Thursday, October 28, 2010

Maker's Mark

At the start of July 2010, I ordered 30 custom made brass plates to label my furniture projects (see blog post.) Today, just under 4 months later, they arrived, and don't they look snazzy.

Despite being a little slow, Vidi at Maker's Mark lived up to his reputation with great product and service. (Though I thought I ordered the smaller 25mm version.)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wenzloff & Sons: 9" Dovetail

I'm not usually one to get excited about a new high quality hand tool... oh wait... that's not true.. I am. Today I finally took receipt of what will become a prized tool in my collections, a Wenzloff & Son's 9" Dovetail Saw.

Wenzloff & Son is a family based business that produce a variety of saws based on traditional design. Although machines are used in the manufacture the process is very labour intensive. The teeth are handset and filed (sharpened) and the handle is hand finished and sanded. A serious piece of woodworking equipment.

The saw I selected was purchased from Lee-Valley and is based on the Harvey Peace original (I think). Made from Swedish spring-steel 0.020" thick, it has about 0.006" of total set to give a kerf of just 0.026". It measures 13-3/4" overall with a 9" blade and 1-3/4" cutting depth. Weighs 11 oz. Giving near exact statistics as the equivalent Lie-Nielson (the company that made my tenon saws) and slightly longer than the Adria.

It feels well balanced, and comfortable in the hand. With three projects requiring a variety of dovetails lined up for Christmas this little beauty is going to get some use.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Harold & Saxon Chisels

Australian Company Harold & Saxon Chisel & Tool Co. make the finest chisels in the world. Each chisel is made to order by a bloke named Trent  in Oxenford Queensland. At the Melbourne Timber and Working with Wood Expo this weekend, like the Sydney Show, the company forms part of the Australian Quality Tools stand.  The range includes bevel chisels, mortise chisels, heavy duty mortise chisels (big stickers), and a new premium range (with ferules of titanium or gold plate.) 

The above photo from this weekend's expo, posted on the Woodwork Forums, is a complete set made over two years for forum member KevJed. I count 31 chisels including pairing skew chisels, bench chisels, mortise chisels, custom mallet, and leather strop.

I think it's time to upgrade my $20 for 3 Irwin chisels.

Other Woodwork Forum Gloats

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tool Review: Makita 4351FCT Jigsaw

Earlier this year I purchased a Makita 4351FCT Jigsaw from Sydney Tools. Official Stats: Length of Stroke 26mm, Max. Cutting Capacity 135mm (wood) & 10mm (steel), Angle cutting -45-45. Continuous Rating Input 720W, Strokes per Minute 800-2,800, and Weight 2.4kg.

I needed a tool to make some curved cuts and rough cuts in a safer manner than using a circular saw on a non-flat slabs. A bow-saw is romantic but I'd have to build it, and I was in a hurry. A bandsaw would be great, but they're a bigger investment than what I was after.

Makita is my preferred brand for power tools. I find them simple, rugged, powerful, and well built. I chose the 4251FCT as it had variable speed, a high wattage of power, and the pistol (cf: D shape) handle.

So how does it perform. 

Pros.  It fulfilled the job it was bought to do and was very handy in rough cutting from slabs and refining the curve in milled pieces. It is indeed a powerful unit, well capable of making the 50mm deep cuts into hardwood. The handle design is very comfortable and makes the tool easy to control. Vibration is well controlled. It comes with a sturdy case. Sydney Tools were easy to deal with and provided prompt delivery.

Cons: I had some initial trouble with blades. I found they weren't cutting at 90 degrees but rather bending and cutting angles. This resulted in a ruined piece of wood and a several snapped blades. Eventually I bought some Bosch hardwood blades which worked well. It lacked several important accessories. A circle cutter, parallel guide, and dust extraction hood are listed as options, but are not included and not easily available. In tougher timbers the vibration although still tolerable was significant. Although a 135mm cutting depth is advertised I doubt it could be done safely with any precision.

So am I happy with it and would I buy it again?

Yes, and yes. It's simple and works. It does what it was made for and nothing more. I was disappointed most by the lack of accessories.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Planing Cats

Phil over at Blended Woodworking posted this diagram on the theory of hand planes.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Love of Wood - Photo Shoot

I've been asked to take a few photos to represent 'the love of wood'. I tried to combine the elements of woodworking and technology and came up with these. If you have any other creative suggestions let me know by Monday and I'll see what I can do.

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