Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sweet Sweet Digital Accuracy

Last month as a condolence prize for turning 30 years old I received from my in-laws a few items from my Amazon "woodworking" wishlist. I'll admit i sorta milked this whole turning 30 thing because my friends and family really did some damage to my woodworking wish list (sadly no sawstop). So today I'm reviewing the Wixey Mini Digital Height Gauge.  These can be found at your local Rockler right now on sale for $20 so not a huge investment. 
Thanks for the battery Wixey!

First use!
You've all been there at your router table, table saw, or whatever trying to get the exact measurement to the top of your router bit or table saw blade. Adjust, measure, adjust, measure, up, down, down, down OK i think that's 1/4 inch. So I figured I'd give this little baby a try. Wixey makes a whole cool line of digital measurement tools. If you haven't tried some of the digital measuring products I highly recommend them, they will not only save you time but frustration. This little guy comes ready to rock including the little nickle battery which if not included are normally not something just laying around the house. I quickly feel in love with this little depth/height gauge. When you want to measure a depth of something Wixey includes a little attachable needle and conveniently makes it nest in the foot!
Sweet depth gauge needle stored conveniently!

First you set the gauge on the table top or in this case the router plate and push the ruler down to the plate and zero out the gauge now your ready to get your reading. Unfortunately since most router plates are aluminum the magnets on the feet don't work and if there was one improvement I'd make it would be to make the base itself heavier so I could adjust the bit height without having to hold the feet down.
Bingo 1/4 inch and ready to route!
Overall I wish I would have gotten this guy sooner because it makes things just so dang easy especially when  at the router table and finding the top dead center measurement at the table saw. So next up on my reviews of the Wixey line of products is the Digital Planer Readout for my Dewalt 735. Once i get it installed and tested I'll be posting it up here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Where Did Mr Fix It Go?

The other day my wife called me and said "Um my check engine light went on and my car won't go." I could almos hear my wallet gasp in terror as she told me this. So like any husband who gets a call like this my response was "Where are you ill come get you." so I went and got her and the car home and tried to decide what to do next. I've been under,over, and through this Chevy Trailblazer a dozen times for various reasons but at 150k miles I'll admit I started dreaming of a new F150 crew cab, then I started having nightmares about a new car payment. Ok I better try to fix this myself. So over the past few days I've been on the hunt with this car to fix the issue which at the end of the day seems to have been a bad accelerator position sensor about $160 part and two bolts to replace. When I retold this tale of auto issues and my ensuing quest for a fix a few guy friends of mine responded with "Really you fixed it yourself? How did you know how?" Now I know some of you are probably wondering if this is going to be some post on how awesome I am or how I triumphed over a mechanical challenge but my real purpose of this post was to ask the question " Where has Mr fix it gone?" Why are the majority or people so surprised when we fix something ourselves or build a piece of furniture?Somewhere along our path in the past few decades as men I think we were told "Why do it yourself if someone else can do it for you." This bothers me. I will say i might be a bit young to complain about "young people" but I find it scary that the younger generations are no longer being taught in school about auto shop, woodworking, metal craft, etc.. I know as my young son grows up I certainly will be teaching him the determination of fixing it himself. I think our community of woodworkers and amateur tradesmen has a responsibility to mentor the younger generation in the art of DIY I guess my question to all you out there how did Mr Fix It turn into Mr Call Someone and what can we do to change this?