Router Bit Storage Revisit

With the router table at one end of the shed, and the overhead router/TWC at the other end, I haven’t had the motivation to move the router bit storage, until now. Needing some additional wall space down the lathe-end (for the additional chisel store) meant moving the router bit storage became the ideal solution.

For those who haven’t been reading along (and in all fairness, this goes back a way, to when the Triton business and physical space came to the end), I have one of the original Triton router bit display units that were used in places like Bunnings, and I use it to store my router bit collection.

To fit everything in, I have doubled, even tripled up the storage on each segment, and still am very tight on for space. Not that the unit was ever designed to maximise storage – it was obviously designed to show off the router bits, and I don’t mind having my collection ‘on display’ either.

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They are not the most romantic of tools in the shed, but with a sizeable collection, they take a basic router, or simple router table and maximises its capabilities. After all, the router is just a motor that spins the real tool, real fast.

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I also have some boxed collections of Whiteside bits from Professional Woodworkers Supplies- a set for Incra Dovetails, and a set for making wooden hinges with the Incra fence. I still have to try making some wooden hinges- on my must do soon list.

Metric Wooden Hinges

Heard a rumour recently (actually more than a rumour – if it happens to be dropped into conversation by Professional Woodworkers Supplies, then it is a fait accompli), that along with the recent release by Incra of their top-line products with a metric version, the HingeCrafter is also going to have a metric version.

The only holdup now for it to make the market, is waiting for the metric Whiteside router bits to be developed.  So good news for those who want, or have a metric Incra LS Positioner, and want to be be able to use it in conjunction with the HingeCrafter to make a stylish wooden hinges for their project.

Class

The hinges can then be made in the same timber as the project (or contrasting as a feature), and really look to lift a project to another level.  Imagine getting a stylish dovetailed box with a hinged lid, and how it would look if the hinges were brass compared with wood.  The whole project goes from “wow”, to “WOW”.

Contrary to what you might expect, the HingeCrafter is not actually used to form the hinge knuckles.  That is achieved on the router table, with the Whiteside router bits and the LS Positioner.  The HingeCrafter is used to bore the hole for the hinge pin.  It is both important that the hinge pin is perfectly straight (so the hinge operates smoothly without binding), and that no breakout occurs as the hole is being drilled (let alone having too much side pressure causing weaker timbers to have knuckles break off altogether).

HingeCrafter

With the included drill bit (and assuming the metric will be the same as the imperial), hinges over 10″ long are possible (254mm in metric).

Manufacturing Steps

Hinges

Any sizes you want (length of bit depending – the hinge can be up to twice as long as the available bit), and 4 different diameter hinges.  Made in your timber of choice, either matching the project, contrasting with it, or both!  And no more of those brass screws who’s heads seen designed to shear and pop off at a moment’s notice.

Episode 57 Surfacing, Sanding, Cyclones and Workgear

Episode 57 Surfacing, Sanding, Cyclones and Workgear

Surfacing Bits

Had an interesting revelation tonight about surfacing bits.  While Ivan was visiting, having a look over the Torque Workcentre, the discussion turned to surfacing bits.  I was thinking the 3 interchangeable flute Carbitool bit had its carbide tips misaligned from use or something – they didn’t sit flat on the table.  But when I got out my Granite reference block and placed each of the bits on top, they all had the same issue – the bottom of the teeth were not flush with the table as I expected.

Surfacing Bits

Now for one (particularly with interchangeable tips) to be out I could understand, but not all three, both Carbitool and Whiteside, and particularly the (fixed) 6 flute.  That one if no other should be the perfect form for a surface cutter, so if it has the same angle on the bottom of each tooth, then that is the way it should obviously be.

So then I was left with working out why it is that way, now my belief that the bottoms where flat had been squashed!

What I am thinking now is the tip of each tooth is the part that does the cutting, the rest is actually superfluous and is primarily chip clearing, rather than cutting/flattening.  If the bottoms were flat, then the tips would scrape, rather than cut.

It is surprising how long I’ve had surfacing bits that I have never realised that!

Surfacing Bits

SSYTC28 Small Torque Surfacing w Vac Clamp

Bringing it all together – the Torque Workcentre, Triton Router, Whiteside Surfacing Bit, Vac Clamp

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.

V-Clamps

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.

Experiencing a Green Router

On the second day of the Alternate Wood Show, I had an opportunity to use the Festool OF1400 for the handheld routing I was doing – cutting inlays using the Whiteside Inlay Kit. After a brief familiarisation (thanks btw!), I started experiencing why owners of the OF1400 like it so much. It was loaned by Ideal Tools, and they were lucky to get it back at the end of the day!

Festool OF1400

Festool OF1400

From the trigger on the handle that doesn’t require you to reposition your hand after turning the router on (and it can be locked in the on position), to the front knob that also locks the plunge height, the micro-adjustable plunge stop, the ratchet mechanism on the collet, the low centre of gravity, dust extraction and so forth.  It was a very pleasant router to use, particularly hand-held.

The Festool collet concept is rather interesting.  I can only describe it to be like using a ratchet drive for a socket set.  You engage the spindle lock whichever direction you want to operate (tighten or loosen), then operate the collet with a spanner, ratcheting back and forth.  Unlike the Triton, you don’t need to be at full extension to engage the spindle lock, but that does then require it to be a 2 handed operation, reaching under the table to do so (if the router was table mounted that is).  The bit change itself can be done above the table.  Shame that Festool don’t take it just a little further, and allow you to remotely operate the spindle lock.  It would then become ideal for use in a router lift.

The micro-adjustable plunge stop made for easy repeat operations.  Once I determined the height I wanted to bit to operate at, I was firstly able to fine-tune that height without starting the whole process over, and importantly, I could dial in and out a known height difference, which was particularly useful for the inlays.  When inlaying, the cavity, or recess needs to be as close as possible to the thickness of the inlay, whereas when routing the inlay you want additional plunge depth to ensure you are cutting all the way through and into the backing board.  With the micro-adjuster, I was dialing that difference in and out in no time, and accurately every single time.

Festool may be well known for having a high price-point, but you sure do get to see where that money has been invested.

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