Useful tips for purchasing compound miter saw

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Compound miter saw is that type of miter saw that helps to cut the wood into different angles and planes. You must have some information related to compound miter saw that will help you to purchase right thing. Here we will discuss about buying compound miter saw and its advantages.

Following things are included in compound miter saw

Blade

Blade is the first thing that you need to keep in mind when purchasing any compound miter saw for your work. Blades are made up of several sizes and can be used easily. Different sizes of blades include that are 8, 10 and 12 inches.  If you want to make big cuts for your work so you compound miter saw with more size of the diameter.

Tilt

The main difference between miter saw and compound miter saw is the capability to get tilted. There are few compound miter saw that can be rotated in single direction. If you need a design that has more than one rotating capability, so select accordingly. The angle for tilting of compound miter saw is 45 degree. This is helpful for cutting two angles and both together.

Stops

When purchasing miter saw of compound type you should try to get the stops that are positive. This will help to lock the saw and will allow making different angles accurately. Mainly the designs seen are 0, 15, 30 and 45 degrees and try getting these stops for all the directions. For more details you can also check miter saw reviews that can guide you further difference between miter saw and compound miter saw.

Guards

Blade guards are also available in some of the compound miter saw that must be used. Guards on blade also perform function of retraction. This helps to check the cutting line properly. Guard can lower the blades if you push the miter saw up.

Brakes

In the last brakes are also needed for compound miter saw which you should check for your miter saw when purchasing. Keep in mind that you compound miter saw must have electric brakes. It helps to reverse the electricity flow then the power of compound miter saw is closed. This helps in stopping the blade easily. This process is done within 2 to 3 seconds. Rotation can be effected if your compound miter saw is without electric brakes. It can take up to 10 seconds if electric brakes are not present.

These were the helpful tips related to compound miter saw. Electric brakes are preferable so that cutting can be done quickly and produces accurate result. Keep all these points in mind to get proper result. You should check all these tips in your compound miter saw before purchasing it.

With some of the interesting features like patented axial glide system and 90 degree, quick release Square Lock fence system; we can easily predict that best among all is Bosch GCM12SD 120-Volt 12-Inch DB Glide Miter Saw. Many people are satisfied with its result. It consists of different capacities for cutting that are mentioned below:

  • 14 inch horizontal
  • 6 1/2 inch vertical
  • 6 1/2 inch crown

This is especially designed for using whole day and is very much comfortable. It is easy to read the bevel and all the scales of stainless miter ones. It consists of high motor that is of 15 amps. Blade use is also very much wide that is of 12 inches and helps in the cutting purpose.

If we talk about features of compound miter saw, so here are these:

  • 15 Amp Motor – 3,800 RPM
  • System that is Axial Glide
  • several Locking Bevel Detents At 0, 33.9, and 45 degrees W/Override
  • 90 degree Quick Release Square Lock Fences
  • Etched Stainless Steel Miter Scale
  • Ergonomic knob
  • Dust Chute And Vacuum Adapter
  • Total weight that is 65 Lbs
  • Material Clamp and Blade Wrench is also added
  • Warranty is for a year.

Advantages of compound miter saw:

  • It is very useful for light and cramped areas and can complete models easily
  • Resistance seen is almost zero
  • Blade is with the path that helps in cutting
  • Sawdusts are not present in this type of miter saw
  • It produces accurate result and smoother product
  • It has dust collection system that is very useful

Disadvantages:

  • It does not have any laser sight
  • When used for transportation, it has noted that it is heavy and not so simple for travelling.

IMPORTANT KEYPOINTS THAT ARE NEEDED FOR PLANNING YOUR WOODWORK

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After planning properly for your woodworking if you like many of the homeowners it means that you have given a lot time for planning about how the woodworking should actually take place. It is recommended to make appropriate plan before starting woodworking work.  I myself completed many successful woodworking projects by making accurate plan and getting desired product after setting proper plan for it. Your plans will definitely reflect your style for making your work successful.

Many people perform their task of woodworking without having proper plan for themselves but it Is not beneficial to do so. Without planning it can lead to take a lot time and is not convenient as well. It will be very difficult to manage and cost effectively too. Purchasing woodworking plan can also help you often when it comes to start woodworking. But it is not always that you get best results from the woodworking plans that you purchase.

It is not always that what you think is right when practicing it properly. The plan often can also cost more than you expect if the required plan is not made by you, or you can say if it is the purchased plan or performing without any plan. You should know important things that you should keep in your mind when making plans for your woodworking. This will help you to save your time and will take lesser time to produce accurate result.

What attributes should you prefer to get good quality plan when it comes for your wood working?

  • Is the plan I decided is right for my level to start with?
  • Can I finish the work at right time with proper tools?
  • Why am I doing this woodworking? As a source of earning or gaining experience? Or just as a hobby? For all the items you need to use, gather the names and right away purchase them at your near store.
  • Which store is appropriate to receive all the tools that I need to use? From where can I get cheap tools but that are of good quality?
  • Is making larger better option to make?
  • The result at the end will be functional or aesthetically pleasing? Like what should I make in case of simple desk or a whole file cabinet?
  • Is my plan helpful in getting proper information step wise that I will be performing?
  • Is there shopping list in my plan?
  • Is there detailed drawing for my plan?
  • Are there any list of cutting and all the materials that are used for materials? You can also search for miter saw reviews that helps to know that which miter saw should be used for cutting purpose.
  • Can you see all the exploded views and dimensions of your plan?
  • Can you get the draftsmanship from the woodworking plan you made? Is it easy for you to understand?
  • Is the price proper that your woodworking plan actually should get?
  • Check for the price of the woodworking plans that either they are proper or not.

After finalizing all the related questions check for the list again that which questions need to be edited and which can be helpful for you more. The above points can be very much helpful in saving your time and getting accurate result for your woodwork. Just keep in mind to have a perfect plan for your woodwork that will help to get desired project properly and accurately.

There are many reviews online that guide people for their new woodworking projects and are often very much helpful especially for those who are the beginners. These plans guide properly and with this you can start your new woodworking project.

 

Calcium in a Can : Slim cans of sardines occupy a modest spot on supermarket shelves Part 2

Preheat the oven to 400 [inverted exclamation mark] F and grease a 9 x 1-inch quiche dish. Cut the butter and shortening or lard into small pieces. In a large bowl, mix them with the flour, rubbing them in until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Make a well in the center and add a tablespoon of water. With your fingers pull the dough together into a ball. If it is too dry, add more water a few drops at a time. Rest the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Flour a work surface and a rolling pin, and roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Fit it into the quiche dish and trim the edges. Place a sheet of foil on the pastry and add a layer of rice or dried beans. Bake for 10–12 minutes and then discard the foil, saving the rice or beans to use another time when you are making a pie shell. Bake the shell for another 3 minutes, or until the bottom looks completely dry.

While the pie shell is baking, prepare the filling. Slice the peppers into 1 1/2 x 1/2-inch pieces. Drain the sardines. Whisk the eggs with the milk or half-and-half and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble the quiche, scatter the pepper slices over the pie shell and sprinkle with parsley and dill. Pour in the egg mixture, and carefully place the sardines in a spoke pattern. Bake for 5 minutes at 400[inverted exclamation mark]F. Reduce the heat to 375[inverted exclamation mark]F, and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the surface looks puffed and a blade inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool to room temperature before serving.

Sicilian spaghetti with sardines

In Sicily, fresh sardines are an alternative to canned ones in this recipe.

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 large pinch saffron
  • 1/4 cup currants or raisins
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 anchovies, rinsed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 4 1/4-oz. cans sardines in oil
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 12 oz. spaghetti

Put the fennel in a saucepan, cover plentifully with water and a lid, and bring it to a boil. Cook for 8–10 minutes or until tender. Drain the water into a large pasta pan. Chop the fennel and reserve. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a 300[inverted exclamation mark]F oven for 6–7 minutes or until golden.

Mix the tomato paste with 2 cups of the fennel liquid and reserve. In a small bowl, soak the saffron with 1/3 cup warm water. In another small bowl, cover the currants with cold water. Set these bowls and the toasted nuts aside.

Add 3 quarts of water and a tablespoon of salt to any fennel liquid in the pan. Bring to a boil for the pasta. To prepare the sauce, heat the oil in a frying pan and stir in the anchovies, pressing so they disintegrate. Add the onion and cook gently for 4–5 minutes. Stir in the fennel, the saffron and its liquid, and the tomato mixture. Drain 1 can of sardines and stir them in, breaking them up as you go. Drain and add the currants and a tablespoon of parsley.

Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, checking and adding water if it seems dry. Drain and add the second can of sardines, breaking them as little as possible, and continue cooking gently.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions in the boiling water until just tender. Drain and put it on a serving platter. Top with the sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and the pine nuts.

This recipe illustrates the adaptability of sardines.

  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 jalape-o pepper, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 cans brisling sardines packed in oil (like King Oscar), water, or Mediterranean sauce
  • 4–6 Tbsp. sour cream

Mix the avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, and jalape-o. Season with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 250[inverted exclamation mark]F and toast the tortillas for 5 minutes. Place each on a plate. Spread with the avocado mixture, then layers of lettuce and shredded cheese. Top with sardines and a dollop of sour cream.

Claire Hopley lives in Massachusetts and is the author of the newly published New England Cooking: Seasons and Celebrations (Berkshire House), featuring recipes from four centuries of the region’s cuisine.

Calcium in a Can : Slim cans of sardines occupy a modest spot on supermarket shelves Part 1

Surprisingly, when you buy sardines, you may not actually get Sardina pilchardus, the true sardine. American and Canadian “sardines” are really little herring (Clupeus harengus), while sardines from Norway are sprats (Sprattus sprattus balticus), identified as “brisling sardines” because brisling is their Norwegian name. Such variety has not gone without legal challenge. Nonetheless, over twenty species of small fish may be legally packed as sardines according to the regulations of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Today, manufacturers make a cook’s life easier by packing sardines in water and tomato or mustard sauces as well as oil. In addition to these choices, each company has specialties. King Oscar offers Norwegian sardines in fish oil, in pesto, in salsa, or with peppers and olives. Rodel, a French company, packs sardines in whiskey. White wine is another French option. Portuguese Bela-Olhio sardines come in lemon sauce or hot sauce, while Maine sardines are available in Cajun sauce as well as other popular ways.

This variety reflects canners’ desire to attract new buyers–efforts buttressed by the good nutritional news about sardines. “Time and again sardines are top of the list with dieticians and nutritionists because of the tremendous level of omega-3s and calcium,” notes Scherz. Omega-3 oils protect against heart disease, and calcium is vital for bone health. Add to these the significant amounts of potassium and iron found in canned sardines, and you can appreciate why he says, “Eating a can of sardines is like eating a power pill.”n

If you have eggcups, use them to serve these sardine-filled limes as a first course or light lunch. Alternately, level the base of the limes by cutting off a thin slice and serve them on a plate.

 

  • 4 juicy limes, about the size of an large egg
  • 1 4 1/ 2-oz. can sardines packed in oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter at room temperature
  • 1/ 8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • black pepper to taste
  • toast for serving

Choose limes with shiny skins and, if possible, a point at one end. Cut a thick slice from the pointed ends and set them aside. Cut the flesh from inside the limes and set it aside. Reserve the hollowed limes. Drain the sardines. Mash them with the butter and season with cayenne and black pepper.

Chop the flesh from one of the limes, removing coarse fibers and pith as you go. Add the flesh and juice to the sardine mixture. Now taste. For a sharper mixture, add more lime; for a spicier taste, add more pepper. When the mixture is satisfactory, pile it into the hollowed limes, mounding it above the top. Set each one in an eggcup and cap with the reserved lime slices. Serve toast alongside

  • Portuguese potato and sardine salad
  • 4–5 medium-large potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
  • salt to taste
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 4 1/2-oz. can sardines in olive oil or lemon
  • 3 slices of red onion
  • 2–3 ripe tomatoes sliced in wedges
  • dozen black olives

Boil the potato slices in salted water for 18 minutes or until tender and drain. Cut 2 slices from the center of the lemon and reserve. Squeeze 1 tablespoon of juice from the remaining lemon and mix it with 2 tablespoons of oil from the can (or other olive oil). Pour onto the warm potatoes and toss gently. Transfer to a serving dish. Separate the onion slices into rings. Add the onion rings, tomato wedges, and olives. Arrange the sardines on top. Garnish with lemon slices.

  • Sardine and red pepper tart

 

For the pastry:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp. cold butter
  • 3 Tbsp. cold shortening or lard
  • 2 Tbsp. chilled water

For the filling:

  • 2 large roasted red peppers, either homemade or from a jar
  • 1 4 1/2–oz. can brisling or other sardines packed in water (8 or more to a can)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill

chicken – a classic dish

So, you think you know your chicken thighs from your chicken wings? If you think you know all about chicken, try these favorite fowl facts:

  • Ounce per ounce, of all the chicken parts–thigh, breast, wing, or leg–which has the least amount of fat? (breast)
  • Which is lower in fat: a 4 oz. chicken breast or a 4 oz. piece of salmon? (4 oz. chicken breast)
  •  Which has almost twice as much saturated fat as the other: ground round or ground chicken? (ground round)
  • True or false: All poultry in the United States has been inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)? (true)

But did you know not all chicken is the same? A culinary chameleon, chicken certainly has something to offer everyone: a choice of dark meat or white, unlimited possibilities of preparing and serving, low in cost, and low in fat, too. One can eat poultry every day of the year without repeating a single dish.

The Skinny on Chicken

Considering its credentials, no wonder chicken is fast becoming the most popular meat in America. No meat is more versatile or nutritious. Health, not to mention taste, is the primary reason Americans choose chicken over other meats. Chicken is not only high in protein, but low in calories and fat, especially if the skin is removed. In addition to being loaded with niacin and other B vitamins, and minerals such as zinc, iron, and manganese, chicken is low in cholesterol and sodium, which fits in well with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

Some parts of the chicken contain less fat than their cousin turkey, to say nothing of beef, lamb, orpork. Contrary to popular belief, only about one-third of chicken fat is saturated; the rest is poly- or monounsaturated, which is better for you. Chicken fat is thus comparable to peanut oil in its fatty-acid composition. In any case, most of the fat is located in the skin and easily removed. Unlike beef and pork, chicken meat is not marbled. And chickens, in addition to their meat, give us vitamin and protein-rich eggs, which are as versatile as the bird itself.

Chicken can be steamed, roasted, baked, broiled, grilled, fried, sauteed, and barbecued.

  • Steaming: The chicken, along with seasonings and any liquid, is set on a rack over boiling water. This is an excellent low-fat cooking method.
  •  Roasting: Roasting, another low-fat method, uses hot, dry air to cook the chicken.
  • Grilling or Barbecuing: Whether over a charcoal or wood fire or the electric grill, this method is probably America’s most popular low-fat cooking method. A snappy, low-fat sauce or zesty marinade adds a special flavor without adding fat.
  • Frying: Deep-fat frying uses enough cooking fat to submerge the chicken. Just remember, frying can add double, sometimes triple, the amount of fat.
  • Sauteing: Although this method uses only a fraction of the cooking fat of frying, it still adds extra fat and calories to otherwise low-fat fare.

Chicken Know-how

Here are some tips on how to pick and prepare poultry:

–choosing

  • Skin should be light-colored and moist; if wet, the chicken probably has been poorly frozen.
  • A golden color is not a guide to quality. Yellow skin does not always indicate a cornfed bird but simply the use of yellow foodstuffs.

–Storing

* A clean fresh chicken can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two days. Chicken should be stored sealed in plastic or foil so it won’t contaminate other foods.

–Freezing

* When freezing a whole bird, remove and wrap any giblets separately. Never refreeze raw chicken, and do not freeze stuffed birds because the stuffing will not freeze sufficiently to prevent bacteria from developing.

–Thawing

* It is best to let a frozen chicken thaw completely in the refrigerator before cooking. Safety Note: A frozen bird should be cooked within 12 hours of thawing.

–Cleaning and Handling

* Do not rinse a whole chicken before cooking; just wipe out the cavity with a damp paper towel. If the chicken has been frozen, blot the skin with a dry paper towel to absorb as much moisture as possible.

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling raw chicken. Chopping boards, knives, food processors, and any other equipment should be scalded with hot water and thoroughly washed before being used in preparation of other ingredients. These are preventive measures to destroy salmonella bacteria that could contaminate other foods.

Meals in the Fast Lane

What about eating out? It used to be impossible to find fast food that was low-fat or healthy. You’d have had better luck finding a Siberian tiger in your neighbor’s back yard. A wilted bowl of lettuce, a scoop of cottage cheese, or a ground beef patty were about the only alternatives–lean pickings at best. But today it’s possible to get a low-fat, tasty fast-food meal–if you know what to look for and choose properly.

Many restaurants provide menus with nutritional information to meet their health-conscious customers’ concerns. Check out the chart (at top) to help you make better choices if fast foods are your main fare. Just add some fresh fruit and non-fat milk to round out the meal.

 

Quick-change Artist

Chicken adapts well to hundreds of low-fat, nutritious recipes, depending on how it’s cooked. Healthier choices include such dishes as stir-fry chicken prepared with a minimum of oil, chicken salad with a “lite” dressing, chicken kebabs, pasta paired with chicken, or chicken with steamed rice and vegetables. If an entree has a label, read the calories and fat grams; 0 to 10 grams of fat is an excellent choice; 11 to 20 is good.

Watch out for sauces. Some healthier-choice marinades or sauces include soy, ginger, herb, mustard, or one with a yogurt base. Try to steer clear of fat-laden sauces made with butter, oil, cream, or peanuts. For home-made sauces, nonstick cooking spray and a teaspoon or two of oil, preferably in a non-stick skillet, works well and keeps the fat content down.

The chicken’s ancestry goes back a long way–all the way to 2500 BC. It was during this time that the red jungle fowl of Southeast Asia, the ancestor of the modern chicken, was domesticated. Four and a half millennia have yielded us an abundance of chicken and a cornucopia of wonderful ways of serving our favorite fowl. No wonder we love this bird.

for more information

Consumer Pamphlets National Broiler Council Washington, DC 20005-2706 Pamphlets: “Chicken: Food for Fitness,” “Chicken Buying and Handling,” “Questions and Answers About…Chicken and Food Safety,” “Ethnic Chicken,” “Chicken-Great on the Grill,” “Chicken–Its Nutritive Value,” single copy of each free with self-addressed, stamped business-size envelope.

Publication Sales Department Food Marketing Institute 800 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 900 Washington, DC 20006 Brochure: “Nutri Facts: Consumer Chicken & Turkey,” single copy 50 [cts.] with self-addressed, stamped business-size envelope. Website at www.fmi.org

For information on safe handling tips for poultry, call USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-800-535-4555

A look at the label will reveal some useful information. The United States has strict inspection procedures as well as voluntary grading systems. The grading and inspection program of the USDA employs three recognizable marks:

  1. Inspection Mark: Indicates that the bird has been processed under sanitary conditions and is wholesome food. Look for the USDA compliance stamp on the outside of the package.
  2. Grade Mark: Indicates the quality, class, and kind–there are three grades: A, B, and C. Grade A is the highest quality and the only grade you are likely to see in the store. Grades B and C may be sold at retail, but usually are used in further-processed products in which the poultry meat is cut up, chopped, or ground.
  3. Grade and Inspection Mark: Poultry bearing the combined grade and inspection marks is guaranteed to be of top quality.
Item                         Fat (grams)   Calories    Chicken, white meat,            4.1          153  skinless, roasted, 3.5 oz.    Chicken, dark meat,             8.8          178  skinless, roasted, 3.5 oz.    Fried, 1 breast:  "Extra Crispy"                 19.7          342  "Original" recipe              15.3          283    Chicken fillet, grilled        17.0          408  sandwich, 1 sandwich    Chicken fajita pita,            8.0          292  1 sandwich    Chicken salad with nonfat       2.2          105  dressing, 1 1/2 cups  

Hot Picks for the Home Office Part 2

THE NO-SURPRISE-CALLS PC PHONE

IS THE TELEPHONE in your small or home office just about ready for the junk pile? If so, replace it with Nortel’s $330 PC-compatible Meridian 9617 USB, a standard two-line speakerphone that also connects to your PC by means of a Universal Serial Bus port. When you combine Caller ID (available as an option from your phone company) and the Meridian’s Personal Call Manager, information about your caller pops onto your PC’s screen after the first ring.

The Call Manager software, similar to Microsoft’s Outlook, can import ASCII-delimited text from your existing personal information manager. Because the speakerphone has two lines, you can seamlessly conference two callers using the PC’s software. While you’re out of the office, the Meridian can provide pager notification of incoming calls. A You also have the option of entering dialing restrictions to prevent 900-number calls from being placed. And the Meridian keeps working even when you turn off your PC. Never again will you find yourself asking, “Now who could t hat be?” * Meridian 9617 USB; $330 street: Northern Telecom; 800/667 8437; www.nortel.com

HOT OFF THE INTERNET

YOU ALREADY KNOW what a valuable business research tool the Internet can be. But you can also get great advice from Usenet newsgroups. Examples: The newsgroup misc.taxes.moderated helps with tax issues; Symantec’s 90 moderated discussion groups offer product support; and biz.jobs.offered has tons of employment listings. (And a tip from alt.cooking gave my tamale sauce a kick start.) The problem?

Even for experienced users, newsgroups are hard to access and manage. The easiest–and cheapest–way to get to the data is with Free Agent 1.11, a top-notch freeware newsreader. Free Agent takes you online to download message headers (or to sample available newsgroups), then carries you offline to browse the headers at your leisure and choose the most intriguing messages. Back online, the program retrieves the messages you’ve selected and then lets you log off to read and respond to them. * Free Agent 1.11; tree; Forte; 760/431-6460; www.forteinc.com

MA BELL DOES E-MAIL

I WAS PEDALING the backroads of California’s wine country on a ten-speed bike when I spotted a pay phone and decided to check my e-mail. So I called a toll-free number, punched in my code–and a synthesized voice read me the e-mail headers. I chose specific messages, listened to them, forwarded one as a fax, replied to another, and deleted the rest. Mall Call’s handy service lets you do all this and more.

 

It will immediately read specific messages (say, from your boss) and skip others (maybe from your ex-spouse). You can reply with one of four canned messages–like “Please call me on the telephone as soon as you can”—or use the phone’s buttons to send your number. You can even record a 15-second message to accompany your reply. The cost? About $10 a month for 30 minutes of use (19 cents per minute thereafter); forwarding a fax sets you back 19 cents per page. Mail Call is ideal if you’re tired of schlepping a notebook computer when you leave the office–or when you want to travel light on your ten-speed. * Mall Call; $10 per month; Mail Call; 888/624-5011; www.mailcall.net

WHAT’S YOUR POLICY?

WHEN I FIRST hired employees, I faced a major hurdle: creating a policy manual. Even for a writer, this was an onerous task. I could have hired a consultant to do it-and paid a fortune. But luckily I have Policies Now, a nifty $119 program from KnowledgePoint. I supply important details about my company by answering step-by-step questions, choosing from more than 90 topics that fit my business

For example, I can add boilerplates dealing with child care benefits, safety issues, work schedules, and employee conduct. The program customizes and prints my official Bass International Employee Handbook, complete with a table of contents. And I’m covered legally because the policy is written to meet federal labor laws. Performance Now, also $119, provides a quicker way to write employee performance reviews. Test-drive either product by downloading a trial copy from www.fileworld.com. Or create a performance review for $10 at KnowledgePoint’s Web site. Policies Now and Performance Now; each $119 list; knowledgePoint; 800/727-1133; www.knowledgepoint. com

 

Hot Picks for the Home Office Part 1

THE FIVE-BUTTON SCAN

THROW AWAY your copier. Get rid of your fax machine. I have a better idea: the Visioneer PaperPort One Touch scanner. Connect it to your PC, and you’ll have almost everything you need to run your office. The $249 (list price) OneTouch looks like any other flatbed scanner, but with one important difference–five buttons adorn its front panel instead of none. Push a button to scan your document. Press another to scan and fax the document. Want to copy something to your printer, or optically recognize the text? All together now: Press a button.

This 36-bit, 600-by-1200-dots-per-inch color scanner is a snap to install: Just plug it into your PC’s parallel port. It’s compact (about 10 inches wide by 18.5 inches high), so it doesn’t hog your desk space. Black-and-white documents took seconds to scan–with sharp output. Color scans were minutes slower, and I had to tweak some images to make them look good, but that’s not unusual even with high-end scanners. The OneTouch comes with PaperPort–which has to be my favorite document management program–and Picture-Works PhotoEnhancer, a useful image manipulation tool. Isn’t it time you pressed a few buttons? * Visioneer PaperPort OneTouch; $249 list; Visioneer; 800/787-7007; www.visioneer.com

INSTANT PHOTO LAB

“WHAT, ANOTHER printer?” I exclaimed as I opened the box. But when I saw the first document slide out of the Alps MD-1300, 1 was stunned: The photo I printed on plain paper looked like–a real photo. When I printed it at 1200 by 600 dpi on Alps’s glossy Photo-Realistic stock, the output was photo-shop stunning. The secret: Unlike ink jet printers, the MD-1300 uses Micro Dry waterproof ink that affixes firmly to the page. The ink doesn’t smudge or soak into the paper and make the image look fuzzy. The MD-l300, which has a street price of $549, produces ordinary black-and-white documents at a rate of about 2 pages per minute; color documents take from 3 to almost 10 minutes per page, depending on the image size involved.

 

The unit is small (about 19 inches wide, 11 inches deep, and 7 inches high), and it can hold up to 100 sheets in its automatic page feeder. Adobe’s high-grade PhotoDeluxe photo editing program is bundled with the printer. Plain color ink cartridges cost $7 each; photocolor cartridges (good for about 15 full-page photos) are $12. Special paper is priced at roughly $10.50 for 20 sheets. * Alps MD-1300; $549 street; Alps Electric; 800/825-2577; www.alpsusa.com/md1300.htm

BACK UP TO THE MAX

YOU’VE TURNED on your PC, eager to finish a critically important project. The computer starts up, but something’s not right. The hard disk isn’t responding. Yep, the worst has happened: The drive’s dead, kaput, a goner. But hey, no problem–you have a recent backup, right? Listen, the worst can happen, and the best way to protect yourself is with a tape backup drive. I use the $200 Iomega Ditto Max because it’s fast, reliable, and has a comfortably large capacity. I can work with tape cartridges ranging from a trim 3GB compressed (about $20) to a whopping 7GB ($30).

 

The external Ditto Max backs up data at about 19MB per second, the internal at 36MB. (Actual speed depends on the type of files you’re backing up: On my system, a 1GB backup takes roughly 20 minutes.) The drive includes Ditto Tools 1-Step software for backing up and restoring data, and FullBack-a recovery program that provides essential protection in case of a system crash. * lomega Ditto Max; $200 list; lomega; 800/697-8833; www.iomega.com. Click Here to get more information

Chain saws – safer than ever

Each year, approximately 63,000 Americans go to emergency rooms to be treated for chain-saw injuries. A few of them die. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Directorate for Epidemiology, most of the accidents are caused by problems for which technology has no solution. The operator touches a chain while he’s changing position, he loses his balance, or he trips over the saw. But about one-fifth of the accidents and a dozen of the deaths are attributed to a phenomenon called rotational kickback: The upper quadrant of the bar tip contacts an object during operation, transferring all of the chain’s energy to the saw, which then revolves back toward the user. Rotational kickback can also be caused by human error, but unlike the other hazards, it can be prevented by changes in the design of the chain saw.

Chain-saw companies have been under pressure to add anti-kickback safety features ever since the chain saw became a popular consumer tool for cutting firewood in the early 1970s. Today “the respect level is down,” says Dick Marsh, U.S. manager for Alpina, an Italian chain-saw manufacturer. “Some of the small saws look like toys.”

In March, the chain-saw industry, in cooperation with the CPSC, adopted the voluntary American National Standards Institute Standard for anti-kickback equipment. It applies to the smaller gasoline-powered chain saws used by nonprofessionals, and it mandates that a saw have a hand guard and at least two safety features that keep the saw from rotating backward by more than 45 degrees. The current safety features include reduced-kickback chains, low-kickback guide bars, bar-tip guards, and chain brakes.

 

How do these features reduce kickback? And how effective are they? In speaking with experts in the industry, I found that although the features reduce kickback injuries to some extent, many manufacturers disagree on which are the best features to ensure safety. Some of the devices have created new maintenance and performance problems.

Coping with kickback

All of the 15 or so chain-saw manufacturers use reduced-kickback chains, introduced in the 1970s [PS, Nov. ’80, Jan. ’84]. The five chain makers that supply the industry use different designs (see photo, next page), but they all have the same goal: to prevent the chain from binding in a log. Everyone in the industry seems to agree that safety chains are not as “aggressive” as their predecessors: They tend to reduce cutting speed by 10 to 20 percent because they take smaller “bites.”

After the anti-kickback chain, the most widely used safety feature is the chain brake. Chain brakes come in two varieties: hand-activated (set off when the forearm pushes against the hand guard as the saw snaps back), and inertia. The inertia brake works even if the operator’s arm doesn’t hit the hand guard. It has a specially weighted guard that tends to remain stationary as the rest of the saw spins backward. In both varieties, the hand guard trips a series of levers that releases a spring, tightening a band around the clutch drum to stopo the chain (see cutaway at left).

To meet the safety standard, a brake must stop the chain before the saw has rotated 45 degrees. But the user may still be injured by the stopped chain, which looks like a bicycle chain but cuts like a serrated knife.

Manufacturers have compared chain brakes to car brakes to make them seem like essential items. But Norman Beck, executive director of the National Equipment Servicing Dealers Assn., whose members sell and repair chain saws, says the analogy is unfair. “The only time you’re ever going to find out it [the chain brake] doesn’t work is when you need it,” he says. It’s difficult for an owner to tell whether the brake is working properly even if he tests it regularly. “It’s got to work in such a short period of time that the average consumer has no idea whether it is stopping fast enough,” says Mike Bounds, product safety manager for Beaird-Poulan, a domestic chain-saw manufacturer.

Two Canadian surveys, the 1979 Terry study and the 1982 Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada (FERIC) special report, found that brake defects are common. The FERIC report discovered that “very few loggers had much confidence in the chain brake.” And it warns that brakes might give consumers a false sense of security. “Chain brakes do nothing to eliminate the kickback danger zone; they merely try to reduce the effects once a kickback has been triggered,” states the FERIC report.

The Terry study notes that “in many instances the [brake] mechanism would not be positioned to activate even under severe kickback.”

Despite the controversy, most manufacturers put chain brakes on all models. But there are some exceptions: Brakes are standard on some Homelite and Tanaka saws, optional on others. They’re strictly optional for The Green Machine’s saws, and Echo and Poulan don’t offer them at all.

Another device that many manufacturers use is a reduced-kickback guide bar. There are two types, but the idea behind each is to reduce the upper quadrant of the bar’s nose, where kickback occurs. One type is symmetrical and tapers to a narrow radius at the nose. The other type–the banana bar–also has a small radius, but its nose appears to curl upward (see photos).

Unfortunately, low-kickback bars (and chains) can be easily removed and replaced with more dangerous equipment. And some experts say that they may not last as long as regular bars. Dan Tilton, a chain-saw safety instructor for Tilton Equipment Co., distributor of Jonsered and Olympyk chain saws, says that the narrow-radius bars were rarely used when they first hit the market. “The chain tends to slap back and hammer the bottom rail, increasing the chances of derailing and breakage,” Tilton warns.

Usually, when the bottom-rail groove wears out, the owner turns the bar over. But banana bars, because they are asymmetrical, cannot be flipped. “The customer loses fifty percent of the value of the bar,” complains Vince Morabit, a technical consultant to the chain-saw industry. If the user does reverse the bar, it will be more hazardous than a bar that is not designed for low kickback.

The fourth feature, the bar tip guard, may be the most controversial. It completely precludes kickback, yet only two manufacturers use it on their saws. Morabit and a colleague invented the tip guard at Homelite in 1976, and the company offered the feature to the industry in 1979. But only Echo adopted it, introducing it this year.

“Technically, it is the best [chain saw] safety feature that was ever invented,” admits Tilton, whose saws do not have the tip-guard feature. “But because the tip gets in the way, nine out of ten users will take it off before they ever use the saw,” he notes. The tip must be removed to cut trees that are wider than the bar. And the saw must be lifted out of the kerf, not pulled back through it, after a cut.

Defenders of the tip guard say it helps keep the chain clean and allows the operator to cut in close quarters, and they argue that most owners aren’t inconvenienced. According to a 1980 Homelite survey of 165 users, about two-thirds of those who had ever had the tip attached either never removed it or removed it and put it back on again. A CPSC telephone survey of 492 chain-saw users found that half of those who were provided with a tip guard always used it. About 36 percent never used it, and 12 percent sometimes removed it.

Why isn’t the tip guard more prevalent in the industry? “There’s a trade-off: a hundred percent safety as opposed to none [when the guard is removed],” says Norman Beck. “Most manufacturers don’t want that all-or-nothing situation.”

But Morabit and Paul Watson, manager of product safety at Homelite, claim that some manufacturers are unwilling to add tip guards now because it would be tantamount to admitting they did not provide adequate safeguards in the past. And because the tip guard eliminates kickback, it also eliminates any competitive advantages that a particular brake, bar, or chain design may have over its rivals.

Of course, none of the safety devices are infallible. Some are effective but can be inconvenient to use and may be removed by the user. Others may be less effective but are less that developed the Standard decided to require at least two safety features.

By the end of 1987, the CPSC predicts, about one-third of the saws used by consumers will meet the Standard. The percentage is expected to increase to 80 by 1995. By that year, the CPSC projects, the new safety measures may have prevented more than 100,000 medically attended rotational kickback injuries.

What do you know about woodworking tool

Sometimes I think the perfect woodworking tool would be an extra hand or two. Trying to hang onto my work, make accurate cuts, as well as maneuver a hand-held router is one scenario that comes to mind. Accuracy is important because I use my router for everything from shaping woodworking joints to fashioning decorative silhouettes. My solution: I built a simple mount for my hand-held router and turned it into a versatile overarm pin router.

All the things you should know about router accessories

There are many accessories for portable routers, but most add (or simplify) only one specific operation. The overarm pin router is able to handle any operation normally done by hand-holding the router–and more–but without the many jigs, guides, and fixtures that are otherwise required. It adds convenience, allowing faster setup and increased accuracy because you don’t have to hold and control the tool at the same time.

A commercial overarm router–which usually has an integral power head–is standard in furniture factories and top-notch cabinet shops. Their prices start at about $2,000. But for negligible cost you can duplicate this homemade version that operates with your portable router.

Once I got the idea to build a router mount, I experimented a bit. The first design used a split-clamp to grip the router without its base. But every time I wanted to change the cut depth I had to loosen the clamp or move the support arm. For my second and final approach I mounted the router with its base on a plate. In this way the tool can be used normally for depth of cut. I used a plunge router to make it possible to preset depth of cut and also to duplicate cuts of similar depth.

Because of the plate, the router loses some depth of cut; but when the original capacity is 2 or 2-1/2 inches, losing a half inch isn’t critical–even when forming mortises. Capacity can be increased by mounting the router without its subbase and by substituting a thinner plate–perhaps 1/8-inch-thick aluminum.

While this project isn’t difficult to build, it has some key details that require extra care. You might have trouble finding the thmetal,” you’ll find a source, as I did–preferably one that deals with salvaged materials. Hick-walled steel tube needed for the column, but if you check the Yellow Pages under “ave the column and the router you plan to use on hand before you size components.

Cut the two back pieces to length and form the dadoes in the front one for the partitions. Then connect them with glue and No. 12 X 2-1/2-inch flat-head screws. Be certain the bottom edge of the assembly is flat and square to adjacent sides. If it isn’t, the 1-1/2-inch hole needed for the tube will not be true. After boring the hole with a good spade bit mounted in a drill press, test-fit the tube and check that it’s perfectly vertical with a square. Drill for and install the 3/8-inch threaded insert for the bolt that secures the tube.

Size the base, rails, and partitions and assemble all the parts by using glue and driving No. 10 X 1-1/2-inch flathead screws up and through the base.

Use a cabinet-grade maple or birch plywood when you are making the table. Cut it to size, add the side and front trim strips with glue and 4d finishing nails, and then attach the aluminum cover with contact cement.

The next steps, forming and assembling the arm and the router support plate, require extra care–especially boring the hole through the arm. It must be vertical and provide a snug fit for the column. The dimensions given for the plate are for the router I used; but it’s best to check its length and its front-end shape against the tool you will install. Bore the two-inch hole so it will be on the plate’s centerline and concentric with the router’s chuck. After forming the rear hole for the column, attach the plate to the arm with glue and three No. 10 X 1-1/2-inch flathead screws. Finally, form the kerf at the rear of the assembly and drill the hole for the 5/16-inch carriage bolt.

Secure the column in the base and slide on the arm assembly. Place the table, which butts against the column, so it is square to the substructure and its centerline matches up with the center of the column. Mark the line lightly with a scriber; then, with a 1/4-inch plunge-point router bit mounted, use the router to bore through the table exactly on the marked line. Remove the table and use a fly cutter or hole saw with a 1/4-inch pilot to enlarge the hole to a three-inch diameter.

Use a table saw to make the 3/4-inch-wide cut that ends at the hole. Then with the blade projecting 3/8 inch, make repeat passes to form the “T” shape for the pivot slide (see detail A). Cut the slide support and, after forming the two-inch hole and installing the T-nut, attach it to the underside of the table with glue and several No. 10 X 1-1/4-inch flathead screws. The last table detail is to install the four 1/4-inch T-nuts for the threaded rods that are used to secure the fence. The T-nuts do not have to be set flush because the height of the drawers allows for clearance.

Coat all of the top edges of the sub-structure with glue, assemble the table accurately, and then use clamps around the perimeter and whatever weights are handy at the midpoints.

Accessories

Use a piece for the pivot slide that is long enough so that after shaping you can cut off a section as the filler. Three T-nuts (and these must be installed flush) are used in the slide for more flexibility when establishing the distance from pivot points to cutter. Pivot points, some long enough to penetrate workpieces, others short and pointed when a center hole isn’t wanted, are made from 8-32 screws.

It’s best to use a fly cutter with a 1/4-inch pilot drill to form the inserts because this will allow sizing them for a snug fit in the table hole. The hole in the insert can be enlarged to suit the pins–made from bolts–that you will use. Plug the hole in one insert with a dowel; drill others and install suitable T-nuts for 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, and 1/2-inch pins.

 

When you are making the facing for the fence, form the wide dadoes for the guides before reducing the center area. Make this area wide enough so that the router plate can sit on the ledge–because there will be times in the future when it’s necessary to bring a router bit as close to the table as is possible. Attach the slotted guides to the facing with glue and No. 10 X 1-1/2-inch flathead screws. The stiffener can be attached with glue.

The height gauge–which is placed on the column between the arm and the table–is optional, but can be handy when you wish to return the arm to a specific height after making an adjustment.

Always be sure the bolt that secures the column at its base and the carriage bolt that locks the arm are tightened before beginning a job. If you find that the wing nut for the carriage bolt doesn’t allow sufficient tightening, substitute a nut that you can turn with a wrench.

Using the router with its base affords the same protection you would have when using the tool normally. If your router has a plastic shield, use it. In any case, having hands close to a cutting area is ill advised, as always. Be safety conscious–take precautions such as unplugging the tool before making any adjustments or changing cutters.