The (ex) Triton Engineers have done it again!

To be fair, I don’t know that for certain, but I strongly suspect it, and can see their design philosophy in this new, or rather reworked, product.

First there was the roller stand, which evolved into version 2.0, the Multistand

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I always had about 4 of these “hanging” around.

This became version 2.1 when its manufacturing was sent offshore to China. No real change, but it picked up some black boots on each foot.

This version is still current and in store at places like Carbatec, Amazon etc.

Now I was having a scout around the web, and came across

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The Rockwell JawStand! Given the (ex) Triton engineers who designed the original SuperJaws came up with the magnificent JawHorse

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You can understand why I strongly suspect their involvement in the JawStand.

I suspect they have not arrived in Oz, but nevertheless, I want one! (Or two)

To clarify a point, overseas, Rockwell is the premiere brand for the company, whereas in Australia you are looking for Worx Pro.

Given what they have done to the SuperJaws, and now the Multistand, I wonder if they will ever turn their attention to the Workcentre or Router Table? Sadly, I doubt it, but wouldn’t it be cool?

How about a reworked extension table designed as an aftermarket product for cabinet saws?

An Unexpected Arrival

Got home today to find a rather unexpected, but very welcome parcel sitting on the doorstep….

The Worx Professional Jawhorse, in a rather cool grey and green.  (It did arrive in a box, just decided to take the photos on the porch).  An awesome tool, and I’d expect this means now down under!  What many have been hanging out for eh?!  It is in the Pro Green, so worth looking out for that rather than the orange colour scheme of the standard Worx range (and the Aussie-branded Rockwell).  This unit is the same as the US Rockwell Jawhorse that I’ve spoken about on here in the past.

Has a stylish look, especially the colour scheme, but this is fundamentally a workhorse of the workshop.  Versatile, very stable, yet very portable and can be folded up for storage talking up a very small shop footprint.

The label says it all.  Near 20kg in weight, it can clamp up to 940mm, and with a tonne of clamping force (1000kg, not the 1 Ton stated on the label!), and can support up to 272kg of weight.

It has a good jaw opening in the normal rear jaw orientation.  For increased range (without some of the optional jaws that may not be available in Australia), the jaw is reversed, giving the maximum 940mm range.

The back of the rear jaw is made from the same urethane, so it is rigid, yet with some degree of give which prevents marking of the clamped object.

At the front of the Jawhorse below the label, there is a wide wheel.  It is useful for moving the Jawhorse over a distance if you don’t want to carry it’s 20kg bulk.

The rear leg can be extended out to be a sort of handle, for pushing or pulling the Jawhorse around.

The clamping operation is done via the footpedal.  The 100kg (max) force that you exert on the pedal is multiplied 10 times by the mechanism to produce the 1000kg clamp force.  To move the jaw over a range, there is a toothed end to the bar connected to the pedal which engages the bottom of the moveable jaw, indexing it along.

The jaw can be slid when the pedal is not engaged, and twin spring loaded bearings maintain a constant pressure on the underside of the moveable jaw track.

The innocuous, yet powerful teeth which transfers the 1 tonne force into the jaws.

The jaw pressure is maintained while force is applied to the foot pedal.  The Jawhorse can be used in that mode, acting as a horizontal press, or by flicking the ‘switch’ to the lock position, the foot pedal is maintained at the maximum pressure that was achieved.  The switch can be engaged once the desired pressure is achieved, or can be flicked on before that final stroke leaving both hands free to support the workpiece.

When opening the unit up from its storage orientation, the front legs have a tidy spring-loaded latch concealed behind the leg.  This is a rather neat solution for maintaining the legs in the open position.

The front legs angle outwards sideways, but are still pretty close to remaining in the same vertical plane as the front jaws, allowing the top working surface to be used as an anvil.  With the wide front legs and the single back leg, the unit is both stable on uneven surfaces, but has a large footprint making it stable when supporting large, heavy objects.

With the unit upside down, and the front legs folded down, the footpedal folds back, trapping the legs in position.

The rear leg then folds over, and engages into a slot in the front-rear of the Jawhorse, trapping the legs and footpedal in position.  It then becomes a handy handle for lugging the unit around.

When the unit is not in use, it can be folded up and stored on-end to minimise the unit’s footprint.

So that is the mean, green Worx Professional Jawhorse.

If you haven’t seen or read about me talking on it before, you may wonder how such a beast can exist, being so similar to the Triton Superjaws.  A large number of factors, including the now defunct GMC not maintaining the Superjaws patent, along with them not retaining the Triton engineering staff, meant that when this staff went to work for Positec (the parent company of Worx and Rockwell), they were able to produce the ultimate Superjaws – the Jawhorse.

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.

Cutting at 20,000 strokes a minute

Had yet another task tonight that resulted in me picking up the cordless Sonicrafter, and jumping straight into the job at hand.  This time I had a couple of bolts that needed to be cut short, and the idea of picking up a hacksaw, or an angle grinder with cutoff wheel did not appeal.

Cordless Rockwell Sonicrafter

I went to fit a blade, and realised the only blades that came with the Sonicrafter were for wood (only).  However, I do have some dual purpose blades from Fein, so it was time to try out the adapter that is supplied with the Sonicrafter, that in theory allows all other brands of blade to be fitted. (Fein, Bosch, Dremel)

Original Sonicrafter Blade drive

Universal Adapter

When I first saw its studded surface, I had the idea that somehow the placement was designed to just manage to engage in the design of all different brands of blade, but when I then tried it out, I found that where the back engaged perfectly on the hex drive of the Sonicrafter, the studded design was only intended to be a friction transfer. I’m sure they could easily have made one to fit each brand individually, but then I am equally sure they would have run into a lawsuit or two.

So armed with what was provided, I picked up a metal (and wood) cutting Fein blade, attached it and gave it a try.  The washer (which has a raised core area) neatly fitted the blade, centering it on the tool.  I tightened it up (normally) and gave it a crack. Then, after cutting through the first bolt, I did the second.

It may not be an adapter that engages into the blade mounting slots, but it proved itself tonight as effective anyway.

An Open Door

Now the door is open to the massive range of blades, sanders, scrapers etc available across the range of brands (a just a small collection of Fein blades is shown here).

Rockin’ the Router Table

It’s never the big parts of a job that take the time, it is all the fiddly bits at the end! Same applies to finishing off the router table, but when you are not in a rush, that time is not wasted or regretted.

With “The Wire” playing on the Shed’s TV, I kept plodding through the various outstanding tasks.  It also happened that a collection of three tools that arrived late last week played an integral role in the activities.  And exemplified themselves as useful additions to the shed beautifully, from cutting openings, drilling holes, driving screws, the collection of Lithium-Ion power tools from Rockwell proved to be as fun to use, as they were effective.

First job was creating access to the router, and I wanted it to be a door that would hold shut when a vacuum was created by the dust extraction that allowed easy access when needing to switch the router off for bit changes, and use the macro-height adjustment of the Triton router.

Cutting the access way

The desired opening was marked out, and where this would often be cut with a jigsaw, the oscillating saw does a great job.  The added convenience of the cordless version was excellent.

Plunging corners

Firstly, I plunged the cutter into each corner, defining sharp corners, then ran the saw from one corner to the next to break out the panel.

Access opening

The oscillating cutter (the Sonicrafter in Rockwell/Worx speak) was then used for sanding – breaking the sharp edges of the MDF.  One benefit of the oscillating cutter is it can work right into the corner, where more classic sanders would bounce themselves out of a restricted area.

A door was then fabricated, with cabinet hinges. Support for the hinges inside the cabinet was made, with pocketholes creating a solid foundation for the door support.

Sealed Hinge Door

I created a seal over the hinge-side of the door – normally disguised by typical cabinet designs.  There are other hinges I could have used, but these were ones I had already.  A handle from another discontinued project worked well here (think it came from the drill press drawer thinking about it).

Triton Router in place

I made sure there was plenty of space below the router – makes for better shape to the air flow for dust collection.  One thing I have yet to determine, is whether extra air-inlet holes are required – I am expecting they would be, except there are large gaps under the cast iron top, so plenty of air can flow through those gaps and flow down past the router to the collection port. I may even need to reduce the gaps to increase the suction through the hole in the router table top – only testing will determine how optimal the dust collection design is.

Starter

The starter was attached to the side of the table – given sometimes the router is accessed from the front, and other times from the right side, this corner is accessible for either operation.  A hole was drilled behind the switch to feed the flex into the cabinet to connect to the router.

The upper opening you can see to the right of the switch is where I am hoping to install some thin drawers to house the Incra templates for the LS Positioner, and the template book.  The lower opening will probably store some other routers. (Yes, I have one or two!)

Wixey Digital Height Gauge

I also found a location to mount the Digital readout from the height gauge that is affixed to the side of my router.  It does jut out from there over the fence, but for the majority of operations it won’t get in the way where it is.  I have attached it using bolts with the same hex heads as the rest of the Positioner (and the supplied hex drive), and butterfly nuts on the other side, so it can be very easily removed whenever it is necessary (routing tall object for example).

Ready to Rock

Speaking of rocking, these are the complement of tools I used, almost exclusively, and I was pretty stoked how they performed.

Rockwell Cordless Collection

If they look a bit dusty, that is because they were being used, not just admired.  I was expecting them to come in a single kit, so was surprised to discover they were each in a separate package.  Although that means you’ve gotten extra chargers, I’m not objecting – just means I can have one at either end of the workshop ready to go!

Quick charger

And the collection of interchangeable batteries won’t go astray either, even though the chargers are quick (15 minutes to 75%, 30 minutes to 100% charge).

Sonicrafter - Oscillating Cutter

The oscillating cutter was used with both blades and sanding attachments, stripping paint off the cast iron edges, cutting the opening, then sanding the cuts and rounding the edges.

10mm Drill

The drill is quite lightweight, but still has a good feel, and worked well with the holecutter, as well as the Kreg Pockethole jig.

Impact Driver

Finally, the rather impressive impact driver.  Never had one before, or even used one, so this was a bit of a first.  Feels solid, and works!  Initially drives smoothly, but when it gets to a particular torque level, the high-frequency impacting kicks in driving the screw (or whatever) home.

The combination of the three proved very effective in covering a whole variety of jobs that I had on, and the ability to interchange the rapidly charging batteries is a definite bonus.

120 Days and Counting

The word is out (well actually the word is only out because you’ve just read it here first!)

The Pro Jawhorse (which will be known in Australia as the Worx Pro JawHorse) will be here in around 120 days!  The order has been placed, the boat has sailed (or soon will), and this machine that I’ve had in my workshop since 13 Jan 09 (he he he) will be on the shelves in 3 months.

To remind you, this is the machine we are talking about (in this case with the US branding)

US Branded version

Australian Version (?)

And alongside the Chinese manufactured version of the SuperJaws (all designed by the same Australian (once Triton) engineers)

Genetically modified

So not long now – you will soon be able to have one of these beasts in your own shed, with the large jaws, huge opening capacity, tonne of clamping pressure, rodent killing, child rearing, money making, cattle rustling (ok, ok)  It is a cool tool 🙂

The price is still to be finalised, but you will get change out of $230.  Whether that is $1 or $31 or somewhere in between is yet to be worked out, but it is that ballpark.  Now you will be able to stop being envious of mine and have one for yourself!

If it’s Pretty in Pink…

A winner in (Telecom) Gold, what is it in Ryobi Blue?

Thanks to Sparhawk for the pics- can’t believe how wrong the SuperJaws looks in blue, and particularly how irksome seeing the traditional Superjaws logo on a non Triton branded box.

Bet Ryobi, and Bunnings are laughing long and hard at Triton & GMC, finally scoring the best tool Triton ever produced (although I’m not a big fan of the Chinese manufactured version).

It is interesting reading some American user reviews and opinions of the JawHorse- some really don’t “get it”. At least one went on and on how unstable a 3 legged one would be- how much more stable a 4 leg one would be (I still think they are under the misconception that a Superjaws or Jawhorse is some form of sawhorse).

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