Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

More of My Favorite Boat Building Tools

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

In this second installment of my favorite boat building tools, I have brought out some power tools.

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The first is the Dewalt Corded TrackSaw (PN:DWS520K, $475.19,  In the August 2016 issue of Fine Woodworking, (, Mark Edmudson reviewed several track saws.  The track saws from Festool and Mafell were rated the best and the one from Makita as best value.  I have not used any track saw but the Dewalt and I have very happy with it.  I always brush dust off the track and the work piece before a cut and never had the track slip while cutting.  To avoid cutting the table or concrete I have two 4′ x 8′ sheets of 1-1/2 inch rigid foam insulation from Home Depot that I put the work piece on.  I use the track saw for any straight cut on sheet goods and long boards.  The saw was an unbeliever time saver when I was cutting out the molds, bulkhead and transom for my Candlefish 13.  I marked all the cut lines in red (so as not to cut a centerline or water line by mistake) on sheets of plywood and then cut all the parts out.  The pull the trigger then push down and forward to start the cut was not natural at first but now I don’t even think about it.

The second is the Rockwell Versacut (PN RK3440K, $99,  The Versacut is a 3-3/8 inch circular saw and don’t let the name fool you; this is not a tool make by Rockwell of years ago.  This Rockwell Tools is Positec Tool Corporation in China, a supplier of OEM and second tier tools.  I originally bought this saw to remove particle board as part of installing hardwood floors.  I would use the bi-metal blade and cut the particle board into 1′ x 4′ pieces and then pry them out.  The small blade allowed me to steer around (most of) the nails holding the particle board down.  Now I use the Versacut with a carbide blade for cutting curves in plywood.  I used it to cut all the panels for my Candlefish 13.  The V notch in the saw base is not exactly where the blade cuts but a few practice cuts solves that problem.

Lastly there is my baby router, a Dewalt Compact Router (PN:DWP611, $122.99,  I mostly use the round over or a 45° chamfer bit.  The routers small size allows me to easily route a round over on canoe gunnels.  I used the 45° chamfer bit on the plywood panels before stitching the panels.  The router has 1-1/4 hp and comes with a 1/4 inch collet.  This router is more than a panel router but not a full size router; I would stick with small bits and leave the canoe bit to a full size router.

My Three Favorite Boat Building Tools

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

When I am building boats or other projects, there are always some tools that I always reach for first and use them more than others.MyFavoriteTools (Medium)
The number one tool I reach for and cannot live without is my folding rule from Lee Valley (PN: 24N06.50, $6.95,  At 1 meter long with metric on one side and inches on the other; I find more useful than any of my tape measures or steel rules.   It folds down to about 5 inches and extends out to a meter (just over 39 inches).  I also use it to double check the fence on my table saw so I get just the right thickness from a cut.

Number two is my Dozuki, Japanese pull saw from Woodcraft (PN:12F27, $50.50,  Dozuki’s are also available at Rockler and other woodworking stores.  A Dozuki is called a dovetail saw but I find that the 9-1/2 inch blade is just too big for dovetailing but excels at cutting trim and tenons.  For dovetail work, the 6-1/2 inch blade and shorter handle is just right.  The metal back keeps the blade stiff and I will often guide the blade by holding my thumb near the back for right angle cuts.  No one who has ever used a Japanese pull say can say they have never cut themselves; watch out the teeth are sharp.

Number three is a new tool that I just purchased this year and is not really a tool but safety equipment.  It is an Elipse P100 half mask respirator.  (PN: SPR451, $28.00,  The respirator comes in two sizes, Small/Medium and Medium/Large.  The Small/Medium fits 80% of the users and is the one that I have.  I was using the 3M particulate filters with a valve but I found they continually fogged up my glasses especially when working in my cold garage.  The P110 fits perfectly without any problems with my beard and the only time it fogs up my glasses is when I don’t have it on right.

Nearly Prefect Breadboard

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

The holidays are a time when I bake bread, pies and rolls to share with my family.  To aid in preparing the dough a breadboard is needed and breadboards have gone the way of the buggy whip.  breadboardI was on my way to buy some hard Maple for a bread board when I stopped at the local Ikea for some Pastej Lax or as we call it, fish paste; when I stumbled upon the Lamplig Chopping Board.  For $10 this cutting board was turned over to make a nearly perfect breadboard.  The lip catches the edge of the counter and does not slip around when I am kneading the dough.  The backside is a little rough so you might have to clean it up with sandpaper.  For a real breadboard I would like it a little wider than the 18 inches and a little longer that the 20 3/4.  For only $10 I can live with it being a little on the small side.

Resurrecting a Stanley Bailey #3 Hand Plane

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

I picked up a Stanley Baily #3 hand plane at the local building supply junk store while I was getting some lumber for an oar rack that I will be building.  This sorry plane had been drowned and has a serious case of rust but is not terminal.  The rust looks fresh and the screws and the adjustment knob turns so it is not rusted solid.  The front knob is cracked and will be repaired or replaced.  The rear tote is in good shape except for a bad paint job.   The first task is to disassemble the plane and clean up the parts.

I use electrolysis to remove the rust on the steel parts.   Electrolysis is a method of using a direct current to drive the iron oxides (rust) back to iron and oxygen.  The iron becomes a black slug on the steel that is easily washed off.  Many proponents of electrolysis cleaning use a automotive battery charger to send between 4 and 10 amps through the part.   I built a constant current source that drives 100 milliamperes through my parts.  Although slower, I am more comfortable with the lower current and some suggest that it does a better job.  The part in the tank is the plane iron (blade) and will be left there for about 24 hours.  The electrolysis works in line of sight, so to ensure even cleaning, I have four pieces of steel re-bar as my electrodes.

When all clean and tuned up, this little #3 hand plane will be put to good use.  It will join ranks with other Stanley planes that I have and the wooden planes that I have built.

Philly Style Chamfering Plane

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

I built a Philly Style Chamfering Plane to cut 45 degree chamfers and to 8 side spars, oars and paddles.   The plane is based on a 10 inch wooden block plane and has a fixed guide and an adjustable guide.    The adjustable guide is not shown because I did not like the first two that I made.  I have designed a new jig to cut the slots in the adjustable guide and will make it soon.

For this design I used a lever cap with a brass threaded insert and a brass knurled thumb screw.  The lever cap makes it easier to adjust the plane iron than with a wedge.  To adjust the iron, the thumb screw is loosened so the plane iron is held in place but can move when hit with an adjusting mallet.  Once the blade is set the thumb screw is tightened until snug.   The cross pin is 3/8 brass rod that is cut slightly longer than needed and then sanded to be flush.  I still have to heat threat the iron and then sharpen it.