The Garage Shop Ministry

Specializing in VBS & Woodworking for People of Faith!

Large Tools

The Jointer

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Many ask what is the most important tool in your shop. Most will answer the table-saw. And, yes, it is a very efficient tool for cutting wood, but it is not the only tool to cut down wood in my shop.
 
Well, next to the brain, I think the jointer is clearly the most important tool in my shop. My own woodworking improved exponentially when I added this essential tool to my shop. I did not have room for an 8" machine with tables twice the length of this machine, and I have not found that this limitation was a major drawback. In fact, I like to cut parts down to a manageable size before I mill them to final width and size. Rarely have I found that I need to joint an eight-foot board and it is possible on a modest machine like this. It simply requires a steady hand and patience! Good in-feed and out-feed support is nave to have as well.
 
The Ridgid jointer may not be top-of-the-line, but from my experience it does its simple task very well—make boards flat and square! I am very satisfied with this machine. The plans for the mobile base come from Wood Magazine's Best-ever Workshops (Dec. 2001). I used a similar idea in the spindle sander stand below.
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Sunhill Machinery makes a worthy upgrade for your consideration. The cutter head is shipped complete in a wood box.
 
The upsides are:
· Quiet! And it slices the wood, much better on problem grains.
· Blade installation is very simple and does not require any jigs, etc. Each section of blade is indexed with a couple removable pins.
· Blades are disposable and cheap.
 
Down sides:
· In 2002 it costs $150 for a 6” jointer
· Knives are thin. They cannot be sharpened AND they cannot be nudged over so care must be taken not to nick them. I have found they hold an edge a bit better that the Freud straight knives I had in the machine previously.

The Bandsaw

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The bandsaw is one of those tools that is just a wonder to use. It is quiet, cuts very accurately (properly set-up and with the correct blade) and can cut curves and micro thin veneers. It is really a wonder machine.
 
The Grizzly GO555 14" bandsaw is one tool that Grizzly got right. This saw is just a pleasure to use and has options found on high-end machines. For the money, you can't go wrong in a 14" bandsaw like this. Upgrading the blade to a Timber Wolf is a must!
 
I upgraded the fence and although I like the extra height and the way the fence connects to the support (the same way the Delta Unifence does), I found the barrel nuts strip very easily and to cut thin veneers, the guide must be as high as it can go. On the other hand, I really like the low position as shown in et picture above.
 

Other Bandsaw Upgrades

 
A couple simple upgrades can make a real difference in your cutting experience. A simple wheel brush helps the tires track the blade and smooth. Likewise, a stone to round over the back of the blade will help reduce stress cracks and make it easier to make cuts with a tight radius curve. A simple blade lubricant makes cutting a wonder as well. Some swear by the commercial products, I simply use Pam on a paper towel and hand spin the blade (unplugged, of course!)
 
The last upgrade I think is worthy of consideration is a Carter Stabilizer. A parishioner told me about this upgrade, I picked one up at the very next wood show and have found this little wheel is really wonderful. With small 3/16" or 1/4" blade (well tuned) this stabilizer allows you to make amazingly tight curves.

The Sanding Center

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This is the latest addition to the shop; it replaced the Ridgid bench top spindle/belt sander. A Grizzly GO529 spindle and 12" disc sander. Great fit & finish and it works like a charm. I added a few more feet of piping to the small DC and I was astonished how well the small 2" DC fittings worked! This is a great addition to the shop.

The Router Table

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The Router table's design is courtesy of NYW! Thanks again Norm! The switch is not a fancy push button, just a simple rocker switch that I covered with an outdoor cover. I have to lift the cover to turn on the power and to turn it off, simply bump the cover. Works slick and the price is right!

Router Table Improvements

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The Router table's design is courtesy of NYW! Thanks again Norm! The switch is not a fancy push button, just a simple rocker switch that I covered with an outdoor cover. I have to lift the cover to turn on the power and to turn it off, simply bump the cover. Works slick and the price is right!
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I also utilized one of Norm's improvements on his second router table. These two angled pieces of wood direct the dust into the hose at the back of the carcass. Before this improvement, I constantly had to dig sawdust out of the corners. The little bit of dust you see are the result of about an hour of use! The DC works pretty good!

The Planer

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In this shop, my planer "grew up!" I got a great deal on a 20" planer that I could not resist. I still have the Delta 12 1/2" as you can plane very small and thin stock with the Delta, but this Grizzly is just a pleasure to use and 1/10th the noise!! Four, 20" long blades spun by a 3HP 220v motor. It does some serious planning, but it is HEAVY--over 700 pounds!!
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When you need to turn three 4/4 boards into three ½” boards, this is a great planer! I used to roll it out to the front of the shop and let it hog off boards. But I found I would not bother as it takes some time to rill around this heavy machine. So, it now sits at the front of the shop. When I need to plane something, I just roll up the garage door and then let the chips fly! Great machine!

The Drill Press

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My pre-WWII vintage Walker-Turner drill press…and it is still going strong!
 
I built the table from some scrap pine and MDF I had around the shop. Both have served me very well!

Miter Saw

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Although I suppose the cut-off saw is a bench tool, in my shop it is screwed down to the station so it qualifies for a large tool as this station is one of the largest in my shop!
 
I purchased this Delta 36-075 miter saw (right pict) years ago and it has preformed OK. I have never liked the way the saw rotates, always been stiff. The fence is also hard to get dead-on square in fact it is a bit bent! Safety note: notice how much of the blade is showing in the current position. This is because I had not completed the required maintenance on the spring (blowing off the dust and lubrication) at the back of the saw and therefore the saw will not rise up to the top position and lower the blade cover all the way. After completing the required maintenance, the saw rises another couple inches up, thereby lowering the blade guard, which completely covers the blade. Bottom line: don't forget to do your maintenance chores!
 
The saw on the left is my current saw. My first "yellow" purchase. A DeWalt DW703 10" compound miter saw. In addition, I must admit, although I am a Delta fan, I am very impressed with this saw. It is a very capable machine and after the years of struggling with the Delta, this saw is just a dream to use. In fact, I had the fence warp slightly and DeWalt shipped me a new one at no cost. Now that is customer service!

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ADVERTISERS

I am not interested in receiving your emails. Please do not leave solicitations here.
All others, I will get back to you as soon as I am able. There are times of the year that a response time slows down, but fear not, you will NOT be forgotten.
Thanks.
Blessings,
—Mark

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Contact Us

Stacks Image p242974_n245444

ADVERTISERS

I am not interested in receiving your emails. Please do not leave solicitations here.
All others, I will get back to you as soon as I am able. There are times of the year that a response time slows down, but fear not, you will NOT be forgotten.
Thanks.
Blessings,
—Mark

Close