I took a contract as the quant geek on a study up in the Puget Sound area specifically so I could purchase a new tool or two for Tortuga Early Instruments Worldwide Headquarters. I was initially thinking long and hard about a larger, open-ended drum sander, but I've been converting more and more to hand tools such as planes, card scrapers, chisels, etc. lately. This, combined with several conversations with the Master Builders, convinced me my money was better spent on a good, solid band saw I could use to resaw wood.
Resawing wood is an important part of woodworking in general. In my case, I not only want to produce nice thin rips and veneers for myself, I'd like to offer the same to luthiers around the world. This necessarily required me to invest in a saw that was reliable, exhibited little to no drift (sorry, Big Bertha, but you were a drifter), and had a great reputation for doing just this sort of work. After consulting with a couple of resaw dudes who do it for a living, as well as a couple of the Masters, I settled on a smaller saw than I originally envisioned - a Laguna 14" SUV (yeah, I know).
Laguna has a pretty great reputation, though their lower-grade (i.e., cheaper) saws are generally considered to have the same quality as any other Taiwan/Chinese-made saw. They offer a line of Italian made beauties that are pretty far out of my price range, yet the SUV has maintained a largely excellent reputation for being an outstanding resaw solution. It's got a 3hp motor, 12" resaw capacity, solid cast iron wheels and table, can take a 1" blade, etc. It really is a great saw, so I went ahead and purchased one from Woodcraft here in the Portland area. And, to top it off, they price-matched Rockler's current online price, which saved me $200 off list. Customer-for-life accomplished.
As you can see from the photo above, my father helped me get the thing home. He was kind enough to also bring his truck for the move. The thing is, once we got it loaded (it weighs 420 pounds), we had the interesting task of getting it off the truck.
We ended up building a ramp with 2x4s reinforced by a couple of scrap 4x4s. We simply slid it down the ramp and unscrewed the carriage bolts holding it to the pallet once it was inside the shop. Our neighbor, Mike, was instrumental in helping us get this done. The guy can do anything with metal and/or wood. He's my idol.
Now, I begin the long process of putting the thing together. I need to mount the motor and table, both two-man jobs because they're so heavy, as well as get everything placed properly. For instance, the power switch much be moved from its current shipping position to its final operational position. And, yes, that's Big Bertha in the background. I have a Craiglist dude coming to look at her tomorrow night. He's asked a lot of good questions, so I suspect he'll be taking her home then.
Speaking of power, this saw has prompted me to do something I should have done months ago: seek out help with installing a 240v plug in the shop. Yes, the saw requires it. This will also provide power so I can now build a bending tool worthy of the 1/2" bentside. The great irony here is that once the bending tool is built, I will no longer need to resaw the poplar for the bentside to 3/16" in order to laminate it. I'm still up in the air about the bending vs. laminating thing. Only time will tell which one I end up doing long-term.
Until next time...