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 Post subject: Woodrat!
PostPosted: 05 Feb 2004, 22:27 
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Not much to say really, just thought I'd say my best "tool" has to be my woodrat. And see where the conversation goes.

With a title like that, all the 'non-ratters can't get 'ratty' <groan> about us ruining their threads!

Favourite thing about the 'rat, is the ability to cut not just variable spaced dovetails, but variable width dovetails - can any jig do that?

As I sawed through my dovetail box, and after handplaning, pushed the two halves together and all the dovetails were now the same width, after the saw cut and planing :idea: , was a pleasing moment.

Adam


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PostPosted: 06 Feb 2004, 07:31 
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http://benchmark.20m.com/tools/LittleRa ... index.html


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PostPosted: 06 Feb 2004, 07:42 
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Non-ratter here!
I use the Leigh jig for dovetails. Also does variable width and spacing. I often have trouble with tearout even when I back up my workpiece. Anyone else have this problem?


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PostPosted: 06 Feb 2004, 08:04 
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Ahh, the woodrat allows climb cutting, - which I would expect you could do with a Leigh couldn't you? When I cut the 'tails, on the 'Rat I hop the router over the top of the wood, lower to cutting height, take a small cut on the rear of the workpiece, to stop breakout, then, hop the router back over the workpiece and take a cut straight through from the front.
It's an extra process, but once you get fast at it, it only takes a few seconds. It was Mike Humphreys that suggested this was the best technique for 'rats, and I have followed it ever since.

Actually thinking about it, I don't think a jig would allow that - could you clamp a sacrificial piece on the back - between the wood and the front surface of the jig?


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PostPosted: 06 Feb 2004, 08:14 
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That sounds like a good idea. I think I can do it on the Leigh - there is enough space behind the workpiece to drop the router in. I'll give it a go next time I'm dovetailing.
Thanks!


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PostPosted: 06 Feb 2004, 11:12 
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One question about the Woodrat I neverhear asked or answered- is it quick?
John


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PostPosted: 06 Feb 2004, 11:20 
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Depends what you are doing, is certainly slower I imagine, than a jig dedicated to a specific task, but if you have a limited workshop like me, if you added in the time to pack away the jig each time, and then bring it out and set it up, I would think it balances out. Also, I find the woodrat very quick for swopping different bits of stock in and out, and it also can cut multiple pieces at once, so (although I haven't done this) theoretically at least, you can cut all teh dovetails in a batch of drawer sides for example, in one go. Now that really would speed it up!

I find it fantastically quick, to just lock in stock and square it up, and for cutting rebates against a pencil line it's easy. Although the up and over movement I mentioned in my post above adds a few seconds, once you get a system, it gets really fast, it helps perhaps that I use a pistol grip router.

So it's a yes and no!

Adam


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PostPosted: 06 Feb 2004, 11:33 
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Hi Adam

One of the big problems for the Rat is that people, like myself, seem not to want to make the investment in a Rat once they have started to buy jigs such as the Trend/Leigh etc.

In recent postings I have taken to mentioning that the Rat should be considered up-front in the "newbies" tool/jig buying splurge!!!

To help bring it more to the attention of people, and to provide a specific area for Ratters, is it worth dedicating a forum specifically to the Rat?

I would be interested in your thoughts.

Cheers
Neil

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PostPosted: 06 Feb 2004, 11:59 
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Behold!

Woodrat Forum

But of course it's no fun there 'cos there are no jig owners to annoy... :wink:

Neil, I think your point about people getting on the jig train and finding it hard to get off is a good one. There's another good reason to recommend the 'Rat to newbies; they have no preconceived ideas about how such-and-such a task is performed. The Woodrat really does ask you to approach everything from a fresh angle, and that can be hard if you're used to going with the received wisdom on how to do various tasks. One more difficulty facing someone switching from a jig to the 'Rat.

Cheers, Alf


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2004, 13:09 
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Hi Alf

Alf wrote:
Behold! But of course it's no fun there 'cos there are no jig owners to annoy... :wink:


I genuinely believe that if you want to interest people then you have to place it in front of them and a dedicated forum is the way ahead. I take your point about the US forum but I was thinking of promoting this site.

Alf wrote:
Neil, I think your point about people getting on the jig train and finding it hard to get off is a good one. There's another good reason to recommend the 'Rat to newbies; they have no preconceived ideas about how such-and-such a task is performed. The Woodrat really does ask you to approach everything from a fresh angle, and that can be hard if you're used to going with the received wisdom on how to do various tasks. One more difficulty facing someone switching from a jig to the 'Rat. Cheers, Alf


I assume people will take up woodworking primarily as a result of watching of watching NYW and GBW. Sorry to disagree about preconceived ideas, but if they have been watching Dave then they will want the Trend M&T jig and Trend Dovetail centre. With Norm, they will want a dado head cutter. :roll: :roll:

So, you are immediately starting from a disadvantage even if they haven't bought any jigs. I have always tried to play devil's advocate when it comes to the Rat threads. I believe that it has been very useful, and indeed constructive, to do some real comparisons.

I thought Adam would have joined in by now. :wink:

Cheers
Neil

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PostPosted: 06 Feb 2004, 14:08 
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It's not a US forum, the yanks just make the most noise. :D

Oh gawd. The ruddy goggle box strikes again... :roll: I'd forgotten about Norm and his clones. Of course nobody ever took up woodworking before it was shown on satellite telly, and the interest in hand tools shown on this forum is a direct result of Norm and his notorious unrelenting use of a chisel... :wink: But you're right, if the 'Rat was on the telly we'd be having totally different threads about it. Mainly getting bored with "How do I do a dado on the Woodrat?" questions. :evil: However, I contest that there's a world of difference between watching someone use a jig and using a jig yourself. Watching one jig in use can just as easily be eradicated from your mind by watching another. Using a jig and then switching to something else is a lot tougher.

Cheers, Alf


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2004, 14:38 
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Newbie_Neil wrote:
I assume people will take up woodworking primarily as a result of watching of watching NYW and GBW.


Would be an interesting poll - but I'm not sure this is the case. A lot of people don't have satellite for one. And these progs haven't been on for long. So unless everyone has only taken up woodworking in the last couple of years I'm sure many other factors have brought us to this fine hobby. I for one came into it from a passion acquired at nursery school! And then attending a woodworking class some years ago to try and learn some skills that didn't involve using air-filled plastic hammers!

Which brings me nicely to the Woodrat. I'm still cautious about recommending a jig which supposedly does everything to people new to woodworking. Shouldn't these folk be learning to do these joints by hand? If you do a woodworking evening class, I doubt they will pull out a jig for dovetails, a jig for M&T's etc (well not in my case). For small pieces doing a few joints by hand isn't so bad. A couple of comments on this site have suggested that doing a dovetail by hand is some sort of holy grail. The joint may not be perfect and may need some wood dust / pva filler! But it's very satisfying.

Perhaps there would be more hand tool use - not if Norm used them more - but if Woodrat's weren't about :D.

Oh and Adam - there's plenty of 'Ratters over at UK Woodworking(!)

Time to hide for cover.

Cheers

Gidon


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PostPosted: 06 Feb 2004, 15:08 
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gidon wrote:
Perhaps there would be more hand tool use - not if Norm used them more - but if Woodrat's weren't about :D.

To my shame, that's perfectly true in my case :oops: I'd probably have knuckled down by now and learnt to do some dovetailing that was viewable in more than just a dim light if it wasn't for the 'Rat. Oh foul rodent, you know not what you do... :cry:

Actually that isn't a bad idea for a poll. D'you want to set that one going, Gidon? Or are you crawling back under the wire to "the other side"? :wink:

Cheers, Alf


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PostPosted: 06 Feb 2004, 16:42 
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A few thoughts,

Quote:
To help bring it more to the attention of people, and to provide a specific area for Ratters, is it worth dedicating a forum specifically to the Rat?

I would be interested in your thoughts.



Neil, there is a woodrat forum, dedicated to 'ratters, of which both me and ALF are members. It's is part of the www.woodrat.com website. Previously it was hosted on msn_groups or yahoo_groups, most recently it was on communityzero. I don't consider this to be a "US" forum, just an international forum.

If you have a really specific Woodrat questions that'd be the place to start - or to point people to. I think on balance, my feeling is that this does not justify a forum on this website - after all neither tablesaws nor other equipment gets one. Also I like to read topics that drift away and into new directions.

Quote:
I assume people will take up woodworking primarily as a result of watching of watching NYW and GBW.


Nope, not me, I have always been interested in WW since school. Never even heard, nor seen on TV a dado cutter till I heard everyone talking about it.

Gidon, I still post on both forums! :lol:

Quote:
If you do a woodworking evening class, I doubt they will pull out a jig for dovetails, a jig for M&T's etc (well not in my case). For small pieces doing a few joints by hand isn't so bad. A couple of comments on this site have suggested that doing a dovetail by hand is some sort of holy grail. The joint may not be perfect and may need some wood dust / pva filler! But it's very satisfying.



I have done exactly this, hand cut dovetails on my evening class. They look very good, 8) however, I'm very slow, and for us who have weekends and evenings only, I still prefer to use the 'rat.

Quote:
Which brings me nicely to the Woodrat. I'm still cautious about recommending a jig which supposedly does everything to people new to woodworking


Although I bought mine as a complete beginner, without any workshop, or even a workbench, I used to clamp it to a workmate, in the back garden on the lawn. I built a table or two and the garden gate!

Quote:
There's another good reason to recommend the 'Rat to newbies; they have no preconceived ideas about how such-and-such a task is performed. The Woodrat really does ask you to approach everything from a fresh angle, and that can be hard if you're used to going with the received wisdom on how to do various tasks.


Basically, as a complete beginner, I decided to go out and find a way to achieve dovetails, I read the magazines, saw Godfreys awful demo, watched the CD, looked at some jigs, and bought a woodrat. I definately had no preconceived ideas on this subject, I just did some research. It may even have been Jester who answered my very first question I think :roll:

Adam


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PostPosted: 06 Feb 2004, 19:01 
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Adam wrote:
Basically, as a complete beginner, I decided to go out and find a way to achieve dovetails, I read the magazines, saw Godfreys awful demo, watched the CD, looked at some jigs, and bought a woodrat. I definately had no preconceived ideas on this subject, I just did some research.

That's exactly what I did. The Woodrat was my first major woodworking purchase IIRC. All went downhill from there really...
Adam wrote:
It may even have been Jester who answered my very first question I think :roll:

You were doomed from the very start then. :D

Cheers, Alf


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