Showing posts with label woodwork machines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label woodwork machines. Show all posts

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Scroll Saw On Steroids

It's called a Walking-Beam saw, and if you don't like the cost of a large throat band saw or would rather avoid the more involved task of building one, this is a easier alternative. You can cross cut a infinitely long panel 32" wide on this saw, or rip a panel twice that width down the middle. Try to do that on your band saw. You can even do inside cuts, work your band saw can't do unless you have a blade welder.

It's called the poor mans band saw, probably because it's cheaper and so much easier to build. For blades you can use a band saw blade of a size according to your needs, cut it up into 20" lengths and punch pin holes in the ends, you may have to heat the ends to avoid cracks in the punching process, inexpensive and easy.

It has been said that all the machines a wood turner (spindle or bowl) needs in addition to the lathe is a band saw and drill press. This walking-beam is a perfect and easier alternative to the band saw. It will rough out huge chunks of wood for the bowl turner and do the diagonal center cuts for centering spindle work.

It's not high on my list but I would love to build one of these for my ventilated shop space. It would handle rough construction type work, and do the work of a slew of saws like the band saw, table saw, miter saw, radial arm, and yes, even work that is to large for the regular scroll saw.

The build and plan are by Mark White, back in 1980 he was a teacher of house construction and boat-building at Alaska Community College. This article was published in Fine Woodworking # 24 - 1980.

Does the frame design look familiar to you? Yes, it does to me too. Back in 1943 Popular Mechanics published a plan for a foot powered scroll saw in their Shop Notes, that had a similar frame design. If you would like to check this out, here is the link to that post. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Portable To Table Saw And My Table Saw

Excluding "Popular Mechanics" and "Popular Science", "Workbench" has been around the longest of the modern DIY magazines. Started in 1958 it concentrates on whole house articles from renovations to yard projects and back inside to the workshop.

The article I selected from the first issue is a project that has seen many versions over the years. For the beginner with limited funds who has a circular portable saw and would like a table saw, this solution is a decent alternative, until you can purchase a dedicated table saw or build a more advanced saw of your own.

When it comes to a table saw, lots of iron, with a accurately machined, large, table surface, is the way to go. But that is just me. With the advent of the web many people have advanced and built wood framed fully adjustable table saws. If you want more than just the basic conversion in this article, you might want to check out Mathias Wandel's site at or John Heisz's site at, he is currently building a nice fully adjustable wood framed saw. If you look back in my Popular Mechanics plans posts, there are a few wood table saw versions there also.

So from Workbench #1-1958, here is the article "A Table Saw From Your Portable".

So here is a picture of my table saw. A very long time ago (ha, ha) I started out like many with a similar plan to the Workbench plan above. The table I built was smaller but basically the same. I built alot of decent projects with that make-do table saw. In 83 I purchased a Taiwan import from Busy Bee. It was a knock-off of a low end contractor saw and underpowered. You know the type, with the open web, iron, extension tables. I sold it when I sold the workshop in the Ottawa area, mentioned in another post.

So In 2001 I was building my house and shop on my little piece of heaven up here. I made a trip to Toronto, and on my way home stopped at the Canadian Tire in Barrie on a whim. Sure enough they had Delta's top of the line contractor saw on sale reg. $700 for $625. There was a hole in the fence and rail box, on further inspection I found the back rail was missing. I offered $550, after hemming and hawing and a consultation with the manager they agreed. I brought it home and within 3 days the Delta dealer had shipped me a new back rail, free of charge, can't beat service like that.

Love this saw, big, heavy, accurate table, lots of blade head adjustment, the 1 1/2 HP sealed Delta motor has lots of power. I have never stalled or tripped the overload on it. The huge extruded aluminum front rail and fence have adjustment and T slots for accessories.

I don't ever see a need for another saw, however if a used Uni-Saw or even a General, presented itself at the right price, I probably would grab it, if only to rebuild it to it's former glory.

For dust control I built a hopper and attached it to the bottom saw frame. The hopper is built from 1/4" plywood with triangular strips to strengthen the corners. A 4" dust collection gate was installed at the bottom to accept 4" dust collector hose.

For a better seal I cut a foam cover to fit the back and attached it with double sided tape for vertical cuts. For tilted cuts the foam is easily removed. Under the foam is a 1/4" plywood back cover that is shaped to allow a full 45* tilt. It opens up the back a bit but dust collection is still decent.

In the pictures, the blade guard is removed. Don't run a table saw without a blade guard in place.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Shopbuilt Lathes 2 (Continued)

Here is the rest of that great "Back-To-Basics" lathe plan. This plan was popular with the "WOOD" staff as well as at least 300 readers who built it, back when it was first published. I have noticed in recent years, in Canada anyway, that prices have increased dramatically on a decent lathe. And many people have learned that making your own, is a better option than some of the cheap imports available.

Reviving this older series of plans will hopefully provide ideas and energy, to those who want a decent lathe, but can't justify the funds required to purchase a decent one, at this time.

"WOOD" provides sources for a parts kit. These may no longer be available. Their are phone numbers, if the supplier still exists, they may still be available. Failing that, the trend is to order replacement parts from a preferred lathe dealer, and fit them to your shopbuilt lathe. If you can turn your own, or have a friend, or shop, turn them for you, even better.

"WOOD" contends that this lathe holds it's own against much higher priced commercial models, and that is saying alot, since it was before the cheap imports started flooding the market.

Hope there is lots of useful material here, for potential builders, and interested shop hermits, like myself.

Shopbuilt Lathes 2

I will be away from my computer for a period of time, so I figured I better get the rest of these lathe plans uploaded as promised.

"WOOD" magazine's "Back-To-Basics" shop lathe is a more complete plan than most, so I will upload it in two posts. I could have just uploaded it as a pdf, but Google drive can be a slow process, for my slow connection. All of you young folks out there can convert it to the format of your choice, faster than this old dinosaur.

Of the many plans for lathes I have seen over the years, this has always been the most appealing for me. I have no need for another lathe, but I may try my own version, possibly with a longer bed adopting some of Carlyle Lynch's ideas in the previous plan, just so I could play with some extra large turnings.

The plan was first published in "WOOD's" April 1987 magazine issue, and later included in WOOD's "Woodworking Tools You Can Make" published by Meredith Books.

The fellow posing with the lathe must be very tall. Proper lathe height puts the top of the tool rest at elbow height. My Rockwell/Delta is just right for me at 43". This lathe is also exactly 43".

Thats the first five pages. Five more in the next post.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Shopbuilt Lathes

So here are a couple of posts on shopbuilt lathes to go with all the turning articles and the few books I have posted. In my opinion one of the woodworking machines most suited for "shopbuilt" is the lathe. The design is pretty consistent across many different sizes. A mini-lathe is not much different from a lathe that can turn a 12' column between centers. As an example, Carlyle Lynches design for a large 8' between center lathe, (below) could just as easily be a 4' between center lathe, simply by shortening the bed.

Lathes tend to be top heavy, and since raw work is seldom perfectly centered, produce vibration. For these reasons its important for a solid  base mounting. Bolting the lathe to the floor or adding extra weight to the base helps.

Going through that "Shopbuilt Machines" Word doc. yesterday I came across David Doman's huge shopbuilt lathe. He got his ideas from two magazine articles, that have caught my attention as well, in the past. David B Doman's site is still active, so I only included the first page of his lathe below. If you would like to see more pictures and the build documentation, here is the link to his site.

So the two designs David refers to in has build have been widely distributed around the net. They were both published in the 80's in "Fine Woodworking" magazine and "Wood" magazine. They have also both appeared in their, post magazine, book publishings as well.

So to begin here is Carlyle Lynch's lathe design, published in Fine Woodworking in March 1986.

And now for something different. If your a welder or have a friend who is a welder and have access to some heavy steel sections, you can build this massive lathe. It might also help if you can turn, or have a friend turn up the massive 2 3/8" spindle. When you look at it, it doesn't look that massive, a credit to it's well designed dimensions. You can turn a 2' diameter hunk of raw hardwood into your hearts desire, with this beast. On the other hand if you want to do metal spinning, as in the small book I recently uploaded, this is just the lathe to do it on. Built by Jerry Blanchard, awesome beast.

As stated in the safety warning, don't take chances with your design, all adjustables should have positive locks, a lock that can vibrate loose, is not a lock at all. Like most machines, there is more than one way to get hurt operating a lathe, if it comes spinning out from between the centers the right way, it only takes once.

So I will upload the "Wood" magazine lathe design named, "Back-To-Basics" shop lathe, hopefully on Sunday, stay tuned. This is the lathe I would have built, if I hadn't found my top of the line (in the 60's) Rockwell/Delta.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Operating A Jointer

So here are a couple of articles on operating shop equipment, one for the woodworker and one for the metalworker.

The first is on operation of the jointer. The jointer and planer compliment each other in producing straight and accurate 4 sided boards. This is very important in furniture construction and laminated glue-ups. In my opinion, if your finances require you choose between the two, the jointer is preferred by a stretch. You can do all four sides on a jointer (though the two wide sides may not be perfectly parallel). The planer will only do the wide side parallel to the side done on the jointer. You can do both wide sides on the planer, but it will not take wind out of the board without first doing one side on the jointer.

This comparison aside the jointer can do many other operations, as described in the following article from the Winter 1954 PM Shop Notes.

Safety is very important in the operation of a jointer. Check that the guard is working properly and never pass your hands over the cutter head while pushing a board over the cutter head. For shorter boards, make and USE a work hold down like the one illustrated in fig. 7.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Finger Joint Machine And Router Table

So here are a couple of nice plans from the 1987 Popular Science Supplement. The first is a finger joint cutting machine. There are many nice plans out there for finger joint cutting jigs. Most use the table saw to do the work with various blades, blade stacks, or dado stacks. Some are more complicated than they have to be and do not have much adjustment to compensate for things like, blades that run less than true.

If you have a bit of floor space and like to use finger joints for lots of joinery, this dedicated little machine might be for you. A 1/2 hp or larger motor, a ball bearing spindle available at most hardware stores, and a good quality 6" dado stack are the main parts needed. The rest can all be easily shop built. There is lots of adjustment, so once you have set up a snug fit, you can quickly start to produce stacks of finger jointed boards. As the author alludes to their are other applications this can be used for.

My feeling is that safety was a consideration in the design, the blade lives below the table, it is raised into the work with a simple foot pedal feed, and returns below the table, when the pedal is released. Additional guarding on the underside would insure nothing wanders near the blade from the underside.

The second project is a uncomplicated router table by R.J De Cristoforo. The table has nice built in storage and guards for the different functions, the top is solid looking. What more do you need? Some plans offer more in eye appeal but function no better for their intended purpose. A characteristic of R J's designs, I find, often omit unnecessary additions that don't contribute to tool function.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

An Inexpensive Panel Saw

So power is back on. I would like to think they replaced or repaired the piece of equipment that has caused some resent surprise outages, but more likely they were just reconnecting the cottagers for the season. The grid has been neglected for so long it's like an old car, when things start to break down, it's one thing after another.

So here is a plan for an inexpensive panel saw. Short of industrial equipment, its hard to find something easier to break down large panel material, than with a panel saw. Purchased units are quite expensive and many diy plans are built for heavy use. I have at least one for a future upload. This plan is inexpensive and relatively easy to build. For the home DIY'er who occasionally has need to break down sheet materials, this will simplify the process and save you lots of time.

This is another project from R.J. De Cristoforo published in the 1985 Popular Science DIY Yearbook.

R. J. is no spring chicken at this stage of life, but he makes it look easy to use the panel saw to break down full size panels.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Woodworking Machines-One Mans Viewpoint

So here's some light reading that woodworking machine enthusiasts might find interesting. The article was in FWW # 30, 1981 and written by John Lively.

In the article John does a tour of Delta/Rockwell and Powermatic manufacturing facilities and reports on some of the methods used in the production of their machines. He is not afraid to ask some challenging questions and gets some straight forward answers. Older machines were hard to beat, however things have changed over the last four decades. The original owners are long gone and both companies have changed hands many times. The emphasis is on stock profits (and I'll stay away from that rant). Delta is now owned by a Taiwan Co. and Powermatic is now owned by a stock fund co.

John writes about some good maintenance and operating tips for things like a jointer and voices his opinion on his preferences, like me he likes to refurbish older machines when they can be acquired at reasonable prices. Nothing like old iron. lol.

Click to expand, click again for best view.