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Profile for D. Elston > Reviews


D. Elston's Profile

Customer Reviews: 83
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Helpful Votes: 322

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Reviews Written by
D. Elston "Supersport" RSS Feed (Houston, TX USA)

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PORTER-CABLE 4212 12-Inch Deluxe Dovetail Jig
PORTER-CABLE 4212 12-Inch Deluxe Dovetail Jig
Price: $154.99
11 used & new from $154.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not "perfect", but dang it makes nice dovetails., March 28, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
In building a large workshop / workbench setup for design called for 19 drawers of various sizes. I elected to use 1/2" Baltic birch plywood for the drawer sides (some of them are very deep and solid was cost prohibitive), and because I was intending to build this to actually last an perhaps even improve the value of my house, I decided I wanted to dovetail them. Oh how neat it would be to learn to make dovetails by hand, then realizing I had almost 80 joints to make...I scrapped that idea and looked for a jig.

Other jigs I've looked at are either really cheaply made, and end up with horrendously looking joints that are either too loose, too tight, messed up, don't fit etc. -OR- they're super crazy expensive and are for professional furniture builders to make their joints look all artistic. So I arrived here...

I bought the Porter Cable dovetail jig based on it's consistently and overwhelmingly positive reviews here and other places around the internet. I took a chance, and dang, this jig is incredible. I've cranked out 16 half-blind dovetail joints so far (photo of a few of them), and a LOT of practice joints while dialing in exactly how tight I wanted them to fit. If you're on the fence about this one, this jig makes dovetailing about as simple as it gets. Now with my process understood and underway, I can get through about drawer's worth of joints in ~15 minutes including setup.

* Robust build (for the most part): Everything feels solid, except for the little bolts that the clamp pressure knobs ride on. Luckily these are a common hex head bolt, in case they get bent from trying to apply to much clamping force.
* The templates are very high quality machined surfaces, and leave almost no wiggle when the correct template adapter is fit in there. My dovetail joints can be "need-a-hammer" tight if I want them to be.
* On that...when the joints are too tight, there are little reminders on the side that help you remember what to do to adjust the jig to loosen them up...without needing to bust out the instruction manual.
* Quality joints. This thing, along with the bits and the template guides they give you in the pack, produces extremely attractive and solid joints. Test fitting can sometimes be a one-way street. Good luck getting them apart. If you add glue, well the wood will break before the joint does.

Non-pro Tip: Have a deadblow hammer on hand, because sometimes despite your best efforts and setup, the joints will need a little convincing to go together :)

* Super easy. My first dovetail joint was very snug, clean, (see the images), well fit successful and it took me about 20 minutes to understand the process before I had tested out a few things and was into making my first drawer. Just take your time, work on one drawer at time and one dovetail joint at a time, and MARK YOUR PIECES BEFORE STARTING because it can get a little confusing.

* The instructions...oh gosh what a mess. But then again being an engineer myself, it IS pretty tough to write simple instructions on a relatively complex setup, so I can understand this (a little). As an alternative, just watch a couple YouTube videos on this and you'll be set.
* The adjustable bit depth knobs are plastic and unless the bits are dropped in/out perfectly vertically, these will get cut up very fast (mine already are). I suppose if these were metal it would dull the bit, but there soft plastic seems like the wrong choice as the reference surface won't last long. Also, on this, the design doesn't leave much vertical space to fit a wrench in there to adjust the backup nut, a little extra would help.

For what I paid for this jig, (~$150) this is a no-brainer. It's not perfect, but it's so simple, so useful, and does such a good job, it's hard to get upset at minor flaws.

PS. Worked great with Ply wood, a few fractures here and there, but simply sandwiching the vertically hanging piece with sacrificial piece prevents tear outs from becoming a big issue.
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MLCS 9099 Universal Router Plate for Porter Cable type Template Guides
MLCS 9099 Universal Router Plate for Porter Cable type Template Guides
Price: $28.80
2 used & new from $27.75

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Halleluiah I can see what I'm doing! This plate fits the Bosch 1617 Router, and works great for template guides, March 28, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I too have the Bosch 1617EVSPK Router, and bought this to use in making some dovetailed drawers using the Porter Cable 4212 Dovetail Jig. I am working up to eventually changing routers

(See my review on the Bosch 1617 if you're curious why:

and wanted something that would work universally with other router brands because I got tired of Bosch's crazy amounts of accessories (that block everything you're doing). This base allows me to actually SEE what I'm working on and fits the commonly used Porter Cable Template Guides perfectly. I've now used this to create a number of dovetails and it works flawlessly.

* It's pretty thick, I have no concern with it being fragile or not lasting quite some time, although I could imagine it getting pretty scratched up over time.
* It fits the Bosch 1617 router which seems to be a feat in and of itself
* It's clear, so I can see the bit contacting the material, which helps a lot, instead of working entirely by feel.
* Universal, or at least more than a single product. If I ever buy another router, it's a good chance it'll be within the range of tools it fits
* Fits common template guides without the need for 27 Bosch adapters

* It did not come with anything but the base plate. Not centering pin, or screws. Luckily I had these from my original parts kit.

It does what I needed it to do. Pretty straight forward

Kershaw 1660 Ken Onion Leek Folding Knife with SpeedSafe
Kershaw 1660 Ken Onion Leek Folding Knife with SpeedSafe
Price: $39.54
145 used & new from $34.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Literally a Perfect Design., March 23, 2016
This review is from: Kershaw Leek Knife (Sports)
The Ken Onion "Leek" is unequivocally the best everyday carry knife I've ever had. I have it in black, and because of how wonderful this knife is I've given it as a gift to nearly every person in my family that would appreciate it. Here's what's to love:

* Sharp, stays sharp. Of course this isn't really a "feature", more of a requirement of a knife, but still. I bought this for myself back in 2010, still carrying it today in 2016. It's still surprisingly sharp after very minimal sharpening, perhaps a year ago.

* I gave the Ken Onion Chive to all my groomsmen, while it too is a good knife, it's far too short in length to be useful in my hands as an everyday knife. The Leek, however, is nearly perfect dimensionally:

** The length is Short enough enough to fit in my palm without pouring out the back, but still long enough to get a commanding grip on it when preparing to bring out the blade.

** The width is is fine, but the curvy shape the knife takes on both the blade side and the back side is essentially catered to my palm's curves. It's also not overly wide or thin so that my hand closes over it in a relatively relaxed state. Seriously, it's hard to imagine another knife working better for this purpose.

* It is wonderfully thin (just shy of 5/16" not including the clip). A carry knife for me means it can't make much of a print in my pocket, because my pockets on my work slacks, jeans, shorts whatever are already full with other things like phone, wallet, keys etc. A knife too big to require a belt carry is not a knife I will actually carry daily, same for one that is big and bulky in my pocket. The Leek is discreet, and I usually forget it's there.

* The speed safe opener is wonderful and is still smooth after 6 years (and a spritz of WD-40 a while back). There's not much I can say here except I don't want another carry knife without this style opening. No thumb push/wrist flip required, just push the little nub on the back to deploy the blade.

* The blade safety mechanism (for me) is essential. I carry the knife was in my pocket with the tip pointing up such that when I reach for it it's in my hand correctly (you can rearrange this via moving the clip). Originally I didn't use the safety, but one time the speed safe allowed the blade's tip to begin to show. When I reached my hand in my pocket I was greeted with the blade's tip in my palm. A new habit was formed.

CONS: (?)
If I had to pick something I didn't like about it it would be the finish. Mine is in matte black, because I wanted it to be discreet. The only thing I can say is my gold college ring likes to draw little gold lines on it, and the finish on the clip is now almost completely gone. I'm not sure that this is the knife's fault, but it does get marred up pretty easily. Oh well.

This knife is one of those rare purchases I've made where I literally stop shopping after having it. I'm so satisfied with it I'd just replace it with another of the exact same if this one broke or was lost/stolen. It also makes a very cool and well received Christmas/Bday present for dads, family. friends etc.

Colorado Cropped Eagle 210 Flexfit Hat
Colorado Cropped Eagle 210 Flexfit Hat
Offered by BC Surf & Sport
Price: $29.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Love everything, except the super stiff front panels, March 22, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Love the gray color, the material is quite nice as well. The build is also very solid, I can tell it'll last a long time. I'm not the type to wear my hats with the bill totally flat, so this one will also get curved like the rest, but that said, it'll be a struggle: this bill is very stiff an clearly intended to remain flat. I like the details in the embroidery as well, especially the nice touch of the "never summer" brand's font on the back. The main logo on the front is very bright, crisp and clean.

My only gripe about the hat, one that others might not care about is how stiff the front two panels of the hat are (the ones touching the bill). I like a hat to sort of form fit to the curve of my head, this one however has such a stiff backing sewn into it that it stands up super straight in a very "trucker-like" fashion. Right now, unless worn with the bill perfectly flat, the difference in stiffness between the panels on the front with the backing and those immediately touching it without backing creates an edge that protrude on the sides where the hat starts curve around my head.

I plan to bust out my sewing skills on this one and modify it to remove the majority of the backing to allow it to settle a bit. It's a sweet cap and I love the look, good enough for me to go through the effort anyway.

Traditional Round Bun Foot in Maple - Dimensions: 4 x 3 1/4 inches
Traditional Round Bun Foot in Maple - Dimensions: 4 x 3 1/4 inches
Offered by Osborne Wood Products, Inc.
Price: $9.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Really nice product, but pricey shipping from manufacturer., March 21, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Really nice product, that much is for sure. The shipping on these is totally absurd though, almost doubling the price. Next time I'd just find something similar locally next time.

Bosch 1617EVSPK 12 Amp 2-1/4-Horsepower Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Router Kit with 1/4-Inch and 1/2-Inch Collets
Bosch 1617EVSPK 12 Amp 2-1/4-Horsepower Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Router Kit with 1/4-Inch and 1/2-Inch Collets
Price: $219.00
13 used & new from $183.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Glaring design flaws, steer clear of this junk., March 21, 2016
Very powerful. I'll save the motor for use with a dedicated router table & lift. The bases are total junk

* Motor / Base alignment design
Apparently Bosch didn't plan for someone changing bases very often on this one. The design uses a single small (3/32" diameter, 1/8" long) relatively sharp pin to guide the motor and bases together. If you EVER manage to get the motor's axis and the base's axis even slightly misaligned when inserting the motor into the base, this pin will scratch it's mating surface leaving a no-longer-flat surface. Mine did exactly this. When I managed to get them about 50% inserted it got totally stuck together. And by "stuck" I mean to the point where I almost threw both the motor and plunge base away. After stopping the fun part (you know, woodworking) and scratching my head for the better part of an hour on how exactly to get these motor out of the base I had to resort to some crafty clamping and a deadblow hammer just to salvage the motor. The plunge base is long gone in the trash can. (As an alternative, take a look at DEWALT DW618PK 12-AMP 2-1/4 HP Plunge and Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router Kit and how it uses a very coarse threading mechanism to adjust height).

* Template Guides
Bosch is makes this about as convoluted as possible. Most routers can accept a common circular template. This one needs a couple adapters to do this and it still completely blocks your view of the work.. Forget that. As a temporary workaround I bought a clear base and some non-bosch template guides to escape this mess. (Check out Porter Cable's solution to template guides).

* Micro adjustment failure
I used this router with Bosch's router table, which allows you to adjust the bit height above the table using a little allen wrench into a pass-through hole to the operate the router base's height adjustment knob. Well, the adjustment knob on the base that receives the allen wrench just randomly failed (became totally loose, dropping out of the base itself) essentially incapacitating any height adjustment finer than the 1/2" macro adjustment.

* Dust collection nightmare
Seriously, I shouldn't need 3-4 different attachments to collect dust from a tool used in slightly different applications. The design on this is just terrible.


Okay, Had I been really abusing the tool, I would expect it to fail. But I take good care of my stuff, especially my shop tools. I have had cheap knock-off tools last years by using them correctly. This one, however, has managed to disappoint me in more than ways than one, and also surprise me at how badly designed it is. I essentially am left with a motor, and am now looking for a better long term router solution. What a joke.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 24, 2016 3:33 PM PDT

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Jumbo Cardboard Blocks (40 pc)
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Jumbo Cardboard Blocks (40 pc)
Price: $31.69
108 used & new from $29.07

5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to our toy room, lots of practical learning applications for the little ones, January 6, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These are great. Easy for 1 or 2 parents to team up and construct quickly, they stay contsructed even when stood on by my toddler. There are 40 blocks (as the package says), we thought that would not be enough and almost ordered two sets, but let me tell you, you can build quite a few things with 40 blocks, and they take up a lot of room.

Being an engineer myself, I appreciate the proportions of each size block match the other blocks, i.e. 1 red block is as wide as 2 blue, and 4 yellows. This makes building quick and fun structures much better, and more stable as the blocks leave minimal gaps. My son loves to build with these on his own, but loves when I build a super tall tower (~7 feet-ish) before letting him run through it seeing it all crash down. There's actually quite a bit of learning that a kiddo can get from some simple blocks.

I'd get these again in a heartbeat.

Rubie's Costume Man Of Steel Deluxe Adult Muscle Chest Superman, Blue/Red, Medium Costume
Rubie's Costume Man Of Steel Deluxe Adult Muscle Chest Superman, Blue/Red, Medium Costume
Offered by Toynk Toys
Price: $35.21
24 used & new from $35.21

1.0 out of 5 stars Unwieldy chest piece = Instant return, January 6, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The chest piece on this was so horribly fit it became an instant return. It puffed out in all the wrong places (under the arms, so my arms essentially rested on the corners as a shelf when letting hang by my side). The chest piece is semi rigid and form fit to someone with a monster wide chest apparently. Oh well. Someone else is clearly a better superman than I am ;)

Terminator: Genisys
Terminator: Genisys

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent I guess, but the story runs out of gas pretty fast, January 6, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Terminator: Genisys (Amazon Video)
I felt like this movie tried too hard. It used many of the same elements with very very minor tweaks on them. It had some of the classic themes and lines reused, what I imagine was an attempt to make fans of the T1/T2 to feel like this was a true Terminator movie. Unfortunately the story just sorta got me tot he point of not caring. It was sort of missing the soul of the original and T2, in lieu of being twisty.

It wasn't TERRIBLE (T3), but I definitely enjoyed where Terminator Salvation was taking the franchise more than this one. If I were to draw an parallel to another series, Salvation seemed gritty and raw like what Batman Begins did to the Batman series, where Terminator Genesys felt more like a Batman & Robin...makes sense to me anyway. Either way, if you're a fan of Terminator movies, it's worth seeing once, but you won't find this one in my collection.

Swingline Thermal Laminator, Inspire Plus, Quick Warm-Up, Includes Laminating Pouches, White/Gray (1701857ECR)
Swingline Thermal Laminator, Inspire Plus, Quick Warm-Up, Includes Laminating Pouches, White/Gray (1701857ECR)
Price: $24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Very handy tool, You'll likely use it more than you realize, January 6, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Works great, come with a few lamination pouches to get you started. It heats up pretty quickly ~3-4 minutes and does it's job with ease. I've already used it a few times and realized there are many things I probably should've laminated over the years but didn't have one (useful one-page setup to a power tool, a printed page I refer to a lot, labels for attic storage boxes etc.). Didn't realize how useful a laminator would be until my wife bought us one.

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