Whether you are an iPhone lover or hater, they are everywhere! The type of phone you have is obviously irrelevant for woodworking, but in case you are one of the many people who hold an iPhone daily, there are a number of applications (apps) that can help you with your woodworking projects. Software for these apps can be easily purchased through the Apple apps store and that can be done directly on the phone itself, or through iTunes on the user’s computer.
Purchasing and downloading an app is incredibly easy and feasible as the cost is minimal (some free, and the majority being around $0.99) and takes mere seconds to download to your handheld device. As I looked through the Apps Store on my home computer, I thought I might show you some of the woodworking related applications I have found that you might find useful to your woodworking adventures!
Stockroom Supply sells parts to build a face sanding drum sander. Granted it’s not the full blown thickness sander, but this method suits your needs better.
This is a machine that is nearly idiot-proof once it is assembled. It does not squeeze the wood between two drums, it instead mounts just under the surface of the top. When the motor is started, the velcro attached paper spins and barely raises up off the drum. The more material you want to remove, the coarser the paper used. Sounds weird, but it works!
Have you ever thought that your air compressor was too big, bulky, and noisy for the minimal amount of time that you use it and find yourself wondering why you keep it around? Trade it in for a new system that works excellently for the smaller work shop spaces.
Lowes’ came up with this great Kobalt Portable CO2 regulator that powers most pneumatic nailers. This unit with the 20 oz CO2 canister can shoot 600 16 gauge brads or 1200 pins. This is the same system that paintball guns use, so refills and extra tanks are readily available. The kits cost around $100 each at Lowe’s and one is worth every penny. If you don’t use the gun that often or if you do cabinet installation jobs it remains very useful.
The refills are about $10 each, so it’s a great price for a product that turns all your nail guns into cordless machines. It is very quiet to use and only uses up a small space in your work area. Another positive is that there is no water vapour in the system so the nail gun lasts longer.
One complaint there is with the unit is that if there is any small leak along the line anywhere or in the gasket in your gun, you can easily lose the entire canister of CO2 in a matter of minutes and then require a refill. So it is probably a good idea to have a spare refill canister around. Remember to turn off the valve! Still, it’s a pretty good trade off to be able to use a gun without having to lug around the compressor, and look for an outlet.
Even though this will never replace the air compressor, it is an extremely useful and efficient product in many ways especially if you do house calls or minor repair work. It would warrant a five if they built a quicker shut off valve instead of the screw valve.
“Measure twice cut once” I always hated this saying, and despite the fact that I forced myself to adhere to it, it STILL cut boards to the wrong length. It used to aggravate me that no one made a tape measure for right-handed woodworkers. Imagine this for a minute, you have a board that is 30 inches long and you need to cut 15-5/16” off it. You pick up your pencil with your right hand and your measuring tape with the left and lay it out on the wood. All the numbers are up-side down. Can you think of any other single thing we do that is more ripe for making mistakes than reading numbers up-side-down?
Oh sure, we can all read numbers up-side down, unfortunately we often read them wrong don't we, that's why we measure twice and cut once, and hope that our brains and eyes were coordinated in seeing the numbers correctly. Well there is HOPE, finally some tape measure companies have realized that seeing the numbers the right way up might be of help to us woodworkers. Infact, some have even made tapes that are for both left and right hand people because they have numbers you can read EACH WAY.
I love these new tapes, I am making less mistakes and am far less frustrated reading numbers. It's not the whole numbers that go me, it's the fractions and sadly, that's where most of the mistakes happen.
Now if someone could do the same for protractors … oooOO they did, click MORE to see what they did.
The world of woodworking is filled with the world of angles and the angles ALL need to be dead accurate because they are usually compounded by multiples. Take for example a simple picture frame. 4 – 90 degree angles which means 8 – 45 degree cuts. If you happened to be out by only 1 degree on each angle (which isn't that much) on the 8 angles this means you would be out by 8 degrees overall which would produce a LARGE gap in on joint.
The only to make sure your angles are right on is to set up your tools so they are dead accurate when they cut, that is where the digital protractor can help. Need to cut some 13.5 degree angles on your table saw, no problem, use your digital protractor to set the saw blade at the right angle and presto, perfect antles.
These little tools are very accurate and quick and easy to use. The work on multitudes of tools and are great for checking angles or plans and drawings, checking angles on walls and ceilings and setting up your tools to make perfect cuts. This is definetly something you need to add to your tool bag.
“No self respecting woodworker would use any kind of short cut system to make joints” … that’s what I overheard at a wood show not so long ago. I thought to myself at the time, why would you discount something without ever trying it. I happen to love the Kreg Pocket Hole System and have used it extensively. I have even tested it against other joints, both with and without glue and have found that it not only stands up well but surpasses some joints. In many cases of testing joints with the Kreg System we found that the wood failed before the joint failed.
The real beauty of the Kreg Pocket Hole System is that it is easy to use, fast and accurate (with or without glue). Kreg has made it a point to make a tool that even a novice woodworker can use and make quality, solid joints.
Choosing a router can be agony. There are so many to choose from … then do you choose fixed base or plunge? And what about collet sizes?
Well Bosch has made choosing a router easy with their 1617 EVS which can be either a fixed base or a plunge and if you buy the dual package you actually get both bases and the router also comes with both quarter inch and half in collets so you can use any router bit you want.
The Bosh 1617EVS is a rated at two and a quarter horse, but the real rating is that it is a 12 amp motor. Most outlets in the average home are 15 amp which is the maximum amperage they will take before they trip the breaker. The Bosh 12 amp is a powerful router but not so big that it is difficult to hold on to for those hand routing jobs.
One of the trade offs with larger 15 amp routers is that they are much bigger and heavier. This means they are much harder to control and use when they are not being used in a router table. The Bosh 1617EVS provides more than enough power for most jobs while still maintaining a router that is easy to handle.
We liked the fact that this router also has both quarter and half inch collets which means you always have a choice for router bits. To also aid in making great cuts this router is also variable speed, a very important consideration for any woodworker who wants to lessen the possibility of burning wood. Burning wood, as any woodworker knows is a real problem because in many cases the only way to get rid of the burns is sanding, which is time consuming, tedious and, depending on the project may cause other problems of alignment or connections if too much material is sanded away.
The off on switch is easy to access for either right of left handed woodworkers, and for me at least, having a nice wooden handle to use on a tool just seems to be more fitting.
The only time we found this router to strain somewhat was when making raised panel doors. We still easily accomplished making the doors but we did it by making three passes along the wood and making a slightly deeper cut each time until the final cut was made. This is not a bad thing to do even if you own a router that can make the cut in one or two passes because making multiple passes helps to lessen the risk of burning the wood which is so prevalent with some species.
All in all we found the Bosch 1617EVS to be an excellent, versatile router that we would highly recommend for any woodworking shop. This tool can become a real workhorse for those willing to invest in a quality tool.