Monday, November 18, 2013

Hand-cut Dovetails on Compound-Angles - Tidbits

A couple days after posting the previous video on compound-angles for hand-cut dovetails, someone wrote me wondering why they couldn't use one of the two bevel gauges for determining the horizontal line on the last joint, the one with both boards inclined off 90º.  As the first video tried to show, the stolen angle for that horizontal line didn't match either reference bevel gauge, though one was close :)

In this short video, I show you a faster way to get the angle for the horizontal edges on the pin board; it's what I used when I did the drawers for Angle Madness.  I'll also try showing you what happens with the miter angle on the pin board as the pin board's inclination changes. You don't need to know this to cut the compound angles -- the procedure remains unchanged -- but it will help visualize the changing function.

I originally recorded this as a private video for Etienne to clarify things, but later realized it would likely be useful to others.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Review of Valfor Tools' GrooveCenter and 2-axis Depth Gauge

Awhile ago I saw some posts about Valfor Tools on a forum. Their GrooveCenter caught my attention because it works similarly to the Bridge City KM-1 and TM-1 in that it configures itself directly off your stock to "compute" an offset; no measuring involved.  Some time later, Sjoerd the CEO contacted me to give it a spin along with the 2-axis Depth Gauge.

The GrooveCenter works especially well for the daunting-to-configure locking miter bit; never used a locking miter where I could dial in the fence and bit height easily and have it dead on.  Its primary function is to provide a fence offset for your router table to center the router on the stock.

In this review, I talk about both products then show you how to use it for the locking miter bit. If you like using a locking miter bit, skip the bit vendor's configuration blocks that only work for certain thicknesses as this tool will work for any thickness (though a locking miter requires both pieces being joined to be the same thickness... they are not yet afflicted with angle madness).

In the video, I show a different procedure for the one-time calibration of the GrooveCenter than the one presented on their web site.  I did this because the unit I received had backlash; any gearing mechanism will show backlash without expensive per-unit processing so this is not a product problem.  The procedure shown here compensates for the backlash, which is always my preference.  In discussions with Sjoerd, he made a change to the design to virtually eliminate the problem and changed all the existing stock himself.  Very cool.  I haven't played with the new design; it will look the same as the change is in the internals.

This was recorded awhile ago, but we wanted to wait until the units were ready.

Hey! Whaddayaknow! There are lights in that corner of the shop now :) Had to install two more lights in there... after the dark grainy guiderail splinter guard video, I needed the MFT better lit.  Then, right after I closed up all the drywall, I face-palmed as I looked at the dark dingy router table area.  It's okay, I like doing drywall

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hand-cut Dovetails on Compound-Angles

Before dovetailing the drawers for Angle Madness, I wanted to work through a procedure to easily "calculate" the compound angles I'd need for the drawers.  I say "calculate" in quotes because I wanted a procedure based exclusively on the use of bevel gauges reading angles in-situ.  This will be useful if you don't have your slide-rule handy...

For the drawers, I need two types of angles: the rear has inclined tail boards with a vertical pin board. The front of the drawers has both inclined tail and pin boards.  Ultimately, they are the same thing since a "vertical" board still has an angle, but there are some shortcuts we can take when only one board is inclined.  Things get only marginally more complicated for a joint with both boards inclined.  Seriously! Only marginally more complicated.

Even if you never plan on doing compound-angle dovetails, the portion of the procedure used to determine the projection of the boards on each other would be useful to make a simple butt joint between angled parts.  But don't stop at the butt; the dovetail is easy!

This episode repeats the procedure 4 times for the different joints. Hopefully that reinforces the procedure without being a snoozer.

Two years ago (already?!) I did a short series of videos on hand-cut dovetails. I'm the first to admit I'm not a great dovetailer, but the methods are there for the ho-hum pins-first/tails-first decision, but also for houndstooth dovetails, mitered dovetails, and others.  This blog entry is the first for the series; the table of contents at the top will show you the others.  Uhg, it was 104ºF in the shop during those videos. There's a reason for wearing all black!!

The next episode of Angle Madness is also partly recorded so I hope to not disappear for a month again :)