Rex Edgar

Bridge City Kerfmaker 1

Recommended Posts

Just before Christmas I received the KM-1 from Bridge City Tools. I put it in the shop and today I had some down time to play with a new tool. This is what I experienced.

The tool has great 'curb appeal.' It fits in the palm of your hand. It is tightly machined. I tried both methods of establishing the kerf of the blade being used. First one requires no math; you measure a short (4-5") piece of scrap, record the measurement, cut the scrap in two and remeasure the length of the two pieces. Then subtract the smaller number from the bigger number and using the opposite end of a digital micrometer set the kerf using the bronze colored portion of the tool. The second method requires that you cut a small piece out of square stock leaving an "L" shape. Then using the tool set it up using the difference in the lengths of the original and the removed piece. 

  The fact that the tool is so small makes it difficult for fat-fingered people to use. The unit is machined so tight that when the one slider is locked, it makes the other slider very snug even when the thumb wheel is loose. I find it also easy to get the thumb wheels so snug as to make it very difficult to loosen them without damaging your fingertips. I made a half-dozen small dados and checked them for fit. What I found was that I could not get a tight enough fit to overcome gravity when the pieces were turned over. 

I posted a bit on a shop-made knock-off Kerfmaker a couple of weeks ago. Every dado cut using the shop-made unit was so snug that a little effort was needed to assemble the parts.

It's probably my technique that is at fault, but I will reach for my shop-made tool when I next need to cut a dado. The pro and the con to the shop-made jig is that it is specific to the blade that first cut the calibration slot, but there is no additional set-up required. Also the ecomomics lean in the shop-made jig's favor. Just my  $.02. Happy New Year!

IMG_3093.JPG

IMG_3096.JPG

IMG_3095.JPG

IMG_3098.JPG

IMG_3099.JPG

IMG_3097.JPG

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1yvNI7dmBFWP4_n6RAOvkSOfC9U4T2IXPOok8Vqb

I used mine for the first time this weekend too.  It took a little bit to get used to it, but I think the more I use it the more adjusting it will become second nature.  I used it with my dado stack to make dados for  both 1/2" and 3/4" ply (both measuring under those numbers).  Only had to set the dado stack up once to cut the dados and adjusted the kerfmaker to match.  I used the cut through method to set the width of the blade to the kermaker (a little sketchy with the dado stack but didn't have calipers handy). 

I also noted that if the stock knob was too tight it was hard to adjust the blade width but I don't think it will be an issue again in the future as I now understand it. 

I think this thing is going to be really handy in the future and plan to keep my setup blocks and mark them with what blade/ dado stack they are for.  I'll probably also make a right angle stop to clamp to my fence rail so that I can be sure it is 90 deg to the fence for repeat-ability (will be useful for more than just the kermaker).  All in all it has already saved me a bunch of time, I wouldn't have gotten nearly as much done if I had to make test cuts and adjust the dado stack to fit the ply.  I made one test on a scrap and just ran with it from there with no issues. 

I know these are quick and dirty cabinets, but I personally couldn't have gotten this much done in one afternoon without the help of the kerfmaker (got a late start and called it a day pretty early).  Or without having sloppier joints.  And not having to make a jig which would have taken more of my limited shop time was great.  (still have more work to do on them)

RVrLc9d2ISyH2lv3ui0wU0rCk1sFypHlijQ5AwxY

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, xxdabroxx said:

I think this thing is going to be really handy in the future and plan to keep my setup blocks and mark them with what blade/ dado stack they are for. 

If you haven't, you should watch this...

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ehhh, the price of the MJ is about the same when you account for the clamps, but the clamps can be used for other purposes too.

Based on your review Rex, I'll build my own and go from there. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/5/2017 at 9:07 PM, bleedinblue said:

clamps

Just seems to be a lot of messing around to buy the MJ ones, and need to clamp it to the fence when being used. The BCTW version doesn't require any messing around and it's basically dummy proof. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Llama said:

and it's basically dummy proof.

Which is good for me.  

Mel, that last video you posted showing more uses convinced me that it is a good investment.  I am going to order one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Chet K said:

Mel, that last video you posted showing more uses convinced me that it is a good investment.  I am going to order one.

Thank @PaulMarcel :) I just post great links. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.