Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Bedside tables (nightstands) - Part 13 - Lining the drawers and making drawer pulls

Lining the drawers.

The customer stated that green baize was to be used to line the bottom of the drawers. So I got some self adhesive felt baize that I have used several times before and cut it to size.

Securing the baize is a breeze by peeling back 1" or so of the release paper and gradually working along the drawer rubbing it down as you go along. Final flattening with a veneer roller ensures that any air bubbles are removed.
Cutting to size

Peeling the release paper

The finished results are very good.

Drawer stops

I used a couple of counter sunk wood screws in the back of each drawer to act as stops.

Screw into the end grain of the dovetail
This is repeated on the other side

View from inside rear of the table (top off) approaching closure

Drawer fully closed

Drawer pulls

The order from the customer was to have wooden knobs of the same species as the main wood used in the tables. I had all sorts of ideas for fancy drawer pulls made from sapele but "no" came from the client. So who am I to argue.

I broke out the dusty old lathe, sharpened a few gouges, dug out my calipers and turned a couple of knobs. They were finished sanded on the lathe and then when I cut them off at the base were placed into a piece of scrap wood containing a 3/8" hole. This fitted the turned tenon on the knob perfectly. It enabled me to hold the knob to cut the length down to 3/8" long (10mm). A pilot hole was also drilled for a #8 wood screw.
Finishing the knobs - they are screwed onto a piece of scrap

Then the knobs were finished with several coats of Arm-R-Seal and left to cure.

Final fitting to the drawers was simply by drilling a pilot hole, blue tape on either side of the hole to prevent break out and screwing the #8 screw from the inside. The knobs were then screwed onto the protruding screw.

The finish of Arm-R-Seal on the entire pieces really brings out the grain of the sapele.

Friday, 9 October 2015

New jointer/planer blades fitted Axminster AW106PT2 Jointer/Thicknesser

I have just spent a couple of hours maintaining my Axminster AW106PT2 planer/thicknesser (combo jointer/planer for North American woodies)

I replaced the expensive TCT blades with some HSS blades I bought from a local tool company, Woodford Tooling in Cheshire UK, via Amazon. I have been disappointed with the TCT blades from Axminster here. They are of Chinese origin, are not as sharp as HSS and probably need honing from brand new. They are supposed to last much longer than HSS but I have had a problem with tearout on the ends of boards. This is not usual shallow tearout but massive lumps of wood been removed. No such problems with the new HSS blades.

It took about 2 hours to replace the blades, cleaning the machine as I did so. Since having the machine I have done the periodic maintenance specified in the manual, oiling the chain, oiling the bearings, greasing the massive guide shaft and waxing the beds. All very straightforward and easy to do.

The blades are more time consuming to do, I use the setting gauge supplied with the jointer, a block of wood, the tiny 7mm spanner and a pair of Axminister LED setting jigs to do the job.

I have had these a while and they needed the rare earth magnets re-gluing into the body of the gauges with CA glue as the original glue was not very good. After that the gauges have worked perfectly.
Underside of one of the jigs shown.
The rare earth magnets needed re-gluing on the set I have.
I also levelled the magnets to the surrounding thermoset plastic
by running the jig using sandpaper on a granite plate
(same technique as used when flattening a handplane sole)

Jigs shown in position on the AW106PT2.
When the blades are in the right position an electrical circuit
is made and the LEDs light up.

After fitting the new blades a test cut with oak showed the new knives cut a lot better than the TCT knives with very little noise and they are very smooth. 
I have a couple of sets of knives to be sent out for re-sharpening. Hopefully the TCT blades will come back much better than before.

I wish Axminster would produce a helical head for the AW106PT2 though. Sadly at the moment they don't and there is nothing on the horizon.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Trend T4 Review - not good

I am a fan of Trend products as all of their professional products, routers, safety equipment, cutters etc that I own are top quality and built to last. However the T4 router is garbage here's why:

I needed a small plunge router and the Trend T4 seemed to fit the bill and at the current Amazon price point also seemed to be a bargain. I ordered one. The router itself is a 850 watt 1.1 HP machine with a plunge base which has a 30mm (1" 1/4) plunge. It comes with a pressed steel adjustable fence, a few tools, 3 sizes of collet (1/4", 6mm and 8mm), a transparent plastic dust shroud, instruction manual all enclosed in a blow moulded carrying case.

The dreaded T4

The router has an electronic variable speed control mounted on the top of the motor which goes from 11500 to 32000 rpm. The highest speeds are intended to be used for die grinding as the plunge base comes off the motor making it a hand held die grinder. For routing the manual recommends setting the variable speed control to 4 which is around 24000 rpm. The plunge mechanism itself it very smooth with external springs over the plunge shafts. There is a 3 position turret stop and a continuously variable plunge stop. The on off switch is conventiently located on the front of the router and is easily latched and unlatched. The plunge lock lever is on the rear and is in the roght position for an index finger to control.

The router and its cast aluminium plunge base are all well made and look as though they will hold up to light use. The router itself is marketed as hobby/DIY/light trade usage and as I just wanted it for occasional use it would probably suffice. I intended to dedicate it to pattern copying using guide bushes and removable collars to route cavities the exact size of cover plates. My Trend T11 is great at this but is too heavy - hence the need for a lighter smaller router.

All seems good so far.

Guide bush and collar

Trend T11 - I love this machine
First of all some explanation of guide bushes and the Trend T10/T11. I have an extensive set of guide bushes/collars - they are all standard across Trend routers - and decided to fit one to see how concentric the motor shaft is to the base. On the T10/T11 there is a sub plate that is fitted first of all and a centralization shaft (line up pin in Trend speak) is fitted into the collet. A 30mm guide bush is fitted to the subplate (innerplate in Trend speak) and the whole assembly is manoeuvred on the plunge base to get it exactly central on the shaft. Screws lock it into position. The guide bushes are fixed to this plate with countersunk screws so if you put one of a different diameter in place it will always be concentric.

Guide bush installation instructions for a T10/T11 router
And now the T4. The T4 has no provision for an adjustable subplate and the guide bushes are intended to fit into a machined recess in the plunge base. There is no adjustment at all! The router also does not come with a setting centralization shaft either. It came as no surprise that the guide bush was not concentric to the motor shaft. It was out of alignment by a considerable amount (around 1/16"). There was absolutely no way of adjusting this and for the intended purpose I had for the router it was impossible to use.
It does not come up to the high standard of the rest of Trend's products and I can't understand why they would have let this on the market with such a fundamental design flaw. It couldn't be used as I intended nor could be used in a dovetailing jig. It could however be used quite successfully for bearing guided pattern routing, edge guided routing, die grinding and normal routing duties very well.

So I have started the process of sending the router back as "not fit for purpose" without even making any dust.

I think if it wasn't for this major manufacturing/design problem the router itself would be OK.