Jointmaker Pro "Upgrade" Review . . .

A discussion about the second version of the Jointmaker Pro

Moderator: Michael

Jointmaker Pro "Upgrade" Review . . .

Postby savatteridesigns » Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:56 pm

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Here in the usually sunny Los Angeles basin it's a dark, very rainy, Pacific Northwestern sort of day. Kinda reminds me of Portland, Oregon. Fitting, because I just received my email notification from UPS that the "Prototype" upgrade rails for the JMP ( Bridge City Tool Works - JM-P Jointmaker Upgrade Kit ) are on it's way down here for my review and that I should have them in my hands by midweek.

Over the course of the rest of December ( the duration of the "loan" :cry: ) I’ll be documenting my review of the assembly process, the benefits in relation to the cost, and the engineering of the upgrade kit. I throw in my thoughts of how I feel it (the upgrade kit) would effect my work (and others) on the JMP either at home or in my shop. At home I’m starting to work on some jewelry size projects (when insomnia strikes and on the weekends) where as in the shop the projects tend to be larger in scale.

I'll be performing comparable tasks with the upgrade prototype on my JMP as well as on the original version. I'll be rigging up my JMP with a barnyard version of the Jointmaker SW. (long fixed table on the right side) with the new "prototype" rail on the left, and documenting & commenting on the whole affair.

There are some riggings that have been floating around in my head for working on larger works that the new rails would lend themselves to that I'll be experimenting on as well. I'll be starting with the more basic/common operations first and get to the more esoteric procedures further along in the review.

I'm thinking that the format of the review "this go around" will be in a more "real time" blog format in nature spread over three forums - talkFestool, FOG, and BCTW's. With my postings and comments from members interspersed together. So it will be interesting to see the respective feedbacks from each forum. Patience will be a virtue here, since my postings will more than likely be in the wee hours of the night. (west coast time)

Until the end of the week,
cheers,
Roger

For those new to the concept of Silent Woodworking and the Jointmaker Pro or have been marooned on some pacific island, go thru the postings on John's blog here on the JMP . . . Bridge City Tools Behind the Scenes

PS. For those same folks, this whole review thing started with my first review on the JMP here, http://festoolownersgroup.com/other-too ... ?topicseen

with a followup here, (Wednesday, July 9th, 2008 posting) Jointmaker Pro Stationary Hand Saw | John's Blog - Part 2

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New Rails arrived !, initial set-up -1 ,,,,,,,

Postby savatteridesigns » Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:26 am

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Text to follow later today .............


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Last edited by savatteridesigns on Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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New Rails arrived !, initial set-up -2 ,,,,,,,

Postby savatteridesigns » Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:29 am

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Last edited by savatteridesigns on Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
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New Rails arrived !, initial set-up -3 ,,,,,,,

Postby savatteridesigns » Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:33 am

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Last edited by savatteridesigns on Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Regarding the "etched white" & other points...

Postby savatteridesigns » Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:51 am

As brought up on the Fog and talkFestool forums.........

Roger, what exactly are you talking about here: "John says that the production run will be laser etched white"



Allow me to clarify, the laser white etching is in regards to the safety warnings that (line & hand) are on the table tops.
The "prototype" that was sent to me did not have the production quality etching on the table surfaces, the final run will be brighter.

While we are on the subject, (after an e-mail to John) I like to clarify as well some other points.........

The actual rails will be the same design & same black color.
The "SAFETY" graphics of the production model will be the same quality as the original JMP tables.
The tables will be the same color orange.
The linear sliders will be different yet look the same, the production slider's (which encloses the linear bearings) decibel level will be the same as the one's sent.
The tables will be slightly smaller, Hole pattern changes because of slot re-location. Functionality is identical.

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Reflections at 3am.

Postby savatteridesigns » Sun Dec 13, 2009 5:05 am

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Reflections at 3am.

The new rails rock!

My JMP with the (prototype) upgrade kit followed me home for the weekend.
This Monday I'll start posting my thoughts on the new rails taking into account that I have been using the JMP since it first came out.
I'll talk about whether it is worth the money to upgrade to the linear rails, what the differences are and what one could do with the original tables and ways if one does upgrade.
I'll talk about what the changes would mean to the new owners of the JMP-v2 as well as the JMP-sw.

enjoy your weekend,
Roger


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A General Review of the new Linear Tables for the JMP series

Postby savatteridesigns » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:28 am

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A General Review of the new Linear Tables for the Jointmaker Pro (JMPv2 & JMP Upgrade Kit) from Bridge City Tools

I'll cut right to the point (perfect pun don't you think?): I have been a Jointermaker Pro user since its introduction and was more than curious as to whether it's worth the money to upgrade my Jointmaker Pro to the v2. Through this review you should be able to gain enough information to decide if the new JMP v2, the new JMP SW (single wing) or the upgrade kit is for you. I will not (at this time) bury you with details and insights to work methods, clamping set-ups (even if you see hints in the photos), nor will I repeat my review of the JMP from a year ago.

Note: Whenever I write JMP-v1, I am referring to the original JMP introduced about a year ago.

On the New Linear Rails . . .

Switching from the original dovetail system to the new ball bearing linear rails...

. . . is like the feeling you got from going uphill on a cruiser bike and then switching to a geared system bicycle.

. . . is like going cross-country skiing then switching to downhill skis.

. . . is like massage with oil as opposed to bare hands.

I think you get my point; they all get you to the same destination with less effort.

With that in mind it is important to note that the quality of the cuts between the two linear table systems is identical. Comparing a perfectly tuned JMP-v1 to the upgrade version you can't help but notice that the inertia and reduced effort of the new linear slides makes the cutting experience feel "breezy". There is an absence of drag with the linear slides that is inherent with the dovetail design. Especially when one travels the full length of the original ways - pushing through a cut, and then returning.

The new rails provide more momentum with less effort during the cut..

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Cutting small stock or cutting shallow cuts on large stock, whether it be squiggle wood, cutting dovetails, joinery cuts or chamfer cuts - the inertia of the new rails makes this an easier operation. Where the new system really shines are lengthy sessions for all the above. There was not the same feeling of fatigue as with the dovetail system. That being said if you are just an occasional user and working with balsa like wood for architectural models I'm not quite convinced that you would need to upgrade.

I found for instance when I was cutting the ripped piece you see below it became a "breezy experience" - which on the dovetail system is usually a tedious process.

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In the short time I've been using the upgrade I'm surprised at the robust quality of the linear rail system. There have been times in the past with the dovetail system where when you get a little ahead of yourself and you push the workpiece (trap clamped to the tables) into the blade; and the work piece and the blade become jammed. This then necessitates slowly backing the blade out and wiggling out the work piece, which sometimes leads to loosening the dovetail to table alignment - which then leads to having to recalibrate the tables. (An easy adjustment - but annoying interruption to one's workflow.) In the couple of times I got ahead of myself - that didn't happen with the upgrade rails. While I'm on that topic - if for some reason the table to rail alignment (bearing slop) does get out of whack there will be adjustment ports thru the bottom of the rail to adjust the screws that hold the table to the rails. On the prototype rails I have, only one rail has adjustment ports. Keep in mind that if you remove the factory installed linear bearing housing that is attached to the rails, (the sliders) all hell will break loose and you will probably void your warranty, as you will have acetyl ball bearings showering all around you.

While we are on the topic of linear bearings here's a brief animation with an x-ray view on how they work.
(I should note that the animation below is generic in form, and with no connection to BCTW's linear bearings - I'm just showing the similarity of motion.)

click on link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23G9b1imLHA

Keep in mind that the bearings in the JMP upgrade are acetyl (to reduce the noise level & the wear on the track) This system requires no lubrication and has no need for constant re-adjustment on the table / rails. The hydroscopic movement due to weather changes to the original dovetail sliders is no longer an issue. The noise level is definitely higher on the upgrade version, to where if you were multi-tasking while on the phone your caller would know that you were up to something. (Not so on the JMP-v1 - I know, I've done it many a time) Working at 2 am in the morning is possible however, unless your spouse is a very heavy sleeper you might want to set up in the room adjacent to the bedroom rather than the bedroom itself.

As a somewhat close re-enactment of the sound level - go to a drawer in your kitchen with full extension slides - older Accuride style slides are best - and slide it back and forth - putting some weight on the front drawer-face, its a little louder than that rolling sound, not including the sounds/clicks you hear at full and closed extensions. (This re-enactment does not work with Blum hardware!)

And one more little detail - Did I say - No lubrication required!

The Big Question . . .

Will I order the upgrade? Without a hesitation - yes.
Am I upset that there is a significant upgrade, just shy of a year from its original introduction? Actually, no and no. For the first no - I'm glad BCTW's was able to come up with a radical improvement on efficiency & ease of use on their next generation of JMP's and make the improvement available as an upgrade on an existing design.
For the second - "no", having the original JMP allows me with very little modification to have the ability to switch for an expanded use, inappropriate here, but I will soon share my thoughts on the Bridge City Tools Forum.

What I am more surprised at is that they have made such a dramatic change in the design of the JMP series without an escalation in price. In the days ahead I will go into more detail of using the new system as a single table user (simulating the JMP-sw), but with what I've done up till now is that for the majority of the cuts, a single slider is very efficient and effective. I tested the single table idea because the new JMP SW only has one sliding table.

The Down Side . . .

I have to say that I'm trying very hard here to list the negatives,
And the negatives a more annoyances to work around with!

The first - being the access slot on the outside edge of each table. (The ones directly over the new rails) Once the back fence is set up, in order to put through either the short bolt or longer bolt for the wood clamp one needs to pull the table all the way forward so the slot on the table extends to over the back plate - so you then feed the bolt thru at that point. (See photo) On the JMP-v1, one accesses the outside slots through the ways to feed the bolt.

This may be a matter of the "Prototype" version, but the access slot for the feeding of the short bolts in front outside slots of the table (to hold the back fence) when extending the table over the front plate - is a very tight feed-through. That would be remedied by making the table/slot just a little bit longer.

The sound, you'll get use to it - the JMP-v1 does have more of a Zen quality to it.

This is a surprise to me but using the JMP w/v2 upgrade rails, makes me want to use the tool more--resulting in one's disappearance from household activities, chores & family movie watching.
Now that can be a huge positive or a huge negative? I'll keep you posted!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In the next few weeks I'll be fielding questions from both forum members and visitors while I have use of the upgrade prototypes. I will also be documenting different clamping procedures and techniques that I have come to use.

all the best,
Roger Savatteri


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Postby ForumMFG » Wed Dec 16, 2009 7:55 pm

Roger is that plyboo (bamboo) i see you cutting swiggle wood with? This may be off topic but have you had any problems with it? I purchased 14 sheets of the plyboo and had to send it all back because the mositure content was way to high. Just wondering what your experience has been with that material. After you answer the question feel free to remove this post or move it since it really doesnt belong here.
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Postby savatteridesigns » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:18 am

ForumMFG wrote:Roger is that plyboo (bamboo) I see you cutting swiggle wood with? This may be off topic but have you had any problems with it? I purchased 14 sheets of the plyboo and had to send it all back because the moisture content was way to high. Just wondering what your experience has been with that material. After you answer the question feel free to remove this post or move it since it really doesn't belong here.


Forum,
Yes, its the plyboo "plywood" as opposed to their "solid" sheets
I only bought two sheets for a bathroom remodel, all cut down to small sizes. But I did notice a slight crown along the width to one sheet.
My only issue was when I picked the two sheets I had to go thru several as the color varies slightly to more. (I used the darker wider version)
The color variances are due to the sugar content so I'm told.
Cutting-wise on my table-saw I used an 80 tooth blade. You might want to take a look at this thread on tF....
http://www.talkfestool.com/vb/design-in ... amboo.html

hope this helps,
ps. Now that you mention it, next time I'll use a moisture meter on my next purchase. Also - which part of the country are you in.
(I'm in sunny Los Angeles)
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Postby rwest » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:34 pm

Hi Roger,

I solved the negative of installing the bolts from beneath the table. Check out my post in the JMP jigs and fixtures under "Trap Clamp Mod" I simply took t-bolts and grinded down the sides so they fit in the slot, and when turned, lock down to the table. This should also work on the fences with a shorter t-bolt.

Two other things Roger, thanks for posting this review for us, I can't wait to see each new post. and please do some posts on your stock holding devices and techniques, it sure looks like you have figured out some slick methods.

-Rutager(not in LA, in St Paul, freezing my butt off!)
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Postby ForumMFG » Thu Dec 17, 2009 5:06 pm

Roger, im freezing my a$$ off in columbus, ohio. I hate you:).

If you need any plyboo to finish your project i have some left over. Its yours for free, just pay shipping if you want. Ill never have a use for it as its just one of those products that is not requested often and im not impressed enough with it to build something for myself.
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Postby Michael » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:15 am

To perpetuate the off topic-ness.
That plyboo must destroy those blades! Have you noticed it yet? Bamboo has quite a bit of silica in it, just like teak, so it is like running your saw blade through sand while cutting it. Mixed with all of the epoxy resin in the plyboo, I am surprised you have gone this far with it. I would have assumed you would get some nasty results pretty quickly.

Great review Roger!
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Postby savatteridesigns » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:43 am

Michael wrote:To perpetuate the off topic-ness.
That plyboo must destroy those blades! Have you noticed it yet? Bamboo has quite a bit of silica in it, just like teak, so it is like running your saw blade through sand while cutting it. Mixed with all of the epoxy resin in the plyboo, I am surprised you have gone this far with it. I would have assumed you would get some nasty results pretty quickly.
Great review Roger!


Michael...

Opps.

So I guess this chapter will be titled ...
"How to Trash a Blade by using Bamboo Plywood"
And I'll document the blade's demise.
In fact, outside of the piece of squiggle wood in the above photos and about 20 miter cuts on the same size stock the blade still seems to be going strong. I have to finish a project I started, so I'll keep you posted.
(But I'll stay away from any rip cuts for testing purposes!)

Rutager ...
I'll be experimenting with a clamping procedure today for holding tight stock when doing miter cuts. I'll document/post it over the weekend.

Forum ...
thanks for the offer! I'll email you sometime over the weekend.

P.s.. I'll also post you & Rutager a weather report from L.A. heh

cheers,
roger
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Postby Michael » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:47 am

Well if you are finding that it works fine, then great! Its good to know, and surprising. Keep us posted.
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Postby ForumMFG » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:47 am

Michael wrote:To perpetuate the off topic-ness.
That plyboo must destroy those blades! Have you noticed it yet? Bamboo has quite a bit of silica in it, just like teak, so it is like running your saw blade through sand while cutting it. Mixed with all of the epoxy resin in the plyboo, I am surprised you have gone this far with it. I would have assumed you would get some nasty results pretty quickly.

Great review Roger!


Michael,

Maybe your blades are just that damn good?
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