Friday, December 26, 2014

Project Update: Saying Goodbye to the Blue Monster

Parts are continuing to arrive at Tortuga Ancient Instruments Worldwide Headquarters on a daily basis. Since I've been on break from the day job for a few days now, I really have no idea what day it is. I think it's Friday. Or Saturday. I have no idea. Regardless, I went to the mailbox today to discover the four jointer stand feet and the table saw riving knife assembly sitting there patiently waiting for me to bring them inside.

The feet will be somewhat difficult to install because it's just plain hard to simultaneously lift the jointer with one hand while putting the feet on with the other. I'll wait to install them until I have a little help. I did, though, have no problem whatsoever installing the riving knife and getting the table saw put back together. With the knife installed, I'm still not calling the table saw good - I need just one more addition: an outfeed table so 1) I'm not reaching over the blade to keep wood from falling on the floor and denting and/or 2) Wood doesn't fall on the floor and get dented. More to come on this.

Along with this, I took down the Blue Monster. This was a difficult task for me because the chop (technically, a 12" sliding compound miter) saw was one of the first tools I purchased after deciding to put together my own shop. My first project was to build what I thought was a pretty reasonable solution for keeping the saw's dust under control. After spending some time in the shops of other instrument makers and woodworkers, I realized the Blue Monster was unnecessary in its depth and breadth and simply had to go. You can see why in the photo below.

On the left side facing the saw, I had a dreadnought guitar plan, form, and bracing template hanging on nails and screws and on the right side I had nails up for the 12" band saw fence and a drywall square. As you can see, it also acted as a plan shelf (the papers on the top). Now that I've built a smaller box, I will need to find a place for all of these items. Still, the space I've gained was worth it. I'm going to start sawing and resawing my own woods and will be drying and storing much of it behind the saw, so this allows me easier access to that area.

As you can see, I opted for a small box that essentially funnels the sawdust into a garbage can below (not included in this photo). There is slight blowback with this arrangement, but the Blue Monster allowed sawdust to go everywhere, so I'll take this over the Monster any day. In this case, smaller is better and I'm happy. Oh, and the new box just slides on and off; this way, I can remove it to do any kind of miter cut, yet I've found that 99% of my cuts are 90-degree chops, so I'll be good to go most of the time.

The next project on the Tortuga Ancient Instruments Holiday Maintenance Program list is a portable, folding finish table. I'm frankly a little concerned about how robust the table I'm planning on building will be. Mostly, I'm worried about its stability when I'm building the case or gluing the various case parts in the weeks ahead. I'll probably include my own modifications such as 4x4 legs, but I will only know if that's desirable once I start putting the thing together, which will be soon.

Until next time...

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