Woodworking News
(updated June 23, 2017)


2-Day Basic CNC Training at ShopBot Tools

To support woodworkers who are getting into CNC, ShopBot Tools introduced the Desktop Max last spring. It's a 36" x 24" work area with two deck choices. Now, the company is showing people how to use this and their other machines. Basic training takes place at the Durham, NC headquarters and classes are scheduled at least once a month. The two-day sessions ($300) begin with an introduction to ShopBot Control Software and mechanical systems. Students learn the basics of loading the software, moving the tool, what a cutting file is, and how to run one. On the second day, classes use design software to create a ShopBot Part File. They learn to create a design, generate the toolpaths to efficiently and safely cut the part, convert the project into a ShopBot cutting file (sbp or Part File) that directs the cutting preview, and then cut out the final product. There's also an opportunity to explore accessories such as probes and indexers. Classes begin each day at 9am and go until 5pm. Lunch is provided each day, as well as bagels and coffee each morning at 8:30am.

 



 

Voccell DLS - The 50w / 70w Professional Laser Cutter and Engraver

Voccell has announced that there is now just a 12-week estimated leadtime on the new DLS desktop laser and engraver. Woodshops can choose from either a 50W or 70W version that can cut materials up to 0.50" thick in organic materials such as wood, leather, shell, plastics and much more, or a 100W pro model. Glass, metal and stone can be marked and engraved by the DLS. The company placed test units in real-world applications for two years before releasing the machine. It was designed to run all day for continuous production, and it's compatible with most design software including Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, Corel Draw, AutoCAD, Solidworks and open source free software such as Inkscape, Gimp, TinkerCAD, Sketchup and others. There's an introductory video here.


CNC Cookbook's Extremely Quick Intro to CNC

"So you’ve just gotten interested in CNC, and you notice the waters look a little deep. How do you get started? Here are 6 things you should learn about first, before you buy a CNC machine, or before you do anything else, just to get oriented and see what this CNC thing is all about. It won’t take you long to get through them, and when you’re done, you’ll know enough to be dangerous. More importantly, you’ll know enough to understand what’s being talked about as you dig down into the next level. You’ll have the mile-wide-but-inch deep map of the territory to help guide your learning efforts to the next level." - CNC Cookbook, June 17th

 



 

Replace Shop Vacuum Filter With A 5-Gallon Bucket

The new 11653 Cyclone Dust Collector from Big Horn Corporation eliminates the standard base for an over-the-counter shop vacuum and replaces the awkward filtering system with a bucket that saves time and reduces wear-and-tear. When debris goes directly to the easy-to-empty 5 gallon bucket, it eliminates on-site cleaning of filters for installers, and also makes it more likely that a new employee will maintain the system and stay healthier. The cyclone bucket is made of clear, see-through PVC, so a woodworker can instantly see when to empty it, and it's mounted on four wheels for easy moving around the shop or jobsite. The new kit includes the 5-gallon clear bucket, four casters, a lid with both in and out dust ports, a 2-1/2" 90 degree elbow, two 2-1/2" expandable hoses (up to 36"), a 4" to 2-1/2" reducer, a 2-1/2" reducer to 1-1/2" reducer, a 4"clamp, a 2 -1/2" clamp, and two 2-1/2" hose fittings. It retails between $73 and $99.


The Future of Additive Technology

Thermwood has taken a major step toward its goal of 3D printing autoclave-capable tooling from high temperature carbonfiber-filled thermoplastic materials. (An autoclave is a strong, heated container used for chemical reactions and other processes, using high pressures and temperatures.) The company believes it will soon produce molds and tooling that function properly under vacuum in a heated, pressurized autoclave, without the use of any type of coating to seal the printed tools. The goal is to produce molds that can be used in a production autoclave to mold finished parts suitable for actual end use. Thermwood’s additive printing process differs fundamentally from conventional Fused Deposition Modeling printing (FDM), which involves melting and extruding a small bead of thermoplastic material onto a heated platin in a heated chamber. The chamber keeps the extrusion from cooling too much before the next layer is added. Thermwood machines, however, print a large bead at such a high rate that a heated environment is not needed. It is basically an exercise in controlled cooling. Print speed is adjusted so that each layer cools to the proper temperature just as the next layer starts to print, resulting in a continuous process that produces high quality parts.

 



 

A No-Sharpening Parting Tool

Kentucky-based Easy Wood Tools has added the PT125 to its line of innovative carbide insert turning tools. With a 14" maple handle and a cut width of 1/8" (0.125", hence the name), it can part off work up to 4" in diameter. The tool comes with an extra carbide insert and a clever installation device called a Flex Key. The insert slides into the tool along chamfered ways and locks in place with this key. Changing inserts is incredibly simple and fast. There's even a 50-second YouTube video link on the Easy Wood Tools website. As with the rest of the line, the PT125 is made in America.


Breakaway Blades from DeWALT

DeWALT® has introduced a 10-piece set of its remarkable Breakaway reciprocating saw blades. These are designed for the woodworker who is tired of throwing away half-used blades. With the breakaway feature, an installer can remove the used section of the blade and then insert the unused blade back into the saw. The 6" blade breaks into a 4" one, which allows up to 1" wide material to be cut. And the 9" version becomes a 6" blade, which allows material up to 2" to be cut.
The Breakaway blades have been designed with a thick body for durability, and feature a 14/18 variable tooth pattern for optimized cuts. The set includes seven 6" blades and three 9" ones, plus the case.
 



 

ASFD is Reaching Out to New Designers

Woodworkers who are following a path toward design will welcome an array of new ASFD programs that were created to both attract new members and also support them as their skills grow. Chief among these is a new mentorship program that can begin online, and extend to face-to-face interactions. Technology is also allowing the Society to offer podcasts and webinars that allow busy members to learn at their own desks, and at their own pace. The mentorship program launched with a group of ten mentors, and is well represented by students at top design schools including Appalachian State, Savannah College of Art & Design, Kendall College of Art & Design, the Rhode Island School of Design, High Point University, UNC in Greensboro, the Art Institute of Orange county, Iowa State, NC State, Mississippi State and Virginia Tech. Founded in 1981, ASFD is an international, non-profit, professional organization dedicated to advancing, improving and supporting the profession of furniture design and its positive impact in the marketplace. Membership includes both American and international professional designers, trade affiliates and associates, professors and furniture design students.


New Old Hardware

Emtek Products, Inc. has just introduced a new line of cabinet hardware that it calls Transitional Heritage. The design offers "traditional foundations with clean, sophisticated features to create an Art Deco-inspired look". If the goal was to incorporate the grace of that period with contemporary funtionality, the designers seem to have captured the essence of both. The knobs and pulls are available in six finishes: Satin Brass, Oil Rubbed Bronze, Polished Nickel, Satin Nickel, Flat Black and Polished Chrome. Shown at right is the Blythe cabinet pull in the flat black finish, which is available in 3-1/2", 4", 6" and 8" lengths. Founded in 1981, Emtek says that its "style is current, but we never forget about the classics", and this product line reflects those parameters. Located in California's City of Industry (a few minutes east of downtown LA), Emtek is an ASSA ABLOY Group company.

 



 

Woodturning Symposium Scheduled for September

The Georgia Association of Woodturners (GAW) will present its annual Turning Southern Style symposium from Friday September 15 through Sunday the 17th. The event will be held at the Dalton Convention Center, and will feature an impressive slate of demonstrators including Beth Ireland, Glenn Lucas, Pascal Oudet, Nick Cook, Harvey Meyer and Joe Ruminski. There will be four separate demonstration rooms and a large exhibit of woodturned art, some of which will be for sale. A banquet dinner will be served Saturday evening, followed by an auction of turned pieces, tools, supplies and wood donated by our vendors, attendees and GAW members. Proceeds support continuing woodturning education through the GAW scholarship program. Each registered attendee may bring a guest under the age of 18, free of charge. And there is a craft room where spouses and guests can work on hobbies or participate in scheduled activities. GAW asks attendees to consider making a box to be donated to Beads of Courage, a non-profit organization that provides programs that transform the treatment experience for children coping with a serious illness.


Elias Offers New HDF Paint Grade Doors

Elias Woodwork & Manufacturing Ltd. has introduced a whole new line of painted, primed or raw high density fiberboard (HDF) doors. The material is made from densely packed wood fibers, so it offers a smooth and uniform surface that is ideal for a painted finish. Woodshops now have the option of ordering either 1- or 5-piece construction doors, where the 1-piece offers a seamless finish with no joints and comes in numerous profiles and door styles. For jobs that require true corners and 5-piece construction doors, the new HDF versions are an economical alternative that offer the ability to stand up to changes in heat or humidity - which helps to maintain the integrity of the finish. They are available in several frame options, with virtually all of Elias' panel profile options. Both door styles can be ordered as mullion frames, offering additional design choices.

 



 

Vermont Woodworking Festival in September

The Vermont Woodworking & Forest Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, September 23-24 in Woodstock. The Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association will partner with Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park and the Billings Farm & Museum for "a premier foliage weekend event". There are still openings for unique products that represent the best of the state's woodworking. The site is located at 5302 Old River Road (Rte. 12), and setup is on Friday from 5:15 pm-8:00 pm. Space options include three buildings that can sell and/or demonstrate your products on the grounds of the Billings Farm - the main visitor center loft, and two exterior barns. You can also take outdoor lawn space to sell and/or demonstrate the making of your product. Indoor spaces feature barnboard flooring and walls, and lighting, accessories and signage can be hung. Outdoors, tents are optional but recommended for protection from sun/weather, and electricity is not available outside. Vendor info is here.


Not Your Momma's Sawmill

The new LX450 twin rail portable sawmill from Wood-Mizer is a beast - and the first to give sawyers a choice between monorail or twin rail design. With many of the robust features of the company’s time-tested LT40 and LT50 models, it is engineered with a rigid LXFrame sawhead tower that travels on parallel hardened steel bars and holds the sturdy sawmill head, the 38HP engine, and the control panel, which is on an adjustable arm. It saws wide and deep boards, with an impressive 34" width and 16 ½" depth of cut. The control console delivers programmable cuts, and powers up/down and forward/ reverse for optimal visibility. There are hydraulic loading arms that effortlessly lift logs onto the bed, a hydraulic chain for turning them, six outriggers and a host of other heavy duty features.

 



 

REHAU Donation Doing Good Work

Computers4Kids (C4K) in Charlottesville, Virginia, provides mentoring for low-income youth. The nonprofit accepted a REHAU donation last year of some Rauvisior crystal board, a high-end cabinetry door material, and then turned it into a multiuse whiteboard that spans the full height and width of one wall in the center’s clubhouse. Enoch Snyder Design Build, a local firm, installed the wall-sized whiteboard. The material is a polymer back-painted glass surface with excellent scratch and impact resistance, and breathtaking mirror-quality optical-grade reflection. C4K program director Lizzie Hoeppner says the huge whiteboard is a symbol for the unlimited possibilities that members have in front of them.


New Blades for Festool Saws from Tenryu

Tenryu America Inc. introduced a new line of quality saw blades for plunge cut saws a few months ago. These blades are suitable for the Festool™ TS55 and TS75 machines. and others. They are the result of five years of years of research and development, and they have resin filled laser cut slots to reduce cutting noise. They also have a PTFE coated plate to reduce vibration and pitch build-up, and to lower resistance. These blades come with a select grade of carbide tips for industrial quality jobs, and a TAF shear facegrind for splinter-free cross cuts. (Miter saw blades for Festool's Kapex® miter saw are also available.) Tenryu makes over 3,000 types of carbide blades for woodworking, metalworking, plastic cutting and machining other composite materials. The company is Japan's leading maker of industrial carbide-tipped saw blades.

 



 

Handy Jobsite Magnetic Holder For Drills

Located in Castle Rock, Colorado, Master Magnetics Inc. has introduced a new tool holder with a magnetic base that can hold impact wrenches, heat or paint guns, cordless drills and other heavy tools. All that's needed on the jobsite is a ferrous metal surface so that the non-scratching, rubber-coated base has something to grab. With 105 pounds of pull, an installer could pop several onto the truck tailgate, a steel door, or even a kitchen appliance. The vinyl coating on the ring helps keep tools in place without slipping or scratching. Both the base and ring are heat resistant up to 175 F. The company manufactures and distributes all types of magnets and magnetic devices for commercial, consumer and industrial use, including workholding magnets and wheeled manual magnetic sweeps for picking up stray fasteners on the jobsite.


Basic CNC Classes in Wisconsin

Wondering if a benchtop CNC is a good investment for your shop? Here's your chance to see, first hand, what today's machines can do. Vondriska Woodworks in Hammond, Wisconsin has machines from Laguna, Next Wave, and ShopBot, and is offering a 3-hour seminar called Intro to Benchtop CNC on July 28 from 6-9 PM. Attendees will see how design is done on VCarve software, how material is secured, zeroing of the three axes, bit changes, and cuts. This is an opportunity to look at three different machines. Bring a folding chair, hearing protection and $25. And the next day, July 29, the shop will conduct a full-day class from 9-5 called You Can CNC ($100). Here, students will work with VCarve to create a design that includes lettering and artwork. They will learn to create toolpaths, check the paths for accuracy, and export the files for work on a CNC machine. They will also see different methods for securing work to the CNC table, how to zero the axes, and actually cut the project they designed.

 



 

New Biomass to Bioproducts Pilot Plant

Last month, the University of Maine demonstrated a pilot plant capable of processing up to 1 ton of woody biomass per day. It converts wood waste into chemicals that can be used to manufacture bioproducts – including biofuels, biochemicals and advanced materials. The demonstration consisted of 100 hours of continuous operation, beginning May 1, at the university's Technology Research Center (TRC) in Old Town. Chemicals made from biomass could one day be an important revenue source for the forest economy. Organic acid platform chemicals, as they are known in the industry, have multiple uses, including the production of plastics and other specialty chemicals. At UMaine, these “green” chemical intermediates are critical in the university’s patented conversion technology to produce diesel and jet fuel from woody biomass. That was developed by the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI). Installation of the new plant was made possible by a partnership between UMaine and Biofine Technology based in Framingham, Massachusetts. Click the link above for more information.