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It’s All a Pile of Junk

April 11, 2011 3 comments

*** This post is courtesy of Tom Iovino of Tom’s Workbench ***

A few years ago, a colleague of mine at work stopped me in the hallway. She had just returned from an extended leave of absence due to the passing of her father. “Tom, I don’t know if you know this, but my dad was a woodworker.  We have his collection of tools, and I was wondering if you wanted to take a look at any of them for your workshop.”

What treasures would Tom find?

Wow.  I was floored.  That was quite an honor to be considered to receive something so precious from my coworker’s dad.  I told her I would come out and, even if I didn’t take anything, I would help give her an idea of what each of the tools was worth.  I drove to her condo that weekend and she led me to a storage shed for her unit.  As she cracked the door to the shed, I have to confess that my mind raced with the thought of being able to expand my meager tool collection and fill some needs in my shop.  The reality was quite different.  As we pulled tools out of the shed, they were caked with years of rust.  Insects had taken up residence in warped 1970s vintage plastic cases.  Wooden handles on tools were cracked, warped and, in some cases, completely falling off.

Tom was shocked at what he found, such a shame

“What happened?” was the question that raced to my mind – and reflexively slipped from my lips. My coworker said that her dad was slowing down in his old age, and the neighbors were afraid he might hurt himself working with the tools.  So, they took them to an old barn and just let them sit for about a decade. Apparently, the barn wasn’t as weather tight as they had expected. No one ever checked on them… decided to put them up for auction… or cared for or maintained them.  I told her that if there was something special from his shop (there was a well-worn square that was protected in a case), she should save it as a memento, and that the rest of the stuff was just too far gone to salvage.

A little Tool Care and Maintenance could have saved this collection from a trip to the junk yard

As I drove home feeling disappointed – at the tools and myself for being a jerk – my thoughts turned toward my own collection of tools.   How could I prevent my tools from ending up like those poor, rusty specimens?  That’s when I decided to throw myself into the maintenance mindset.  It doesn’t take hours of slavish devotion to keep your tools in tip-top condition.  Actually, I follow a pretty simple regimen to help keep my investment shiny new and working great.

Clean

Shop cleaning is such a turn off for many woodworkers.  I mean, wouldn’t you rather be in the shop creating beautiful pieces of work than scrubbing the teeth of your table saw gears with a toothbrush?  Yet, simply using proper dust collection, vacuuming dust from your tools and scraping off any dry glue beads from your clamps can keep them working like new for years.

Sharpen

Woodworking is mostly about making big pieces of wood into smaller ones, then – in many cases – figuring out how to attach them to other pieces to build a project.  None of these tools works well if they aren’t clean and sharp. Plane irons, router bits, chisels, table saw blades… they all deserve good treatment.  Not only will your work look cleaner, but sharp tools are safer and put less strain on power tool motors.

Protect

In Florida, I’m always battling humidity and I sharpen my tools with water-lubricated diamond stones. I always make sure my tools are dry before I store them, and I keep a rag dipped in furniture paste wax nearby to wipe them with to keep rust at bay.  There are lots of products out there to help you get rust off your tools or to put a barrier up to prevent it from forming in the first place.

I once read a comment by a woodworker as to what he hopes happens to his tools after he passes.  “I want my children to fight over them like ravenous jackals battling over a zebra carcass on the Serengeti.”  While I hope my two sons have better manners,  I hope one day they find the tools in my shop in good shape and ready to help them if they would like.

*** Specials thanks to Tom Iovino, a true Shop Monkey,  for this post.  He will be providing posts on a monthly basis for Eagle America, check back again soon. ***

Big Router Savings from Black & Decker

April 8, 2011 Leave a comment

 

$20 & $30 Mail-in Rebates - Act Now!

 

Our friend at Black & Decker have done it again!  Now is the perfect time for you to do some spring cleaning in your wood shop.  Do you have a really old router that is holding on for dear life?  One that you have coaxed back from the dead time and time again?  It’s time to reward yourself with a NEW & finely tuned machine.

From now through June 30th you can save up to $30 when you  buy a Porter Cable or DeWalt wood router.  Click here to see our current selection.  Save on all of our most popular models, including the router table workhouse Porter Cable 7518 or the fun DeWalt 625.  From a smaller Trim Router to 3HP bad boys, we’ve got your router woodworking needs covered.  Enjoy!

April is National Woodworking Month

April 7, 2011 Leave a comment

 

April is National Woodworking Month!

 

Congratulations!  In the tradition of random holidays on the calendar…this month is ours!  In all honesty, we didn’t know that it was National Woodworking Month until we saw a reference to it online…did you know about it?  Long story short, even if nobody else is celebrating your skills this month you should know that your friends at Eagle America are.  We are very thankful for all of the woodworkers out there and respect your ability to make works of art with your hands (and the help of some fun woodworking power tools).

This holiday made us want to ask you a question:

  • If you could pick one and only one NEW tool to add to your woodworking collection, what would it be and why?

Would it be a router? A new table saw?  Something FesCOOL from Festool?  Post your answers as comments to this blog post.

Happy Woodworking,

Your friends at Eagle America

Trim Routers – Do you or don’t you?

March 28, 2011 3 comments

Thanks to the folks over at Woodworking-News.com for inspiring this post.  I was reading their February newsletter which contained a great article on Woodworking Trim Routers.

The NEW DeWalt DWP611PK in action

A great deal of time here at Eagle America is spent discussing router bits as you can imagine, since we are “The World’s Router Bit and Woodworking Source”.  Many of the technical woodworking calls and emails that we receive are about uses with larger routers mounted in a router table system.  It is easy to overlook a little workhorse like the trim router, which is perfect for all forms of easy routing tasks.

The NEW DeWalt Trim Router being used in it's plunge base

The newsletter at Woodworking-News.com does a great job of highlighting some of the benefits of a trim router:

  • Ease of Use
  • Comfort & Control thanks to the smaller size
  • Cost savings compared to larger models

We have also heard of customers having multiple trim routers that stay setup for specific, high frequency operations at all times.  For example, if you make a lot of tables and you are always putting a 1/4″ round on the edge then you can keep a trim router “locked and loaded” and ready to go. We would like to hear your thoughts on Trim Routers, specifically:

  • Do you use one?  If so, how many Trim Routers do you own?
  • What is your favorite Trim Router?
  • What applications do you use a Trim Router for the most?

We have options for you from DeWalt, Porter Cable and Festool, click over today and take a look.  My guess is if you don’t own one you will be adding one to your woodworking tool collection really soon.

LoJack Your Woodworking Tools? Or Add a GPS Locator to Your Router?

March 24, 2011 Leave a comment

 

GPS Satellite photo courtesy of U.S. Army

 

I was catching up on some reading today and found an article at Tool-Rank.com that made me laugh, not at the article itself but by what you could do with it.  The article is titled “Is GPS The Answer To Recovering Lost Tools?”  In it the author talks about how leaving tools on the job site can be a hazard and how it would be great to be able to track them in case of a theft.  I am sure something like this will be coming at some point to the woodworking universe.  It made me think of a couple of questions for you today:

  1. Would you pay extra to have a GPS locator as part of a tool?
  2. If you could add ANY technology from “the outside world” to your woodworking tools or your wood shop, what would it be?

So think of it as a woodworking mashup…what technology would you take from your home or office and introduce to your wood shop or to a specific woodworking tool / accessory?  Would you add Blue Tooth technology to your Worktunes Digital Hearing Protection so you could make phone calls while you work?  Would you somehow connect your woodworking router wirelessly to your computer so you could make very precise adjustments to your settings?  Would you add RFID tags to all of your tools so you could more easily track them and inventory them?  What other combination’s can you think of?  Add your comments to this blog post, we are curious to see how crazy some of these could get.

RTFM: Read That Forgotten Manual

February 17, 2011 1 comment

*** This post is courtesy of Tom Iovino of Tom’s Workbench ***

So, I have this band saw. Bought it back in 2004. It’s a pretty standard issue 14 inch model with a ¾ hp motor.  It has a nice shiny table. I’ve equipped it with some decent aftermarket band saw blades for resawing and curve cutting, a Kreg precision band saw fence, a brush to get the dust off the bottom wheel and a set of Cool Blocks to replace the standard issue steel blade guides.

Tom had his blades...

...and he had his fence but something still wasn't right

And, yet, even with the loving care I put into the saw, it still didn’t function the way I needed it to. The saw would cut very thin materials well – maybe up to ¾ of an inch – with no bogging or struggle.  But, once you got thicker than that, the saw had this maddening habit of slowing to a stop. I would have to stop the saw, back the band saw blade out from the piece and start all over again.  It was frustrating and dangerous, and I usually ended up turning to my jigsaw to make cuts that probably should have been easily handled by the band saw.

Eventually, the time came where I had to resaw a 5 inch wide piece of ash.  I was dreading this step, because I knew it was going to take at least a half an hour to nibble my way through the board, and I wasn’t going to like the results.

That’s when the idea hit me. Before I waste my time, why not break out the manual and see if there was a way to get the saw to work better?


The biggest challenge was finding the manual in the first place.  I looked high and low and eventually found it tucked away in a lower shop cabinet with the rest of the manuals. Apparently, I must have been slipping them in the same area for years, but forgot about them.  I must have referred to it, because I did have a page dog-eared over regarding band saw blade tensioning and I had written the blade length (93.5 inches) on the front cover.

Armed with my toolbox, I pulled the saw out from its place of banishment (against the wall) and set to work.  I discovered quickly that I need to hook up my dust collection system when I use the saw – there were strata of sawdust layers from previous projects. I vacuumed out the cabinet and flipped to page one of the manual. There were plenty of safety tips there – pretty useful stuff.

How to unpack your saw … we were well past that step.

How to assemble your saw… the saw is where it needed to be, perched on top of the stand.  That’s good.

Then, I got to the good stuff – how to set the saw up.  OK, the motor mounting instructions were interesting, and everything was still nice and snug.

How to set up the drive belt…. It was properly looped over the drive pulley on the motor and the pulley that connected to the lower wheel. Check.

How to tension the belt … OOOH, that’s where I made my mistake!  There were carefully written and illustrated directions on how to get the tension right… and I – in my haste to get the saw up and running – apparently ignored them.  My bad…

A few turns of a bolt later, I was set up the way I needed to be.  I ran through the rest of the set up instructions – slowly – and saw that the rest of the saw was OK.  I reassembled all of the guards and covers, plugged the saw back in and hit the on switch.

The previously wimpy saw was now strong. Beefy. Assertive.  The ash board didn’t stand a change. I went edge to edge on this two foot long board – taking my time – in about 40 seconds.  All told, even when counting the set up time, the cut took about 15 minutes. What an improvement!

So, the next time your tools aren’t functioning the way they should, do a little sleuthing and find that manual. You just might discover that a little tweak or two can turn the agony of defeat into the thrill of victory!

*** Specials thanks to Tom Iovino, a true Shop Monkey,  for this post.  He will be providing posts on a monthly basis for Eagle America, check back again soon. ***

Router vs. Shaper – Which one is your favorite?

January 5, 2011 1 comment

I was reading some posts at FamilyWoodworking.org recently and stumbled across this one titled “Router vs. Shaper Question“.  Well, since we are “The World’s Router Bit & Woodworking Source” we have a vested interest in people loving woodworking routers and router bits…but we also carry a very nice line of Shaper Cutters.  As you can imagine this post really caught my attention.

Router Bits - We love them, do you?

So we would love to hear from you, where do you stand on the “Router vs. Shaper” discussion?  Some questions to consider:

  • Do you just have a plain old preference for one over the other?
  • Do you only have a router due to space limitations in your shop?
  • Do you have a shaper because you can use both router bits and shaper cutters in it?
  • Do you have a router because there are many more sizes and shapes of router bits compared to shaper cutters?
  • Do you side with the router because you can own multiples of them and keep them setup in your shop for specific uses?
  • Etc., etc., etc…

 

Shaper Cutters - We love them too!

 

If you are going to chime in, please let us know what you think about our selection of Router Bits and Shaper Cutters:

  • Are we not offering enough profiles?
  • If not, what are we missing that you want?
  • Are we not offering enough sizes of certain profiles?

Our offering of router bits and shaper cutters exceeds 2,000 different options, especially when you factor in the sets we have available.  That’s a lot for you to choose from…but we want to make sure we aren’t missing something.  What you say matters!

Categories: Power Tools, Router Bits

Shaper Cutters – The Next Best Thing to Router Bits

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment

You know the fondness we hold at Eagle America for Router Bits.  However, many professional woodworkers or professional cabinet shops often opt to use a Shaper as opposed to a Router.  We have nothing against the Shaper, we promise!  That’s why we offer a wide selection of our Advantage brand Shaper Cutters for you to choose from.

As with the woodworking router, the woodworking shaper is only as good as the shaper cutters that you put into it. Ours will make you smile when you see the clean, smooth finishes that they produce thanks to their razor-sharp edges. Each features:

  • Extra thick German K-20 industrial carbide that will last many sharpenings
  • Longer life and smoother cuts due to being diamond honed to 800 grit
  • Precision ground steel bodies
  • Special coating to prevent rust and resin buildup
  • Three wing anti-kickback design

The shaper is only as versatile its shaper cutters. Eagle America is proud to offer you one of the widest selections of woodworking shaper cutters on the market. Wood shaper cutters have never been better than this!  Ours have been contractor and professional tested, we know you will love them. Click over today to see our full selection.

Festool “Drool”

November 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Bruce writes:

You just have to love Festool!! 

While showing off our Festool display to a local contractor recently, I could sense that he was getting very excited about the time he could save by using Festool products.  

He was particularily excited about the C-12 portable drill kit,  I know the feeling!  I have one myself !  The right angle and offset attachments in themselves put the unit light years beyond any other drill on the market.  

When we got to the TS55  rail saw he was blown away.  

He left with a Festool Catalog and is going to mark it up for His Christmas “Wish List”

Do you have your Festool list made?

What’s Old is New Again!

October 27, 2009 Leave a comment

George writes:

I stopped at a garage sale a few days ago and found a wood chisel that had been severely abused and probably used on everything other than wood. I paid a dollar for the chisel, made in Sweden, took it home and turned a frog into a prince using the Worksharp sharpening system.

  

The Worksharp is a beautiful sharpening tool that can recondition your chisels or hand plane blades back to their original sharpness and then some. The Worksharp is also great for small touchups and maintaining your tools so you will never have to worry about pulling a dull tool out of you drawer or rack again.

  

I would highly recommend this affordable sharpening station to anyone!

It pays for itself in no time!

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