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ferstler's Woodworking Reviews

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Fine planer for the money

Fine planer for the money

12-04-2008 10:34 PM by ferstler | 14 comments »

Ryobi has recently replaced this discontinued AP1300 model with the AP1301. The new version has two deficiencies, compared to the older-design unit reviewed here. First, the new unit does not have a cutter lock. OK, with good planers a cutter lock may not be necessary, but with a budget model it is not a bad idea. One look at the operation of the lock on the AP1300 shows that it is a very good way, indeed, to make sure that the cutter assembly is not going to shift upward or downward durin...

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Good saw if space is tight or you need portability

Good saw if space is tight or you need portability

12-04-2008 09:44 PM by ferstler | 5 comments »

I read a review of another Ryobi table saw elsewhere on this site and the owner was not happy with it at all. He basically criticized the small size of the saw and the lack of quality in the fence. Well, we have to remember that saws of that kind are low-priced items, built for use in tight spaces and for owners (or woodworking dabblers) on strict budgets. The reviewed saw was different from the BTS20 reviewed here, but it is possible that the fences for each unit were the same, or at leas...

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Nice little powered hand planer

Nice little powered hand planer

11-28-2008 10:29 PM by ferstler | 0 comments »

I could not find the GMC (Global Machinery Corporation) brand listed on this group’s company name list, so I just selected the next best company, Global Tooling. Heck, maybe they are the same company. Most Chinese-made tools from this Austrailian company are budget items in the extreme, being on the same, or sometimes an even lower, level as Black and Decker or Chicago Tools. Some work not all that well, and others work just fine. This is one of the just-fine versions, if only bec...

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A straightforward device with only minor deficiencies

A straightforward device with only minor deficiencies

11-28-2008 10:14 PM by ferstler | 3 comments »

This unit is discontinued, but it might be available used or even may still be in stock in some Lowe’s stores here and there. I have been using hand routers for some time, but I did decide that an inverted table-type unit would be handy. There are plenty of table bases available out there, and they will handle any router you might care to install. This device is different, in that the motor is built in. Unpack the thing, do a bit of assembly work, and it is ready to go. Technically, it is ...

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A nice joiner at a terrific price

A nice joiner at a terrific price

11-28-2008 10:04 PM by ferstler | 19 comments »

This is Ryobi’s second biscuit joiner that I know of. The first was similar to this one and cost the same $99 bucks, but had the stock number JM81. The earlier version was cheaply made, with a plastic base plate and rather clunky controls. This newer version has a metal base plate and the controls are more refined. The fence is adjustable from 0 to 135 degrees and the fence height can be set from 0 to 2 inches. It can easily handle number 0, 10, and 20 biscuits and comes with a detachable ...

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Fine press for careful work

Fine press for careful work

11-28-2008 09:58 PM by ferstler | 8 comments »

I paid three hundred bucks for this 15-inch device a couple of years back. I had initially picked out a Delta 16.5 incher, but when it came time to make the purchase Lowe’s had sold out of the Delta and doing a special order jacked the price up too much. The Ridgid is a fine tool, although it is still basically a standard-quality item in this class. It has 12 speeds, running from 300 on up to 3100 rpm, although to make speed changes you have to open the top, release the tension with a leve...

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Low-priced plunge router for hobby use

Low-priced plunge router for hobby use

11-24-2008 11:40 PM by ferstler | 5 comments »

Some woodworkers would shudder at the thought of using a Black and Decker tool for routing work, but actually their Fire-Storm unit is not half bad. I picked it up for $60 at Lowe’s a while back (list was $100, I think, but it was being discontinued), and have used it for several sign-making jobs and other oddities. The unit is rated for 11,000 to 28,000 spin speeds and has a 12-amp motor that seems powerful enough, and the collet is a 1/2 incher. The on/off switch is also easy to us...

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A fine little press for hobby-scale work

A fine little press for hobby-scale work

11-24-2008 11:22 PM by ferstler | 7 comments »

I own a Ridgid 15-inch drill press that is terrific for larger-scale projects. (I’d write a review here, but somebody else has already done that with decent skill, although I did post some comments on that review entry.) However, the Ridgid is overkill for some smaller operations, and so I also have the illustrated 10-inch Ryobi mounted on a bench for lightweight stuff. When I purchased it several years back it cost $99 bucks, which is a credit to Chinese production economies. Unfortuna...

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Good compressor for nailing work

Good compressor for nailing work

11-24-2008 11:02 PM by ferstler | 4 comments »

I have had this oil-free compressor for several years and have used it in conjunction with my Ridgid and Campbell-Hausfeld framing nailers to add timbering to my attic trusses, build a fancy coffered ceiling in my garage, and add additional nails to the siding on my house. I have also used it to power finishing and brad nailers for assorted projects. The thing works just fine. The calibration is perfect and I appreciate not having to worry about oil in the compressor section. It weighs 70 ...

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Small circular saw for lightweight work

Small circular saw for lightweight work

11-24-2008 10:52 PM by ferstler | 0 comments »

I have a Skil Mag-77 worm-drive saw for heavy-duty cutting. It is a bit elephantine for smaller-scale work, so I recently purchased this Craftsman 5.5-inch trim saw to fill out my saw collection. While listed as a Craftsman Professional tool, and while the build quality is terrific, it still seems a tad lightweight to be considered a pro-class tool. The motor on this small saw is an 8-amp job, the rotational speed is 4,000 rpm, the cutting depth at 90 degrees is 1 5/8 inches (just enough f...

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