2 Minute Tool Review – Central Machinery 8″ Bench Drill Press (Harbor Freight)

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Today, we’re continuing the 2 Minute Tool Review series with a very affordable and quality tool… the 8″ Central Machinery Bench Drill Press. First, let’s go over some of the technical details of the tool.

It features a 5 speed, 120 VAC motor that has RPM speeds of: 760, 1150, 1630, 2180 and 3070 throughout the gears. The table for stock has an adjustable height up to 8″ and can title 45 degrees left and right. The chuck capacity rages between 1/16″ and 1/2″. It also comes equipped with a flexible work light with a 15W bulb. The current price for this particular drill press on the Harbor Freight website is $69.00.

Here’s a link to the drill press on the Harbor Freight website: http://www.harborfreight.com/8-in-5-speed-bench-drill-press-60238.html

Now to what I like and don’t like about this tool:

What I like:

  • Price: You can’t beat the price. $70 for a drill press is pretty uncommon. WEN has an 8″ drill press on the Home Depot site for the exact same price, but my personal experience with WEN products has made me wary of this drill pres. Other than that, the next closest in price of the major brands would be the Ryobi 10″ Drill Press and it retails from $129.99.

  • Power: I’ve been impressed with this drill press. I’ve cut through all types of hardwoods, including Purple Heart with ease.

  • Ease of use: Adjusting the speed and bit in the chuck is simple. To change the belts on the spindles you simple look a few bolts on the motor mount and then change the belt out. To change out bits, you use the provided chuck key and replace away. It’s also simple to adjust the height of the stock platform. There’s a small lever and bolt on the back of the platform and move it to where you need.

What I don’t like:

  • The platform tilt mechanism is difficult to adjust when the platform is at it’s lower settings. That is because the tilt mechanism works off a bolt and nut system, without a lever. So you have to use a wrench or socket to loosen the bolt to tilt the platform. Not a huge deal, but can be annoying.

  • Another thing that I’m not a fan of is the work light. Although its a great feature, the problem is that they light is underpowered. That may be a quick fix by changing out the bulb, but it’s still fairly weak in my opinion. Not a deal breaker though.

Overall, I really enjoy this drill press. It was worth the money and something that I’ve already got a TON of use out of. If you are just getting in to woodworking or are working with a tight budget, definitely consider this drill press. For me, I believe it’s a viable tool for my workshop.

If you have any question, comments or concerns, feel free to leave them below. As always, I hope you all have a great day!

2 Minute Tool Review – Kreg Rip Cut

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So in previous in a previous blog post I did something I like to call the 2 Minute Tool Overview. Today, I’m doing something slightly different. Let’s call it the 2 Minute Tool REVIEW. This will be series that coincides with the 2 Minute Tool Overview.

So let’s get started with the Kreg Rip Cut.

I’ve always had trouble get straight cuts with a circular saw. I know others that can get a straight cut with a circular saw, but I just can’t. Free handing cuts with this saw always ends with a messed up edge. So I went to my local big box store and found this little gem.

The basis of this tool is an aluminum ruler that connects securely to a base plate that you install on your circular saw. On one end of the aluminum ruler is a thick plastic guide arm that butts up against the edge of your material.

Here’s what the whole thing looks like:



It may not look like much, but this little guy is extremely helpful! You can make rip cuts from 1″ up to 24″ with relative ease and it attaches to most circular saws, whether they are right or left blade. You can also reverse the guide arm for right or left handed use, by removing two screws and flipping it around on the ruler.

It’s a fairly simply concept and tool, but something that I’ve used countless times.

So here’s what I like and don’t like about it:

– Very durable and strong. The aluminum ruler doesn’t have any flex, which I thought it would.
– Fairly inexpensive. $34.99 at many hardware stores.
– Makes ripping sheet goods a breeze.

– The plastic guide arm is lightweight, which means it can have play and move when butted up against your material. Wish it was something a little heavier.
– The groove in the ruler or arm is kind of an odd shape, which makes threading the plate on your circular saw difficult. This is more apparent after using it several times and having saw dust collect in there.
– I can’t seem to get the marker lined up perfectly with my circular saw blade. I’ve followed all instructions over and over again. So I can’t trust the ruler measurement. It’s not that big of a deal. You can just make a like and then align the saw with that line and get the cut.

Overall, I really enjoy this tool. The pros far outweigh any dislikes I have for it and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to rip down sheets goods. Definitely glad I bought it!

Wooden Mallet Build

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So I decided that one of the first projects I wanted to take was a wooden mallet. Honestly, I’ve seen plenty of builds of a wooden mallets. So while this may be helpful for those of you are interested in taking your first stab at a mallet, it isn’t the most exhaustive video or article on the process. For some other great examples click on the two videos below:

Jay Bates: Two Ways To Make A Mallet

Paul Seller 3 Part Wooden Mallet Build:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

So I started out with some Walnut and Oak from a friend of mine named Stevn Ukena over at Dove Tails and Dados (Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoHG-j_gm0qPcqYYLwdwxJg)

He gracious sold me some cutoffs and really generous price. Once I decided on those two species of wood, I then started trying to nail down the design and size. For me, I’ve seen plenty of uniquely shaped mallets out there and at first I wanted to build something like that. But, I soon realized that I didn’t have the tools necessary to build something super fancy and this mallet was going to be built for function, not style. So I stuck with a rectangular shape and a pretty simple handle.

The center portion of the mallet is made out of hard oak. The outside pieces and handle are made from walnut.

I first took the piece of oak over to the miter saw. With the center marked, I cut it at 90 degrees, so that had two pieces at the same size. Then I took those two pieces over at did a little test run with the handle and other portions of the head.

I decided to make a tenon on the portion of the handle that was going to be in head of the mallet. I took it over to my table saw and attempted to trim down the handle. This is where I made my first mistake. I was cutting the tenon to the mark I had made on the top of the handle, but didn’t realize or forgot that the table saw blade was going to go deeper into the handle on the portion of the handle that was facing down on the table saw…. DOH!!!

No biggie. I just adjusted the tenon to stop further down on the handle and then used a flush cut saw to finish the trimming.
Instead of cutting everything to the proper length before assembly, I decided to get the oak positioned on the outside walnut pieces and glue them up. Once the glue dried and the head was fully assembled, I then took it back over to the miter saw and trimmed the head to it’s final dimensions. Honestly, that worked like a charm. I ended up with clean and flat edges on all sides.

From there I glued the mess out of the tenon before sliding it into the head. I always prefer to be very liberal with my glue. You can always clean up squeeze out, but you can’t out more glue in there after it has already been glued up. I figured the more the better. After I fit the tenon into the head, I used a fast food straw to clean up all the squeeze out. This is something I’ve found to be extremely useful and it leave the piece free of any glue.

Once the glue dried, I did a quick finish sand on all sides and shaped the handle slighting. Finishing it off with a coat of boiled linseed oil.

Honestly, I was pleased with the way this thing turned out. I’m going to send it off to a Youtuber that has made some awesome videos and has inspired me quite a bit.

If you have any comments, any suggestions or any critiques you can leave them in the comments section below. Hope you all have a great day and see you next time!

Table Saw Kickback

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One of the most dangerous things about wood working is table saw kickback. Without warning, your saw can bind, causing the piece you are cutting to suddenly and abruptly fly back at you. Now I don’t have to tell you how painful and potentially life threatening a piece of wood flying at you from a sad running somewhere near 5000 rpm’s. It’s a given that at the very least, you’re gonna have a bruise and some blood to show for it.

Kickback isn’t completely avoidable. Even the most experienced woodworkers have dealt with it. Instead of trying to remove the possibility of kickback, let’s examine some safety measures we can take to help limit the possibility and more importantly, remain safe in the event of table saw kick back.

Before we get started, I want to be clear. Anything I say here won’t prevent kick back. In fact, I can’t even guarantee that you’ll not be injured by kickback. Too many variables are at play with kick back. This is just a few tips I’ve used to help minimize the possibility of kick back happening and how I’ve stayed safe in the midst of kickback.

1) Leave all safety equipment on your table saw.

I’ve never understood why people take safety gear off their table saws. These are pieces of equipment that the saw manufacturers have installed to help prevent accidents. They are there for your protection. So why remove them?

Every manufactured table saw comes with a riving knife. Often called a splitter, this feature is designed to keep the wood away from the blade after it has been cut. As the piece of material passes through the blade, there is a split created when the blade cuts through the material. The riving knife (immediately behind the blade) ensures that new but pieces don’t stray inwards, towards the blade, which would then catch it a throw the work piece back at you. KEEP IT INSTALLED!!!!! There are other pieces of safety like the Anti Kickback finger, which is just a piece of metal that has sharp points on it to hold the piece of material down after is passes through the blade. KEEP THEM INSTALLED!!!!

2) Never stand directly behind the piece that you are cutting.

It seems obvious, but the path in which the material is going to travel during kickback is most likely….. directly backwards! If you are standing directly behind the piece, you are giving the saw a perfect target.

Instead, stand off to one side of the piece you are cutting. This will ensure that if the saw kicks a piece of wood directly back, you aren’t in harms way. Sure it may put a hole in the wall, but that’s better than a hole in your stomach.

3) Use accessories like push sticks, feather boards and push blocks.

These are are extremely helpful. Push sticks and push blocks can give you a level of control on the top and back of the material you are pushing through the saw. Feather boards on the other hand are design to place pressure on the side (or in some cases the top) of the material. This will keep the material pushed up against the fence, preventing the material from twisting or moving when run through the blade.

4) Stay calm!

Easier said than done, but it is important for you to keep a level head when experience kickback. As the piece begins to bind, it is common to feel some sort of panic. Fear and panic will not help. Instead, stay calm and immediately shut off your saw. That is, if you can do so without taking your hands off the work piece. That is why you often seem people will a shut off button located in a place where they can hit it without removing their bands from the work piece. Turning the saw off and remaining calm while the blade spins down can be a life saver. Many people will take their hands off the piece. When you do that, you are removing any resistance the work piece and the blade have. Immediately, the piece will fly backwards. So stay calm and get that saw off ASAP.

Hopefully this has been informative and helpful for you. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment blow. Stay safe!

Two Minute Tool Overview – Squares

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This is the first installment of a series I like to call the 2 Minute Tool Overview. Basically I’m going to be going over different types of standard tools that you’ll see in almost any wood working shop.

Today we’re talking about squares. Now, whether you are brand new to woodworking or have been doing this all your life, one of the most important and often most difficult things to do is draw a straight line. Having accurate straight lines is important because you are going to be using that lines a reference for cuts. Fortunately squares are here to the rescue.

First, let’s review some of the most common types of squares.

Speed Squares: Often times called rafter square, triangle square, carpenters square.

This squares is one of the more essential squares. It features a fence on one side to butt up against the edge of your work surface and ruler on the other side. Most wood workers use this square after marking their initial cut mark with a ruler or tape measure. Then they take the speed square, butt the fence up against the edge of their material and use the side of the square to draw a straight line across their material. I use this square most commonly on 2 x XYZ lumber to give me a cut guide, but you can use it on almost any material. They come in a few different sizes and are incredible useful around the shop.

Drywall T Square: A drywall T square is commonly used by contractors to cut drywall panels down to size. This may seem like an uncommon square to have in a woodshop, but it’s actually quite useful. When you are dealing with large pieces of sheets goods you need a way to draw lines as guides when cutting with your circular saw or table saw. Drywall T Squares have a fence, just like the speed square, which butts up against the edge of your material. The main difference between a drywall T square and other squares is its long edge. Typically they come in 48 inches long, but their are other lengths as well.

Steel Square: Sometimes called a Carpenter’s Square. This square is exactly as it name states, it helps to ensure that joints are square. Another use would be make sure you have a clean, straight line from the edge of your piece. These squares don’t have fences like the other squares, so they rely on the edge of your work surface to by a straight edge.

Combonation Square: This one of the most versatile squares in the mix. It comes with interchangeable heads for a combination of different uses. One of the more useful is a corner fence. This fence allows you to butt your square up to the corner of a piece of a material and get a straight line from that corner.

Hopefully this was helpful for you to understand some of the more common squares out there. There are several other types of squares so take some time to educate yourself on them.

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