Saturday, March 10, 2012

Some new shop accessories

Last weekend, I went to Los Angeles for a family function.  I stayed an extra day to see a woodworker friend of mine, hang out, and bounce some ideas off him (he's notoriously creative).

We went to Eagle Tools for what he said was an errand.  That place was a total toy shop.  I've never seen a bigger fully stocked area of Festools ever; every accessory, every size Systainer, even oodles of pads for the RAP polisher (to show how even the obscure stuff was piled high).  When my eyes popped out, my friend said, "see, payback, this time I'm gonna get you spending on tools".  Makes that sound like a bad thing!  :)

The back warehouse had about every tool imaginable setup for touching.  The back was a store room for Inca tools and parts (so, if you're an Inca fan, this place has you covered).  The bandsaw area had Agazzani saws of all sizes right up to a 36" behemoth.

While not an obscure accessory at all, I did pick up 2 Bench Dog push pads.  -yawn- how un-exciting is that?  But I have to say, I never looked at those before and they are hefty, great hand grip, and the pad underneath is noticeably more grippy than the generic ones the chain stores sell. I tried them on freshly planed Maple from all kinds of angles and pressures... never slipped even after getting them dusty.
So if your generics look like mine, I think you'll like these.

I also spotted a micro-adjuster for a rip fence that was installed on a General table saw.  It said it worked on a number of other fences including the SawStop fence.  Well, kinda.
I screwed in a small piece of scrap and put the fence anchor piece on the scrap as the sides of my rip fence don't project out far enough to just pop it on.  Super trivial modification.

The way it works is simple: when you want to micro-adjust, flip down the part on the handle (the part that says General)... it has a strong magnet in it that holds it to the fence rail.  Unlock your fence then turn the knob for micro-adjust.
When you are done with it, just flip the magnet back up; it may look like it is in the way of reading the measurement, but that's the camera angle as it isn't in the way at all.

I was using it tonight for sizing some shims for T-track for the drill press table and it was easy to use and nicer than the ol' tap-tap-crap!-tap-tap routine.

Funny story time: my friend wanders by while I'm looking at the micro-adjuster. "What's that?" So I explain.  He gets a serious look, "oh, you're gonna make me buy it; now you're getting me back again!"  ha ha!  He has Inca table saws so he went and dug around the back of the warehouse to find a new-in-the-box micro-adjuster from Inca.  Told you, the place is crazy.

Other interesting side story: the SawStop's design is based on Inca's table saws.

The last day of any trip to Los Angeles always includes a shopping trip to Marukai Market in Gardena.  It's how I exit the city on the 91, which starts by the store :)  I love cooking Japanese food and though locally I can get more than I could years ago when I started going to Marukai, it is the CostCo of all things 和風の料理.

The kitchen section usually has some interesting finds and this time I found a few things that are for the shop and work really well.

Naturally, a package of bamboo skewers; I use these a lot in the shop for cleaning glue nozzles, dropping glue in drilled holes, stirring satin varnishes, scraping off dried varnish from jars, and sometimes I make yakitori with them.  Chopsticks are also immensely useful in the shop and at about $1 for a bazillion, you should stock up!

I also grabbed 2 plastic Norpro scrapers; these should be useful for scraping off squeeze-out when it's snotty.  Glue won't really stick to these so that's nice.  Also, scraping a utility knife on the edge sharpened them up for better scraping.  These are easily found in kitchen shops.

The bowls are called silicone pinch bowls.  Normally any small bowl is a pinch bowl in the kitchen, but these mean you can literally pinch them.  You'll see the frontmost one has Titebond 3 in it.  I rolled it around so the sides were all covered because I wanted it to dry in the bowl as a test.  The surface tension on that silicone is so high that the glue just ran to the bottom and wouldn't surface the sides.  Very nice.

I left it in the bowl for 2 days.  Here's the play-by-play of removing it:

I'm going to like that!

The bowls are from Trudeau.  (With the exception of Tremblay, no name is more French Canadian than Trudeau!)

Okay, writing this up has me hungry from some sakura mochi.  nom nom nom....


  • Marty said...

    I've never been there, but I see that they are only ~15 miles from my house. I think I'll pay them a visit next Saturday. Thanks for the tip.

    I was almost going to pull the trigger on a purchase of those push blocks (based on some other positive reviews). I have a few which just don't grip much any more. But first I thought I'd try an experiment. I cut some pieces of rubber drawer liner (the kind of stuff that you can buy at a Target type store) and attached them to my existing push blocks with some spray adhesive.

    Now they have great grip. Give it a shot if you still have your old blocks.

  • Dyami Plotke said...

    Looks like you had a great trip. I have the same push blocks, and they're fantastic. Good choice.

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Good tip about the drawer liner, Marty. I still have the old ones in a recycle bin so I can 'recycle' them to try it.

    You have the right frame of mind if you are going to 'pay' Eagle Tools a visit :) Unless you meant Marukai in which case, go hungry cuz the food court is awesome.

    Thanks for confirming my impression, Dyami!

  • Eric said...

    Eagle Tools is a great place. Dropped a lot of money there a year ago (I live in Salt Lake). Jesse is great to work with.

    As for the push pads, I use grout floats from Home Depot. They have large handles and they don't slip. Best of all, they are cheap. Unlike a visit to Eagle.