Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Category Archives: Machinery and Tools

HomemadeTools.net (as featured on)

With many thanks to the administrator, Jonathan Rubinstien, I received an e-mail notification several weeks ago that a home-made blade-setting jig I’d created has also been featured on the HomemadeTools.net encyclopedia.

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A Tale of Safe Storage

I hadn’t planned on maintaining such an absence from this blog until now but for the past few days, I’ve been unable to log-in and it looks as though it’s a problem that has hit other WordPress users. But I’m here now; my fingers ready to share so many things and I feel it would be most convenient to share details of this weekend as it comes to a close.

One final shot of my complete workshop in March 2014.

Straying back in to the world of woodworking and workshops for a moment; this weekend was when I decided it was time to put the majority of my tools and equipment in to self storage!

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Latest Offerings

March suddenly seems very very close and I’m concerned that the progress with my workshop clearout and decluttering may not reach the stage at which I am hoping for by then… To give you all a bit of an update though, I thought I’d share a few previously-unmentioned items that I, as of last week, decided I am going to add to the ever-growing ‘For Sale’ list.

If you’d like a price on something, please find a way to contact me, whether that’s by leaving a comment here, by e-mailing me directly or through social media.

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Mitres and Stops

Earlier today, I uploaded a brand-new video to YouTube, which happens to be my first for about a month. I’ll probably go in to that one a little deeper in a separate blog post next week but it bears some relevance to this post where I’m going to be looking at mitres and tackling the seemingly-simple question of how to fit a length stop for repeat or batch cutting of identical lengths.

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Dust Wrong

Last week, I found some time to tinker and experiment with the dust extraction setup for my bandsaw. For the last few years, I’ve been using a setup that allows you to connect a vacuum hose to an angled port that surround the blade just below the table. It’s often worked well, collecting a majority of the sawdust and also leaving less to settle on the lower blade guides.

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But it’s not always been as effective as it used to be and I think the change occurred once I added a simple dust separator in to the system, which has always been the Triton DCA300 Dust Bucket. Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure that another separator (particularly a cyclone) would give better results but the Triton one seems to offer an airflow that’s greatly reduced from the force drawn in by the vacuum on its own.

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Making Hoses Fit

If you’ve ever tried to connect a vacuum to your portable power tools, you’re likely to have come across one (if not several) where the supplied nozzle at the end of the hose doesn’t even come close to fitting snugly in to the tool’s outlet. Some people will resort to using masking tape or scraps of PVC pipe; worse still (and I’ve been guilty of this many times) is where people decide to neglect the use of dust extraction and then proceed to cut, plane, rout or sand away with fine particles filling their workshops!

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On Friday, while I was waiting for the glue to dry on a pair of chess boards (more on the perils of gluing end-grain to end-grain another time), I decided to have a go at making an attachment that would connect my vacuum to my random orbital sander. As you can see above; it works and I got the idea initially from (I think) Chris Pine over on Keek (@cpine).

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An additional tip for drilling small squares safely!

You basically take two small squares of plywood, drilling one hole in each. In one block, you have a hole sized to take the nozzle from the vacuum; the other is drilled to fit over your tool’s outlet or port. Then, these two blocks are carefully glued together and I rounded the corners off to make it aesthetically pleasing.

It’s a custom solution that doesn’t cost a lot but might ensure you never run out of masking tape. You may still need to manufacture one ‘fitting’ for each of your tools but, if it means you’re more likely to use dust extraction then it’s worth it.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ve found this tip useful.

Correcting Sash Cramp Heads

I’m a big fan of sash cramp heads for their sheer versatility. Whether you prefer to say clamp or cramp; these heads can be fitted a length of wood pre-drilled with a series of holes. Wooden bars will always be stronger than some of the cheaper aluminium clamps you can buy today and the real beauty is that you can keep several lengths of pre-drilled wooden bar, but you might then only require a small collection of set of clamp heads, which can then be interchanged to suit the projects you are working on.

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In recent years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have bought a few of these for some very reasonable prices on eBay. You’ll occasionally find that some of the older heads require 12mm holes, where most of the modern ones are suited for 10mm but there’s a bigger problem I’ve noticed with some of the newer sash clamp heads from Record or Irwin and I’m going to address that with a solution in this post.

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Picture Frame and Mitres

My next video on YouTube should document the making of a small picture frame made from a minute quantity of English walnut. Today, I’m going to share with you a bit about making the mitres on each of the four corners, as I took an opportunity to try and saw blade I’d not tested before and I’d like to share some of my thoughts on that.

Mitre Cutting Time!

I also decided to make a mitre-cutting jig for my mitre saw and there will be a shorter video showing how I made that, to be uploaded within days of the picture frame project going live.

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