Hecho Eh

Keeping America Strong

Easy-to-See 90-Degree Blade Check

Most tablesaw cuts require the blade to be set perfectly at 90 degrees to the table. As a check, I used to crank the blade all the way up and set a square between the table and the protruding portion of the blade. I had a hard time discerning the tiny gap that might appear over the 3 in. of exposed blade.

Happily, I discovered a way to use the full diameter of the blade so what would be a tiny gap across 3 in. of blade, becomes a much larger gap across the full 10-in. dia. With the throat plate removed, I set a combination square down through the table so it bears against the entire surface of the blade. Even if the blade is off by only a fraction of a degree, it's easy to see.

Al McGregor W

if vou have an original Workshop Tip, send it to us with a sketch or photo. If we print it, you'll get SI00 plus an AW hat! Send to: Workshop Tips, American Woodworker, 2915 Commers Drive, Suite 700, Eagan, MN 55121 or e-mail to [email protected]. Submissions can't be returned and become our property upon acceptance and payment. We may edit submissions, and use them in all print and electronic media.

TheWell-Equii

Planers With Built-in Dust Collection

We recently tested Craftsman's new 13-in. benchtop planer (model # 21743; $440) with built-in dust collection. We were impressed; using only the planer's on-board dust-collection system, nearly every speck was collected.

A fabric dust shroud allows you to connect the planer to a 30-gallon trash can or bag that you provide. The shroud

also works as a filter. A fan in the planer's dust hood propels shavings directly into the can or bag and the dust shroud works as a filter.

Along with built-in dust collection, this planer has powered height adjustment, so you can quickly raise or lower the cutterhead. You make fine adjustments with the hand crank.

Like most benchtop planers these days, this machine has a lock lever on the cutterhead that effectively reduces snipe. Snipe was barely detectable on the boards we ran through this machine. This planer uses indexed double-edged knives, the easiest style of knife to change.

The Craftsman 21743 has features found on many other 13-in. benchtop planers, with the added benefit of a very useful built-in dust-control system. If you need a planer and don't have a dust collector, this machine is worth a look.

Another new Craftsman planer, the 12-in. #21722 ($300), includes the dust collection system but not the powered height adjustment or cutterhead lock.

Easy-to-Use Wood Filler

The problem with most wood fillers is the can they come in. If it's open for more than a minute or two the filler starts to get crusty. Minwax and ZAR have put the lid on this problem with their wood fillers that come in tubes.

We like 'em because the filler squeezes out of the tube like toothpaste, making it easy to get just the right amount in just the right spot. These are both latex products, so unlike solvent-based fillers they're easy to clean up. That's a good deal, because c'mon, you know you're going to use your fingers to apply it.

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The Complete Guide To Wood Finishing

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