Tried testing a dado blade (just briefly) on the weekend, as I’d never used one, and still haven’t actually.

The budget (economy?) set from Carbatec that they have included for the battle of the dado blades have chipper blades that are solid disks, and once you add a few together, the entire group becomes a massive chunk of steel (like a large flywheel), and requires so much starting torque that my (underpowered) power supply trips out before the saw can come up to speed.

If I had a good (and a full 10A) power supply for the saw I’m sure it wouldn’t be a problem, but I don’t, so it is.

The saw itself is 3HP, so it has plenty of guts to run such a set (if I could give it all the electricity it needs), but I seriously wonder if less powerful saws (such as the Jet Supersaw (1.75HP)) could even use the economy set?

Remember too, that this is just getting the dado set up to speed, and does not involve actually cutting timber (hard or soft).

Extending the Lathe

When I first got the Jet Mini lathe, it was to replace the GMC that I had, and one thing that I wanted to do was add the extension bed to the Jet to get a full 1000mm capacity.  At some stage I’d like a full sized lathe, but in the meantime, the Jet Mini will certainly suit my current requirements (and will still have a place even if I do end up with a larger one).

Jet Mini Lathe with Stand

Jet Mini Lathe with Stand

I’ve been putting the extension in the too-hard basket for over a year – mainly because the extension cost $100, and I couldn’t see how it was possibly justified to ask another $100 for the couple of components to extend the lathe stand to take the extra extension.

I certainly didn’t subscribe to the suggestion from the retailer that it is generally left hanging in mid-air.  Seemed a stupid proposal at best.  It didn’t help that the extension I was sold turns out not to be for the model of Mini lathe they had sold me, so I had to work out my own way of joining the two beds together.

In the end, I opted for high tensile bolts and with a bit of fussing, got the two beds aligned nicely, and seemingly sufficiently joined that there won’t be any movement in the joint over time.

Next came the real problem – extending the stand to cope with the extra length of the new lathe bed.  If I had some metal fabrication capacity that would have made life a lot easier, but I don’t have the essentials – primarily a welder. So the problem just sat there, waiting for a solution to turn up, and on Friday it did.

Lathe with Extension and Stand Extension

Lathe with Extension and Stand Extension

Work was about to throw out a stand that has clogged up a space for about 4 years, and I couldn’t bring myself to just allow the components to go without seeing if there was anything useful.  It was as I was dismantling it that I suddenly twigged that one of the parts looked just like I would expect the genuine lathe stand extension component would look like.  It even looked like it just might be long enough.  When I meansured it up, it was close – very very close, and the 45mm it was short I decided I could adapt the existing stand layout enough to compensate, without compromising its integrity.

All that was needed were some new holes, and some more bolts to hold the extra parts.

Drilling Holes

Drilling Holes

The main idea that I had was to use the previous horizontal member, and turn it vertically to support the joint in the extended lathe bed.  The fact that the new horizontal member was a substantial square RHS so could easily take the loading made it a no brainer.

Base Adapter

Base Adapter

The one thing I did decide was to use the original horizontal member unaltered, and because it was not as wide as the base of the lathe, it made more sense to have its flange at 90 degrees to the base, and therefore the holes couldn’t be used to join them together.  So what I did was fabricate this piece with two holes (top and bottom) for the lathe, and the other two for the flange.

Now this is where it all will make a bit more sense.

Extending the Lathe Stand

Extending the Lathe Stand

This is the interum step with everything in place, but resting – waiting for holes to be drilled for the bolts.

Extended Lathe and Stand

Extended Lathe and Stand

And finally (and it doesn’t look that different from the previous photo), this is the final result, all bolted together, and very stable (and rather heavy to boot).

Now I just have to find a new location for the grinder, and I need more of that rubber mat!

It’s a great feeling to finally finish off a job that has been hanging over my head for so long.  Now I just have to get back to learning how to use the thing!! (Properly that is!!)

Choosing a tablesaw

Quite the tough decision really – almost worse than buying a car, because you’d expect to have the same tablesaw even after buying, and selling a number of cars! So it is a purchase that you want to get right, and be happy with. Any purchase is always a compromise – a trade-off between quality, features and price.

As I eluded to earlier, this is a list of features I’d want to see on a new saw, in no real order, and not necessarily with any locked in – after all, everything is a compromise!

10″ blade (minimum). Upgrading from the Triton, which runs a 9 1/4″ blade which on the Triton gives a maximum cutting height of 64mm. Having a 10″ blade doesn’t add much to that, but passing the magic 75mm mark is a good start (means I can split a 150mm post in half in 2 passes)

Dado blade capable. Not quite sure whether I need this, but I see dado blades used all the time on woodwork shows, and I do have one so would be good to see it being used!

Decent motor 2.5HP or greater. I rarely need all that power, but using a Triton saw (3.25HP) for so long, and you get used to all that grunt. There is a reason why some people opt for 3 phase machines, and one is power. A saw that comes out in a 1 phase model could have 3HP, the 3 phase version is 5HP. Seeing as I would be extremely hard-pushed to justify the expense of installing 3 phase power.

Full cast (cast iron) top, with 1 and preferably 2 mitre channels.

Quality fence

Riving knife, which is easily removed, and rises and falls with the blade. To this (ideally) there would also be the blade guard.

Left-tilting blade. Lots of controversy here, but after seeing some photos of ripping with the blade tilted over to the right, I can see why left-tilt wins some friends. Granted that you can move the fence to the other side of the blade, I’d rather not have to.

So, where does that leave us?

Gabbett Machinery: Saw Stop

Blade Size: 254mm (10in)
Dado: 20mm
Depth of Cut 90°: 79mm
Depth of Cut 45°: 57mm
Direction of Cut: Left
Motor: 3HP (1 Ph 230V 13A)
Arbor: 16mm
Table Size:1118x762mm
Weight: 240kg
Price: $5500

Other features: Saw Stop, heavy duty castings

Carbatec: TS10L

Blade Size: 254mm (10in)
Dado: 15mm
Depth of Cut 90°: 78mm
Depth of Cut 45°: 54mm
Direction of Cut: Left
Motor: 3HP (1 Ph)
Arbor: 16mm
Table Size: 1075x740mm
Weight: 230kg
Price: $2200
Other features: Heavy duty trunnions, quick release riving knife, spindle lock

Carbatec: TSC-10HB

Blade Size: 254mm (10in)
Dado: 15mm
Depth of Cut 90°: 77mm
Depth of Cut 45°: 58mm
Direction of Cut: Right
Motor: 3HP (1 Ph)
Arbor: 16mm
Table Size: 1015x685mm
Weight: 190kg
Price: $1700
Other features: includes router table extension wing

Woodworking Warehouse: Jet SuperSaw

Blade Size: 254mm (10in)
Dado: 20mm
Depth of Cut 90°: 84mm
Depth of Cut 45°: 54mm
Direction of Cut: Left
Motor: 1.75HP (1 Ph)
Arbor: 16mm
Table Size: 705x685mm
Weight: 210kg
Price: $2475
Other features: sliding table

Woodworking Warehouse: Powermatic PM2000

Blade Size: 254mm (10in)
Dado: 20mm
Depth of Cut 90°: 79mm
Depth of Cut 45°: 54mm
Direction of Cut: Left
Motor: 3HP (1 Ph)
Arbor: 16mm
Table Size: 1067x775mm
Weight: 210kg
Price: $3415
Other features: (shown with extension table- other tables also have this), spindle lock, quick release riving knife, cast iron base w built in raise-able castors.

Ledacraft MJ-2325CB 10″

Blade Size: 254mm (10in)
Dado: ??
Depth of Cut 90°: 75mm
Depth of Cut 45°: 60mm
Direction of Cut: Right
Motor: 2HP (1 Ph)
Arbor: 25.4mm
Table Size: 1170x800mm
Weight: 189kg
Price: $1232
Other features:

(I’ve not listed 3 phase motors as it is not in most sheds)

I’ve amended this list with a couple more models – there are just too many saws out there to provide a comprehensive list, and there are still all the 12″ saws etc that I haven’t tried looking through.

Where possible, I have listed the price of including a Biesemeyer Style fence.

Table Saw Research

I’ve been doing some research about the various cabinet saws out there, specifically looking for something to upgrade to after selling my Triton after many years of reliable service. I’m sure this will be a recurring theme until the final decision is made, but here are some initial observations and considerations.

I have not had an opportunity to actually use any of these tools in anger, so my opinions and observations at this point are tempered by that.

I’m not looking at the contractor’s saw – they are a compromise, minimising weight and cost in preference for portability. They certainly have their place, and many perfectly successful workshops have them, but I am strongly influenced to head towards a full cabinet saw (personal preference, and perhaps because I have done my time with a Triton Workcentre, I’m looking for that quantum leap in this upgrade, and not just another short step).

For the top, (other than a select few unusually made from granite, which I’m not sure if they are even in Australia, and then can’t use that incredible MagSwitch technology!), they should be cast iron, with ideally 2 mitre slots, one either side of the blade. The blade itself will typically be 10″ or 12″ (at additional cost), with a splitter (and/or riving knife), and guard. Power ranges from 1.75HP to 3Hp (and beyond if you have 3 phase power available – I don’t).

There are some fundamentals that the unit MUST comply with:

Click here to read full article

Today’s the Day on Ebay

A bit of an era draws to a close today (although it is a bit of a soft ending). My Triton 2000 Workcentre and 2400W Triton saw will sell in a couple of hours time. Feeling a bit nostalgic about it.

Back in Christmas 2001 when my wife and I were married, I had a lathe on the wedding registry (little thing, but unbeknownst to me at the time, it was the key to a massive door that had been there in my periphery since almost forever). So I had this lathe, and I needed a bench to mount it to. Around our new property (bought 6 months earlier) there were a number of redgum sleepers, and I thought a couple of them would make a great lathe stand. I did have a handsaw, but no circular saw, and this was the justification I needed to head down to Bunnings and get one.

In Bunnings, I had long admired (from a distance) these amazing orange tools that looked to be for the professionals – workbenches that I hardly recognised what they were for (in hindsight, they would have been a Triton 2000, a router table, superjaws etc). But they looked GOOD.

So I went to get a saw. Dad’s had an Hitashi for a long time – serious looking tool, and so I had an idea of what I was wanting. While there, going through all the models, one that stood out was an orange beast – 2400W, 9 1/4″ blade (price tag to match), but it dawned on me that one day, I might, just might get one of those cool looking workbenches, so I might as well have the saw that matches. Boy, was that a good call.

Got home with this thing, and if you know me, you know I love toys (uh…, and this thing looked mean. When I took it to the sleepers, I was in shock – it sliced the sleeper like butter, and that was it, I was hook line and sinker into Triton at that point.

Click here to read full article

Turning Between Centres – a different drive spur

This is the traditional drive spur – a four bladed design with a fixed centre pin.  The blades cut into the endgrain providing the drive to spin the work.


I’ve found with this sort of drive spur, that if you don’t do it up tight enough, it can easily slip, allowing the workpiece to stall while you are turning (ie the workpiece stops, but the drive keeps spinning!)  There are some different models available – different sizes, and some with quite an aggressive tooth and centre point to really bite into the workpiece.

However, when watching a master-turner friend show off some tips and techniques, I saw that he used a different type of drive spur, and I could really see some definite advantages to its design.  I got one for my lathe, and have been using it ever since.


It is called a Steb Style drive centre, and instead of just four points of contact, it has lots of little teeth that bite in, significantly decreasing the load that each one has to impart on the workpiece.  The central point is also spring-loaded, and I’m not sure what advantage that has, other than meaning that it’s the circumferential teeth carrying the load.  I find that I don’t have to tighten up on the workpiece as much, and I have not experienced any slippage since using one.


Mobile Bases for Floor Machines

I have a few heavy machines in the workshop these days, each weighing between about 70 and 100kg.  Given my limited space, I really need to be able to move these around, yet I don’t want to have to try to drag them, or lift them to fit wheels etc.  The solution is a heavy-duty mobile base, that can cope with the weight of the machine and remain fully stable, both when the machine is being moved, and when it is in use.

The base that I have been using is one made by Jet, and so far, I’ve only needed the smaller model, which is still capable of handling a machine weighing up to 270 kg (600 lb).


The latest to receive the treatment, is the Triton 15″ thicknesser.  Weighing in at over 80kg, it also has quite a large footprint, so I really need to be able to move it out of the way for other jobs, or even outside if I need to machine long lengths.


The components look and feel quite robust, and the design means that it can fit machines with a wide range of footprints, without needing any tools for assembly.  What you can see here, is a wheel for each corner (which includes a decent amount of base for the machine to sit on), and four predrilled connector bars.

Two wheels are steerable (swivel), and all four are lockable, maximising the stability of the platform during machining operations.


This is a close-up of the connector bar, with the spring-loaded pin engaged in the first hole.


The thicknesser now on its new base, portable and stable.

Downtrack, I will be adding a wooden shelf on the base, and another on the mid-height bracing so I can maximise storage opportunities around the workshop.

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