Compounding Cuts

Been working over the weekend on cleaning up around the shed.  A little bit of cleaning up after the last project, and a lot of getting some equipment into its final home.

Specifically the dust extractor.

If you remember from my recent floorplan, I am intending on putting it into the ‘dead’ corner caught between the shed and the diagonal fence.  My original idea was to create a bit of a standalone shed around the extractor, but for a number of reasons it is a lot better to resurrect the earlier plan of having the whole section boxed in.  Overall, it results in a loss in usable floorspace, but the floorspace that is available becomes significantly more productive.

It may stop me turning the rest of that corner into a rubbish tip!

The original shed design shied away from producing an angled section to the shed – too difficult to calculate, or manufacture the angled joiners or something.

But not if I am doing it myself. I’m using treated pine for the frame, so I can cut the compound angles easily.  45º side angle, 10º down angle for the roof.  Don’t have to think twice about it on the Kapex.

Getting this sorted, and the rest of the shed more organised meant I didn’t get to shoot the videos I was planning for the weekend.  Things rarely go to plan, but each day is a small step closer to having the shed organised and operational, and each step means when I do shoot video (or take some stills), that things look closer to how I would like them to be.  It also means I am a bit short of content to chat about here, but again, the more progress I make now, the easier it will be down track.

The Ti15 Festool impact driver is really earning its keep, and the TS55 REQ is going to do the same when it comes time to make the angled cuts in the polycarbonate roofing.  As is the Centipede Sawhorse!  You know a winner of a tool, when within days of receiving it, you can’t work out how you did without it.

And so it begins-fitting out the shed

Perhaps no more than a symbolic gesture (too hot to consider doing more- day 2 of a 4 day heat wave above 40C), but still, moved the first few machines into the shed.

Because of the epoxy floor, it really does have a ‘new shed smell’.

First cab off the ranks, and it had to be the (still packaged) SawStop


followed closely behind by the Festool Kapex


The pallet jack is already proving its weight in gold. I’m using some trailer ramps to get up over the edge and through the roller door


Every tool that rolls in through those doors will continue to define the new workshop.

I even got to use the workshop tonight legitimately. Needed a couple of boards docked to length. With the Kapex already set up, it was a very satisfying thing being able to use the right tool for the job, rather than fudging it like I have been doing for the last 12 months!

Episode 94 Dr Kapex

Episode 94 Dr Kapex

Testing the true depth of cut of the Festool Kapex.

Also see (briefly) the Kapex stand in action, and the Promac generator.

Ideal Tools Sale – Last Day!

Ideal Tools have a pretty awesome sale running, and it finishes TOMORROW!

And by awesome, I mean getting a SwordSaw for $999.  That may sound quite a bit still, but that is $751 off the full price.  If you want something to break down large logs, and can’t afford a mill, the SwordSaw still has a huge 330mm depth of cut.

zoom_06_isp330eb_765331_p_01a-600x600That is for the ISP300.  The SSP200 is also $999 if you prefer the shorter blade (still with a 200mm depth of cut).  As seen demonstrated by me on the Torque Workcentre (and as seen in the Stu’s Shed banner above – unfortunately it was only a demo model that was doing the rounds 😦 )  These can both fit on the Festool Guard rail.  The smaller comes with a systainer – don’t think there is one big enough for the 300!



Next are the guide rails, either for your existing tools, or if you are planning on getting a Festool router or saw in the near(ish) future.  There is a 1400mm version, or the massive 3000mm version (obviously great for breaking down full 2400mm sheets)

Now one I have recently become quite acquainted with, the Kapex stand and extension arms.


Didn’t know too much about this (bar a few photos), but since getting it, I have become very impressed.  Not only is it great to just have a decent stand for the saw (and significant workpiece support with telescoping arms), but it all folds down into a very portable package.

8384575086_2c787114db_zThat is a stock Festool photo, so I don’t know why he has the telescoping arms slung over his shoulder – it is actually designed to rest on the base of the stand (as you’ll be able to see in a Stu’s Shed video I am currently editing)

If you have a Kapex, and not the stand, well…….

There is a whole raft of Festool and Protool tools, and accessories on sale on the Ideal Tools site.  Be careful though – once you start looking, it gets increasingly tempting!  Especially those SwordSaws!  Have always wanted one, just because they are cool, irrespective of their awesome depth of cut!

Dr Festool Kapex

The DOC for the Kapex 120 is listed at 88mm for a standard cut, and although this is theoretically correct for a board the full 305mm wide, what if the board isn’t that wide?

Then the depth of cut (DOC 😉 ) jumps right up.  After a quick test, it cut through a 90×90 without even getting close to its capacity.  100×100 looks very possible, but I didn’t have a piece to hand to try (yet).

One way or another, 88mm is a significant underestimation when the board is less than the maximum 305mm wide.

It is an addiction

A long time ago, in a workshop not so far away, I got to experience a Kapex first hand.

It was 2009, and I was in the Festool studio of Ideal Tools.  Along with getting personally acquainted with a number of other Festool products (many of which have been working their way into my workshop), I got to make good use of the Kapex sliding compound miter saw.

The future may have been inevitable at that point, but there was no telling how long it would be before that too came into the Stu’s Shed stable.

Turns out, that day was yesterday, with a special Ideal Tools is running on the Kapex package (which includes the stand and the outriggers).  I had only seen the stand in photos, and it is significantly more impressive first hand.  Looks like a basic steel tube setup, but something so apparently simple works so well, quickly turning the Kapex into a highly portable machine.

I’ll go a lot more into the details in some future posts, but as a general rule, you know what I think of good engineering design, and this whole setup more than meets that requirement.

The outriggers have changed quite a bit since I saw them in 2009, and they have really matured. The Kapex itself seems pretty much unchanged – not much else they could do to make it better!

For those that are interested, some basic specs:

Power consumption: 1600 W
No-load speed: 1400-3400 min-1
Saw blade diameter: 260 mm
Cutting capacity at 90°: 305 x 88 mm
Cutting depth at 45°/90°: 215 x 88 mm
Cutting depth 50°/90° (left): 196 x 88 mm
Cutting depth 60°/90° (right): 152 x 88 mm
Cutting depth 45°/45° (left): 215 x 55 mm
Cutting depth 45°/45° (right): 215 x 35 mm
Special cutting depth 90°/90°: 60 x 120 mm
Special cut. depth 45°/90° (left): 40 x 120 mm
Capacity in special position 90°: 20 x 120 mm
Crown moulding diagonal cut at 90°/90°: 168 mm
Crown moulding mitre cut at 45°: 168 mm
Inclination angle: 47/47 °
Mitre angle: 50/60 °
Bench height (on MFT): 923 mm
Dimensions (W x D x H): 713 x 500 x 470 mm
Connection Ø d/e: 27/36 mm
Weight: 21,5 kg

Couple of things to pick up there – normal depth of cut is 88mm.  But if you have a board no thicker than 20mm, you can achieve a 120mm depth of cut.  Funny thing is, I didn’t even know (or rather remember) what the blade size was until just now.  Turns out to be 10″ (or there-abouts)  Bore is 30mm.


The whole unit rolls very easily from place to place, and takes up minimal room when folded away.  I could have included the outrigger arms in the stand as well (held together with their custom strapping).

kapex-2Only takes a few seconds to have the saw in position, ready to go.  The handle for moving the unit around becomes the left-hand upright.

You could leave it like this, or maximise the amount of material support with the outriggers.

kapex-3This isn’t even the full extent of support available, as there is an addition support (and rule) that extends from either end of the outriggers (not shown).

One way or another, this is now a substantial work station, and something I have long been missing in my workshop.  I have had to compromise for ages, using the tablesaw (without a sliding table) to lengths of timber down – not the best practice at all.  I did have a couple of SCMSs in the past, both GMC, but sold them at different times in expectation of getting the Kapex.  It was only a few years wait!

kapex-4With the Cleantex connected up, this saw now has 91% dust extraction. Not bad for a SCMS!  In other workshops, I have seen all sorts of jury-rigged setups, boxes set up behind the SCMS to try to catch the waste.  Among other things, Festool cannot be accused of ignoring the safety aspects of their tools, in the way the guarding works with (and not against) the operator, and a highly refined dust collection system.  (And yes, I am still using the Oneida cyclone on top of my vac from Professional Woodworker Supplies).  Been a LONG time since I have had to change the dust bag in the Cleantex.  Never in fact!

kapex-5Ready for the very first test cut.  Dual laser on, hold down holding down.  It is almost disappointing how quickly and easily the Kapex does its job.  You don’t get enough time to really enjoy the quality before the job is done!

Other than the Festool blades, I will also be able to use the impressive Flai Mustang, or one of the whole host of blades from

I would have been interested if the Flai U blade would have worked well in this, but that blade was wrecked a few months ago when it hit a hidden nail, chipping a number of teeth.

May become one of the only Flai blades in the world that will meet its final end by deliberately embedding it into a SawStop brake!  Just as an aside, and not that I am going to try it, but I have wondered what would happen if the ultimate saw braking system met the ultimate cut-everything blade of the Flai Mustang!  Sure it would come to a stop, but it may also be the only blade that could legitimately survive the collision to live another day!

Where it comes to the new workshop, I already have a pretty fair idea where this tool will be (semi) permanently set up – along the western wall, parallel to the tablesaw.  It is going to be so good being able to dock timber to length easily again.  Not that I know why I say again, I have never had a permanent SCMS or drop saw setup, so this will really be a new experience.



Shed Layout

Going to throw it out there – if you are interested in helping me design the shed layout, I’d be most interested in your ideas!

To start, these are the shed dimensions.  The location of the roller door is pretty much fixed (won’t fit anywhere else), but all other doors and window can be shifted at this stage.  There needs to be one door accessing the rear triangular area, and I do want a door accessing the back of the shed.

Finalised Shed Design

Finalised Shed Design

Inside, there are columns to compete with, which are fixed in place.  The slab design shows a pillar directly in the middle of the roller door, but I am doubting that is actually needed!  Pretty pointless if it is – if this shed was for a vehicle, you’d have to split the car (or boat) in two to get it inside!



The door in the 9’10” wall only needs to be in one of the two 9’10” walls, move as suitable!

I’ve been using the Grizzly Shed Designer website – if you know of something better, I’d be keen to hear!

This is one design I have come up with, but I’m sure it isn’t as good as it could be.

Shed Layout?

Shed Layout?

So some specifics.  The tablesaw is the TS10L (discontinued), and has a long wing on the right.  It needs in and outfeed, but also room to the lefthand side for long items (at least until I get a Kapex). There is a router table which is about 680mm wide, and 1000mm long.  Infeed and outfeed is across the shorter width, as the Incra LS Positioner extends down the length.

There is a workbench – 1500×800, and the Torque Workcentre 2500×800 (the lathe on top of the workbench represents the overhead arm).

A 15″ thicknesser, a 6″ longbed jointer, a drill press.

There are 2 bandsaws, one a 17″ Carbatec which is used for resawing, and a 14″ Jet for small items (no outfeed required).

A Triton spindle sander, and a disk sander/linisher.  There are three lathes showing.  One is the DVR XP, one is the Nova Comet II, and the third is a Jet Mini, but this one will be used to hold three buffing wheels, so is part of the sanding section.

As far as the rest, I’m not showing any timber storage as it will either be on the mezzanine, or stored elsewhere.  The dust extractor and air compressor will be in a nearby shed, and can either be located in the triangular section (top left), or at the back, or alongside the shed at the right – your choice.  I’m not showing any storage at the moment – either suggest what you will, or have a look at older photos of the workshop to see what I have been using in the past.

So that’s the general scope – questions to refine the issues welcome.  Hope someone can come up with a plan that really works!


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