Woodworking Tools

Festool TS 75 EQ - TS 55 EQ Plunge Cut Saw Review

 If you are under the impression the Festool Circular saws were just another run-of-the-mill circular saw ... Boy! are you wrong. These two circular saws are revolutionary ... Finally someone has made a circular saw for woodworkers, not just for carpenters. These saws will deliver precision cuts, which is what woodworkers are looking for. If you are in construction or building houses, these circular saws will work fine for, as will many others, but if you are a "woodworker" you need to look at these saws ... they may change what you thing about your tool collection - in fact, you may be thinking of selling some tools to acquire one of these little gems ...

Read more: Festool TS 75 EQ - TS 55 EQ Plunge Cut Saw Review

Festool Deltex Detail Sander

 Yikes ... this detail sander saves a lot of time, not to mention frustration. Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking when I take on projects. Recently I was asked if I could "just sand a chair " that one of the neighbours down the street was re-finishing. I said sure, bring it over. After all how tough could it be to sand an old wooden chair ... or so I thought. Never in my wildest dreams did I envision I would have to be doing a star-performance sanding job on restoring an onld windsor chair that was said to be over 100 years old. This was not going to be a job for the belt sander !!!

This was a "very special project" I was told ... only when they brought the chair over. "That's why we asked you to do the sanding". Great ... it's a special deal and now I have to treat it with extra special care. Oh did I mention I would be doing this for free !!! ... yeah, that's me, the good guy on the block. I knew my trusty Bosch five inch orbital was going to be of minimal help and I didn't want to spend the next month of my life hand sanding ALL THE DETAIL of this chair. I decided to take a trip to my local hardware store to see what new things they might have that would be in my price range that would help me out with this. I love the tool guys at the hardware store, when you ask them about a "budget priced tool" .. they don't even slow down. I guess to them, everyone has endless money.

They started by telling me they had just taken on this new line of tools "Festool" they told me an within the line was this great little detail sander. As usual, I asked the price and as usual they ignored me and went ahead an began demoing the tool. WoW ... that was great I thought, look how it chewed it's way around corners, this would be ideal for that windsor chair project. Then they reminded me that for most people sanding is the worst job, and that as a woodworker "I would know how important a good sanding job is to the final finish of the woodwork project".
Well ... I had to agree with them and at that point I knew I was going to be leaving with the tool. the good new is when I go it home and began using it, I was truly astonunded how well it worked ... and fast too. I cleaned up that old chair in no time and did an excellent job ... and in the end I got myself a new tool. Yeah they are a bit on the pricey side, but we all know to get a good tool the last, we have to invest a bit of money. No I know I can tackle any size project and not have to worry that the sanding is going to get to me .
Hmmm .... maybe I'll even charge a wee bit for the next "sanding project" I am invited to take on. 
Copyright Colin Knecht


The Jointer Killer - Freud's Glue Line Rip Blade

 There are some woodworking tools that are nice to have and some that are MUST HAVES ... Freud's Thin Kerf Glue Line Rip blade is a must have. If you are working with any kind of hardwood or softwood, or even plywood, this blade will make your jointer all but obsolete. The triple chip set tooth design is specfically created to reduce wood tear-out and make a much finer, smoother cut ... and it works like a dream. This is one blade that every woodworker with a table saw should own because of what it can do and the time it can save.

Available at the Woodworkweb Amazon Store 

The Thin Kerf Glue Line Rip is optimized to work with woods that are not thicker than one inch. It will cut wood thicker, just the cut will not be a fine as it will be for one inch and thinner. Freud blades have a number features that make the safer and more accurate for the average woodworker. For example, Freud actually grinds it's own carbide. The advantage to this is they can change the formula by adding other materials like titanium in order to make the carbide less bittle and therefore last longer for specfic blade types. Grinding their carbide finer also makes the carbide last longer because there are smaller grains to torn off the tips during use. This keeps the blades sharper longer, which in turn makes the blades more cost effective to use. 

What about blade balance you ask?  Freud blades are "pre-tensioned" which means each blade is balanced for optimum tracking ... under load.  The laser cut anti vibration and heat dispersion cuts also help ensure this blade runs true through your wood working projects. The Thin Kerf Glue Line Rip also has anti kick back teeth which means the blade will be less likely to kick the wood back and making safer to use.

Now the important part, the Thin Kerf Glue Line Rip ... like any blade should be positioned a quarter to a half tooth legth above the wood you are cutting. This means the top of the blade should be clearing the wood by no more than one quarter inch above the wood. The reason for this is that this is the optimum cut angle for the Glue Line Rip and any other blade. The blade tips need to be cutting horizontalling into the wood not pounding down of the fibers like they would be if the blade was positioned at it's highest depth. The other benefit to positioning the blade just clear of the wood you are cutting is that it makes woodworking with the table saw MUCH safer.

Battery-Powered-Tools, How to Get the Most From Your Cordless Tools

 I remember a few years ago one of the sales people at my local hardware store told me they were expecting the arrival of new battery powered circular saw. On hearing that, I laughed out loud and told him to call me when the battery powered table saws arrive. Within a couple of years I had purchased one of those battery powered circular saws that I so willingly scoffed at just a couple of years earlier. I soon discovered that having portable tools had huge benefits.
These days battery powered tools are available is drills, drivers, impact drivers, routers, jig saws, portable planers, circular saws, reciprocating saws and even chop saws. So to see how to get the most from these tools, read on ...

Lets stop for a moment and look at batteries that power these units. Most power packs that drive these tools are a series of small rechargeable batteries all wired together to give the optimum power. These rechargeable batteries are very similar to the flashlight batteries and so on that you buy for you flashlights, TV clicker and garage door opener.

The difference between rechargeable batteries and the disposables are that the rechargeables have higher quality shells and consist of slightly different components to make them safe to recharge. The rechargeable batteries that are wired together are normally nickle cadmium (nicad) 1.2 volt batteries. When they are wired together in series ... 8 together equals 9.6 volt, 10 together equals 12.2 volt, 12 together equals 14.4 and so on.

The more batteries that are wired together, the greater the torque (or twisting power) of the tool. Torque is created by a combination of horse power and speed, and high speed does not necessarily mean high power. Conversely high power does not necessarily come with high speed..
You will find another type of battery on the market called a "nickle-metal-hydride" (Ni-MH). These batteries use compounds that give the batteries a slightly longer life (they also cost a bit more to purchase). Some contractors prefer tools that will give them longer battery life which is the reason for this more advanced rechargeable battery version.

As woodworkers, we all know one thing, HEAT is our greatest enemy. When saw blades get too hot they lose their tensility and become dull, screws that are driven into hardwoods can snap because of the high heat created by friction. Heat is also the enemy of batteries. All batteries heat up when they are being recharged. The larger battery packs such as 18 volts and larger tend to heat up even more because there are so many batteries in the packs and they don't have heat dispersion characteristics as smaller packs because there are so many batteries next to one another. Batteries tend not to take a charge when they are hot, so keeping the ambient temperature normal to cool is a benefit.

On the flip side, batteries do not do well in cold either. Once the temperature drops below 14 degrees Fahrenheit ( minus 10 Celsius) batteries do not perform well (if at all). Most batteries will lose their power when the temperature gets this low.

The recharging of batteries is a bit of a mystery to a many people. The tendency is to keep batteries fully charged all the time. In truth, batteries need to be exercised in order to keep them in top shape. This means they should be full discharged every few months, then full re-charged. "Topping" up battery charges will make the batteries lose their effectiveness, and after a time they will only take a partial charge because that is what they have become accustomed to. This means they will lose their ability to use the full charge. If your older cordless device is doing this, sometimes you can rejuvenate the battery by charging and FULLY discharging it several time.

My old 9.6 portable drill, which is now 10 years old has been one of the best tools I have ever owned. I have no idea how many screws it has driven, holes it has bored or blades it has ground, but it's batteries have almost given up now. I checked on the price of new batteries and it will be more cost effective for me to upgrade to a whole new unit ... but I have no intention of getting a big hulking unit, I don't need it and I refuse to pack around all that battery weight, so I am currently investigating some 12 volt units and looking forward to another 10 years of service from my new drill, and when I need more power, I always have my trusty plug-in drill, and the hassle of extension cords that goes with it.

copyright - Colin Knecht