Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust

Going against the grain

Tag: minimax

The Beast is Out of the Cage: Minimax FS30 Initial Setup

Minimax FS30

Last night, I powered up the Minimax FS30 Jointer/Planer for the first time.

The Minimax FS30 initial setup is straight forward.  Minimax secures everything to a wooden pallet.  They even nail down the fence and accessories.  The real trick is getting her off the pallet.  This thing is heavy.

I stacked 2 x 8 scraps next to the pallet and carefully walking her off.  Once on the scraps, I employed the help of my lovely wife.  Check out her blog at  We lowered the Minimax FS30 to the ground by lifting one side and removing a board until she was all the way down.

Removing cosmoline is the most tedious part of the process.  Anyone who has ever received large machinery knows what I’m talking about.  I removed most of the goop with a plastic putty knife.  I removed the rest with lots of rags and a liberal amount of mineral spirits.  With the goop removed, I gave the beds a light coat of Boeshield T-9 and a coat of paste wax.  Don’t forget to get into all the nooks and crannies.  The cutter head and in-feed rollers hide lots of the stuff.

The Minimax FS30 doesn’t come with a power cord, so you will have to make your own.  I used a 10-2 rubber coated cable and 30a twist lock connector.  Everything hooks up to a junction box on the side of the machine.  There are two hot junctions and a ground.  It doesn’t matter which hot wire goes to which hot terminal.  Just make sure you connect your ground wire to the green ground terminal.

From there, it was just a matter of installing the knives and accessories.  These Tersa knives are great.  They install in a matter of seconds.

This thing purrs like an angry kitten.  I’m really impressed with the build quality.  The castings are beefy.  The base is constructed of heavy-duty sheet metal.  The fit and finish are excellent.  I haven’t been able to put her through the paces yet, but the initial cuts impressed me.  The only issues I’ve discovered is that the fence has a very small concavity along its width.  It’s very subtle and I don’t believe it will affect edge jointing in practice.

Stay tuned for a full review.


Embracing Electron Power: My Migration Towards Power Tools

I love my hand tools.  They’re soothing and cathartic.  But, the one thing I love more than using hand tools is designing furniture.  Eventually, I want to do this full-time.  If I want to take this passion full-time, I need to embrace electron power.   I need to focus more time on design and less on milling lumber.  My hand tools will always have a place in my work flow.

Minimax FS30

I start this migration with the purchase of a Minimax FS30 Jointer/Planer combo.  My single most tedious task is milling lumber by hand.  Milling by hand teaches you a lot about wood, but it consumes too much time to focus on design.  I purchased a combo machine, due to limited shop space.  This will be a solid investment.  Minimax has a proven track record and their corporate offices are very close to me.  I also considered Hammer, but ultimately decided to go with the FS30.

The new circuit has been run.  All I need to do is get her off of the pallet.  Free beer for any helpers!

Next, I will buy a table saw.  I love flexible European-style, sliding table saws.  However, most are out of my budget.  Sawstop is my second choice.  They build a solid saw with a proven safety record.  Following that, I will likely invest in a hollow-chisel mortiser.  I plan to build a lot of furniture with mortise and tenon joinery, so this will also come in handy.

It won’t all happen right away, but I will embrace the change and move on to bigger things.  Wish me luck!