We often don't get the opportunity to see "behind the scenes" tours of businesses that we deal with on a regular basis, but today, we are making an exception. We have not only a behind the scenes look, but and actual guided tour of a bit and blade sharpening business called "The Edge". We get to see what the machinery looks like that sharpens our bits and blades and how it is use.
In this video you will get to see a variety of sharpening machinery and tools and in some cases we will get to see how they work and what they do. Our tour guide is sharpening expert and The Edge Owner, Tom Saxby, who has a remarkable sense of what it takes to provide sharp blades for specific needs at competitive prices. In this video we will get to see what a spiral sharpening machine looks like and how it work, we will see how blade sharpening machine for jointer planers works and including a variety of blade sharpening machinery.
There are two very fascinating machines that are particularly interesting. One is the CNC saw blade sharpener the other is a machine that actually makes shaper type blades.
Learning the tricks of how to use tools can make your woodworing life so - much - easier. The router is one of the perfect tools for making multiple, identical parts or components. Of course, you normally would need a router table with this as well, but depending on the part and the size, these can be done free hand, as long as the parts are held down firmly, and it's a great opportunity to use a "starter pin" to ease the wood into so that it makes a smoother transition.
In terms of a bit, a flush trim bit all that is needed. There are a few versions of these bits in both 1/4" and 1/2" shanks. You can get bits with bearing at the top of the bit, or at the bottom of the bit and you can even get some with bears at both top and bottom. The bits with the two bears are best because it gives you more options.
The actual template material that works best is 1/4" hardboard which is readily available at most hardware and wood supply stores. Although there is also a 1/8" version, which is also painted white on one side and is very nice for drawing your template outline on, the thinner version means more risk of running off the template which can ruin it, and your work piece.
The finished wood products from using this pattern making method are smooth well shaped products that are ready for the next step in the production of the finished product. Pattern making can be used for a variety of woodworking projects but one of the best uses is in making "blanK" inserts for your table saw.
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. In Canada the Drill Doctor tools are available from fine woodworking stores like KMS Tools among others.
The Ridgid Lamminate 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 moulded 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 triming 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 ...
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 baisic 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 Bosche, 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 ...