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

10 comments:

  • pmelchman said...
     

    Paul
    great video. I'm still working on mine when I get a chance. What kind of router fence is that?

    patrick melchior

  • Anonymous said...
     

    It is great to see a reliable method for setting up a lock miter bit. I love the result of a lock miter joint but detest the usual trial and error method that normally goes with setting it up. Good work as always PM. Thanks for the video.

  • Anonymous said...
     

    Have you seen the lock miter master? Looks more straightforward than this measuring.

    http://www.infinitytools.com/2-Pc-Lock-Miter-Master-Jig-Set-For-3_8-1-1_8-Stock-Setup/productinfo/00-LMM/?gclid=CIz0zYLb6boCFQE6QgodrkgAeg

  • Paul-Marcel St-Onge said...
     

    Thanks, Patrick... the router fence is one from Woodpeckers. The whole table is, actually. I cut the table to insert it into the extension wing of the SawStop. Not a bad fence; some fences have an end port for dust so the connection can be more out of the way, but this one works. The 2.5" hose that connects to the fence is connected to the dust box under the table (I made that; check the video on my Pimped SawStop). The DC's 4" hose connects to that dust box. There's a cross-ventilation 2.5" hole on the other side of the dust box (which actually means I can connect that hose from either side)

  • Paul-Marcel St-Onge said...
     

    Thanks, Anonymous #1 :)

    I haven't looked at the Infinity jig, Anonymous #2. Looks straight forward enough to use. After learning how to setup the GrooveCenter, I can pretty much guess how to do it with that jig even without the video. Just wonder how accurate it gets you to the correct setup?

    Thanks for letting us know!

  • Amitch13 said...
     

    Hi Paul,
    Great Video, I guess it could also be used on a drill press for easy fence setting?
    Any thoughts?

  • Anonymous said...
     

    Hi Paul,
    Great Video, I guess it could also be used on a drill press for easy fence setting?
    Any thoughts?

  • Paul-Marcel St-Onge said...
     

    That's a great idea! Never thought of it :)

    My drill press table is sacrificial so chucking up a 1/2" bit and drilling a 1/2" deep hole in it wouldn't be a problem. You could then insert the GrooveCenter's 1/2" cylinder into that hole to adjust the fence so any drill bit would be centered.

  • Anonymous said...
     

    Could you not just turn it upside down and use it in the drill chuck

  • Paul-Marcel St-Onge said...
     

    ...and that's a better idea :) Definitely would work. Sorry, I'm at work not thinking things through as much :)