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Mountain Heart Woodworks

In the first of our three stops in Colorado earlier this year, we visited with Mountain Heart Woodworks. You name it and this family-owned business does it – from running a full operational sawmill, millwork, shiplap, tongue and groove, custom tabletops, finished mantles, and even supplying a large amount of lumber to the surrounding area.

For a long time, their business operated off of gas motors. However, as their business grew it didn’t take long before they realized they needed to find a more efficient way to keep up with demand. They now run their entire business off of 2 American Rotary AI Industrial phase converters running multiple motors all day, every day. Watch the videos below for their full story.

Mountain Heart Woodworks Introduction

Mountain Heart Woodworks Shop Tour

American Rotary supplies phase converters for every facet of the woodworking industry! While a single phase converter can be used to operate a single piece of machinery, woodworkers often need to start and run multiple 3-phase machines (sometimes simultaneously), which also have varying load conditions. The balanced output of American Rotary phase converters allows for the safe operation of very small, lightly loaded 3-phase machinery on the same rotary 3-phase converter as larger, hard-starting equipment. To learn more, visit our Woodworking applications page.

7 Power Tools Every Woodworking Shop Should Have

We recently took a random survey of our woodworking customers and asked them what were the top five woodworking pieces of equipment that they suggested every woodworking shop should never go without. We got a lot of feedback and we wanted to go through and inform you of the top results. In fact, we got such good feedback that we decided to inform you of the top seven woodworking power tools.

1. Table saw – Table saws are a good resource to have available to you. They can be used to make various cuts depending on the project you are working on. Some of the more frequent cuts that the saw is making: cross-cutting, ripping, making miter joints, and miter cuts just to name a few.

2. Router – The versatility of a router usually goes unnoticed. There are a lot of uses for a router that many beginner woodworkers don’t realize is available to them. Not only can routers be used for finishing off the edges nicely, but also for cutting in mortise joints, inlay grooves, and keyholes. There are many other available features available to you when you use a router.

3. Jigsaw A jigsaw is a smaller saw, but a very important one. The jigsaw is a good way to start before access to a band saw is available. The jigsaw is good for cutting a hole in the center of the wood, cutting circles, and different shapes out of material. The jigsaw is very compact and does not take up a lot of space.

4. Circular Saw – This is often the first power tool added to one’s tool armory. This saw can be used to cut large or small pieces of wood. This saw is also smaller and very portable to move to different locations. The saw can be used to make plunge cuts, angle cuts, and rip cuts. There are many other uses available.

5. Sander – Whether you’re using precut wood or cutting it yourself you will be using a sander at one point or another. There is hardly any project involving wood that you will not be sanding. Having a power sander will save your arm from sanding manually. A power sander will give you a nice smooth finish across all surfaces.

6. Power Drill – Once all of the wood is cut and sanded you will need to assemble the pieces to get your final project. This means there are bolts and screws to assemble and possible holes to be made. A power drill has multiple bits that you can swap out depending on your job needs. This tool can be a big-time saver compared to using traditional screwdrivers and hand drills.

7. Planer/Jointer These can be sold as individual machines or as a combo set. These machines are important to make sure that you starting your project off with a straight and true piece of wood. You want to think of your boards as the foundation for your project. If the first few boards are off, the rest of the project will be off. There are many more uses for a planer/jointer as you get more experienced in woodworking. These units can be sold as simple tabletop units or large industrial-sized machines.

Your individual shop needs may vary, but these were voted as the top power tools needed. As always, make sure you do your research and follow all of the safety recommendations from your tool’s manufacturer. Make your American dream your reality.

Woodworking Tips For Beginners

Over the past few months, we provided you with the top power tools for woodworking and hand tools for woodworking. Now that you know the top tools to have on hand it’s a good time to go over the top tips to follow as a woodworker who is just getting started on a new hobby or business. Following these tips will give you a great foundation to get started!

1. Know Your Wood. There are many different types of wood with different characteristics. Knowing the different types of wood, how to care for and treat it, and how it will react in different environments is key. Each type of wood will have different moisture content. The amount of moisture will affect how stain, paint, and glue takes to it. This is key because if you stain a piece of oak and a piece of pine with the same color stain, you will yield different results. The wood will take the stain differently and show a different color.

2. Pre-drill Screw Holes. When using a screw to attach a piece of wood to a surface pre-drilling the hole is a good idea. Depending on how thick the wood is or how close you are to the edge, you can risk the board splitting from the pressure. Having a board split on you during assembly is one of the most frustrating things about being a woodworker. By pre-drilling, the board with a hole slightly smaller than the screw will eliminate this issue. One key thing to keep in mind is to use a countersink screw head. The countersink feature allows for a slightly larger opening at the top of the bit. This will widen the pre-drilled hole to allow the screw head to be recessed in the board. Failure to use a bit like this may lead to a cracked board even with pre-drilling. This bit will also give you the option to plug the hole to hide the screw head.

3. Use a Stop-Block. The stop block is a quick way to make precise cuts on boards when you are cutting multiples of the same size. The stop block can be secured to a saw to set the length of the board you need to cut. Once set, you can butt the pieces of wood that need to be cut right up to the block to get the same cut every time. This makes for a quick and accurate method of cutting multiple boards.

4. Use a Jig.  Whether you are making pocket angle holes or just installing cabinet pulls, a jig is a great time saver. Using a jig gives you a template for consistent and even holes on different pieces of wood. A nice example of using a jig is when installing cabinet pulls on your kitchen cabinets. If you are able to make an angle jig that matches the corners of your cabinet, you can pre-drill the hole in the same spot each time. This eliminates the time you would spend measuring and marking each spot.

5. Plan Your Project. Last but not least, having a plan and a drawing of your project beforehand will really make for a smoother experience. Planning will also help with budgeting your time and money and will also help with making sure you are getting all of the supplies required for the project. Mapping out your project will help foresee any issues with the assembly of the project while allowing for any adjustments to be made prior to assembly. If you wait until then, you risk a loss of materials and your time. It is also a good idea to think about what tools you will need for the project. Planning this part out will help avoid getting to a point in your project where you need a tool and don’t have it. This will delay your project and push back your timeline potentially costing you more money.

Following these simple steps to start your woodworking adventure will not only give you a great foundation to start each project but also for building your new business or hobby.  And as always, remember to follow all safety procedures and to abide by the manufacturer’s recommendations for each tool you use.

Top 5 Hand Tools Every Woodworking Shop Should Have

A few weeks back we took a survey about the Top Seven Power Tools that Every Woodworking Shop Should Have.  Not only did we get a lot of feedback from that survey, but also a lot of good recommendations of hand tools that a lot of the woodworkers could not get by without.  These recommendations went above and beyond your standard hammer and screwdriver set that almost every household has.  These tools are basic but important.

1. Chisel – There are many types of chisels that have different uses. They can be used for carving out wood to make designs, dovetail joints, as well as tongue and groove joints.  Some common ways you may have seen them in action are for notching out the door hinges, squaring off circular saw cuts, and to finish off the cuts of a dovetail joint.

2. Vice Grips/Clamps – Vice grips and clamps are different tools but have the same overall purpose, they hold your material together and in place. In many woodworking projects, you will need to join two pieces of wood.  These tools help you hold the material in place while you screw them together and keep pressure on them while the glue dries.  The different types are a tabletop vice grips, C-clamps, Bar Clamps, and a Hand Screw Clamp to name a few.

3. Squares – With any woodworking project, having a straight edge and squared corners is important for the foundation of your project. It just so happens there is a tool out there to assist in making those important first steps in the assembly of the project.  The square comes in many forms with many uses.  Some of the basic types of squares are a Speed Square, T-Square, and a Combination Square.  These tools are fairly basic to use but have a very important role in saving you many headaches as you move further along in your project.

4. Hand Saws – There are only so many cuts that power saw can do, so having a few different types of hands saws on hand can get you out of a bind. Hand Saws can get you into tight areas and make precision cuts where a standard power saw cannot.  Some types of hand saws are a Hacksaw, Coping Saw, and a Keyhole Saw.  Some hand saws have small blades that can clean up and help square off your projects.

5. Hand Plane – A hand plane is a good tool to have easy access to.  It is a great tool to have to make a quick adjustment to the thickness of the wood.  If you are joining two pieces of wood or making cabinet doors, the hand plane can help adjust the boards so that they are not rubbing and fit nicely.  A hand plane can also be used to help shape wood and add a nice curvature to the finish.

You may find that your shop may have different needs, but these tools come highly recommended.  Always remember to take the necessary steps to learn each tool’s capabilities and follow all recommended safety procedures.  Now go make your American Dream your reality.

East Side Cabinets with American Rotary Phase Converters

In this video, Dave & Dave visit East Side Cabinets, a maker of European-style cabinets located in Madison, Wisconsin. Bryan gives us a tour of his shop and shows how multiple phase converters from American Rotary power all of his equipment including his edge-bander, air-compressor, and his CNC router, which are all three-phase. As East Side Cabinets expands, American Rotary has continued to provide the single to three-phase solution for the company.

American Rotary supplies phase converters for every facet of the woodworking industry. While a single phase converter can be used to operate a single piece of machinery, woodworkers often need to start and run multiple 3-phase machines (sometimes simultaneously), which also have varying load conditions. The balanced output of American Rotary phase converters allows for the safe operation of very small, lightly loaded 3-phase machinery on the same rotary 3-phase converter as larger, hard-starting equipment.

For more information how you can leverage the benefits of a phase converter for your wood shop, visit our woodworking applications page.

2016 International Woodworking Fair

Back in August, we headed down to the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta, Georgia. While there were plenty of machines to see, the most surprising thing we saw was the increased presence of CNC machines, not to mention the many great people we got to meet and connect with…

Here is our video recap of the event which took place Aug. 24th-27th! Enjoy!

From saws, air compressors, routers, and more, American Rotary supplies phase converters for every facet of the woodworking industry. Learn more about how American Rotary can help power three phase machinery in your shop.

Reardon’s Woodworking Machinery with American Rotary Phase Converters

As part of our trip to Florida earlier this year, we stopped to meet with Kevin Reardon, owner of Reardon’s Woodworking Machinery. There Kevin and his family sell new and used woodworking equipment, as well as provide services such as repairs and installation.

They use a 25hp rotary phase converter to test their reconditioned used equipment before selling it, and also offer phase converters to their customers who may not have three phase power due to availability or cost.

Watch here as we take a tour of their shop and discuss the benefits of using a rotary phase converter over alternative options:

For more information about how American Rotary can assist you with your three phase power needs, visit our woodworking applications page.