Latest tool addition – Table Saw

After 5 years,  a table saw has seen it’s way back into the shop.

Skillsaw table saw front within custom wooden stand

Skillsaw table saw front within custom wooden stand

Skillsaw table saw back with the dust collection hose attached within custom wooden stand

Skillsaw table saw back with the dust collection hose attached within custom wooden stand

Portable Contractor Table Saw 

Well the idea of adding a table saw in the shop has been in the works for a little while.  Various model, brands and a whole bunch of criteria were looked at and one of them that kind of won over the other was the space factor.  

I have a one car garage and although I did have a bigger saw in the past in the same space, I did not have the same tool combination as I did back then.  

So basically price and space came as a deciding factor and I know it comes with some compromise but was willing to work with these compromise

back in the past

about 5 years about, I made the choice to buy a band saw (long time wanting this tool) and decided to get rid of the table saw in favour the combo of a track saw and the band saw which I already wanted to buy anyway.  

The bet was that I could get buy with these 2 tools to do most of the tasks that I needed and with the use of some hand planes, I were to be alright.  Maybe not the quickest way of doing things but could work out.  

Well it did for a while, somewhat.  For the finish purpose, the rips were not too bad and worked out pretty good with the hand planes after the bandsaw and sometimes with the track saw.  

The main complaint was efficiency for sure but also getting an easy way to be able to rip easily to a consistant width boards of various width.  Larger boards was not too bad with the tack/tracksaw but the smaller width was a problem and this is another factor that made me look at getting a table saw to be added to the shop.  

Selection 

So the choice to go with the contractor table saw was for a space perspective and price but more on the space side of things.  

Different model were looked at and the Bosch, Dewalt and SkillSaw were in the top selection and not necessarily in that order.  Finally decided to go with the Skillsaw worm drive saw.  Not there latest and greatest that they announce on there web site but will do for what I will do.  

Mainly, it was for the ripping capabilities of the work drive that convinced me and people had good reviews.  Granted that I don’t expect it to behave like a 3HP in a cabinet saw and really am aware of this, but for what I will do for the scale of work, this should do plenty for now. 

Access to the controls are easy access and the adjustments were really easy to do and only minor tweaks were required to the saw I received.  Dado insert from the manufacturer and special nut must be baught if dado sets are to be used.  I did not get them yet, but this might be additions later on.  

As for the stand, I built it based on the following Video from Happy Wife, Happy Life table saw stand.  It was adapted to my table saw.  Very good job on the build.  Did not want to buy the official stand from the manufacturer as it lacked the potential of storage below the saw.  

Go visit the following SkilSaw Workdrive Table saw site for more details on the saw itself

skillsaw tablesaw blade insert

skillsaw tablesaw blade insert

skill saw tablesaw riving knife attachment and height adjustment

skill saw tablesaw riving knife attachment and height adjustment

skill saw tablesaw riving knife attachment and height adjustment

skill saw tablesaw riving knife attachment and height adjustment

 

Various tools cabinet

While I am building the hand tool cabinet, I got inspired to build another cabinet for the tools that did not really fit into this more hand tool cabinet.  It now holds the various tools into 2 cabinets. 

Various other requirements

I baught last christmas Wera screwdrivers and used the included holders that came with the kit but were a bit cheap and taught I could do better then the holders.  This is what it looked like.

Installed the screwdrivers near the workbench

Had other tools that were in a tool holder on the floor.  Pliers, scrapers, pliers and bunch of other tools that were just a mess and not really organized and collecting dust.  I am building a hand tool cabinet and was thinking on the the design I am using from Fine Woodworking and could not find a proper way to hold these tools. Wanted some options opened in this tool cabinet so decided to expand on more then the screwdrivers

Tool Holding

So as many of you, went on other social media and image banks for ideas to hold pliers and such other tools. As with many things, these are a combination of the found ideas the other did and the tools I got with the material I got at hand.  

I also have the luxury to have a cabinet that I could reuse as it served as my router bit holder cabinet.  Since the my router bits are now stored within the base of my router table I had a nice cabinet that I could reuse to convert for some storage.  

Various tool Cabinet

Various tool Cabinet

This is the first part of the cabinet that I reuse/converted to the Screwdrivers and Pliers.  It is mounted on french cleat to a wall that is close to my work bench.  It allows me store the big rulers behind the cabinet and in front of the wall.  

Pliers holder

Pliers holder

Because of the space constraint to clear for the screwdrivers, I decided to add a second small cabinet to store the other items that could not fit into the first cabinet.  

Various tool Cabinet

Various tool Cabinet

This smaller cabinet stores small mallet, lager cutter and hammers (left side of the cabinet).  

Here is the end result 

Various tool cabinets

Various tool cabinets

Pretty happy with the result.  It is now better organized and found new floor space.  

Tool Cabinet – Doors and structure

The main cabinet structure is finally assemble with a back and the front doors are progressing.  

Structure 

The shell of the cabinet is finally assembled and the back is now in place and screwed to the main structure.  

Interior of tool cabinet with back

Interior of tool cabinet with back

Back of Tool Cabinet

Back of Tool Cabinet

The shelf is in place for the place till and serve as a divider for the lower part of the cabinet.  The Interior shot has the 2 sides for the plane till (not visible too much, but present).  The panel of the plane till can now be placed on the 2 support and rest on the back and shelf.  

The interior organisation can now start to be built according to plan.  Most of the structure will be built as per plan but the tool holding will vary as my tool set differs.  As I build the different components, the organisation is also being taught off and should progress as there is progress and got some time to put on the cabinet.  

Doors

There is 2 front doors to the cabinet that also doubles as tool storage.  Again, the exact tool storage strategy is not quite defined yet.  As with the main cabinet, they are still in the planning phase.  

Joinery of Frames of the Tool cabinet door

Joinery of Frames of the Tool cabinet door

Face frame of the Tool cabinet doors

Face frame of the Tool cabinet doors

Face Frame Joinery of tool cabinet doors

Face Frame Joinery of tool cabinet doors

Front Door Frame for Tool Cabinet

Front Door Frame for Tool Cabinet

Pictures above are some of the shots showing the progress.  They are only dry fitted for the time being and the next step is to put some glue to finalise the setup. They are also missing a small hand plane pass to remove the marks for the proper assembly of the parts.  

The face frames are also missing the panels that are not cut yet.  The wood is selected, still in the rough state.  Before the glue up for the face frames and then to the other frame, the panels will be assembled and rabetted to fit into the groove inside the frame.  

Summer woodworking in vacation

As I write this post, I am still on vacation but last week, some visits were relating to woodworking in vacation.  

Niagara 

Our vacation was located in the beautiful location of Niagara in Ontario.  Yes there was the falls, but beyond the obvious, there was some other attractions that were worth while.  

Cherry Picking

We had the kids with us and having the occasion to fruit pick was a nice opportunity to show them what is was.  Peach season was not yet there, too early but was able to get some cherries along the way.  

Cherries off the branch backlit

These are sweet cherries that were picked from the trees in Niagara

Cherry Picking in Niagara

Cherry Picking in Niagara

Although it was towards the end of the season, the cherries were still pickable if this can be said.  They were still very nice to pick and with the sun glowing between the branches, this made for some great picture.  

I was able to see some cherry trees in there natural environment with there fruit hanging from the branches.  They were not very tall trees, i’d say in total about 7′ tall, maybe a but more but not much.  I live close by to other farms that picking strawberries and apples (in season) is easy but picking cherries was not a common activity that was easy access to us.  This was very interesting and worth doing again if we are in the area.

Local Distillery 

I am a growing fan of whisky and starting to know what I like and dislike.  Canadian whisky is a taste that I am cultivating and when looking for activities to do while in the Niagara region, visiting a local distillery was high on the todo list.  

We are not drinkers of wine so visiting a winery and the vines was not something that was too appealing to us.  

After doing some research, we found Dillon Distillery which was about 20 minutes from our hotel.  Visits are organised on a regular basis and are very well done by one of the distillers.  Included in the visit, was the ability to taste a subset of what they produce.  All there products are available in there store part of the distillery and are offered in local LCBO which carries there product.  

Dillons Distillery Barrel

Dillons Distillery Barrel

Dillons Distillery Writing

Dillons Distillery Writing

I Brought back there Rye Whiskey and tasted other products.  The visit and the tasting made the trip worth while.  The kids were also able to visit and were pretty curious.  Also noted the smell which was pretty distinct of a distillery.  I really recommend the visit if you are in the area.  

Lee Valley

One last note, Lee Valley opened a store in Niagara Falls not too long ago and as I needed some products from them, it was convenient to stop by and get what I needed in person. 

I’ve been to a few Lee Valley stores and I can say that the new look is very nice and finally, being able to touche there tools that they manufacture, i.e. the saws, plane chisels is very good.  There are work bench with wood and you can try the tool to the wood and the employees are there to help.  

This tool testing is finally a very good initiative to do as other manufacturer, i.e. one of there biggest competitors did exactly that so that users were exposed to there tools and not into glassed cabinets.  Kudos for that.  

Other tools were in demos where these tools are available through LeeValley which is also a very good selling point to offer the users to test drive.  

Projects with Logs

There is a place close to home that that had to cut some trees and logs were available to buy for anyone that were interested.  

The logs

Here are the small logs that me and my dad were able to get a hold of.

Walnut Logs

Walnut Logs

Ash Logs

Ash Logs

The criteria was that the dimensions were to fit within the capacity of my band saw to slice.  The Laguna Bandsaw that I have has a capacity of about 12″ of resaw capacity so this was pretty much the diameter capacity of the logs that I could handle. 

Was able to get a hold of 1 log of what I think is walnut and 2 others are Ash logs.  

Projects

The plans are the following : 

With the walnut log, about one half will be sliced to cut some platter that will be cut in the horizontal plane, kind of big coasters but bigger.  These will be used to serve food or any other projects.  Just not quite sure yet.  The idea is to let it dry a bit and eventually finish it with a food save type of finish as there is a good chance that it will be seeing some food it the near future.

For the second half of the walnut log and the 2 ash logs, the plan is to resaw in the length of the log to get some boards.  The cut will be made to include some quarter sawn grain.  I have some plans to try to make some small boxes and getting straight grain would make some nice side components.  

First Experiments

This is my first experiment in resewing logs and I don’t plan to make this a career plan to resaw logs but I think this should be a nice experience to resaw and dry the lumber.  Granted it should no yield a whole bunch of lumber but still.  I might actually like to too much, who knows….  

Band Saw Blade

I was due to replenish my band saw blades form the last purchase I made.  I have always used the highland woodworking wood slicer saw blades.  As it was primarily to resaw or rip, I took a pretty large blade (3/4″) blade.

My band saw is a Lagune LT3000 16″ band saw and the length of the band is 132″.  granted that there are longer blades then that, it was still pretty significant blade, specially with the 3-4 skip tooth configuration

 Looking around for new blades

Not that I disliked the blades, they gave very good results.  But being in Canada, last time I ordered 2 blades, the shipping was nearly as much as the value of the 2 blades.  I also added the exchange rate, being in Canada.  

This is not a complaint, don’t get me wrong, but I was interested to see if there was not an alternative closer to home which would give me comparable performance but cheaper in price.  

After looking around for different alternative, I found the Tuff Tooth web site through research of other blades.  Price were pretty reasonable and they are a Canadian company, even better.  Shipping cost were pretty minimal also. 

Dimensions

I have been running 3/4″ blades since I own the saw, about 5 years ago.  I have been pretty satisfied with this dimension, but sometimes, having a smaller blade would of been appreciated.  

So I decided to go with a 1/2″ and 1 3/4″ blade to try out and see how would compare.  I also went  with the 3 tpi which is pretty agressive cut. For what I do, the band saw blade is not the last blade to touch the wood so have a not so finish surface is ok with me.  There will always be another tool that will pass after to better the surface, being either a plane, other saw or sand paper.  

I should be able to test out the new blades pretty soon and report back for results. 

Tool Cabinet – Carcase Redo

Tool Cabinet Carcase 

So this is a continuation of the tool cabinet projet where at my first attempt, I did not pay attention enough to the carcase glue-up that I judged that it was too out of square that I devised to redo the whole case and start again

It is now all glued up and square and happy with it.  

Other Components 

The plane till was pretty much already done and constructed so I was able to fit the components into the new case.  Just not finalized the install of the components yet into the case.  

The Doors 

The Tool Cabinet has 2 exterior doors which I started to cut the different components.  The frame of one of the door is dried assembled but not glued up yet.  This is the inside frame of the door that is assembled.  I still need to fit the parts for the outside of the door and eventually assemble it with the inside frame of each door and fit with each of the doors.  

All the parts are accounted for, but some fitting and joinery needs to be done to have some nice doors and to eventually hang them and hang some tools inside them.  

 

Once again, take your time.  Although I want this cabinet to be done or advance a bit faster then it is right now (current cabinet is a mess), it is worth while.  I consider that shop furniture are great practice pieces and are not exposed to “customer” and it is normally for you.  

I still want shop furniture to look good though.  In my opinion, it does not mean trash but a good way to practice either a new technique or joint.  It might not be perfect, but it is good practice. 

Tool cabinet components

Tool cabinet components

Power Tools – Router

One of the first handheld power tools that I bought was a router.  Probably the first portable power tool was probably a sander to better finish the surfaces of the pieces I did.

My first router was a Dewalt DW616 combo kit, which included both the fixed base and plunge base which made it a great combo kit.   I made good use of this kit but 2 things made it somewhat inconvenient.  No variable speed and had pretty bad dust collection, as for many routers of the time 

Hunt for the upgraded router

With these 2 things to try to upgrade, I went hunting for the the best that could be afforded and covered the variable speed and better dust collection as some of the cuts generated lots of dust. 

About 7 years ago, I settled on the Festool OF1400

Festool OF 1400EQ

Festool OF 1400 EQ (USA version)

I also wanted an edge guide that was pretty good and after seeing a demo in a road show, this is what I got.  At the time, 7 years ago, my opinion and my use, this was one if not the best router out there for what I was looking for. 

it has variable speed and what I taught on the of the best dust collecting system that could be offered at the time.  The clear dust shroud and the below the base chip catcher for edge treatment would do one for the best job I saw.  I was pretty much on a mission at that road show and many of the dealers were represented so I had the chance to see pretty much all that had routers to present. 

To this date, I had nothing to complain at this router and had been running flawlessly for the past 7 years.  OK granted, I am not in the shop day in day out, but it still tackles the main criteria that I still hold true since then.  I do not regret my decision and I even dove into more and more into the festool system since then.  I bought the track adapter for the router, that uses the same rods as the edge guide so that you can leverage the festool track for straight cuts

Now Today

The question bears to ask, would I choose the same model as about 7 years ago ?  well, maybe, maybe not.  The router market is not the same and new model has come a long way since then. 

Quite frankly, I have looked a little bit about 3 years back at the market and same changes were already noticeable which would make my decision more difficult today if I had to select a router for my shop.  I might still choose the Festool line of product.  Does it bear the price now as it did then, don’t really know.  Until I really need to change, I guess I will not know until then….  

Cutting boards commission

I’ve been lucky enough to get a second commission of cutting boards from a returning customer.  Here they are still in the rough state 

Cutting boards still in the rough state

Some cutting boards that are waiting to be rejointed, thickness planned and dimensioned.

Cutting boards still in the rough state

Some cutting boards that are waiting to be rejointed, thickness planned and dimensioned.

Cutting boards still in the rough state

Some cutting boards that are waiting to be rejointed, thickness planned and dimensioned.

Cutting boards still in the rough state

Some cutting boards that are waiting to be rejointed, thickness planned and dimensioned. Still need to be glued.

They are from hard maple and an insert of black walnut.  Nothing too fancy but times 100, it becomes a pretty interesting order.  Yeah Yeah some might say, 100 is not too much but for my perspective, 100 is pretty tall order when completing from evenings.  I am not a production shop, although the second time around, it is starting to be pretty interesting on optimizing some steps. 

Some process taughts

I don’t own a table saw, although, right now, I wish I would for the repetitive rip cuts for when dimensioning some of the parts of the cutting boards.  Specially to bring to width the components.  

Few years ago, I decided to got the plunge saw and a nice band saw.  The bandsaw blade that I got in there right now is not the smoothest.  I don’t expect perfect cuts but the blade is for resaw and not for finish cuts.

This became fun the first time around was how could I efficiently get the edges true.  Well the key here was a sharp blade to minimise the drift and a good setup jointer to make sure the edges were good. A good jack plane helped here too.  

But I do miss the table saw here.  

Optimise 

So the second time around, it is better and ultimately, will take less time to produce the same amount of cutting boards.  The choice of the lumber and the thickness helps here to reduce the time processing the lumber and getting the pieces glued, thicknessed and sanded/rounded over.  

I’m still not production shop but I was able to shave off a few hours for the same amount of product delivered to the end user.  

Please see my cutting board page here for more details  

Sharpness

It never miss, when I change for new cutters or use freshly sharpen tools, it always amuse me how easy the fresh sharpness gets the job done so much easier it really makes you wonder how you got so long with dull cutters or knives.

Machines

So most of my machines all use some sort of metallic cutter that at one point needs sharpening.  Either blades, knives or cutter have the effect of shaping the wood that it is presented and does it with more or less ease depending if the sharpness of the cutter is fresh or not….  Relatively speaking.   Get many blades, knives and get them sharpen.  Have a Sharp set on hand, send the dull to the sharpener… 

Hand Tools

These aren’t better compared to there machine counter parts.  Hand tools all have blades of some sort (well most of them) and needs regularly sharpening.  In most case, you will be able to sharpen these irons on your own.  No need for a professional service for these.  Sharpen often, more often then you think you need, a quick touch up will amaze you how far you’ll go. 

The jointer…   

The whole story that got me into this are the jointer’s knives.  

Delta DJ20 8

Delta DJ20 8″ Jointer

I had knives for a while sitting on  shelf waiting to replace the old knives that were really due for a replacement.  Sharpness what? So I had a project that needed to do some serial batching of processing rough lumber and well it was the time to replace those knives.  There are many options here.  But same goes as above, have multiple sets of knives if that is the route you keep

I succeeded without too much fussing but don’t get me wrong, the original head will eventually be replaced by a Shelix Head instead of replacing the 3 knives every time.  Just did not have the money on hand and needed to proceed with the project.  Read on to this system with inserts that rotate to reveal an edge that is sharp. 

The planer…  

The dealt DW735 have easy access to the straight knives through the top panel and are way more easy to replace then any jointer straight knives for sure.  In my experience so far anyway.  This is another good candidate for the replacement head for the planer.  If I ever change to a floor standing model, for sure, I will opt to replace the straight knives…  Worth the expense.