Friday, February 26, 2010

ToolSmartz- Column #5- Taylor-Tot

I hope Jim found his zero clearance insert. Those do come in handy when sawing small pieces on your table saw.

This week I decided to write a little more about myself and what I’m doing during this season of career transition. We hear a lot along the line of “What would you do, if you didn’t get paid for it.” Naturally, one of my answers is “Help people fix their tools”, but another has to be “Work on my Taylor-Tot”

The who?...Oh, the singer? The blog guy?... uh, no….

Believe it or not, Taylor Tot is a … stroller. But not just any stroller…it was the premiere baby stroller of the 20th century. From hours on hours of research, it seems they were made from the 1920’s till the 1970’s. The company was the Frank F. Taylor Company of Cincinnati, Ohio.

So, how did I get in such a shape?... Well, you may not have already figured it out, but I love old stuff. If I had my way (and the moola of course) my home would not have anything newer than 1960 inside it…well, other than the TV, the washer/dryer and the computer…but you get the idea.

Here’s the tale… in May of 2004, my wife and I were at a West Tennessee Antique Auto Club car show around the square in Jackson, TN. We were walking along and checking things out and one side street was the location of the ‘swap meet’ (EVERY car show has to have one of those areas - it’s in the rules). Anyway, I spotted this kool looking stroller sitting there and told my wife, ‘Hey, that’s gotta be old’. So we looked it over a bit- thinking wow, this would be a neat thing to restore and use for the grandkids. There were no nameplates on it anywhere, so I had no idea what brand it was or how ‘old’ it really was, only that it looked ‘old’. I asked the fellow who was in the area how much he wanted for it and he said “40 bucks”… Well, we started to walk away, slightly wondering what we would do with one anyway…but then, the deal clincher… “But I’ll let YOU have it for 35”… yep - SOLD.

Well, we get the thing home and I start trolling the internet to find out more about what we had. It turns out that ebay had some pictures that looked just like it…and that’s how I found out the name; Taylor Tot. At least I now knew what it was….

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Toolsmartz - Column #4- zero clearance insert

Now, we’re starting to cook. We got our first reader email as a result of our new column. It was from a fellow named “Jim” and he said, “Tom, As a newbie to the area do you know if there is a local supplier that would carry a zero clearance table saw insert for a 7yr. old, 10" Ridgid table saw?”

Jim, I’ve got a good answer for you, but if you don’t mind, I’m going to use your email as a teaching moment for our other readers. I hope it’s OK with you, because I want to be able to connect with my readers and be able to help them to the best of my ability.

First off: Please send your emails to This is the fastest, most trouble-free way to send me an email. Don’t send it thru the paper’s contactus address. It takes longer to get back around to me.
Second: I can assist you better if I know your tool’s Model Number. Just like in your question, Jim - I know people who might have that very insert, but without the exact Model Number I can’t pin it down for them.
Lastly: Please send me your full name. (NOTE: only the writer’s first name will be published) If I happen to refer you to one of my ‘preferred suppliers’, I want to be able to let them know you are coming so they can take good care of you.

Now, back to you Jim. I don’t know of anyone that has Ridgid inserts sitting on the shelf were you can go pick one up. It’s possible that Woodcraft in Franklin may have one that would be compatible but I’m not sure. It is also possible that a ZC Insert for a Craftsman saw would work on your saw, because Ridgid/Craftsman were made by the same company a few years ago…but again, I’m not positive. Here is what I DO know. There is a Ridgid service center in downtown Nashville that can order the very insert that you need. I know these guys. They are one of my ‘preferred suppliers’ and they will take good care of you. The shop is called “Toolserve of Nashville” and you should call Roger at 242-7500. Tell him that Tom at ToolSmartz sent you to him and he will do you right.

Thanks for your question Jim and since you were the first - you get the famous ‘no-prize’ from ToolSmartz. See ya’ll next week.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Toolsmartz -Column #3- motor voltage and planer tips

What to write about this week? Maybe ‘ramble’ some more...or maybe not.

Let’s do this: “Tips and Techniques”. Once upon a time, I was in charge of reviewing Tips & Techniques that were submitted to our (Delta’s) website by people who visited our website and signed up to submit them. I’m here to tell you that there were some very good items sent in to us - there is a wealth of knowledge out there on things woodworking. Believe it or not, I’m not a woodworker. People often find that hard to believe but I explain it this way: Artists paint some absolutely beautiful pictures, but they may have no idea how to make a paint brush or an easel, or the paint. That’s where I come in. The woodworkers are ‘artists’ and I (and guys like me) make sure their tools work properly and will do what they need them to do.

Anyway, I digress…here are a couple of Tips for you to ponder:
1: If you have a shop machine that has a motor that can be wired for 2 different voltages (for example; 120volt or 240volt) AND you have the proper electrical circuit, it is better to wire your motor for, and run it on, the higher voltage. This one of the ‘black holes’ that tool guys can get caught up in. There are some who would say that it makes no difference which voltage a motor uses and yes, electrically, I can agree with them; however, I have talked to far too many ‘real world’ woodworkers who know it has made a difference, to go along with them. I know the theory-I have a degree in Electronics- but I also have experience that ‘theory only’, will not explain. Tools and stuff seem to be odd that way.
2: If your stationary wood planer has seemed to be planing wood just fine and then you begin to notice that the wood is getting harder and harder to get through the machine; the first thing to do is clean the planer’s bed and make sure it’s not caked up with pitch. If it’s good and clean, change your planer knives. The knives you’re using may be beating the boards instead of cutting them.

Tune in next week for more rambling thoughts or hopefully, some answers for readers. Send your questions or comments to: and we’ll see what we can do to help you.
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.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Toolsmartz -Column #2 - From the D-files

Until we start getting some emailed responses or questions, I’ve decided to just sort of go into a ‘ramble’ mode. You may read more about me, you may hear a goofy joke, you might see some serious advice or I might even break out some episodes of “The D-Files”...which is a takeoff on the old TV show, “The X-files”. That show had some of the oddest episodes. It was the 90’s version of “The Twilight Zone” and I loved it.

Anyway, back to The D-Files. These would be tales of some of the odd incidents that I encountered in my 24 years with Delta and I might even throw in some of the later oddballs too.

Several years ago, during my time as a Technical Service Specialist for Delta, I got a phone call from a fellow who wanted to know if our 14" woodcutting bandsaw would cut asparagus stalks. I had never been asked that before, but I told him that it was doubtful because the water/juices in the stalks would make the blade wet and it would probably slip off the rubber tires. Fairly logical answer I thought. Well, about 2 days later, I got a call from a fellow who basically asked the same question, but this time, it was about deer meat. Oh, boy, here we go again... Well, I told him that I thought the grease, blood and such would cause the blade to slip off the wheels... it wasn't really practical - I says. Well, believe it or not, a couple of days later I get another 14" bandsaw call...from a lady. She was very evasive in what she was trying to ask- so I finally told her to just 'spit it out'. She said "Do you have a weak stomach?" 'Well, not really, especially over the phone'. So, she says "Well, I work for the LA (CA) county morgue and we have homeless people who have died and we need to cut the top of their head off and remove their brain to be able to check the brain base for signs of communicable diseases and we are wondering if your bandsaw can do that".
Well, due to the 2 previous calls, I was well prepared for this one. I told her to leave our bandsaw out of her plans and to call Hobart since they specialize in meat cutting saws.

Just one of the more odd tales from the D-files. I KNOW you don’t want to read too many of these, so send your questions or comments in to: and we’ll see what we can do to help you.