Fast-Action Clamp for Crosscut Fence

A reader recently inquired about the method I use to secure the crosscut fence to my sliding table saw. Grizzly provides a knob with a long male thread to pass through the slot in the outrigger and into the bottom of the crosscut fence. This is secure, but slow to remove when taking off the crosscut fence.

Crosscut Fence Clamp3

For a more convenient solution, I mounted a toggle clamp on a riser block. A large-head, 1/4″ bolt, threaded into the bottom of the block, rides in the bottom T-slot of the crosscut fence and a rubber bumper positions the pressure pad of the clamp solidly on the outrigger.

Crosscut Fence Clamp1 This is what the clamp looks like holding the crosscut fence in place.

Crosscut Fence Clamp2 While not quite as secure as the original bolt, this solution makes it considerably easier to adjust, remove or install the crosscut fence.

Here are some more photos of the clamp on its own.

Crosscut Fence Clamp4 Crosscut Fence Clamp5

Links:

Maple Trestle Table, Session 8 – Make Your Tools Work for You and Flattening the Top

On the morning of Sunday, April 15th, Morton and I exchanged ideas about trestle tables, spurred on by a recent sketch of a table on which he was working.  That got me yearning to build a trestle table.

I documented my progress live on Twitter which was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.  Here is a list of the previous Sessions:

Session 1 – Flat Boards are Boring;
Session 2 – Playing with Slabs;
Session 3 – From Two Slabs to One Table Top;
Session 4 – Clamping Odd Shapes and Sketching on Wood;
Session 5 – Routing Pockets for Battens;
Session 6 – Making Battens and Installing Countertop Connectors; and
Session 7 – Installing Battens and Flattening the Underside.

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username, being the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are preceded by a @ symbol and are people to whom the author is talking.  The other symbol you see is #, which serves as a category.  I try to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

FlairWoodworks As I work at surfacing this table top, I am reminded of this forum thread I started 4 years, 14 days ago. #flairww -2:42 PM Apr 26th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It is so nice to have a light-weight plane with a radiused iron for bulk stock removal. #flairww -2:43 PM Apr 26th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The tops of the sidewalls were wearing on me (InstantRimShot.com) so I rounded them over more with a file. #flairww -2:51 PM Apr 26th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Oh, the rounded sidewalls are such a nice improvement! And it only took one minute to do each side! #flairww -2:53 PM Apr 26th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Somehow, my low-angle jack plane, which I bought 4 years ago, hadn’t been modified… even the shiny finish was still on the grips! #flairww-2:58 PM Apr 26th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Hello rasps and 80-grit sandpaper. Goodbye uncomfortable, finished handle. #flairww -3:08 PM Apr 26th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I chucked the knob into my drill press and used 80-grit sandpaper to remove the finish. #flairww -3:13 PM Apr 26th, 2012

FlairWoodworks To avoid damaging the 1/4″-20 threads, I first spun on two nuts which I then put into the chuck. #flairww -3:14 PM Apr 26th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I don’t use my Veritas cabinet scraper very often but this is the perfect situation! #flairww -3:46 PM Apr 26th, 2012

FlairWoodworks You can’t get much more parallel then that! #flairww -9:46 PM Apr 26th, 2012

luggermatt: @FlairWoodworks That’s ‘close enough’ ;-) looking good too! -9:49 PM Apr 26th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Thanks, Matthew! #flairww RT @luggermatt: @FlairWoodworks That’s ‘close enough’ ;-) looking good too! -9:50 PM Apr 26th, 2012

luggermatt: @FlairWoodworks Anytime! I enjoy your tweets! -9:53 PM Apr 26th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Do you need a table? I don’t think it’ll fit on your boat though :) #flairww RT @luggermatt: @FlairWoodworks Anytime! I enjoy your tweets! -9:55 PM Apr 26th, 2012

Tumblewood Very nice. I’m still amazed you didn’t use router rails. Remember, I’m older and lazy to boot.

FlairWoodworks @Tumblewood I’d actually planned on using a router on rails but this seemed easier (but not quicker). #flairww -9:57 PM Apr 26th, 2012

FlairWoodworks These are the largest Dominoes available for the Domino DF-500 and they look tiny. #flairww -10:21 PM Apr 26th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I can use my router to make 1/2″-wide mortises 2-1/2″ deep. #flairww -10:25 PM Apr 26th, 2012

Tumblewood: What do you think now? Still easier?! -10:27 PM Apr 26th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It was definitely quicker than building a jig. #flairww RT@Tumblewood: What do you think now? Still easier?! -10:28 PM Apr 26th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Tumblewood If I had to do it again, I’d do it the same way.#flairww -10:29 PM Apr 26th, 2012

Tumblewood @FlairWoodworks I think you only need them for alignment. If you glueing. Plenty of long grain IMO, or strong enough with the counter bolts. Either way. But points out my hesitation on the 500 vs the 700. Still think the 500 will handle 70% of what I’ll do. They need the M600!! That would be perfect for me!

FlairWoodworks @Tumblewood There is actually not that much long grain surface. #flairww -10:50 PM Apr 26th, 2012

Jumbo mortises and floating tenons are cut next, in Session 9!

Review of the Mirka CEROS

Background

I have had the 6″ Mirka CEROS (Compact Electric Random Orbit Sander) for about a year.  Although I have not used it in a production shop environment, I used it extensively for sanding sculptural work and, to a lesser degree, for flat surfaces.  I have had absolutely no issues with it.

When I purchased the Mirka CEROS, it was only available as a 5″ or 6″ sander with a 5 mm orbit.  The 5 mm orbit is for general work.  Since then, Mirka has released two more 6″ CEROS models – one with a 2.5 mm stroke for finish sanding and one with an 8 mm stroke for more aggressive sanding.  I do not believe these are currently available in North America.

Mirka CEROS in Systainer

Details

The sanding action is very smooth and the DC motor is powerful and reasonably quiet (68 dB, which is similar to a piano practice).  It is lightweight and well-balanced, making it comfortable to use with either one hand or two.  The power cord is quite flexible and permanently attached to the sander.  Mirka sells a hose for the sanders, which is more flexible and lighter (for improved ergonomics) than the Festool Anti-Static D27 hose.  The Mirka CEROS has a round dust port with female threads to accept a 1-1/4″ diameter threaded hose.

Although the Mirka sanders closely resemble pneumatic ones, they are powered by a maintenance-free, brushless DC motor and do not require a large air compressor.  The sanders have a 14′-long power cord that plugs into one end of a 8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ x 3-1/4″ transformer.  A 6′-long power cord runs from the other end of the transformer into a standard AC outlet.

Mirka CEROS Package

Sizes

The Mirka CEROS is available with either a 125mm (5″) or 150mm (6″) diameter pad.  The smaller sander weighs 870 grams (1.9 pounds) and the larger weighs 920 grams (2 pounds).  I think the 6″ version is more practical not only because it can sand a larger area more quickly, but because the larger pad has a greater distance between the edge of the pad and its body which is useful when working in tight quarters.

5″ and 6″ Mirka CEROSs

Speed Control

The speed of the sanding pad can be adjusted from 4,000-10,000 RPM in 1,000 RPM increments using the buttons on the top-rear of the sander.  Between the speed control buttons is a power button for safety to prevent the sander from starting accidentally.  The paddle switch on top is pressed and held down to operate the tool.  By feathering the paddle, you can control the speed as well but it is very sensitive and not a very reliable way to run the sander at a lower speed.  Instead, it functions as a soft-start feature, of sorts.

Mirka CEROS, Top View

Critique

One addition that I would like to see is a pad brake.  After releasing the paddle switch with the pad turning at 10,000 RPM, the pad continues to spin for about 19 seconds.

Video Review

This first video explains and demonstrates some of the features of the Mirka CEROS.  (Duration: 10:19.)

(Note:  Since recording this video, a reader has pointed out that the CEROS set to run at the lowest speed will indeed draw enough current when under moderate load to run a Festool Dust Extractor set to auto-start.)

In these two posts, you can read more about how I:

  1. combined the Mirka CEROS’s transformer with my Festool CT26 Dust Extractor; and
  2. modified the Festool D27 hose’s tool end to fit the Mirka CEROS’s dust collection port.

Video Demonstration

This second video is a demonstration of the Mirka CEROS.  In the first part, I sand the flat top of a bench with 80, 120, 180, 220, and 320-grit Abranet discs.  In the latter part of the video, I demonstrate how I sand contoured parts with and without the foam interface pad.  (Duration: 13:43.)

Summary

Consider this sander because it:

  1. is powerful and easy to control;
  2. runs quietly and smoothly;
  3. feels good because it is compact and well-balanced;
  4. requires very little maintenance because it has few wearing components; and
  5. does not require a large air compressor to run (as a pneumatic sander does).

Warranty

The Mirka CEROS comes with a 3-year warranty.  You can download the warranty information as well as manual from the Mirka CEROS website.

Accessories

Also, check out the Abranet abrasive discs made by Mirka.  The discs last a long time and don’t require alignment of any dust collection holes.  I would recommend getting the 80-, 120-, and 180-grit sanding discs as well as a Pad Saver (I called it a platen protector in the video).  If you work with non-flat surface, I would also recommend looking at the 10 mm (3/8″) Multi Interface Pads

Suppliers

(I do not receive any compensation for what I write and the list of suppliers is by no means an exhaustive one; I’ve simply listed some to get you started.)

Mirka Part Numbers

*Some dealers sell these parts individually.
**8295610111     150 mm (6″) 67-Hole Pad Savers, Pkg of 5 work with the 150 mm CEROS as well.

Adapting a Porter Cable 890-Series Plunge Router to fit a Festool D27 Dust Extraction Hose

Porter Cable 890 Plunge Router with Dust Collection Hose

Since I don’t yet own a Festool router, my Porter-Cable 890 Plunge Router showed the most promise of containing the mess.  Dust and chips were drawn into the port built into the base (located behind the depth stop turret) and up through the column.  My only shop vacuum/dust extractor was a Festool CT26 and I had a D27 (27mm diameter) hose attached to it so I set out to make the two work together.  (I also had a high-volume dust collector that is used with my stationary machinery.)

Point of Dust Collection

The Festool D27 hose stretched a little to fit over the very top of the column but it was far from secure and could very easily come free.

Festool D27 Hose and Router's Dust Collection Port

I found a plastic pipe fitting that fit inside the D27 hose nicely and turned a round tenon to fit inside the router’s column.  I chamfered the bottom inside edge to allow the chips and dust to pass through easily.

The adapter press-fits into the top of the column.

Adapter inserted into dust collection column

The D27 hose fit nicely over the adapter.

Hose over adapter

For the most secure fit, I pressed the hose end all the way down onto the top of the router’s column.

Hose fully seated over adapter and dust collection column

Since the Porter-Cable didn’t use the Plug-It system, I used the same Velcro straps that held the Plug-It cord to the D27 hose to hold the cord back and out of the way.

Plug-It Cord tied back

My Experience with Laguna Tools, Inc. and Canadian Woodworker Ltd.

This article is about my experience with Laguna Tools, Inc. and Canadian Woodworker Ltd.

I did not receive anything in exchange for writing this article and nobody but my friend and editor Mike knew that I was writing this article.

California-based Laguna Tools has been a hot-button topic in woodworking forums for as long as I can remember.  Along with rave reviews of their bandsaws, there have also been many comments about poor customer service.  Like many, I was impressed with their saws.  However, the virtually non-existent customer service that I kept reading about was enough to discourage me from considering buying one of their saws.

About two years ago when I began looking at sliding table saws, I requested an information package on Laguna’s saws.  I received some literature and a video to review.  A few days later, I got a call from Don at Laguna Tools asking if I had any questions.  I asked him about the horror stories I’d read of Laguna’s customer service.  He admitted that at one point they had some staffing problems but assured me it was in the past.  I found that reassuring, but wasn’t sure if I could believe him.  In the end, I bought my sliding table saw from Grizzly Industrial Inc.

Fast forward to November 26, 2010 – the grand opening of the new location of Canadian Woodworker in Surrey, BC.  A new woodworking tool store opening within an hour of my house?  I had to go.

Inside the store I walked up and down the aisles of machinery checking out the great selection of high-end machinery not found in most other local stores.  I recognized co-owner Cole Moore and wandered over to introduce myself (we are both active on the Canadian Woodworking forum).  I asked Cole about Laguna’s customer service.  He admitted that getting parts from Laguna can sometimes take a while but promised to take care of any issues I might have.

I went back to look at the Laguna bandsaws and got talking to Benjamin Helshoj (or Benny as his peers call him) whom I had met at the Cloverdale Woodworking Show the month before.  I asked him how the Laguna saws compared to other brands such as Grizzly.  He commented on how lightly constructed the Grizzly saws are when compared to his.  (I later looked it up and found that the Grizzly 19″ saw [G0514X] weighed 383 pounds, a mere three pounds more than Laguna’s 14″ saw [LT14-SUV].)  I got Benjamin’s business card and we continued to talk along with Kevin Guest, whom I knew from his days at Clermont’s Ultimate Tool Supply Inc.  Later, I left the store empty-handed but with much to ponder.

Fast forward five months when I had some serious milling and resawing to do.  My little 14″, 1HP bandsaw simply was not up to the task so I decided that it was time to upgrade.  After much research and deliberation I decided on the Laguna LT16-3000.  (I will post a review of the saw later.)

Monday morning I picked up the saw and transported it home.  With the help of my friend, Mike, we carefully unloaded the saw into my garage; moving it down to the shop would have to wait for a dry day.  We unpacked the saw and cleaned off most of the cosmoline.  That’s when I noticed that one of the trunnion supports appeared only partially machined.  I called Kevin at Canadian Woodworker and described the problem.  I took this picture and e-mailed it to him.  Shortly after, I got an e-mail back from Kevin confirming that he’d received my e-mail and was “forwarding [it] to Laguna and calling to see recommendations”.  About ten minutes later, Kevin called me and told me that Benny was upset that it had made it past quality control and the service tech thought that it was just powder coating that could be removed with 400-grit emery paper.  I thought to myself, “I shouldn’t have to do this on a $2000 machine”.

Despite my misgivings, I took some 400-grit emery paper to the trunnion support.  It was clearly not just powder coating and indeed only partially machined.  I called Canadian Woodworker and ended up talking to Doug, the manager, as Kevin was on the road for a couple of days.  Fortunately, Kevin had briefed Doug on my situation so I didn’t need to explain what I was seeing.  Doug agreed to let me swap out my trunnion with the one from the display model.

The next day, I drove out to Canadian Woodworker and swapped the trunnion support.  I noticed that although the trunnion support from the display model was much better, there was still about 10% that wasn’t machined.  I pointed this out to Doug before I left and asked him to order another for me.  Then I returned to my shop and installed the parts on my saw as I guessed the replacement trunnion support would take at least a week or two to arrive.

Wanting to get to work, I installed the carbide-tipped Laguna Resaw King blade that I’d bought with the saw.  I set it on the tires and tensioned and tracked the blade.  Then I noticed this: the blade barely cleared a metal flange next to the dust chute.  And I mean barely.  You could not slip a piece of note paper between the blade and chute.  While it did clear, I worried that the slightest vibration would send my $250 blade into the steel.  Not good.

I decided to try calling Laguna Tools on their toll-free number.  It was late in the afternoon and I immediately got through to Tim.  He understood my problem and put me on hold to try to figure out a solution.  I patiently waited for several minutes before he came back on the line.  He unnecessarily apologized for leaving me on hold for “so long” and explained that the technical support staff had left for the day and that he had talked it over with Torben (Torben Helshoj is the president of Laguna Tools).  Ultimately, Tim offered to check with the technical support staff tomorrow morning and call me back then.  I talked with him for another few minutes, asking him some more general bandsaw questions and talking about my experience so far.  He sounded like an experienced bandsaw user, listened to my comments and answered other questions to my satisfaction.

Thursday morning I answered my phone, expecting to hear Tim from Laguna Tools on the other end.  To my surprise, it was Kevin from Canadian Woodworker.  He explained that he and Doug had removed the trunnion support from another saw that appeared well-machined and he wanted to come and swap it out for me.  I was grateful for his offer but told him that I was waiting for a call from Laguna as well and asked him to hold off until I had heard from Tim.

About little later, I received a phone call from Brian at Laguna Tools.  He told me that the solution was to simply file or grind the protruding piece of steel back until there was 1/32″ of clearance.  Apparently, a batch of saws had arrived with that piece protruding too far.  We talked on the phone for a bit longer and he talked me through the issues I was experiencing with the saw and patiently answered all my questions.

After my conversation with Brian, I called Kevin and asked if he could come over to swap out the trunnion support.  He queried if there was anything else that I needed which reminded me of the mis-tapped setscrew hole in the table insert which I’d noticed the day before.  I asked Kevin to bring a replacement.  When he arrived, he helped me remove the table and replace the trunnion support.

I’m glad that I had a local dealer.  Otherwise, I would have had to spend my mornings sitting on the curb waiting for the mailman to arrive with parts and it would have taken longer to get the saw fully operational.  The customer service I received from both Laguna Tools and Canadian Woodworker was prompt, helpful, friendly, and courteous.  I felt like they were there to help me.

Has Laguna listened to customer feedback and put their questionable customer service issues behind them?  I can’t say for sure but I can say that I would buy from Canadian Woodworker again.  However, my shop looks complete and I’m not in the market for any more machinery.  At least for now.

You can read my review of my Laguna LT16-3000 16″ bandsaw HERE.