Dial Indicator Sled for Calibrating Table Saw

I own this cheap dial indicator set, and while it is indeed cheap it works fine for calibrating my table saw.  My only complaint is that its versatile base and arm system just doesn’t work that well for this purpose, especially for setting up the fence where sliding the indicator causes the small base to wobble and also scratch the cast iron top.

My solution was to make something a bit like Woodpecker’s Saw Gauge, only about $59 cheaper.

Enter the dial indicator sled!

As you can see, it’s just a scrap of 1/2″ plywood with a rail glued on, onto which the indicator is bolted.  Because it’s wood it nicely slides on the table saw surface, and because it has a long edge it registers well against the fence.

While the rail should be somewhat squarely attached it (thankfully) doesn’t have to be all that precise.  We’re only interested in relative distances (how much the needle moves), not absolute numbers.

Here are some more photos, including it being used against a Master Plate to calibrate my sliding table and the fence.

Segment Calculation Google Sheet Document

Who doesn’t enjoy simple geometry and spreadsheets?  I made my own segment calculation spreadsheet just to get a better understanding of segmented turning.  I’m not doing anything particularly complex so it was a fun little undertaking.

Here’s a link to the spreadsheet with some inner and outer radii already filled in.  Feel free to make a copy of it (in the File menu) for your own project!

The inner and outer radii that you determine from your profile drawing go right into the spreadsheet.  I should clarify that the inner radius does not determine the inside face of the segment, it is where the inside wall of your vessel will be.  As you can see from the drawing, there is some extra material between the inside faces of the segments and the vessel.  So you should notice that your calculated segment widths are a touch wider than the vessel wall thickness.

Like many Imperial system users, I can easily “think” in inches but prefer accurate measurements in metric, so I have the spreadsheet inputs in inches and its outputs in both inches and millimeters.

I’ve also included a “Done?” column so that you can track your progress on a printed copy.

Angle Setup Blocks for Making Wedgie Setup Templates

Jerry Bennett’s Wedgie Sled is a wonderfully simple and elegant solution to the problem of cranking out trapezoids for segmented turning.  If you’re not familiar with his idea,  visit his site and watch his video series.

The only hard part is what to do about setting the angle between the two fences; here are a few options:

  • Buy angle setup blocks – Jerry has them available but they are expensive!
  • Use a digital protractor – I tried iGaging’s protractor but it’s not accurate enough for this application.  A resolution of 1/2 degree just isn’t good enough.
  • Make your own – but how??

The problem with making your own is that the angle temple needs to be quite accurate!  The template’s error will be compounded by each segment in your ring; this is the basis for the “5-cut test” for squaring up a table saw miter fence.

IMG_20180306_195140The route I went with was to use machinist’s setup blocks to create my wedgie sled angle templates.  I got this cheap set off of Amazon, whose smallest angle is 0.25°, and biggest is 30°.  One can set up a wide variety of angles by stacking up two or more blocks.

Making the Template

I made my template out of a 3/4″ thick piece of MDF, although in the photos below I have the cut setup demonstrated with a piece of plywood.

The goal is to make a triangle with one angle being 360/n, where n is the number of segments in your ring.  I was doing 16 segment rings so my n was 22.5°.  And if you dust off your High School geometry, a little application of like triangles will show you that the angle between the two wedgie fences equals the included angle of each segment – very simple!

In the photos below I have three stacked angle blocks to get my cut: 20°, 2°, and 0.5°.  It’s very important work off of a clean edge so that no fuzzies throw off your work.  Here was my sequence:

  1. Cut one edge of the board to clean it up
  2. Rotate the board 90° clockwise so that the clean edge is against the miter fence – Take another light cut to clean up that edge
  3. Add the angle blocks, creating as wide of a triangle as you can.
    1. Take your time with setting up this cut!  Be extra sure that your clamping mechanism doesn’t move the work.

Extra credit can be earned by “squaring up” the triangle – making its two short ends parallel so that you can set up your wedgie sled fairly square to the blade.  To do this, I used a half-angle setup, 11.25° and a little square.  If your wedgie sled is skewed a bit, your pieces will still have perfectly accurate sides but the inside and outside faces will be skewed a bit.


Using the template block is pretty easy, just smush your fences against it and tighten them up!  The other photos are my rings, all of which were one-shot affairs: all the segments were cut & glued in one sequence.  No half-rings or sanding needed.

Lathe Sharpening and Tool Cart

I’ve had my grinder on a Harbor Freight tool cart for the past year.  I don’t have any more bench space in my shop so a mobile solution was all I had left.  Plus skinning the sides with tools works pretty well and its nice having some shelf space.

Gouges on the left, scrapers on the right, with skews, parting tools, and a drill on back.  It’s nice being able to put my grinder and tools right where I want them while turning and then tuck them away when doing something else.

However the lower shelves are only moderately useful because they’re short and deep, and they also fill up with chips.  I couldn’t find a cheap (say $100 or less) tool cabinet with drawers all the way down and a solid top, so I was planning on just building a small two-drawer box to sit in the bottom space.

So off I went to Menard’s to get plywood, drawer slides, and pulls.  On a whim I checked out their tool storage area and found a pretty damn good cart!  It’s just wide enough to accommodate the Tormek jig arms and the price was right.


I re-used the tool holders but did make a new top from some 2x material.  Some drawer dividers and I was ready to go!  It holds much more than the old cart and should do a better job of keeping the chips out.

Veritas Strking Knife Sharpening Jig

The thin profile of Veritas’ Striking Knife makes it pretty versatile but at the same time hard to sharpen.  It’s very small so there’s little bevel to “feel” for and the blade material is bendy so it’s hard to keep in the exact same orientation while sharpening.

Consequently over time mine will loose its nice pointed end and flat sides and it can’t reach into tight corners.  To help me re-establish a nice flat bevel I use a really simple “jig”, just a scrap of wood with two 25° slots cut into it.

The jig then holds the marking knife up against the flat side of my CBN wheel.  The 220-grit finish from the wheel isn’t great so I then finish up with my usual honing routine.

This slot-in-a-block-of-wood type jig could be used against a normal bench grinder (front of wheel of course), belt sander, or even to hold the knife for hand-sharpening on stones.

Gouge Sharpening Through a Microscope

Sample image

Using a cheap USB microscope I took some closeup shots of the scratch pattern and burr on a HSS bowl gouge through three sharpening methods.

Here’s the full album of images

For the purpose of woodturning it seems like the fineness of the edge doesn’t matter a whole lot.  While the burr looks very nasty, and would be bad to have on a smoothing plane iron, it will get immediately knocked off in a woodturning project.

Hitting the Reset Button on my Jointer/Planer


Over time the outfeed table on my Rikon 25-210H worked its way out of adjustment, gradually creeping its way close to the cutterhead.  I found out about this one day by the one cutter slamming into the table when I turned on the machine.  So I was able to move the table back out of the way by turning its parallel arms but over time the table moved around more and more.

Looking at the Jet’s version of this machine (JJP-12HH), I saw that the outfeed adjustment arm also serves to lock it in place against the front cover.  So I ordered the three parts from eReplacementParts that would give me that:

Adjusting Handle (JJP12-014)
Knob (JJP12-015)
Bracket Screw (JJP12-016)

When the parts arrived I decided to start from scratch on tuning up the jointer tables, loosening the hinge adjustment screws thus throwing away the factory adjustment plus the work I had done.  I wasn’t very confident in how aligned the tables were so I wasn’t losing much.

Terms Used

Pitch Rotation of a table about the short axis of the machine.  Right/left ends are up/down.
Roll Rotation of a table about the long axis of the machine.  Front/back sides are up/down.
Twist Rotation involving both pitch and roll.  One corner is off from the others.
Stop Bolts The two bolts that each table stops on when closed.
Hinge Screws The four grub screws in each hinge that control its orientation
Hinge Bolts The three bolts in each hinge that secure it to the frame

(pitch and roll are aeronautic terms, they make it easier for me to visualize this stuff)


I have both the 38” and 50” straight edges from PeachTree and while the 38” model works OK the fact that the 50” lays across almost the entire table makes infeed adjustment a lot easier.

General Tips

  • Lock Down Levers and Stop Bolts
    • A smooshy feel when tightening means that the stop bolts are uneven; the “smoosh” is from the table flexing down to meet the top of both bolts.  If you have the bolts even then you will experience a nice firm feel when tightening the lever.
    • Adjust the bolts by hand and with the table down.  Turn one bolt to move the table up/down and then move the other bolt to just touch the table.
    • There are two stop bolts per table, with the locking rod in between them.  There are two in order to provider a wider, more stable platform for the table to rest on.  They do not participate in changing the pitch of either table; that is the job of the hinge levelling screws.  After making changes to the levelling screws both stop bolts should be brought into equal contact with the table.
    • When you are ready to lock the stop bolts down, do so with the table locked down.  This will help prevent the bolts from turning as you tighten the lock nuts down.  It helps to have two 13mm wrenches here as there isn’t a lot of space for a crescent wrench to fit into.
      • Tightening the lock nuts has the effect of moving the bolts upwards a small amount.  The thread’s backlash being taken up is my best guess as to why.  In my experience you will have to tighten the bolts down by another ~20° to account for this.
  • Outfeed Table
    • If you are installing the outfeed adjustment lever you can rotate the parallel arm as-needed to clear the guard arm mount.  
    • Loosen all grub screws before adjusting anything.  There are two on the parallel arm and four on the lift rods.

“Reset Button” Sequence


  1. Move infeed table down to take it out of the equation. You don’t want your straight edge resting on it.
  2. Back out all four leveling screws until they are loose.
  3. Tighten down hinge bolts
  4. Loosen all the grub screws to allow the outfeed table to be freely adjusted using its parallel adjustment arm
  5. Using the parallel arm try to adjust the outfeed to its ideal height, i.e. where the cutters just scrape your straight edge.  Work first on the back edge, closest to the hinge.  Note: it’s advisable to not tune the table such that the Top Dead Center of the parallel movement is at the ideal height.  Give yourself some wiggle room should the outfeed table settle lower.  
    1. If you are able to reach ideal height in back, move onto step 6.
    2. If you are not able to get the ideal height, i.e. the outfeed table is too low then you will need to raise it a bit via the hinge adjustment screws.  Adjust them evenly, say ¼ turn each.
      1. Again use the outfeed level to get the ideal height in back.  If needed, raise the table more via the hinge screws.
  6. Now adjust the stop bolts to get the front of the table to the idea height.  
    1. This will most likely throw off the adjustment in back.  Use the lever to regain your ideal height in back.  This will mostly likely throw off your height in front, fix that via the stop bolts.
  7. When you are done tighten all the grub screws on the outfeed table.


  1. Loosen the hinge leveling screws and tighten down the hinge bolts
  2. Adjust the infeed table to its uppermost position such that it is even-ish with the outfeed table
  3. At this point there shouldn’t be a lot of roll, just pitch to adjust for.
  4. Attack the pitch first, adjusting the hinge screws in left/right pairs.  For a gap of around 1/16”, start with pretty small turns of the screws, about ⅛ of the way around.
    1. Measure in the back side first by the hinge, noting which side has a bigger gap.
    2. Adjust the infeed table’s height to zero in on it being level with the outfeed table.  Raise it such that it just contacts your straight edge at some point, either left or to the right.
    3. Now check the front side, adjusting the stop bolts to match the roll between the outfeed and infeed tables.  Another way to think about this is that your goal here is to have your straight edge’s contact with the infeed table the same in both front and back.  It won’t be laying flat (unless you’re lucky) but the gaps and contact spots should at least be in the same areas.
    4. Now note your gaps which will dictate your next round of adjustment.  When you overshoot, and move the gap to the opposite end, back off the screws you just touched rather than tightening the screws by the new gap.  This minimizes the variables in play.
  5. Ideally you will be able to get things adjusted such that your 0.001” gauge won’t fit under the entire length of the table in both front and back; good luck with that 🙂

I put together a (too long) view on the process which also includes my thoughts on the product after messing around with it so much.

To summarize, setting the outfeed table is simpler than the infeed because it has fewer variables:


  1. Match the cutter head’s height
  2. Match the cutter head’s roll


  1. Match the outfeed’s height
  2. Match the outfeed’s pitch
  3. Match the outfeed’s roll

Front Cover Bracket Screw Hole Marking

I used a dowel marker pin over the bracket screw to mark where the hole should be drilled in the front cover.  With the marker pin in place I positioned the cover about where it should go and then struck it with a rubber hammer.

Jet JCDC-2 vs. Grizzly G0548ZP Showdown!

I just got Jet’s 2HP cyclone dust collector as an upgrade from Grizzly’s 2HP canister unit.  My main driver was to get a more quiet dust machine with a side benefit of it being easier to empty.  So while I had both machines on hand I measured their sound levels and air volume throughput.

The purpose of this post is not only to compare the two machines but also to give a little more real world data on the sound levels produced by dust collectors as opposed to what the manufacturers publish.

My testing instruments were:

The ambient noise levels in my shop measured @ 43 dBA.

Open Test

Side by side testing

My first test put the machines out in the open with a short length of 4″ hose to constrict flow a bit.  I stood with the sound meter from where the photo was taken, about 10 feet away.

Grizzly:  86 dBA,  1065 CFM

Jet: 82 dBA, 1070 CFM

The Grizzly’s sound level was pretty close to the published 83-85 dBA level.  The Jet’s number was quite a bit higher than their published value of 76 dBA.

The air volume numbers were essentially the same, showing that the 4″ hose restricted them to the same volume.

Enclosed Test

img_20170107_114246Next I tested the dust collectors where they actually live, in this weird little room my basement has.  It’s about 8′ x 8′ and is where the water main comes through the floor.  As a woodworker it serves me pretty well by giving me a plash to stash a noisy machine.

On this test I measured the sound levels from about 15′ away next to my lathe.  This is where I will spend a lot of time with the collector running while sanding or turning dry wood so I was interested to see what my ears would be subjected to.

As for airflow I measured the flow at my lathe’s dust hose and my jointer’s dust hose.  Each of these machines are at the end of the two branches of my dust system.

Grizzly: 76 dBA, Lathe = 550 CFM, Jointer = 500 CFM

Jet: 70 dBA, Lathe = 550 CFM, Jointer = 532 CFM
img_20170107_113447The two jointer numbers are not the same because the dust collectors have different inlet locations and therefore force a different shape in the hose hooked up to them.  The Jet’s inlet is higher up so I was able to reduce the severity of the bends which netted me 30 more CFM.  The lathe piping run was able to keep approximately the same shape.  In the photo to the left, the PVC elbow is for the lathe while the flexible run is for the jointer.

I was happy to note that the Jet’s lower noise level is very noticeable from my lathe area.  In fact the whooshing noise from the dust hood is pretty much louder than the actual dust collector.

Jet JCDC-2 Cyclone Dust Collector Assembly


This past weekend I assembled my new dust collector, Jet’s 2HP cyclone unit.  The whole process took about two hours, most of which was spent getting the “head” (motor/impleller) mounted onto the frame.  That part, when done according to the instructions was honestly hard to do.

As you can see in the photo I used my “shop crane”, a Harbor Freight 1-ton model, to lift the head.  Unfortunately the legs of the shop crane did not allow the cyclone’s frame to be positioned directly underneath the head… they are about the exact same width as the halves of the frame.  So I tipped the two parts towards each other and got them bolted up.  This wasn’t an elegant or safe operation but it worked.  After it was bolted up I was able to tip the dust collector back upright.

If I had to do this over again I would still use my shop crane to lift the head, but I would not have first assembled the two frame halves together.  I would have left them separate and bolted them onto the head while in the air.  Then I would have lowered the dust collector to a horizontal position cradling the head on some the styrofoam it was packed in, and then assembled the rest of the frame.  Tilting it back up could have been assisted by the shop crane.



Grizzly T26674 Button Repair

Over the last few months I’ve noticed the buttons on my dust remote starting to flake out.  Some days they would require a few clicks to work, other days they would be fine.  Well today the on button totally died.

Because the buttons were getting more and more unreliable over time I had a pretty solid hunch that the culprit were the actual buttons on the remote’s printed circuit board.  So I took it apart, and the on switch when pressed by itself sounded different, less “clicky”.

So I removed both the on and timer down switches and then soldered the timer switch in the on switch’s old home.

Repaired PCB with switches moved.  In the background are the two worn out switches.

So on the board you can see the four switch positions S1 – S4:

  • S1: On button
  • S2: Off button
  • S3: Timer down
  • S4: Timer up

I just moved S3 to S1.  And lo and behold my dust collector now turned on with its usual roar!  And amusingly enough that was exact moment the off switch decided to crap out, I had to unplug the whole works.  So I did the same operation with S4 and S2 and fixed that too.

Example eBay listing for the replacement switches

I’m going to replace the timer switches so that I can resell this remote, but it works fine without the timer buttons in place.  On eBay or Amazon just look for 6mm x 6mm x 4.5mm through-hole momemtary switches, they’ll be about $1.25 per 100 shipped from China.  I did some googling for “high quality” switches but really didn’t find anything obvious; but perhaps these more expensive switches from Jameco would be more durable?  Or they might just cost more.

This repair would work for the Grizzly T26673 as well because it would use the same cheap components.

If you are interested in doing this easy repair yourself here’s what you’ll need:

  • Soldering iron
  • Solder, something thin like 0.5mm or 0.6mm diameter
  • Some means to remove the old solder from the switch pins.  “Desoldering wick” will work in a pinch but I’ve always had good luck with a desoldering iron like this one.

Search YouTube for “how to desolder” and you’ll find 1000 videos on the topic.