Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's hip to be square

I have finally, after two years, $500, endless cuts, measuring, and cursing, made a square piece of wood.

Stick a fork in it, it's done!

This, friends and neighbors, is a momentous moment for me. This is what I have been working towards for the last two years, ever since I got my Rigid circular saw. All it took was five saw guides, a computer, and a $250 table saw. OK, really all it took was the $250 table saw; the rest was just "practice".

I made several saw guides, but then I cut up each and every one as I attempted to "fix" them as soon as I made them. Except for the last one, which worked perfectly until I accidentally put the "short side" of the base on the "long side" of the guide and cut it off. I now have a not too bad guide that only works on the least stable side of the saw. So, by building my own saw guide, I was able to avoid buying a $30 saw guide and instead made one from materials I already had. Except I made so many mistakes I had to buy more wood. And then I bought the friggin guide anyway. So now I have a $30 guide that cost me about $60.

The best way to compensate for a lack of skill, as we all know, is to buy bigger tools. I went online to read about how to cut a piece of wood straight without the use of a circular saw. This led to a bunch of pages about hand saws, so, I changed my search to exclude hand tools and include power tools, because, I mean, really, who does that?

Eventually I settled on a nice Jet contractor saw on Amazon for $300. It was reviewed well and seemed a good deal for a starter saw. But really I wanted more, so I was scanning Craig's list every day in the hopes of finding something better. On the very day I was going to buy my Jet, I saw an ad for a Grizzly table saw for $250. That was clearly the saw for me. It was like Jesus himself came down and said "David, I'm not really in the carpentry business so much anymore, so I want you to have this saw". And it was good.

The Grizzly in its natural environment

My saw is not exactly the saw in the link above, but it is the closest thing to it. I also got a heavy duty rolling stand and an outfeed roller with it. Isn't it beautiful? look at it again:

Note the golden sunshine reflecting off the cast-iron table,
as if Jesus were pointing at it, saying
"Look! What a beautiful saw I gave you!"

This is a great saw. I had to change the fuses to 20 amp timed release just to get it to stay on. The lights in the house dim when I turn it on!

I joke about this saw and go on and on about it, but I can tell you, the quality of my work has increased a hundred fold just by using this saw. I am a lot more excited by what this will mean to my work than to anything else. I built an end table in 3 hours, complete with dados and tetons. Those are real joints! Without this table saw, I would have used 3 different tools and taken much longer to make a trapezoidal disaster that couldn't hold its shape, much less a glass of juice! I am excited because now what I see in my head is possible; I can make the things I want because I can cut a straight line.


1 comment:

kathleen said...

And you look so cute doing all your "man stuff" in your man cave.