Category Archives: Tools

Use a Wen 3410 Air Filtration System to Remove Fine Floating Dust In Your Shop

Okay folks, with all the sanding of plastic I do, my shop has tons and tons of dust in it.  In 2015 I read an article about how small fine dust particles are unhealthy – in general, the smaller the particle, the more it gets to places in your lungs where you don’t want it to and it may get stuck there.  Now I may be a slob, as my wife will readily agree, but I do get concerned about safety.  Now I investigated improving my dust collection off the tools and that was way too expensive.

At some point I will upgrade my dust collection at the tools but that will have to wait.  What you will notice when talking to a lot of the vendors, and Grizzly is one example, is that they only warranty their products for wood.  What this tells you is that they are using open bearings (not sealed bearings) and if other materials get in there (like my glass reinforced plastic), it will shred them.  Grizzly product support was real cool about answering my questions and cautioning me up front before I dropped a big amount of cash on one of their dust systems so kudos to them for being up front and honest.

Fine air filter systems are supposed to be on layer of a multi-layered defense but at this point, I was really worried about were the fine particles as I already have some basic dust management in place.  In addition, I always wear a quality Moldex 2310 N99 particulate respirator when drilling and sanding but all that junk was just floating around and getting on stuff in the shop, etc.  So the immediate need was to get rid of that fine dust.  I did some digging and there is a model of suspended fine air filter that seems to be sold under many brand names.  I did some digging on Amazon, read the reviews and went with the Wen 3410.  Just to be clear, I actually bought this – you are reading a review from a real user and not someone who got something for free in exchange for a review.

The unit arrived on November 9, 2015, and I have used it a ton – replacing both the outer and inner filters many times.  Let me tell you a bit first.

  

Before I did anything, I plugged the unit in and tested it.  I learned years ago not to do a ton of work installing something and then test it!  Test it up front so it is easy to send back or get tech support on the line and work on it.

I figured out where I wanted to hang the air filter and bought some heavy sign chain from Ace Hardware so I could get it just where I wanted it.  The unit isn’t very heavy but given me and some expensive tools would be right under it, I went for overkill.  It’s around 30 pounds and the chain is around 120 pounds if I recall right.  At any rate, I hung the unit and adjusted the hooks until I got it level.  I then ran an extension cord over to it and turned it on.  It was a tad loud on the highest setting but definitely something I could live with – I usually have the stereo cranked in my shop anyways so that wasn’t a big deal.

The unit comes with a remote for turning the unit on and off, setting the speed (low, medium or high) and whether to use a timer setting for 1, 2 or 4 hours.  I really like the timer as I can have it set to constant on while I am in the shop and then set it to the timer so that it can keep cleaning the air after I leave to get remnants out of the air.  Truth to tell, the remote’s battery door has been the only casualty since I bought it.  The little tab that held the battery cover in place was never very firm so I resorted to a couple of layers of black electrical tape wrapped around the remote and have never had a problem since.

What I noticed over the coarse of the next few days was that stuff in the shop was not getting a thin layer of dust on it like it was in the past.  The unit has an outer coarse filter that is 5 microns and an inner filter at 1 micron.  It’s good that it is two stage like that as you can see them both getting filled with dust or at least I can.  I probably make it about 2-3 months before I have to change the outer filter and in general I make it about two outer filter changes before I change the inner filter.  The life of the filter really depends on how much sanding I am doing and the material I am working with.  Once I saw all the crap in the filters, it made me realize that some percentage of that junk was going in my lungs – probably more than I knew.   

The next photo is telling – this is the exhaust side of the Wen.  After using the unit for over a year with a ton of hours, look how clean it is.  I have never cleaned it.  That gives you an idea how effective the filters are.

I go by the looks of the filters as to when I change them and I definitely keep spares on hand.  The Wen brand filters come in two packs and I’ve noted some of the sizes in case you want to try other brands of external filter.  For example, I used a few Powertec 421x241x45, 5 micron external filters worked fine.  In general, I try to use Wen.  I have only used Wen for the internal 1 micron filter but have seen other identical looking filters but have not tried them.  Note how white a new filter is (that is a new Powertec in the machine) vs. the filthy used one sitting on the blast cabinet.

So, I am very happy with the Wen and am actually thinking about a second for the other end of the shop.  If you are looking for a fine air filter, I’d recommend this one for sure.

2/22/2018 Update:  The Wen is still going strong.  No problems at all and I’m still very happy with it.


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WEN 3410 3-Speed Remote-Controlled Air Filtration System (300/350/400 CFM) (Tools & Home Improvement)

Remember when your workshop was full of clean air? Air-borne dust particulates can dirty up a woodworker’s workshop and harm a healthy respiratory system, but with the WEN 3-Speed Remote-Controlled Air Filtration System, you no longer need to worry. This system eradicates these contaminants by catching them in one of the two easily cleanable filters while circulating the air in your work area. The powerful 1/6 HP motor leaves no stone unturned, collecting every contaminant in its path. Quiet system creates 50 to 60 dB of noise and is controllable up to 26 feet away with the included remote. The lightweight design weighs in at a mere 31 pounds. Combine this with the attached carrying handle and eyebolts for easy mobility, mounting and installation. The WEN Air Filtration System collects and releases the air in your workshop after filtering it through both a 5-micron outer filter and a 1-micron inner filter. Easily switch between three speeds of 300, 350 and 400 cfm depending on what the situation calls for. With the time feature, you don’t even have to worry about turning off your machine. Simply set the timer and the machine will turn off on its own once the time runs out, allowing you to easily give your workshop a thorough cleanse at the end of a day of woodworking without having to be present. And because this is a WEN Product, your 3-Speed Remote-Controlled Air Filtration System is backed by a two-year warranty, a helpful customer service phone line, and a nationwide network of experienced technicians. Remember when you could breathe easy in your workshop? Remember WEN.

Features: 

  • Circulate the air in a 400 square foot room up to 7.5 times per hour
  • Three-speed operation flows air at a rate of 300, 350, or 400 cubic feet per minute
  • Includes a 1-micron filter and a 5-micron pre-filter, both of which can be easily replaced
  • Programmable timer automatically shuts unit off after set number of minutes
  • Remote control allows users to set timer, change speed and power the unit on and off from up to 26 feet away

List Price: $126.38 USD
New From: $126.38 USD In Stock
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Acid Etching Steel With Apple Cider Vinegar

Some folks have asked how I get the dull grey look on khukuris that I used to work on.  The answer is simple – apple cider vinegar straight from the grocery.  I’ve also experimented with various ratios of Prep-and-Etch, which contains Phosphoric Acid, and gotten a darker color but apple cider works remarkably well.  Apple cider vinegar contains 5-10% acetic acid (CH3COOH) depending on how it is made.  For example, I read that Heinz is about 5%.  My local store caries Spartan brand, which is their store brand, and it works just fine.  By the way, this only works with steels that can rust.  For example a mild steel or high carbon.  It will not work on stainless, aluminum, etc.

Safety Notes:

I would recommend doing this outside or some place very well ventilated or else if the acetic acid condenses on metal surfaces in your shop/garage, it will cause rust.

Wear safety glasses and don’t goof around with the stuff.  I’ve never had a problem but probably need to say some kind of warning here.

Process:

  1. Clean the part and remove all oil and grease.  Either hose it down really well with brake cleaner or soak it in acetone.
  2. Abrasive blast the part – I use “The Original Black Beauty” media that I get at my local farm supply store.  It’s made from coal slag and is fairly environmentally friendly.  It does break down quick so if you use your blast cabinet a lot, be prepared to clean it out and add new media when performance starts to suffer.  Blasting will get you a really nice uniform surface color.  I suppose you could try sanding or wire brushing but blasting has worked the best for me and is all I do now.  My only recommendation is not to use sand because as it breaks down it creates a fine dust that will never come out of your lungs – read that as “bad”.  I do use a blast cabinet with a vacuum to get rid of dust, you could do this outside with a hand blaster or tank blaster and dust mask if you needed to.  I wear a hood when blasting outside as the media goes everywhere.  Just protect yourself is the bottom line.
  3. Wear rubber gloves and clean the part again – the gloves are to keep oils from your skin from contaminating the part and preventing etching.  Cleanliness is critical.
  4. Put the part in cider that is at least 70 degrees.  I like 100-150.  If it is too cold the reaction slows waaaaay down.  I don’t like to get it super hot or boil it as you lose a ton of cider with no real benefit.  I have done this in everything from stainless steel containers to plastic containers and even plastic trays used for wallpaper with halogen lights warming it up.  In general the colder the cider the slower the etching and the hotter the cider the faster the etching bearing in mind you will have the cider evaporating faster.
    Note:  If you do not see bubbles coming off the part then either the solution is too cold (especially on cold days under 70F), the part is not clean or ready (so clean and blast it) or the cider too weak.  I’ve never had an issue with weak cider – always the first two.
  5. Submerge the part in the acid and let it sit for 15-30 minutes.  It’s not a strong acid so there’s no rush.  Just check the part and stop at the color you want.
  6. Rinse with hot water
  7. Rub down with WD40 and steel wool to get the loose particles off
  8. Then I like to seal it with boiled linseed oil (BLO).  Some of you may know BLO for woodworking but it is an old school rust inhibitor.  If you don’t want BLO, then thoroughly oil your part.

I like the results.  No real harmful chemicals are used, it’s cheap and looks great.

Photos:

The light brown solution is just apple cider.  If it is darker, it was 25-50% Prep-and-Etch + the vinegar.


You can usually get a coal slag blast media very, very cheap from farm stores.  Check there first because off Amazon you are paying a pretty penny for shipping whether they bury it in the item’s price or call it out separate.  I think I pay $7-9 per 25# bag at Family Farm and Home.

This is the actual product I use:  http://www.blackbeautyabrasives.com/products/black-beauty-original-abrasives.php

Now for the blasting, you have tons of options – hand blaster for small work, siphon blaster, pressurized tank or cabinets.  It all depends on how much blasting you plan to do.  I started out with a siphon blaster – dirt cheap but very slow.  I then got a tank and it was very fast and portable but media went everywhere.  I still have that for working on cars and big parts.  However, for my grips, gun parts and knives, I use my blast cabinet.  I have a Cyclone brand large bench unit and am relatively happy.  If I had it to do over, I would have gotten a free standing unit with a bigger and deeper hopper so I’m not constantly hitting the side or moving media around by hand.  I have a foot control pedal and that really helps plus it gets a the pneumatics out of the cabinet where they would normally be subject to abrasive dust and wear.

Cyclone Manufacturing
http://www.cycloneblasters.com/

My pressurized tank blaster is a Harbor Freight unit.  It’s held up relatively fine other than my constantly wearing out valves and tips.  The tank itself is just fine.
http://www.harborfreight.com/40-lb-pressurized-abrasive-blaster-68992.html


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A Very Affordable Bore Scope / Endoscope For Your Android Smart Phone That is Only 5.5mm Wide! The GiraffeCam v1.0

Guys, I have wanted a bore scope / camera for years – the formal name for this type of a device is an “endoscope”.  Guess what?  There is now one called a GiraffeCam for $16.99 on Amazon (with Amazon Prime shipping) provided you have an Android or Windows phone.  They mention a Mac in the instructions but the camera does not come with any kind of Apple plug adapter.  So, all I can tell you for sure is that it has a MicroUSB plug and works with my Samsung Note 6 that is running the latest version of Android.

The app they recommend is CameraFi probably because it is free but gets bad reviews in part because there are tons of ads and you can’t buy a paid ad-free version.  I looked around and found USBWebCameraPro for $8.99 and it works pretty good.  The only bug I have found so far is that when you switch from still camera to video and back the app seems to not want to take a picture or video.  Exiting and starting the app solves the problem.  It has a lot of features for using a USB camera and worked as soon as I plugged in the camera – it detected the presence of the GiraffeCam and did everything transparently.

So, I plugged the bright yellow GiraffeCam into my phone and looked in a Dark Bore M72 barrel for the first time.  There is a little dial on the side of the USB “dongle” that adjusts the brightness of some small LED lights.  WOW!!!!  The bore really did look like a sewer pipe!!!  The resolution isn’t very good but you can see the rust, dirt and that the rifling is almost entirely gone.  I wish the photos and video were higher resolution *but* the very fact that I can see in the barrel and get a general idea of the shape it is in for under $20 is absolutely remarkable – revolutionary even.

Now, here is the world debut of the inside of a very worn out M72 barrel with me turning the scope around:

 

Here’s me taking still photos with one hand while guiding the scope with another starting at the entrance to the chamber moving forward towards the muzzle:

Notice the chamber, the presence of the rifling near the chamber, the less rifling and then it turning into a sewer pipe.  This is cool.  I can see the rust, rifling … everything I need to know about the quality of the barrel.  I also ran this down the barrel into a chamber of a pistol, looked up a mag well, it’s very handy.  I have a messed up pool jet that leaks that I plan to look at before we fill it to see where a cracks is at.  The 6 foot cord gives you a lot of flexibility for rifles, shotguns, pistols, cars, you name it.

There are other versions of this scope – some connect by creating a wifi hotspot for example.  They do have a higher resolution GiraffeCam model for $39.99 so a bit higher in price but it is also 2 megapixels vs. the old 640×480 VGA that I reviewed here.  The one BIG problem I foresee with the v4 model is that the camera diameter will increase from the current 5.5mm to 8.5mm which will rule out a lot of the rifles I work with so there are still some big pros to using the v1.0 model.

Bottom line is that this is dirt cheap and a great way to get an idea of how the bore looks or any other place you can squeeze it into.

May 4, 2017 update:  I’m still happy with the scope.  I’ve not found anything this small with better resolution.  A friend asked me to measure the actual outside diameter (OD) of the head of the scope to confirm what the maker reports.  Using my micrometer, I show the OD as 0.2172″ or 5.515mm.  These next photos are from the bore of a brand new uncleaned 5.56 match AR barrel from White Oak Armory:

 


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GiraffeCam 1.0 Soft ShortFocus | Endoscope Borescope Inspection Camera | Android PC Mac | 5.5mm Diameter | 6.5 Feet (Electronics)

We are the sole owner of the GiraffeCam brand and associated intellectual property. Any counterfeits or infringements will be vigorously pursued.
*Not compatible with iPhones*

Features
The camera has a 5.5mm diameter housing that allows it to fit in tight places
– 6 adjustable LED lights allows for different brightness settings to suit the usage environment
– 0.3 megapixel, 640X480 resolution provides HD video and images
– The waterproof design (rated IP67) allows it to be used in almost all environments

User-friendly
– True plug & play on Windows 10 and Mac devices. Just plug the camera in, pull up the default Windows or Mac camera software, and select “USB2.0 Camera” to view and capture video and photos
– On compatible Android devices, just download the app from the App Store, open the app, and plug in the camera.

Compatible Smartphones
-Android (4.4 or higher) systems with OTG function -Samsung Galaxy S3 (i9300, i9308), S4 (i9500, i9508), S5, S6; Note2, Note3, Note4; SONY Z2 L50H; SONY LT26i; Nexus 5

Multiple Applications
-Automotive / Diesel Repair and Maintenance
-Inspection of hard-to-reach areas
-Plumbing, construction, restoration applications

Specifications
-Diameter: 5.5mm
-Sensor: 0.3 Megapixel CMOS
-Resolution: 640X480
-View angle:60°
-Focal Distance:2″ – Infinity
-Interface: USB2.0, Micro USB
-Light: 6 Adjustable White LED Product

Contents
1 x GiraffeCam SFT endoscope borescope
1 X Micro-USB to USB adapter
1 x Manual
1 x Side-mirror accessory
1 x Hook accessory
1 x Magnet accessory


Features: 

  • ANDROID OTG SMARTPHONES / PC / Mac – View and capture video and photos on compatible Android phones with the included Micro-USB adapter. Just download and open the App, and connect the camera to the phone. For PC / Mac, connect GiraffeCam to your computer (Windows 10 & Mac), open the default Windows or Mac camera software, and the camera functions as a webcam, allowing you to capture videos/photos or to use it with video-conferencing software such as Skype
  • BRIGHT YELLOW – Our trademark bright yellow cable gives the GiraffeCam a distinctive look and makes it easier to find in a messy toolbox or cabinet.
  • TECHNOLOGICAL MARVEL – Advances in camera and LED miniaturization technology has allowed us to bring you an affordable snake inspection camera with a diameter of just 5.5mm, with excellent image quality and bright illumination.
  • MYRIAD USES – The usage possibilities are endless with the GiraffeCam endoscope borescope. Primarily used for plumbing, automotive, and construction, it is an excellent tool to look into any hard to see place.
  • USA SELLER – We are based in Minneapolis, MN and strive to offer the best products and customer service. We do our own QC before the products are delivered ensure the best customer experience and no dud units.

List Price: Price Not Listed
New From: 0 Out of Stock
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Great New Bandsaw – Milwaukee Portaband + SWAG Offroad Table, Incra Mitre and Foot Pedal

Folks, one of my challenges is that I have a small shop.  When making my grips and handguards, I use a bandsaw to cut off the sprue – the waste plastic from where the liquid is poured into the mold.  Since I started, I used the relatively cheap Ryobi bandsaws from Home Depot and would get about a year to a year and a half out of them.  The glass fibers in my plastic would dull the HSS blades pretty quick plus it would absolutely eat the unsealed bearings alive to the point that they would fall apart.  I can’t fault them too much – the bandsaw was intended for wood really.

So as my last Ryobi started to get worse and worse (even with teflon sprayed into the bearings to coax a bit more life out of them), I knew I needed to move to something better.  During surfing, I found a company called SWAG Offroad made a really cool little table that could hold a Milwaukee Portaband saw and let you use it then as a vertical saw.  Now this seemed like a perfect fit – small, portable, sealed bearings, metal cutting capability and Milwaukee quality.  So, armed with that, I bought the SWAG Offroad table with Incra Jig and foot pedal plus a Milwaukee Portaband (Model 6232-21 Deep Cut Saw) in January 2017.

There are only certain models of saw that the table supports so be careful to get the right one.  In fact, they say it fits:

  • Milwaukee 6232-20, 6232-21, 6238-20, 6238-21
  • Milwaukee Fuel M18 2729-20, 2729-21 & 2729-22

My 6232-21 saw has a deep throat and uses a power cord as I really didn’t need the portability of a battery model or having to deal with keeping the battery charged given the way I use it.

Set up was very easy.  I think I had it all together in about 30 minutes including using a square to get the blade trued to the table.  I have been using this combination for about three months now and love it.  The table is heavy gauge and has held up great and I really appreciate the excellent Incra mitre guide and the foot pedal.  I’ve cut a ton of grips, Kydex and even steel with this and am still on my first blade.  Another positive is that the blades are much more sturdy and don’t “walk” around as easy when I am cutting something.

The only con I have encountered is that the blade faces you.  This means when you feed something to be cut, it is going straight back towards the neck of the saw vs. parallel.  This is not a big deal for me as I can turn around whatever I am working on and come at it from the other direction if need be.

In short, I really recommend this combination of saw, table, Incra mitre and foot pedal.  They definitely work great for me.

June 30, 2017 Update:  I’m still very happy.  Not one glitch and I have cut a ton of steel, aluminum, wood and the composite plastic I work with.  I had to cut a free float AR handguard to a custom length and that combination of the Incra mitre and heavy blade cut it as square as I could ask for with no wandering.


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The below is exactly what I bought:


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SWAG Off Road V4.0 Portaband Table Powder Coated With Foot Switch & Miter Gauge (Misc.)

SWAG V4.0 Portaband Table

Please verify that your model of saw is listed below as a supported model of the SWAG V4.0 table.

  • Milwaukee 6232-20, 6232-21, 6238-20, 6238-21& BS125

  • Milwaukee Fuel M18 2729-20, 2729-21, 2729-22 & CBS125

Here at SWAG our Portaband tables are built for individuals looking for quality, 100% American made tools at an affordable price. Designed for those working with limited space and or those looking to maximize the full potential of their hand held band saws.

Product evolution and expansion has led us to SWAG Portaband table V4.0. The SWAG V4.0 features built in dual miter gauge slides, 1/8″ thick bolt on steel legs to greatly reduce shipping cost, Fixed center section and an improved blade slot with narrower window to reduce potential blade binding.

To convert your saw into a vertical band saw installation could not be any easier, slide the adjustable foot guard to the furthest forward position then insert the saw into the stand and tighten the provided red thumb knob, that’s it. You now have a saw that performs two functions, a portable band saw and a vertical band saw that does not require any tools to switch between the two functions.

Our V4.0 table is cut on a CNC laser out of 3/16″ thick steel plate, formed on a CNC press brake and weighs in at ~ 18 pounds for ultimate durability. The table dimensions are 9.75 tall, 11″ deep & 13.5″ wide. With the saw installed the overall dimensions are ~22″ tall, 18″ deep & 13.5″ wide.

This kit contains all the necessary hardware to attach the Milwaukee deep cut Portaband saw on the SWAG V4.0 Portaband table.

 


Features: 

  • Made in the USA
  • CNC laser out of 3/16″ thick steel plate, formed on a CNC press brake.
  • Dual Miter Gauge slides; Comes with Foot Switch and Miter Gauge
  • Fits the following models Milwaukee 6232-20, 6232-21, 6238-20, 6238-21& BS125
  • Fits the following models Milwaukee Fuel M18 2729-20, 2729-21, 2729-22 & CBS125

List Price: $269.95 USD
New From: $269.95 USD In Stock
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How to Make a Simple and Effective AK Barrel Back Out Tool

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AK rifles use press-fit barrels wherein the barrel is pressed into either the forged trunnion (if it is a sheet metal receiver) or the receiver and then held in place by the 7mm barrel pin.  As part of this, the barrel must be headspaced to the bolt to help ensure the cartridge is properly seated.  A challenge that commonly happens is that a builder inserts the barrel using whatever method ranging from a big hammer to a hydraulic press but when they try to use their headspace gauges, they find they have gone too far.  Alternatively, folks trying to insert a barrel back in that was already headspaced notice that they overshot the barrel pin groove when looking through the holes across the groove in the barrel.  Regardless of how the mistake is identified, the question becomes “what do I do now?”

There is a relatively quick and easy solution – use a long shaft to drive the barrel back out.  These tools are generically called “barrel back out tools” and you can make one many ways.  They can all be summarized as having a long shaft to reach through the receiver to the chamber end of the barrel and then either a copper or brass fitting to protect the chamber from being damaged by the rod.   I have seen everything from guys using socket extensions, to pieces of round steel, to custom purpose built tools.

One time, I pressed in a Yugo M72 barrel too far and had to press it back out so I came up with a quick and easy tool that I kept in my tool box and even sold for a while until I stopped because the profit margin just wasn’t sufficient.  With that said though, it’s worth sharing with folks just in case they wind up in a jam.

Here is what you need:

  • One 1/2″ grade one or two bolt that is about 12″ long (or however long you want to make it)
  • One 1/2″ grade one or two steel nut
  • One 1/2″ brass nut

For my first tool, that I still have, I just went to my local Ace Hardware store and bought the parts.

Basically, the long bolt allows you to reach into the receiver to the chamber end of the barrel to apply pressure.  I used a really long bolt because a Yugo’s rear trunnion is solid and you have to go down at a long shallow angle to press the barrel back out.  With AKMs or other AKs with open rear trunnions, you can simply go straight from the back to the front.  Note that you need to clear the ejector without damaging it.  I purposefully used a low grade bolt as I did not want it brittle from hardening.

The steel nut needs to be ground down enough so that the combination of it and the brass nut can fit in the area where the bolt normally locks up.  You want as much brass as possible to be in front of it and the brass nut should protrude from the bolt.  You don’t need a great deal of the brass nut threaded on the bolt as the steel nut is backing it up to provide much needed support.  I would grind and test repeatedly until the timing was such that the two nuts matched up just right when I tightened them down.

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Note, I used to grind the brass nut to match the extractor notch in the barrel but have stopped doing so as the brass simply deformed anyways.  The following photo shows how the brass simply bends and conforms to the extractor notch plus you can see that the brass nut extends well forward of the steel bolt.

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In the next photo, you can see the shallow angle I used to press the Yugo barrel back out.  Again, you would not need the same if you could go straight through the receiver:

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Here is a close up of the chamber and bolt area:

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Historically I did all my barrel work with my 20 ton press but now I mainly use air tools except for really stubborn parts.   When I originally did this post in 2014, I used my press.

With the M72, I was able to very simply move the barrel back out a bit, turn things around and then press the barrel in until the proper headspace was achieved.  The tool worked so well that I have it in my tool box still and have used it a few more times plus I did make a dozen or so and sold them to guys who had good luck as well.

As a caution, make sure the trunnion is well supported – you can see I have it resting on the press plates in the photo above.  Make sure everything is set up, stable and that you are clearing everything else before you apply pressure with the press.  If you apply pressure and nothing happens, stop and carefully inspect what is going on – the tool may be sitting on something other than the barrel.  More force may damage parts and you do not want that.

Lastly, be safe – take your time and play it smart.  A press can develop massive pressure.  Wear safety glasses and do not dream of having your hands anywhere in, on or around the parts being pressed.  All things considered, backing a barrel out should take very little force but you do not want an accident to happen.  If you are tired and frustrated, stop and wait until the next day or when you have relaxed and calmed down.  Most of my personal accidents have happened when I was in a rush, tired or angry – don’t be me 🙂

In closing, I hope this helps you in your building efforts!


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


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Build Your Own AK (Vol. I): Headspacing & Virgin Barrel Population (Kindle Edition)

Got an AK Parts Kit? This ebook shows you how to build it right!

The AK-47 and its variants are world-renowned for being simple, rugged and nearly indestructible. But if you wanted to build your own Kalashnikov rifle there was no good single source of construction information—until now.

This new ebook series dives deep into proven techniques of home-built AKs. Profusely illustrated with numerous photos and diagrams, these manuals will show you exactly how to assemble your AK parts kit step-by-step. Your build will go easy using our techniques, recommended tools, and veteran builder tips/tricks…all with a critical focus on both safety & quality.

Volume I covers both headspacing procedures and the population of the barrel components in a non-original barrel or virgin barrel AK parts kit. Both AK-47 and Ak-74 build procedures are described in the first book.
Topics include:
– Measuring the barrel journals
– Cut extractor relief on chamber end of the barrel
– Cut the clocking notches for the lower hand guard retainer
– Strip bolt, in preparation for headspace check
– Align, and press front trunnion onto chamber end of barrel
– Headspacing
– End mill/ream barrel pin notch, and set barrel pin
– Install, and drill/pin Rear Sight Base
– Locate, and cut lower handguard retaining notch
– Gas Port location
– Install Lower Handguard Retainer
– Install, and align the gas block
– Drill and pin the gas block
– Install, and align the Front Sight Base
If you have been waiting for the ‘definitive AK assembly guide’ before building your AK, wait no more.
Volume II (coming this Fall) will continue the journey, showing every step to complete your Matching or Newly populated AK parts kit into a complete rifle.


By (author):  Guy Montag, Nicoroshi

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Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only
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Use An Air Riveter to Get Barrel Pins Out Fast

One of the things that used to drive me nuts with AK builds was driving out barrel pins and then I got a tip from Gunplumber – a variable trigger air hammer or air riveter makes it way easier.   Many cheap import air hammers have an air valve behind the trigger that is either on or off and not much in between.  Some guys call the variable valve triggers “tickle triggers” – why?  I have no idea.  At any rate, every air riveter, which looks like an air hammer, that I have seen has a tickle trigger to allow the user more control when setting rivets.

I use the pointed conical air chisel to start the rivet and that is the hard part.  Once you get it moving, then use a big hammer and the largest punch you can fit in the hole to drive the rivet the rest of the way out.  Note, I only do this when demilling.  I use a barrel pin jig to install barrel pins because you have so much more control.

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The following photo is of an ATS brand Pro Series 3X riveter.  The bigger the number, the more poweful the riveter.  I also have a big 4X equivalent Ingersol Rand that I use on large rivets or work needing a powerful tool.  The 3X has a nice combination of power and weight and it almost always works on barrel pins and certainly on small trigger guard AK rivets.

 

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You can find rivet guns from many suppliers – even Harbor Freight.  I’d recommend you get a 3X for most work and a 4X if you want even more options.

The following is the riveter shown above:

When the conical chisel gets beat up, I grind the tip down and when it is really fried, I just pull out another.  You can get good deals on the chisels off eBay, Amazon, etc.  Just go with a brand name or ones with good reviews as soft/junk metal will round over faster.

 

 

 

Review of the Excellent Ken Onion Edition Work Sharp

As many of you know, I like knives and do a great deal of custom work on khukuris.  My problem is that I also have what is known as a “hereditary” or “necessary” tremor, which means my hands shake.  I have to really focus when I do work that requires fine motor skills and sharpening with a belt sander and jig is a bear for me that I try to avoid.  A little over a year ago, I was visiting the Smoky Mountain Knifeworks store in Sevierville, TN, when I saw my first Work Sharp brand sharpener.  It looked somewhat like a gimmick to me and I didn’t bother spending much time at their demo table.  I thought to myself “who needs a little triangular belt sander to mess up a fine blade” and left it at that.

About six months later, I was getting more and more blades to sharpen and in researching methods I ran across the Work Sharp again but this time folks were talking about the heavier duty Ken Onion Edition Work Sharp.  Now this intrigued me because the reviewers mentioned how quick the set up was, that the unit was very portable, powerful motor, variable speed and that the angle could be adjusted with a dial.  What really wold me is that it could do a consistent convex edge (note, there are many types of convex edges and I’m not going to go into that now – but for me the idea of consistency was and still is a big deal).  The other big reason is that really hard metals take a long time to sharpen by hand, which is what I usually did when it came to doing tune ups & that took a lot of time.

I decided to take the plunge and ordered the Work Sharp Ken Onion edition plus some additional belts off Amazon.  Thanks to the Prime shipping program, the box arrived two days later like clock work and I started testing and using it in early February 2014.  I point this out so you know this was written after quite a bit of use.

I learned a looooong time ago, never start with any blade of value when you are learning and this is another example of that.  I have been using this sharpener for close to six months and really like it but you do need to practice and learn how to hold the blade and get used to the feel.  I need to insert a caution here – it is always easier to take more metal off than put it back on!!!  If you use a coarse belt then you can remove a lot of material fast.  That’s why I recommend practicing first on knives you don’t mind if they get scuffed up a bit.

The photos are of my six month old sharpener.  The belts actually last quite a while but I would still recommend you get an extra package or two of them just in case.

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The unit has a 1/4″ thread on the bottom if you really want to secure it.  I find I can use it just fine without mounting it and this is great because I can move the unit to where the work is.  For example, I was outside on my work bench and brought the sharpener out there.  The red dial you see is the variable speed control.  I purposefully bought the Ken Onion edition as it has a bigger higher torque motor to avoid bogging down while sanding.  My experience is that it does a great job.  I can sand my big khukuris without a problem.

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The yellow lever lets you rotate the sanding cartridge so you have a flat sanding surface if you want it.  I tend to use use one of my other sanders but this could be handy for folks who need an all in one unit.  By the way, the roller you see in the lower right corner of the catridge is spring loaded.  With the unit off, you press that in and slide the belt off the top.  To install a new belt, load the belt at the botton, push the pulley in and slip the belt over the top.  This makes belt changes very easy.  You can see the other belts in the background of the photo – I start with coarse and work my way up to the edge I want.  With the khukuris, they are sharp but I don’t put hair popping edges on them so they are stronger.  I figure a customer can always go sharper if they want.

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Now, you really ought to buy an angle guide to set the angle of the sharpener.  There is a very easy to use guide that can let you find out what something is set at easily made by Richard Kell out of brass.  It takes away all the guess work.  You side the blade into the guide and if the edge goes into the little circle at the bottom and there isn’t any slop then you have found your angle.

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Now the Work Sharp only adjusts 15-30 degrees.  For kitchen and field knives, this tends to be just fine.  It tends to be with tools that you get into tools that you go past 30 degrees.  I wish it could go wider but I can deal with those tools on one of my regular sanders as they are exception rather than the rule.  I knew I needed something to speed up my work and make a consistent edge of the right angle on knives so the angle range the tool can do works out pretty well for me.

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The belts are color coded and have their ID inside each for easy identification.  Note, the Ken Onion edition uses wider belts than the normal edition but those will work as well I am told.  Also, the belts really hold up well.  As they wear, they just cut slower.  I’m actually very pleased that they used good abrasives and not the junk that just falls apart.

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In the next photos, you see me using the X4 fine belt to put a very sharp edge on a Himalayan Imports khukuri that is hardened 5160 alloy steel plus you see a photo of my every day carry, a Kershaw Compound KS1940 that my daughter got me for my birthday a few years back.  I use this knife literally every day to open boxes, cut strap, cut open plastic containers, and so forth in the shop.  It is 8CR13MOV alloy and needs sharpening each week due to all of the use.  The Work Sharp does great in both cases.

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In summary, this is a very useful tool for many reasons.  For novices, this is a great sharpener.  For more experienced folks, this is a handy tool that is very portable and can help save you time while producing a quality edge as sharp as you want!   So, I would highly recommend the sharpener, spare belts and the angle guide and Amazon makes it easy to one stop shop and get all three:

Update 7/23/2018:  The unit still works great.  Here’s a post I did about affordable belts.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Work Sharp Ken Onion 5-Pc. Coarse X65 Belt Kit - Model# WSSAKO81118

$14.95
End Date: Thursday Dec-13-2018 8:43:04 PST
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Official Belts Replacement Kit For The Knife And Tool Sharpener Ken Onion

$19.11
End Date: Monday Dec-10-2018 7:59:31 PST
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Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition + TON OF EXTRAS

$200.00
End Date: Friday Nov-30-2018 12:02:09 PST
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Work Sharp Ken Onion X65 Belt Kit WSSAKO81118

$21.57
End Date: Friday Nov-23-2018 6:37:12 PST
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Work Sharp Ken Onion Extra-Coarse P120 Belt Kit - 5-Pc. Model# WSSAKO81117

$20.23
End Date: Friday Nov-16-2018 20:01:31 PST
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Work Sharp WSSAKO81111 Tool Grinding Attachment For Ken Onion Edition - Dealer

$39.95
End Date: Tuesday Dec-11-2018 11:32:22 PST
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Work Sharp Belt Kit - Ken Onion Edition

$39.67
End Date: Saturday Dec-1-2018 6:52:11 PST
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2 Boxes Of Work Sharp Ken Onion Blade Grinding Attachment 2pk Strop Belt Kit

$29.00
End Date: Wednesday Nov-28-2018 15:50:28 PST
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New Work Sharp WKS03894 Ken Onion Edition Sharpener

$149.09
End Date: Saturday Nov-24-2018 9:13:33 PST
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Work Sharp 3890 Ken Onion Edition Blade Grinding Attachment

$85.10
End Date: Saturday Dec-8-2018 1:08:46 PST
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Work Sharp Blade Grinding Attachment WSSAKO81112 For Ken Onion Knife Sharpener

$63.74
End Date: Monday Nov-26-2018 12:53:43 PST
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Work Sharp Ken Onion Replacement Belt Kit for Knife & Tool Sharpener WSSAK081113

$19.99
End Date: Friday Nov-23-2018 14:16:50 PST
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New Work Sharp WKS03911 Ken Onion X4 Belt Kit

$19.56
End Date: Monday Nov-19-2018 13:59:01 PST
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New Work Sharp WKS03892 Ken Onion Tool Grinding Belt

$19.56
End Date: Monday Nov-19-2018 13:58:57 PST
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New Work Sharp WKS03920 Ken Onion Stropping Belt Kit

$22.06
End Date: Monday Nov-19-2018 13:58:56 PST
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New Work Sharp WKS03910 Ken Onion X22 Belt Kit

$19.56
End Date: Monday Nov-19-2018 13:58:52 PST
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New Work Sharp WKS03893 Ken Onion Blade Grinding Belt

$22.06
End Date: Monday Nov-19-2018 13:58:50 PST
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New Work Sharp WKS03891 Ken Onion Assorted Belt Kit

$19.56
End Date: Monday Nov-19-2018 13:58:50 PST
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New Work Sharp WKS03863 Original/Ken Onion 6000 Belt

$14.86
End Date: Monday Nov-19-2018 13:58:48 PST
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New Work Sharp WKS03909 Ken Onion X65 Belt Kit

$19.56
End Date: Monday Nov-19-2018 13:58:45 PST
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New Work Sharp WKS03908 Ken Onion P120 Belt Kit

$19.56
End Date: Monday Nov-19-2018 13:58:37 PST
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Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Ken Onion Edition - Precision Sharpening...

$174.87
End Date: Thursday Nov-15-2018 8:53:30 PST
Buy It Now for only: $174.87
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Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Ken Onion Edition - Precision Sharpening...

$174.87
End Date: Thursday Nov-15-2018 8:53:30 PST
Buy It Now for only: $174.87
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Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Ken Onion Edition - Precision Sharpening...

$174.87
End Date: Thursday Nov-15-2018 8:53:30 PST
Buy It Now for only: $174.87
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Work Sharp 3892 Ken Onion Tool P60 Extra Grit Grinding Belt

$15.67
End Date: Friday Dec-14-2018 9:51:50 PST
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Work Sharp Assorted Belt Kit For Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener

$15.85
End Date: Tuesday Dec-11-2018 9:33:58 PST
Buy It Now for only: $15.85
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Work Sharp 3911 Ken Onion X4 Fine 5-Belt Tool Sharpening Sharpener Kit

$15.61
End Date: Sunday Dec-2-2018 22:24:40 PST
Buy It Now for only: $15.61
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Ken Onion Edition Knife and Tool Sharpener

$151.17
End Date: Friday Dec-7-2018 1:00:06 PST
Buy It Now for only: $151.17
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Assorted Belt Kit; Ken Onion Edition

$24.46
End Date: Friday Dec-7-2018 1:00:05 PST
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Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Blade Grinding Attachment WSSAKO81112 Brand New

$79.99
End Date: Wednesday Dec-5-2018 7:07:22 PST
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New Work Sharp WKS03892 Ken Onion Tool Grinding Belt

$18.29
End Date: Thursday Dec-6-2018 14:47:04 PST
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WORK SHARP 09DX029 WSKTS KEN ONION EDITION X65 SANDING BELT

$4.83
End Date: Tuesday Dec-4-2018 13:00:04 PST
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Work Sharp 5 X22 Medium Grit Belts For Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener

$15.78
End Date: Thursday Nov-22-2018 13:59:42 PST
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New Work Sharp WKS03920 Ken Onion Stropping Belt Kit

$20.66
End Date: Thursday Dec-13-2018 5:26:22 PST
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New Work Sharp WKS03893 Ken Onion Blade Grinding Belt

$20.66
End Date: Thursday Dec-13-2018 5:26:15 PST
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New Work Sharp WKS03911 Ken Onion X4 Belt Kit

$18.29
End Date: Thursday Dec-13-2018 5:25:49 PST
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New Work Sharp WKS03910 Ken Onion X22 Belt Kit

$18.29
End Date: Thursday Dec-13-2018 5:25:42 PST
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New Work Sharp WKS03909 Ken Onion X65 Belt Kit

$18.29
End Date: Thursday Dec-13-2018 5:25:36 PST
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New Work Sharp WKS03908 Ken Onion P120 Belt Kit

$18.29
End Date: Thursday Dec-13-2018 5:25:28 PST
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Black Kershaw Leek Pocket Knife Ken Onion 1660CKT Assisted Fine Edge

$30.00
End Date: Friday Dec-14-2018 10:54:49 PST
Buy It Now for only: $30.00
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Kershaw 1620C Ken Onion Camo Scallion Folding Knife with SpeedSafe

$6.50 (5 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Nov-21-2018 8:05:51 PST
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Kershaw 1640 Vapor Design by Ken Onion Folding Pocket Knife Frame Lock w/ Clip

$19.83
End Date: Friday Dec-14-2018 6:12:25 PST
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Kershaw Speedsafe USA 1840CKTST Patented Ken Onion Design Folding Pocket Knife

$78.89
End Date: Friday Dec-14-2018 5:57:56 PST
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KERSHAW CLASH 1605 Spring Assist SPEEDSAFE Knife Ken Onion kai EDC New

$19.95
End Date: Thursday Dec-13-2018 19:12:20 PST
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KERSHAW USA Speedsafe Folding Pocket Knife - 1600VIB CHIVE Ken Onion RAINBOW

$19.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-18-2018 18:41:37 PST
Buy It Now for only: $56.99
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Kershaw Tyrade 1850 - Ken Onion Design, Speed-Safe, titanium handle, NIB

$499.99
End Date: Thursday Dec-13-2018 16:06:16 PST
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Kershaw 1660CB Ken Onion Leek Assisted Flipper Knife 3" Composite D2 Plain Blade

$60.00
End Date: Thursday Dec-13-2018 13:08:34 PST
Buy It Now for only: $60.00
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Very good condition used Ken Onion Chive Kershaw Sppedsafe Knife

$9.30 (1 Bid)
End Date: Tuesday Nov-20-2018 10:44:22 PST
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Kershaw 1620NB Liner Lock Pocket Knife Ken Onion Design

$19.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Monday Nov-19-2018 18:00:22 PST
Buy It Now for only: $35.00
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Zero Tolerance ZT 0350BW G10 Black Wash S30V Plain Edge Folding Knife Ken Onion

$100.00
End Date: Wednesday Dec-12-2018 15:17:56 PST
Buy It Now for only: $100.00
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KERSHAW KNIFE KEN ONION 1620 DESIGN

$8.40 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Nov-17-2018 11:32:44 PST
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WORK SHARP Knife + Tool Sharpener Ken Onion Edition WSKTS-KO

$129.95
End Date: Wednesday Dec-12-2018 9:09:45 PST
Buy It Now for only: $129.95
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KERSHAW 1597G10SW KEN ONION OFFSET,PLAIN BLADE 

$140.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-18-2018 17:59:45 PST
Buy It Now for only: $190.00
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Kershaw 1640 Vapor Folding Knife By Ken Onion Combo Blade All Stainless Steel

$18.95
End Date: Sunday Nov-18-2018 17:25:05 PST
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CRKT #K320GXP Outrage by Ken Onion ~ NIB

$21.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-18-2018 16:23:25 PST
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Kershaw Shallot Spring Assisted Pocket Knife Ken Onion 1840ST Combo Edge

$52.00 (25 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Nov-15-2018 19:00:46 PST
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Kershaw Steven Seagal Ken Onion 1680 ST AUS8A Stingray Liner Lock Knife

$100.00
End Date: Monday Dec-10-2018 13:50:29 PST
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Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Ken Onion Edition – Precision Sharpening from 15° to 30°, Premium Flexible Abrasive Belts, Variable Speed Motor, Multi-Positioning Sharpening Module (Tools & Home Improvement)

ADJUSTABLE SHARPENING GUIDE – produce precise edge bevels from 15° to 30°. Motor- 120VAC / 1.5 amp. Duty Cycle-1 hr continuous

VARIABLE SPEED MOTOR – handle every sharpening task, from grinding to honing. More power with improved cooling & the option of slow speed honing or high speed grinding
PREMIUM FLEXIBLE ABRASIVE BELTS – deliver a strong, long lasting razor-sharp convex edge

FAST, PRECISE, & REPEATABLE – sharpening results with no set up or calibration time

MULTI-POSITION SHARPENING MODULE – for precision knife sharpening or various positions for a wide array of tool sharpening or detail shop grinding tasks

PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN COMPANY – This tool was engineered and assembled by hard working Americans. Work Sharp is part of Darex, a 4th-generation family owned company in Ashland, Oregon. For over 40 years we have been creating industry-leading sharpening tools here in the USA.


Features: 

  • Adjustable sharpening guide – produce precise edge bevels from 15° to 30°. motor- 120Vac/1.5 amp. Duty cycle-1 hr Continuous
  • Variable speed motor – handle every sharpening task, from grinding to honing. More power with improved cooling & the option of slow speed honing or high speed grinding
  • Premium flexible abrasive belts – deliver a strong, long lasting razor-sharp convex edge
  • Fast, precise, & repeatable – sharpening results with no set up or calibration time. The 6000 grit belt measures ½ x inches) for better contact with Serrations, gut hooks and other hard to reach edges
  • Multi-position sharpening module – for precision knife sharpening or various positions for a wide array of tool sharpening or detail shop grinding tasks. The variable speed control (1, 200 sfm to 2, 800 sfm) provides you with the optimal belt speed for the task at hand
  • Proud to be an American company – this tool was engineered and assembled by hard working Americans. Work Sharp is part of darex, a 4th-generation family owned company in Ashland, Oregon. For over 40 years we have been creating industry-leading sharpening tools here in the USA

List Price: $149.95 USD
New From: $129.95 USD In Stock
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