Sunday, August 16, 2015

Day 93: Preparing the Bentside Lamination Boards

Because I own neither a steam box of sufficient size nor a bending tool that will allow me to bend 1/2" thick boards, I've had to work on preparing a poplar plank for lamination of the bentside of the instrument. The thickness of the boards for the lamination must be 3/16" because I will be putting two of them together and then adding to 1/16" quarter sawn red oak veneers on the inside and outside, taking the total thickness to 1/2". I initially wanted to resaw a 12" (remember, here in the U.S. our measurements do not include finish planing, so this piece is actually 11 3/4") x 6' piece of poplar, but I found it too unwieldy cutting it by my lonesome, so I took one of the Master Builder's suggestions and cut the board in half lengthwise before resawing.

Ripping a 3/4" board in half with a 1mm thick band saw blade leaves more wood than one would think. In the end, I had to plane all of the boards down, making multiple passes on the planer to get them just right.

Shaving off 1/32" at a time is pretty time consuming, but this was my only designated project task for the weekend, so I patiently worked through it and now have four 3/16" thick boards that I will joint back together in pairs, returning them to their near-original width before laminating them lengthwise to complete the bentside.

The jointing will take the better part of this week with two days for glue-up and drying of each pair for a total of four days. I'm hosting a BBQ this weekend to celebrate my daughter Jordan's graduation from college (Yay, Jordan!), so I may ask her and/or one of her siblings to help out with the lamination glue-up. This means I will have the bentside, and possibly a good portion of the case, completed easily within the next two weeks. Surreal, indeed.

Until next time...

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Project Update: Hey, What's That Sound?

As I mentioned in the Day 92 post, the table saw was not cutting at a perfect 90-degree angle after I had set it up; it was off by about half a millimeter, which is small, yet significant. I thought and thought and thought about why this might be and decided there was a screw-type stop inside the saw that I needed to adjust to allow the saw to come up to a perfect 90 degrees. But this was silly because it was the tilt of the blade that was off, not the height.

As I was working to diagnose what was going on, I decided to bring the blade to its full height and measure the angle one more time. As I was cranking away, I heard a "creeeeeeeeaaaaaaakkkkkk..." as the blade reached full height. This gave me pause for reflection, which gave me time to think, "Okay, something's not right here." I decided at that point the next step was to take the motor cover off the saw to see what was catching where.

The photo above is the back side of the saw, but it still gives you a shot of the culprit. Here's what was happening: I had mounted the power cord back onto the motor after I installed it (to keep it out of the way) on the wrong screw. When I cranked the motor assembly up to reach full blade height, it was pulling the power cord through a grommet in the case in a way that was not good. When I took a peeky peeky inside, I noticed a cord that was extremely taught - I could have shot an arrow with the thing. This was holding the motor back just enough that it was creating the miniscule blade tilt.

I immediately lowered the motor assembly and moved the power cord clip to another screw and voila! - no more weird sounds, hard-turning height adjustment wheel or off-kilter blade. Sure, I feel pretty stupid about this, but, hey, I promised to write about everything during this build discovery process - warts and all.

I hope you enjoyed this wart.

Until next time...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Day 92: Working the Bentside

I had quite a time getting the table saw back together once I got the bull gear installed onto the motor. The installation manual sent back with the motor listed one way to reinstall the motor and the user's manual describes another. I decided to ignore both because, in the end, all I needed to do was lower the blade as low as it would go, push the motor to the right to tighten the belt, screw in the belt adjusment bolt, and tighten down the main motor mount nut. That was it. I'm now an expert at removing, adjusting, and reinstalling Grizzly G0771 table saw motors, but I charge $500 per hour, so be sure you  know exactly what you need when you hire me to work on yours.

I still need to adjust the blade a millimeter or so to ensure it makes perfectly straight cuts. I am, as I've stated in a previous post, all Grizzlied out after this ongoing drama. Time to start getting some stuff done.

Once I could put the table saw issue to rest, I was able to start working on resawing some of the poplar so I can start putting together the bentside. I could never get solid purchase using the clamps I picked up from Rockler to hold the Kreg resaw guide on Big Bertha's fence, so I went ahead and built a mounting bracket out of high density pressboard that screws directly into the fence to hold the guide.

While it works, okay, the experience of trying to resaw a 12" poplar board using Big Bertha and the resaw guide just confirmed that she needs to go and I need to pull the trigger on a new 17" band saw with bearing blade guides, a new Kreg resaw fence assembly to which the resaw guide will mount, a special resaw blade, etc. Big Bertha is a great saw and she's served me well, but it's time for her to go. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Because I won't have the new band saw for a few weeks, I decided to cut the 12" poplar boards in half, resaw and plane them to the proper thickness, laminate them, and joint them back together for the final cuts. This was suggested to me by one of the Master Builders and, uncharacteristically, I'm taking his advice on this one. It will just make them more manageable and a seam will not be evident because I'll be finishing all of the case sides with an incredibly thing veneer of quater sawn red oak. I did cut the board for the bentside, but it was evident that I need to work on adjusting the newly reinstalled table saw blade, so that's on the agenda for tonight.

Until next time...

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Project Update: The Motor is in the Building

Yes! The table saw motor arrived today.

It appears to be a new one. I assume whoever worked on it in Pennsylvania couldn't get the pulley wheel set screw out, either, and just gave up and sent me a knew motor. I know it's new because it is squeaky clean and one of the exhaust hood screws that was missing has been replaced. And there's not a scratch or a speck of sawdust on the entire thing.

When I went to reattach the wires you see sticking up, I carefully checked the photos I had taken of them before shipping it to Pennsylvania. It turns out that it was originally wired for 240v. Now, I don't know a heckuva lot about things electrical, but this seems odd to me. I suppose it would run that way with no ramifications, though it would throw a breaker or worse had it been wired for 110v and I plugged it into a 240v outlet. No worries. I went ahead and wired it up according to the 110v specs and tested it out. It worked fine. As Michael Keaton says in Mr. Mom, "Yeah, 220, 221, whatever it takes."

I had quite a time getting the thing mounted back on because it weighs 50 pounds and took some contortioning of my old body and some awkward lifting to get everything positioned in the right place. Once I got it installed, I took the blade back to 0 degrees (it needed to be tilted to get the motor off) and tried raising the blade.


Nada, zippo, zilch, goose egg.


I was turning air and, upon closer inspection, discovered the "bull gear" was missing. This is the gear on the motor that meshes with a long screw to raise and lower the blade using a handle on the lower front of the saw.

Now, I must say that this did not surprise me. While I appreciate the dollar:value ratio of Grizzly products, I just shook my head and said aloud: "Yeeeeeaaaaaah." I immediately went upstairs to my computer and fired off an email laced with invective born of three months of frustration. And then it hit me: The gear might still be in the box. So, I trudged out to the recycling bin and, yep, there it was, bolts and all, hidden under the packing at the bottom of the box. Of course, I shot another email to Grizzly asking them to please ignore my previous email - and to kindly not respond to me. I'm about Grizzlied out for one lifetime.

I'm thankful I found the gear, yet one must wonder why the technician in Pennsylvania simply didn't take the two minutes to mount the gear before sending the whole thing back to me. Okay, I get that the poor bastard is under the gun to get as many warranty repairs done per day as possible, but really? Gratitude is the proper response here, so I'm letting this one go and even considering purchasing one of their 17" band saws. I may be sorry later, yet I'm hoping this whole experience has been one big, frustrating anomaly in my relations with Grizzly.

Until next time...

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Project Update: A Homecoming

It's been a while since I posted anything on the project, I know. Frankly, I haven't done much because the shop is in a general state of disrepair with table saw parts strewn about. The good news is I received an email from Grizzly a couple of days ago that the pulley wheel has been repaired and the motor is on the way back home. It's also been in the 100s (Fahrenheit for my European friends), which is in no way amenable to gluing the bentside up. I suspect everything will come together quickly; I'll receive the motor and the temps are projected to drop to a more reasonable level beginning next week, so I'll be back to work in no time.

On an unrelated matter, I'm considering building my own jig that hooks onto the lathe to turn it into a thickness sander. It's either this or purchase one for $900. Besides, where the heck would I put the thing? The shop is already stressed with the assembly table taking up most of the room now. You can see an example of what I'm considering by watching this video. I'm thinking about putting a rolling bed with a crank on mine because, you know, I like having fingernails. Regardless, the video gives you some idea of what I'm thinking.

In mid-August, I will have the opportunity and must decide whether I want to replace Big Bertha (about 90% sure on this one) with a brand, new 17" Grizzly band saw (first photo below) and/or purchase a thickness sander (second photo below), also from Grizzly, or go the lathe route. I'll be checking in with the Master Builders on this one, though I've learned to take what they have to say with a grain of salt understanding they bring their own years of experience to the table whenever I put something out there. The thing is, if I decide on the thickness sander, I'll make room for it, right?

Until next time...