Thursday, January 28, 2010

Toolsmartz- Column #1 - Intro

A couple of weeks ago, I reached an agreement to write a 'tool advisory' article for a local weekly paper . It took a bit to get their layout arranged, but we made our debut today...on page 13
(wouldn't you just know it?) That's an inside joke - 13 is MY number - I used it on all of my dirt track race cars, back in the day.

Anyway, I decided to get this blog a little more active by posting each article as they are published. If you've read some of my previous posts, some of the stories may sound familier, but I'll be recycling stories until the questions start coming in.

INTRO ARTICLE: Jan 28 - Feb 3, 2010 issue:


Welcome to our introductory announcement of our new feature: “ToolSmartz”. My name is Tom Murrah and I will be your columnist. My idea for this is to be a ‘Dear Abby’ for power tools and the folks who use them.

The basic idea for this column came as a result of sitting home watching the DIY, TLC and Discovery channels and noticing that they have many old car ‘how to’ shows, ‘how to flip houses’ shows, even cooking shows and driving trucks across ice roads for crying out loud. There’s almost a show for everything…but not much just for us tool guys. Maybe we’ll get there someday, but for now, I just want to hear what sort of problem you’re having with your power tool and I’ll do my best to get you an answer to help you solve it.

It’s probably good for you to know a bit about me and my background. I have been in the woodworking power tool and machine industry for over 28 years and have been specifically involved in the Technical Service arena for over 25 years. In 1981 I was hired by Rockwell International to be their SCMI Technician in Memphis, TN. SCMI had some rather large machines and dealing with them being imported from Italy presented a real challenge. A few months after I was hired, SCMI removed their machines from Rockwell’s inventory and I converted to working on US made machines, such as Unisaws, bandsaws, planers and jointers. In 1984, Rockwell sold off our division and the new owners brought back the old name of Delta and that was who I worked for the majority of my career.
I have had many different assignments during my career and will list just a few: I’ve rebuilt gearedhead drilling machines and all sorts of woodworking machines. I’ve written training manuals and been the Technical advisor on instructional repair DVD’s. In 1991, I wrote the woodworking machine Frequently Asked Questions that Delta uses on their current website. I’ve done phone-in troubleshooting of machine problems for over 25 years and managed the Technical Service Departments of two of the major players in the woodworking machine industry. In other words, I have a wealth of knowledge and industry contacts to help me assist you with answers that you might not easily find elsewhere.

So, give it a try. Send me an email at and tell me your trouble. I’ll select a few issues to answer and have them in the next column. See ya’ll then.

Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this newspaper. Neither the author, nor this newspaper, accepts any liability for the content of this article, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.