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WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Power Tool Maintenance

Power Tool Maintenance
by David Thiel

Popular Woodworking Books: 2006
Paperback, 128 pp., $24.99
ISBN 1-55870-755-7

     According to Mr. Thiel, no woodworker should have to become a machinist to keep commonly used tools in good working order. Some shop tools have a lot of adjustments to deal with, and others are so simple many of us overlook any form of maintenance on moving parts. Thiel's book is practical guidance on this subject, and he doesn't go overboard about it, saying, "Although it's really nice to have a perfectly flat table saw top, if it's within a few thousandths of an inch, it's okay. If you get out your feeler gauges, you need to chill out."
     For each of ten common shop tools, Thiel explains the basic types available, draws a diagram of inner workings, discusses crucial parts, and then lays out a step-by-step maintenance plan. He mentions additional equipment for calibration, but most often sticks with common shop reference tools or simple ways to make adjustments with useful alternatives.
     The machines covered are table saws, jointers, planers, band saws, drill presses, miter saws, routers, jigsaws, drills and sanders. It is not a book on how to use them, but on what to be aware of when using them. On the band saw: "The tension gauge isn't the bible." On miter saws: "It's worth training yourself to adjust the throat plate opening to reduce tearout. Hey, it's less time sanding." Such simple-yet-sage advice is offered throughout the text to encourage more efficient use of the machinery.
     Thiel includes a drill speed chart and, in each chapter, general information on that tool. A list of manufacturers and a full index complete a very useful book.

. . . Barb Siddiqui