Dave Coleman is one of our readers, and one of the dedicated craftsmen putting the White Water Shaker Village back together. He’s been building Shaker furniture and boxes for a number of years, and recently he dropped by our office to show us a new veneer press that he is making. If you’re serious about … Read more
Last week I was at the North American headquarters of Bosch Tools, part of a group of woodworking journalists taking a look at new offerings of the company’s products. The first woodworking tools we were shown were a pair of new jigsaws, the top-handle model JS572EL and the barrel-grip model JS572EBL. My first thoughts were … Read more
Executive editor Robert W. Lang takes a Makita Compact Router kit for a test drive with both the standard and plunge bases. Complete review is in the August 2012 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. – Robert Lang
Bigger doesn’t always mean better.
By Robert W. Lang
Small routers are easy to handle, and the addition of multiple bases makes them good all-purpose tools. The basic 1⁄4″-collet router that comes in the new Makita compact kit (RT0700CX3) has good power and variable speed. The motor slides in the base and clamps firmly, with rack-and-pinion fine depth adjustment. A plastic shield contains chips, and there’s a fitting for hooking up a shop vacuum.
The kit we tested included the standard base, a tilting base, an offset base and a plunge base. Swapping bases is easy – no need for any tools. The plunge mechanism was a bit stiff out of the box, but a squirt of lube fixed that. The handles are comfortable, but due to the motor orientation, the switch and plunge lock are reached with the left hand.
By Steve Shanesy
Laziness can reduce the efficiency of your dust-collection system, whether you use a shop vacuum or a centralized collector. Sometimes just walking around the machine to switch on your collector doesn’t seem worth it.
Install an iVac Pro automated system and there’s no excuse. You can opt for a remote control push-button system that clips to your belt, or use a stationary controller that connects to your machines and turns the collector on and off automatically.
With the remote control, your dust collector is plugged into an iVac Pro switch device. The remote control communicates via radio frequency (RF) with the switching unit to turn the collector on or off. And the device delays switching off the dust collector for a few seconds to clear the dust from the ductwork.
With the stationary unit, your machine is plugged into it. When the machine is switched this device senses current and communicates via RF to the dust collector to switch it on and off with your machine. And you can change it from auto to manual mode.
by Matthew Teague
The first time I installed knife hinges I did so with an inexpensive pair, thinking it would be a good way to learn the process without wasting a lot of money on what is a notoriously finicky piece of hardware. Instead, I learned why quality knife hinges are worth every cent.
Any play or wiggle in the hinge will show up in the swing of the door, and making adjustments after installation is difficult if not impossible. Knife hinges made of thin, stamped steel, with irregularities in the thickness of the leaves or imperfections in the action of the pivot, simply won’t function as they should. You can’t pay me enough to use cheap ones again.
With that first set of knife hinges in mind, I was hesitant to try the new ones from Lee Valley. Once I got them in my hands, however, I was more hopeful. They have the weight and smooth action of quality hardware, and the brass versions are hard to distinguish from Brusso’s (long the standard by which knife hinges are measured).
Likewise, as far as installation goes, I recently installed a few pairs of Brusso hinges and wouldn’t walk across the street for the difference. Like the Brusso line, the Lee Valley hinges are available in straight and offset orientations and in a wide range of sizes. You have your choice of either brass or stainless steel.And they’re priced notably less than comparable hinges from Brusso, which means Lee Valley will likely become my first stop for knife hinges.
If I have one complaint, it’s that the Lee Valley hinges don’t come with screws. It’s not a huge problem with the brass hinges, but the stainless finish is akin in appearance to brushed nickel, so matching the screws is a challenge. While I love the look of the stainless versions, I wish Lee Valley provided matching screws.
by Steve Shanesy
When we think table saw blades, our experience limits our thinking to rip, crosscut or combination, and 1⁄8″ kerf or thin kerf. Then there’s the number of teeth and type of grind: flat top, alternate-tooth bevel (ATB) or triple-chip. Each of these has its purpose and, if sharp, performs a dedicated task well.
Now, Infinity Cutting Tools offers a new table saw blade that cuts joints cleanly with just one setup.
These 8″ blades come with 24 teeth in kerf widths of 5⁄32″ and 1⁄4″. They feature a flat-top tooth grind and a side grind to optimize tooth geometry for side clearance. This tooth configuration and grind makes clean, flat-bottomed cuts either with or across the grain in hardwoods, plywood, laminates and veneered panels. No more “bat ears” left by ATB blades or dado sets.
These blades are also perfect for cutting box joints, rabbets, dados and grooves at the table saw – no need to clean up the bottoms after. And if you are partial to using your table saw to cut tenons, these blades are ideal for cutting a joint with a shoulder equal to or more narrow than the blade kerf. All that’s required for each shoulder is a single pass with the stock on end, supported with a jig riding the saw fence.
In addition to single blades, Infinity offers sets of blades and shims to space two blades apart for making various-width cuts or even make two box-joint cuts in one pass.
These specialty blades provide a solid solution for numerous table saw operations, and provide superior results while saving time.