Tag Team

GMC Vacuum tagged out, ShopVac tagged in.

Despite cleaning filters, and introducing a pre-separator (home-made cyclone), it was already too late – the GMC has partaken of too much of an MDF diet (you could smell it each time the vac was turned on), and today it finally smoked itself properly.

And I mean SMOKED!

Power suddenly failed, as a circuit breaker blew, and all was surprisingly quiet in the workshop.  A glance over to the vac was all that was needed, seeing the smoke pour out.

So getting the ShopVac was excellent timing, and immediately I noticed a dramatic increase in the amount of suction that I have available.

That is the second vacuum that I’ve now gone through.  First one was a few years ago, and it smoked itself too, but to the point that it also melted and fell apart when it failed.  Hopefully the ShopVac will do better (it has an internal collection bag, and I’m still using the pre-separator, which is working very well).

SSYTC27 Vac Clamp

Vacuum Clamps from vac-clamp.com

Tools for February

Each of these will be looked at in more detail shortly, and put through their paces.

For Tool of the Month, I’m going for the Vac Clamp – another Aussie product.  It uses a very simple method for achieving a vacuum – using the venturi effect to draw down a vacuum from between the clamp and the item being held, resulting in a clamp that is strong, and releases immediately that the air is switched off.


Seen pictured here are both the single-sided clamp (is screwed to the workbench etc), and the double-sided, which uses a vacuum on one side to secure itself to the workbench (non-porous), and the other side for the workpiece.

There are no moving parts to achieve the vacuum. Nothing to wear out (the rubber seal itself will need replacement in time), nothing moving, wearing.  You do need a source of compressed air.  The compressor does not draw air from the clamp, unlike many other designs.  Air is blown into the unit, which ejects from the nozzle, creating the venturi which pulls additional out of the clamp void resulting in the vacuum.

Vacuum creating venturi effect nozzle

Air passes in through the fitting on the side, and blows through the brass nozzle you can see in the hole, which is then ejected out the side.

Closeup of Nozzle

The other item to mention is a new router bit received from Whiteside / Professional Woodworkers Supplies.

Whiteside 2 Flute Replaceable Surfacing Bit

This is a significant bit, with a larger diameter than either of the others I have tried – at 65mm diameter it is going to be fascinating when I get a chance to feed it.  Of course, the rule is never feed a router bit after midnight – not that it will turn into a gremlin, but your neighbours will!

Replaceable Tip

The carbide tips are replaceable, and also revolvable, meaning you get to use all 4 sides before needing to resharpen or replace the TCT.

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