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

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Calibrating The TS55R Blade

Five Minutes With Festool – The TS55

Let’s assume that we’ve just had a blade sharpened and we need to check the calibration between the cutting depth and the depth scale. Remember that when a  saw blade is sharpened, you invariably lose a small amount of the blade diameter. After one sharpen it may not be noticeable, but after two or three sharpens there can be a  variation in your cutting depth.

 This method can also be used to fine tune the cutting depth if you’re using the saw on a different brand of guide rail, (not that I’d recommend that), as there can be a variation in the standard 5mm thickness between brands. 

To calibrate the blade on a TS55R, place the base of the saw on a piece of paper (A4 copy paper is ideal), on a  flat, smooth surface and set the depth guide to zero. As we’re not on the guide rail make sure you use the unmarked indicator rather than the FS indicator.

Set To Zero
Depth Gauge set to zero. Note the blade calibration knob to the right of the FS mark.
plunged
Fully Plunged, note the plunge stop resting on the calibration knob.

Once set, gently plunge the saw down until it stops and look to see if the tips of the blade are touching the paper

Blade too high
Blade too high

Adjust by turning the calibration knob on the top of the saw until the tips of the blade just touch the piece of paper and you’re done.

Blade Set
Blade set correctly

 

 

A good habit to get into is to periodically check this to make sure that your TS55 is working at its best at all times. 

I hope you found this “Five minutes with Festool” useful and as always your questions and comments are appreciated.

Have fun and be safe,

Cheers

Bryan

Festool, technique, training, TS55R, cool tools, blades, woodwork, power tools,

Festool Vecturo OS 400 Update

Hi All,

I’ve had a couple of days off work with a rotten dose of the Flu and now that my brain is beginning to work again I’ve had a chance to trawl the web to come up with any info I could find on the new Festool products that will potentially be hitting our shores this year.

The Vecturo OS 400.

From discussions I have  had with both Festool (Aust) and Fein (Aust) I can now confirm that the Vecturo is a joint venture between Festool and Fein and is a Fein Supercut that has been “Festoolized”.

Have a look at the video below that’s presented by Frank Jaksch, from Festool  Germany for a good overview of the tool and make sure that you pay particular attention to the depth stop accessory and the positioning aid that are shown in the video. The positioning aid looks particularly interesting to me as it looks to solve the challenge of getting a square plunge cut which is a problem with any oscillating tool.

I’ll be interested to see how Festool market the Vecturo in Australia as any Fein stockist will confirm that the Fein Supercut is a bloody hard tool to sell owing to the price and the requirement for different blades. ( The Supercut can use multimaster blades with an adapter)

As yet there is no firm release date for the Vecturo in Australia but given that it has not hit Festool UK yet I think that it’s fairly certain that we wont see it here till the first quarter of 2015.

Anyway, thats all I have on the Vecturo. As more information comes to hand I’ll post it here.

As always be safe and have fun,

Cheers

Bryan

Vectro 1

The New TSC55, Cordless Plunge Saw

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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.

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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

A Handy Hose Adapter from Protool

Hi All,

Just a short post today about one of those handy little things which will save you heaps of time.

 

quick1

The quick stem hose adapter from Protool effortlessly converts a 36mm hose to a 27mm port

so you can easily use your large hose, which    you’d normally use with tools like the

Kapex, Planex or renovation grinders, with tools like the Rotex, Domino or Jigsaws.

 

 

 

 

 

quick2
I discovered them about a year ago and have been selling them weekly since.

At less than $30.00 (Australian) they’re an absolute must have  for the tool kit.

 

 

 

 

 

quick3

The part number is 768135, and they should be available from most good Festool dealers.

If you can’t find one email me and I’ll see what I can do to help you out.

 

 

 

 

 

quick4

As always, be safe and have fun.

Cheers

Bryan.

Fitting an I.A.S module to a CT26 Extractor

Hi Everyone,

The opportunity came up last week for me to fit a IAS module to a CT26 extractor so I thought, as it’s a very uncommon request i’d take some photos to show you  how it’s done. For those of you who are scratching their heads and wondering what the hell i’m talking about, let me take a moment to explain.

The IAS, (integrated air supply)  module is part of Festool’s pneumatic sanding system and allows you to hook up a air operated sander to your CT 26 or 36 extractor for tool actuated pneumatic sanding. Once the module is installed you can decide on wether you go the hole hog and use the Festool IAS adapters and hoses  which connect to the LEX range of Festool Pneumatic sanders or simply connect an airline to the port on the extractor and use the the standard CT hose to connect to your non Festool air sander.

The beauty of the Festool system lies in the IAS hose. It is a complete unit which incorporates a central air line in which is surrounded by another hose which removes the excess air. Both of these hoses are encased in a 36mm antistatic hose which removes the sanding dust from the sander.

My client had been given a LEX 150/7 sander so he opted for the whole Festool setup.

Have a look at the photos for the set up process.

ct26ias.1

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ct26ias.8ct26ias.7

Whilst primarily designed for the automotive industry my client, who’s a furniture finisher is using the sander with a great deal of success as a coarse sander to cut back rough surfaces on timber slabs  prior to finishing with his electric sanders.

If you’re thinking of going this way just keep two thing in mind; firstly, for air sanding operations you need a big air compressor. The module does not turn the extractor into an air compressor, (and yes i’ve been asked on more than one occasion). The second thing to take into consideration is the cost. it’s bloody expensive.

As always guys, thanks for reading. Your questions and comments are always appreciated.

Be safe and have fun!

Cheers

Bryan

Festool Hand Sanding Pad


Hand sanding pad

For those occasions when an electric sander is too aggressive or when you’re sanding delicate materials such as small mouldings, the hand sanding pad, (Festool part # 495966) is an absolute gem.

The pad features a Velcro backing which wraps around the piece and easily accepts all styles of 150mm diameter abrasives. I’ve teamed it up with the new series of Granat papers to sand small timber mouldings up to 1500 grit for a project I’m working on and have been extremely satisfied with the results to date.

Available as either a hard or soft pad and selling for under $40.00 they’re a worthwhile addition to your sanding kit.

As always, your questions and comments are appreciated

Be safe and have fun,

Cheers

Bryan

TS55R & CMS Module

Hi Guys

 

Todays post is all about the new CMS module for the TS55R plunge saw. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the CMS system, it is in essence a Triton workcentre on steroids.

It offers a really accurate and easy to use module for the TS55R saw, a module for the PS300, 400, and hopefully PS420, jigsaws, a linisher module and possible the most outstanding router table on the market today, the CMS-OF, which fits all of Festool’s routers. though, my personal favourite is to use it with the OF 2200.

Please watch below to see the Wood Whisper’s video review on the CMS router table.

I had fun with the CMS TS55R unit but must admit to being a bit perplexed by the lack of clear assembly instructions and the inclusion of components from the old CMS TS55 Module

Please click here, (CMS TS55R) to read my full article.

As always, your questions and comments are appreciated.

Be safe and have fun

Cheers

Bryan

Sharpening Hints


One of the more common questions I get on a weekly basis in the shop has to do with the best was to sharpen hand tools. We have the Tormek T7 and T3  sharpening systems the shelf and whilst they’re excellent units, the price does end to put a lot of people off.

I’m a hand sharpener and use a combination of diamond plates, Japanese water stones and a leather strop to sharpen all my chisels and hand plane blades.

If I’m reworking a very dull chisel I’ll usually start with a coarse diamond plate of around 320 grit which is particularly good for removing any nicks or small chips from the blade.
I’ll then move up to a 600g, then an 800 plate, 1200 plate and a 2000g plate. From there I move up to a 4000g Japanese water stone and then finish with a leather strop dressed with honing compound. At every stage of sharpening I always sharpen the bevel, then flip the tool over and flatten the back.

I find that this process gives me a uniform mirror finish on the tool which stays sharp for a long time,( depending on the timber).

The biggest issue nearly all of us have had when learning to sharpen is to figure out the best way to set the angle of the chisel or plane blade so that we can get accurate and repeatable results. There are a mountain of jig systems available to help you set the angle but I’ve found that a simple jig which you can make up yourself offers one of the best and most cost effective solutions available.

The plan for the Deneb Puchalski Angle Setting Jig features on the Lie Nielsen Australia website, but for convenience you can click here for a direct link to the plan and here for a direct link to the really useful Lie Nielsen sharpening guide.

As always your questions and comments are appreciated.

Be safe and have fun

Cheers
Bryan

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