Friday, 30 November 2012

Dakota DK2040 Extendable Universal Mobile Base review

The new shop deserves to be cleaned often.
There I've said it.
To facilitate this I need a system of moving the heavy duty machinery out of the way and what better way of doing this than using a mobile base.
I decided a good purchase for my table saw would be a mobile base but which one? There are so many on the market and my table saw weighs around 150 kg. It came with its own mobile base but it wasn't very well made and needed repairing due to faulty, inferior welds. Either I could have taken into a welding shop, blacksmith or hired some welding equipment and welded it myself.
Either way it would have cost me money so when I saw Rutlands advertising mobile bases for less than £40 I decided to have a look.
I ordered one on their Dakota DK2040 mobile bases on a special offer days when delivery is free and you get 10% off.

The box duly arrived 2 days later and it was heavy. I opened it to find every component individually wrapped in bubble wrap plastic. After removing the plastic wrap there were all manner of heavy steel components painted with a substantial layer of black paint.
All the nuts and bolts have 8.8 on the heads which means they are high tensile steel. The nuts are collared and serrated on the underside so no need for any lock washers.
The axles are all high tensile steel allen cap head screws as are the pivot mechanism pins. Everything shows as being able to withstand the 500 pound (226 kg) loads that it is rated for.

I started assembly using the exploded parts drawing. You do have to loosely assemble the parts first to get some idea of the size you want to fit. All the main members have a series of holes drilled on uniform centres of around 1 inch (25mm). Basically you just telescope the inner member inside the outer member and lock them together with the 6mm high tensile bolts.
The static wheels are inserted and the axle bolt doubles as a fastener along with the nyloc locking nut. There are many nuts and bolts in the kit and you can put in more than are necessary if you desire.
The front wheels are rotating axis castors and they are mounted onto a hinge plate. The hinge plate is actuated by a foot pedal at either side.
When the base is in the down position the front wheels are off the ground with the weight being taken by two   adjustable rubber feet. These can be locked at the desired height using an M12 nut.
The solid back wheels are always in contact with the floor.

In use I mounted my table saw into the mobile base and it moves around on my concrete shop floor with great ease. When in the down position there is no rock or sideways movement. A vastly superior product to the manufacturers own version that came as an extra with the table saw.

It was so good I bought 2 more mobile bases, one for the band saw and one for the router table. What's more they have a 10 year warranty on them. A bargain.
When I buy my new jointer I will get one of these bases too for that. In fact my oscillating spindle sander could do with one too!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Gorilla Gripper review

As part of the new shop build I will be using a lot of OSB (Oriented Strand Board) and plywood to build some partitions and line the inside of the doors. Also I will be using lots of sheet goods throughout the next few years to make jigs, use in projects etc. My back is not what it was and now I'm having problems with hip joints (plural) I thought I could do with a little help in the lifting department.

I stumbled across the Gorilla Gripper by Roughneck. I read a few reviews and saw a few videos on it so decided to part with some hard earned cash and ordered one from Amazon.
It came today in a plain cardboard box. Unpacking it revealed a well made, industrial rated but lightweight contractors model (32-610) that has a holding capacity of 10 to 28mm (3/8" to 1.1/8")

It is made from aircraft grade aluminium with high tensile steel fasteners.

The instructions tell you that it is designed to lift and carry large sheets of material from the top without bending or lifting, using the back, wrists and fingers. Of course we all know, or should know, that lifting with the legs and a straight back is a safer and faster way to move heavy materials. You can also use it to grip the top edge of large bags of animal feed, sand, top soil etc.

All you have to do is place the gripper securely on the top edge of the material and in the centre of the board so it has proper grip and balance. There are two rubber pads, one on each jaw, that you just have to make sure it has full contact with the material before you lift it. Then you lift it by the handle and the jaws, or gripping plates, tighten on the sheet by the mechanism. You basically carry it at the side of you and a 8 x 4 x 3/4" board is easily moved around. I tried it with a piece I had and even with my dodgy hips (and walking cane) was able to move the sheet around without any problems whatsoever. I am really impressed.

It can lift more than one sheet, dependent upon your strength of course, as long as the thickness of the material comes within it's range. I wouldn't fancy trying to lug 2 sheets of 8' x 4' x 3/4" thick MDF around with it for instance. But if you want to you could with the one for doors.

They make them in 3 sizes, this one is the middle of the range the others are 0-19mm (0 to 3/4") and one especially for doors 32-50mm (1.1/4" to 2")

Olympia-Tools (UK) Ltd are distributing them in the UK but I got mine from Amazon for £47.47 with Amazon Prime. I think the list price in the UK is around £80 so I got mine 41% cheaper.

Here's a cheesy 4 minute promo video

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Shop Transformation Part 6

The keys to the new shop were finally handed back to me on November 16th 2012. The concrete slab had been poured during the week over the rubble in the old inspection pit and was still hardening. All the final jobs had been completed, all the electrics worked (not that I thought they wouldn't!) the cladding was all in position.

The builder had gone into great detail making sure all the stainless steel nails holding the cladding on were in a straight line. He said there would be nothing worse than sitting outside the shop on a warm evening admiring the man-cave with your favourite beverage in your hand and noticing that all the nails were out of line. He even got one of his guys to go around every nail (more than 1500!) and using a nail punch knock them all below the surface. Now that is attention to detail that is admirable and that guy deserves a beer.

Last night, Monday, while still recovering from my hip operation last Wednesday November 14th I set about applying one of the first coats of white masonry paint to the internal block walls with a 12 inch roller.
Did I ever mention I don't like painting? I managed to do 1 and 1/4 walls last night. However the mortar is under the level of the block work and needed a paintbrush to pick out the seams. This is going to take forever!
Did I ever mention I don't like painting?
Why don't builders flush the mortar up to the surface?
There will be another night tonight of painting to look forward to. Maybe I should employ my step dad who is a retired painter to do the job....

Did I ever mention I don't like painting?

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Shop Transformation Part 5

This week has been a really busy week commencing November 5th 2012 for my builder.
They have:

  • finished all the cladding,
  • clad one of the doors (the other one will be done next monday)
  • installed all the insulation and drywall in the roof.
  • installed all the T8 lighting
  • installed all the power outlets
  • installed all the circuit breakers

We had the big switch on Thursday and when initially powered up the tubes were pink in the centre and the gas was flickering inside the tube. After 30 minutes they were all a consistent white colour and the gas flicker had gone. After an hour it was really bright.
It seems that there appeared to be a burning in period before full brightness was achieved.

For anybody who hasn't used high frequency battens with T8 fluorescent tubes then you are in for a surprise. They switch on immediately with no flickering and they are at about 85% full brightness. Then after 5 minutes they are at 100% brightness. I was very impressed and I think after taking advice from the WoodTalkOnLine community about how many lamps I should install in my space I think I have got it right.

The brackets for the gutters finally arrived from the manufacturer on Thursday night. They had made them incorrectly and we had to wait over a week before we got replacements. It was their error rolling them to an incorrect radius.

The ones with the larger radius
are the correct ones
This view shows the gutter with its bracket
secured with 3 bolts

Jon the builder had fun fitting them as they needed sealant applying between all the joints. The problem was he had put the gutters up and it started to rain. Where they were jointed together the seals hadn't quite set and there was a huge leak of water. He went home that night feeling dejected. However the next day he came back armed with a gas gun and some tar backed mastic and plugged the leak from the inside. Now there is a slight trickle and we think that a little sealant applied around the outside of the seam will seal that.
These gutters are intended for factory buildings and I think slight leaks from 50 feet in the air are probably tolerated. However we have come to the conclusion that although the roofing system is brilliant the integral gutters are not so good. The manufacturer may need to go back to the drawing board.

Now we just await the concrete being poured into the inspection pit to cap it off. There is a little more minor work to be done next week and I should then get the keys of the shop officially handed to me.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Chest of drawers completed

Here is the chest of drawers that I built for a commission with the drawer pulls fitted. You can see in a previous post the design for the pulls. I had some time to do this while my shop is being rebuilt. My temporary shop was the office upstairs at home and I now need to vacuum all the wood dust away!

The cabinet spec is:

  • Dimensions - 1220 H x 900 W x 457 D (48" H x 35 1/2" W x 18" D)
  • Materials - French oak and African sapele
  • Finish - General Finishes Enduro Var semi-gloss
  • Case construction - frame and panel with mortise and tenon joinery
  • Drawers construction - with handcut dovetails with faced plywood bottoms
  • Drawer pull construction - oak and sapele
  • Adhesive : Franklin International Titebond II Extend.

The chest of drawers featured as the 2010 Woodwhisperer Guild summer project and took me a little longer than I anticipated.
I hope Kate and Norman will enjoy the piece.

Shop Transformation Part 4

There was a lot of action this week commencing Oct 29th 2012. After the trusses were put into place the roof sheets went on. These are a profiled steel sheet, coated with a plastic called plastisol. I chose a profile called Accord FlowTile from in slate grey. It actually looks a shade of blue-green to me but it looks great. The profile of the sheets looks like concrete roof tiles from the ground and you would never guess it was steel. I have also had it coated on the underside with anti-condensation coating which is an option. This is some sort of wicking material.
The manufacturer sent the wrong brackets to secure the gutters to the roof so we are still without drainage. I'm assured that they will send me the correct brackets the week commencing November 5th.
Accord Flowtile roofing sheets
It's autumn at the moment!
The actual positioning and fixing of the sheets didn't take very long. They are held on to the roof with self drilling and tapping screws that go straight into the wooden cross battens.