Thursday, January 31, 2013

New tools!

I am always, always on the hunt for anything to make my life easier in the shop.  Over the last month or so I've gotten a few new things that have become pretty much invaluable. The best part of it is they're cheap.

The first one is a Gator Microzip. 

This thing is awesome.  It's just soft enough to hold well, just dense enough that it doesn't flex unless you try.  That way you won't screw up a flat surface.  For reaching in horn throats, easing edges, anyplace you need either fine control or small size.  The 80g paper cuts PL and BB like butter.  It has saved me so much prep time it's crazy.  About $10.  Probably any hardware store, I got mine at Ace.  They'll be on my website before too long.

Next up is a Porter Cable 23ga Pin Nailer.

  How did I ever build without this?  Blows my 18ga
out of the water.  Fast, light, small, fabulous. There are a jillion brands of nailers out there, I'm just partial to the Porters.  They just feel better in my hand, and are much quieter than the others I've used.  This little puppy barely goes pffft when you shoot the pin.  And the best part is, no nail holes to fill.  It's so small it's hard to see it.  3/4 is just right for 1/2 ply, they hold tight enough for the PL to cure.  That's what they're for.  If you need a structural connection, it ain't the tool.  Plus you can edge nail into 1/8 bb and not split it if you're good.  Into 1/4 is a no brainer.  When Sam is home we fight over it in the shop.  Loser has to use the 18ga. 
Anywhere from $30 at Harbor to probably less than $100 for a name brand.

Finally, a new saw blade.  From Amana
American Steel, American made.  I like that. 
No pic, you know what a saw blade looks like.  I've always been a Freud user.  They make a quality product.  I like this better.  It's slightly thicker than the Freud's in the body of the blade.  Still 1/8 kerf.  But the carbide is about an inch thick. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but it is about twice as thick as the Freud.  You can have it sharpened til the cows come home.  The cut is so smooth you'd swear it was sanded.  Even after many many board feet of ply it's still smooth and never splinters the edge.  I got mine from Ballew Saw and Tool in Springfield MO.  They sharpen all my bits and blades, and recommended this blade to me.  It was about $50 IIRC.  I highly recommend Ballew, they are knowledgeable, friendly, competitive pricing, and have real industrial stuff you won't find at your local big box.  I've bought 3 Saw Stop saws from them.  You do have your Saw Stop don't you?  If you value your fingers you do. 

On the subject of fingers, one old tool.  If you don't have a Saw Stop, you MUST have this.  Even if you do you must have this.

I've been using them for at least a couple of years.  You can make impossible cuts.  I ripped a 1/2 dowel in half the other day on the table saw using it. You can make standard cuts in complete safety.  It looks like a mess in the pic, complicated.  It's not. Setup for odd cuts takes about 10 seconds. Figuring out sometimes how to make the cut takes longer than setting it up.  I leave all the stuff off of it for most cuts. Just grab it and go.  The cut marks in the bottom of mine attest to either my ability to screw up and cut my push block, or at least some of them to the fact that it saved my ass. I have actually stopped the blade on my Jet with this when a board got in a bind and was threating to kick back.  I just bore down on it. The riving knife on my Sawstop has cured those issues though. 
 Btw, I sell them.

On the speaker front, a long term project has finally come to fruition.  I've been messing with a 2x5 BigE design for a while for use as studio monitors.  I brought in some really fine 5" peerless drivers that got me most of the way there.  Very low fs,  I have strong response to 35hz.  They don't need subs for nearfield.  Hell, they don't need a sub for anything less than 10-12ft.  But I just wasn't happy with the upper mids and high end I was getting from all the tweeters I tried.  Mike Arnopol suggested some Vifa's, that he's using in a 4x5 bass guitar cabinet.  Says it's the sweetest thing he's ever heard.  And he's right. I installed a couple in one yesterday and it blossomed.  I didn't even mess with the crossover to adjust for them, just stuck them in at about 4k.  The best BigE cab yet.  And that's saying A LOT.   I'll optimize the xover point this weekend.  They would make a killer bookshelf speaker.  Or mains in a small room HT setup.  

Special shoutout to Matt Goodwin.  He has revolutionized my Facebook page.  Go buy his music.  The Bad Tenants.  Thank you to all of you for the new likes and followers. 

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