Tool Review Videos

Comparing Milwaukee 12 & 18 Volt Drills

milwaukee drillsBattery powered hand drills have become a mainstay to almost every aspect of working with wood. In building construction they are an important tool especially for carpenters, plumbers and electricians. For woodworkers who are almost always working in a shop and with electricity, battery powered tools are handy, but not always vital. I like the portability and how handy they are so even though I have a couple of corded drills, my cordless easily gets the bulk of drilling usage.

I purchased a set of 12 volt drill/drivers a few years ago and fell in love with the system. Before long I also had the radio, the multi-tool and recip saw, all of which used the same battery packs. I loved the system but the only tool that I struggled with for power was the drill. I just didn't have the power I needed for a few jobs, especially when I was drilling into oaks and maples.

A short time ago I found myself in one of the home reno box stores ... again looking at Milwaukee drills, but this time 18 volt. I really didn't want to move to another battery size when I have so many great tools that work with the 12 volt. I discovered they had one of the Milwaukee 18 volt drills on sales for $99.95 but the catch is it only comes with one battery, and it is smallest 18 volt at only 1.5 Amp hours ... but still the price was attractive.

Ridgid Oscillating Edge Belt/Spindle Sander

Sanding is not my favorite job, but I learned a long time ago that if you want a good finished product your have to put the time in on sanding ... sad but true. Like any true woodworker, in order to lessen the amount of time I need to invest in a chore I hate, I went out and purchased a power tool to make the job quicker, easier, faster and even less dusty (I think). To be honest, I have been looking at this tool for a few years and for one reason or another have always found an excuse to pass it up. I know when I first started looking at them the price was much higher that the price I finally paid so that will have had some bearing on it. I finally saw this sander on a sale for a price I could not pass up, now I am sad I didn't purchase this years ago when I first stated looking at them.

I haven't used a spindle sander in many years and had forgotten how handy they can be, and I happen to have a couple of belt sanders and hand unit and another that is permanently attached to a board that works ok, but with the Ridgid, I now have the added affect of oscillating, which speeds up sanding creates less wear on the belt in on specific area.

The sander is very well designed with the front even able to drop down to various angles which means sanding at critical degrees is not only possible, but easy. I liked the dust port in the back too, anything that will help pull the dust away is useful, and the port is out of the way. By coincidence,  ....

Reviewing Quiet California Air Compressor

Workshops have 2 things in common, dust and noise and the more you can reduce both of these, the healthier it is. We all know that controlling dust is a priority, but we seldom think much about controlling noise. Audiologists and Eat Doctors tell us the noise above 85 decibels will cause hearing loss and even something like a 90 decibel sustained noise, like the sound of an idling motor, over time will cause hearing loss. And we all know the the louder the noise the more damage it will do.

I always wear hearing protection (and eye protection) even when I am just making a quick small cut. It does 2 things for me, if helps preserve my hearing, and it makes me slow down, take my time so I don't cause myself an injury.
When I am cutting wood on the table saw, planing wood or jointing wood, it is often in runs. There are normally several pieces so for those I don't mind using hearing protection, but when all the cutting and sanding and trimming is done and now it's time for the assembly, NOW is the time I don't want to have wear hearing protection any longer. I want to enjoy the assembly process.

But if I am using a compressor, and one of my favorite air tools, a 23 gauge pinner, if the compressor is LOUD it's still imperative for me to wear hearing protection.  And THAT is why I have updated my compressor to one of the new Quiet Versions that have come on the market in the past few years.

I recently sold my older very loud compressor to a roofer, who uses it outside and doesn't care because it's far away from him and suits his work perfectly. For me, in my workshop it was way too loud ...

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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