SawStop Sliding Crosscut Table

Unless you live on a deserted island, you have probably already heard about the new SawStop Crosscut Table. Of course if you live there you are probably not seeing this either!

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I received my store demo a couple of weeks ago and was blown away by the design and quality of it. Installation was simple. The hardest part was having to remove the fence rails, as they need to be cut down a bit. This is a pretty simple process, but does take some time. If you can’t cut the rails yourself, any metal working shop should be able to take care of that for you. Other than that, it is a simple matter of removing the left cast iron wing and replacing it with the new table with the four bolts that held the wing. Using the standard mounting you will have a full 48″ crosscut capacity. If you prefer, you can move the sled forward so that it is not in your way using the saw normally. You will loose about a foot in crosscut capacity, but could be a good compromise.

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With the fully adjustable fence, cut any angle up to 60 degrees with ease. Two flip stops come standard, so repeat cuts are a breeze!

Due to high demand, it can take awhile to get yours so consider ordering now. I love mine and know you will too.

Work safe and be Happy!

General CNC 40-915X

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I have recently become a dealer for General’s CNC Machines. I sold my first one on the condition that I would set it up and assist in training the new owner how to operate both the machine and the software. The machine itself is ready to go out of the box. Basically, unpack and find a place to put it–preferably something solid. Needless to say–there is a learning curve with the software and operation of the machine. After some initial issues with getting the software loaded and working (and consulting wih General’s “amazing  technicians” –their words, not mine, although he was helpful) I got it working. After that the iPicture 1.2 software that drives the machine was actually very user friendly (the software’s friendly, not the user–I’m a grump) This machine comes with a CD which includes a lot of gray scale drawings, ready to load into iPicture and carve. This process is quite simple.

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I will go into greater detail in a later blog on using the software. Once you enter the artwork you wish to carve and save the G-code, it is simply a matter of saving to a flash drive. You then insert the flash drive into the machine and go through a quick process to prepare the machine for carving. Trust me, if I can do this and carve something that quickly, it is  not rocket surgery!IMG_2769IMG_2770

These are two of the many drawing provided to get you started.IMG_2768

The General also comes with Artcam Express, allowing you to create your own custom carvings. The learning curve can be a challenge, especially if you are not familiar with art programs, but there are several tutorials available to help you learn. I would highly recommend watching some before you tackle your first project.

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This is my first attempt  at designing in Artcam Express. The background texture and the rose are provided in the software. You can also import pictures and images to create your own. Again, I intend to address this in a later blog.

HAPPY CARVING!

 

Festool Rotex 125

Whenever Festool is mentioned, there are always two totally different responses. One is–I absolutely love it and can’t wait until I can buy more of their products, and two–it is way overpriced and there is no way I’ll ever spend that much on a power tool! My answer to either is the same as my blog on tool value. Maybe, just maybe, both answers are actually very valid, depending on your needs. I do ask though, have you actually used the tool?  Being a professional woodworker for most of my life, I tend to look for the best tools I can find, unless it is truly a one time special job, and then I will rethink that. Often cheap tools have cost me much more in the long run.

Now, back to the Rotex 125. This is certainly not a cheap sander, but having used it, I would highly recommend it if you need a versatile, hardworking tool. While I use other Festool sanders, the RO 125 could be the only sander you own, and not be a sacrifice at all. Since getting the sander, I have basically retired my Porter Cable belt sander. I don’t miss the noise or the dust at all. Even using dust collection, I could sand for 5 minutes and come away covered inside and out with dust. As with any Festool sander, when using with one of their dust collectors, there is virtually no dust, even after a prolonged sanding session. The tool is smooth (when in the fine sand mode) and feels great in your hands. It can be used one-handed, but I recommend using both. The balance is better.

I have been working on quite a few boxes lately, and have been thrilled with the results using my Rotex. I can do a complete box without ever-changing sanders. I am starting with 60 grit paper to get the joints, splines and mill marks cleaned up, and working my way up to 220 grit. With the hook and loop pads, the paper changes are quick, and the paper can be reused until worn out. Using the aggressive mode with the flick of a switch, I quickly cut the surface down flat with out the frequent dips from my belt sander. The size of the 5″ pad is perfect for what I do. Having also used the 6″ RO 150, this sander is better for me.

Then we are back to the original question–Is it worth it? In my opinion–yes!!! 

Over the years I have gone through multiple sanders, and without a doubt, Festool beats them all. And when you look at buying an expensive belt sander and a random orbit sander too, then maybe the price is not necessarily so high after all. With the added value of unmatchable dust collection, I ask my self why I waited so long. I love their stackable Systainers too! It makes transport and storage so much better. Come to think of it, I have yet to find anything I don’t like about my RO 125.

 

 

New Website

For the last year, I have been spending much of my spare time developing my new line of custom boxes. This is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Each “kreation” comes alive with it’s own distinct personality. I get a thrill with the completion of each box. With the availability of so many types of wood, there is no end to the possibilities one can come up with. This is a small sample of my work. I hope you will check out my website. Maybe you will find something you can’t live without.

http://www.kreationsbykent.com/

Thanks for looking.

Kent

More Torque!

Here is another great use for the versatile Torque Work Centre

My son is building a work bench, and needed to drill the dog holes. I can’t think of a simpler, more accurate method

Thanks for looking

Tool Value

Obviously, it has been a while since I have posted. Summer time brings a lot of yard work and other activities, but I would certainly prefer to be in my shop working on a fun project. It seems like just about the time I got my shop somewhat organized, I was pulled in another direction.

However, woodworking and tools remains on my mind. Frequently we all read comments online defending tool purchases. Some are thrilled because the tool was cheap. Others, because they bought the absolute best tool made.

My question then is, was it a good value? My moto has been, cheap tools are the most expensive tools you can buy. This is based on my years of experience having bought some real junk early on in my career. If they don’t do the job properly, or the fail after little use, I consider that a poor purchase. In woodworking, is the quality of cut what you need to produce your work? Is the accuracy there. How much exta time do you spend using poor qualiy tools, or maybe the wrong tool? These questions must be answered on an individual basis. It doesn’t even come down to whether you are a pro or a hobbyist. What, and how much are you building?  What quality level are you after? And then, the all important question is–How much can you spend? What are your priorities. Are you setting up a shop from the ground up? Or are you upgrading tools, or maybe building projects that call for tools you don’t already have?

I frequently hear Harbor Freight purchases defended on the premise that ” I only need it one time”. In that case, that may be a valid arguement for feeling that a really cheap tool is the best value. Personally, I can’t bring myself to buy their power tools no matter how cheap the are. This is not to say that I would never buy other tools from them. I consider some of their products a decent value for me at times. Those who have seen my shop would consider me a tool snob. I guess I couldn’t argue that. I own a lot of really high end tools, especially Bridge City Toolworks products. Are these good value? I can’t say that they are, but I felt they were worth it to me. I absolutely love using these tools. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction. Do I need them to produce good quality work? No, although they do inspire me to work at a higher level. Some people fish and hunt. I buy tools!

I believe Festool is another example to bring up. Whenever the name is mentioned online, there are always  negative comments, usually based on price alone, and so often by those who have never used or even seen the tools in person. Are they “value”. This is a question each individual must ask. Personally I think they are. Are all my tools Festool? Unfortunately not. I can’t afford to go out and replace all my tools, no matter how good they are. Even if I had unlimited resources, would I? I can’t even answer that, and probably will never have to. To me though, the engineering that goes into all their tools is superb. The quality of cut and accuracy is fantastic.

Now, back to my question. What is value when it comes to tools? Honestly, the question has no right or wrong answer, though we all have out own opinion. Do you buy on price alone and brag about the deal you got? Or do you buy the best, which most cannot buy, and brag how much better your tools are? The key is to always examine all the factors–amount of use, quality of work, type of work (do you really need Festool to build craft items for a flea market?), How much use will the tool see in it’s lifetime, and so many other things that will influence the decision.

So often I read of those who buy the tool based on the best price. Then they go on and on about the poor adjustments, or lack of power, or even the fit and finish of the tool.( We seem to understand this when it comes to pricing our own work.) If we cannot, or will not pay for qualiy, do we have the right to expect perfection. Our buying habits have forced manufacturers to seek cheaper ways to make their tools. Maybe, just maybe some of the blame lies with us, but that topic is for another day. (And boy, will that open a can of worms!)

Hopefully this will encourage you to really evaluate your tool decisions on multiple factors, not just price, whichever camp you happen to be in. There is certainly some logic on both sides here.

Thanks for looking

Kent

Cutting Dados, The Easy Way

This is my first attempt at a video and boy did I learn a lot. I never dreamed it could be so complicated. Obviously I know much more about woodworking than computers, but I’m learning. My lovely wife is my photographer and “production engineer”. This has been both fun and frustrating–but I think we may get there.

This is a demo of the Torque Work Centre cutting dados. Hope you enjoy!

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