Tweakin’ and tunin’

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I have a whole shop full of new tools. Or, at least it seems like it.

Getting a single new tool to replace an old, outdated one makes a lot of woodworkers want to start replacing anything. Even if that were within my (or anyone else’s) budget, the fact is that some of my tools are perfectly matched for my needs, so I wouldn’t want to replace them even if the new ones were free.

But I did just replace an ancient impact driver with a new one that performs far better, so I want the rest of my tools to keep up. I sort of did that a few weeks ago when I replaced the blade on my bandsaw. Tuning and adjusting the machine is always a part of replacing the blade, so the result is a bandsaw that runs like new. I’ve likewise been sharpening drill bits that can be, and replacing old, worn bits that can’t.

I figured why not just keep going? A new blade for the table saw was next, plus cleaning and re-greasing the workings, followed by flipping the double-edged knives in my planer over to the sharp side. With both machines running like champs, I also replaced the blade in my miter saw, opting for one with higher tooth count for cleaner cuts.

Finally, I turned to my jointer. Here’s the thing: I’ve had this jointer about five years now and I don’t think I’ve ever sharpened or changed the knives. I use a jointer mostly for edge-jointing, so over the years I’ve just been moving the fence over to a “fresh” spot. That’s worked well, but I think I’ve milked as much out of that trick as I can.

So, I ordered a set of knives. They came yesterday and I installed them last night. Just for fun, I grabbed a piece of rough stock out of the rack and ran it through the system. Face and edge-jointing first, then thicknessing on my planer, followed by cutting to length on the miter saw, and then to width on my table saw. And just for good measure, I took one of those workpieces and resawed it in two, then cleaned up the cut faces on the planer.

Not only did I turn out some fantastic workpieces, but I swear it made me feel a bit younger.

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