Woodworking Tools Videos

All About Wobble Wheel Dado Blades

wobble wheel dadoMany years back, some number of companies produced a special blade that could cut dados with just a single blade. The invention was really pretty cool, but simple. The single blade would have to rotate a bit on it's axis which would mean that it could plough out a trough of wood, depending on how far the blade was turned. When it was not turned I would carve out a slot approximately 1/8 inch wide, but when it was turned fully it could make a dado cut that was well in excess of 3/4 inch. These blades were called wobble wheels and were quite common at one time. I am not sure if they are still made and I have not been able to find a source for them in recent years.

Like all things that change, the wobble wheel has all but gone away, replace instead by the stack dado set which consists of a couple of outer cutting blades and sandwiched between them are something called chippers, and together they are used to dado cuts of varying widths, depending on how many chippers are installed.

I used a wobble wheel for many years and always found to make decent cuts, my only real complaint was it often took a lot of time getting the width the perfect size. Over the years I have heard (but never actually tested) from many  people, that wobble wheels, because of their design create somewhat coved bottoms on the dado cuts. Based on how the blade works, it's pretty easy to assume this would of course be the case, but how much of a cove does it make and does it really make any difference?  That's what I set out to see ...

Building a Sliding Mitre Stand

Smaller workshops are always looking for space saving ideas and projects, and this project, no matter how large your workshop is, can benefit a variety of storage constraints. Many modestly outfitted workshops these day either have a sliding mitre saw in them. These a great, handy saws, but all of the stands that are available for them are designed around the idea that the saw and stand need to be portable. If you are a carpenter, that may be true, but if you are a woodworker you may seldom if ever, have a need to move your saw. Of course the problem with all metal stands for these saws is when they are set up, they take up a lot of room with little useable storage underneath unless it is wood, which is still hard to get at.

I recently upgraded my compressor to one of the quieter models, and I love the compressor, but it's always in the way sitting on the floor of the workshop. I thought that if I could build a nice stand for my mitre saw and use the space underneath the saw to store my compressor I could solve 2 problems.

Like many woodworkers, I HATE throwing out wood, even small chunks, and my neighbors know this so a couple of years ago when one of them did a basement reno, they gave me a number of very good sheets of 1/4"  plywood that could easily be used for backing on cabinets and so on. But I had other ideas for it ...

Sharpening Plane Blades and Chisels

Working with sharp tool blades is a MUST in the workshop. Not only is is safer, it is much easier on the woodworker who not only doesn't have to work so hard, but it also makes woodworking much more fun. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to plane a board, or carve out a mortise when you have a dull tool.
Sometimes we think our tool or blade is sharp but really it isn't. When you take a blade that you thought was sharp, then really sharpen it, you will not believe the difference in how easy it cuts and how much less work it is. For years I struggled with what I thought were plane blades that were - sharp enough - . I knew they weren't the sharpest, but I never bothered to take the time to sharpen them properly and always assumed that they were ok.

One day, while visiting another woodworker, who had just sharpened his plane blade, I asked him if I could try it out. I was completely astounded what a difference a really sharp blade was like. It wasn't long after I encountered a more mature woodworker, who I knew was an expert in sharpening, and asked him if he would sharpen my blades for me ... and I would pay him. A week later he called to have me come and pick up the blades and while I was at his shop, I asked if he would give be a lesson in how I could get good results, with the least fuss, and this is what this video is about.

What he showed me is the same thing I am going to show here, what I think is one of the easiest and cost effective ways of sharpening chisel and plane blades and similar blades. This is the best way that works for me, but other people will have many other ways that are also just as good and maybe even easier and I am confident they will all be sharing their expertise with us. There are MANY MANY different ways to sharpen chisels and plane blades, and some people make a real art out of sharpening. It becomes - their thing - in woodworking, and so this article details what I learned that afternoon. The first thing you need to do is ...

Horizontal Sander and Portable Belt Sanders

When you need material taken off ... in a hurry, nothing works like a belt sander. They can be rough and often hard to control but do a great job of taking the rough spots off so you can start getting down to the finer work.

Portable belt sanders have been around for many years and come in a variety of sizes. Some of the smaller ones look deceivingly like you can operate them with one hand, and maybe some of you can, but even these smaller units pack a lot of power so using 2 hands is far safer and much more accurate.

Many of the portable belt sanders have attachment or receiving nuts embedded in the top of the unit. Often one in the front and rear of the machine. The purpose of these receiving nuts is that these belt sanders can be adapted to many different uses. The first time I ever saw someone using this feature was at a shipyard. Some poor sole had the dubious job of scraping and sanding a hull of what looked like about a 40 foot boat which had recently come out of the ocean and was nicely encrusted with lots of, now, dried on marine life. He had innovated a belt sander to long wooden board and was using it run the belt sander up and down the underside of the hull. It was tough work, but he seemed to handling it.


Some years later when I happened upon a used belt sander at a swap meet or garage sale somewhere, I noticed it too hand these receiving bolts on the top. This meant that when I got home I could actually mount the belt sander on it's side and use it as a stationary sander ... and did it work great ...

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