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Monday, 19 August 2019

IsoTunes Pro Review

The last few year years I've been really hot on using hearing protection.

There's a real stigma on building sites about health and safety and that's a real shame, especially when it comes to our hearing. I used to keep ear muffs in the van but I wasn't very religious about using them for a long time. To be honest they can be a pain to wear when working with others or in the heat and if you're always putting them on and taking them off they slow you down. Lots of tractor driving when younger hasn't helped either I shouldn't imagine.

But now my hearing isn't what it was and I wish I'd put more into trying to look after it. Hopefully it's not deteriated too much but I can't hear somethings as well as others, like the beeper on the cooker, etc. So now before I use any tool, the ear muffs go on. The horse might have bolted on this one but hopefully it'll stop them getting worse.

My workshop has lots of pairs of them all over the place. But wearing them they do tend to get hot and sweaty and when planning boards up for hours it can become a little boring if you can't hear the radio.


So I've decided it's time to try something new. Lately I've got massively into my audio books and like to listen as I'm working on some of my easier tasks, I thought it would be great not to have to switch it off as I'm doing some of the longer machining tasks.

There are always concerns about using hearing protection like this while using machines.
1. You're not concentrating quite as well as if you weren't listing to anything.
2. You will struggle to hear if someone shouts at you
3. You can't hear so well if the machine you're using is struggling.

For me, as someone that works alone I think the above risks are quite minor, I maintain my machines well and the door has to be opened for someone to come in to talk to me anyway. Plus I'll only use it on simple tasks I've done thousands of times before.


I looked at what was available and saw a few people in a forum recommend Isotunes. They're not cheap at around £70 but then if they were I'd probably be less inclined to buy them! Cheap isn't normally very good, especially when it comes to safety wear. 

When they turned up they come in a well packaged box containing everything you need. The ear buds themselves just block out noise like normal ear buds would and then wirelessly play audio into your ears via bluetooth. 


Out of the box it's dead easy to set up and use. Just pick the correct sized ear buds, thread them onto the main part and fit them in your ear like it shows on the diagram.

It's also pretty easy to connect to your phone as well, just search for devices and press the middle button on the controls. Then they should connect automatically whenever you have them switched on. The little control bar has volume controls and lets you switch on or off from there, just holding it for 5 seconds turns it on or off. 

I've been using them for a few weeks now and so far I'm really enjoying them. I wouldn't say they're as comfortable as normal ear muffs, as they take a little getting used to, but I've worn them for long periods of time without any discomfort.


Noise reduction is good, they work as well as any of the ear muffs I already own.

I find the sound quality to be great, the volume doesn't go that loud, but loud enough for anything I've been doing so far. I've listened to a number of books and even with the planer going I've been able to hear to the whole thing.

Sorry for the goofy picture!
Battery life seems good as well, so far I've used them daily and so long as I remember to charge them in the evening they last as long as I want them to, they charge quickly though.

So do I think they're worth the money?

Yep - I've even been looking forward to the boring jobs so I can have them on! Probably not worth it for the occasional user but for anyone who need hearing protection for a large portion of the day then I'd highly recommend them.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Creating A Curved Worktop

For our own kitchen we had decided we wanted a curved unit and worktop where you enter the kitchen. This would make the flow much better as you enter the room (and much less likely to stub your toe!).

To do so creates a bit of work though. I had to first make the curved unit which involved lots of curved ply.  This then gave me the radius length for the worktop.

Only a perfect curve would do for this, anything less would stand out like a sore thumb. So routing a template was the only way really, no way could this be cut by hand. I used the bars on my router and a block of wood to create a simple circle jig. And routed the quarter turn using a straight cutter. I took the extraction off for this photo but always have it on when routing MDF.

The Run of worktop to be routed


I then used the template to draw the curve and cut using a jigsaw as close as I could to make routing easier.


The jig was fitted to the underside of the worktop as the copy bit I had for the router has the bearing on the bottom. I clamped this to the worktop, I made the jig big enough so that the clamps were well out of the way.


Even with dust extraction on this is still a dusty job, but far better than without! Routing the actual curve didn't take long once set up! A sharp bit is essential for cutting the oak without burning it.



I then sanded the curve working up through the grits and routed a slight chamfer on the edge, this way it still looks crisp but isn't sharp. 


I'm really pleased with this curve. The first thing anyone does as they walk in is to rub their hand along it so I'm glad I took the time to get it perfect!

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Stealth Mounts Battery Clip Review

My workshop isn't huge so every bit of space I can save is essential to keep me working effectively and efficiently, especially if I want to be able to earn a living out there.

I very much live by a place for everything and everything in it's place. Having things close to hand saves a lot of time rather than getting frustrated trying to find something.


When I stumbled upon these battery clips the other day I thought they were a great idea and woujld work well with my ethos. I hate my spare batteries being chucked in a tool box or a drawer and with seven batteries I need to know each one is charged before I take it to a job.

I currently run a cordless set of tools using the Makita LXT LI-Ion 18v range so these clips were to fit these and this blog post is only about these - although they do them for most of the big brands of tools.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Sash Clamp - T bar Or Not?

I was once told that as a carpenter I'll never have enough clamps and nothing could be truer! 


Every job I do at the minute I seem to be using every clamp I have. Or to be more accurate, every clamp I like. I have a large selection built up over 20 years and it's a right hodgepodge and there's a few clamps in there I don't like to use unless I have to.

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