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Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

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  • Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

    *** CROSS POSTED ON WOODNET ***

    I picked up one of these last week from Lee Valley after debating powered alternative (read Kapex) to good old hand saw for doing cutting inside the house. The main objective was to reduce / eliminate airborne dust.

    I picked up the Ikeda (Japanese) blade as despite my best efforts I cannot get used to a push saw. Pull saws are far more intuitive at least for me.

    After assembly, had a bit of buyers remorse as the saw was not cutting "smooth." The blade was "catching" way too much. So I started researching online on this particular saw and the only take home advise was to wax the blade.

    On Sunday, I decided to give it another try. I was cutting some 2x stock. Waxing the blade improved performance a bit but something was missing. So I compared the saw to one of regular Japanese saw and noticed that if the blade was installed as per instructions, its teeth were not oriented same as my regular saw. So I reversed heel to toe how the blade was installed.

    Only problem is that straight from the factory, the blade has two slots heel side and one of them engages a nub on the handle. I made a template and created a similar slot on the toe side. This lead to some drama as while the drilling the holes for the slot, the bit disintegrated during the final hole. Scared the s..t out of me!!! A small shrapnel nicked me on the forehead however, overall it was a close shave. Next time I am wearing full face protection while drilling 1/8" hole in spring steel.

    Once the holes were done and I was "brave" again, I used a file to clean out the space between the holes to create a slot. I then reinstalled the blade, the "correct" (Japanese) way and boy does it ever fly thru wood!!!

    My wife too tried using the saw and she successfully cut a 2x. However, the biggest payback was when my five year old son cut not 1 but 2, 2x on the saw and wrapped it up by saying "I think I like being a construction worker."

    Moral of the story;

    1. If you have this miter box and Ikeda blade, install it right (Japanese way).
    2. Be careful when drilling small holes in spring steel.
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  • #2

    Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

    Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

    The Ikeda blade cuts well: my neighbour and sometimes collaborator has the same set-up, except with the blade installed as manufactured, and it yields good results on casings, baseboards, etc. It makes a lot less mess than a compound mitre saw.

    I have no idea what a Japanese mitre box looks like but the direction of the blade in a frame saw, including the mitre box noted, is a user preference thing. The blade doesn't know the difference!! In fact, I sometimes reverse the direction of cut with my bowsaw to keep the cut-line clear. It cuts equally well regardless of which knob I grip in which hand and whether or not the teeth are being pushed or pulled relative to the user. I am glad that you got the saw set up to suit you but your assertion that the blade installed backwards is 'the "correct" (Japanese) way' doesn't hold water. You made what we called in football, a long run for a short gain and took an unreasonable risk with your face to boot.

    Ken

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    • #3

      Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

      Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

      I would disagree with your underlying reasoning. The blade does know the difference because of tooth geometry and its inherit design. More information here http://www.leevalley.com/en/shopping/Instructions.aspx?p=41059.

      I too have reversed direction of cut with bow saw and frame saw however; typically this is done with big timbers 6 x 6 or bigger or green wood. We are talking about a finishing tool here and if I have to reverse the direction of cut with this tool, then I am made a massive error in my stock selection.

      The logic of mounting the Ikeda blade backwards is too force the stock against the fence. However, based on my own experience and a number of reviews I read online of this product, the Ikeda blade as installed per instructions will tend to skip if your start the cut with a pull stroke. That issue disappears when you install it “correctly” (as per my reasoning) to cut on the pull stroke.

      I guess one can argue that “why don’t you start the cut with a push stroke” but that has too do with an individual users muscle memory. If I was primarily using western style saws, then my instinct would be to push the blades. But since I always use Japanese style saw blades, I start the cut on pull stroke.

      Comment


      • #4

        Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

        Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

        How is the mitre box otherwise?
        Darren Brewster
        Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

        Comment


        • #5

          Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

          Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

          I would say excellent. It has preset detents for commonly used angles however, you can override and lock at any angle. It can cut a 2 x 8 on the flat and vertical. 45 degree miter is 5" IIRC. On some of the reviews I read online, reviewers mentioned it was light when compared to the miter boxes of the old but I cannot comment on it as I have no experience with old style cast iron miter box. End stop is okay; I plan on replacing it with a more robust table.

          I am using these clamps for square stock as the ones that come with Nobex are more useful with profiled stock - I am thinking like a quarter round or ogee moulding. I just apply light pressure with the clamps and that holds the stock just fine.

          Comment


          • #6

            Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

            Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

            The bow saw I was referring to is a finishing tool with a similar blade to a coping saw only a bit longer, not a pulp wood saw or similar which cuts in both directions of blade travel anyway. Since a saw blade cuts only in the direction that the teeth are designed to shear wood, your first sentence makes no sense. The blade moves relative to the wood, no matter what, and only cuts in the direction of motion that allow its teeth to cut wood. Push/pull is unknown to the blade, that's a user perspective. Since typical Japanese saws are so thin, they have to stay in tension during the cut, ergo a pull saw. A frame saw maintains the blade in tension, by design, just as does your mitre box, so push/pull is irrelevant to its blade, cut direction is determined entirely by tooth geometry.

            The Ikeda blade works just fine as designed and when installed as it is manufactured, it isn't backwards, that is how it is supposed to work. Since you aren't flying aeroplanes or some other task where muscle memory can be critical to the outcome, it seems illogical to me to risk your health (if the incorrectly used drill cut your face, there were lots of other potential spots where it would do serious damage) instead of learning something slightly different. If you insist on hurting yourself, I am cool with that; but you threw this out as the only successful way to make the tool described work. That is patently incorrect and misleading; others would do well to not follow your example. You put the simple answer in your last sentence, just push the damn thing to start the cut and away you go.

            Ken

            Comment

            • Thread Continues Below...

            • #7

              Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

              Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

              Too avoid turning this into a popcorn worthy thread, we will have to agree to disagree. You cannot convince me of your point of view any more than I can convince you of mine. From my point of view, I turned a ho-hum saw into one spectacular cutting machine. Out of the box it did not work for me. If it works for you as designed all the power to you.

              The other issue you have raised twice is the safety aspect and I commend you on it. I did have a close shave with the drill bit disintegrating and I thank god it was not worse. BTW I always wear safety glasses although in this case a full face would have more appropriate. If ever I have to modify another ikeda blade, I would drill only two holes for the outside corners and remove the intermediate waste with a dremel reinforced cut-off disk. Majority of metal working experience is with dremel and when I use it on metal (or anything), I wear full face protection. Having said that, don't tell me never had a close shave in this line of hobby / business. We all do; and I put it out as a learning for myself and anybody choosing to pursue my technique.

              Now, the beauty of the internet is that this discussion is happening in a public forum and any future readers of this thread or those who stumble on it while searching online on this issue can see both sides of the argument. Yours – learn the damn thing and mine – modify the damn thing. They can then make their own decision.

              Cheers
              Last edited by Teak; 05-20-2011, 09:43 AM. Reason: changed "fix" to "modify" in red above in response to reply below from KenL

              Comment


              • #8

                Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

                Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

                Respectful disagreement!! I can get behind that. I agree wholeheartedly with your point on public fora, that is precisely why I voiced the counter position. I could agree with your whole statement if it said change rather than fix.

                On the safety issue, I have been in many dangerous situations over the years as where survival itself was not certain; on race tracks, in the air and on a variety of jobs which were inherently dangerous. I have not had any close shaves pursuing this hobby, touch wood, partially because I study up on published material from authoritative sources before I launch into any endeavour and partially because working around big machines that can kill you in an instant teaches one a degree of caution that is not intuitive. I heed the advice intoned by one famous wood worker that is, in part, " Read, understand and follow the safety instructions that accompany your power tools......." Good advice that, originally taught to me at my father's knee; keeps your face intact!

                If you will permit a piece of metal working advice, drill hardened steel at a much slower speed with lubrication and sharp bits and they will not "explode" on you. ATF or Butter Cut would be suitable for HSS drills in this application.

                Cheers

                Ken

                Comment


                • #9

                  Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

                  Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

                  I have to say hats off to both you guys for keeping this so civilized and bringing it to a positive close. There are frequently threads (on other forums) that become marathons and disintegrate into personal attacks, etc. Ugly really.

                  Bravo!

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

                    Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

                    Done! See above. Take care.

                    Comment


                    • #11

                      Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

                      Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

                      The blade is set up to cut on the push stroke to force the stock into the fence, as Teak previously noted, but also to keep tearout to the backside. The perfect pull stroke setup would be to reverse the saw as well as the blade.
                      Darren, in my experience the Nobex boxes range from nearly useless to almost acceptable. The Champion has features that make it worthwhile purchasing over the other two models, the locking at any angle is pretty much essential. However, the stops are a joke and I broke a clamp the second day I owned mine, and I do not abuse my tools. Otherwise it is a nice saw, but very light. I returned mine and bought an old Stanley.

                      Comment

                      • Thread Continues Below...

                      • #12

                        Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

                        Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

                        Sorry to resurrect this thread but I have a question.

                        I have recently purchased the top end box and noticed that my cuts aren't tracking well, leaving me with non-square ends. It's a bit disappointing since I would have expected a squared up cut from a box of this price and well .. it's a miter box, it's supposed to yield square cuts. It's not the end of the world though, it just means I have to clean my ends up on a shooting board.

                        My question is why this could be happening? I'm thinking it's one of the following: my cutting technique, the saw setup or something wrong with the blade/assembly of the box. My problem is that I don't know how to go about checking those things. Any insight here would help me alot, since I believe that spending the amount I have on the box, I shouldn't need to further square up the freshly cut end off a miter box.

                        If it helps to know, I have the western-style blade on the saw (18 TPI) that comes with the box.
                        Last edited by Allegrus; 08-12-2011, 03:49 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

                          Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

                          Sorry for the delay. Just saw this post. A few things to check.

                          1. Is the stock "finished" - all four sides square to each other (jointed / planed)?
                          2. Is the fence on the box square - use an engineers square.
                          3. Are you clamping the stock to the fence? If the stock moves during the cut, it would be out.
                          4. Is the blade installed and tensioned properly?

                          Mine is square and works great. Should have bought one years ago.

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

                            Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

                            Is there a way to check the blade tension? I have a feeling that is the cause, because the tracking is consistent by the same amount on all cuts I make. I have checked the square on the fence and it's OK. When I clamp my work, I still get the mistracking.
                            Last edited by Allegrus; 08-19-2011, 11:00 PM.

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                            • #15

                              Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

                              Re: Nobex Champion Miter Box - Ikeda Blade Mod

                              Blade tension is easy; tighten the wingnut as much as can .

                              However, before checking tension, can you check if the blade is installed / seated properly? There is a nub on the handle side the engages an elongated slot in the blade. If the nub is not properly engaged in the slot, the blade would not be seated properly and you would get a crooked cut.

                              HTH

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