Friday, October 24, 2014

Rockler Rail and Stile Bit

I've long envied the rail and stile bits when standing in front of the router bit Wall o' Awesomeness at Rockler of any other woodworking store. So when there was a crazy sale a year or so ago I picked up a couple sets of rail and stile bits and until now they've just taunted me from their home in my router table... well taunt no more it's time to get them working!

The first bit I tried was a Freud Matched Rail and Stile Bit which was an all in one bit see the link here to see what I mean . It's meant to run stiles through on one setting and then adjust the bit to run the ends of your rails after raising or lowering the bit. I couldn't figure it out the first time out so after messing with this for an hour or so I decided to abort and try the rocker matched bits.

Here are some pics of the bits I had from Rockler

After watching a few other blog posts and videos on the interwebs I decided a little pre-planning and preping for future cuts would be ideal here. Shout out to Mr. Wood Whisperer who has a great video on using these kinds of bits... you can check out that video below

I had some scraps from my soon to be routed door frames and planned them to the same thickness as my doors so I could make the scraps into setup blocks. Like Marc mentions it's important to mark which bit does what because it's EASY to forget and mess up your stock and of course if you're like me you're not made of money and having to run across town for "one more piece" of hardwood sucks especially when it's avoidable.

So here are a few pics of the setup blocks I made and their corresponding marks on the bits. 

Getting this process down was a bit time consuming but once I had it down all went well. One thing to note when setting up your router for these jobs, since these bits may be a bit heavier than some of our other standard bits I found my router mount had worn a bit over time and during the start-up of the but the height adjusted on me. So make sure you have your router mount tuned to hold your heights tightly without movement when the bit spins up and vibrates the mount. 

I'll post some follow up pics of my milled up doors before I glue them up the joinery turned out awesome and I will definitely be using these for more projects!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Deluxe Big Green Egg Station Picture Gallery

As promised over on Lumberjocks here is a gallery of all the pictures I took during the construction of this project. Sorry for the duplicates if you find them something went weird between CTRL-C and CTRL-V. 

Alec Bradly

This past Sunday night with a nice evening in the shop planned and some fantastic weather to boot I decided it'd be a nice evening to break into my cigar stash and pick a winner. As i rummaged through I settled upon a nice a nice toro from Alec Bradly and before i get into the details of the smoke here are a few specs. 

Origin : Honduras
Alec BradleyFormat : Toro
Size : 6 x 50
Wrapper : Honduran Connecticut Shade
Filler : Honduras, Nicaragua
Binder : Honduras, Nicaragua
Price : $5 MSRP (street price should be considerably less)

My first impression was that it's well constructed and has lasted well in my humidor these past few years. It cut well and didn't fall apart. The wrapper a honduran grown wrapper from Conn. Shade seed was very nice not oily and didn't lose it's structure throughout the smoke. 

The Smoke

It lit easily and had a nice draw not too tight but not wide open. The smoke itself was dense and light and was very enjoyable. It started off mild as one might expect from a Conn. wrapper but it wasn't as mild as one might expect it bordered a touch toward medium. The first bit had a lot of cedar and and was smooth and not bitter or biting. It burned perfectly level and held an ash nicely. The middle was more intense than expected but certainly not in a bad way it became more coffee-esque as it progressed from the middle on with the last few inches getting a bit more rough. Overall it was a great smoke and for the $5 price tag it's hard to beat. I haven't been disappointed by by any of the Alec Bradly sticks so far and look forward to sampling more as time goes on! 


Losing Weight

Since it's been quite awhile since my last post I looked around my shop at the various items to review and discuss and decided to focus on one of my favorite/best purchases in the past few years... and while I wish it were a Sawstop that day has not yet come. I'm talking about upgrading my drill/drivers from an old worn out Craftsman drill to something new. While the old Craftsman beast had served me well it did have quite a number of faults of which a few are below.

  • HEAVY! Dear God it was heavy. I didn't weigh it before i tossed it but it had to weight close to 10 pounds and it wasn't even a hammer drill!
  • Battery life! Sure it started out great but within a year the battery lasted maybe a few long screws and it was done and it gradually died during use. 
  • Fatigue! Since it was so heavy and large just using it became tough especially when doing overhead work or extended drilling. 

When I decided it was time to switch to something newer I did a bit of research and while the likes of Festool far exceeded my budget i didn't exactly want to settle with something bottom of the barrel either. I had in mind several check list items of which I've listed below. 

  1. Light weight! No more fatigue on long projects or drivings lots of screws!
  2. Battery life! 
  3. Quick Charging fr those times when I'm just tripping through screws and such. 
  4. Compact- I didn't want anything huge. 
  5. Power... nothing crazy since I wouldn't be doing anything too crazy but enough to drive those 3" lag screws when necessary. 

After looking around at the various different options I settled on the Dewalt 12V Max driver/drill/impact combo. I've pasted the specs for the drivers and drill below. 
  • Includes 1/4-in screwdriver, 1/4-in impact driver, 3/8-in drill/driver, 2 12-volt max Li-ion batteries, fast charger, 2 bit tips, 3 belt hooks and contractor bag
  • 3/8-in drill/driver offers a 2-speed transmission for high-speed in fastening and drilling through a variety of materials with 0-400 and 0-1,500 RPM
  • 1/4-in impact driver features 3 LED lights for increased visibility and shadow-free lighting
  • 12-volt max screwdriver features 1/4-in 1-hand loading hex chuck for easy bit changes
  • 12-volt max Li-ion batteries provide extended run time and long-lasting battery life; nominal voltage 10.8-volt, 12-volt max initial battery voltage
  • Li-ion batteries are backed by a 3-year limited warranty
  • 30-minute charger provides quick charging for minimum downtime
  • All tools include belt clip and weigh less than 2.4 lbs each for convenient carrying and easy portability

Here is a nice shiny picture of them new...

Here are a few pictures of mine after about two years of use!

This one is the driver which I use most frequently for driving screws and the like and have even used it very often for automotive applications with quick connect adapters for attaching my 1/4 and 3/8 sockets. 

The batteries are awesome not only do they charge quickly but the technology that allows them to run strong right up until they run out of juice. No more slowly dying while trying to finish the job 

I love these little guys. They hit all the points on my check list and then some. The shining star I believe of this set is they are very compact and very light which were two big items on my list. Beyond that I've found them very adept at reaching tight corners when needed and the bonus of bright LED's make drilling and driving in a dark cabinet no problem! Well that's all for now if you'd like more info feel free to reach out.