Blade Storage

I was initially thinking of titling this entry “Blade Care”, but I’m aware that this is not the best way to protect the blades, so will keep that title for the refined solution!

Blades should be stored vertically, and since the inaugural “Battle of the Blades“, I’ve had them sitting in their boxes on a shelf, which is not only less than ideal as far as blade care is concerned, it also makes accessing the blade that you want somewhat frustrating.  I was looking around the workshop, looking for some wall space for tool storage, and happened upon the cupboard doors.  They can only take a moderate load, so were not suited for the tools I wanted to relocate, but it dawned on me that the doors were not a bad solution for hanging blades.  So that’s what I did.

Blade Storage

On the left are 4 CMT blades from Carbatec – from top to bottom there is a thin-kerf combo, a rip, combo and crosscut. Below that is the extremely mean looking Linbide Rip, and at the bottom is an old Triton sanding disk (that mounts on the saw) that I used to fill the final gap.

On the right are 4 Freud blades from Woodworking Warehouse – from top to botton there is the Freud Industrial (still my favourite blade), followed by a rip, combo and crosscut Freud Pro.  Below that is the Linbide Combo (the blade most likely found on my tablesaw), and the Linbide 100 tooth crosscut.

Scraping with Scrapers

These are not cabinet scrapers (which are a skill all of their own), but instead for scraping when you need to remove a surface – such as paint, varnish, stripper etc.

I have had an opportunity to put the Linbide range through some initial trials, and as much as I normally wait until I’ve had a chance to build up a real opinion on a tool, these had me sold straight out of the box (or packaging to be precise).

Linbide Scrapers

Linbide Scrapers

From right to left, are a straight (or flat) scraper, a corner scraper, a profile scraper, and a cutter.  All are sporting Tungsten Carbide blades which makes a lot of difference to the performance of the blade (and the durability of the sharp edge)

They are very utilitarian in their look, but that does not detract from their performance, and the handles are surprisingly comfortable and provide a good grip.  The blades are replaceable (and with the straight and corner scrapers, the blades are reversable).

I took one to my front windows (external) which are increasingly desparate for a repaint.  I had a mind to a couple of years back, but after trying with some sandpaper, decided that job was too big.  I then tried a heat gun, with no success (it might have worked elsewhere, but not on a paint designed to survive the Australian sun).  So I tried a waterblaster, and that stripped the wood apart faster than it did the paint.

So it was with interest that I gave the scrapers a crack at the task, and we had a winner!  Paint came away with ease, and the wood was undamaged.  I don’t need to remove all the paint, just that which is too loose to paint over.  Damn, now I have even less excuses not to paint the house!

To get into corners, and over the different profiles around the windows, we have the profiled scrapers.

Radiused and Corner Scrapers

Radiused and Corner Scrapers

All Tungsten Carbide blades.

Now speaking of Tungsten Carbide, the final tool is called a laminate score and snap knife.  It sports two carbide tips, and is designed to score laminates, and can be used quite successfully as a glass and tile cutter, and will make short work of drywall.  Given its design, it will be easy for it to follow a straight edge.

Not having had a decent scraper before (the last one I had came from a $2 shop), it is quite enlightening to see what difference a quality blade can make!

These scrapers are imported in Australia by the Woodworking Warehouse: www.wwwh.com.au and cost around $20 each.  You can get them from their store in Braeside, or order over the phone 03 9587 3999, or via email sales@wwwh.com.au

Productive Days

Been a couple of rather productive days, which always feels good, recharges the batteries, keeps the electron population down and generally results in piles of sawdust!

For those that have been asking – yes, the pen turning video (and CA finish) has been shot, and is “In-the-Can” as they say.

Had a few successes, and a few failures, but that is also acceptable as it hopefully means something learned, and therefore less likely to be repeated.

One of the failures was actually the router bit of the month back in November last year – the Linbide Flush Trim Bit.  I cannot seem to use this bit without some colossal grabs, and kickbacks, and I’m starting to feel surprised by the number I’ve had, that I haven’t had a body part pulled into the cutter.  I don’t understand what is going on with it, as I came to a conclusion that I probably will shelve the bit for a good while (at least until the heart recovers (bloody good thing I installed a defibrillator recently!!)) before giving it one last attempt, and the benefit of the doubt.  However, given the number of startling grabs I’ve had with it, I returned to my old pattern copying bit (or straight cutter with bearing bit, however you want to call it), and with the same material, same approach etc etc, I didn’t have a single grab or scary moment.  I was starting to doubt myself there for a while – thought I’d lost my touch (and was quickly loosing my nerve), but it is the bit I tells ya.

Ran some more material through the drum sander tonight – this time some cyprus pine that I had resawed aways back.  I’m steadily becoming more and more impressed with the machine- it is achieving exactly what I was hoping it could do (but didn’t know as never having seen, let alone used one).

The Shin Bone is Connected to the Knee Bone….

Or in other words, it seems there isn’t one thing that can be done in the workshop without something else also needing to be completed first.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – I’ve said before that the workshop itself is just another tool, and like any tool, it needs maintaining, and fine tuning, and the fine tuning is never really finished in a living workshop.

After moving the dust extractor into the lower shed, I was then left with an empty corner (the one where the drill press used to reside), and a couple of tools that had become homeless (the two benchtop sanders).  Hmm.  Empty corner, homeless benchtop tools.  Now all I need is a corner bench.  And thus the day of interconnecting anatomy began.

One of the tools I have received very recently, is the latest addition to the Kreg family of Pockethole Jigs – the K4 from Carbatec, and this was as good a project to get it dusty as any.  There were a number of different ways I could join the top up, but given that it was 1 3/8″ particle board, glue isn’t a great option.  (I know it as 1 3/8″ because the Kreg is an imperial jig and so I wasn’t working or thinking in metric).

Screwing the top together was going to be an adequate joining method, and given we are not talking about fine furniture here, pocketholes were going to be an ideal method.

To build the bench, I needed to mount the Kreg Jig properly to handle the larger material sizes, and using some more of the 11/8″ particle board was the easiest solution to provide a decent working area.  Rather than mounting the jig on a board and then adding side support, I decided it would work better to recess the entire jig into the surface.

Using a Dado Set to cut the recess

Using a Dado Set to cut the recess

To achieve the recess, it was very apparent that this is exactly the sort of task that a dado blade excels at, and it was the final excuse that I needed to actually use a set for a real job.  I set up the Linbide 8″ set for this job, with a 20mm kerf (the review of the dado blades is almost ready fwiw).

Linbide Stacked Dado Set

Linbide Stacked Dado Set

As you can see from the earlier photo, I first cut either side of the recess that I needed, and then used the dado set to clear the waste away.  It certainly made short work of the task. (Insert removed for the photo)

Once the recess was created, I gave the board the final shape (and being a bit of scrap, there were some features that were already decided!), then mounted the Kreg Pockethole Jig through the 4 screw holes provided for that task.

Kreg Mounted

Kreg Mounted

With the Kreg Jig in place, and plenty of stock support, I was ready to begin to pockethole in earnest.

Jig Height

Jig Height

The height of the jig is based on the material thickness, and is easily adjusted by loosening the knurled brass knob seen.

The material clamp is easily set at the back to provide good support to the workpiece, and finally, the drill bit itself is readied.

Setting the Jig

Setting the Jig

There are a number of markings on the back of the jig, with a slot for the drill bit so the depth-stop can be accurately set.  The drill bit is unusual – it has a pilot hole cutter, as well as the full slot cutting component.  It is shaped such as to produce a square-bottomed hole, with a pilot hole centred at the bottom.

Kreg Dust Extractor

Kreg Dust Extractor

If desired, a dust collector (provided) can be fitted to the jig.

So that is about it for the jig – it is ready to go!

Linbide Flush Trim Panel Bit

The Router bit-of-the-Month is the Linbide Flush Trim Panel Bit, with twin flutes and interchangeable cutters.

The bit is 1/2″ shank, 19mm diameter and 63mm cutter length.

Linbide Flush Trim Panel Bit

Linbide Flush Trim Panel Bit

This bit is certainly a significant step up from previous flush-trim bits I have used in the past.  It has a twin bearing at the top, which gives a large contact area which is an asset when using a material like MDF as a pattern to follow.  MDF is a great pattern-making material, but it can be compressed slightly if overloaded, causing the bearing to imprint into the surface, resulting in a (very slight) change in size between the template and the resulting object.  Normally not an issue, but sometimes you want it to be exact, and having two bearings to spread the load is an advantage.

There is also an additional, thin bearing at the bottom of the bit, so this is unusual in having one at either end, and makes the bit a lot more versatile for different trimming situations.  It does mean the bit cannot do a plunge into material for internal pattern-following, but it is easy to predrill a starting hole when required.  The bit is not designed to scoop material out of an area where it is not going the full material depth (such as box making), but that is a job for a different router bit – horses for courses.

The other, very noticeable aspect of this router bit is the interchangeable (and reversable) cutters.

Linbide Flush Trim Panel Bit

Linbide Flush Trim Panel Bit

With a concept very similar (if not identical) to many planer blades, when the cutters become blunt / worn / chipped, they can be removed and reversed, exposing a new cutting edge.  Once the second edge is gone, new (tungsten carbide) cutters can be purchased surprisingly cheaply, so there is no need to go down the path of resharpening (and the resulting reduction in cutter diameter).  For a business situation these are ideal to have the machine staying in production for the maximum amount of time.

These bits are often using in a production workshop setting permanently mounted on a router table off to one side so they are ready to go at any time to do a quick trimming job etc.

I’m also seriously considering how I can incorporate the same concept into my workshop, with a second router mounted beneath a router wing on the tablesaw, so it would be ready to go at a moment’s notice, rather than even having to change router bits etc on the main router table.  It doesn’t even need to have a fence, as pattern following only needs a starting pin to rest the work on before engaging the cutter.

November Already

Unbelievable.

Plenty of stuff to look forward to this month I think.  In the next day or two, I will be starting a new section on here for “Timber of-the-month” as I start to try to improve my knowledge of all things wooden (or at least get to know some of the range of timbers out there, and hopefully start to be able to recognise them, both in an as-cut as well as in a finished form).  Brad’s Burls as I mentioned have been very supportive of the concept, and I’m really excited to see how this project progresses.

The first timber that I have to look at is a fascinating piece of Brown Mallee Burl.

I also have a new router bit from Linbide to review for “Router bit-of-the-month” which is the first bit I’ve had with replaceable carbides.

I haven’t decided on “Tool of-the-month” yet – there are a few potential candidates, so will see what takes line honours.

We are also preparing for a garage sale for next weekend, so it is all go around here!

Episode 32 Battle of the Blades

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