for (and just how often do we change the belt speed for a single hole)? you’d have no excuse not to dial in exactly the right speed, each and every time. It is going to be a great drillpress!


Thinking about it, with the motor onboard the head (direct drive), then the plunge mechanism moves the whole lot – chuck and motor combined.  There is no limit then to the amount of plunge that is available.

DVR Drillpress

DVR Drillpress

Looking forward to seeing the DVR motor included on other machines – thicknessers, saw tables, bandsaws etc.  Instead of a router mounted under a router table, how about a DVR motor?  Seriously awesome!

Knuckling Under

Being able to firmly secure a workpiece down significantly improves both accuracy and safety.  There are lots of different clamps on the market that engage with the working surface, and work with varying degrees of success.

The knuckle clamp from Woodpeckers is an innovative approach (as is typical for them!), using a reinforced polycarbonate body with seven pivot points to maximise the capacity of the clamp.  Either end of the body is a pivoting foot to ensure the clamp makes maximum purchase on the working surface, and the workpiece.

Clamping down the workpiece

Clamping down the workpiece

The clamp also utilises the Woodpeckers Multi-knob, which makes gripping the knob and tensioning it up easy.  Not sure just how much load the clamp can take, bit it certainly provided more than enough for the test job here.  They are said to be virtually indestructible, but I didn’t want to risk destroying the ones I had to prove the point!  You can use Knuckle Clamps on all sorts of tools and jigs (homemade and otherwise) which have T track slots. In this case I chose to use the clamps on the Pro Drill Press table from Professional Woodworkers Supplies.  It would work equally as well on other items such as the router table, Incra Mitre Express, the T slots on a Torque Workcentre, and any homemade jigs that you have incorporated T slots.

Work holddown

Work holddown

As a bit of a test for the clamps, I decided to try a partial-width drill with a forstner bit.  Should prove a pretty good test of the hold capability of the clamp.

Partial width forstner bit hole

Partial width forstner bit hole

Clamps held well, without any suggestion of a kickback.  Didn’t know you could even do this with a forstner bit, especially when the central pin was not in contact with the work.  Something you must not do with a forstner bit mounted in a handheld drill – the risk of a kickback is too great.  On the drill press this is achievable, but you must keep hands well away.

Preset Clamp Height

Preset Clamp Height

The clamps can be preset, both in position along the track (and locked in position), and also preset for the degree of “opening”.  This is via a second nut on the bolt which has a spring to hold the clamp up.  This nut does not have to be moved while clamping down, so makes clamping, and reclamping work very easy.

Partial width forstner bit hole

Partial width forstner bit hole

After the first cut, I tried a few more with equal success.

Forstner bits are boring ;)

Forstner bits are boring 😉

So that is the knuckle clamp from Woodpeckers.  Sold in Australia through Professional Woodworkers Supplies.  They also have kits which includes track to create some useful bench-clamping solutions.

“Don’t try this at home”

As first seen on the Ideal Tools website, check out this YouTube video of a Festool drill being put through its paces (aka torture testing).

Sand (that caused a few issues, until it was thumped out!)
Then used to mix drywall (plaster)
Then dropped into the bucket of wet plaster
And some torsion tests (bet the initial slip hurt him later!)

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