Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

It's that time of year again, the lights are glowing, the eggnog is flowing, and there are new tools! Santa brought me the Work Sharp 3000 so maybe now I can actually put an edge on those planes and USE them. It's a pretty slick little unit, but I tried it with an old cheap chisel and I can see it will take some practice. I also got a bonus leather hone accessory with it. Nice!

The spouse got a lot of little scroll saw accessories, including a sample pack of the Flying Dutchman blades. Hopefully all this "stuff" will actually get the spouse out in the shop and using that lovely scroll saw.

I got a pre-Christmas gift as well. Canadian Tire had their 12 inch mini lathe on sale for $110.00 so I figured for that price I could give turning a try. It's not a priority right now.

The holidays have seriously cut into my shop time and I have a lot of catching up to do out there. Right now I am in the middle of building my air cleaner/downdraft sanding table/table saw out feed table combo unit. It's been on hold for over a week now. Come on people CHRISTMAS IS OVER! Let me get back in the shop!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Haulin Ash

I now have the ultimate shop tool! A 2010 long box Chevy Silverado! I can now go to any building center and buy whatever sheet good I want WHEN EVER I want. No more waiting for a truck. No more paying for cuts. No more wondering if it will fit.
I got the Trifecta tonneau cover too so that rain and snow won't hold me back either! And the box has an over-the-rail Line-X coating so no worries about cosmetic damage. With a kick-ass V8 engine and the towing package I can load that baby to the cab roof with sheet goods.
Yep, I can haul ash, maple, oak, whatever. If it sprouts leaves or needles I can haul it.
And I will be able to buy it all right after I win that lottery.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Finishing Touches

The tool box is complete! This was one heck of a long project, but I did go about it the hard way. Things didn't go perfect but it was a good learning experience as I had to go into many aspects of woodworking, even a few that were new.

I am not unhappy with it, although I know all too well the imperfections. There were quite a few "repairs" made to this before it was finished. But all things considered it turned out quite well.

Now it's time for a little break from the shop. I am just going to do a little clean up out there and start planning some new "organizational changes." Time to put Google Sketchup to work.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Box

I finally got the box together. There were a lot of mistakes made during this, and in turn a lot of learning of things not to do and learning ways to fix things that went wrong. Still I have to say it turned out better then I anticipated. Not perfect but still a very nice box.

Right now I am in the process of finishing it. I have discovered my garage is very tightly sealed and in need of some kind of ventilation when doing finishing. For the moment that involves opening the outside door for 10 minutes. Not something I will want to do come mid January.

It was fun experimenting with all the different woods in this box. Now I am experimenting with how different woods work with different finishes. This is obviously an art that takes a long time to master. Hopefully I'll at least get somewhat good at it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tooling Around

I have been busy the last few weeks with this tool box concept. It keeps getting more and more elaborate as I go. I am sure the fellows on the woodworking forums think I am a total nut. Ah well my creative gene was missing a few links.

Building this box has given me the opportunity to use almost every tool in my shop. Today for example I am going to have my first go at the biscuit joiner. Saying I am a little nervous is an understatement. I am in the process of making the lid out of blood wood and black locust. Neither of these are cheap woods. And if I mess up I do not have enough of either wood to start over. So wish me luck.

The box itself has undergone many design changes since it's inception. What it will finally turn out like is anybodies guess. But I do enjoy box making it seems. Especially when I am not constrained to the "normal".

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Toy Inspiration!

The spouse attended a beginner scroll saw class at Lee Valley last weekend and things have moved rapidly since then. Apparently the spouse is a "natural" on the scroll saw. Of course that giant industrial scroll saw I have was just not cutting it. By some strange stroke of luck, we happened to be in Home Hardware and they had the DeWalt DW788 scroll saw on sale for $529.00. It was NOT in the budget but we scooped it anyway. I have to admit that is one beautiful scroll saw. It is quiet as a mouse and literally NO vibration. Makes that old saw of mine look like a train wreck.

Now we are stocking up on scroll saw accessories. Since this is the spouse's "new toy" I am keeping my distance for the moment. But I thought it might be nice to build the spouse a tool box to store blades an accessories in. It's actually coming along quite nicely. I gave cutting grooves and dado's on the table saw a shot and it works really well. Unfortunately I had to remove the guard again, but I WILL be putting it back on.

The tool box is going to be a true work of art. (Collage IS an art isn't it?) It's going to be made of veneers of spalted maple, walnut, and zebra wood. I am sure it will be considered quite crude in most woodworking circles but I am not trying to win a prize with it. Just proving to myself once again I CAN do this stuff. I seem to live in a cloud of self doubt most of the time.

The non-smoking is non-working. I need some kind of torture I guess. Oh wait, isn't that what smoking already is?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Quitter's Blues

I am TRYING to quit smoking. All I can tell you is if you don't smoke, NEVER start. This is a horrible horrible addiction that does nothing but slowly kills you and makes it almost impossible to stop. Right now I am super stressed, miserable, grouchy, and I haven't even quit yet.

It's been a tough month in the woodworking arena. There have been several folks on that have been seriously injured in their shops this month. Some have shared photos and they are not pretty. Almost every one of them says they just lost focus for a second and that's all it took. I had my own close call on the router table but was fortunate enough not to be injured.

We get too lax about power tool safety now and then. There are lots of excuses: I was in a hurry, I had lots on my mind, it was getting late and on and on. In one second your whole life changes forever.

Because a couple of these accidents were on the table saw and happened with the guard removed I have decided to reinstall my guard. I spent 15 minutes getting it set up today. That was 15 minutes that may save my fingers and was well worth it. It will be unlikely I will remove it again.

Now I am going to go smoke a cigarette and continue killing myself. Then I think I'll kill something on the computer. I can't wait for Modern Warfare 2 to come out next month. I'm going to be all over that!

I can hardly wait to see how cheery I am when I actually QUIT smoking.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Understanding Wood

My vacation came and went with very little of it being used for what *I* actually wanted to do. I ended up doing more computer repairs then anything else which DID NOT make me happy. The only project I got completed was a new drawer for my router table. That was an exercise in frustration with the new box joint router bit.

I spent 7 hours TRYING to get a setup on that bit that would produce a decent box joint. Finally I gave up and in 25 minutes I had the Oak Park 1/4" box joint jig set up and had the four sides of my drawer DONE. Sometimes it's best to stick with what you already know works.

Part of the problem, I discovered MUCH too late, is that I actually didn't understand wood. When I was working with plywood I was under the misconception that grain direction didn't matter. But it most certainly does. At some point this Revelation occurred to me and things started to go much smoother after that.

The sad part is now that I GET this concept and actually understand WHY grain direction is important, I am looking around the shop at a few other projects I have done and think CRAP! that's ALL WRONG!

I am sure this knowledge with improve my woodworking immensely. Well I can hope anyway.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

HAPPY Thanksgiving!

This turkey has just turned 50. Some days I feel like 90 when it rains and the arthritis and fibromyalgia kick into high gear...AT THE SAME TIME. But fortunately some of the meds I am forced to take are anti-depressants, so I am in pain but still smiling.

I got to take my last vacation of the year this Thanksgiving long weekend. I swore I was going to do NOTHING but what *I* wanted to do. That didn't make it past the first day. There have been computer repairs, a birthday party, Thanksgiving, and the numerous daily tasks that still have to be dealt with whether or not you are on vacation. But I did manage to squeeze some shop time in there.

My birthday was actually excellent this year. The spouse surprised me and bought me the Dewalt D55168 200PSI 15 Gallon air compressor I have been lusting after. Now I will be able to use the Mastercraft HVLP Spray paint outfit I got on sale at Canadian Tire.

I also got some router bits from Elite Tools. There were a few I picked up at the Woodstock wood show but I got the rest for my birthday. That box joint bit is a scary demon in the router.

My friends all chipped in and got me a $100.00 gift card for Lee Valley! I think I am going to use it to buy some books I wanted. I have the list all printed out, but I will go to the store and browse around before I make any decisions. You never know what might tickle my fancy with a hundred bucks to burn.

The Woodstock wood show was a bit of a disappointment this year. There were no exceptional deals and the vendors weren't really in a bargaining mood. Other then some bits and a couple of sanding mats the only other things I bought were a couple of pieces of Lace wood. I really hope the London show in February is better.

Despite making my self sick (sinus infection) by resawing some white ash and NOT wearing a dust mask I have had a pretty good vacation. The topper was winning $250.00 in the lottery pool at work. I have a few more days before going back to work and a couple of projects I'd like to do in the shop. But we'll see how it goes. Planning never works the way you plan it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Just Add Paint

IT'S DONE!! There were times I was sure this moment would never come but the Go Kart is finished! The grandson and spouse are going to paint it on the weekend while I am at work. I am sure that will be a colourful time. At least he'll get to ride it before the snow files. As to where the hell we are going to store this thing...I have NO idea. But it has spent enough time in the garage!

Tomorrow is the start of the Woodstock Wood Show. That's where I'll be spending MY day. Unfortunately the spouse is NOT going with me. (can you feel my sadness... NOT!) I hope the credit card still works.

The Go Kart Finish Line

Although I can no longer remember when I started this project, the end is in sight. I should be finished by today and the spouse and grandson will be painting it on the weekend. This was a long and at times very frustrating project, not to mention how expensive it was. I did learn several things while doing this. The most important lesson was HAVE A PLAN. Building things off the top of your head is difficult at best. There is a lot of trial and a whole lot of error.

This project also taught me that there is more then one way to cut wood. I think I have used every cutting tool I own at some point on this project. Because I often assembled things and then realized I needed to make a cut, I had to do some very innovative cutting. I don't recommend this method.

So I am going to head back into the shop and get 'er done as they say. I'll post pictures later.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Productive Shop Time

The spouse is away for a few days so the mouse is at PLAY! I was out in the shop yesterday making nasty holes in the walls. There was a phone jack mounted on the wall right were I want to put my new clamp rack. I had to rip open the wall to find out the cord was passed through a stud on an angle. Then I had to widen the rip to relocate the jack. Today I made an even bigger hole so I could actually patch it with a nice square piece of drywall. I got to put the new Dremel Multi-Max to work and it was SWEET. The patch work isn't pretty but the clamp rack will hide it.

I made a vow this morning to build this rack with only the wood I had available in the shop. It's getting to be a bad habit running to the hardware store for a new piece of wood every time I want to make something. By now I should have enough off cuts to makes simple things like a clamp rack! So sure enough I managed to find enough suitable pieces.

My inspiration for the rack came from ShopNotes July issue #106. Also the quick fix rack I had built about a month ago ripped out of the wall after I added the rest of my new clamps to it. The spouse will be proud of me because as usual I "coloured outside the lines" and didn't follow the directions or dimensions in the ShopNotes plan. However in my defence the article did say to modify the plan for your own needs. I also have a couple ideas for future additions to the rack, but I want to get it up and see how it works before I add anything.

I can't post a picture yet as the plaster on the drywall patch is still drying so I can't hang the rack. Hopefully I will get it up later tonight.

The spouse and an old friend from BC are due back tomorrow. Looks like the rest of this week won't afford me much shop time. But it's been a GREAT couple of days out there!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Are Projects Ever Finished?

The patio is done.

For this year.

I got the perma sand in and I am a little disappointed with it as it did not harden quite as much as I thought it would. But it is what it is and for now it's DONE. We are just going to let it be over the winter and see how it fares. Next year I will apply a chemical cocktail to it to seal it and bring up the colour in the stone. But I want to see how it winters first.

The go kart now has a steering wheel and sort of a steering linkage. It was a test setup that seems to be working so I may keep it. I am ready for THAT project to be DONE! I would like to see the grandson ride it at least once before the snow flies. But there are still numerous little things that have to be completed on it. Tick, Tick.

I bought a Sears Router Crafter on Kijiji for $75.00. These things are obsolete now, but they still do what they did very well. This one is in exceptional condition. Another toy I will get to try out over the long winter.

I bought the Dremel Multi-Max and ALL the accessories. This is one of those tools you don't think you really need till you try it out. Suddenly the possibilities are endless. We have some caulking around the windows that needs to be replaced and it's a job we have been putting off because it is so labour intensive. Not anymore! But that one will wait till next spring now too.

I also bought a Drill Doctor 350X . It was on sale at Canadian Tire for $50.00 so I took the plunge. Drill bits are relatively inexpensive and I have been in the habit of just tossing them when they are dull. This little machine changes everything I every believed about drill bits. First of all, most drill bits are not SHARP when new. I know this because after sharpening a few of them with the Drill Doctor I have drilled holes like never before! Even in METAL! I was trying to drill a tap hole into the end of 1/2" shaft for a 1/4x20 bolt. The drill bit was making a lot of smoke and very little penetration. I ran it through the Drill Doctor then drilled the hole like a hot knife through butter! The difference was astonishing. It also sharpens masonry bits which are NOT cheap to replace. This was a GREAT investment.
The credit card needs a rest. So does my bank account. I need longer days. And I need to actually FINISH a project.

Friday, September 11, 2009

End of Days (Off)

My "vacation" is over. Another one I can chalk up to being NO vacation at all. I got the patio finished yesterday, cleaned out and grouted all the crevices with King permasand. Now it's just a matter of letting it dry thoroughly. They were calling for rain again today but I really hope it holds off and the patio gets a couple of days of dry weather at least. It's not as perfect s I would like it to be, but it is what it is now.

I think I am going to give myself a day of retail therapy today. Canadian Tire has a huge clearance sale on, including the Dremel Multi-Max for $99.00. Yep I think I deserve it. I'll probably go and do this shopping BEFORE the spouse gets home from work. My lists adds up to just over $300.00 Fortunately it's the last baseball game of the season for the spouse so I will only be subjected to the evil stare for a couple of hours. By the time the spouse gets home from the game I will be gone to work. There IS a method to my madness.

Jockey is also having it's semi-annual clearance sale. Maybe I can stop there tomorrow after work and pick up a few things. Can a gal ever have enough underwear? I'll pick up a few things for the spouse as well just to smooth things over.

It is very sad to be looking forward to going back to work for a rest. Sometimes, MY LIFE SUCKS!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Patio Pergatory

If I can give you one piece of good advice about putting in a patio it would be HIRE SOMEONE ELSE to do it for you. This past weekend was absolute HELL! The very first day, the spouse's back went out. Mine wasn't faring much better as it never has. If the eldest son didn't show up with a small bucket loader we would have NEVER got the job done.

First as you recall I framed in the step the fill in the dip in the yard with the dirt we removed from the patio area. This is all well and good except it wasn't enough dirt. We still need another 6 to 8 yards of topsoil to level it out. I can hardly wait to have to do THAT job.

Saturday the eldest showed up with a skid steer that wouldn't fit through the side access with the bucket on so he had to drag the bucket in behind the tractor. That did a lovely job on the front lawn. But he did manage to move most of the dirt out of the patio area and that was a bonus. So we managed to get that framed and levelled and tamped. Then he moved the stone and the sand from the driveway to the entrance of the access so we wouldn't have to wheel barrow it all the way around the house. I still wasn't looking forward to that job.

Fortunately he showed up Sunday with a smaller bucket loader that DID fit though the access and he moved all the gravel and sand with that. That meant we now had both those layers tamped and levelled. I spray painted an outline of the patio on the grass so we could do a mock layout of the stone and it wasn't long before we realized we were NOT going to have enough stone to do the entire patio area.

Labour Day Monday and of course EVERYTHING is closed. But we drove around for 4 hours till we luckily found a one man landscape operation AND he actually had some flagstone AND he was willing to deliver it for a small fee THAT DAY! So we bought another HALF TON of flagstone. Oh lucky us.

That meant it was time to go back home and start moving the 1 1/2 TONS of flagstone into place BY HAND. There was only me and the spouse to do this part of the job and the fact we are not divorced means we either really love each other OR we both have incredible tolerance for AGONY.

We finished around 7:00 p.m. including tamping the stone down. We were both WHIPPED!

The last part of the job which hasn't been done yet is putting masonry sand in all the crevices. It rained today and is supposed to rain for the next few days. The patio has to be DRY before we can put the sand in. So I guess we get a rest. YAY!

Even with the help we had on Saturday and Sunday this job was way too big for two people in 3 days. If we hadn't had the machinery to move the dirt, gravel and sand there is NO WAY this job would be anywhere near done.

When it IS finally completed it will be a lovely addition to the yard. But in retrospect, I wouldn't do it again.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Serious LABOUR Days

The spouse decided since I was on vacation this weekend, it would be a good time to tackle the patio project in the back yard. Obviously our ideas of "vacation" differ.

Previous owners of this home had laid pieces of slate in various locations around the yard, with no apparent reason. We have been diligently digging them all up for the past two years and have amassed quite a pile.

The area we have been using as a "recreational" spot needed something other then dirt so I came up with the brilliant idea of putting all the slate there as a 15 x 15 foot flagstone patio. I don't think my brilliant idea included me actually doing all the labour.

We also have a nasty dip in the backyard that needs some serious fill in an attempt to try to level it. I fear the pitch of the slope is so bad we will never actually get it level, but we could lose the gully. In order to do this the steps leading up to the backyard have to be raised another 7 inches. Here I am starting the excavation around the step so I can add a riser and then back fill the whole thing with the dirt that has to be removed from the patio area.

Our driveway now contains a pile consisting of 2.5 yards of 3/4 stone, which will be the bed for the patio, and a pile of 2 yards of sand which will go on top of the gravel, then the flagstone on top of that with masonry sand between the grooves.

So the plan looks like this: remove the dirt from the patio area to a depth of 5 inches. Level and tamp the area with a slope of 1/4 inch per foot. Put a vertical 2x6 pressure treated wood border around the area. Load in the gravel to a depth of 3 inches for drainage. Tamp and level the 3/4 gravel with a stone dust mix. Cover the gravel with 2 inches of sand. Tamp and level that, the whole time keeping the proper slope. Set the flagstones in the sand ONE BY ONE until the area is filled. Tamp this lightly to level, then fill the crevices with masonry sand, moisten with a hose and one last tamping to set everything in place.

Oh and I also have to tamp the dirt I put into the gully to pack it down so it doesn't wash away and add a two pieces of slab, each 2 inches thick and 3 feet long by 1 foot wide to the top of the steps for the new landing.

We have rented a 18" vibrating tamper for the weekend. We also HOPE to have use of a skid steer to move the sand and gravel from the driveway AROUND the house to the back yard. If not, my poor old wheel barrow is in for a rough weekend. All the rest of the work gets done by the always ready helper - Manual Labour.

Oh wait... that's MY name in Spanish. Wish me luck.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Perhaps the title is a dead give away, but things aren't going well. At the moment I am trying to fix a laptop and the .NET installation is giving me a freaking HEADACHE. This is another Micros**t program that has no business in layman's hands. And the support from Micros**t for installation issues surrounding this update are nil at best. You are pissin me off Bill.

Things in the shop are no better. I am making little or no progress with anything. The days get ate up with things like this laptop, or running back and forth to the big city for stuff. The go kart may be ready by the grandson's graduation from college at this rate.

There is more wood to be had from the relatives who are tearing down their barn, but I can't seem to find or make time to get it. It is a golden opportunity that is going to waste. I already regret it.

It will be interesting when I go back to work 5 days a week to see how I am going to manage what will be left of my "free" time.

Maybe I'm just having a bad day eh?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Shop Multitasking

It didn't take long to figure out my shop is not built for doing multiple projects. Right now I have the go kart, rebuilding the outdoor furniture, spray painting a tool box add on, and finishing the under the workbench drawers on the go. It's not pretty out there.

The go kart is not "going" anywhere at the moment. This is a really long dragged out project. The biggest problem is working without a "plan" to follow. When you are making these things up in your head as you go it's not easy to keep all the details in line. I have been using Google Sketch Up the last couple of days to try to sort things out. It actually has helped a lot to be able to draw things to dimension. I now have a little more direction.

The chain drive for the cart is still a sticking point. Getting the rear axle to drive the wheels which have built in bearings in them is not easy. It's going to require some plumbing parts and welding.

I am not even going to touch on what this kart is costing me. I spent $50.00 on bearings alone. It's starting to feel like it might have been cheaper just to buy the kid a real car. But I want to finish this project just to say I did. Whether it works or not is moot.

I picked up a 40 tooth thin kerf Forrest Woodworker II table saw blade at Lee Valley today. It seems that crappy plastic table insert I bought is giving me a headache... literally. It makes a nasty squealing noise as the blade is raised though it. I was blaming it on the cheap DeWalt blade I had in there but it does the same thing with the Forrest blade. Leecraft, the maker of the insert, claims it's "blade or arbor wobble". I don't think so Tim. I don't have this issue with any of the wood zero clearance inserts I made. Guess I'm giving the Leecraft inserts the thumbs down!

I also bought a Milescraft blade changer at Busy Bee today. Now either I am not using enough pressure, or my blade nut is way too tight or this thing is useless. On the first try my saw blade chewed right through the little knobs on the inside that are supposed to hold your blade while you loosen the nut. I am going to try returning it but I doubt that will work now that it's "damaged". Another thumbs down. I'll be very wary of buying Milescraft products in the future.

So as you can see things are progressing as normal for me. Another day, another disaster!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Rona Tent Sale

While we were wasting time in the BIG CITY waiting for the truck to be repaired we happened upon a Rona Tent Sale. That was a big mistake. I found the cordless "drill of my dreams" only because the price was RIGHT! It's a Hitachi DS18DSAL HXP Li-ion 18V Compact Pro Li-ion Driver Drill that was regular priced at $199.00 and I got it for $109.00. It came with a case, 2 batteries and a charger. Now THAT'S a DEAL!

Hitachi offers a 10 year warranty on all their cordless tools. The batteries however, only have a 2 year warranty. That is the part of cordless tools I REALLY despise. Mostly because they usually make the replacement batteries so expensive it doesn't pay to buy them. You might as well replace the entire tool! So basically your tool has a 2 year warranty regardless of what the company advertises. That's total BAIT AND SWITCH tactics if you ask me. It's not limited to Hitachi, most tool makers follow this principal with the exception of Ridgid which if you jump through all the registration hoops, warrants their batteries for life.

I also found a Bosch Colt PR10E router for $69.00 at the tent sale. Talk about my lucky day! The only way it could have got any better was if I had found a Dremel MultiMax on sale. But I am NOT complaining. I also got a deal on some dust collection accessories.

The spouse bought some shelf liner or something..ROFLOL.

Sorry I had to do that.

We made a stop at Busy Bee tools and I found a Drill Press Table on sale as well for 29.00. I got a slightly damaged one that took about 5 minutes to fix so that's why I got the extra discount. However I advise anyone who wants a drill press table NOT to buy this model. It is made from some kind of CRAP MDF that is garbage. It will do till it crumbles which I am sure it will. There is junk, and this table is less then that. Tsk Tsk Busy Bee! I would have returned it but since it was damaged and discounted it was a "final sale". My bad.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Shop Day Off

So I wasn't in the shop today but it was by no means a day off. The spouse has been wanting a new screen door for the front ever since switching out the winter glass for the summer screen last May. The air was a bit blue during this feat and I just stayed out of the way. While we were in Home Hardware today looking for some cedar cut offs we found a very nice screen door with a pull down window that has a roller screen built in. As a bonus it was on sale for $80.00 off the regular price of $315.00. So we toted that baby home in a hurry!

This AluminArt storm door is no slouch. It has a very thick heavy aluminium frame that we torture tested on the way home in the back of the Blazer. We had it propped on an angle hanging out the back window sitting on the spare tire. I was totally waiting to hear a loud SNAP as one of the windows cracked when the frame bent. But it got home in one piece without even a dent.

The spouse and I decided to put it up TOGETHER. This is never usually a good thing. The fact that it was the first time EITHER of us had hung a storm door didn't help. Of course mother nature lent a hand with gale force winds. There were moments I expected one of us to be lifted off the ground like a kite.

There is only ONE ABSOLUTE RULE for hanging a storm door. READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS!!!!!

There are reasons you have to follow the steps in the required order. All I will say is DO NOT cut anything before it tells you to cut something! Despite our faux pas we managed to get it hung reasonably OK. The one piece of the top frame is insanely cock eyed, and I have NO idea why. Everything else is very square. The door itself sits flush and seals properly. It came with some very nice brushed nickle hardware for the handles and pneumatic door closers for both the top and the bottom of the door.

The instructions WERE CLEAR, I just thought I knew better and found out to late that once again I was WRONG. They are simple enough for a first timer to be able to complete the job within an hour and a half, but it does take two people. And opt for a day with no wind.

There will be some paint required around the frame now. I'll leave that up to the spouse. I got a new saw, the spouse got a new screen door. Everyone is happy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Lazy Sundays

Some family commitments have kept me out of the shop for a couple of days. Today I am having trouble finding my motivation again. But I AM going out there!

The go kart is on hold until I get to Fastenal to buy some bearings. Hopefully they will have the ones I need in stock. It looks like I am going to have to do some welding on the rear wheels as well. I don't know how well that's going to work but I'm going to give it a try. I need to fabricate something to drive the wheels from the axle. None of this is really explainable, but I'll try to take some photos as I do it so it makes more sense in the long run. It's hard not to "over engineer" things.

Today I think I will work on the drawers for under the work bench. They need to be "pull out" somehow but I don't want to put 2" casters on them as I will lose too much storage space that way. This will be some other concoction I will have to make up on the fly.

The drawer joinery has been plaguing me as well. I should just stick to the KISS principal but I am considering box joints. The problem is I am using plywood and it doesn't always rout that well especially with box joints. But I'll give it a shot.

OK, GO TO SHOP, GO DIRECTLY TO SHOP. Yeah yeah whatever. I AM still on vacation after all.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Holiday Progress

It took till Wednesday but I finally found my ambition. I made a start on the go kart and it's probably going to be a longer then planned project. It's not going to be pretty but I am learning things along the way.

I made the steering wheel out of a 1x12x12 inch piece of walnut. It took a lot of different tools to fabricate this thing in one piece. I also now understand the need for a TEMPLATE when using a router with a bearing ended bit. Of course I didn't use one, that's how I learned this valuable lesson. So the steering wheel is not exactly round or even. But it will work.

Today I put wheels on the scroll saw and small band saw tables. The wheels on the scroll saw seem to dampen the vibration a little more so that's a plus. The only thing left that needs wheels is the Ridgid Oscillating Belt/Spindle sander. Unfortunately I will have to modify that tool stand before I put wheels on it in order to keep it at the height it's at now.

Now I am going to use the Mortiser to put a couple of through mortises on the 2x4 that will be the front axle on the go kart. I will put hairpins though the wheels shafts in these mortises. They will just be stub axles. I know it sounds weird, but in my head it all works beautifully.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vacation Wasting 101

I'm doing NOTHING. Literally. My first two days of vacation have been totally wasted. I did have a bit of a tough weekend at work so I'll chalk up this wasted time to recovery.

Yesterday I was perusing the Kijiji ads and came across a Campbell Hausfeld 80 flux core welder for $75.00. I was all over that like a dirty shirt. I picked it up today and it works like a charm. These things retail for about $300.00.
I have wanted a small shop welder for a long time but the prices of them were holding me back. This unit is supposedly convertible to MIG but I think the flux core will suit my needs just fine.
Hopefully I'll get one of the MANY projects on my TODO list started tomorrow. A person can only waste so much time. I think I've reached my limit.

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Friday Night Fun

The computer fixing took longer then expected, as it usually does. The problem was an overheating processor. The fact that the fan and cooler were PACKED with dirt was probably the first clue. After removing them I also discovered that the CPU had NO thermal compound on it or the cooler. Somebody at HP was sleeping on the job.

Then I had a few other computer related things to take care of so the day was pretty much wasted. The fact that I also slept in till 11:30 didn't help either. I guess the workout I had in the shop all week finally caught up with me.

The spouse had to play baseball tonight and instead of tagging along and having a few drinks with the rest of the cheering section I opted to stay home and hang out in the shop. I ordered pizza and ate and watched tv at my workbench. My CLEAN workbench. It's corny but kind of fun. The shop is just a nice place to hang out now. As a matter of fact I am out here with the laptop doing this blog. This is how I WANT to spend my Friday nights.

Man I have really changed a lot in the last few years. I guess that's a good thing eh?

Cleanup In Aisle Three!

Today I made some excellent progress and even got a hand from the spouse. The first thing I tackled was getting the shelves cut and up. Once they were in place we started getting all the "stuff" off the floor and stored back on the shelves where it belongs.

There are a few things up there that won't stay up there, like most of the stuff in those pretty pink boxes. Once I make the rolling drawers for under the workbench most of that stuff will end up in there. A lot of it is household repair stuff, plumbing and electrical odds and ends and general hardware. And of course some of it is just junk I can't bear to part with yet.

Once the floor area was cleaned up things really began to take shape. I manged to entirely clear off one work bench. That's a first in this shop! After that it was just a matter of hanging a few things and putting things away.

There were moments it seemed like there STILL wasn't going to be a place for everything, but little by little it all came together. Low and behold there was actually FLOOR SPACE when it was all over!

It felt really good just being in there. Tomorrow I am actually going to be able to WORK in there again.

I have an idea for the drawers I want to make, but I am just trying to decide how fancy I want to be with them. Do I fire up that new Hitachi router and make drawer lock joints or do I just screw some plywood together and make a basic box?

I have some computers to fix tomorrow so I guess the deciding factor will be how much time I have left in the day. And how much ambition I have. This week has really wore me out. It will almost be nice to go back to work for a REST!

But I am extremely happy with the overall results. Now just a few minor tweaks and I will have my "DREAM SHOP". My FANTASY dream shop is a whole lot bigger, and who knows maybe down the road I'll have that too. Right now I just want to build something.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shop Make Over 101

I just couldn't seem to find the right spot in the garage for that beautiful new saw so I decided some changes were in order. Normally when I make these epic decisions, nothing much happens for a while. This time things are changing rapidly.

That gargantuan steel shelving I had in the shop was at best, useless. It held a lot of stuff, but it mostly took up room which I don't seem to have enough of. So I offered it to someone for FREE and they actually took it.

I suddenly had a gigantic big bare wall to work with and that was awesome. However I also had a ginormous MESS to contend with and that was disastrous! The shelves may have been space hogs but they held all this STUFF! At this point there is absolutely NOTHING I can do in the shop because I can't MOVE in there!

Okay so it's time to get busy. First of all, I need a plan so I fire up Google Sketch Up and devise a new floor plan. This is a GREAT idea! I can move all that equipment around in my shop and never lift a finger.

It's great on paper but now I actually have to try to implement it. The easiest place to start is with the bare wall. So I move everything over there according to my new "plan". This is good, it's working for me. And I am trying to keep everything mobile so I can move away from the wall if I have to. Move it out into all that new floor space I will have.

But as you can see I am a long way from there yet. I at least made a "pathway" so I could sort of get to things.

I have another idea! I'll put up shelving (oh no not shelving again!) OVER TOP of the machines for storage. One shelf, 18" from the ceiling, and 20" wide and 16 feet long. This will fill that missing "storage" area.

So I ordered some serious heavy duty shelving brackets from Lee Valley but as you can see, they aren't here yet. Time to work on something else.

That new drill press is not very stable on that temporary mobile base I made so I decide to make a new BIGGER mobile base. The problem here is because this drill press is very top heavy it really needs to be BOLTED to the FLOOR. Unfortunately in my shop that is NOT an option. So I make a bigger base and it it less "tippy" then it was, but it will still require caution whenever I use it.

Now while I am twiddling my thumbs waiting for the shelving brackets I am thinking that there must be another project I can tackle in the meantime. Something small and quick and easy. Oh wait, those words don't exist in my world.

This pile of lumber and trim and ceiling tiles and god knows WHAT I have piled in the corner really need to find a proper home. AND they need to be organized. I could put up shelving... NO NO NO NOT SHELVING! This is a big pile and no matter what I do with it it will be in the way at some point. If only I could make it MOBILE....

I searched the net for some suitable plans but I didn't find anything that appealed to me. My problem is I want something that will hold ALL the wood I have AND will organize it too. I don't want much do I?

So again I turned to Google Sketch Up. I am not very astute at using it yet but using it sure helps you to learn things. Unfortunately I am still doing everything the hard way. I really need to learn the keyboard shortcuts and how to use some of the simple tools like the guides better. If I keep this remodelling pace up, I should have it mastered soon!

After a few hours I had a design I liked and that would work in my space and for my needs. Now all I had to do was build it. A trip to Busy Bee tools for some 6 1/4" heavy duty casters and then to Home Hardware for $300.00 worth of lumber and I was all set.

I chose to use 3/4" spruce construction grade plywood. I would have LIKED to use Baltic Birch but this would have been an even more expensive lumber cart if I had. Of course it would also have been a lot sturdier but it's working for now.

It took about 8 hours to build. Manhandling 3/4" sheet plywood by oneself is not an easy task. I managed to get all the pieces cut by myself, and then the spouse came out later to help with some of the more difficult assembly which had to be done with the cart upside down. Flipping it right side up was NO easy feat! But it's built AND it's mobile. My one regret is using two swivel casters and two fixed casters. In retrospect 4 swivel casters would have been a better choice.

Hopefully tomorrow I will get the shelving brackets and get the shelves up. Then I will be making some rolling drawers for storage under the workbench. And someday soon, I will be able to work in my shop again.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bosch 5412L/T4B Combo Makes The Cut

It might not seem right for a person such as myself to be reviewing and rating a compound miter saw because I don't have a lot of experience with them or many different models. But I think it's suffice to say if a novice can buy and assemble one of these and use it within minutes of setup AND make dead on accurate cuts and miters then the saw almost speaks for itself.

This is true of the Bosch 5412L 12" Sliding Dual Compound Miter Saw and Bosch T4B Gravity Rise Miter Saw Stand. Although mine is only a "hobby shop" this saw is most definitely in the professional/contractor saw league. The saw combined with the stand is made for portability and easy setup and storage. Even a small hobby shop can reap the benefits of this powerhouse without compromising valuable shop space.

The stand is an exercise in simplicity and balance. The unit comes well packed in a heavy shipping carton and massive Styrofoam padding. The assembly takes about 45 minutes and can be done single handed. The assembly instructions are clear and concise and all the parts and diagrams are well labeled. The only tools required are 3 wrenches and/or sockets (10, 13, 17 mm) and a Philips head screwdriver.

The stand is finished in a metallic grey paint that is incredibly scratch and dent resistant so you'd have to work hard to mar or mark it during assembly. There are no little parts to fidget with, just plain old nuts and bolts and washers. There is no fancy mechanism for folding the table, just one cam lock lever and a twist handle that releases the spring lock pins. The unit glides up and down effortlessly.

Mounting the saw on the table is as simple as measuring the distance between the mounting holes on the saw and setting the stand cross pieces accordingly. Then four bolts attach the saw to the cross pieces permanently. To remove the saw from the stand, you unlock two cam levers on the cross pieces and lift the unit off with the cross pieces. The cross pieces then act as "feet" for any surface you want to put the saw on. The saw itself is not light, and it is bulky and awkward to carry. With the portability of the stand I can see no reason to ever remove it.

Even with the weight of the saw on the stand, the balance is so near perfect that folding or unfolding the stand can be done with ease. Release the locks, push the wheels forward with your foot and the table and saw fold to a vertical position. Lock the cam lever and you can wheel the saw anywhere. The air inflated rubber tires make it easy to push the saw over rough or uneven surfaces, or to pull the saw up stairs. It's like it's own built in dolly. The saw can be stored in the vertical position to save space.

The stand also has pullout extensions on either end that extend up to 28 inches each. This puts the overall length of the table at just over 8 feet, perfect for almost any job. The extensions both have double tube sliders for extra support so heavy pieces won't be a problem. The ends of the extensions are also adjustable vertically to line up with the table or higher if necessary. There are two leveling pads on the bottom front frame as well.

The Bosch 5412L 12" saw is a serious power tool for any woodworker. You can find all the specifications at Bosch Tools and there are a long list of features as well. It too comes packed in a heavy shipping carton with ample Styrofoam padding. Bosch didn't miss anything with this saw. It even had a convenient cord wrap attachment. If there is a specific feature you are looking for in a miter saw I guarantee you this one has it. The construction is solid, it feels like it's ready to take on any project. Nothing wobbles, wiggles or rattles, no cheap snap off plastic parts. Everything slides and moves like it's supposed to with one small exception. The bevel adjustment lock knob on the front of the saw is a little disappointing. I often had to push or pull the head to get it to engage or disengage. There is nothing smooth about it's operation at all. It has three settings that are also a little confusing, 45-0 Left, 0-45 Right, and Max Range. The first setting allows you to tilt the head left and will lock the head at 0 when you return it. The second allows you to tilt the head right but I couldn't find a locking position at any setting. The third setting allows you to tilt the head either way. This may be a minor flaw in my saw only and I will be contacting Bosch to find out.

Setting up cuts with this saw requires careful attention. There are numerous things that have to be locked or unlocked, and for bevel cuts you may have to adjust the two piece sliding fence. For 45 degree bevel cuts you won't be able to use the provided hold down clamp. The 60 tooth blade itself made smooth cuts in both 3/4" MDF and Oak with minimal tear out in the Oak using the provided insert. A zero clearance insert or backer board would probably eliminate any tear out. The provided plastic insert does have some small adjustability that would narrow the gap but not significantly.

Straight out of the box, the saw set up was dead square. I had perfect 90, and 45 degree cuts in both MDF and Oak in both flat and vertical cuts left and right. The only glitch was the left 45 degree tilt bevel did not cut all the way through the wood, leaving a tiny chunk right at the end of the flat cut. A small fence adjustment will probably fix this. I checked the saw with both a square and by test cuts and found no other adjustments necessary. The saw comes with one 4 mm Allen key, a double ended wrench and a socket wrench/screwdriver tool that stores right on the saw for quick adjustments and blade changes.

The saw also comes with a Laser guide that must be installed by the user. The unit is contained in a washer that simply replaces the left side blade washer. It's powered by three A76 button cell batteries that are contained in the unit and a centrifugal switch. It also comes with 3 replacement batteries, a very nice perk. There is no other adjustment for the laser guide. Once installed it aligns with the left side of the cut when the saw is powered on.

The weakest feature of this saw is of course the dust bag. Being almost a burlap type material, it may be tough, but it cannot contain fine dust like that created from MDF or similar woods. The 1 1/4" dust port might also prove annoying to connect to a dust collection system.

The saw and stand combo is the "Binford Cadillac" of Miter Saws! The only other thing required is a skilled woodworker to benefit from all the exceptional features and abilities of this rugged instrument.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Spouse Surprise

The spouse and I were in the Big City today and we decided to go to Home Depot just to browse. Of course my secret agenda was to just take a look at the Ridgid 12" Sliding Compound Miter Saw. That thing is a BEHEMOTH! Even the spouse was shocked at it's size. The sales clerk noticed us checking it out and walked over and asked me what I planned to do with a saw like that. I said "With a saw that size I could do just about anything I damn well pleased"! The spouse went on to tell him how I was becoming a "Tim the Toolman" where I need the biggest one of every power tool imaginable. Now that was an exaggeration for sure.

It is a beauty saw but lacks a few things like pull out slides and even a rough scale on the fence. So I asked the sales clerk if they carried any Bosch miter saws, expecting that they wouldn't actually have any considering Ridgid and Ryobi seem to be their big sellers. He said they just got one in on a "promotional deal".

Low and behold it was my objet de l'amour the Bosch 5412L 12" Sliding Compound Miter Saw! As if that wasn't enough to make my heart palpitate it was mounted on a Bosch T4B Folding Miter Saw Stand!

This unit all together is a tool monger's work of art! It is stunningly beautiful, and even looks graceful before it even moves. I swear even the spouse lit up at the sight of it.

I would love to tell you all the incredible features of this saw and the stand but I barely took any of them in. I asked the clerk to show me how it folded up and unfortunately he said the Bosch sales rep had assembled it and SHE hadn't shown him how it worked. The spouse looked it over and figured it out in about 30 seconds.

OH MY GOD this stand is freaking AWESOME! It folds up and down so easily and the whole thing is so incredibly balanced that you can pick it up from flat on the floor with barely an effort. The spouse and I stood there literally with our mouths agape and I joking asked "Can I get this saw?" The spouse said "Oh yeah!" and meant it.

Once I got past that feeling like fainting stage, I asked, jokingly again of course "Today?" and once again got an emphatic "Oh Yeah"! I pinched myself a couple of times really hard and it WAS real, I have the bruises to prove it. I haven't been THAT excited since my dad bought me my first tool kit when I was 3 years old.

The price tag on this "promotional" offer is $799.00. That is MORE then my table saw cost. That is MORE then any tool I own cost. If the spouse hadn't been working midnights and hadn't just woke up 2 hours previous I would have swore there was alcohol involved. I don't know which one of us was MORE excited.

Of course there was a kink in the deal. You KNEW that was coming. We had just dropped the truck off at the shop for some repairs and it won't be done till tomorrow (hopefully). There was NO WAY IN HELL that outfit was going to fit into my little Cobalt. Then the clerk informed us that they only had one other set in stock and that the floor model was not for sale. I honestly think this all happened so fast that the clerk didn't actually BELIEVE we were going to buy this saw. I don't blame him, I was still thinking it was a cruel joke myself. I asked him to put it on hold for me till tomorrow and he did so even if a bit reluctantly.
So what are the chances I am going to be able to sleep tonight? I won't relax now till that baby is secure in my shop!

I am donating my current miter saw and drill press to the spouse's oldest son. I was going to sell them but I think this surprise act of incredible kindness on the spouse's part deserves a reciprocal act. I am also throwing a few other things into the deal because really it's NOT a fair trade. But I want to stay in the good books!

I have done some research on this deal since I got home and yes, it IS a VERY good deal. The stand alone retails for $300.00. The cheapest price I found for that saw in Canada is $671.00. So I am saving at least $200.00 and getting a kick ass unit!

I have to close now as it's very hard to type with my fingers crossed. I sure hope the spouse has a really good night at work!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Making Headway

Today was a great day in the shop! I sold my drums and decided to buy myself that Craftex floor model radial drill press I was eyeing up at Busy Bee Tools. This thing is a beauty! And the assembly process was a snap for a change. I did need a hand from the spouse to get the head on but I managed to put everything else together myself. While I was at it I put it on wheels because as you can imagine I have NO room left in the garage. There are so many ways you can twist and turn the drill head and the table you can practically drill upside down with this thing. I have done the complete set up yet of squaring the head and such but I will get it done this week.

I had so many things on the go in the shop it was crazy. I read The New Scroll Saw Handbook this past weekend so it got me motivated to get my scroll saw set up and working. I literally tore it to pieces and put it back together AGAIN but now it really is running nicely. I added a speed control to it as well. There are going t be some really nice projects coming off that baby in the near future. But first I need to rework the stand for it or make a new one. Right now it is taking up WAY TOO MUCH room. I guess a 26" scroll saw will do that.

Home Hardware has some sheets of Masonite on sale for $2.00 so I bought a few of them and made a nice cover for my table saw. Now I can use it as a work surface and not ruin the table. I also bought a new miter fence from Busy Bee. It's not the Incra one I have been lusting after but it will do the trick. It took a little jury rigging to get it to work with my miter gauge. Once I had it set up I could see the saw blade is still out of alignment to the miter slot. But I bought some miter bar stock and I'm going to make a proper jig for my dial indicator. Then I should be able to set that up within a few thousands of an inch. The original one I made out of wood is too flimsy.

I also bought a little jig to set up the blades on my jointer. I don't know how well it will work, but right out of the package I had to "repair" it. It come with magnets and one of them wasn't glued in properly. It's starts to feel like working on computers all over again. STUFF SHOULD JUST WORK! Hopefully it will do the job on the blades without too much hassle. I really want to have everything tuned up properly and then actually BUILD something!

The only things I have left to buy are the Kreg Pocket Hole Jig, I am thinking the R3 Kit, and a new sliding compound miter saw. I have narrowed the choices down to either the Bosch or Ridgid 12" models. Whichever one I find on sale first will be the one. Both are in the $700.00 range so I need a really BIG sale. My woodworking buddy advised me to wait till the Woodstock Wood Show in October and I might be able to score a good deal there. For $700.00 I can wait. My little Jobmate 8" saw is working for me for the moment.

I am sure there will always be "something" I'll think I need, but I have to say right now, I pretty much have it all. Now it really needs to get some GOOD use!

What made today the most enjoyable, other then everything going well for a change, was that every time I needed a certain tool I had it! The spouse can whine about all the stuff I buy but it sure pays off. It was also nice to have a beautiful sunny day and have the garage door open!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Back In The Shop

Now that all the work drama has ended I can finally get back to normal. Well what's normal for me anyway which is usually total chaos. I have been back in the shop a little this week doing some tool tune ups and just reminding myself what I have been missing. The table saw got a work over including a new blade, a complete realignment and a fresh coat of wax on the tabletop.

I bought the Micro Jig splitters and the GRRRipper push block. The only problem is I now need stilts. Being vertically challenged, my forearm gets dangerously close to the blade once I am on the other side of it. Looks like I will have to build myself a little step up box to stand on at the table saw. Other then that I really like the GRRRipper. It does make me feel as if I have more control over the cut and I do feel safer when the blade is covered.

I had some issues with the Micro Jig splitter as well. Seems the Ridgid blade that came with the table saw is not even a standard "thin kerf" blade. The wood could still not get past the Micro Jig thin kerf splitter. Hence the blade change. I am now using a DeWalt combination blade but I still have to make a zero clearance insert with the regular kerf splitter. I'll keep you posted on how that turns out.

All I really accomplished with all my time off was making a longer "To Do" list. The grandson was over during my break and said he wanted a go kart. That sounded like a very fun project and I started buying parts and lumber to build it. Then the spouse came home one day with one of those little metal dune buggy pedal type go karts for him. That kind of took the wind out of my sails. Why would he want some wooden soapbox derby type kart when he had that? So that project is on hold for the moment.

I also thought about using all that nice cherry wood to build a bench for the front foyer. It will involve some serious resawing and glue ups but it can be done. The problem is the spouse is working night shift this week so I can't really run any noisy shop tools. The rest of the day just seems to get ate up by normal day to day stuff. I suppose this is only supposed to be a hobby so I should just relax. It just feels like I am wasting a lot of time doing nothing.

I am getting better with Google Sketch Up. I have been trying to use it to draw up my go kart plans. It takes time but I AM getting the hang of it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Due to the ongoing circumstances at work I have moved all the posts relevant to that to a new and separate blog. You can now find all the Kellogg information in the new London Kellogg Workers Blog.

Hopefully life will return to normal soon and I can continue blogging about woodworking and computers.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

When It All Pays Off

This week I have been "milling" the rough lumber I got and it has turned into a monumental task. The wood I thought was walnut is not but I am not really sure what it is. It has all the properties and looks like Ash so that's what I am assuming it is. It is a heavy as LEAD! Running the 2x8 inch 6 foot long planks through the planer by myself has used a few muscles I haven't seen in a while. It took most of the week to plane a total of 14 planks. This was still just a "rough" planing but at least now I can see what parts of the wood are actually usable.

The cherry wood turned out very nice and I will get to use most of it one way or another. Next week I will be cutting the planks into usable pieces then resawing and final planing to dimension. Hopefully after that I will actually get to make something.
The best part of this endeavour is that I finally can justify buying all those "BIG" power tools like the jointer, planer and band saw. None of this would be possible without them. I suppose I could spend the next year working at it with hand planes, but really, that's not very likely.
My objective is to try to keep what ever pieces I cut as long and as wide as possible. Some of the boards are knotty, checked, split, or water damaged and some even have a little rot. So it will be like working on a puzzle backwards to cut all the best pieces. All the resawing will be to a maximum of 1" thickness where possible. I expect to end up with a lot of 3/4 or 1/2 inch thick lumber when it's all said and done. Still, that will make some very nice wood to work with.
Everybody keeps suggesting I make a table. I don't need a table of any sort, so why would I make one? Maybe they think that's the limit of my skills. Maybe it is. But I still have no intention of making a table.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The BIG Router

I finally managed to get the Hitachi M12 3 1/4 HP router. The price was right as I got it from The Tool Doctor for $179.00 plus taxes and shipping totalling about $245.00. Still cheaper then the 299.00 that Federated Tool wanted.

My plan for this router is to use it in the Oak Park table pretty much exclusively. I'll use the current Mastercraft 2 HP router that's in there now for the Oak Park base plates and jigs outside the table. My little Mastercraft 1 1/4 HP router will be used for "little" portable jobs as it only take 1/4" shank bits anyway.
I am still thinking of getting a trim router, but if I can get around it with the other 4 routers ( I also have the Mastercraft Serpentine Saw) that I now have I will hold off until I REALLY need it. Besides I think I have pushed the spouse to the router limits.
The spouse needed a bird house part fixed tonight which required a couple of holes cut with hole saws on the drill press. That is always a feat on that little drill press so it was good to have the spouse observe this while waiting patiently for the parts. Oh yes, if we ever get this contract settled at work that new radial drill press is now as good as MINE!
I got some beautiful rough cherry and walnut wood from our daughter-in-law's parent's barn. Very good sized 2x8 inch planks about 6 feet long. I have been planing and jointing them and will be resawing them one day soon when I can get the spouse to help me. I now understand why you pay a premium for pre milled lumber. It looks like I may lose up to 1/3 of the wood to just cleaning it up. But it was all free and well worth the effort and education on milling!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Table Saw Scare Tactics

I was watching a video on the new SawStop Table Saws and they showed some pretty nasty table saw injuries. It's obvious the SawStop is a brilliant invention but $3000.00 is NOT in my budget although they are correct when they say "how much are your hands worth?"

I have been running my table saw without a blade guard from the get go mostly because the splitter that is attached to the guard does not support the thin kerf blade that Ridgid shipped with the table saw. HELLO RIDGID???? ARE YOU LISTENING?

After seeing these saw accidents I am a little freaked out. So now I want to find a way to put a guard back on my saw. I looked into after market overhead guards and while they would work very well, they too are out of my budget starting from about $300.00 and up.

Enter Micro Jig and the Grr-Ripper. Now THIS system is affordable AND it also works on a router table, band saw and even a jointer. It also keeps your hands completely safe from the running blades/bits. At about $100.00 if you add in the $10.00 DVD which sounds well worth the investment, this is a VERY affordable SAFETY device for MULTIPLE tools. Can you tell it's on my MUST HAVE list?

Micro Jig also makes a Splitter to add to a Zero Clearance Insert on the table saw. They make a separate model for thin kerf blades. This along with the Grr-Ripper makes a completely SAFE system. Both splitters can be had for about $50.00.

So for about $150.00 I can feel safe when using my table saw again. Not to mention using the Grr-Ripper on the other tools. Now the only question is where am I going to pull that money magically out of?

Drill Time

I have found the floor model drill I want! It's a Craftex Radial Drill Press from Busy Bee. I had never even heard of these things till I stumbled across it on the Busy Bee site. Wow is this thing cool or what? I doubt there is anything you can't drill with that puppy. They also have a bench model but I still think the floor model will be more versatile in the long run. And that swiveling tilting head? Well that's just the CAT'S ASS!
AND it's on sale for $275.00 till the end of May.
Of course it is NOT in the budget at the moment. The top priority HAS to be the rest of my dust collection system. It's useless at the moment without a longer hose and the connectors. The really sad thing is I found a Delta air filtration unit on Kijiji for 75.00 but that's not in the budget either.
There really isn't anything exciting going on in the shop right now other then jig building. There is also no money in the budget for wood. So I am just making little things out of scrap. And pretty much just making MORE scrap. Ahh well it makes great fire wood!
I have been working on my GROZ hand planes. Yes when you buy cheap planes you will spend more time working on them then with them. But it is a great learning experience. Putting a flat sole on them has to be the most work. I have taken to running the soles on the belt sander to just get them flat enough to sand with sand paper. They are far from flat out of the box. Then the cheap irons have to be sharpened and honed quite a bit as they seem to be far from flat too. The plane iron caps have to be flattened and honed as well. It's a great time waster when you just want to hang out in the shop.