Hi guys! Welcome back to another edition of Behind the Sawdust, our weekly-ish vlog about what goes on when the cameras are off at the two Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal shops. Guess what? It’s tool time!
I have to admit, I love tools. I love shopping for them, I love using them, I love trying new tools and learning about interesting tools and I even love giving away tools. In fact, if you stick around until the end of this video, I’m going to give away some more tools, because everyone loves tools. Why am I going on about tools? Because a while back we did a special “tool episode” of Behind the Sawdust where I showed you five tools that I though woodworkers should know about. The problem is, I think there are way more than five tools you should know about! My shop is loaded with awesome tools, and we get more all the time. So I think we’ll make this a regular thing. Maybe every month or so we’ll do a “cool tools” episode where I’ll pick four or five that I think are worth showing you. These tools may be some that I’ve been using for years, or some that I just got my hands on. The only criteria is that they be cool tools. If you want more information, I will put links to all the tools in the notes below the video. Ready to get started? Let’s look at this month’s cool tools!
(Disclaimer: Some of the tools featured on Behind the Sawdust were purchased at full price; others may be samples provided by tool manufacturers at our request. We never promise a positive review in exchange for a free tool, and we turn down far more tools than we accept. However, everyone has their own point of view, and one person’s experience may be totally different from that of another person. We always recommend that you to seek out a variety of opinions before making any tool purchase.)
(Rockler Dust-Right Hose and Fittings) First up is a tool I’ve been using for several years here in the main workshop, and it came in handy this past week because I was doing some power carving, which left a mess of sawdust on the floor. Now, I could grab a broom, but that would involve bending over and I’m too lazy for that. So, I prefer to prefer to suck my shavings up. The problem is, I hate shop vacs. The filters clog and air shoots out the exhaust, which blows the dust on the floor behind the vacuum into the air. I use them, don’t get me wrong. But if I have a lot of chips like this, I prefer a different method.
These accessories are sold by Rockler under their Dust-Right brand name. They make all sorts of different dust collection products, but this set in particular has proved really handy over the years. It’s a big 4-inch vacuum wand and a special hose that attaches to your dust collector. The hose itself hangs on a rack on my shop wall, all nice and neat because, unlike regular dust collection hose, this one is collapsible. When you grab it off the wall it stretches out up to 28 feet long, depending on which length you buy. On the end I attached one of their quick-connect handles. They have actually changed the shape of the handle and the hose is blue now, like I said I’ve had mine for years. But it still works the same way. The handle slips onto the vacuum wand you’re off sucking up woodchips.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. Do you really want to suck everything off your floor and into your dust collector? Well, that depends on the dust collector. If you have a cyclone, or even a trashcan separator attached to your system, you should be fine. If not, you do want to avoid sucking anything up that will damage your impeller, such as large pieces of wood, and especially not metal that may spark and set your dust bin on fire. There is a plastic screen on the foot section, which will keep big parts out. But it does cause it to clog up more. So I keep two of the foot pieces around. One with the screen for when I’m not sure what I may suck up, and the other for maximum flow when I want it. They also make a smaller hand-held head for using on the workbench. This is really handy even if you do have a shop vac because it’s easier to grab than getting out the vacuum. Just be careful you don’t suck up your tools, because there’s no screen in this one.
When I’m finished, the hose collapses right back into its rack. Or, I can take the hose to a different part of the shop. The quick-connect ends make it fast to hook up different machines, and the collapsible hose is great because it only has to be extended as long as you need it, making it very versatile for different parts of the shop.
Like I said, I’ve been using the Rockler Dust-right hose and fittings for years, and I can tell you without any doubt that it is the best dust collection hose I’ve ever owned. So you may want to check it out at the link in the notes below the video. In the meantime, you’re probably wondering about that power carving I was talking about. Well, we’re making a whole video about that project, but I did want to show you a little bit now because it gave me a chance to use something new.
(Saburr-Tooth Carving Burrs) These are carbide carving burs made by a company called Saburtooth. I’ve done some power carving in the past, but always with high speed steel burs. Carbide is way better, in my opinion, because they have this innovative porcupine design that makes them extremely efficient at removing wood. They don’t clog up like the high speed steel ones, they don’t scorch the wood, and they don’t get dull nearly as quickly. I used them on the more detailed parts of the carving, which happened to be an eagle based on an old folk carving I saw at an antique sale. You’ll see the finished carving in a few days.
I did find that the carbide burs took some practice. Because they can be so aggressive, you really have to keep an eye on what you’re doing. You can remove a lot of wood fast, which is a good thing as long as it’s in the right places. A variable speed rotary tool or power carver is a must. By lowering the speed you can control the tool with little problem at all.
The burs come in course and fine grits, but even the fine is still pretty rough. These are for shaping, not for finishing. I had to follow up with some sanding. But I really have to say that these were a pleasure to use as compared to my old steel burs. I’m sure you’ll see more of them in various projects down the road. I also know that mustache Mike wants to get his hands on them to use for touching up his scroll saw fret work, so we’ll have to get some more to share between the two shops. I also want to try out some of the other shapes and sizes they make. They actually have quite a variety on their website. I’ll link to it in the notes below.
(DrillNado Dust Collection) Meanwhile, I recently got my hands on another tool that I had been anxious to try for some time. It’s the Drillnado drill press dust collection system. This thing caused a lot of excitement when it first came out because there really isn’t a perfect solution for drill press dust collection. Until recently, I used one of these flex hoses that can be bent into various positions, with a special fitting on the end. If I sit it next to my work, it does a pretty good job. My biggest complaint is that it gets in the way of the workpiece sometimes, and it only collects about half of the larger chips. I’ll put a link to this setup in the notes, but let’s see how the new Drillnado compares.
There are two different sizes, the regular and the XL. The XL worked best with my drill press, which is a very typical Taiwan made floor standing model that you find at Harbor Freight and all sorts of other places. The body of the Drillnado attaches to the machine’s spindle and a plastic bellows slips over your bit and pops easily in place. I was a little worried because the bellows seems to hang loosely. I would prefer for a better fit, but I also know it can’t be too tight or it won’t go on and off easily, and since you have to pop it off whenever you change your bit, it had better be easy to do. Still, I thought it was too loose, and a couple of times it even fell off while I worked. It is worth noting that I tried two different Drillnados, the regular and the XL, and bellows on the regular version fit perfectly. So it may just be the one XL that I got that had that problem.
Another thing I wondered about was how the bellows would obstruct my view of my work, but I really didn’t find it to be a problem at all. I could clearly see what I was doing. That said, I could not use my laser guide with this on the drill press. That doesn’t bother me because I find the laser to be too inaccurate and fiddly anyway. But if you have a laser that you like to use, that’s something to keep in mind.
My far, my biggest concern about the Drillnado was how would it perform while hooked up to a dust collector. A shop vacuum produces a lot of pressure, so it doesn’t need a lot of airflow to work. But a dust collector is a different machine. It needs a lot of airflow to work, and since the Drillnado reduces the inlet down to a very small space around the spindle, I was skeptical about how much suction I would actually get. But, I as pleasantly surprised. There was still enough airflow around the spindle to collect 100% of the dust from the drill bit. But that’s fine stuff, right? What about big forstner bit shavings?
Guess what, it clogged up pretty quickly. The bigger shavings seemed to be too much for it. I was actually a little frustrated for a minute, but then I realized that the problem may be the way I was using the forstner bit. I’m always in a hurry, so I hog down on the bit, which makes giant shavings. But I found that, if I slowed down my feed I got smaller chips, and the Drillnado had no trouble keeping up. It worked equally well with both a shop vac and a dust collector attached. So, I can rush all I want with regular bits, but I have to slow down a little while using large forstner bits. I suppose that’s not a big deal.
Now, I admit that I am unlikely to use dust collection every time I go to the drill press. It’s just not that messy of a tool. But when I have a lot of holes to drill, I really don’t see a problem with slipping this little bellows over the bit and saving myself the effort of sweeping or vacuuming them up later. So this may be a tool that is a real time saver for some people, and less so for others. I’ll put a link in the notes below the video for those of you who want to check it out.
(M-Power Router Base) I have one more cool tool to show you. This is another one that I have used around the shop for quite a while now. It’s the M-Power 7-in-1 router base. I love this thing because it does all sorts of stuff. We made a short video about all it does a year or so ago, which I’ll link to in the notes. But I just want to show you one feature that I think is really cool. I am going to cut a dado to fit this piece of wood into a slot on this plywood. But I don’t have a bit that’s the right size. So I’m going to use this router base’s micro-adjustable feature.
The base slips right onto your router using the slots where your factory edge guide would normally go, which makes it really easy to take off and put back on. I am going to attach a fence accessory to the bottom of the base with a couple of screws. And I’ve set it to the distance that I want my dado to be from the edge of my board. One thing that I have noticed about this tool is that there are a lot of little screws and accessories that you have to keep track of. I haven’t lost any yet, even though I’ve had this for quite a while. But I’m careful to put everything back when I’m done with it.
Anyway, I rout my slot from left to right, keeping the fence against my edge. Of course, I know that this dado isn’t wide enough for the mating piece so I am going to turn the micro-adjuster dial, which moves the router itself in relation to the base. I can do it a little or a lot, whatever I need, then I make another pass, widening my dado. Because the micro-adjuster is so precise, I can make very fine adjustments until I get a perfectly fitting dado. This same process would work with a clamp-on edge guide if I want to cut a dado in the center of a really large workpiece. It’s just one of the really handy features of this router base. I honestly really love this thing. If you’d like to see more, check out the video link in the notes below and there’s also a link to the base itself on Amazon if you’d like to read more reviews.
Speaking of videos we did in the past, just this past week we made a video about how to sharpen your own router bits. I’ll link to that below too. But to help you get started, we are giving away three of the same diamond sharpening sets from Trend that we used in that video. These are awesome sets and you will be seeing us sharpen all sorts of different woodworking tools with them in the next few issues of Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal. So, I’ll randomly choose three of our email subscribers and send them a set. If you’re already an email subscriber you are already entered. If you aren’t, go to Stumpynubs.com and subscribe. It’s that simple. You’ll be entered into all of our tool giveaways now and in the future, and we never send junk mail. While you’re there be sure to check out the latest issue, full of tips, tricks and tutorials designed to make you a better woodworker. You can read and subscribe for free at Stumpynubs.com. Then you can sit back and have a cold one, because you’ve earned it, my friend!
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