Thursday, February 24, 2011

Drawer-Front Experiment

I needed to make two hanging cabinets for my laundry room.  Badly.  Not exactly blog-worthy.  But I decided to try out an idea I had for drawer fronts, and that is blog-worthy (I set a low bar :)
First, the final product so you know where it was going...

Okay, so what...
Ah, I see.  My photography skills couldn't capture the subtle triangle shape of the drawer front, but if you see them in person, it does make for a nice light illusion.  If you are there in person, please do some folding.
The drawers are really trays 18" deep on 14" full-extension slides (which are cheaper than 18" 3/4 extension slides ;)  This is very handy for getting at the stuff in the back.
If the fronts were just cut in to very shallow triangle profiles, it wouldn't be that interesting to discuss.  The top edge of the fronts are shallow triangles you see in the last picture, but the bottom edge is 1/8" thick the whole way.  While it's easy to cut, there are a couple caveats to mention.
First up, you need very straight-grain nearly quarter-sawn stock or the monster twisting bevel will make for some ugly grain; the straight grain is why these drawer fronts don't project they are cut unusually, but do that with the light.  Here you see the drawer-front stock with the trays clamped up.
Since you are cutting a series of triangles at first, you can squeeze a lot out of one board; each offcut is another drawer front.  I made the triangles a little longer than I needed, but ultimately, I think you should shoot for 3/4"-1" longer; remember that the sides of the triangles need to be cut back to where they are 1/8" thick plus cut losses.
Cut the triangles out on the bandsaw.  "Your eye is your fence."  To help assure I was holding the stock square, I blue-taped two Woodpeckers clamping squares together then pressed them to the back of the board.  Worked well!
After the first two cuts, each cut gets you another drawer front.
The final results of this first cutting pass.  Uhh, the reasons for the burning are the subject of another entry... some things shouldn't be cut on a bandsaw.
Cutting, part deux.  We now need to cut in a twist.  Idea is to cut the fronts again.  The bandsaw blade tracks the top of the drawer front (so... it remains a triangle; no change) while the bottom is forced to cut 1/8" from the backside.  My solution was this tiny 'resaw fence'.  It has a point and is beveled down to about 3/16".  I clamped it 1/8" away from the blade.  To do it again, I'd set it 3/16" due to material processing.
'Resaw' the front like I explained: track the top of the blade against the edge of the triangle not cutting it, but letting it cut a twist into the front so the bottom is 1/8" thick.  The difficulty here is (looking at this picture), you need to tilt the stock back towards the resaw fence as you advance to the apex.  That twist makes the bottom want to move away from the fence.
This is the result!  Solution? Start the feed from the apex to the outer edge.  Near the end of this cut, you will need to pull the stock through from behind the blade and use a sacrificial block to push the rest through.  GO SLOWLY on this cut as you are, in a sense, forcing blade drift.
I initially thought to use a block plane to clean up most of the problems.  I then remembered where I put my electrons.
I used my Festool Rotex RO-125 sander in disc mode initially for fast cleanup.  Note: use the semi-soft pad!  While I love the hard pad, using it here would 'facet' the twist.  Try not to round off the ridge from the apex to the base: that's what helps the visual.  Follow up with passes in random-orbit mode.
I hit them all with a sanding block with the grain, going to P180.
So... clamping these to the trays will be a chore: these are beveled faces so clamping pressure will move them.  My solution, as it is for all drawer fronts, is cyanoacrylate glue, or instant glue.  I spread regular Titebond II on the front of the trays leaving 4-5 thumbprint-sized areas glueless.
When you have the spacer for the tray ready so you can tilt up the drawer front, put a good dab of cyanoacrylate in each of the thumbprints.  Tilt up the drawer front, slide it to one side then slide back into position.  This gets the moisture in the Titebond II into the cyanoacrylate, which cures through moisture.  Once you slide it back, seconds later it is 'clamped' in place by the instant glue.  Now you can apply clamps and they won't move the drawer front; these clamps are for the Titebond II.  Someone will think, "but it is instant anyway!".  Maybe where you're from.  Here, in Arizona, it is so dry that "instant glue" has taken 5-10 minutes to set for me.  Literally, I have to brush water on the adjoining piece before assembly.
The whole cabinet and trays were sprayed with 4 coats of General Finishes Polyacrylic water-based finish.  This stuff is a dream to work with: flows out very well, can be brushed or sprayed easily, is tough as nails, smells nice, and you can easily get 3 coats on in a day (the recommended minimum).
After the first two coats, I hand-sand with P320 or P400 since a water-based product raises the grain.  After the third coat, I hit it with a white ScotchBrite to make it glass-smooth.  You could stop there, but I added a fourth coat and only lightly hit it with the ScotchBrite in places.
What remains is to add a 'vanity panel' underneath.  These are above a washer/dryer pair and things on those machines tend to vibrate around and possibly fall off the back.  The panels will be far in the back attached to the cabinets, but made to stop items from falling back there.
The divider between the cabinets was an offcut of maple I had that I decided to shape with a spokeshave and rasp (for the end).  It matches the long pieces mounted to the wall with a rounded end.  Thought it made them look a lil better.

Hanger for Miter Gauge

Funny how you plug in the camera and find a picture you intended for a previous blog entry.
The video tour of my SawStop didn't show the hanger for the miter gauge.  It's nothing special, but makes storing it a whole lot easier.  The gauge used to reside on top of the planer, the router wing, oh, the assembly table, no wait, the shop stool...
The SawStop left table wing has many holes on the side.  Just grab a piece of scrap ply and some rail/stile offcuts and you have a hanger.  I had some cork flooring offcuts to glue on so... I did.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Guided Tour of my Pimped SawStop :)

I ordered my SawStop 3hp PCS cabinet saw during the pre-release.  Since I received it, I've made a number of modifications to it that have been documented here such as adding a router wing with dust box, adding an overhead collection arm, wiring a single pigtail to the wall to power everything at the saw 'station'.  (All of these are easily found under the 'SawStop' label in my blog's sidebar)
Well, that's a lot to read.
Since I had the video camera out, I shot a tour of these SawStop modifications as well as one that has not been documented here before: a dust port for catching the dust when edging a board (cuts that aren't captured will spray dust to the side that isn't normally collected).
If you want your SawStop and router table to be as dust-free as possible, give these ideas a looksy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

DC Hose Lift for the Drum Sander

While drum sanding a project yesterday, my pet peeve about drum sanders reared its head: that the dust port is on top of the door.  There's no good place to put the hose.  You put it over the carriage housing and it'll fall off changing the height knob or fall the other way and pop open the door to the drum, which sends dust in hundreds of directions (all towards your face).

I recently added a number of circuits to my garage shop specifically because I rarely used my drum sander... it needed to be plugged in the family room via extension to use the DC unit with it.  Now I needed to address the lack of decent DC connection.

The solution is woefully easy: a stick with a 1/4" groove in the edge to grab onto the carriage housing and the bottom end cut like a half-lap so I could fit a bolt into the drum sander's base.  On top, a spring-clamp-like holder for the hose.

Note that the top of my Performax 16-32, I put a Dust Right compatible connector.  The new hose I added also has a Dust Right handle since it will be handy for the floor cleaning attachment as well.

As you can see, I have a Ridgid 12" lunchbox planer installed into the Performax stand (if you want to do this, realize that you have to take the stand apart and build it around the planer... not fun, but a space-saver!).  I ran a hose up to the stick and mounted it with a similar spring clamp.  Now I can just move the hose connector over when I used the planer.  While this isn't ideal having to lift chips so far, I've found in the past it wasn't an issue.  If it is after this modification, I can simply disconnect the planer hose and lay it on the floor with the DC connected and use the spring clip as a convenient stow.

Now, my drum sander is very convenient to use; it'll touch every project here on out.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Metering Your Tools

Awhile ago, I blogged about finally changing the oil on my planer.  Oh, my, that stuff was treacle not oil!  I want a way to track my planer's hours so I can plan to change the oil after 35 hours of use, but how?!  Many tools could use metering.  I could see any industrial tools like this PM-20 planer having oil that needs changing or maybe put a timer on a DC unit to know when to rince the canister filter.  Or maybe just out of curiosity like an odometer; might be interesting for shop owners wanting to know what gets used and for how long.

Anyway, my quest to put an hour-meter on my planer lead to McMaster-Carr.  There, I found the perfect digital hour timer with 1/10th hour resolution.  It tracks the time that voltage is applied to two pins.  The best thing is that it works with AC or DC input (75-270 VAC, 36-185 VDC). Perfect for a 220V planer!
I'll describe how I connected this to my planer.  Mine has been out of warranty for, oh, a decade. Yours is likely different, this may void the warranty, you might mess something (you?) up.  It's easy, but understand everything before taking it on.  I'll explain enough (i.e., "babble") that you should be able to easily adapt it to your tools.
Here you can see the cover of the planer power switch opened.  The push buttons on the front push buttons on the relay unit with all the wires; that is, the push buttons you touch have no power.
This is the wiring of my power switch (yours very likely will differ).  The key is to know: a) the timer needs voltage to pins 1 and 2 (the documentation explains this), and, b) we only want that voltage when the switch is on.  So where do we tap the voltage?  Well the voltage is connected to the motor when you power up the planer so the easiest thing to do is see where the wires from the motor come up.  For mine, the motor is the black cable coming up on the right side of the box.  The two 'hots' for it go to two terminals just to the left of the round red 'off' push-button.  That's my target.
The timer will fit on the side of the box near the top; plenty of clearance inside for it and it's a convenient place.  Here I taped a pattern for the hole I need to cut out.  Used a knife to score the ABS plastic then drilled a hole in the corners.  From there... was all fretsaw work and a little touch-up with a file.
Here, I connected it to the motor terminals with the motor disconnected.  I want to try out the timer.  Powered up, didn't smell anything 'funny', and left it while putting on some CPES (that smells funny!) for a sharpening pond I'm making.  After that was done, I logged 0.4 hours (~25 minutes) on the timer and I verified that after disconnecting it for an hour from power and re-running it, the accumulated hours were stored.  Wahoo!
Here it is installed.  Note that the timer display is normally off; once voltage is applied for 5 seconds, it shows the hours of use.

Now all I need is to 'borrow' an oil-change sticker next time I get my car done so I can mark my planer as due at 35 hours of run-time.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Festool MFT System Review

One of the last reviews I'll post here is of the Festool MFT system.  I say system because the benefits of the table and its attributes carries over across the various models so while my review is of the MFT-1080, you can get the same benefits from the MFT/3.

This is a playlist video broken up into 3 parts.  Part 1 talks about the table in general including the important facets.  Part 2 talks about my modifications to the table (all of which were documented here; check the MFT label); it shows you how to use Qwas dogs to quickly calibrate your table with exceptional precision.  Part 3 talks about using the table top mostly without the attached guide-rail relying uniquely on the Qwas dogs and Qwas rail dogs.  If you are looking at possibly going without a table saw (by choice or requirement), you should give this video a look as these ideas can be used to replicate most repetitive cuts you'd do on the table saw.

I just mentioned that you can set this table square repeatedly with great precision; you can also set a number of common rise-run angles with equal repeatability and precision.  Here's a link to the thread on the FOG about this video in case you want to read the feedback.  Here, specifically, is a link to a reply about a CNC shop in Hollywood that uses these dogs on massive "MFT" tables.  While I loved the Qwas system that I describe in these videos, those guys really take it to the limits.

Festool Domino Joiner Review

This is a video review I prepared for a contest over on the FOG.  The contest is over now, but I'm trickling in some of the more interesting reviews onto my blog.  If you visit the Half-Inch Shy channel on YouTube, they are all there.

This review is on the Domino Joiner.  It's long, but the Domino has a lot going on so you might just want to grab an amber before sitting down to cue it up.  There are 4 videos in this playlist.  The first is an overview of the Domino itself.  The second is mostly on the tenons and, yes, there's some important details to them.  The third is a demo making a few joints and pointing out some better ways to use it (this video could be days long if you went into all the joints you can make and their trade-offs).  The fourth is possibly the most interesting being that I destroy some joints I made the night before and we look at their failures; the reasons behind the failures are in the second video on the tenons.

Okay, make that two ambers...

Here's a link to the thread on the FOG where I posted it in case you're interested in some of the feedback.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Festool Commemorative Stein Parody

As part of the continuing saga of making video reviews of Festools for a contest on the FOG, I decided to review the most excellent Festool Commemorative Stein.  Forget the "joinery revolution", CNC-accurate work surfaces, dust-free sanding, or garbage-can collapsing dust extractors.  Forget all that.  This, folks, is about beer!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mastering Woodworking with Charles Neil

Charles Neil is a prolific Southern furniture builder and prolific woodworking instructor.  He was the first to do an Internet-base guild based on doing projects from design to rubbing out the finish with every step carefully explained and demonstrated in weekly hour-long videos.  And those videos rock.

When his guild first started, I eagerly joined and have been enjoying it ever since.  The pieces aren't pieces you'd consider beginner pieces.  These include scroll boards, Cambriol legs, dovetailed case construction, all-hardwood construction, applied molding, and exceptional consideration for the finish.  Charles is a bit of a finish guy.

Do you need a shipping container of tools to make these builds? No.  All along the way of the build, Charles explains how he would do the next step in his production shop then typically offers 3-4 other ways they can be done.  Any hobbyist no matter the level of "tooling" will have access to at least two ways he describes and demonstrates in detail.

You will also improve your Southern accent.  This, folks, is big.

If you are looking for a highly-orchestrated and edited video production... well, sorry, you're in Charles' shop.  It's usually dusty.  Sometimes there's glue in unusual places.  He builds a lot of furniture there.  You can be lucky enough to be there via the Internet with many of those builds.

How does he chose builds?  There's a guild forum where you can pose questions and discussion with each episode of each build.  Along the way, he gets ideas of what people want to build.  Generally, the viewers pick the piece while Charles decides on details to make certain we cover new territory.  What's new territory?  New techniques, new components (think Cambriol legs), new wood species to learn its working and, more important, its finishing characteristics.

Are you gonna see the same dovetailed drawers each build? No.  Same material processing? No.  Why!?  Because Charles realizes this gets old for people continuing on with the guild so he has cut mini episodes from previous builds that show you those steps as reference videos (these are in addition to the weekly episodes).  Now, new builds will refer you to those reference videos.

There's even a comprehensive video index for all the builds.  Here's a snippet of that index so you can see the detail:

Drawer Completion
Attaching Drawer FrontCC1201:04:48
Beveling Drawer BottomCC1209:43
Drawer BottomCC1200:36
Drawer TwistingCC1228:21
Evening dovetailsCC1218:02
Finishing At Band SawCC1248:06
Fitting Drawer To CaseCC1224:00
Hardware PlacementCC1257:57
Kerf KeeperCC1245:37
Making Drawer FrontCC1239:36
Optional Dovetails In BackCC1206:26
Planing Drawer FrontCC1250:10
Routing Edge ProfileCC1250:28
Securing Drawer BottomCC1207:50
Sizing Drawer FrontCC1240:19
Upper Shelf Tilt CleatCC1238:02

What will you learn?  Even if you don't build one project proposed, the techniques for orchestrating a build, dealing with the realities of a natural product, how to fix mistakes (and many other recoveries), and how to use tools in ways you didn't think of are worth the price of admission (about $5 per episode).  Honestly, he's a firehose of information and all of it from having been there for the past 30+ years.

I've been impressed.  So will you.

But... you wanna pay $20 for a month believing in my opinion!?! No, didn't think so...

Charles has put together a special program that gives you access to the show for a week FOR FREE.  Snoop around and see what you like.  The recoveries alone are worth the admission.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Festool TS-75 Review

So, I have a backlog of videos I've posted to the FOG for their Festool review contest.  Here's another popular one on the TS-75.  I like it when these video reviews get replies on the FOG threads from experienced users stating they picked up something they didn't know about.
The review is a playlist of two videos though they total about 13 minutes (so, not as long as the OF-1400 review! nothing could be that long!)
My neighbor's puppy makes a cameo...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Festool Centrotec Chuck Demo

Here's a video of me demonstrating the various Centrotec chucks including the 90ยบ, eccentric, Centrotec, Jacob's, and the most intriguing, the depth-set chuck.  I'll describe parts of the chuck and their benefits.  There's more detail on yesterday's C-12 demo video about the chucks and how they attach to Festool drills, but mostly just know they do attach :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Festool C-12 Drill/Driver and Chucks Review

Continuing on with the video reviews for the FOG, here's one on the C-12 drill/driver. Most of the video, though, is about the chucks. Those chucks work in all the Festool drills so even if the C-12 doesn't interest you, the discussion of the chucks will.

I also have a demo of the various chucks in use that I'll be posting tomorrow including a longer segment on the DD-DS depth stop chuck that stops automatically when the screw is at the exact depth you want.

Here's a link to the thread on the FOG about it in case you are interested in any feedback.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Centrotecing (bis)

One of my first ever blog postings was on taking a file to regular hex driver bits so they could work in a Centrotec chuck.  Today, I needed to "Centrotec" a socket driver bit so I decided to flip on the camera.  This is the video explaining how you mark the bit then showing the whole process in real-time.  It's pretty fast, actually.

If you want to know why the Centrotec ball-detent is where it is, you'll have to watch my C12 Demo video that is forthcoming.

Guide Rail Storage (bis)

I previously posted about a solution I have for storing long Festool guide rails on my garage door.  Someone asked me for a quick video of it so here it is.  Sorry for the over-exposure at the end; difficult with that Arizona winter sunshine pouring through :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Me and TWW at Woodcraft

There was a special event at the local Woodcraft where Marc Spagnuolo was doing finishing demos and judging woodworking projects.  I went by, twice actually, to say hi.  In all honesty, it was to get a hug from Nicole, but let's keep that under wraps...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Festool OF-1400 Demo

This is another video I made for a contest over on the FOG.

This is a rather long review of the OF-1400 router because I go through nearly all the accessories including some from other Festool products.  Most people reading this bloggle (babbling blog :)) know what a router is so I go through those basics pretty quickly then slow down to show the accessories in much more detail.

As the video is split in two parts, I'm posting a playlist link here.  It will automatically play part 2 for you, though you can jump ahead to it easily with the playlist navigation.

Also, here is a link to the thread about it on the FOG if you'd like to read some of the current feedback.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Festool MFK-700 Demo

Over at the FOG, they are running a contest on doing tool reviews.  Specifically tools of the Green n Blue variety.  I've made a few reviews and posted them over there, but will be posting them here as well throughout the week.
This review is of the MFK-700 trim router.  I pick this one as the first to post because it seems to have the most love/hate opinions.  I cover parts of the tool, the common accessories, then describe some modifications and work-arounds for the common complaints.  Yes, Festools aren't perfect, just closer than other manufacturers in my not terribly humble opinion.  :)

Here's also a link to a quick video I did for someone else on a forum who had questions about the dust collection of this router.  In a nutshell, the dust collection impresses me every time I route with it.  This video link was posted previously on this blog, but thought to put it here so you don't have to go dig for it ;)

Happy Chinese New Year

It's the Year of the Rabbet; route well :)