Tool Review Videos

Moisture Meters - Choosing and Using Them

moisture meterSurprisingly, many woodworkers do not have moisture meters, and of those who do own them, most seldom use them. With wood being as active as it is, it seems that using a moisture meter to help determine the amount of wood movement would be pretty important. To novice woodworkers, wood movement is something that is not well understood, but it is a very important component of woodworking and needs to be studied by any serious woodworker. As we all know, wood, even after it is cut is constantly either absorbing moisture or giving off moisture. This is the a nature of wood. The absorption of moisture is primarily taken in through the end grain of wood, but some moisture is absorbed through the side side grain as well.

The result of this moisture absorption is that the cells of the wood expand, and can, in some situations, damage woodworking projects by breaking glue joints, expanding doors, having some wood material bow, and generally making your hard created woodworking project distorted at the least and even destroyed in rare conditions.
But as everyone knows who is working with wood, movement needs to be understood in order without the wood coming apart on you or reacting in some way you don't know. Knowing how moisture meters work can help you understand how to use them properly ....

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Evaluating Yonico Router Bits

There are many different brands of router bits available on the market, from good quality brand name router bits, to much lower quality unknown names. The better quality brand name router bits almost always will come with some sort of a guarantee, the no-name brands may or may not come with some sort of a guarantee, you need to ask.
How much use a router bit gets is often one determining factor on whether or not to purchase a brand name bit or not. If a router bit is being used a lot, maybe even in a commercial setting, good quality bits are essential, not only because of their warranty and performance, but in some cases, also because of the longivity as a working tool bit.
There are also many small and hobby woodworkers who do not run production facilities and from time to time need to use a router and router bit. In some cases, they may only use a router bit once or twice in their lifetime, if it is some sort of specialty bit. Sometimes novice woodworkers simply are unable to afford the price of premium bits, and in these cases they look for alternative bits.

It's often hard to select a router bit with an unknown name, while you are standing in a store. Often you have to take the clerk's word on whether it is good or not, if they even know or have any experience with the bit, and often they have never used them first hand, only getting feedback from other who may have used them. So how do you find a decent quality bit when you are on more of a budget. The first thing to do is to look closely at the bits, do they look well made? does the coating on the bit (if there is one) appear to have been applied in professional manner (i.e. there are no drips or runs on the shaft of the bit), does the carbide appear to be well seated, and what kind of warranty does the bit come with. This alone will sometimes tell you the quality of the bit, if someone provides some sort of warranty on the bit, it means they will stand behind it.


The next issue is to see how well it performs, and the only way to do that is to take the bit and try it out in your shop. Single bits, i.e. those not it matched sets, are less likely to have problems, regardless of the manufacturer, but even single bits can have issues and that is why they need to be tried out.

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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