Eagle America is near Lake Erie which puts us in the snow belt of Ohio. Normally we get a dusting before Christmas but on December 14th we had over 3 feet of snow on the ground and drifts as high as 6 feet on the roof.
Seeing our suspended ceiling tiles starting to shift, it was time to go get my Amish friend Merv Yoder and his sons to clear off the roof. Merv lives in the Amish community of Parkman, Ohio. While driving to pick him up, I wasn’t sure my van would stay on the icy, snow covered, back roads. The horse and buggies I passed along the way had no problems.
I picked Merv and his boys up and within a few hours of returning to Eagle America in Chardon, Ohio, Merv and his boys had all of the snow and ice off the roof. We may not be able to see out the windows until the Easter Bunny arrives, but at least we don’t have to worry about the roof falling in!
Thanks Merv! Being that you have no electricity or access to our blog posts, I guess I’ll have to print this out and send it to you via snail mail. If they deliver it you via horse, I know you will get it.
*** This post is courtesy of Tom Iovino of Tom’s Workbench ***
So, you have a router. Great. It’s a very useful tool, allowing you to cut joinery, shape moldings, thickness boards and a host of other uses. Maybe yours has an ultra-smooth plunge action. Perhaps a soft electronic start. A massively useful edge guide. Go ahead. Open the case on your router and breathe in the multitasking goodness. Take your time. I’ll give you a minute…
Oh, wait, there may be one little detail you have overlooked, isn’t there? That’s right – the router itself has to be paired with router bits to do its woodworking goodness. Without router bits, your router is really a high-tech, tricked out paperweight.
So, what can you do to remedy this situation? There are two different routes you can take. First, you can buy bits one at a time as the need arises. But, if you do that, there’s a chance you’ll be mid-project without the bit you need. The other option is to buy a set of bits to have the basics on hand. In this scenario, you’ll discover that you use some bits until their carbide is about to fall off while others sit idle in the case. I’ve approached the router bit buying routine from both sides as my woodworking skills have developed and have arrived at a third avenue of choice. That would be to ask your woodworking friends what bits they use the most and pick those most useful up first.
What are my most used bits? I’m glad you asked. They include:
A 1/2” straight cutting bit. If you are going to route dadoes or rabbets, you could do a whole lot worse than this workhorse. If you are working with material thicker than ½”, you can cut your dado and then use the bit to rabbet the material being inserted into the groove so it fits the channel. This bit can also be used to set your router table up as a jointer using an offset fence.
A 3/8” up-spiral bit. Your plunge router makes a very handy and effective mortising machine. Since I frequently use 3/8” mortises when joining ¾” material, this bit gives me the dimension to shoot for. The up-spiral bit helps eject the router shavings effectively while you are plunging the router.
A 1/2” top bearing pattern following bit. If you want to ensure that identical project pieces are truly identical, cut a template from an inexpensive sheet material such as MDF and pattern-route the pieces to shape. A very cool technique that will improve your woodworking. A bonus use – you can run this bit against a straight edge and cut dadoes in sheet goods.
A 1/2” round over bit. Cut pieces of wood have very sharp edges on them. Easing these edges makes your projects more comfortable to handle and the rounded over edge is less likely to splinter if handled roughly. You can adjust how much is cut by changing the amount of bit that’s exposed for cutting.
A 1/2” cove bit. This bit cuts the mirror image of the round over bit, scooping out an area of wood. Combining the round over and cove bits creatively can allow you to cut some very cool looking moldings with basic bits.
A 3/4” chamfer bit. In addition to knocking a 45 degree edge off of projects and moldings, you can also use this bit to ensure mitered project parts are accurately milled to 45 degrees, ready to be joined into perfect, airtight miters.
A 3/4”, 14 degree dovetail bit. When you buy a router jig to cut dovetails, you probably won’t be using this bit to do your cutting. Most jigs require different sizes or diameters of bits to work properly. However, this bit can allow you to master another awesome joint – the sliding dovetail. Once you learn how to cut one, you’ll be hooked.
You can imagine how excited we were when we stumbled across this blog post at KimbertonWoodWorks.com. He did an amazing job creating hardwood bowls & trays with his router and our Bells bowl & tray template. Take a look at his results:
Making bowls & trays with your router is fun, easy and rewarding. We have a large selection of templates for you to choose from, as well as all of the router bits and router accessories you will ever need to get the job done right the first time. Click over to www.EagleAmerica.com today and start making bowls tomorrow.
Mike, one of Eagle America’s woodworkers writes:
For the last several years my grandson, who is now 10 years old, comes to spend the week with my wife and I during his Christmas break. Every year, I try to find some kind of woodworking project for him to work on. One year we worked with the scroll saw and he was able to go home with a cut out of his name that he created by himself.
This year Eagle America added “ Woodman Craft Concepts” craft kits. These are wood projects that allow children to experience the art of woodworking from start to finish, including painting and assembly.
When we got home, I set him up at the dining room table and told him I would be up to help him after I finished a project I had going in my workshop. A little while later, he came down to the shop and wanted to know if I had some stronger glue. I gave him some Titebond III glue and he ran back up the stairs.
When I went upstairs to see if he needed any help, there sat the finished Jet Fighter Plane completely painted and assembled. It took him all of about an hour and a half with no help from me at all.
These kits consist of pre-cut beech wood pieces (which requires a little sanding), sandpaper, glue, paint brushes and paint. With just a little sanding and imagination, these great woodworking kits are sure to spark an interest in woodworking for the kids in your family just like this one did with my grandson!
Everyone at Eagle America takes our blog “The Cutting Edge” very seriously. It is our opportunity to speak directly to woodworkers like you…freestyle. A catalog and many email broadcasts are very focused on highlighting specific products and their features, advantages and benefits. We simply have a limited amount of space to get all of that info across, which means we have little to no room to add a personal touch or narrative. We like the fact that on this blog we can actually DISCUSS what projects we are working on, what tools we are using and why, or what YOU, our dedicated customer and reader base, are up to in the shop.
As you know we love talking about the woodworking tools we sell and how we use them. Be it router bits, router accessories, saw blades of all shapes and sizes, Kreg pocket hole jigs, Festool power tools or more from our list of over 6,000 total woodworking items offered…we just love using them and sharing our experiences. That being said, we know that you crave the thoughts and opinions of other real world woodworkers, just like you. That leads us to this guy…
Tom Iovino has been providing a humorous, yet educational look at woodworking for some time on his Tom’s Workbench blog. You might also recognize his name from his recent articles in Wood Magazine. Long story short, we get a kick out of Tom and think you will too. That is why he is our first regular guest blogger! He will be writing a monthly blog post for us on a topic of his choosing. If there is something in particular that you want Tom to write about, please let us know by adding your comments to this blog post.
Welcome aboard Tom!
Our friend Rob Robillard at A Concord Carpenter just posted a great blog article on how to choose a woodworking saw blade. If you get a chance, click over and give it a quick read. He reviews saw blade safety, the different types of woodworking saw blades and the three basic tooth designs of blades.
One of my favorite tips in the article is “don’t buy a saw blade on price”. I couldn’t agree more! However, that needs to be qualified. What he is saying is that cheap manufacturing often gives you cheap results. I am a huge proponent of VALUE shopping, trying to find the best possible quality for a very fair price. So, if you cannot find a Forrest blade in your price range you are better to look at a high quality Freud blade rather than a generic brand that you might find at Home Depot.
I would rather say “don’t buy a woodworking saw blade based on list price” for two reasons. One is the quality manufacturing argument I make above. The other is simple – sometimes there are GREAT sale prices on high quality woodworking saw blades. For example, this week only Eagle America is running a huge Table Saw Blade Sale. We have taken 15% OFF our entire selection of high quality saw blades from some of the woodworking industry’s biggest names. Click over today and save, you won’t be disappointed in either the quality of these blades or the price you pay.
Attention all woodworkers, now is the time to save…but you have a limited time to act. Effective immediately we have taken 15% Off our full selection of woodworking table saw blades! We have a vast selection of saw blades, dado and box joint blade sets from some of the industry’s biggest brand names. You can’t have a woodshop without having either a contractor saw, a big cabinet saw, or some form of smaller or portable circular, chop or table saw. That means you have lots of saw blades, many of which likely need to be resharpened or replaced. Now is the time to let us help you with that problem!
Click here to see our full selection of table saw blades, ones of all shapes, tooth configurations and sizes. Act fast, this offer ends on Tuesday, January 18th. Make sure you share this post with your woodworking friends, you know they need new blades too. If I were you I would place an order for yourself first. Enjoy the selection and savings!