First page of the Paring archive.

Festool Kapex 120 “Mate” – support on a budget

Posted by is9582 on December 3, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , , ,

Yesterday I wrote about purchasing some wood for a new workbench top, and I just may also have enough to make a new base, too. This morning I started getting ready for the impending delivery. I pulled out three nondescript pieces of some wood, that wouldn’t upset me if they were damaged, to use to keep the boards elevated off of the driveway.

I planned to use my Festool Kapex 120, which is truly the most awesome piece of gear to break down some pretty danged large sticks of wood. I knew I’d want to support the wood on both sides of the Kapex, to reduce or eliminate it binding the blade as the cut completed, so it needed to be the same height as the Kapex. I measured the distance from the bottom of the Kapex, to it’s cutting deck, and sought out some offcuts that were large enough to fit the requirements (approximately 4.35″). I also grabbed a couple of narrow pieces that would get inset 90-degrees across the main boards, and help prevent the supports from falling/tipping over.

I started out cutting the larger boards so they were just oversized, and planed them down to the target dimension. I also planed up the narrow pieces so they would be either square, or leaning towards a very slight taper, so they would  tighten up with a light tap.

5/4 Poplar offcut still in rough state, but plane passes starting to show.

5/4 Poplar offcut still in rough state, but plane passes starting to show. After flattening the edge, there was very little left to remove to hit the target size.

I laid the two boards across each other, and marked the dimensions directly from the narrow board, onto the bottom of the tall boards. I used my Lie-Nielsen cross-cut saw to cut close to my lines, and to full depth.

Marks from cross piece, with saw kerfs next to them.

Marks from cross piece, with saw kerfs next to them.

Since I used Poplar boards, it was easy enough to use a chisel and mallet to pop most of the waste out pretty quickly.

Waste removed from space for the narrow cross piece.

Waste removed from space for the narrow cross piece.

I pared the base of the opening down to the scored line, and did the same for the two sides. After checking that the narrow piece locked in place with a light tap, I ultimately decided to use some yellow glue to make sure they would stay together, since the large Soft Maple boards these would support, were quite heavy.

Cross board glued and tapped until completely tight.

Cross board glued and tapped until completely tight.

I repeated the process on the second “Kapex Mate” (seemed like the appropriate name for these, don’t you think?), and then it was just a matter of time for the glue to dry.

Both new

Both new “Kapex Mates” waiting for their glue to finish drying.

When I started breaking down the Soft Maple boards, it was great to see just how impressive these simple accessories performed. I have a number of Systainers but none are Systainer 1 size, which is the same height as the Kapex.

It was nice to see just how well these supports performed, with only using a few pieces of left-over wood and a squeeze of glue, while dealing with some of the largest boards I’ve every used. That is impressive, and if they ever get damaged or disappear, another set is just a few minutes away.

I plan to write an article regarding the performance of my Festool Kapex, in the near future, for Highland Woodworking’s blog. Keep your eyes peeled and check both blogs regularly.

Thank you as always, for stopping by to check out my blog. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Guitar build – Nut adjustment, cut-away wood removal and sanding

Posted by is9582 on December 21, 2012 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , , ,

When I started playing around on the guitar, after installing the first set of strings, I noticed a couple of things. There was a lot more space between the strings and the fingerboard, at the nut, than on any of my other guitars. Now, I’m not talking about an extra 5 thou or something minute like that. I’m telling you it looked like you could drive a car through the open area. The second is that each string was playing sharp, when held down at the first fret, since there was such a long movement required to get it all the way down. There is a rule-of-thumb that there should be around .005″ between the bottom of the High-E string and the first fret, when fretting the string on the fifth fret.

So I got out a cool little set of wire-files my friend Phil Edwards (Philly Planes) was kind enough to send to me, when I was early in my build. (I wonder, was he in some way implying there was no way I’d get it spot-on, the first time? Haha, just kidding, of course.) I’m so appreciative to have a friend like Phil. The wire-files (about 15 in a little metal container) sizes are just the right range to handle the string thicknesses used on most solid body electrics. I used my digital micrometer to read each string’s thickness, and then do the same with the files, so I had one just a bit larger than the string. I loosened the string and slid it to the side, while I proceeded to remove material from the nut. I did this same process for each string, and I’ve come back to each a couple of times. I’ve got it pretty close right now, as none of the strings play sharp at the first fret, and now barr-chords at the first position are also easy, and sound good. Issues that previously weren’t the case.

After making the guitar play fairly nice, I decided to focus on removing the small wedge of extra wood, in the area of the cut-out, where the neck/fingerboard intersect.

Blue arrow is pointing towards left line, delineating what are to remove.

Since I’d drawn a line earlier, to show which wood was excess, it was easy to use a large paring chisel to slice it away, little by little. I’d decided to leave that extra wood, during the glue up of the neck to the body, just so it would have a bit more strength. I’m sure it wasn’t critical, but it didn’t hurt to show extra precaution, either. Now it looks much better, as well as having better access to the upper register of notes.

Green arrow is pointed towards the area that used to have extra material.

Next up was the back of the guitar. Early in the build, I’d planed the mahogany boards on all sides, before applying the maple cap. This mahogany is somewhat tough to work, as it has reversing grain that is running back and forth, so you’re almost always dealing with some portion of the plane that’s cutting into the grain. As is usual, with this type of wood, there was some small tear-out I needed to deal with. Since the majority of woodworking at that point, was on the front of the body, I decided to just leave that clean-up until the rest of the build was about complete. I turned the guitar over, using some thick towels to cushion the top, so I could take care of the back. I grabbed my Festool Rotex 150, connected to it’s family member, the CT-22 vacuum. This is the first sanding setup I’ve ever used that didn’t belch dust back into the air. It is totally amazing! I started on the back, using 100 grit sanding discs, and in short order, I had a consistently smooth surface. Now, just because I said it was smooth, doesn’t mean I was finished. I actually moved up through the grits until stopping at 320 grit.

Camera didn’t provide a great representation of the surface quality.

Depending on how I hold the guitar, I could see some reflections of my hand/arm in the back’s surface. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I had the Rotex set for the rotex rotary mode, to speed along the process. It’s hard to believe the agressive mode can generate a surface that good. I still plan to go back and use the random orbit mode, before moving forward and applying a finish, but it very well might presently be a good enough surface, to obtain a great finish. If you don’t yet own one of the Festool Rotex units, you might want to check it out. They aren’t cheap, but they are so worth what they cost.

Thanks for reading my blog. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Guitar build – pickup routing, top smooth, and fretboard installed

Posted by is9582 on November 18, 2012 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well, it’s been a little while since my last post. I’ve been working on the guitar almost every day, and have even posted some build related videos recently on Youtube (just search under Lee Laird). I’ll see if I can bring everyone up to speed with this post. I continue to do my best at keeping […]