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Posted by on Sep 2, 2014 in Show off your latest project | 0 comments

Drum Sander Advantages

I know how much everyone loves hand sanding; but, if you want to reduce the tedious job of hand sanding consider a drum sander. You will be amazed at how fast a drum sander finishes the job and what a uniform finish you can get.

While the Jet and Supermax Sanders attach the paper by wrapping on a smooth drum and attaching the paper at the ends with a self adjusting spring loaded clip. The Grizzly and Shop Fox use Hook and Loop paper.

One of the beautiful advantages of the Jet Drum Sander is what they call SandSmart Technology.  This feature actually senses load on the motor and when it goes beyond a certain point indicating a harder than normal section of wood or a knot, it automatically reduces the conveyor speed to allow the drum to have longer to sand the harder or denser wood. Once the amp load is reduced the conveyor automatically returns to the normal speed you have selected. Both Jet and Supermax offer an open ended sander that allows you to double the sanding width by flipping the piece end for end. A lot cheaper than buying the larger machine.

For production operations  Supermax offers drum sanders that are supported on both ends and run two drums at the same time. Start with 100 grit on the front drum and 120 grit on the rear drum. The rear drum is height adjustable to offset for the change in height the front drum removes

Our tips for Drum Sanders


Choose a premium paper, buy cheap and you will double your frustration


If you are sanding anything that you have pinned together make sure you do not sand through to the brads. Doing so will leave lines in your paper and will transfer to the next piece you sand, just like what happens when you hit a staple or brad with your joiner or planer.


A drum sander is not a planer, take your time for the best results. I prefer to set the conveyor feed rate at the fastest speed and take super light cuts. I find I complete the task faster this way


Use a dust collector. This is not a recommendation, it is a must. Skip this step and the inside of the drum will get loaded with dust and resins and cause a vibration and balance problem. In addition you will be sanding the dust and get less than beautiful results.


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Posted by on Sep 2, 2014 in Show off your latest project | 0 comments

Riving Knife vs Splitters

All table saws manufactured for sale these days are required to have a riving knife instead of a splitter. The difference between the two is that a riving  knife moves up and down with the blade keeping the same distance from the blade, while a splitter mounted guard remains at a fixed height in relationship to the blade.

In addition the new requirements say the riving knife must be able to be removed easily, installed easily and when installed it will be in line with the blade without any adjustment needed.

Why? Research shows that when a splitter is used it is often times removed, say to make a dado cut. Seldom, if ever, was the splitter reinstalled. Research further reveals that most table saw injuries are the result of kickbacks. The importance of using effective safety procedures cannot be overemphasized.

Kickbacks are generally caused by a fence that is not aligned properly, burning on one side of the blade is a warning your fence may need adjustment. Sometimes kickbacks can occur when ripping a board, sometimes the material wants to spring back together due to stresses in the grain of the wood causing it to pinch on the back side of the blade.

Both riving knives and splitters are designed to keep the wood forced open to reduce this from happening; but, a riving knife  is always a fixed distance from the blade usually 1/4-3/8″  whereas a splitter can be a good 2″ from the blade. The thinner the stock the larger this gap becomes.

Realizing most woodworkers will remove the blade guard most new designs allow you to either remove or raise the guard easily while leaving the riving knife in place.

Think for a moment. Was your last close call or injury caused by a kickback?

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Posted by on Aug 27, 2014 in New Tool Info, Tool Repair Problems, Woodworking Tips and Tricks | 0 comments

Ni-cad vs Lithium-Ion Batteries

Check out our latest video on Ni-ad Cordless Tools and Batteries vs the newest Lithium-Ion battery technology

Filming courtesy of Tom Tynan and Home Show Radio  



Steady advances in voltage and applications have made cordless tools the first choice on most projects for you and professionals. For years NiCad (Nickel Cadmium) batteries reigned supreme. Recently, though, they’ve been displaced by newer Lithium Ion battery technology.

Lithium-ion batteries are smaller in size, require less maintenance and are environmentally safer than Nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries. While they have similarities, Li-ion and NiCd batteries differ in their chemical composition, environmental impact, applications and costs.

Which battery is right for your cordless tool?

That depends on the job and your wallet. Typically, Lithium-ion batteries are smaller and lighter than a NiCad battery. Lithium-ion also two to three times more expensive than NiCad. On the other hand, Lithium-ion has virtually no self-discharge. This allows a lithium ion battery to be stored for months without losing charge.

One does not provide more power than the other. An 18V Lithium-ion battery has the same potential to deliver power as an 18V NiCad battery.18V is 18V. How long it provides it is another story. The best measure of run time is how many holes are drilled or how many boards cut on a single battery charge. In this test, Lithium-ion battery-powered tools win.

That has more to do with the efficiency of the tool than the battery itself. Brushless motors in most Lithium-ion-powered tools make better use of battery power. That leads to the misconception that the battery has more power.

NiCad batteries range in capacity from 1.3Ah to 3.0Ah. In comparison, Lithium-ion batteries range from 1.1Ah to 3.0Ah. Just as the gas tank size is only one factor in how far a vehicle can drive on a tank of gas, applications per battery charge factor in voltage, capacity and the efficiency of the tool. Clear as mud?

NiCad batteries

Nickel-cadmium batteries suffer from a “memory effect.” The battery remembers the point in their charge cycle where recharging began. During subsequent uses, voltage will drop at that point as if it had been discharged. That’s why it’s wise that you use a NiCad battery until it’s totally dead before recharging With this kind of proper use, a nickel-cadmium battery can last for 1,000+ cycles before losing capacity.

Lithium-ion batteries

Lithium-ion batteries, on the other hand, are low maintenance. They resist the “memory effect” and tolerate a wider ranged of temperatures. Their only serious drawback is fragility. They also require protection circuit to keep working safely.

Both will perform for roughly the same number of cycles. While the Lithium-ion battery may provide more voltage, it does so at significantly higher cost compared to a NiCad battery.

Since absolute performance is roughly equal, choosing between Lithium-ion and NiCad batteries come down to simple differences: Lighter, longer-lasting and more expensive, or heavier, more consumable and cheaper. The choice is yours.

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Posted by on Aug 27, 2014 in New Tool Info | 0 comments

Pick a Table Saw But Not Just Any Table Saw

When you decide it is time to invest in a new piece of equipment it is a really good idea to create a list of criteria to use for evaluation. This helps you to be sure you are comparing apples to apples. A table saw is such an essential component of your workshop I thought you would find it useful to know what criteria I use to evaluate and select my table saw(s).


Delta 78-940 Biesemeyer T-Square Auxiliary Fence


#1 Fence

Few accessories are as important as a good fence. Today almost all fences  are a modification of the time tested, shop proven Beismeyer style fence. This fence uses a 3 point contact on the fence head to ensure that it locks square to the blade every time; once it is adjusted that is. The repeatability of this fence means you don’t need a tape because it is already built into this system. It is a very accurate measuring system – learn to trust it and you won’t be sorry.



#2 Motor

Whenever possible I opt for  a 3 H.P. motor so that I have the ability to cut anything. Sometimes, however, home shops don’t have 220 volt power readily available. If this is the situation you are in then you will want to look at a hybrid saw, which is a very good alternative.

If you  do have 220 volt power but not the budget for the 3 H.P. then your best option is to go ahead and get the hybrid saw and rewire it for 220 volt. In this case a 1 1/2 H.P. hybrid motor that is wired on 220 volt will get you the performance of a 2 H.P. motor.  It’s a  simple way to get more power even if you can’t spring for the bigger motor.


Powermatic 1791230K 64B TABLE SAW 1.75 HP 115/230V 50″ FENCE WITH RIVING KNIFE


#3 Riving Knife

What the heck is a riving knife you ask.? A riving knife is the new style splitter mechanism that is directly behind the blade, but a riving knife moves with the blade keeping a constant distance between it and the blade. A riving knife moves with the blade since it is attached to the trunnion while a splitter is attached to the frame of the saw and as the blade is lowered the distance between the blade and splitter increases therefore the chance of a kickback can actually get worse and that is one reason most people will remove it along with the guard.

I know how much everyone loves blade guards but, even if you are the guy that throws his away as he is un-crating the saw you will want to put a riving knife on your  saw. It does not get in the way and since most table saw injuries are caused by kickback this will eliminate this danger. Take my advice – save your fingers with this handy knife, you’ll be very glad you did.

WARNING- If you use thin kerf saw blades make sure the riving knife on your new saw will accept them.



#4 Dust collection

Dust collection may be the last thing you are thinking of when deciding which saw you want to buy. In fact you may not even have a dust collector right now. I can almost guarantee, however, that before too long you are going to want one. What I’m saying is that before you make the final decision on your saw please check, and maybe even double check, that your new saw has a port that you can attach that dust collector to. (And, when you do get that dust collector please don’t hesitate to send me a note of thanks for reminding you about the port!)

#5 Availability of Parts and Service

There’s nothing worse than finding a good deal on a discontinued model of saw only to realize that finding parts and service for the “good deal” is almost impossible. When you invest in a major piece of equipment like a saw you want it to last for years, if not decades.

Since 1954 Circle Saw has offered parts repair and replacement to our customers. And, we are an authorized warranty center for Jet, Powermatic and Saw Stop. The bottom line… you can buy with confidence from Circle Saw.


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Posted by on Jul 10, 2014 in New Tool Info, Show off your latest project, Tool Repair Problems, Woodworking Tips and Tricks | 0 comments

IMPORTANT! Porter-Cable Recall

We’ve just learned that Porter-Cable has determined that because the handles on the 3 H.P fixed based routers are not insulated, a user could be shocked. Clearly, this represents a serious potential hazard which has prompted Porter Cable to issue this recall. The following models are affected by this recall:

  • 7518 5-speed
  • 7519 1-speed
  • 7519 EC 1-speed/has an extended chuck22
  • 7519-60 1-speed/uses 220-volt power source
How to resolve:

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled routers and router bases, unplug the routers and contact Porter-Cable for a free replacement router base with insulation on the handles. Porter-Cable can be contacted toll-free at (888) 344-7973 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday; by email at , or online at On the website you will need to click on Important Safety Notice/Recalls (at the very bottom of the page), then select 2014 for more information

Porter Cable Recalls 3-1/4 H.P. Routers

Porter Cable Recalls 3-1/4 H.P. Routers

Courtesy of the Consumer Product Safety Commission

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