Fortunately, I was wrong. I took the side off and shot some WD-40 onto the gears and screw. It didn't help, though they probably needed it pretty badly. I then looked at the spring that engages/disengages to alternately run the tilt or riser action; it wasn't engaging. Ah ha! I then fiddled around with the handle and discovered that when I had put the saw back together after the tilt gear adventure, I had neglected to screw the set screw all the way in. This prevented the spring from providing sufficient tension to activate/deactivate the tilt and riser actions.
An Allen wrench saved the day on this one and, with the WD-40 providing lubrication, I can now raise and lower the blade with one finger. No more Craigslist, though I very much would like to upgrade to a SawStop some time soon.
Now that the Tortuga Early Instruments Holiday Maintenance Program has concluded and all tools and machines are as good as they're gonna get, I was able to jump back onto the keyboard work. While sanding away, trying not to ruin the notch area, I decided that I'm going to go ahead and try a new method for creating the natural key tops. This will involve making a three-piece key top, rather than a two-piece as recommended by Mr. Miller in his eBook Most Excellent. You can probably spot why I've decided to do this in the photo below.
I'm just not getting the results I want from the Dremel sanding/filing/hand sanding method I'm currently using. I want consistency across all key tops and I'm not realizing that. I admit that this is probably a skill issue, or lack thereof, yet why continue to produce sub-par results when I can build the mousetrap in a better way?
My idea is to continue to use the longer tail as a single piece. The real change will involve assembling the head piece from two parts - one is 5 mm wide (the part with the two scores in the photo above) and the other is 2.3 cm x 3 cm. In completing the larger part, I will cut a long strip 2.3 cm wide and use a 1/16" roundover router bit to round both sides. I will then cut them to length and glue the two pieces on before adding the tail pieces later in the process.
This may sound a little crazy, but Andrew Nolan, an Australian builder, has told me that Bill Jurgenson, a German builder, does this very thing. Well, I don't know if he does the three-part approach, but he is using a roundover bit for consistency. I have friended him on Facebook and hope to learn more about his process in the days ahead.
I haven't yet decided if making this shift will require me to shave off all of the key top heads on the current keyboard. I'm thinking this may be the solution because I frankly cannot abide how they currently look. I'll post updates here on my decision and progress over the next few days.
Until next time...