WT164 – Going for the Jugular

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On today’s show, we’re talking about when its safe to remove a blade guard and riving knife, resawing to conserve wood, making a wooden plane and shooting board, your first workbench, buying stock in the rough, and disposing of old power tools.


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What’s on the Bench

Marc is getting ready for some power carving and is being extra cautious about safety concerns. Shannon is dreading his to-do list. Matt is still having visions of sugar plums dancing in his head.

What’s New

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A listener on Facebook takes us to task for offending people who use calipers. Not really, but you’ll have to listen to learn more.


– Roberto is thinking about buying a small bench-top CNC machine.


– Justin wants to know when it’s safe to remove his blade guard and riving knife from his table saw.
– Andreas has a question about resawing to conserve wood.
– Joshua is looking for tips on making a wooden plane and shooting board that work together.
– Ron has some questions about his first workbench build.
– Paul has some concerns about buying his stock in the rough.
– Peter wants to know how he should dispose of his old power tools.

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8 replies on “WT164 – Going for the Jugular”

I have one of the earlier Sharks. In specific terms, I think there’s a little too much flex in the machine for accurate machining of parts. If you’re expecting to make joinery and have things fit together in a reliable way and generally use it in the sort of normal woodworking furniture making type of way then you really ought to double your budget and look something along the lines of a ShopBot. It’s more useful in more artistic sorts of ways. That’s not to say that I don’t use it to generate templates in 1/4″ plywood that I then use in regular woodworking type of stuff. But I probably wouldn’t stick a rail in there and try to machine a bunch of mortices with it unless I was really stumped for another way to do it for some reason. Because of that I don’t know that it would be worth stepping up to the model that can take a full 2-1/4 hp router instead of the Colt, even though it can be frustrating to be limited to that 1/4″ collet and not very powerful motor.

In more general terms along the lines of what the guys were talking about, it can be hard to find guys who use cnc machines as just another tool in their shop that they go to when a particular need arises. Most of the people who have them seem to have that as their primary tool and they design their projects so that they can be made exclusively with their cnc, even for parts that it just doesn’t make any sense to do that. So when you go to cnc specific websites you encounter all these guys who exist in a completely different world from other woodworkers and there’s not much crossover between the two. They also tend to be using better machines than the Shark so the advice you get in terms of feedrates and what not that are part of the huge learning curve that comes along with the cnc world doesn’t do you very much good.

After further consideration, I’d most likely use a CNC for the construction of templates and patterns. And maybe even for constructing modern pieces that normally I would consider due to materials (multi-layer Baltic Birch plywood or Finnish plywood).

I think it would be fun to have the pieces cut out and then be able to move directly to finish sanding and/or assembly. But it kind of takes the fun out of it, especially as a hobbyist who has the the ability to build at a slower pace.

Of course…last minute gifts around the holidays made on the CNC wouldn’t be to bad either.

Accuracy vs Precision – If you use that as a search term on Google, you will find some pictures that indicate the difference between accuracy and precision. Neither of which are what you referenced in #163.

You mentioned CNC, for a DIY CNC type machine, there have been over 100 of the mechmate machines made. Their forum is free, http://www.mechmate.com and they normally make the 4’x8’x6″ thick working size machines from plans. Some build it larger, several make it smaller, and some use it as a CNC lathes. They are what is normally termed 2.5D machines (no undercuts typically). To make this machine costs about 5 or $6K normally. This is roughly equivalent to the $18 to $22K ShopBot ( http://www.shopbottools.com ) machines. The geek in me wants this level of CNC machines, but I have not pulled the trigger to make or buy, but I do drool over these machines regularly.

The reference was to #161 – Precision and Accuracy. Did we accidentally say #163? That was the Overrated Woodworking show. We had a whole different selection of things to get folks mad at us for in that episode. 🙂

CNC Axis Count
Most CNC Routers, especially those that can be purchased for under $10k, include 3 linear axis movements (X, Y, & Z). These three axes can create 3-dimensional parts if the machine’s programming code and processor(s) allows for it but could require multiple set-ups or may be restricted to relief type carvings on panels. Higher end Routers could include 1 or 2 rotary (A/B, A/C, or B/C) axes along with the three linear axes for movement. These 4 and 5 axis Routers are what can create the full bust type wood carvings in a single set-up. The price for one of these industrial-type 5-axis Routers can cost multiple millions of dollars, depending on size and application.
Great Show! – Marty

you are considering a CNC machine I suggest checking out several manufacturers; shopbot, multicam, legacy, Shark. Most of the manufacturers of these machines are offering benchtop models. Take a close look at their customer service. You also should request a test sample from a file you provide.
Expect to open up the wallet $4,000-$10,000 for a benchtop model depending on the bells and whistles you choose.

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