The Craftsman Gallery Power Feed Work Holder (PFWH)
This is a rather posh name for what is a substantial alloy plate with some holes and T-slots plus some plastic pegs that is sold as a kit for clamping work at various angles.
Perhaps a rather rude and simplistic description of a great work holding aid that can be mounted on either the Router Boss or Woodrat. Rather like the plate of the Multi Angle Work Holder this allows work to be gripped against plastic pegs at preset angles. Ideally partnered with the Riser Plate and Fences Kit it is a huge boon for quickly holding work but not at compound angles. Clamps are needed to fit to the plate which can be purchased separately or you can use your own.
Pictures can describe it better than words so please read on.
|In now typical style from the Craftsman Gallery the PFWH is a very
substantial silver anodised plate.
It is half an ounce under ten pounds in weight ( 4520 grams) and 3/4" thick. Eight inches deep and at eighteen inches wide is bigger than the plate on the MAWH. I have checked and mine is flat and square all round.
|This shows the back of the plate which does not have machined
recesses along it's length to give a clearance fit for the box section
when mounted. (More on this later).
The kit comes supplied with a bag of plastic pegs which fit into the CNC positioned drilled holes. Notice there are two pegs inserted into the rear of the plate. These are locating pegs which are used to 'hang' the plate in position on the slider in preparation for it to be clamped up. Just inboard from those pegs are the locating holes for the pegs when mounted onto a WoodRat.
|The peg locator holes permit the work to be set at 90,
(0),5,10,15.20,22.5,25,30,35,40,45 degrees and the right and left sides
are mirror images of each other.
For the metric amongst us the T-slots are ~8mm deep and will accept bolts ~12mm across the flats of the bolt head. You may have to do a little filing to get one to fit though.
I understand all standard American T-bolts will fit.
|The choice of clamps you use is yours and The Craftsman Gallery
offer either Toggle type clamps like
here or these newly stocked ones as shown opposite.
I have a pair of them and am impressed by their strength and ease of setting. About $17 each I think but best to ask first.
I really like these as they have 'Man sized' knobs, are square and so I can already visualise numerous uses on the Router Boss.
They will clamp work up to 1 1/2" thick.
It would not be difficult to make up your own holding system or bars utilising the T-slots so you are not limited to the size of work that can be held.
|The PFWH is best matched with the inexpensive Router Table as shown.
I have already mentioned that the plate back is flat, being designed to be supported on two rear plastic pegs and held by the two standard fences. This does hold the plate especially if the fixed fence has a rubber facing but results in the plate and box section rubbing against each other when tracked. (Not good in my opinion). This is easily remedied by sticking on two vertical strips of that extra slippery plastic that is sold under various brand names. (Slick Tape here in the UK for example).
I do have further and more important concerns though: I cannot trust myself....... if I loosen the locking cam the whole thing could easily fall off and onto my toes as it is not retained. Something needed to be done to satisfy the European Health and safety police and so after discussion with Lewis Stepp I came up with a very simple to make Packer plate and retaining system which is described below.
|A strip of material of your choice the same length as the plate and
cut to a good fit into the recess of the slider is required. About 3mm
or 1/8" is about right. a couple of T-bolts, washers and knobs or wings
nuts to suit is all that is required. I made mine from 3mm red acrylic
but it could be foam board/MDF/alloy etc.
Dave Richards has kindly drawn up a complete plan in PDF format for you to down-load here A similar system may be applicable to use on the WoodRat.
|Unfortunately two holes have to be drilled through your shiny new
plate for the securing T-bolts. 6mm or 1/4" holes depending on what
bolts you use. The Craftsman Gallery stock suitable bolts and
knobs but I made mine from some cropped dome headed bolts and wing nuts.
Take care to drill vertical holes!
|This shot shows the general arrangement of the assembly. It was
suggested to stick the packer onto the back of the plate but I prefer to
slide it onto the carriage first and then fix the plate on bolts.
Cut off the excess threaded bit when you are satisfied with the correct bolt length.
|I used wing nuts because I didn't have any suitable knobs but have
come to like them as they spin on very quickly and are not intrusive to
the work. Notice the lower slider
T-slot is used but it seems to work OK. The upper one would be better
but it clashes with the upper plate T-slot.
|This is a shot of the clearance hole for the support peg. I filed flats on the metric bolt head to suit the T-slot.|
|The packer is being slid up to the fixed fence in preparation to receive the plate. I found that the plate could be mounted without the intervention of the locking clamp if you wanted.|
|Be sure to use a washer under the wing nut or knob to prevent marking the plate. When satisfied with the fit and nut tension (which can be left fairly loose), cut the excess thread off with a hacksaw.|
This shows the general clamping method. I track the PFWH under the
Position the work at the correct height and hold the work against the pegs with my right hand then track back out with my left hand. Whilst still holding the work in position I lock the clamps where I can see what I am doing.
Saves my back from all that bending you see!
|Here is a super accurate and clean mitre joint.
Why not use a chop saw or table saw?
Well of course you can but unless you have a very sharp blade there is nearly always a degree of splintering of the work. Utilising the PFWH you have the advantage of CNC accuracy for the angle which is especially important when minor errors can compound into a big one. I.E. octagonal facings.
By 'climb cutting' or going around the top end of the work in a clockwise direction the result is a beautiful, clean, end face with no chips or tear-out.
I made this angled asymmetrical box joint as an experiment and
then it dawned on me that if I swung the sides to 90 degrees to each
other it would result in two sides of a box with sides that 'leant
out' too. Just needed to plane off the tongue projections.
Something I have puzzled over for a while resolved.
|This mitred dovetail joint was quick and simple to produce with the PFWH. Quite useful in outside situations to help prevent the mitres opening up.|
Want a mortise and tenon scarf joint?
Can do......... no problemo.
|Showing off with a few joints here!|
I now have three vertical panel raising bits from the Craftsman Gallery.
Normally with a router table I would find these rather intimidating plus
would have difficulty holding the work vertically.
Multiple passes on the Router Boss felt safe and mundane.
A report on them will be coming later.
OK then..... the conclusion.
The Power Feed Work Holder is a very solidly engineered piece of kit which adds to the Router Boss or WoodRat versatility. True, it is a bit expensive and the weight is sure to have high delivery costs but I have become rather attached to mine. Machining the back would add to costs and need to be specially engineered to fit both machines.
The packer plate addition is not required for it to work but I sure feel safer with it in place plus it is not difficult to make.
The CNC positioned and drilled holes guarantees accurate angles which is a God Send for quick work and has to be better than a chop saw for finish quality.
Solid, well made.
Easy to fit.
T-slots permit many ways to clamp the work.
Suites the Router Boss or WoodRat.
Works best with the addition of the Riser Plate and Fences accessory.
Clamps are extra.
Make a packer plate for extra security.
PFWH from the Craftsman Gallery $129.00 Part Code 12-270
Riser Plate with Fence Kit $54.00 Part Code 12-260
Clamps currently not listed but available. Email for information.
Thanks to Dave Richards for the drawing.