Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Project Update: Please Welcome Big Bertha!

The Tortuga Ancient Instruments Holiday Maintenance Program continues with a new addition to the shop: Big Bertha! She's a beauty with an 18" throat, 12 full inches of resaw capacity with blade guard and guides installed, and a 2 hp motor. All that for $200 from a dude on good, old Craigslist.

I think I'm in love.

In the photo above, she is somewhat unclothed for a thorough cleaning, as she just arrived last night and needed a little work, but not much - certainly nothing like the jointer. In this view, I've removed everything but the table, fence, and motor. The wheels will always remain intact, unless they throw a bearing, but let's not manifest that.

Interestingly, she came with a 3/4" blade that was mounted on the wheels with no tires! My first improvement for her will be to purchase urethane tires and get them installed, which can be a bear, but is completely necessary. Then, I will seek out a no-kerf slicing blade and a good, solid Kreg resaw fence (both recommended by Mark Roberts of Mark Roberts Guitars and Ukuleles).

I was able to sell the 14" band saw I had purchased for resawing (mentioned in a previous post), covering most of the cost of Big Bertha. Had I kept the 14" saw, I would have purchased a 6" riser block ($100) to get a full 12" of resaw capacity and a beefier motor ($60 or more) and still would have been left with a smaller saw. Bertha will accommodate super-large billets and planks that I will resaw with abandon. The first thing I will cut with her will be 1/4" slices of quarter sawn red oak for the inside and outside laminates of the instrument case.

This is my last acquisition for a while, but you have to admit, this was a good one. When I ordered the tilt gear (ordered 2) for the table saw, the shipping estimate said 19-25 days, which means I'll see them some time in February, if I'm lucky. In the meantime, I'll get the new team member a into shape and continue completing the keys. I'll post up a photo of Big Bertha when she's fully clothed and ready to rock.

Until next time...

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