Festool Vandal

If I hadn’t been kicked out of the Festool ‘aficionado’ already for hacking into the boom arm of the dust collector, this may push them over the edge 😉

Take 1x Festool Systainer.

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Now granted the lid of this systainer has already suffered some wilful damage, but what I’ve done next puts the icing on the cake.

Systainer: meet tablesaw.

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Using the same technique used in boxmaking to detach a lid from the just-made box, the systainer is run through the tablesaw on each side, just above the base (but not high enough to impact the clips). High enough to retain the clip points for a lower systainer to still be able to lock to the base.

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So why in the world would I do that? There is method to my madness.

The detatched systainer base can still lock to the top of any other systainer…….or Festool Cleantex vac.

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So the final piece of the puzzle. Now taking a typical bucket, a few holes drilled through both the base of the bucket and into and through the systainer base, and finally some steel blind rivets to lock the two together. Now, I have a bucket that can be locked to the top of a systainer or vac. The bucket? Collection bin for a cyclone separator! Given the systainer cost $10 2nd hand, this was so much cheaper than any custom made systainer-like collection bin. A normal systainer cannot be used for dust collection as the walls are too thin to be able to withstand the generated vacuum.

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Must admit, I’m pretty pleased with this solution. Nice thing is the cyclone separator has 2 1/2″ connection points, so it plugs directly inline without needing any modifications, changes in tube dimensions etc. Not sure if I will use it all the time, or even if I actually need it for the Cleantex at all (I use the reusable Festool bag which works exceptionally well), but I wanted to demonstrate just how feasible the concept was.

Now That’s a Knife

It’s only been 4 months since I got this set of steak knives from Professional Woodworker Supplies.  That is a pretty quick turnaround time for me these days!  Everything hasn’t gone to plan though, as I will elaborate, but I got close to achieving a good result.  I don’t like accepting a compromise – it may be that others wouldn’t notice anything wrong, but I would every time I use one of these.  However, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Knife blanks

These four knives are begging for some stunning handles (the timber on either side are known as “scales”), and so the timber of choice is African Rosewood.  I recently bought a couple of lengths during the recent April WoodFest with the vague idea of making a box, but it jumped out at me when I was looking for what to make the knives from.  The timber is around 19mm thick, so a bit over double the thickness required for each side of the knife.  So resawing was the order of the day.

Resawing the African Rosewood

I changed the blade down to a 5/8″ blade on the Carbatec bandsaw, then racked up the tension.  With the MagSwitch fence in place (single roller), the blade sliced the timber cleanly in two.  I am so loving having the bandsaw tensioning handle below the upper wheel.  The benefits of a larger bandsaw.

Single Roller MagFence making the job easy

Can’t beat those MagFences either for resawing. Love how easy, and accurate it makes the task.

Passes through the Drum Sander for accurate dimensioning

From the bandsaw, the next step is to run it through the drum sander.  This may not be everyone’s first choice – for one you have to have a drum sander to be able to use it.  I’ve become a big fan, especially for situations like this.  These are pieces of timber way too short to ever consider running through a thicknesser, so you’d have to resort to a ROS, hand plane or similar.  Me, I like the electron-murdering whirling abrasive wheel! With careful passes, I was able to get the board down to within 0.1mm of the required thickness.

Jig to accurately cut the handles

Next job was to shape the scales.  The only important side initially is the edge that butts up against the bolster.  To save on timber (a big mistake – not how I chose to do it, but any attempt to scrimp on timber inevitably leads to undesirable results, and more timber wastage. I know this, and still find myself doing it), I cut the timber close to dimension, and drilled holes using an MDF template I made of the scale from the knife tang. I used a couple of lengths of brass rod to replicate the rivets to position each scale to be cut precisely.

Thinning down the pins

For the two pins, I needed them a little thinner than the rivets would be, so I could get the scales off the jig.  To take off a small, controlled amount, mounting the pin in the drill, then running it on the sandpaper provided a precise size decrease.

Ready to cut the handle end

In hindsight, doing it this way was a mistake. Drilling the holes for the rivets needed to be done after the first scale was glued to the tang.

Knife handles roughed out

The scales, ready to be glued on.  Rather than gluing both sides at once, the plan was to do one side only, then use a pattern copying bit to get the scale to accurately match the tang.

Gluing the first handle side on

Two part epoxy resin (Araldite) being the glue of choice.

Clamped up

There is plenty of overhang which is a good thing, but this is where two mistakes compounded.  The trying to be too thrifty which resulted in the scale slipping in a couple of cases enough that the tang wasn’t properly covered, and when the glue had set, not trimming off the excess resulted in a couple of chipouts on the router table that destroyed the handle.  The router bit here is a straight bit with copying bearing.  Straight after this, I was down at Carbatec and picked up a solid carbide spiral router bit with double bearing – the spiral has a shearing/slicing action rather than a chipping action for the next time I attempt to make more handles.

Shaping the blank to the handle

Did have a couple of successes, the bearing running on the tang so the scale gets cut accurately to match.

As good as it got

The results were looking good, and the few refinements to my technique should prove very successful.  For the handles here, I took the photos, then took a chisel and snapped the scales off. Oh well, I’d rather it right than compromise.

Repairing the ROS

I haven’t ruled out getting a decent ROS (random orbital sander), but in the meantime I am not one to leave a perfectly functional tool in a state of disrepair, so I decided to fix the existing base, and return the Triton ROS to operational status.

Step one, I removed the base that had the velcro and backing (which had sheared off) from the machine, and cleaned the solid mounting plate up a bit.

I was hoping to find a replacement base that would just work, but that wasn’t going to be possible.  So instead I chose a different route, amalgamate the new base (a Bosch) and the ?fibreglass? backing from the Triton.  The Bosch base had a plate built in with three mounting holes, that were unfortunately a lot closer to the centre than the Triton took.  So I decided to mount it to that Triton backing, then use the original screws and holes to mount the whole new unit to the ROS.

Merging the bases

I drilled 3 new holes in the backing, then used steel rivets to join them together.  Steel rivets are significantly strong, and very low profile which is why I chose that method.

Fully repaired ROS

By then drilling new holes through the Bosch plate, it allowed the original Triton bolts to be used to join the whole refurbished base to the ROS.  Fired up, and it was all back to being functional, and frankly, it will now last a lot longer that the original.

In the background of the second photo, you can see my accordion riveter (also known as a scissor riveter).  This design has significant power, and is excellent in use.

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