Coping: The Table Saw Connoisseur

You ever have one of those days when you wonder “Is the Internet developing a mind of its own?”

The reason for this is a bit weird, but I think you’ll appreciate the story.  Getting to it may be a little circuitous, but that’s what coffee is for, am I right?

So there I am, sitting around the house in a few free minutes from work (or what I tell Elaine is work that goes on over in my office) and I get to looking for a new table saw.  The one I got from Sears about five years ago has been OK, but just barely.  Nothing on CraigsList.

If you ever go shopping for a table saw (and people do) the BEST table saw on the market is called a StopSaw.  The things that makes the Sawstop CNS175-TGP36 1-3/4 HP Contractor Saw with 36-Inch Professional T-Glide Fence System including Rails and Extension Table (worth every penny of $2,000 at Amazon) is simple:

StopSaws have an electronic blade sensing  unit built in that can tell the difference between cutting wood and cutting fingers.  If the unit detects a change in electrical impedance of the material, it slams the saw to a stop in a (very small) fraction of a second.

Here’s a video, if you doubt the “finger-saving” capabilities of the tool:

PFM – pure freakin magic.  Gotta get one.  So yes, for someone who types for a living (moi) or someone who needs to ensure that their home workshop “home-handy-bastard” project don’t go…er…digital…like my buddy James the famous doctor (at least in Tennessee) this is THE only saw on the market to own.

I want one because the cheap ($250 Sears) saw that I presently have ain’t cutting it (so to speak) for a number of reasons:

1.  Insufficient table “run-in” space.  The cheap saws don’t have as large a “front porch” (area in front of the blade).  The more room in front of the blade, the more precision you can get out of cuts because you can focus on the cut alignment, not trying to hold the wood up just so.

Of course, the out-feed area (behind the blade) needs to be big, too, since there’s nothing less fun that having to press down on a work piece on a running saw.  Especially if I don’t take the additional 5-minutes of screwing around to set up my out-feed rollers and all that crap.  I’m that guy.

The StopSaw has bolt-on out-feed extensions that (at my age) are more appealing than most centerfolds.

2. Shaft wobble of the blade. My present old Sears saw has a lot of blade wobble.  In other words, if you push the blade (“Saw unplugged, Fool!!!”) left or right, you’ll see you can move my old saw between about 1/16th of an inch to maybe 3/32nd’s.

A real saw ought to have basically NO left – right wobble or looseness of the shaft.

3.  Cheap, small Arbor;  The normal (middle of the saw blade) hole size on a TYPICAL home 10” table saw is 5/8th’s of an inch in diameter.  Just about all saws use this.   But where saws begin to separate the “men from the boys” is in the length of the shaft that the blade goes on.  This measurement is called the “arbor” length.

Anyone with a table saw, and designs on building furniture cutting grooves in the wood to hold shelves, knows the cut grooves are called dado cuts.  Makes for strong, good-looking furniture.

Now, try as I may, I have never been able to get enough of my dado blades on this short-arbor POS to enable me to run a 3/4 in dado in a single pass.  I can get a 1/2” dado set up, but barely.

On a real he-man saw, you get an arbor long enough to allow you to put on up to 7/8th’s of an inch of dado.  Yet another reason I am saw-shopping.  I would like to be able to run a single-pass 3/4” dado on the table saw which is way quicker than setting up the router (which will do it in a single pass) because the table saw makes a smoother cut.

image4.  Non-standard table guides:  If you ever buy a table saw (new or used) made damn sure you get a saw that uses standard 3/4” guides.  This old Sears POS of mine has some fancy keyed guide that is totally useless because it doesn’t accommodate standard-track accessories.

Let’s say I wanted to whip up a cross-cutting sled so I could set up an angle jig.  (Fabulously detailed shop drawing right.)  The non-standard track issue I have run into makes me crazy.

Yeah, I know, “It’s a poor workman that blames his tools, Ure.” 

Bugger off.  That’s bullshit and anyone who believes that a small table, wobbly blade, short-arbor saw with obscure keyed tracks can turn out the same grade of cabinetry as a big StopSaw doesn’t know a rip from a crosscut.

About here’s you may be thinking “OK, interesting rant about table saws, and you didn’t mention that to replace the blade stopping cartridge is about $70bucks, but each time you replace one, that’s cheaper than a visit to the emergency room….but what about the misleading headline on this story…something about the Internet having a mind of its own?  What was THAT all about?”

Aha!  There you go again, dragging me kicking and screaming back to the point.  Doggonit…

Well, all this (except for maybe all the shopping details about how to buy a table saw (which might result in enough Amazon commission to buy a can of catfood for Zeus) is necessary background to explain the Internet getting a mind of its own remark.

You see, one of the sites that I came up with (while looking for the PERFECT table saw CHEAP was this site called  I didn’t know anything about the site…just that it came up in a good for “cheap table saw” or something like that in the goog monster.

Odd assortment of stuff on the front page of the site…. so I put in “saw: in their site search tool.

imageAnd what comes up?  Oh, there are a few saws, alright, but there is also an interesting mix of dresses and sexy lingerie coming up, too.

Say WHAT?”

Yeah – saws and lingerie.  And that’s where I was going with the headline:  What kind of search tool presents on one line a chainsaw, with lingerie and dresses above and below?

Somewhere around the time I was staring at the search returns, Elaine wandered through the living room.  “See this, dear?  Check this out: A search for saws that also shows lingerie and axes…odd huh?  Look at this…” 

I pointed to the screen which  was showing three items: “10 piece of Minnow Lures” followed by “19 pcs oscillating saw blades” follow by “Sexy See Through Organza Button Back Mermaid Trumpet Evening Formal Prom Dresses With High Neck And Luxurious Silver Appliques.”

Is that odd, or what?

As usual, Elaine, never nonplussed by one of my odd discoveries – like this new form of consciousness on the Internet – had a ready answer.

Oh George, maybe they just know you better than you think…maybe they really have figured out marketing to American males….” she observed, wandering off, leaving me in this “struck by lightning” mindset..

I sat there for a good 3-minutes trying to wrap my head around it.  Damnedest thing I’ve seen in years, though.  Chainsaws and lingerie… Struck me as genuinely…er…unique.

That Amazon Ad

Thanks to Reader Clarke, we now know (we thing) the answer to one of the other great mysteries on the net.  that Send Gifts with Friends ad…

Gift with Friends, from what I can ascertain, is a social media attempt to get other friends of the birthday person to gift money into a common account (in this case Amazon credit) so that the birthday person, upon the day of their birth, receives an email from Amazon stating you have a gift waiting for you.  The person logs into their Amazon account to claim the gift card and redeems it for any Amazon product he/she desires.  Then all of the friends of the birthday person get together and have a good time.  At least that’s what I get out of the campaign.

Hmmm…so crowd-gifting, is it?  I should put one up to celebrate turning 65 this month.  Anthracite 911 turbo would be fine…Tiptronic or 5-speed…I’m not picky.

Social Security Inflation Roulette

Speaking of aging, did I have a good time yesterday!  I finally nailed down when I am going to retire!  And this weekend in Peoplenomics I’ll be explaining the logic of how I came to the decision to retire when I plan to.  (English teachers are pulling their last remaining hairs out over that last sentence…my marketing effort for Bosley hair implants…you’re welcome.)

If retirement is still a long ways off for you, no worries yet,  BUT, for a lot of people, simply moving their “retirement date” by a couple of months – two in my case – can make a difference of $8,000 in benefits in the following 20-years.  Should I live that long, of course.  I’m on a Department of Homeland Punctuation hit list.

The smart money seems to be (and the point of this note) is that the Social Security increase due this fall will fall in the 2.0-2.2% range.

And that sort of leads into my next ramble of the morning…

Busy Day in Software Gulch for a “Dead” Man

I have to say (chest swelling with pride here) that the new customer service software which has now been installed for subscribers, is really cool.  It just looks like it’s part of the site and so all the bumbling the stumbling has really paid off nicely.

You can see the nifty sign-up page here, and you can see the Peoplenomics member account page over here.  (Go ahead, sign up, that’s the idea…)

But that’s the “headline” part.  The devil is, as they always say, in the details.

For one, the system now allows me to email out Peoplenomics weekly reports, or, at least it will, once I get through the learning curve and when the software guys tell me how to tack on a .PDF file which is more efficient than pasting HTML.

I was also pleased to learn that my ISP doesn’t limit outbound email off our server, either.  That’s useful.  But – always learning here – turns out that if a server sends more than 500 emails an hour, when big outfits like (name a big outfit that provides connectivity) their servers on the customer end may say “Hey…here’s more of that crap from George…SPAM!!!”

Obviously, what I write isn’t spam but my schooling this week on how servers do war on the email front has been most enlightening indeed.  Sure, I may be able to blow out 100,000 emails, but how many of them would get through?  “Need to think about that…” advises our server/expert provider.

OK, next problem:

There are some Peoplenomics subscribers who may not have renewed because they subscribed with Google, which as you may remember abandoned their Checkout merchants (including care to guess who?) in November. 

OK, so I crafted a nice message than began “This is a one time advisory from where you have previously been a subscriber…”

About here, I get up to my butt in making sure that my email system includes an “opt out” button.  (it seems to).

But then we get down into the weeds of whether I can write a note to previous subscribers, telling them about the changes and new options should they wish to return.

About here the kimchee gets deep. 

Businesses can send (without worries about the Spam laws) a message which is either relational or transactional in nature.

Obviously, some people will write off their subscription expense (investment information, depending on what their tax advisor tell ‘em) and so yes, it would seem that telling people they can print out their payment history would qualify as transactional.

But, if someone had Google Checkout, and then forgot about my stunningly brilliant writing (hard as that is for me to believe, eh?) would an advisory that PayPal and direct (mail-in) payments being accepted be considered “relational?”

If it IS relational, the FTC breaks email into three types:

  • Commercial content – which advertises or promotes a commercial product or service, including content on a website operated for a commercial purpose;
  • Transactional or relationship content – which facilitates an already agreed-upon transaction or updates a customer about an ongoing transaction; and
  • Other content – which is neither commercial nor transactional or relationship.

Well, crap.  Is following up with a previous subscriber a relationship once a subscription has expired?  I spent a couple of hours trying to divine that but, in the end, opted for safely over other courses.  So, if you were one of the people who didn’t renew because of Google checking out of Checkout, I checked out the FTC’s checkout of spam, and checked myself out of that checklist to checkup on past subscribers.


But all, in all it was a fine day, great Peoplenomics article, too.

But the highlight was when one reader, whose moniker is old Ma Brown couldn’t get the system-sent email to show up at here place up in Rocky Mountain high country.  Always willing to help out, I sent her a note back:

Well, hell, [name] why didn’t you say so!

I just reset it so you can log in as:

“ [redcacted] ” for the username, no quotes of course

And “[redcated’” for the passthing

Now, please try that Old Ma Brown and let me know how it works…

The punchline to this incredibly long shaggy-dog story?  My signature line not often shared in public:

George (old man ure…get it?  Lol old manure!!!!

Well, time for Old Man Ure to shuffle off to the dentist’s office. It usually takes about 5-minutes for the nitrous to keep me from flopping around like a fish in the chair when I know there’s a needle in the room somewhere.

Not to worry, however.  We’ll be back with a double-shot of mirth tomorrow morning because they’re only going to fill a cavity in my mouth, not the one between the ears.

Write when you break even.