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Hoffmann Dovetail Joining System

Opinions Wanted Using thumbnailer

Vikki

Grumbler in Training
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
3
:confused: First time to the grumble-hope for help from all these experienced framers. Recently bought a thumbnailer and am having trouble getting a nice tight corner, even though I've made adjustments recommended in the manual. Dry-fit corners look great, routing seems to line up on the back, and sometimes when the insert is pushed in the corner will separate a little. This product is supposed to draw in the corner, but I'm not seeing that. If anyone experienced with getting the bugs out of this process has some input, I'd appreciate it. Thanks
 

Bud Cole

True Grumbler
Joined
May 30, 2000
Messages
68
Hi Vikki--Welcome to the Grumble. You`ll find it an excellent place for an exchange of ideas. Now to your Thumbnailer--a great machine that you`ll get much pleasure from--try extending the router bit out just a smidge and experiment. That should make the wedge pull the joint together. It will take some experimenting but hopefully you`ll get it right the first time. Have a great day!!!!! Bud Cole budipenn@fuse.net smile.gif
 

JRB

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Aug 12, 2000
Messages
7,104
Go to an auto parts store and get a gap setting doomahocker. It looks like a metal jack knife with a whole lot of blades of different thicknesses.
Take one of the thinner ones and put it between your router bit setting jig and the bit. Try different thicknesses untill your satisfied with that setting. Write down the blade you used for future reference.

John
 

RevBev

True Grumbler
Joined
Aug 29, 1999
Messages
89
I worked for a while in a shop that used one of these things. Be sure to buy the carbide bit so you won't have to change it very often and have to go through the adjustment process all over again. The main limitation to this joining technology is that if your chop is from two different lots of moulding that are not exactly the same width you can't easily play around with where the discrepancy would be least objectionable. You will be aligning the outside and putting all the difference to the inside. The cool part is that you can don earmuffs and goggles and crank up the shop-vac and make a huge racket for a few minutes before the store opens and have all your frames for the day (or week!) ready to join at your whim.
 

Colleen

Grumbler
Joined
Feb 5, 2000
Messages
23
Hi Vikki...I use a thumbnailer too. If the bit is in too short, you will have loose corners, but if it's in too long, the outside edge of the corner may separate a bit, especially on the harder woods, and they may crack around the thumbnail insert. Mine is old, without an instruction book, so it was very frustrating until I discovered the solution. I also clamp my frames, after glueing and joining, with Merle corner clamps. It's quick and easy and makes the corners extra tight. I hope this helps.
 
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besthby

Grumbler in Training
Joined
Sep 13, 1998
Messages
9
We have used the thumbnailer in our chop business for years. They have definite strengths and weaknesses. For the most part the people that use the service really like it.. We were told (by I believe it was Gritsco, Nielson C&H tech service) to not use the feeler gauge when setting the bit depth. Your bit is not out far enough. The end of the bit should "lightly" scatch the surface of adjustment stop they provide. And yes only buy the carbide bits, the regular bit is garbage. If you want to contact C&H tech service I believe their number is 800-631-5414, ext 243. Gristco knows everything there is to know about C&H equipment.
 

Vikki

Grumbler in Training
Thread starter
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
3
Thanks to all for the great input, it's really helping and I've contacted Gritsko. He thinks there also might be a problem with the bit itself, since some of the areas routed out were actually larger than the inserts, kind of a sloppy fit (on the softer woods). I really appreciate all the advice, any additional input welcomed.
 

CharlesL

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Apr 9, 2001
Messages
7,246
Originally posted by JRB:
[QB]Go to an auto parts store and get a gap setting doomahocker. It looks like a metal jack knife with a whole lot of blades of different thicknesses.[QB]
John's talking about a 'feeler guage'. You may want to get one for adjusting valves, and get an offset one. Trust me, the auto parts guys will know exactly what you mean. Listen to JRB. He knows whereof he speaks.

The feeler guages are inexpensive. They come with guages from 1 thousandths up to, usually, 35 thousandths. There are thicker ones, but they are usually for gapping spark plugs. Depends on the 'gap' you need to set.
 

garysummer

Grumbler in Training
Joined
Apr 25, 2020
Messages
1
does anyone know when i dont get the same depth of routing? the left side is always deepr than the right?
 

Greg Fremstad

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Joined
Sep 4, 2002
Messages
927
My framer buddy has a thumbnail. He switched to Hoffman bits and inserts. He claims better and stronger corners.
 
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W.D Quinn Saw Co. - US Made Picture Frame Blades
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