Ok, I admit it. I don’t just do woodwork. I also like playing with photography, and have a ham radio license (KC8MNS). It’s the latter that got me in trouble – because coupled with my professional background as a software systems architect (computer programmer) and the love of building stuff, even with electronics, I was ripe for the picking… read about it here
I finished up the drawers this past weekend. The cabinet has just a few items left (cover for the router bay, decisions about the center drawer slots… but the unit is back in service! (read this weeks update here)
Nice to get the shop back into working order. In addition the old cabinet was disassembled for scrap, and I’m reusing some of the hardware in other projects now.
Work continues on the router cabinet rebuild, when I decided to use a simpler technique to create my dado’s.
The work started on the router table rebuild, and as expected, there is more to do than I originally thought…
I’m starting the rebuild process for the router cabinet. I’m not sure how long this will go on, but I plan on blogging this as I go. Feel free to follow along under the projects pages on my site.
The table saw in my shop is a General International 50-
075L185M1 (No, it’s not a saw stop, but that is on my radar now that I have grandkids starting to play in the shop with me). It’s a contractor style that I’ve built into a cabinet with a router table. Unfortunately, the base peice is a sheet of 3/4″ MDF braced with 2×4’s – which has started to delaminate after 6 years. This clean-up may result in a bigger project 🙂
My planer is my apprentice. I like doing things with hand tools, but thickness planing is really a workout. I can do it, and when the wood is too wide for the planer, depending on the circumstances, I will handle the thicknessing by hand. For the other 99.9% of the stuff – its through my loud, dusty, and well loved lunch box planer.
About 4 years ago, the lot next to my parents was developed for several houses. We talked with the developer, and managed to go through and mark a number of cherry trees that we wanted to purchase. The developer cut down the trees, cleaned up the trunks, and hauled the logs to the side of the road. We had the wood milled at a local sawyer (Herbine Hardwoods) and split the booty between kiln drying and air drying in our driveway. I’ve put most of the wood (> 2K linear feet) through my planer. It’s taken quite a beating over the years.
I was actually dreading this job – I have not checked the table alignment on the joiner since the day I first set it up. (And I was really not sure how to check it then either, as I didn’t have a reliable straight edge in the shop – I used a metal yardstick on edge at the time). As you may be able to tell from the pictures, the tables were still co-planer – *whew*!
Most of the original power tools I have are rigid brand, as I had a home depot near me at the time. This is their 6″ jointer and it uses indexed knives. The good part is that I don’t have to fiddle with blade alignment when changing the blades. The bad news is that I really can’t resharpen them. What I do need to pay attention to is the cruft that builds up under the blades before I insert a new blade. I lift out the clamp piece, and using a set of picks I got for Christmas one year (finally got to put them to work) I loosed any material that was packed in there, then blew it out with the compressor. The blades are able to drop in to the bottom, and I simply tightened the clamps back down. and of course, I lather, rinse and repeat as there are three blades on this unit.
Next is cleaning and waxing the table tops to keep the wood movement easy. Then I put the fence back in place, and reset it to the default 90 degree setting and that’s another beast back to work.
I don’t remember where I first saw this form of push stick… but I do remember thinking – “That is the right way for me”. A simple plan that I’ve used for several years.
Some push sticks are narrow enough to handle 1″ strips but the form factor is the type that requires a long reach. To me, and more importantly with my technique, I don’t feel safe with that style. The other style I use is a the “paddle” style, which I do really like, but doesn’t work well for cuts where the width is less than 4″.
I like the handle form, where I can press forward a bit to engage the toe, but the center of gravity in my hand is pretty much right over a small hook that is engaged on the trailing edge of the board. There are number of styles out on the internet, so look around to see what suits you best. Most importantly – Use Them!
Since I have the old one (yeah, it gets chewed up over time), I used it as a template and laid out the form on some 1/4″ scrap, and some on a 3/4″ scrap. I pretty much just use plywood for this, I expect MDF would work as well – but I would not try to do the thin ones from solid wood, unless I was sure the grain wasn’t going to give out.
I cut out the forms on the bandsaw, and just sand them down. In the past, I’ve glued strips of sandpaper to the bottoms for extra grip, but have not done that with this set. (at least not yet!)
I’ve long since replaced the drive belt on my bandsaw with a v-link. I did that before I realized that the reason the original belt had been slipping was because I had not tightened the belt tension properly. I’ve left the belt cover on since that replacement, and as I was cleaning up the saw, I removed that cover. I was amazed at the pile of dust that had collected there. I wish I had taken a picture – the box was probably 1/3 full of dust, and the thought of that dust being in contact with the belt pretty much convinced me that this should be part of the yearly tune-up!
2. used compressed air to blow out dust from where I couldn’t vaccuum it out
3. lubricate the thrust bearings and guide bearings (I used the Carter stuff) I’m going to need to replace some of these… only a couple spin freely, and one feels rough. I use a blade and bit cleaner for this step, to remove any build-up in the bearings.
4. clean off and wax the table surface
5. clean off the trunion mounts to remove any dirt or schmutz that has built up there.
7. inspect the tires, I’m looking to make sure the tires are not cracked, have not split, and don’t have any serious ridges from where the blade sits.
8. remount the blade, recheck the tension.
9. reset the bearings (remember to back them all the way off, before remounting the blade!)
10. square the table to the blade to reset the 0 stop
… and life is good again!!