Friday, January 9, 2015

Project Update: The Saga of Big Bertha's Resaw Blade

Big Bertha's new resaw blade arrived yesterday; it's a Timber Wolf 1" x 130" 3 tpi (teeth per inch) monster that I will use to cut my own lumber and tonewoods. This is important because a small shop like mine is generally forced to pay top dollar for guitar and harpsichord sound boards and guitar sides and backs, necks, and various other parts. The minute a reseller puts a blade to a billet (a larger piece of wood), the cost skyrockets. I dig skyrockets during the Fourth of July, but not in this case. The photo below is the beauty as it came through the front door of Tortuga Early Instruments Worldwide Headquarters.

I feverishly unpacked it, removed the old blade from Big Bertha, started installing  the beast's the wrong size. I mismeasured by about 1/2". Yeah, frustrating. I was so careful to tape twine around the old blade and then measure it, but, alas, my accuracy seems to have suffered. In this case, measure twice, order once seems to be the guiding principle. Okay, I actually did measure twice and would have bet the farm it was 130". It's a good thing I don't own a farm.

When I was a kid, I worked at a market supply company and one of my favorite tasks was to make band saw blades for meat processors. Typically, the blade material comes on a large spool and the guy making the blade measures it, cuts it to length, and uses a nifty little welding tool to splice the ends together. The last step is to grind off any bulging material left by the weld.

I was awakened at 3:00 a.m. this morning with the realization that all I needed to do was contact a local company that makes blades in such a fashion. I could have them cut out the necessary length and reweld it, rather than purchase another blade and wait patiently for it to arrive, not to mention spend another $40 unnecessarily. While awaiting the blade to arrive, I visited Woodcrafters here in Portland and noticed they sell Timber Wolf blades. I could have ordered the monster from them, probably without the additional shipping cost. Lesson learned.

Given my early morning epiphany, I was able to locate a guy just north of Tortuga Early Instruments Worldwide Headquarters who specializes in selling custom band saw blades. He is cutting and rewelding the blade for me for $6.00 and I will have it back in the shop and installed on Big Bertha on Monday. I consider this a Bonehead Fee and am more than happy to pay it. I will also be purchasing any and all blades I need in the future from him. It's nice to find a savior.

Until next time...

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