Tool Review Videos

The Rockler Glue Tool

Some of the greatest frustrations in woodworking come from seeminly simple tasks. Like when you glue boards together, it's important not to get glue on parts of the boards where you don't want it because when it dries it can effect the finish of the wood. Over the years I have tried everything to spread glue from my own fingers, to little wooden sticks, foam brushes, good quality paint brushes, disposable paint brushes, chips of plastic ... pretty much anything that I hope will work. I always seem to be looking for something that is easy to use and more importantly, something that spreads the glue evenly over the area to be glued so I am not wasting glue, but so I am getting enough so that I avoid getting voids in the joints.

Now, someone has invented a little glue brush that spreads glue evenly, particularly over the edges of boards such as when you are glueing narrow boards together to make wider boards. One of the problems with gluing boards together is that if you miss putting enough glue on a particular spot, when the glue dries you get "Voids" in the wood, little areas where there wasn't enough glue and it leaves small holes between the boards being joined. These are most annoying because they are hard to fill and stand out like crazy when you are trying to finish a woodwork piece. This little brush actually does a great job of spreading glue evenly because of it's large bristles. If by chance you are like me and often forget to clean the brush after you use it, the dried glue can be easily cleaned off after it is dry.

These are great little brushes .. inexpensive and easy to use and one of the great little addtions to helping to keep the frustration out of your woodworking time.

Copyright Colin Knecht

Comparing Saw Blade Quality


Working with wood can be challenging enough with out having to be fighting tools as well. One of the drawbacks of working with wood is that it is always moving due to moisture in the air that wood is constantly either absorbing or releasing  depending on the humidity.

As woodworkers we are always striving to make the most accurate, and straightest cuts we can and that is why we purchase expensive machinery with highly accurate fences and micro adjustments, so that we can make perfect cuts. The reason we want perfect cuts is the wood is MUCH easier to work with when we work with flat, straight and right angle cuts. When these cuts are bad, wavy rough or otherwise at some sort of an angle, it either means wasted wood, or having to re-do of fill something, which costs more time and money.

One of the best investments is purchasing excellent quality table saw blades. Even if your saw is not the best in the world, you can still make excellent cuts if you have an excellent blade to work with. One of the features of a good blade is reduced vibration during cutting. A blade that is "dead" is far more likely to product a good, straight and accurate cut that one that wants to vibrate.

We decided to test some Freud blades with their non-stick Permashield trademark coating to see if this actually make any difference to the "resonance of the blade" ... have a look a the video and you will see that an excellent quality "dead" blade is not  created that way with coating, but during the actual manufacture of the steel. There is no substitute for good quality tools

Sharpening Drill Bits with Drill Doctor

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.

Tool Review - Ridgid Laminate Trim Router

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  ...

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