Torque Arms

A second arm on the Torque Workcentre would be pretty cool, but given the amount of mechanism involved, it isn’t light on the pocket.  Ideal for those who have the space, and the funds.

I can’t take credit for the following idea – another Torque Workcentre (TWC) owner (Dennis) proposed this idea at the last wood show, and it sounded like a superb work around.  Given I also have a Router Master (or what I call the Torque Workcentre with contractor’s base), I had a spare post and 600mm arm, and the idea is to have it fitted to one end of the TWC so it can become a radial arm saw.

I first measured out where I wanted it to fit, so both the bolt under the vertical post misses the end cross member of the TWC base, and so the base of the upright could use it for support and be secured to it.

Choosing Arm Placement

I started running through my options for how to cut through the aluminium and MDF, without having to take everything apart.  Tried the Triton SpinSaw (oversized rotary tool), but the cutter did not like the job.  Would have tried a jigsaw, but didn’t have a suitable blade.  Feeling a bit stuck I went searching deeper into the cupboard, and came across the blade for the oscillating cutter of the Worx Sonicrafter.  Perfect.  I didn’t have the ideal blade for the job, but what I had worked anyway.

Cutting Method

It took a bit longer without the right blade, but the resulting cuts were very neat, and the unwanted material removed easily.

Material Removed

With the corner cut away, I marked and drilled holes for the high tensile bolts that I intended to use to hold the assembly in place.  Getting the nuts on within the RHS would have been tricky, except for the use of a screwdriver and some BluTac.  I realised after the fact that I had left off a fence section, but getting the channel-running ‘nut’ in place would be very difficult…

MagSwitch to the Rescue

….except I had MagSwitch to help.  It held the tapped rectangular section up sufficiently for the fence hold-down bolt to engage.

2nd Arm Fitted

Now with both arms fitted (one free to move, the other fixed, but still able to swing), the Torque has taken another development step forward.  And is all reversible.

Radial Arm Saw

My intention for the second arm is to use it primarily as a radial arm saw.  There are occasions when it can get in the way of the primary arm, but it can be swung out of the way,

Easy Removal and Replacement

or have the whole carriage removed quickly when necessary (such as moving the saw to the other arm).  Worst case scenario, this assembly can always be unbolted from the TWC.

Saw in Use

My primary use will be crosscutting long lengths, using a Triton Multistand for outfeed support. So that there is a fence behind the material being cut, I simply use the Walko surface clamps – again proving to be the perfect tool.  Crosscutting this long post was easy, so the first test cuts went without a hitch.

Episode 73 Crosscutting on the TWC

Episode 73 Crosscutting on the TWC

Main Machinery Operating Noise

As discussed in the previous post, I took a sound meter around the workshop to get an idea of the different machines and the amount of noise they generate.

To qualify these figures, the machine in use was out-of-spec, so the readings should not be taken as gospel.

A reading of 85dB or above means there is a risk of permanent hearing loss.
100dB gives a max allowable exposure of 15 minutes
110dB – hearing damage likely after 60 seconds.

Remember that the time is cumulative. I don’t know over what time period (probably in 24 hours)

A 3dB increase in volume represents a doubling of the sound energy. Because the scale is logarithmic, a 10dB increase in volume represents 10 times the amount of sound energy, which will sound twice as loud.

Shed Ambient Noise: 58dB

Tablesaw: no load 85dB
With a non-noise limiting blade that had a resonance with the TS, 105dB
During a cut: 95 – 100dB

SCMS: no load 110dB
During a cut: 120dB – 125dB

Thicknesser: no load 106dB
During a cut: 110 – 120dB

Lathe: no load 62dB

Jointer/Planer: no load 80dB
During a cut: 100dB
Forcing the cut: 110dB

Drill Press: 85dB

Bandsaw: no load 70dB
During a cut: 100dB

Router: 100dB

Circular Saw: 115dB

Nail Gun: firing 126dB
During disconnect: 124dB

These figures are not as accurate as I would have liked (limitation of the equipment), but it gives a pretty fair idea that thicknessers, brushed motors (SCMS and circular saws) and in general during an actual cut on other machines, hearing protection is mandatory.

The screaming motor of a thicknesser which is often used for quite long jobs, multiple passes will leave you with permanent loss every job.

The sound a nail gun produces may not last more than a fraction of a second, but that instantaneous sound will lead to a hearing loss that is less temporary.

Some interesting findings out of all that: Increasing the pressure during the cut can increase the sound energy ten-fold. This can move a sound from needing 15 minutes to damage your hearing to one that will take 60 seconds to do the job.

Brushed motors are bad news (my thicknesser, SCMS, circular saw)

If something sounds loud, and particularly louder than something else, the amount of sound energy required to achieve that increase in volume is huge. If something sounds loud, be sure that your hearing needs your intervention!!!!

Some more tools Ebayed

Again, starting at 99c (sure hope I don’t get too burnt!)


Triton Powered Respirator

250mm GMC SCMS

Triton Plunge Drill

Triton Router Template & Accessory Kit

Full description in the Ebay listing.

Edit – have added the GMC 12 1/2″ Thicknesser to the party

Edit2 – Added GMC Rotary Tool and GMC 2400W Blower-Vac

The Great Shed Cleanout

(Which precedes the Great Shed Cleanup!)

Headed out tonight with a view of getting an idea of stuff that will in all likelihood be finding (or at least looking for) a new home over the next few weeks (and probably joining the current collection of woodworking DVDs that I have on Ebay. Sam Maloof DVD still $0.99 – what a bargain! (Hint hint).

This list is a possible collection, and is as much for my sake as anything (to remind me of what I saw in the brief look that is surplus to requirements), and I totally reserve the right to add to, and subtract from it 🙂 I was going to give a justification for getting rid of them, but I found that after the first few, the answer was the same – I have 2 (or more) already! No wonder I have space issues!!

GMC 250mm SCMS w laser

GMC 12 1/2″ thicknesser (with a few mods! Such as a better dust extraction system that couples up to a 4″ system, and a structural grade aluminium baseplate, spare planer head w blades)

Triton Powered Respirator

GMC 7 1/2″ circular saw

GMC rotary tool

Triton professional router bit set (7 piece, boxed)

Triton template guide kit

Triton Workcentre 2000 with dust bag, Triton saw, wheel kit

Triton Dust Bucket

GMC lathe, with my pen turning adaption on a 4 jaw chuck, and a second 4 jaw chuck

Self-centering lathe chuck (from Hare & Forbes)

GMC 40l air compressor

Triton plunge drill

Triton Superjaws

Triton multistand

GMC dust collector (maybe, if I can find a better replacement – 750W no longer is enough when I run my 6″ Jet planer)

Router lettering kit

GMC tablesaw (that I’ve modified to be a disk sander)

What is surprising me, is I did a bit of a purge like this a couple of years ago, and found I had enough money to buy my 6″ Jet Planer! Even after all that, I wonder if I’ll actually notice a bit more space…..probably not! In any event, I’m sure that it will help on a number of levels. A purge is always a good thing to go through – I’m hanging onto some stuff for (not even good) sentimental reasons. Time to let it go to a new home!

PS – just been having another thought – am seriously considering starting all the auctions at $0.99, and seeing what happens! Imagine that – if you are (very) lucky, and the only bidder, you’d be able to get a Triton Workcentre setup or a thicknesser for under a dollar!

All the current DVDs have been started at 99c fwiw!

Workshop Layout Planning

When planning the layout of a workshop, it is one thing to move the actual items around the space you have until the layout looks functional, but often the items are bulky and cumbersome, and trying different layouts becomes arduous.

In the past, I have found making a scale model a very useful tool (cardboard boxes representing each machine). Another tool that is useful is this one from Grizzly. It is an online, free workshop layout tool. It only has available the actual machines that Grizzly sells, but using a little bit of creative licence, and you can very quickly try different layouts to see how it all could come together.


Looking at a quick mock-up of my place, and I can see something I forgot that I needed…….. floor space!

Working from top to bottom, there are 2 tool chests, a 14″ bandsaw, 15″ thicknesser, and a stereo in the top-right corner. Next is the router table, with the Jet Mini Lathe overlapping, and a drill press beside the door. Then there is the 6″ longbed planer (jointer), the tablesaw and 2 shelf units. Finally, a grinder, a second lathe, and a bench with an SCMS, slow grinder, and sander.

Nautical Weather Station

I think the projects that always challenge me the most, are ones that I am making for others. I find myself really thinking a project through, trying new techniques and developing new skills.

This Nautical Weather Station is one such example. I made this a number of years ago as a Christmas present for my wife, and learned a great deal in making it (and have learned a great deal since!) What I find really satisfying, is even though something like this was made so long ago, I still occasionally look at it, and wonder “how the hell did I manage that?!!”


It also started my passion for Jarrah (as mentioned in the video earlier today).

A few details then: The whole unit is made from Jarrah, and although it isn’t so obvious from the photo, the central panel is quite a lot darker than the edges. This was deliberate, as I spent a week oiling and buffing that panel (literally, morning and night for a week, applying another coat and burnishing it in until I got the colouring and finish I wanted).

The turnings on either side were produced on a $90 lathe (GMC), and were my first attempt at duplicating on a lathe.

The top is a moulding, produced on the router table, then mitred to fit the 3 exposed sides.

The finish is a combination of burnishing oil, then buffed with a topcoat of Ubeaut Shellawax Cream.

All in all, it was a great project, and I learned a great deal in the process.

How Energy Efficient is your Shed?

A bit of a strange question isn’t it?  I wonder how many of us have given any thought to the question (including myself).

I was reading through the latest Choice magazine, and came across an interesting letter to the editor, where the person had been concerned that their Ryobi 2000W SCMS (Sliding Compound Mitre Saw) handle was still warm a day after use.  The person suspected a fault and contacted customer service and found it was normal, as a transformer for the laser continues to draw power even when not in use.

So I started thinking about tools in my workshop, and just how much stand-by power I might actually be consuming out there.

There are a lot of transformers out there – from battery chargers to laser-equipped tools, a stereo, and potentially other tools that consume standby power for no good reason.  Including my air compressor that I occasionally forget to switch off.

In the case of some of these tools (such as the gentleman above’s SMCS) that should be unplugged when not in use for safety if for no other reason.  The rest, well, perhaps it would be good practice to ensure that as far as is practical, power is isolated so as not to unnecessarily add to the power bill.

Kerfing – Bending wood on the tablesaw

When working with wood, it is very common to start off only really thinking every joint must be 90 degrees and each member must be either horizontal or vertical. After a while, as experience builds, you start to venture into having (shock horror) some items at 45 degrees, and all the extra problems this causes!

Even then, the concept of working with curves is left to those that can justify the expense of buying a bandsaw, or get into the very specialised area of steam bending and even then, significant curves are often avoided. (Don’t get me wrong though, a bandsaw is an excellent investment, and there are a number of ways of creating curved work.)

It doesn’t have to be that way! If you have a tablesaw, or a SCMS (Sliding Compound Mitre Saw), there is another way you can include curves in your project. Think of a Dress Mirror with a curved top, a round box, or…well let your imagination run. Did you know that every guitar is full of kerfing, reinforcing the interior corners?

So what really is kerfing?

Kerfing is in simple terms the act of cutting a series of kerfs (cuts) in a piece of wood in close proximity, so the wood can be curved. It is important not to make the cuts too deep, resulting in the wood cracking completely through, or not deep enough so instead of bending, it snaps (and therefore weakens the wood…….). The wood needs to be cut to the point that the remaining fibres are free to bend. You can only kerf by crosscutting- you cannot kerf with the grain as the likelyhood of the workpiece splitting is huge. This doesn’t have to be solid stock either – you can kerf whole sheets and bend entire panels.

Photo 1 shows a series of kerfs cut, and the depth of cut. I did try a slightly shallower cut, but the wood snapped when I bent it. It just goes to show that test cuts are imperative with this technique. It is very dependent on the type of wood, the moisture content, the relative humidity, the width of the blade, which way you hold your tongue…..



Photo 1 The kerfs and depth of cut

I find the easiest way of getting a consistent distance between cuts, is to line the edge of the previous cut up with the channel in the table. You can set up a jig for more accuracy, but this seems to be pretty successful. (Photo 2)


Photo 2 – Getting consistent kerf placement

Finally, when you have cut enough slots, you can bend the wood, and hope for the best! There are ways of calculating how many cuts are required for a given bend, but personally, I go by trial and error (more trials, less errors)

Photo 3 – The resulting curve in 4×2 pine

The result is pretty spectacular.

To fix the kerfing, I tend to use lots of glue! You can fill it, and if you want to disguise the kerfing, either mix sawdust in with the glue (well, so I’ve heard, but when I tried it, it looked pretty crap), or use an appropriate wood filler. Of course, you can also accentuate the effect by using a contrasting wood filler.

It is a great technique, and is worth persevering with until you get one that is successful. If you are getting consistent failures, the chances are you are being too conservative on the depth of cut, and the outside of the curve is resisting the bend and fracturing.

Whatever you do, don’t bend the kerf the other way (with the fins on the outside). Not that the wood doesn’t bend that way, but it looks pretty silly, and makes for an incredibly weak curve. Bent in, the spines all end up impacting on each other, and therefore support each other. They also give you something to glue together. A kerfed curve is never going to be a structural member, but where absolute strength is not required and the curve is important for aesthetics, then this technique may be worth considering.


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