Minnesota Steve

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About Minnesota Steve

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  • Woodworking Interests
    Making stuff for around the home.
  1. Now this is interesting... http://toolguyd.com/apex-tool-group-cuts-armstrong-and-allen-tool-brands/ The Craftsman stuff had been made by Apex. I suspect it's the same plant that makes the Crescent brand stuff in China. Article says they're going to refocus their US manufacturing plant that was making Armstrong an Allen tools and focus on Gearwrench. Don't know much about that, other than apparently the Menards Masterforce brand was made at this plant. I wonder if Apex was hoping to win the Craftsman brand?
  2. It's interesting. Amazon.com sells everything from pantyhose to car batteries. Sears didn't used to have the big store fronts, that was something they started building out in the 60s and 70s when shopping malls came about. Heck when I was a kid in the 70s my mother used to order most of our clothes out of the JC Penney catalog. They had a store front, but it was small and had limited selection. So we'd place the order and then pick it up at the order counter a few days later. That was the way most of these guys worked back in the day. What's happened it seems is that Sears(and others) lost track of this, tried to be something different and failed... and now here's Amazon following the same path. Catalog sales, then opening up store fronts. Amazon even has their own branded merchandise, it won't be long before they start selling their own appliances.
  3. Actually the problem is management... They have this theory of maximizing shareholder value, and all the management schools teach that this means cutting your costs to boost profits without any regard for long term consequences. On paper they'll see that indian call center saving them $50 million a year. What they don't see, and what they can't measure is the $250 million a year in lost sales as a result of the lousy service.
  4. Ahh, found it... I couldn't remember before. http://www.craigshunter.com/ It's a plugin for Chrome, and it works reasonably well I think. I'm sure there are others out there as well.
  5. That same model jointer showed up on our local craigslist a few days ago for $250. Which isn't too bad. I don't know much about machines, but these must be 20-30 years old? Craigslist is hard to buy stuff off of. I've installed a browser plugin that gives me alerts when new stuff shows up matching my queries as the good stuff seems to go within a day or two of posting and most of what you're seeing is the crap that doesn't sell. So this is what it should look like in good condition:
  6. My dream someday is to try my hand at side hung, center guided drawer slides like Stickley uses... Their drawers open so easily... https://www.stickley.com/TheStickleyDifference.cfm?SubPgName=ConstructionFeatures&MoreTxt=11 I have a long way to go before I can attempt that. It's my skill challenge. :-)
  7. That's interesting. I know in recent years I've seen Craftsman at Ace Hardware, even Menards at times. I really don't see a lot of value in the Craftsman branded garage door openers, or snowblowers and such. At least in terms of selling those outside of Sears. The mechanics tool sets, and the storage is iconic, however. I think if they brought back the quality, they could do well. I've seen some Stanley wrench sets that look to be better quality than what Craftsman has been selling in recent years. The new Dewalt branded stuff is higher quality, but maybe they shift things around? Not sure on the power tools. The Craftsman stuff is similar in quality and price to what I've seen recently from Porter Cable. I'm not sure how the Craftsman brand would work here. Craftsman certainly had a fuller line of tools, so maybe they can shift focus here. Use the Craftsman brand for bench and stationary tools, and Porter cable for the portable and cordless stuff. It's kind of sad what's been happening to Sears. Maybe it was just inevitable, but certainly lowering the quality of their product did not help them in any way.
  8. I was on the leevalley website last night to take advantage of the free shipping offer. I thought the prices seemed high, like the low-angle jack plane was $279 instead of $245 last time I looked. I wondered if the price just jumped because of Bubinga? And then I realized I was looking at the prices in Canadian. :-)
  9. This sounds like an excuse to buy a new table saw.
  10. Ahh... I just looked. Bubinga as of January 2, 2017 is now listed in CITES Appendix II, which means the wood while not endangered trade is heavily restricted. So it's going to be like Rosewood, Ebony, etc... an exotic. The note also says that not just the wood, but finished products will be restricted. I wonder how that's going to impact handsaws and planes which use bubinga handles. Anyway, beautiful chair...
  11. I think WEN is a company that just takes product from some chinese maker and brands it. I see their products occasionally at the local Menards, at least until Menards goes direct and now they're badged Performax, Masterforce or Tool Shop. The one question I would clarify before buying it is if you can find replacement knives. Are these the same as used in any other 12.5" planer and readily available? Otherwise it's probably not much different from the other benchtop planers in that under $300 space.
  12. Go to Ikea, buy a crib for $100... Very simple cribs, 4 sides, bottom... The cribs that got recalled had moving parts. Drop sides, all that sort of stuff. Then spend your time building a dresser that the kid will use for more than 3 years. And remember to fasten it to the wall...
  13. I bought a circuit tracer for about $40 made by Klein Tools. Plug one end into a socket, and then you wave this magic wand over the breakers until it detects the signal. It works maybe 75% of the time... https://www.amazon.com/Klein-Tools-ET300-Digital-Circuit/dp/B003LHJSY8 We've got one circuit which involves two outlets in the basement hallway, a GFCI in the main level laundry room, and 4 outlets on the exterior of the house. Fortunately the cable equipment is plugged in, so you know if something happened to trip the GFCI run to the laundry room. :-)
  14. Buy land Plant trees Watch Matt Cremona's videos on building a bandsaw mill. :-)
  15. I'd consider maple. It's as durable as oak, but has a nice tight grain and looks like cherry when stained, and is inexpensive. Well at least around here, it's usually about same price as red oak and I can find deals at local mills for even less as we have a lot of maple trees. It's not as easy to stain, but I've been experimenting with GF's water based stains and they actually do a decent job on maple. Granted, if you've already set on the gel stain, I don't know how that might work...