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There is nothing more annoying than trying to drill some accurate holes in a project and having the holes all ragged, or even worse, having them off centre because the drill bit is dull. I'm always amazed at home many times we drill holes in things, no wonder manufacturers are always coming out with newer and better corded and cordless drills ( and drill presses too). Woodworkers are a lucky bunch, we can use almost any drill bit to drill wood and most will at least do an acceptable job ... that is ... if they are sharp.
Of course the most common drill bit is the simple twist bit. Certainly it is not the oldest type of bit, in fact it really only came along with the introduction of powered tools to drive a bit of this design. Prior to power drills we had to use braces and similar tools with auger and spoon bits to drill holes. But twist bits remain the most common, though not always the most ideal for the job ... but none the less, the most common because they can drill wood, metal and plastics. Other bits like auger bits, Brad point tipped bits and forstner bits are pretty much only for wood.
There have been tools and jigs around for many years that can be used to sharpen twist bits, but we have not found any that are easy and convenient to use. To sharpen twist bits you really need a dedicated machine, and thats precisely what Drill Doctor has done. They have introduced a line of sharpening tools that will sharpen a long list of twist bits and some Drill Doctor tools will even Masonry bits.
The Drill Doctors are easy to use and will produce consistent results of sharp drill bits. If you find that the diamond grinding grit wheel in your unit is becoming warn, it is easily replaced with either a 100 grit or 180 grit wheel for finer grinding points.
- Read Time: 3 mins
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The Ridgid Laminate Trimmer is basically a small hand-held router and in many ways similar to the Bosch, Makita and other small 1/4 inch mini routers. The Ridgid Trim Router features a molded grip that makes the router easy to hold on to and seems to conform to your hand as you hold it, and when you think about it, a hand held router should feel good to hold onto, after all it IS a hand held unit.
The Ridgid trim router that we tested also comes with a nice canvas case and includes both a square and a circular base, and even and edge guide along with the chuck wrench for installing and uninstalling bits. This unit is one of the few laminate trimmers that also features variable speed. At the outset, having variable speed may seem like a small feature but if you are using the trimmer for a variety of jobs, you NEED variable speed because trimming different materials requires a different speeds, like trimming laminate or arborite uses a different speed than trimming burl wood veneers. The one thing we loved was the location and ease of changing speeds with this unit.
We found changing bits was a wee bit awkward as the base really needs to be removed altogether. To help facilitate this there is a quick release, but then there is also "stop" near the end that needs even more effort to get past. All in all, changing bits was not a big issue. just something we needed to get used to. We weren't thrilled with the off on switch which is a indented square block at the top (in fact we to really look to see where the off/on switch was). On the other hand we didn't know what we would do to improve this and we did appreciate that this design although not as easy to turn the trimmer on, is VERY easy to turn the trimmer off which is more important.
In using the router we came to like the micro adjustment that changes the height of the bit in relationship to the base. We found that we could some very accurate cuts and lock the position firmly and that it was positive and smooth to operate, but held firmly.
Laminate trimmers have been around for quite some time but have never been wildly popular and now that we have used this unit, we wonder why that is? These small hand held routers are convient, easy to use and have a multitude of uses such as ...
- Read Time: 6 mins
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Working with routers and router tables is often one of the most frightening tools for new users and often one of the most mis-understood by more seasoned woodworkers. Part of the reason for the fear and misunderstanding is that this tool is pretty unique ... the router spins at speeds that makes one think it could easily lift-off the workroom floor and if you are not careful, it can ruin a piece of wood on you pretty quickly or fling it out of your hand before you know what happened.
The truth is, working with routers and router tables is not really not that daunting when you have a basic knowledge of the tool and an understanding on some of it's principals of operation. The first thing that anyone using a router will do is to decide on what bit they want to use. Many of todays routers like Bosch, DeWalt, Makita and Freud will use both 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch shank router bits and will include both 1/4 inch and 1/2 in collets with the tool. The collet is the name for the chuck or bit holder for the router. When installing any bit in a router, it is important that it be seated properly. This means pushing bit all the way into the collet as far is it will go, then drawing back out about 1/32 of an inch. This draw back is to allow for heat expansion. Router bits can heat up pretty quickly while cutting through wood and they need a small bit of area to expand into at the bottom of the collet. Next the bit needs to be tightened firmly. This does not mean you need to crank the nut so tightly you damage the machine, but it does need to be tight enough that the bit will not spin inside the collet or have any chance of coming out.
Once the bit is installed and the router is seated in the router table, the next thing to look at is the fence ...
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That old saying that "necessity is the mother of invention" was never truer that doing home renovation projects or working in the workshop. As a rule I don't mind doing home reno projects, but I like to work at them at my own speed. This is because the always take at least four times longer for me to complete that what I calculated they would take. Not long ago, after having an "Energy Audit" done on our house, it was deemed that several areas of the house needed to be redone, including some previously un-insulated concrete walls and all the windows in house, to name only a couple of the projects.
Both of these projects required major renovation work to be done in my woodworking shop which meant it would be out of commission ... and guaranteed, for longer than I would expect, since two of the walls needed complete rebuilding, insulating and re-surfacing. I was fine with doing the work, and have done this kind of work before, but I am slow at it because I am not a pro at doing it.
This combined with the fact that the walls would need to have all pieces custom cut, and that I had to work around all the existing power and shop tools as there was no other place they could be stored. Next I knew would be the dredded re-surfacing ...
- Read Time: 3 mins
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Woodworking routers are one of the most popular tools because of their unique versatility. Although using a router free-hand is useful for rounding over corner edges or even cutting dados, the real value of a router is when it is in a router table. Someone told me many years ago that 90 percent of things you can do with a router - require a router table. That comment has stuck with me for many years and I still agree with it.
The new Freud Router Table is not much different than their original version of a few years ago, with the biggest change being in the capabilities of the fence. In the older "Ultimate Router Table" in order to remove the router from the router table it was necessary to completely remove the 2 large hold-down/fence-adjustment bolts. Even more annoying was the fact that if you were making raised panel doors for example, after you made the rails and styles and wanted to move on with the the actual raised panel portion of the door, again you had to completely remove the 2 hold-down/fence-adjustment bolts. Now this isn't huge deal, but if you made a lot of raised panel doors like I do, this was very annoying to have to re-set up the fence each time.
The new Deluxe Router Table solves this problem by having not 2 but 4 hold-down/fence-adjustment bolts, and they, along with the whole new fence design, are all on slides now. This means the whole fence can slide back and forth the full distance of it's adjustment without having to remove any of the hold-down/fence-adjustment bolts. This also means that if you want to take the router out of the table, again, you can simply slide the whole fence back far enough with all the hold-down/fence-adjustment bolts in place, and still remove the router and base plate.
The other nice feature of the new router table is the micro fence adjustments on BOTH the left and the right have been re-instated .. and more, click Read More for more information on the Deluxe Freud Router Table
- Read Time: 4 mins
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Storing larger 10" and 12" table saw and mitre saw blades can be a bit of a hassel. I have a number of table saw blades and I change blades quite frequently depending on the job I am doing so finding blades is a common task.
Almost every power saw blade these days is tipped with Carbide. The reason for using carbide is that it is very hard and it resists heat very well, and that is why carbide retains it's sharp edge for a long time. The problem with Carbide is that because it is a crystaline type of structure, it can ... and does, fracture easily if bumped against another carbide tipped blade or bumped against steel. (for example, laying a carbide tipped blade down on top of your steel-topped table saw can often chip or even knock a carbide tooth off, and once this happens, blades should NOT be used as they are now dangerous, ALWAYS lay carbide tipped blades down on softer materials like wood, cardboard or some other softer material)
This is why it is important to have a good safe place to store you power tool, table saw and mitre saw blades, and either plastic or wood are idea. If you have a number of blades, a quick glance will tell you which one you need to grab and install on your power tool, so being able to see all your blades at the same time is beneficial.
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