Setting Up The Workshop

As the commercial furniture market becomes saturated with mass-produced pedestrian objects, more and more people are exploring the option of designing and making their own unique pieces. The first question that is often asked is, “what tools do I need?”.

As a power tool trainer and specialist tool salesman for over ten years, my advice is to buy the tools as you need them for a particular project and when you decide on a plan, look at the tools you will need to perform each of the stages of the build. Generally, there are five stages of any project, and you need to have one or two tools from each group to make the piece. The stages are: dimensioning, cutting, joining, detailing, and finishing. Let’s look at each step individually.

*Dimensioning *: The first part of this stage involves transitioning the timber from the milled slab or board size to the size you need for the project. Power tools for this stage include both table saws and handheld electric saws, as well as band saws. Traditional tools for this stage include panel or carpenters saws as well as bow saws.

The second part of dimensioning involves dressing the timber to ensure a flat smooth and most importantly square surface so you can accurately cut and join the various components of the workpiece. Power tools for this stage include thicknessers, jointers, and drum sanders, while a variety of hand planes are generally used to complete this stage in a traditional build.

*Cutting:* When cutting board stock rather than sheet material, the most commonly used power tool to achieve this stage is the slide compound mitre saw. While you can complete this stage with a handheld circular saw it is a lot easier and safer to use a mitre saw. If your project contains sheet material components such as plywood or particle board, you’ll need to use either a circular saw or a table saw. If you’re following the traditional path, then a right quality panel saw and tenon saw would be your preferred tools.

*Joining:* The joinery stage involves the assembly of the various components of the project to achieve its close to finished form. If you want to use power tools at this stage you’ll need a cordless or corded drill, which will enable you to use things like pocket hole jigs or dowelling jigs; otherwise, tools such as biscuit or domino joiners allow you to complete a successful joint. The hand tool path is more complicated at this stage and calls for the use of hand saws and chisels to cut mortice and tenon or dovetail joints. While more complex this is a technique that is well and truly worth learning as it will raise the overall standard of our pieces to a much higher level.

*Detailing:* The detailing stage of the build is where you add ornamentation such as round overs, bevels or inlays to the edges of the piece to enhance the overall design. If you’re building using power tools the primary tool you’ll need is a router which, with the correct cutters will enable you to create a variety of decorative treatments. In the traditional build, you’ll need a router plane or a selection of moulding planes as well as a variety of chisels and scrapers.

*Finishing:* The finishing stage is the final part of the build where the surfaces are fully sanded before the application of the lacquer or varnish. The most commonly used power tool for this stage is the random orbital sander. Often available in either 4 inches, (125mm) or 6 inches, (150mm), a variable speed random orbital sander will become one of the most regularly used tools in your workshop. If you’re following a traditional build, you’ll need a sanding block and a range of sanding sheets ranging from 80 grit to 1000g grit to hand sand the surface to a satisfactory finish.

When you’re buying tools, either power or hand, always try to get the best tool you can for the budget you have.  If you need to get some savings somewhere, I would forgo purchasing a thicknesser initially as most timber yards will cut timber and dress it to size for you for a minimal cost.

As usual your questions and comments are appreciated

Cheers,

Bryan

The General Digital Sliding T-Bevel.

Hi All,

One of the projects that I’ve been putting a lot of time into recently is a book on pushing  the boundaries on router trammel work so you can create pieces such as the Septafoil frame shown below.

(Please keep in mind the frame in the photo is a draft piece cut out  of a 25mm thick MDF sheet and was created to test the process i’ve developed. The next one will be in hardwood)

Septafoil Blog

The frame is trammel routed using the Festool MFS routing template long with my trusty Festool OF1010 router.

Frames like this are an exercise in geometry and begin as a design on my sketchpad which is where I create the form, and work out the angles and measurements so I can transfer them to my full size panel.

A couple of months ago I discovered the General Digital sliding T bevel and since then my design work has moved forward in leaps and bounds.

I use the general to set angles in sketches, to assess how a variation in angle changes the structure I’m developing and when I’m happy with a design, to quickly and accurately transfer the design onto a panel.

Please take the time to watch the video here which shows more applications for this awesome tool.

The General has four buttons next to the digital display which you use to operate the tool.

They are;

Power, the red one.

Zero, to zero the tool for use

Hold Flip, which either lock the current measurement on the display or flips the display so you don’t have to look at it upside down.

Reverse, Which changes the display from an reflex angle , (between 180 and 360 degrees) to a an acute angle.

 

General 2_edited-1

All in all this is one of the most  useful tools I’ve come across recently and I am certain you’ll find it a worth addition to your toolbox.

Want one – Click here

As always, your questions and comments are appreciated.

Be safe and have fun.

Cheers

Bryan

The Profi Scale Moisture Meter

Moisture 2 Hi All,

Sadly,  I had a death in the tool box last week. after one too many drops, my old moisture meter finally gave up.

So after a suitable period of mourning, (about 12 seconds) I decided to update to to the new Profi scale moisture meters by Burg Wachter that arrived in the shop last week.

 

 

 

Whats cool about these meters is that as well as measuring the moisture level of wood you can quickly change the settings so you can measure the moisture content of plasterboard, (drywall) screed and gypsum as well as ambient temperature in Celsius and Fahrenheit.

The tech specs for the moisture meter is shown here:

Technical data

Measurement range Wood: 4 – 60 %Moist 3
Solid materials: 0.2 – 3.0 %
Resolution Wood: 1 %
Solid materials: 0.1 %
Accuracy Wood: < 30 %: ± 2 % ≥ 30 %: ± 4 %
Solid materials: < 1.4 %: ± 0.1 %
≥ 1.4 %: ± 0.2 %
Power supply 4 × 1.5 V (e. g. LR44)
Optimum ambient conditions 0 °C – 40 °C, air humidity: < 85 %
Storage temperature -10 °C – 50 °C,
air humidity: < 85 %

 

When I use a  moisture meter I’ll always  take  a number of readings from different points on the timber then work out an average. The meter was simple to use moisture 1and  when I measured the same point in the
timber 4 times I got the same read every time, ( unlike my old meter)

Also in the manual is this handy table which give you a rough idea of how to interpret the data from the meter.

Humidity content in weight percent
Humidity status Wood        Screed, gypsum, plaster
Inoffensive 2 – 15 %              0,2 – 0,3 %
Borderline 15 – 19 %            0,4 – 0,9 %
Too humid > 20 % > 1,0 %

Please keep in  mind when using this scale that it’s only a general idea. Moisture content varies between species and where you are in the world. Remember to take multiple readings and work out an average.

What I also love about this meter is the size, (See photo below), and the price.

moisture 4At under $40.00 (AUD) its an absolute bargain for all the features it has. If you’re in the market for a new meter have a look here.

Thats all for now guys, as always be safe and have fun,

Cheers

Bryan

 

 

The Festool BHC 18, Cordless Rotary Hammer Drill

Hi All,

Another new tool to the Festool cordless line up is the new BHC 18 rotary hammer drill. This 2 mode rotary teams a festool brushless motor, with a 4.2ah battery which produces 1.8 Joule of power and has the capacity to drill 18mm in concrete, 13mm in steel and 25mm in wood.

The first video is from Festool and even though it’s in German, it’s one of the first videos i’ve seen that clearly shows the piston and hammer action which gives the rotary hammer drill its power. Try to pause the video at about the 33 second mark to get a good look at the guts of the tool.

Also worth noting is the anti vibration system which is essential for continual and safe use of this style of tool.

The next video is from Peter Parfitt’s New Brit Workshop and gives a really good overview of the tool including demonstrating the interconnect ability of the BHC 18v batteries with the 15.6 batteries from the standard Festool range. Make sure you pause the video around the 10min 40 second mark so you can have a look at new dust adapter which fits on a standard Festool hose  and will give you dust free drilling for rotary hammer drilling for holes up to 12mm in diameter

I haven’t got a firm release date for this yet but anticipate it being released around August 1 to coincide with the release of the TSC 55.

As more info comes to hand I’ll post it here to keep you up to date.

As always, be safe and have fun,

Cheers

Bryan

bhc 3

The Festool CT 17E Extractor

Hi Guys,

I’ve finally had a chance to put pen to paper and complete my write up of the new CT 17E extractor.

It’s one of the Protool to Festool conversions and has evolved from the Protool VCP 170E. I found to be an excellent and highly efficient machine and to date has performed all the work I’ve expected of it with no hiccups at all.

Click on this link  The CT17E Extractor to read my full review of this awesome little machine.

One of the best features of this machine is the price. at under $450 (AUD) with a 36mm hose and cleaning set it’s an absolute bargain. Click Here to check out the CT 17 on the Just Tools website.

In all honesty, if you’re on a budget an want a small fully featured extractor for under $500 you cant go past this!

As always, thanks for reading and feel free to post any questions of comments.

Be safe and have fun.

Cheers

Bryan

 

The Festool Vectro OS 400

Vectro 1
Hi Guys
Another new Festool product came to my attention today. The OS400 Vectro is an oscillating tool which looks to me to be modelled after the Fein Supercut. I must admit that this one caught me by surprise and I’m intrigued to see this tool and see how it compares to the Fein Multimaster and Supercut range. The marketplace for this type of tool is pretty crowded but i’m sure that having “Festool” stamped on the side will drive sales.

At present I have no further info as to release dates, price and English Info or videos. The Product pdf which you can view here ( VECTURO)  comes from the Leza tool company in Belgium.

I’ll investigate further and post any further updates as they come to hand.

As always, be safe and have fun.

Cheers

Bryan

The New TSC55, Cordless Plunge Saw

tsc 4

Hi Guys,

Well,the rumours are true, Festool today have announced the release of the TSC 55, the cordless version of the ever popular TSR55 plunge saw. Due for European release on the 1st of April the TSC 55 is powered by two 18 volt lithium Ion batteries which will  cut in excess of 30 meters of 35mm benchtop

Please watch the video here to give you more of an idea of this exciting new addition to the Festool range.

At this stage there is no information available as to ETA, Price or scope of delivery. My best guess is that we’ll see it sometime later this year, possibly around October.

tsc 21

tsc3-2

Please watch this space. As more information becomes available I’ll post it here.

As always your comments and questions are available.

Be safe and have fun..

Cheers

Bryan

The New Festool Conturo, (no, it’s not an armchair)

conturo
In keeping with their  philosophy of thinking outside the box Festool has again demonstrated that they’re the most innovative tool company on the planet with the release of their new edge banding system,  the Conturo
The Conturo allows for the easy and clean application of a variety of thicknesses and widths of edge banding (lippings)  to all types of manufactured timber boards including ply, mdf & chipboard.
As well as handling straight edges the contour easily applies branding to bevels, internal and external curves.

The attached videos from Festool UK will help you explain the machine in greater detail so if you’re interested please take the time to watch them

Introduction


Applying edging.

Applying edging to curved surfaces,

Edge Banding internal Corners/

The Conturo has been released in the UK and from what Ive heard it’s doing fairly well there. Festool Australia have advised me that they don’t have a release date or pricing yet, but looking at the UK pricing I’d guess that it will retail for around the $3900 to $4450 mark.

Like all Festool Tools it’s got a fairly hefty price but looking at what the tool can do it’s sure to be a time saver, particularly on site.

As more information comes to hand I’ll post it on this site so watch this space…..

As always your comments and questions are appreciated . Thanks for reading.

Be safe and have fun.

Cheers

Bryan

The Works Of Chris Vesper

chris 1JPG

Hi All

As a woodworker for over 20 years I, as many of us do, have an appreciation of finely made hand tools. They seem to make a job flow a bit  easier and a quality tool feels “right” in your hands. About six years ago during my time at Festool I had the chance to get to know an up and coming toolmaker by the name of Chris Vesper. Over the  next few years and countless working with wood shows I came to know Chris fairly well and purchased a number of tools from him which I used in the training sessions I ran for Festool.

My undoubted favourite would have to be the sliding bevel ( pictured) which still sees regular use most weekends setting out dovetails.

After I left Festool lost touch with Chris but caught up with him again at this years Working with Wood show. It was great to see that Chris’s range is still expanding and his reputation as a quality toolmaker is still growing.

pwm1213_250 (1)I was delighted to see a feature length article on Chris in the December 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking magazine which was written by the hand tool maestro Christopher Schwarz, of “Lost Art Press” fame.  It’s outstanding to see a local Aussie toolmaker featured in an international magazine of this standing. 

You can see more of the tools made by Chris on his Vesper Tools website.  Please keep Chris in mind if you need to update your layout tools and lets support Australian made tools.

As always, be safe and have fun

Cheers

Bryan

chris aaa2 chris bbbb1

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