Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Project Update: Pausing to Heal and Wax Philosophic

Well, I've gone and gotten a massive kidney infection and will be laying off the project for at least two weeks while I heal and take an antibiotic that threatens to shatter my tendons should I attempt to lift anything. Or walk uphill. Or breathe. Needless to say, I'm not going to make any progress on the project for at least a fortnight. Dammit.

Before I came down with the latest malady, I was able to work up a crosscut sled for the table saw. This is an important safety measure for the Tortuga Early Instruments Worldwide Headquarters, especially when I cut smaller items. You simply cradle the wood you intend to cut gently in the sled and then cut away. The fence nearest the operator prevents kickback because, you know, it's never good to have small pieces of wood flying past your head at high speeds. I've not yet run the blade through the sled in the photo below.

Along with this, I still have a lot of work to do on the assembly/outfeed table before I consider it completed:
  1. Install two aluminum (aluminium for my UK friends) t-tracks in the table to accomodate the crosscut sled and miter gauge rods,
  2. Install the 2x4 crossbeams to the legs using lag bolts (I still need to pick up washers of sufficient size),
  3. Install dividers underneath the top to store wood vertically in what I consider a more organized manner than shifting the piles next to the walls to a larger pile under the table top,
  4. Lag the top into the legs using large eye-bolts from which I can hang various tools, gadgets and gizmos for easy access,
  5. Drill 3/4" holes in the table top for use with holdfasts and dogs and 
  6. Install a torsion box grid system under the top to further stabilize it to act as the bottom of the inevitable go-bar setup (still need to work on the ceiling mount for that).
It seems nothing is ever quick-and-dirty at Tortuga Early Instruments Worldwide Headquarters. Then again, I made this bending tool using $12 worth of pipe and fittings from Home Depot and a $20 heat gun from Harbor Freight.

Okay, some things are quick-and-dirty. 

Speaking of quick-and-dirty, I've been struggling with my 12" compound sliding miter saw since I purchased it four years ago; it just never made a good, straight cut. Ever. So, I got to looking at the miter fence and, lo and behold, it's held on by four bolts. Even more amazing is how I discovered those bolts actually determine the alignment of the fence. As I loosened them and aligned the fence with the blade, I said a little prayer for the bonehead who originally assembled the saw without properly aligning the fence to the blade. May he or she someday discover that simply using a square to align a compound sliding miter saw fence to its blade during initial setup is a metaphor for life.

Until next time (in at least two weeks)...

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