Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Domino Self-Centering Guide SCG-10

Awhile ago, I blogged some preview information about the forthcoming Domino Self-Centering Guide SCG-10.  The product has come out and looks very useful.

If you've followed my podcast at all, you've seen me use some third-party narrow-stock spacers that are fitted to the front of the pin-style Domino.  The pin model is harder to find these days so the fast pencil-free registration offered by the spacers hasn't been available for everybody.  The SCG-10 solves that problem.

In this video, I'll show you the product, how it fits to the Festool Domino body, and how to calibrate it easily.  I then do a series of demonstrations to show forming a 90ยบ joint (like a rail/stile joint) using the SCG.  One demonstration shows using the SCG for its centering function and the other emphasizes the equidistant offset provided by the SCG and how you can use that to offset mortises.

The key to a Domino is getting your reference surfaces correct and these demos try to show that briefly.  If you want more detail on reference surfaces, you can catch the fourth episode of my sculpted Mahogany vanity series or you can look at the third video of my four-part Domino review.

The calibration procedure shown in this video isn't the same as the one outlined in the manual. The manual's procedure assumes the center line on the bottom of the Domino base is reasonably accurate.  For my Domino, it is considerably off, but I calibrated my cursor hairs exceptionally well.  The basis of my calibration is to use the cursor hairs to get it done in one try.

I think you'll like this product.  For a pin-based Domino user, it provides more flexibility than the narrow-stock spacers (of which I'm a huge fan), and for the paddle-based Domino user, well, now you can put your pencils down :)


In the comments, someone said that while viewing the last demo, the joint didn't look flush. Admittedly while editing the video (way late at night), I thought, "that looks bad", but I knew I had felt it and it was flush.  Well, that someone else noticed and asked, I went to verify.  Yes, it is flush on the top edge where I glided my finger, but the back had a gap...

The second demo was an impromptu idea while recording so I didn't prepare that stick, as was pretty obvious by the burn on that end of the stick.  In this picture, you can see how there's a visible gap near the back; burn is embarrassingly visible, too.

I cut that board in half, put the SCG-10 back on the Domino, set it to the width of the stock "plus a little" to offset the Domino and replunged.  This is the result.

The outside edge of the frame is very flush.

Here you can better see how flush the side is.  The surface has a small step mostly because the cross piece (one with the Domino 2 pictures ago) is at the limit of what I'll hold to plunge so I don't think I pressed as hard on the top fence as I should; it's minor, but usually I get the surfaces more flush.  Really, don't do pieces this small without using a holder.  :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Benchcrafted Moxon Vise Kit - Hanging It Up, with a French Cleat

Since my posting on building the Moxon vise using Benchcrafted's Moxon vise kit, I've had a number of questions about the table I put on mine, so I thought to roll a quick video.

If you've watched my project podcasts, you know that this vise has been center-stage for most everything ever since.  Best money I spent in a long time.  The thing is, this is intended to be a temporary vise you put up on a bench, do your work, and put away.

That said, I'll show you how I hang my vise to the side of my assembly table for quick easy storage and fast to take out.  You'll see how I had a  small storage box on the side there before the vise so even if you don't have this vise (com'on, everybody's got a vice... :) that storage box idea might be useful to you.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

See you at WIA '11!

At the end of the month, I'll be heading to Kentucky for the Woodworking in America '11 conference!

This will be my first WIA, but certainly not my last.  It is packed with world-renown instructors, a marketplace, and a bunch of my friends will be there.  The picture above of the convention site is from a friend.  In fact, I'm even doing my part for cross-border relations and hosting a Canadian at the show: Chris Wong, who recently launched a new tool company with his friend Garth Schafer called Time Warp Toolworks.  He'll be at the show showing off his line of molding and rabbeting planes.

In my case, the attendance will be a little unusual.  John Economaki asked Jointmaker Pro owners for volunteers to do demos at WIA.  Of the many billions of entries, mine was chosen along with three other very interesting woodworkers.  Though none of us has met in person, we've been online friends for a long time and can assure you there are some interesting personalities to keep you entertained.

At the demo, there'll be 6 Jointmaker Pros setup in different ways and you can try your hand at it.  John is working on a very interesting project as a demo of some of the crazy things you can do with a Jointmaker Pro; just seeing how many parts he can get out of a cubic inch of wood will be entertaining.

If you are attending WIA, please wander by and introduce yourself!  Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sculpted Mahogany Vanity - Shaping the Integral Handles

I've been kinda quiet about the handles on this bathroom vanity.  No better way to keep your stuff safe than leaving the handles off!

The funny gash down the middle of the frontmost panel is actually room for integral handles shaped from the panel itself.  For some reason, I like furnishings with almost hidden handles or at least handles that don't look like they could handle the drawer.  In the case of this vanity, the handles try to follow the sculpted pattern.

This whole project is a bit of an exploration and I like how these came out.  For a different way to attach shop-made handles, give this entry about my closet dresser drawers a look.

Next episodes will cover reinforcing the handles, applying the fronts, and wet-sanding the whole thing.  Getting there, slowly... knowing my luck, I'll finish right when the energizing cooler weather arrives :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sculpted Mahogany Vanity - Fitting Drawers and Drawer Guides

You know, it only feels like I forgot about the vanity project.  :)

Hopefully the intervening series of videos on hand-cut dovetails was interesting.  But time to get back to putting my bathroom back together again! I can't hold it much longer!

In this episode, I go over fitting the drawers and putting in the drawer stops and drawer guides.  The drawers ride on wooden drawer runners with kickers above them so this isn't a drawer guide in the sense of telescoping ball-bearing drawer guides common in kitchen cabinets.

Though this episode is part of the sculpted Mahogany vanity series, the procedure for putting the stops and guides in place is the same for, say, a chest of drawers.  What isn't covered here in detail is how the kicker is used to keep the drawer from tipping down (that was in a much earlier episode).

I'm a lot further on the project than this indicates; I think you'll really find the next three episodes interesting even if you never make something like this.  Hopefully they'll spark ideas!

Lastly, I decided to play with the video caption file.  I've edited the file into coherent English so you can use the CC button to get English subtitles.  That's not interesting.  What is interesting is if you hover over the CC and pick a translation.  It will use Google Translate on-the-fly to translate the subtitles into a language of your choice.  I watched it in French that way and was impressed at how understandable it was other than some homophones.  I wish they had a Pig Latin translator...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Knew Concepts Fretsaw Review

The recent 6-video series on hand-cut dovetail joints proved one thing: people are curious about that fretsaw :)

Many people know me from various forums so I'd get asked about it through messages there or Twitter or, yes, even blog comments!  Enough questions that I thought to run a quick (?) video review of the saw.

The saw is a Knew Concepts' titanium 5" woodworkers' fretsaw (say that 5 times fast).  The titanium model is pricy; obtaining and working titanium is difficult.  The aluminum model is nicely anodized red and is nearly as stiff as the gun-metal grey titanium model.  The aluminum model is a steal considering how much other companies charge for anodized CNCed aluminum straight edges.

Fretsaws take scrollsaw blades.  Lee Marshall, who owns Knew Concepts, turned me on to Ben's Scroll Saw blades.  Great price, excellent selection including metal or inlay blades.  Since the fretsaw takes standard scrollsaw blades, you can get them anywhere, but thought I'd suggest where I've had great service so save you searching.

In the dovetail series, I used a #7 skip-tooth blade (15 tpi).  The skip-tooth design, much like a bandsaw blade, gives you good chip removal so you can cut quickly.  #7 is just a nice size... not so small I'm snapping them but not too big either.  If you decide to order some, put some metal-cutting blades in your cart; I did "just in case" and have used them a number of times in place of a rough-cutting hacksaw.

There are also reversing blades with teeth going both directions a bit like those new Bosch jigsaw blades.

Beyond dovetails, I use this saw a lot.  Much more than I expected.  For example, in the current vanity series, the drawer fronts get two fretsawed cuts in each to form a recess.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hand-Cut Dovetails - Mitered and Off-The-Saw

Ah, the last dovetail set of videos in this series!  wahoo!  Banners fly! People cheer! :)

When I started the series, I listed the 5 videos I intended to produce, but the idea of the mitered dovetails came to mind.  I did mitered dovetails in the boxes for a jewelry box series, but they were done using the Bridge City Toolworks Jointmaker Pro, so the method of doing them is a little buried in there.  I decided to simply add a (bonus!) video since I think mitered dovetails look really elegant.  The method presented takes very very little time over your regular basic dovetails; so little in fact that I'm now thinking all my basic dovetails will be mitered.  It really hit home while editing the video.

The second video here completes the 5-video "joinery series" presented on hand-cut dovetails. It shows how to do off-the-saw dovetails, which are just that: quick n dirty.  I show a couple tricks for helping them come out nice.  These are worth practicing with your dovetail saw and fretsaw as they are really useful for shop boxes and backs of drawers.

So here you go! First up, the bonus video on mitered dovetails:

And lastly, the video on off-the-saw dovetails:


Addendum: many people have asked me about the fretsaw I use. Enough, in fact, that it prompted me to make a review of the Knew Concepts fretsaw.