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Sawfilers, a Dying Trade?

Posted on Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 at 11:53 am.

What is a Sawfiler, who are they, what do they do and why is the trade slowly dying? The best response to these questions is to quote Thomas Walz:

“Sawfilers design, build, repair and maintain ultra-precision tools and make them run beautifully. The term (sawfiler) comes from old, steel saw blades. Now sawfilers may work with several million dollars worth of equipment. They must know different materials and their applications. They are, perhaps, the single most important person in determining whether a cutting operation is profitable or not.”

Walt and Large Saw Blade

That is quite an opinion that seems to ring true throughout an industry filled with such talented and humble people. I have often heard Tom refer to Sawfilers as “salt-of-the-earth”, “honest & hardworking”, but I would say his favorite description would be, “extremely good looking with a high intelligence and universally loved by children and animals”.

Now who wouldn’t want to hire a Sawfiler, or aspire to be one for that matter! So if being a Sawfiler is so extremely important, than why aren’t there more of them, and why do sawmills struggle to fill those job openings?

guy looking at saw blade

I have heard several arguments in response to this ever growing problem. One of them being there are not enough skilled laborers to fill these jobs. That reasoning alone could help to explain the continuous vacancies at sawmills. Think about it, in the U.S. education seems to be the predominant concern on everyone’s mind. You can’t go anywhere in America without being assaulted with the idea that you “need to go to college” or how important it is to “get an education”.

That is a great idea, foster the importance of educating yourself but this option is not for everyone. We all know someone who is employed and their degree has no bearing on their present job. At what time did our country decide that creating, inventing, or honing a specialized skill wasn’t worth anyone’s time? When did the importance of manufacturing or learning a trade become an undesired occupation?

Corey and Tyler packaging up a bandsaw

Perhaps if we stressed the importance of maintaining and developing the valued skills of a Sawfiler, sawmills wouldn’t have to waste resources in finding them.  Those resources could be put to better use by operating at maximum capacity, or investing in necessary equipment. Or, how about investing in the Sawfilers themselves! There is no better way to retain or recruit valuable Sawfilers then to pay them.

Offer a wage that reflects their value and provide benefits that help them and their families stay healthy. Give opportunities to increase their knowledge and skill base by sending them to conferences, industry related shows and seminars. Break the skills gap that exists by fostering good morale or mentor-ship within the workplace. Create goal related incentives, by organizing a “task force” committee made up of your seasoned and new Sawfilers. Use the committee as a think-tank on current, past and future obstacles and how to problem solve.

Take the proverbial “bull by the horns” and address this looming  problem today. Secure the future of sawmills and the lumber industry by investing in your most important asset, Sawfilers.


Woodworking gift ideas

Posted on Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 12:37 pm.

The Holidays are still a little ways away, but if you are planning on making your gifts this year, now is a good time to get started.  If your feeling a little stumped on what to make for the special people in your life, here are a few woodworking gift ideas to give you some ideas and get those creative juices flowing.

Feel free to share your ideas with us, or send us pictures and let us showcase your work on our Woodworks page.

Here’s a great twist on the classic cutting board.  This puzzle shaped cutting board comes apart and turns into a wine and cheese serving tray.

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Here’s a few other unique woodworking projects for some of those cheese and wine connoisseurs that may be on your list this season.

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There are so many ways you can get creative and create something truly unique and beautiful for the home.  Below is a simple but very nice candle holder.  Wooden vases, bowls, trays or boxes would also make a great gift.

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Need some gift ideas for the little ones.  I came across some really neat projects that any little girl or little boy would love.  give the pots and pans and utensils a break and make a wooden instrument for the kids to make some music on.

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For the girls, what little princess wouldn’t love this…

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and for the boys, here’s a really cool wooden bulldozer and an awesome crane.

gift ideas7   crane woodworking project

 

Have someone on your list that you just don’t know what to get?  What about an ipod dock or phone dock or cribbage board for game nights.

gift ideas11  gift ideas4

Hopefully this gave you a few ideas, or at least helped inspire some unique ideas of your own.  We’d love to hear your ideas for some great Woodworking gifts.  Feel free to share some of the gifts you have created in the past.  Happy woodworking, and if you need some new tools for any of your upcoming projects, remember to save on quality cutting tools at carbideprocessors.com

 

 


Up Cut Router Bits vs Down Cut Router Bits

Posted on Monday, October 6th, 2014 at 3:25 pm.

There are so many options out there for router bits that it may be difficult to decide which one is the right router bit for your application.  One of the most common questions I frequently get asked is whether to use an up cut or a down cut router bit.

The difference between an up cut router bit and a down cut router bit is the direction of the flutes.  On an up cut router bit, if you hold the bit by the shank and point it straight down as if you were going to do a plunge cut into the surface of your work piece, you would be able to drill into the work piece by turning the bit in a clockwise rotation.  With a Down Cut bit, you would need to turn it counter-clockwise to be able drill into the surface.

Up Ctu Router Bit

Up Cut Router Bit

Down Cut Router Bit

Down Cut Router Bit

Another way to determine if a bit is an up cut or a down cut bit is to look at the direction the flutes move around the bit toward the tip.  If the flutes twist right around the bit to the tip, then it is an Up Cut Bit.  If the flutes twist left around the back of the bit to the tip then it is a Down Cut Bit.

Now that you know the difference between the two, how do you know which one to use?  An Up Cut bit is very efficient in evacuating chips up and out of the cut.  It will leave a very clean finish at the bottom of the work piece, but will leave a rougher surface on the top of the surface (or the side that the bit enters the work piece).  A down cut bit does just the opposite.  It is best to use a down cut bit for through cuts, as a down cut bit pushes the chips down into the cut.  Down cut bits will leave a very clean cut on the top of the work piece, but may leave a rougher finish on the bottom.

Down cut bits are also great for cutting shallow dados, rabbets, and visible slots because of the clean finish it gives on the edge of the hole or groove.  When cutting dados or grooves with a down cut bit, be sure to slow the feed rate to allow more time for chip removal.

If you need a clean cut on both the top and bottom surface, try a compression bit.  They can be pretty pricey, but Compression bits leave a beautiful smooth finish on both sides of the work piece being cut.


What to do with Scrap Wood

Posted on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 3:17 pm.

After you have finished a woodworking project, you may find that you have a lot of leftover scrap on your hands.  Don’t just toss it out!  I have scoured Pinterest and other sites in search of  clever uses for that leftover scrap wood.  With a little imagination, that scrap could be your next treasure.

Use your leftover scrap wood for small projects like planters, bowls, pens, or bud vases.  Create beautiful segmented pieces by piecing together many scrap to make a uniquely patterned cutting board, bowl, or art piece.   Take a look at some of the projects below and get some inspiration to create your own scrap wood project.  We’d love for you to share your project with us and let us showcase it on our Woodworks page.

If  you haven’t purchased a push block (like Micro Jig’s Push Block or 3D Push block), use your old scrap wood for a makeshift push block.  Scrap wood is also great for creating jigs.  If you have Woodpecker X-Mat System, a piece of scrap wood can be paired with Woodpecker’s X-Mat anchor to create a handy shop-made jig.

woodpecker-anchor     woodpecker-anchor2

Use small pieces and put them together to make beautiful segmented pieces like the cutting board and bowl below.  This is great because it allows you to salvage even the smallest pieces scrap and can create really unique looks and patterns.

cutingboard     segmented bowlrev

Create tool holders or containers for office supplies and things around the house.  Use it to hang tools around your shop, or add hooks and hang keys or coats by the door.  Scrap wood can be great for creating things that help you optimize space or organize tools and supplies.  See some of the creative ways scrap pieces of wood were used to organize tools and supplies below.

Fasten pieces of scrap wood on the wall and add hoods or nails to hang your tools on.  Or add hooks to a piece of scrap wood and hang by the door to use as a key holder.

Try this idea for a pencil holder or make-up brush holder.  Use different size drill bits to drill holes into scrap blocks of wood to create a unique holder for all your office supplies or for make-up brushes, etc

pencil holder   make-up-brushes-2

If you don’t have quite enough small pieces to create a segmented masterpiece, try turning those small pieces into a pen, bud vase, toy blocks or jewelry.

vase   chalkboard-blocks6      new-pen

For longer or larger boards, make a handy step stool or planter box.  They make great gifts and look great outdoors or indoor.  With a little paint and a lot of sanding, you can get creative and make a fun and unique end table.

planter  stool  scrap-wood-table2sm   scrap-wood-tablesm

When it comes to wall art and décor, your imagination is the limit.  A little paint and glue and some scrap wood can be used to express your own personal style or create unique gifts for friends and family.  Using scrap wood for art projects is a great way to introduce your kids or grandkids to woodworking in a safe and fun way.

sun-finished  snowflakes   wall-art

 


Paypal Standard and Paypal Express

Posted on Thursday, September 18th, 2014 at 12:25 pm.

Secure PayPal

PayPal, you have seen the name on websites, heard that your friend used it to send money to their sister, or may have even seen Paypal as an option to buy something on Facebook. At any rate why has Paypal gotten to be so popular, what is it and why should you be using it?

As an e-commerce business we are always on the look out for secure payment methods that will process quickly and efficiently. Not only for you the customer, but us the retailer.

PayPal is an international, e-commerce business that transfers money in a safe secured way through the Internet for customers and retailers.  Your money will transfer quickly and safely to businesses, family, friends, Facebook and utility providers. Or you can enjoy the convenience of having money transferred to your personal account in a matter of minutes!

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Here are our Top 10 Reasons for using PayPal:

  1. It is a universal payment method recognized by retailers everywhere.
  2. Paypal accepts payments in almost any currency making the service very accessible.
  3. Online shoppers love the security and convenience of a one-stop payment method.
  4. It’s free for buyers, there are no fees.
  5. Paypal offers a line of credit with Low to No Interest to qualifying account holders.
  6. You can transfer money to anyone at anytime just by using either their email address or their telephone number.
  7. It’s easy to sign up
  8. 100% secure, all financial information is kept confidential.
  9. An immediate payment from your checking account, or any major credit card including Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.
  10. It’s the Green way to pay; less paper waste.

 

After reading our “Top 10 Reasons for using PayPal” you can easily see why it is fast becoming the most used and reliable way to transfer money! Safe, secure and reliable, pay for goods and services, or, receive money in the most trusted method available.


Is it really necessary to buy a different blade for cutting different materials?

Posted on Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 at 3:54 pm.

Saw blades can be a large investment, especially if they are a quality saw blade.  It is often hard to bite the bullet and buy a new blade for a project because your cutting a different material or making a different type of cut, but it is worth it.

bunch of blades

Different types of saws are designed specifically for the material, machine or the type of cut they are intended for.  Different types of carbide grades and different tooth geometries are used depending on the type of cut and material being cut.  Even hook angles differ based on the application.  All of these things are taken into special consideration and designed to give you the best cut possible and also to help insure the operators safety during the cut for each specific material.

atb negative hook     An Aluminum Cutting Saw Blade (or Non Ferrous Saw Blade) will typically have a TCG (Triple Chip Grind) and a negative hook angle.  The triple chip grind has a lead tooth that has a double 45 degree angle corner bevel. This is followed by a flat topped raker tooth ground lower than the lead tooth. The raker tooth removes the corners left on both sides by the beveled lead tooth. Triple Chip Grinds combines a balanced cutting force, low tooth drag and free chip flow. This helps to eliminate chipping.  The negative degree hook angle allows the blade to cut the material without grabbing into.  A saw blade with a positive hook angle would be “bite” into the material more aggressively, which could potentially cause the blade to over feed or break the carbide tips on the blade.

melamine sawMany Melamine Cutting Saw Blades will have a Hi ATB grind and a negative hook angle.  The High ATB grind has a steeper bevel than the standard ATB for chip-free cuts on Melamine and plastic laminate without the use of a scoring blade.  The negative hook angle allows the material to be fed into the saw blade easier as opposed to a positive hook angle grabbing at the material.  This helps prevent the material from chipping.

plastic cutting             Most quality Plastic Cutting Saw Blades will use a special grade of carbide that will help with heat resistance to prevent the material from melting.  They most commonly have an ATAF grind, which is great for more brittle materials like plastics and acrylic.  With an ATAF grind the tips are ground on the top at an angle and also grind on the face at an angle.  When combined into an ATAF (Alternate top –Alternate Face grind) you get a sharper cutting, more pointed edge.

all bladesFor cutting MDF, Plywood and particle board there are a few more options depending on whether blade life or cut quality is most important.  Most Saw blades for Particle Board, MDF, or Plywood will have a positive hook angle to bite into the wood and allow you to feed faster.  Which type of grind depends on the cut quality and blade life you want.  MDF and particle board contain glue and filler which consists of small particles of cement.  These particles and the glue wear down the tips on the blade very fast.  Blades with a TCG grind don’t have quite as sharp as a point and will last much longer when cutting MDF or particle board, but will not give you the cleanest cut.  For a cleaner cut, you could use a blade with an ATB grind.  With an ATB grind the tops of alternating teeth are beveled to one side of the blade or the other at approximately 15 degrees.  This creates a sharp point and a sharper cutting edge for better cut quality without chipping or splinters.  It also caused the sharp tips to wear much faster.


Woodpecker Tool contest- Multiple Winners!

Posted on Friday, August 29th, 2014 at 2:20 pm.

enter to win  ****The contest starts September 3rd and ends September 10 of 2014****

It is that time once again to run a contest for our loyal friends and customers! We received so much positive feedback and participation from our Free SOG Knife contest we decided to do it again!

This time you could win a $40.00 Woodpecker item for FREE, or take $40.00 off the purchase price of any Woodpecker item. That’s right, save $$$$ on the Woodpecker tool of your choice or get it for FREE! (excludes One-Time-Tools)

woodpeckers

But, don’t worry that we will only have 1 Winner, you should know by now that not only do we stand behind our 100% satisfaction guarantee, and offer exceptional tools for the toughest applications, but we are very generous too!

Our 1st Runner Up will receive a $20.00 Carbide Processors, Inc. electronic gift certificate (good towards anything on our website).

The 2nd Runner Up will receive a $15.00 Carbide Processors, Inc. electronic gift certificate  (good towards anything on our website).

coupon

****The contest starts September 3rd and ends September 10 of 2014****

Enter to win by posting the Woodpecker item you would like to buy with your $$winnings$$ on our Facebook page!!

You can post a comments like:

-I want the  Woodpecker WPDPPACK2

-The Wife said no, but I said yes to the Woodpecker Coping Sled….

-Or my favorite post ” I love Carbide Processors, Inc. ” for those who are undecided.

 

All 3 Winners  will be chosen by the ol’ tried and true, most honest way we know how,  drawing out of a hat. We will post a video of the drawing on our YouTube channel. Watch us call out your name for the Grand Prize winner, 1st Runner Up and 2nd Runner up!

If you want to re-live the excitement of our first contest, the Free SOG knife give-away, or to watch how we pick the winners, watch that video here.

If you are one of the lucky winners, email me your contact information at emgt@carbideprocessors.com.

 

 


Super Scraper Tool

Posted on Friday, August 15th, 2014 at 2:49 pm.

We really do only sell what we think are the finest tools and these super scrapers are no exception.  The Super Scraper Tool comes in 3 different sizes and is manufactured in the US.  They truly are incredible little tools.  They feature a steel scraper body with a carbide tip so that they keep a sharp edge longer and don’t break, chip or dull.  The 1- 1/4″ Super Scraper  and 2″ Super Scrapers come with a wooden handle and are designed to fit comfortably and give a nice grip.  There is also a smaller super Scraper with a 5/8″ width scraper blade for smaller jobs or to fit into tighter places.

2" Super Scraper

We have always admired and thought highly of these super scrapers but did not realize exactly what type of abuse they were capable of taking until just recently.  A customer that absolutely loved using his super scraper, which was obvious the minute you saw the scraper, asked if he could send it in to be re-sharpened.  He had not actually purchased his Super Scraper from us, but the merchant he had purchased it from refused to help him or have it sharpened.  Since we also sell the Super Scrapers, we offered to help.

This 2″ Super Scraper had seen a lot of use and abuse.  It looked like the grown up equivalent to a child’s favorite mangeled stuffed comfort toy.  It was missing a rivet and the corners had actually just started to round and dull.  It took years and a lot of use to get it that way.  We offered to just replace the scraper instead of try to sharpen his current one and replace the rivet.

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For many of the Super Scrapers we send out, we get a lot of great feedback from the people using them.  One happy Super Scraper owner used it to clean up a concrete patch on his neighbors driveway.  He had wrote to us and said that “… i don’t think it dulled it one bit.”

Another customer is an auto technician and said he “[uses] it on a daily basis for cleaning cylinder heads and almost any other type of sealing surface.”  He said that it worked so well that several other techs in his shop have also bought one.

There is no way we would be able to afford to offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on these Super Scrapers or be able to replace them even when they were not purchased from us if these Super Scrapers were not as incredible as they are.  This is by far the best scraper out there.  With a lifetime guarantee and free sharpening for life, this Super Scraper will be the last scraper tool you’ll ever have to buy.


Fishing Trip 2014

Posted on Friday, August 8th, 2014 at 2:55 pm.

DSCN3030                         DSCN3036

I am excited to share with you some of the highlights from our annual fishing trip to Westport, Washington.  In the first picture you can see we had a huge turn-out, apparently we know a lot of friends and business associates who love to fish. In fact LOVE it so much they are willing to show up on a cold, Sunday morning at 4:30 (well, most of us were on time).

Armed with determination, coolers and doughnuts provided by Paul DuClose, we began our all-day adventure aboard the Tequila Too. Captain Ken navigated the choppy waters with ease straight to our destination in the Pacific Ocean. The weather was beautiful, clear and crisp with a mixture of  blues and purples on the horizon.

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We started off with bottom fishing first….

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Followed by salmon fishing…..

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And boy did we catch a lot of fish!!!

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DSCN3021   By the end of the trip some of us decided to take a nap on the way back.

 

DSCN3020   But some took the advantage of the down time to catch up.

All in all it was a wonderful opportunity to get out on the ocean, catch up with old friends, enjoy a healthy dose of competition, and agree to do it again next year!

DSCN3027                       DSCN3038


Burn Marks on Wood

Posted on Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 at 1:55 pm.

 

burned wood    Prevent those horrible burn marks in your routed edges my using the following tips!

 

Keep Your Bits Clean

cleaining bits    Get in the habit of cleaning your bits when you are finished with them. I know this is easier said then done; usually when we’re done we just drop them back in their holder and move on with our day. That works well with our schedule, but reeks havoc on our finished work!

Resins and dust build up that cause bits to get hotter faster, making them more likely to burn the wood. If your bits are covered with sawdust, wipe them with a dry cloth. Remove the build-up with a blade-and-bit cleaner.

*Clean bits stay sharp longer because excessive heat breaks down carbide cutters.

 

Keep Your Bits Sharp

sharpen 2    A dull bit not only doesn’t cut well, but also builds up heat, which we are trying to avoid! You can send your bits out to someone who is experienced, or you can do it yourself with sharpening tools, or diamond lapping stones. The information is easy to find and there are videos available on YouTube if you are a visual learner.

*If using a stone, sharpen the flat side only and count the number of strokes so your bit is evenly sharpened.

 

Check Your Bit Speed

speed 3    To keep your bits from heating up it is important to keep them running at a consistent speed. If you are unsure of the correct RPMs for your bit, check the chart and adjust accordingly! Also, controlling the feed rate will keep the stock cool and you smiling.

*A slow feed rate generates more heat, use a fast consistent feed rate.

 

Wood Types create Bit Burns

wood types    Maple and cherry burn easily because of their density and the oils they contain. For softwoods like Pine, watch out for pitch pockets; slow the router and increase feed rate to minimize burning.

*Some woods such as oak, don’t easily burn.

 

When All Else Fails, Fix It

*Using a hand-held utility knife, gently scrap the burn marks off.

*Set the router just a hair deeper and go over the cut again

*Dampen the burn marks with mineral spirits, it will make them sand out easier.

 

 


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