Coping: With Home Handy-Bastard’s & Saws, II

Table saw connoisseurs gather round…note here from reader Ken as a follow-up to our discussion over yesterday’s bean about the be-all, end-all BEST table saw out there for the money:

For years one of the many rewarding hats that I wore was working in a professional cabinet shop. Now I am not saying that the two thousand dollar saw is a waste of money since I would love to have one in my garage.. but what I do to get the perfect work table is make a set of side tables for the saw.. that way you can put a whole sheet of plywood on it and have the flexibility of being able to rotate the stock. I also love the panel saw guide I have to.. anyway here is a website showing a nifty set of side tables that are easy to make and store yet give you the large table area that would enable you to produce like the larger cabinet shops..( actually that is what we  had at our shop tables for our custom cabinets so we could lay out what we were going to do.. ) In any event something to ponder other than an economic crash on a Thursday afternoon..

Table Saw Extension Wing

Table Saw Outfeed Table

Over at this link (Sears) this is the table saw I have and love.. I used to have one of the older sears saws.. what was bad about that is the storage of it.. you almost had to have a dedicated work shop this saw on the other had is easy to store and use with the extension tables you will be able to store the whole thing in a foot print of thirty inches by thirty six inches.. giving you the flexibility of being able to park your car in the garage along with having enough good shop equipment to produce almost anything you would want to build.,.

Cheers from the Midwest..  a dedicated reader for sure..

imageA little blurred, perhaps, but what isn’t when you are up thrashing about the shop at 5 AM?  I do have to admit that for all the shortcomings of my $200 on sale Sears saw, it does have “wings” you can see on the right there that will support up to 24 inches on  one side and 32 on the other.

Not big enough to do complete and utter magic accuracy – when cutting big panels of wood, and single-handing a sheet of 3/4” plywood is one of those shop tasks that almost demands any home handy-bastard marry someone who can help muscle around such work pieces.

But, there is another way, because invariably when I need to cut down sheet stock, Elaine is off to the store, Panama’s off doing some church thing, or other, and the cats are useless and (redacted) on a boar.

Obviously, a panel saw would be a wonderful accessory to have at times like this (cutting down full sheets) but I’ve got another (cheaper) solution which is the Kreg KMA2675 Kreg Rip-Cut which runs about $32 bucks and is totally worth it.

The principle is the same as one of those “edge-cutting guides” that come with sabre saws, but which inevitably get lost after the first project…it’s just the Kreg guide is a scaled up version that will handle up to 24”, or so.  So when I was framing in that new room/addition onto what used to be a simple deck on the north end of the house, this is what I used for making those long straight cuts that are impossible to get perfect, otherwise, with a circular saw.

imageAs long as I’m throwing your money away for you, here’s another gem:  This is a Dust Right Separator and it’ll set you back about $70-bucks.

If you have even a semi-busy home shop, though, this thing will pay for itself in about a year.  Reason?

Whenever I am using the table saw, I have the big ShopVac hooked up and running.  Keeps the dust down.  (Get the largest ShopVac you can find room to store like the Shop-Vac 5867500 6.5-Peak Horsepower QSP Quiet Deluxe Wet/Dry Vacuum, 16-Gallon, about $113 and free shipping if you have Amazon Prime.)

The money saving from the dust separator happens because you will only have to replace your dust bag in the ShopVac about one quarter as often – if that.  

One other tip here:  ShopVac makes a special (yellow) filter series that’s designed to pick up really fine dust – like sheetrock scrapings – and it gives much cleaner air.  That’s what I run all the time because the separator pulls out all the big stuff and maybe 90% of the sawdust.

One criticism of the product?  Sure:  The little casters are in a tight circle around the bottom, so if you have lumpy shop floors like we do, the damn thing will fall over when you yank on it from halfway across the shop with the two long extension hoses which I forgot to mention.

The solution, for me, was just put a couple of bricks in the bottom of it, but you could shop around for the kind that have the casters sticking out from around the base, if you have an uneven shop floor.

Handy-Bastard’s Beginner Corner:  5 Operations

If you missed the joy of industrial arts class – which is one of the most terrible things we seem intent on losing in America to the push-button education monster, building all kinds of neat & nifty add-ons for your home is really easy.

I don’t say that because I’m any kind of a craftsman.  I tell you this because building ANYTHING around your home only involves five (5) basic operations, all of which are terribly simple if you take it one step at a time.

Let’s say that I would like to make a piece of furniture that has been buzzing around in my mind for a month.  It’s going to be a TV table sort of thing…you know, the kind you put a plate on while watching the tube, that you can slide up to the couch so you can shovel in the chow without leaning forward?

Except this thing is going to be to hold my laptop over at my easy-chair so I can slide it closer to the chair when I am working/writing there.

Here’s how the whole project breaks down…Just five easy operations:

1.  Plan:  I get out a piece of paper and sketch up what I would like it to look like when done.

Hmmm…what material will I use?  I’m thinking steel reinforcing bar –  rebar – 3/8th’s round –  for the base/legs and the support for the top.  Then I want a nice piece of varnished wood (6-7 coats, real glass-looking finish).    I measure the laptop and that gives me an idea about sizes. 

Now, for each piece of material on my plan I do the following two things:

2.  Measure:  This ain’t exactly hard.  Assuming you can figure out how to run a measuring tape, you mark your material.

3.  Cut:  This step if obvious, but it will vary on both the kind of cut you’re after (straight, curvy, angled, and so on.  It will also vary by material used. 

Starting with material, for metal or plastic I go to the metalworking part of my shop.  For wood, I go to the woodcutting tools. 

Straight cuts of metal (like hacking the rebar) can be done a) with a metal cutting hack saw, b) the power metal cutting band saw, or c) the metal-cutting chop saw.  I’ll use the chop saw – noisy by fast.

If I were cutting the top, I would use the table saw and – if I wanted a detailed edge, I might roll-overs the edges with a router bit.

3.5 Forming:  This little project won’t take any forming, but just to put it into your through processes, we can steam wood to bend it, or, if metal, we have a box & pan brake (metal-bender) for sheet metal and  a large metal-bender for pipe, tubing, and bar stock (square and round).

But are you getting a sense of how easy this stuff is?  You can, quite literally make ANYTHING.

About here, you need to pause for a moment and take your collection of parts and decide how you are going to assemble your finished item.  That’s because the last two steps of building ANYTHING involve finishing and assembling.

Finishing covers things like sand-blasting the rebar, painting it, and so forth, or in the case of the wood top, it involves sanding and varnishing (I like Cabot’s gloss spar varnish because it gives wood a nice honey-tone look to it and after 50-6 coats it looks like glass…)

The assembling is just the screws or nails, or glue that hold the wood items together, glues for plastics, and welds, solder joints, bolts, screws, or brazing for metals.

4.  Assemble:  (metal) As it turns out, the metal in this project is going to be welded, so that part of assembly happens first for the metal parts.  Their order will be clean, weld, paint.

And then the metal parts will be…

5.  Finish:  Nothing more than wrinkle-finish high durability black spay paint.

Obviously, on the metal parts, I would not finish first and then weld because I’d have tacky looking welds to repaint.  And paint is an insulator, so the electric welder would require that I remove finish anyway to weld.

On the other hand, wood parts (generally) are sanded/finished first and then assembled last.

Woodworkers spend hours and hours debating the order of assembling and finish, though.  Purists who make quality furniture finish first and then assemble.  But, for people like me, or designs that fall out of my head more correctly, the problem often comes down to “If I assemble last, I will have to mask off this area (so and so) in order to have raw wood for the glue to stick to….”

But, nothing a few 16-penny stainless steel framing nails can’t fix… (woodworking joke).

Life Is About Recipes!

It’s the same kind of process that goes on in the kitchen.  There’s a recipe….and the shop is absolutely no different.  Building anything always comes down to a recipe and once you internalize that EVERYTHING HUMANS DO FOLLOWS A RECIPE, life changes dramatically.

You start collecting recipes.  Landing my airplane is a “recipe.”  Making a distant contact on ham radio follows a recipe.  Writing a novel is a recipe.  Being happy is a recipe.  Being married in a recipe. 

And that’s the little secret that all the great executives eventually get to- even running a company is a recipe…seriously.

Why, even something like medicine is a recipe.  That’s why EMT’s like G2 run around with all those recipes in their head.  Seriously, the more you work on mnemonics and recipes, the more personal power you will have.

Every pilot knows when arriving or departing to do “GUMP”  Gear-under carriage, mixture, prop.

I could go on into a long rant about how this lack of sharing that everything is a learning template is why schools are so screwed up, but that’s not the point.

Instead, spend some time over at Gingery Publishing and what (the late Vince) and David Gingery have put together.

And if you really want to expand your world, pick up a copy of Build Your Own Metal Working Shop From Scrap (Complete 7 Book Series) and get to work.

Other Hobby Corner

Since the weekend is here, you might enjoy (depending on hobby) the FAA Safety article (page 20 here) on improvements in aircraft night vision landing systems.  Cool,but  not in our budget. I don’t plan to be up past my bedtime to land an airplane, but some good scoop on state of the art.

Ham radio: CQ WW RTTY (teletype) contest is this weekend – and thanks to the magic of sound cards we might nibble a bit on that…


Back to reality.  Reader tip here:

Good morning sir.  Just a heads up; did you know that the code word for the American Revolution was “Enterprise”.  I find it interesting that this is the code word for this new revolution for a one-world government.  Have a nice day.

One of those things I knew but had forgotten….you too, likely?

Not to be Paranoid, But…

Reader Jim was asking about m-morning Thursday…

Hi George, it’s 10:30 CST and the blog still hasn’t been posted. Maybe you forgot to double check that it was up? Jim.

So I wrote him back…

No, everything is totally normal here – was posted aty 7:56 this morning (one minute late, which I will grant you)

More importantly, yours is the only note about it – which means I would be screaming at either a) your computer or b) your ISP because some of the big national ISP’s do block/delay urban because – who to say this without being paranoid? – they really ARE worried about too many people catching on to the Big Picture of social sodomy in action…

And the point here is what?  If your morning read of UrbanSurvival is arriving late, then either call and complain to your Big National Thought Controlling ISP, OR flush the page cache in your computer because I put INCREDIBLE efforts into posting on time and yes, we do use cloud hosting, so there’s no excuse for you not getting the fresh daily reports within a few minutes of 8 AM Central time on Monday, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays…

Been thinking about building a “What to Expect This Coming Week” post on Sundays, but maybe that will go on the Peoplenomics sider… (input welcome)

OK, this weekend a couple of item’s on how to maximize social security benefits… and next week Wednesday’s Peoplenomics will address the 1342-1345 problem.  See you Monday!

Write when you break-even…