Tool Review Videos

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.

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Tool Review - Ridgid Laminate Trim Router

The Ridgid Laminate 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 molded 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 trimming 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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Freud Router Table with Fully Adjustable Fence

pkg0025Woodworking routers are one of the most popular tools because of their unique versatility. Although using a router free-hand is useful for rounding over corner edges or even cutting dados, the real value of a router is when it is in a router table. Someone told me many years ago that 90 percent of things you can do with a router - require a router table. That comment has stuck with me for many years and I still agree with it.

The new Freud Router Table is not much different than their original version of a few years ago, with the biggest change being in the capabilities of the fence. In the older "Ultimate Router Table" in order to remove the router from the router table it was necessary to completely remove the 2 large hold-down/fence-adjustment bolts. Even more annoying was the fact that if you were making raised panel doors for example, after you made the rails and styles and wanted to move on with the the actual raised panel portion of the door, again you had to completely remove the 2 hold-down/fence-adjustment bolts. Now this isn't huge deal, but if you made a lot of raised panel doors like I do, this was very annoying to have to re-set up the fence each time.

The new Deluxe Router Table solves this problem by having not 2 but 4 hold-down/fence-adjustment bolts, and they, along with the whole new fence design, are all on slides now. This means the whole fence can slide back and forth the full distance of it's adjustment without having to remove any of the hold-down/fence-adjustment bolts. This also means that if you want to take the router out of the table, again, you can simply slide the whole fence back far enough with all the hold-down/fence-adjustment bolts in place, and still remove the router and base plate.

 The other nice feature of the new router table is the micro fence adjustments on BOTH the left and the right have been re-instated .. and more, click Read More for more information on the Deluxe Freud Router Table

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Milwaukee M12 Cordless System Review

Milwaukee Tools have been around for quite some time ... actually ... well over 100 years. Several years ago they were purchased by Techtronic Industries (TTI), who also own Ryobi, AEG, Homelite and others. The Milwaukee brand in the complex of businesses is considered to be the serious tool owners preference because of the high quality of Milwaukee tools.

If you get a chance to look at their website ... if the quality of their tools is anything like the high quality of their website you will be in for a treat of having a well made tool. Not only do they describe all their tools on the website (the same as everyone else) they ALSO provide excellent information on parts ... too bad others don't take this hint.

We tested some of the components of the M12 System which is their 12 volt cordless system, which consists of a drill, a driver, recip saw, rotary tool, inspection and camera viewers, lights, temperature measuring guns,  a palm nailer, PVC shearing tool, a multi tool, and even a very cool radio/MP3 Player (that can withstand the rigors of a construction site).

The tools we looked at primarily were the drill and driver as we felt these would be among the most popular tools in the lineup. The 12 volt system is NOT for everyone. The power is ... well, 12 volts, which is great for driving smaller nuts and bolts and screws, or for drilling a smaller number of holes. The 12 volt system is not going to drill multiple holes though 2" fir beams if you happen to be running new power feeds from your 110 electrical panel. The 12 volt system is perfectly suited for smaller applications of drilling multiple smaller holes, or driving screws into a woodworking project. What we liked was that the 12 volt system is light but still packs enough punch to drive larger screws into Oak without any difficulty.

What was of particular interest is that these new tools are all using the same lithium ion battery system which recharges in something like 30 minutes.

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