Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Project Update: Little Buddy Tuned Up and Ready for Action

In my last post, I stated the goal of completing a crosscut sled to "promote an added level of safety at Tortuga Ancient Instruments Worldwide Headquarters and help my wife stop stressing every time she hears the table saw fire up," and my buddy, Cameron Smith at Pacific Spaceflight, was kind enough to call me on the fact that I did not pursue that goal forthwith. The reason for this is the funky design of the riving knife assembly I recently added to the table saw; it has a mounting bracket for a safety shield on it that forces me to be creative with the sled design.

Most riving knives I've seen are more like a knife with a sharp blade and no bracket at the top. As I paused to think about the sled design, I decided to go ahead and complete the maintenance on the Delta 12" band saw or, as I like to refer to him, "Little Buddy". He was the first machine I purchased when putting together the shop and he holds a very special place in my heart. I was surprised to see when I purchased the saw the dude selling it on Craigslist was Brooks Masten of Brooks Banjos working in a tiny, little garage with barely enough room to maneuver. I could see why he was selling it.

Since then, I've worked with Little Buddy a lot, using him to build furniture, guitars and now a harpsichord. The one thing I've not been good about is keeping his tires clean and in good condition. As you can see from the photo below, there's a bit of pitch and sawdust buildup there.

It's doesn't look too bad, but it is. Buildup like this can cause vibration and even push the blade off the tire if it gets bad enough. The tire was in this shape when I first purchased Little Buddy from Brooks, I just didn't know I could use sandpaper and/or steel wool to clean it up. So, I used 400-grit sandpaper and 0000 steel wool to take as much of the gunk off as possible without harming the integrity of the tires.

I did the best I could with what I've got, but the tires really do need to be replaced. I'll be swapping them out with a set of the blue urethane beauties from the eBay dude who sold me the tires for Big Bertha. Because my original goal was to have the Tortuga Ancient Instruments Holiday Maintenance Program wrapped up by the first of the year (2015), I've decided to add this to the June maintenance program list.

After learning about band saw blade tooth configuration (TPI = teeth per inch) while researching slicer blades for Big Bertha, I replaced the 1/4" 14 tpi blade with a 3/8" 6 tpi blade. This will give me better cuts for reasons I'll explain later when I install the slicer blade on Big Bertha. The stand also had a small wobble. I tightened up one loose bolt and it's rock solid once again. Until the June maintenance program kicks in, Little Buddy is cleaned up and ready for action.

Now, the question is...crosscut sled or mobile finishing table?

Until next time...

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