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The Delta Cyclone 50-905 dust collector looks a little like a giant garbage disposal. Then again, its job is largely the same — it takes bits of crap you don’t want lying about and gets them out of sight so you can go on with your day. The difference is the cyclone is a 32-gallon monster with a 1-1/2 HP motor behind it that packs 10 inches of static pressure.

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I came to the lathe party both late and unprepared — but as it turns out, with good equipment, the uber-friendly folks at Rockler, and my old man, learning to turn isn’t all that hard. With just a few learning experiences under my belt, the basic concepts were simple to grasp and easy to repeat. The 46-460 from Delta was no small part of that. A lot of people were leery of the company changing hands a while back, but the simple truth of it is: it’s business as usual at Delta, and business is making solid woodworking machinery.

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With the first project effort behind me, I went looking for a second small craft item to turn on the Delta lathe. There are about a thousand great projects to do, but I was looking for something with a little flair. Luckily, a trip to the local Rockler store never fails to provide. There, my dad and I found a pizza-cutter kit on sale for $15 and a bit of olive wood — just the thing we needed.

Stopping by Rockler in my family is a little like sending grown men into a money hole. We normally go in pairs to keep the other one from spending the grocery money on rare woods and tools. On this occasion, it was even worse, as the local shop in nearby Richardson was holding CNC routing and turning demonstrations. After drooling over the displays and checking out a few demos, the paternal unit and I stumbled across Rockler’s excellent pizza-cutting kit that features a large steel-cutting roller and mounting hardware. All you need to do is supply a handle.

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After reading a ton of stories about lathe accidents, horror stories of amateur woodtuners’ disfigurement, and the “reassurance” from friends and family, it’s easy to think of lathe work as the devil’s own. After working my first project on one I can say it’s not that way at all. Turning is both pretty easy to get started with and simple to understand once a few basics are clear.

Since all the pen-making paraphernalia hadn’t arrived yet, I was determined to do something on the lathe. All the books and how-to articles recommended I start with a cylinder; this seemed pretty boring but I thought I’d try it out. The cylinder plan didn’t last very long. Turning fever sunk in quickly and then things started to get interesting.

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Let’s say for a minute your shop is lacking that certain “something” — something a pile of new tools could help cure. If that’s the case, you could enter the Woodcraft American Dream Shop sweepstakes going on now to November 30th, and land a new shiny palette-load of awesome in your shop.

The prize package (which sounds dirty if you think about it) breaks down like this:

The prize package totals $14,000. The American Dream Shop tool prize package includes a 3 HP Delta UNISAW with a 52 in. BIESEMEYER Fence System and mobile base; a 14 in. Band Saw; a 13 in. Portable Thickness Planer and stand; an 18 in. Laser Drill Press; a 12 1/2 in.Variable Speed Midi-Lathe and stand; and a 1-1/2 HP 1 Micron Dust Collector.

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A few months ago while talking to our friends at Delta, I mentioned I knew next to nothing about turning wood — but the thought of making spindles, cups, pens, and bowls interested the hell out of me. We chatted a while, geeking out about turning like wood freaks do, and had a good time. Then the casual interest turned into a burning need. Being the good sports that Delta are, they lent us one of their 46-460 Midi-Lathes to play with.

Of course, I do have another lathe at hand in the ShopSmith; however, it’s a floor or maxi-lathe and isn’t as perfectly suited to smaller work as a dedicated smaller unit. The 46-460 with its 1 HP(max) motor, 12 1/2″ swing capacity, and variable speed three-pulley system provides a generous range of flexibility for those like me who are just starting out in turning. Delta thinks it’s a fine machine to begin on.

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We’re guessing Delta is a little tired of hearing that they’re “moving overseas” when they’ve worked diligently for the better part of a year to set up shop here in the states and crank their production into gear. That might explain the latest press release from them telling the press and consumers in general about the completion of 300 units of their Unisaw/cabinet combos in the new factory.

“I hope this news will put to rest anyone thinking we were moving overseas,” said Bryan Whiffen, President and CEO of DELTA Power Equipment Corporation. “We believe strongly in the DELTA Made in the USA tradition and are working hard to continue that tradition.”

300 units doesn’t sound like a ton of progress, but keep in mind a few facts that might help put those numbers in perspective: Delta isn’t like Ford; they don’t crank 1,000 saws a day on an assembly line. That would be nice, but it’s not that kind of fast production line. They build each saw from scratch, test them to standard, then package them up and send them out. So 300 is a good milestone to reach and a sign that Delta is now fully functional and doing what they do best — building great woodworking equipment, once again.

36-L352 Unisaw [Delta]


Delta has now put up their new website which is free of Porter Cable for the first time in a long time. Though many are still a little wary of the new look and new resulting company, we’re stoked that at least we’re seeing where they are headed. In short, it’s business as always.

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We’ve heard no end of moaning and wailing about the restructure of Delta and their subsequent move to Anderson, South Carolina — everything from, “They’re headed to China next!” to “One step closer to oblivion!” From everything I’ve seen, I’m just not feeling it.

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If you own a Craftsman, Delta Shopmaster, DeVilbiss, Husky, or Porter-Cable air compressor, heads up: DeVilbiss (the actual manufacturer of these particular models) announced the recall of about 460,000 compressors due to an overheating problem that can pose a fire hazard.

The picture above (courtesy of the CPSC) shows where to check model number information, but you’ll want to visit the CPSC website (link below) to check the extensive list of affected models, which we sold at “home centers nationwide from January 2003 through December 2004.” Affected Craftsman models were sold at Sears (of course) from September 2000 through December 2005.

If you own an affected model, the CPSC says you “should immediately stop using and unplug the recalled compressors and call DeVilbiss or Sears for a free inspection and repair.”

DeVilbiss Recalls Air Compressors Due To Fire Hazard [CPSC]