Router Sign Making

" Routers are especially good at some things, and one task that they do very well is in making signs. We live in a world of signs and we accumulate more and more every day. Unfortunately most of them are not very pretty, and this is where your router can help. Sign kits have been around for years but they are often cumbersome and hard to use – NOT ANY MORE. With the new Rockler sign kit you can make great looking signs in no time.

Have you ever gone out to price new letters for you house, or maybe a small sign for your woodworking shop? Maybe you are selling a few of your woodworking or turning projects at a local swap meet or open-air market? Wouldn't it be nice to have a great sign to put up showing off your work and your name?



The kits are available in either 2 1/4” or 4” kits, and actually having both means you could make some very creative and professional looking sign … AND the kits are very affordable and if you don't think so, go our a price one small sign of house numbers for your house, that will convince your. Then there is the finishing to consider, read on for more …

Woodworking Clamps Reviewed ... Bar Clamps, Pipe Clamps, Quick Clamps and the list goes on.

 Have you ever stopped to think about woodworking clamps? Do you have any idea how many different kinds there are, not to mention their uses? ... We were absolutely blown away when we started to investigate the different types of clamps, uses and brands. Long gone are the days when some a few simple clamps would do the trick for you. Now we need to have all sorts of different types, different sizes and in some cases specialty clamps are needed.

But it's ALL GOOD!! ... because clamps make our lives much easier. They speed up project times and ease and contribute to making complex woodworking project easier to do. Take a moment and see what we discovered about clamps.

The history of clamps appears somewhat vague, depending on who you listen to, but whats really important is what selection of clamps we have now and how they are used.

 The most common clamps in use today are used for glueing boards together or for glueing projects together. These clamps are normally long clamps and use steel pipe or bar material as the medium to pull and hold parts together.

 Pony Pipe Clamps

Pony Pipe Clamps   

 Heavy Duty "F" Clamps

Heavy Duty "F" Clamps 

 

"New" Bessey Revo  "K" Clamps 

  Irwin Parallel Clamps

Irwin Parallel Clamps 

Somewaht new to the market are the quick release variety of clamps. These come from a variety of manufacturers and some are good while others are not as smooth to use and can be frustrating and cumbersome to use. These are among the most popular and widely used clamps as the design is so quick and handy to use ... AND they come in a variety of sizes. We prefer Irwin clamps based on their higher quality of manufacture. They work smoothly and well constructed .... to last !!.

  Irwin 6" Quick Grip Clamps

Irwin 6" Quick Grip Clamps 

  Irwin 12" Quick Grip Bar Clamp / Spreader

Irwin 12" Quick Grip Bar Clamp / Spreader 

  Irwin 6" Quick Grip 6" Minin Bar Clamps

Irwin 6" Quick Grip 6" Minin Bar Clamps 

 Irwin Quick Grip Micro Clamp Set

Irwin Quick Grip Micro Clamp Set 

Then there is the whole world of speciaty clamps that seem to come in an ever widening assortment of types, angles and sizes. The purpose of these is to help woodworkers who are engaged in special projects that traditional clamps are akward to use or take too much time to set up, and risk having glue start to set before the project is securely clamped.

Here are some Bessey Specialty Clamps.

Bessey Angle Clamp

Bessey Angle Clamp 

  Bessey 90 Degree Angle Clamp

Bessey 90 Degree Angle Clamp 

  Bessey One-Hand Edge Clamp

Bessey One-Hand Edge Clamp 

  Bessey Variable Angle Strap Clamp

Bessey Variable Angle Strap Clamp 

 
 We can't forget about all those old tradional clamp and hand clamps that all STILL have multitudes of use in the workshop, hand clamps, "C" Clamps and Deep Throat bar clamps ... all are still very usefull, needed and as popular as ever.

  "C" Clamps

"C" Clamps 

  Quick Grip Handi Clamps

Quick Grip Handi Clamps 

  Spring Clamps

Spring Clamps 

  Joprgensen Hand Screw Clamps
Joprgensen Hand Screw Clamps

 And now for two of my all time favorite clamps, picked because they make my life easier, are quick and handy to use and produce remarkable results ... that make ME look good ... The Assembly Square Clamp is one of the most useful tools I own. I squares up and holds onto the sides of my projects at the same time ... I cannont speak highly enoug of this incredible invention. 

  Assembly Square Clamps

Assembly Square Clamps  

  Mini Clamp Assembly Clamps

 

Mini Clamp Assembly Clamps 

 

Steel City 10" Granite Top Tables Saw 35920

Think your table saw is heavy? ... Try this granit top little gem at 467 pounds. Yes thats right, a granite top table saw. At first I wondered what would be the purpose of a granite top over steel, then it gradually began to dawn on me that first of all granite does not rust. Now if you live in Texas or New Mexico you don't have to worry so much about that but in the soggy west coast or the humid east coast rust is a real problem.

This "left tilting" table saw has a few features we really liked and Steel City is well on it's way to shaking up the market by bringing out some new and innovative features. First of all we liked the fence, yes there are are other very good fences out there, but we still liked this one. It is smooth, accurate and well built. We liked the position and size of the off / on switch. It is easy to find and easy to shut the saw down should things start going awry one day, with a BIG red paddle.

The entire saw base is enclosed except for a 4" dust port, so you really don't get a chance to see the trunion system, which is the real heart of any saw. We dug around and found a very well made, cast system that is mounted with about as much strength as one could imagine for a table saw, this system is not going to move on you once it is set.

 Its nice to see manufactures putting quakity componets into their tools and Steel City has done so with the motor a dual 110/230 volt (115/7.5 AMP) 1 3/4 horsepower motor, not the biggest in the world but certainly satisfactory for most woodworkers.

Another important factor on any saw is the blade guard and splitter or riving knife. When you are ripping wood that starts has a mind of it's own and starts move on you as you are cutting it, a riving knife is critical for your own safety. The beauty of this unit is when you need to take this assmebly off, it comes of easily, you don't have to struggle with it.

Finally, finally, finally, a manufacture who sees the value in providing a built in wheel base. Yes, the unit we tried actually comes with a mobile base.

All in all we thought this was an excellent tool, innovative enough to catch our attention and tough enough to be a tool we would want in our work shop.

Bosch Table Saw Model 4100-09

 

Although this unit can easily be classified as a portable tables, which are often skeptical about, we loved this Bosch table saw. The Bosch 4100 comes as a basic “worksite table saw”, that is, you put it on a couple of saw horses or some other sort of bench, or you can purchase an optional two-wheel portable stand.

Lets talk first of all about the saw itself. Although the actual table top is not that large (22” x 29”) it is still a good useable size. One of the features that sets this unit apart from some of it’s competitors is the ripping fence. This unit has a very good, accurate fence system. And if it goes our of alignment, it is easy to re-set it. The quick-lock system of the fence holds if firmly in place and is also and adjustable feature. You can snug the fence down by adjusting the tightness level that suits you best.

Next we looked a blade changes, because as you know, we almost never use the blades that are supplied with tables saw, not even this Bosch. We discovered that after raising the blade to get better access to the 5/8 arbor nut, the locking mechanism was lever that locks the blade so that the wrench can be used to release the arbor nut holding the blade. The wrench for changing blades is conveniently and securely attached to the side of the table saw.

After changing blades, we decided to rip some wood and lowered the blade to about half a tooth above the level of the stock we were going to cut. The raising and lowering of the blade is very smooth, yes this was a new saw and yes it had little sawdust accumulated yet, but we still felt extra care had been taken with the internal mechanisms.

When we first started the saw it was immediately evident that this unit was also equipped with a “soft start” circuitry. The 110 volt, 15 amp motor brought the blade came up to speed quickly but did so in a controlled fashion. We like the new blade guard and splitter system. In the past, and with other models some of the blade guards have been rather cheesy, seems they were only installed so the manufactures could boast they had a blade guard or that they were there simply go observe some local law. Not so with the blade guard on the Bosch 4100, this is a whole new design that doesn’t get in the way (at least most of the time) and it is solidly built with anti kick back design.

We then performed some cross cuts using the mitre gauge supplied with the saw, and again it performed seamlessly on the ¾ inch plywood we were using for testing.

Lets take a moment now to talk about the optional stand that is available for this saw. At first glace, the stand appears like it will be insufficient for the saw, but not so. When the table saw is mounted on the stand, not only do you get excellent mobility, you also get a saw that can be stored vertically … and easily. The mechanism that allows the stand to fold and unfold is quick and easy to operate and when the saw is set up in its cutting position, despite the fact it is sitting on a couple of wheels, the table saw is very stable.

In conclusion, we loved this saw. It was accurate, easy to operate and powerful enough to do most jobs a woodworker would need. Additionally if you are working in a confined space (aren’t we all) the Bosch 4100 when equipped with the folding stand takes up less space and provides an easy to fold out option. I dare say, if you have ever wished for two table saws in your shop for those times that changing blades becomes a nuisance, the Bosch 4100 would make an excellent addition to any workshop

Purchasing Your Table Saw

 A friend of mine called me the other day "I need to buy an new table saw" he told me. "Why" I asked, "did you wear out your current one" (jokingly). "No, I gave it away to your brother-in-law". Now I have heard of lots of excuses to get a new table saw, but that was one of the better ones. "So I need to buy and new saw, what should I look for" he asked. Sure ... now I need to tell him everything he needs to know about buying a new table saw over the phone. Well ... here's what I told him ... 

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