• Archives
   -- RSS feed
   -- Atom feed

August 5, 2013

Carvex is on the way

Filed under: Tools — cliff @ 1:21 pm

Well, after over two years of delay, the new Festool Carvex jigsaw is about to be released. I’m really excited about this, since the PSB 300 (or was it a Trion?) is the only Festool I’ve ever returned since I could never get a perfectly perpendicular cut in thick materials. I was anxiously awaiting the Carvex back in the Spring of 2011 when the North American release was suddenly canceled and I, like many others, was bitterly disappointed. In the next couple days, I’ll be receiving a pre-release model to check out and I’ll be posting my thoughts as soon as possible!

June 30, 2013

Festool as a general dust collector?

Filed under: Dust collection,Tools,Woodturning — cliff @ 7:54 am

David writes:

I am trying to decide how to proceed with dust collection/extraction in my shop. I am principally a wood turner. I have a Robust American Beauty lathe (I, like you, believe that money spent on good tools is rarely wasted) and the problem is, of course dust when power sanding dry wood. My approach to dust collection while turning is three phased. I see a dust extraction unit to collect the majority of the dust directly at the work as part one; a HEPA filtered air breather helmet (3M AS400) to protect the lungs as the second part; and a ceiling mounted (directly above the lathe) air filtration unit to collect the particles “that got away”as the final step. Presently, I have a large Rikon air filtration unit (61-1250) that I turn on prior to sanding. My practice is to leave the air filtration unit running while sanding and during shop clean up. I turn it off prior to turning off the lights and closing the shop door. I presently use a large shop vac with the hose set close to the work as my dust collector. You can see the vac taking the dust away (I have installed the bags designed for collecting drywall dust in the vac) but this soon has to change. The mystery to me is what to replace the shop vac with. My research indicates that Oneida makes some of the best cyclone dust collectors but I see them perhaps as overkill when my prime concern is collecting dust at the lathe. The larger units (3HP and up) are expensive but I would pay the money if I could be convinced that the money would be well spent. This long winded background story (sorry) leads to my question: I am wondering if you have experience using the Festool dust extraction units while turning? I have read your review on the Festool but you did not specifically mention whether you use it for collecting/extracting dust while turning.

Unfortunately, no, I’ve never used the Festool DE while turning. Offhand, I would think it wouldn’t be a good idea because a) turning tends to generate a *lot* of shavings and would quickly fill up the very expensive bag and b) power sanding on the lathe generates a lot of really fine dust very quickly that would tend to cake up on the inside of the bag or blow through and clog up the even more expensive HEPA filter.

I use a 3hp cyclone from Grizzly that I’ve been extremely happy with, I did a lot of research and felt the Grizzly was just about as good as the Oneida but considerably less money. Given your limited needs, the 2HP model may suffice, especially with a very short duct run. I have a drop by my lathe that connects to a 6″ flex hose that I hold in place with a plywood jig that affixes to the lathe bed with a switchable magnet. While this doesn’t catch all the heavy chips and shavings, it’s pretty good and it’s especially good with sanding, as the airflow is tremendous and gets nearly if not all of the dust.

April 3, 2013

Ultimate precision drill press

Filed under: Tools — cliff @ 12:21 pm

I needed to make some very precisely placed holes in some existing furniture parts. After puzzling over how to make a jig on the drill press, it hit me: just use the milling machine instead!

It worked perfectly. I was able to place the holes absolutely centered and on target. The cross-sliding table was a godsend for being able to precisely tweak the position in thousandths of an inch.

For woodworking, you don’t need a very expensive mill. If you’d like to add this kind of capability to your shop, looked for a used Chinese-made mill. They’re not all that great for metalworking, but really fine for wood.

November 23, 2012

Save on Makita & Bosch!

Filed under: Tools — cliff @ 4:30 pm

Amazon is offering a $25 gift certificate with Makita purchases over $100 and $25 off all Bosch purchases over $100.

Update to the drill review

Filed under: Tools — cliff @ 12:33 pm

One of the very most popular pages on TheWoodNerd is the Lithium Ion Drills review. While updating the pricing, I found that the Makita drill had gone up 25% recently! Given that I thought it was barely suitable before, I have to remove my recommendation now. At $230, it’s just not worth it. The Bosch 36618-02 is hands-down the best drill AND the best value of that bunch.

September 6, 2012

A question on Festool sanders

Filed under: Tools — cliff @ 4:54 am

Erik writes:

I’m new to woodworking and I’m trying to make things happen in a multi unit apartment with a small attached garage…so I’m trying to manage my sound as much as possible. Fortunately the garage is bordered by other garages and a stairway, and seems to have decent sound dampening from the walls.

Finding multiple sanders sanding on the same video without music drowning out the sanding has been challenging so I’m hoping you might be able to provide insight. I about to make my first Festool purchases in the form of a TS 75 + MFT/3 package and a CT 26 E + ??? package. My first thought was to get an RO 150 as a primary general purpose machine., then later add something like an ETS for smoother work when I get there. Further considering also has me wondering about inside corner work (if/when I can’t finish sand before assembly and such) has me considering delta and rectangular sanders.

Do you have a perspective on the RO 150? How much louder it its random orbital mode in comparison to the RO 90 random orbital mode?

If I got the RO 150 I thought of paring it with a RTS 400 for corner, narrow edge and finish sanding…though my Festool rep keeps pushing me towards the Rotex and ETS lines. The largest concern is that some people say the RTS pads will grind up against and scuff materials sticking out perpendicularly of the face you are working on. This argues for consideration of the DTS 400 or RO 90 delta pads.

If I was to try to find one or two sanders for mostly furniture style work what might you consider?
RO 150 + DTS 400 (< 90 degree corner capacity and angled pad edges but can't rotate abrasive sheet)
RO 150 + RTS 400 (90 degree corners but no angled pad edges, good abrasive rotation ability efficiency)
Mirka Ceros 150mm pad/5mm stroke random orbital (Quiet, quiet, and quiet and good for large flat surfaces) + RO 90 (delta for corners, angled pads, abrasive rotation and those cool spacer/bumpers)
RO 90 only, wait to buy something else later if desired?

Hmm, that’s a lot of ground to cover :)

As for my experience, I own the RO90, ETS150, and LS130 sanders. I also did a week-long test-drive of an RO150 demo model from my local Woodcraft dealer. While I don’t recall specifically if or how much louder the RO150 was vs the RO90, it couldn’t have been substantial or I would have noted that. I did, however, find it substantially more difficult to control and decided that I greatly preferred the RO90, whose only downfall was the small head when working large areas like cabinet sides. The ETS150 filled that gap quite nicely and I’ve been very happy with it.

Given your situation, I think you’d be happy with the same RO90/ETS150 combination, although you should also look into the ETS125 instead of the 150 if you don’t need the extra capacity. You could use the savings towards an RTS400 or even an LS130, which are both sweet little machines. I can’t really recommend the RO150 as a finish sander, although it’ll do the job I found it just too heavy and off-balance for fine control.

On a side note: You should check out the section titled The CT26 versus it’s siblings in my review of the CT 26, specifically that I would recommend the CT 36 instead.

August 14, 2012

A Big Johnson by another name …

Filed under: Tools — cliff @ 4:55 pm

Chad writes:

I currently have two big johnson tape measures and have been looking frantically for more. I read your article and agree with you completely. If you know of any sources to locate some it would be greatly appreciated.

I had read a while ago that Big Johnson tapes were actually manufactured by a company in the UK called Fisco Precision Tools. I can’t vouch for that, but their “Big T” tapes certainly look the same. Sears and K-Mart (which are actually the same company) sell them.

July 24, 2012

Questions about my SawStop/Incra setup

Filed under: Tool accessories,Tools — cliff @ 3:45 pm

Eric writes

“I am looking at picking up exactly what you have, the incra and a sawstop. Do you have a benchdog router top on it? Did everything match up between the incra and saw stop, or did you have to drill holes for anything?”

I’m using a Pinnacle router plate, sold by WoodCraft. It’s solid aluminum vs the phenolic models now being carried. As I recall, it was actually made by another company (Woodpeckers?) and sold under the Pinnacle brand. If I had to buy one now, I’d go for a Bench Dog ProPlate or incorporate an Incra router table top.

The Incra fence system (which I consider without a doubt the best) fits the SawStop perfectly, no modifications necessary on either part. The double-headed version I have, where the saw and router fences share a common positioner, is a custom modification that requires a specially machined adapter and an extra fence. And yes, I’m considering manufacturing and selling the adapter. I get a lot of questions about that :)

March 4, 2012

Wow, you can save a whole $13!

Filed under: Buying used,Tools — cliff @ 4:09 am

Brand new Festool jigsaw on Amazon, free shipping, 30 day No-Questions Returns, 3-year warranty.  Total price: $250

Used Festool jigsaw on eBay.  Total price: 237.07

Total savings from buying a used machine with no warranty: $12.93

This is so typical of eBay, used Festool sells for almost or even more than full retail.  I just don’t get it …

January 27, 2012

Exciting new home for my tools

Filed under: Tools — cliff @ 11:46 am

My dad’s old toolboxes have served us well, providing a home for our tools for over 30 years.  But they’re a bit rusty and some of the drawers have a funky smell, so I’ve been in the market for some new tool chests.  I’ve been prowling craigslist, but the only ones appearing for the last year has been low-end junk or unbelievably expensive Snap-on/Matco boxes (I understand that they’re extremely well-made, but when people tell me they originally paid $8-12,000 for a tool box, I just have to shake my head).  Also, all the tool chests I found had a small number of deep drawers, with my hand tools collection I really need lots of shallow drawers.

Just a word of advice:  Never buy a tool chest without checking it out in person.  Several retailers had boxes that looked nice on the website and had great specs, but just felt cheap when I got my hands on them.  In particular, Northern Tools has a line of Homak PRO boxes that looked great but felt a bit flimsy.  They also have their Homak H2PRO line, which are much sturdier and feel great, but they only have a few large drawers.

I had been very interested in some 41″ Craftsman boxes.  They were on sale at a 50% discount before Christmas, but I just never had a chance to get down there and check them out.  After Christmas, the pre-Christmast 50%-off sale price went away and was replaced by an after-Christmas 30% sale.  That was just enough to push them out of my price range, so I continued my search.

Then, last week, someone on WoodNet mentioned that Sears was having a blowout sale on Kreg screws.  A great deal, many of the screws were 75% off!  I added a few boxes to my cart and started checking out.

Then I noticed that my total was over $1500, so I took a closer look.  It turns out I had never removed the tool chests from my cart back in December.  And they now had the 50% sale price again!  Checking back at the product page, it still showed the 30%-off price but if you added them to the cart you got the discount.  Not wanting to question a good thing, I hurriedly checked out and got my new tools chests for just $750 each.

(Just FYI, I checked back a few hours later and this secret sale no longer worked)

I’m in the process of assembling them, you can see one set all together with the base of the other being unboxed.  A more detailed review will follow, but so far I’m quite pleased.  Especially since I “accidentally” saved over $600.

Next Page »
    Questions? Comments? Offers of free cash? Email me at