Wild Horses – Mustang by Name & Spirit

Perhaps a bit of creative license, but the Flai Mustang is a very interesting blade to have mounted in the table.  More formally called a multi-material blade, I prefer to think of it as a Universal Blade.  Or a Jack-of-all-trades.

The Multi-Material Mustang

It can be mounted in your tablesaw, and cut whatever you decide (or accidentally include) for it to cut, and in particular when dealing with reclaimed timber it is easy to miss the occasional nail, and this blade doesn’t think twice about it.

There is a compromise in that – the teeth are designed to cut wood and steel (mild), but that will mean it is not going to achieve a perfect finish when compared to a dedicated blade.  In saying that, it will be interesting to see just how large, or small that compromise is when I put the blade through the battle-of-the-blades tests.  Given its other design and construction features, it could still out-perform many of the dedicated blades, but I’ll reserve my judgement to the tests.

Mustang Teeth

There is another compromise – it has a pretty small gullet, so in ripping, particularly material prone to generating long fibres, the blade is going to struggle if the feed rate is too high.  But once again, if it is a choice between running a Mustang through timber prone to have hidden nails and running a dedicated rip blade and finishing with shattered teeth, well it is a no-brainer.

It has a surface treatment they have coined the “MetalGear Coating”, which is claimed to double the cutting capacity of the blade, and allow faster feed rates.  To achieve this coating, Flai uses PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition), where the coating (in this case a nitride coating) increases the surface hardness around 5 times.  The actual “gear” pattern that they achieve at the edge of the coating is just marketing.  But it looks good 🙂

The carbide tips are brazed on using a silver-copper-silver alloy which provides a lot more shock absorption capability than a standard silver brazed joint.  This is particularly important for a blade designed to cut both woods and metals – absorbing the impacts that would otherwise result in microcrack formation (and when a microcrack grows, it finally results in the loss of a blade’s tooth).

So that is a bit of a look at the Mustang, a TCT circular sawblade with neutral hook angle and triple chip teeth, a universal blade capable of cutting wood, wood derivatives, nail embedded wood, plexiglas, plastics, non-ferrous metals and mild steel.

I particularly like that nail embedded wood bit – being freed of the thought in the back of your mind that there might be missed nails etc in the bit of reclaimed timber you are about to cut is quite a liberating concept. In the past, seeing the remains of a nail that has been sliced by a quality blade is not unlike finding half a worm in an apple you’ve just bitten.  With this blade it becomes a “eh, whatever, extra protein” moment!

SSYTC025 Flai Mustang – Universal Blade

The New MagSwitch Range has Landed!

After whetting our appetites at the Melbourne Woodworking Show with the new products in their range, they have arrived and are now available for sale (which is great with the Brisbane Woodworking Show on next weekend!)

Some we have seen already, and have just undergone a colour change to “safety yellow”, a change that I am actually very pleased with – makes quickly spotting the required jig in the workshop a lot easier!

Now onto the new stuff.

A really cool one, and one that is awesome to see added to the range: the Universal Featherboard.  It goes both ways 😉

Universal Featherboard on the Tablesaw

Universal Featherboard on the Tablesaw

It doesn’t restrict you in its operation, being able to be used on both sides of the tablesaw (fence on the left or right of the blade), and also on the fence (if its cast iron!), and router table.  If I had to choose only one MagSwitch featherboard, it would be this one. It is so versatile.

Universal on the Fence

Universal on the Fence

Now one thing I was rather surprised about when I opened the package.  The Universal is based around a 20mm MagSwitch, and not a 30mm. However, after querying this with the company I found out what the thought process was behind it.  Obviously cost is a definite factor, and there is a price difference between having 2 x 20mm MagSwitches in a product and 2 x 30mm. The featherboard primarily has to resist a shear load, and so what they have done is applied a Titanium Nitride coating to the magnets, which boosts the shear load capacity of the 20mm jig up to the same of the normal 30mm MagSwitch.

You can see the colouring caused by the Titanium Nitride in the next photo.  It is also worth noting that a finish like this is not a surface, added to the metal.  The coating actually penetrates the surface, and turns the outside layer of the parent metal into an alloy, with its own properties (in this case increased magnetic shear strength).

Titanium Nitride Coating

Titanium Nitride Coating

This also gives a very good view of the double-sided aspect of this featherboard.

Next, is what a lot of people have been waiting for – the MagFence Combo Kit.

The vertical fences have either one, or two bearing rollers, depending on the application.  The kit itself comes with both, and one universal base (and two 30mm MagJigs).  The base is interchangeable between the two fences, so you can use whichever is suitable to the task at hand.

It is also a good value kit – if you take the $200 price tag, and then realise that the two MagJigs that it comes with are worth $100 on their own ($50 each). And these MagJigs can be used anywhere – switch them from task to task (and jig to jig) as needed.

The single roller one I have been particularly waiting for.  It is designed (and is perfect for) resawing on the bandsaw.  The idea is that because a bandsaw blade has a real tendency to track, the operator guides the work as needed to cut a uniform thickness piece (such as a veneer).  Setting a single point of contact the right distance away from the blade really aids this, and being only a single roller means it still allows the operator full control over guiding and compensating for blade tracking.

Resaw Fence

Resaw Fence

Here the fence is set quite away back from the blade (for the photo).  If I was setting up for a veneer cut, the fence would be within a couple of mm of the blade.

Back of Resaw

Back of Resaw Fence

This image of the back of the fence reveals a number of details.  The base is interchangeable as mentioned, and it only requires 4 hex bolts to be undone to switch between them. The diagonal members are the same as is used for the vertical attachment featherboard.  The difference is the addition of the ‘sled’ below the support member which has the butterfly bolt sticking out.  This is so the angle of the fence can be controlled to ensure the roller is vertical to the table.

There are the two 30mm MagJigs as mentioned. I have fixed them down with the supplied bolts, but that isn’t actually necessary – the jigs work equally as well without the MagJigs fixed down.

Used as a Holddown

Used as a Holddown

The fence itself (either one or two rollers can also be used on other tools, as here as a holddown on the planer.

Combo Fence Kit

Combo Fence Kit

Here you can see both the single and double roller unit.  The roller bearings are supplied equally spaced as you can see, but you can rearrange them if a different layout is needed.

The last part of the kit is simple, and clever – good engineering. The holes in the Universal base are designed for the 30mm MagJig, but you may prefer to use 20mm MagJigs (or fit 20mm MagJigs into another jig with a hole for the 30mm).

20mm Adapter

20mm Adapter

In the foreground you can see a standard 30mm MagJig (base).  Behind it, a 20mm in an adapter (also shown to the left).  Simple, smart.

The final item, and again really simple, and very clever, are adapters that allow the vertical featherboard to be converted to horizontal, resulting in a multiple (high) featherboard.

Vertical Riser Adapters

Vertical Riser Adapters

This is what is provided in a single kit.  There is a longer set of bolts required for the triple featherboard orientation that you have to provide.

These are the layouts you can achieve with the various combinations and orientations.

Dual Featherboard

Dual Featherboard

High Dual Featherboard

High Dual Featherboard

Triple Featherboard

Triple Featherboard

In the final image as mentioned, I needed to provide my own bolts, and the middle featherboard is one of the old ones.  There is no difference, except in colour.  That’s a bloody large featherboard when it is tripled up!

So that’s a look at much of the new range. Watch out for me at the Brisbane Wood Show (on the MagSwitch display), and even better, get some for your own workshop – they are great!

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