Earlier this week another “Tool Project” came home:  The radial arm saw.

To be sure, it will be a bit of work getting it into 100% to my standards of readiness.  There may be some paint, a few rust spots to be “cured” and lots of elbow grease.  Plus, a missing elevation crank has been ordered from eBay.  Thriving vintage tool market there.

While I was talking to the fellow I purchased it from, he asked in passing “What are you planning to build?”  “Got the kitchen, to begin with…”  I admitted this new acquisition wasn’t my only saw.  Thing is, when I told him this, there was what sounded like a bit of a smile in his voice.   “Lot of equipment….ummm….

He was absolutely correct – we have a ton of tools:  There’s just some… almost carving-level detail with a dado, for examle – that can be done so muchg easier with the right tool.  A radial arm rig, in this case.  You can see where the lines are. And the saw balde.  Make sure everything is just-so.  Yes, wear glasses.

The Dream Power Tool List

The importance of having a “tool for every need” was driven home Saturday as I was attaching the motor and fan housing to the new “industrial” dust collector.

The bracket was just a little bit off.  Which led me to “Apply some arm-strong.”  When the temp in the shop is up to 85-degrees (and humid because we’re in a Monsoon week in East Texas), “Armstronging steel brackets” is not nearly as much fun at these temps.  Like it is when the shop is bone dry and 58-degrees.  Which to my way of figuring is THE ideal working temperature.  Still warm enough to paint, but when you get manic, you don’t overheat, see?

There were several ways to approach the Saturday project:  I could have followed the assembly instructions, but I wanted to put the motor on the fan housing up on the bench. Easier to see. Old man on hands and knees is just not something with a high fun quotient, lately.

Eventually perspiration overcame all.  Perspiration aided by  a 3-pound dead-blow hammer on both offending sides of the bracket.  They promptly surrendered and the holes lined up as instructed.  I threatened a head lock, too…

The rest of the assembly went smoothly thanks to this little goody:

Recognize it?  This is a DeWalt right-angle impact wrench drive! 

It was about $20-bucks on Amazon and I have to say, on more than one occasion, it has saved my lazy butt.

Related hint: If you need even more room in a really  cramped assembly space?  Take off the deep-well socket and go to conventional shallow depth socket, right?

Let’s “Blue Sky” the Shop

It’s already obvious that I suffer from “normal” male serial addictions:  Boats, blondes, blues, booze, ham radio, studio, airplanes, Porsches, and tools.  What would the ideal shop be to cover all these bases?  I mean since I found one blonde who knows to ask “Which kind of screwdriver? Slotted, Phillips, or orange juice?”

I’ve divided up the shop very roughly into three sections:  Woodworking, 3D arts, and Metalworking.  File by pile but with a plan.

For several years I have patiently added to the collections.  Here’s where I am on the “big stuff” right now.  See what you can figure that I might use that I don’t have on hand:

Wood Main Semi Stationary Tools:

  • Tables saw #1  Sears (cheapo) 10-inch – mainly a crosscut and ripping machine.
  • Table Saw #2 – Sears (classic early alum table 8-1/4″) set up for tenon cutting with fence and two kinds of dado (stack set and wobble)
  • Radial Arm Saw (restoration in process)
  • Chop saw 12” HF compound/bevel
  • Shaper 1 – ½” bore  (found it new in box on eBay)  Toolkraft.  Have about 15 cutters for it.
  • Shaper 2 – ½” diam router-type bits (have set of 20-odd cutters, all carbide)
  • Bandsaw – 10” Rikon for Resawing
  • Delta  long bed jointer (6” width)
  • Thickness Planer:  Wen 13” width (great little machine when resawing!)
  • Lathe (wood)  Wen  About 43” (18”vari-speed with extension bed)
  • Mortising machine:  Wen with 3-sizes of mortising bits
  • Drill press (10”)
  • Scroll saw 16” (variable speed)
  • Belt and Disk sander (fixed) (also a handheld on, but why?)
  • Air handling (wood)  HF 1550 CFM (large) built-in vac. 4” ducts to chop saw, table saw, sander, planer, jointer

(Plus every hand power tool on earth)

  • Power planer
  • ½” big router
  •  ½” small router (signmaking)
  •  ¼” trim router with flush cuts
  • Dewalt Sawz-All type
  • 4-1/2” grinder with carving bit (chain type)
  •  Dremel with many accessories and carving stand
  • Air nailers galore: pin, 18 gauge up to 3-1/2″ framing nailer
  •  Hitachi impact and drill drivers with 4 ahr batteries and spares
  • Jig saws (*one going into a jigsaw table mount rattling around in my head)

For real woodworking

  • Dovertailing rig
  • Doweling jig with dowel pins
  • Biscuit joiner with biscuits
  • Squeeze and bar clamps for glue-ups
  • Lots of drills, accessories, good Porter Cable Forstner set
  • A great old Stanley #9 hand plane


  • Electric and air spray rigs
  • Small compressor and air brushing set (Elaine’s but she doesn’t use it)
  • Billions of HF chip brushes… tons of spar varnish etc
  • Air brushing rig (I don’t tell Elaine!  Shhhh…)
  • Fair paint rack for what we need out here.

Shared Resources: 

  • Air Compressor 25 gallon, 1.5 HP
  • Manifold with air hoses to:  Main bench, 40-foot retracting reel, and drill station

Metal Side of the Shop:

  • Metal Lathe 1:  9 X 23 Jet gear head with tooling
  • Metal Lathe 2:  Taig Mini (with risers and tooling)
  • Vertical Mill:  HF Mini mill (about a 7″ X 16″ bed)
  • Plasma Cutter:  Lotos ½” clean cut with tooling and spares
  • (Gas) Welding/Cutting  Campbell Hausfeld (Victor) type with cutting torch – oxy-act.
  • Welding (stick)  Cheapo 180 amp stick rig with assorted sticks
  • Welding (Mig)  Lincoln SP-135T with extra argon bottles, tips, FluxCore 0.030 and 0.035.

Sheet metalwork: 

  • Air nibblers. air shears, die grinders, etc.
  • 36”  Box and Pan brake.
  • Burnishing machine  (it’s like a grinder with a right-angle drive)  Surfacing rust-eating animal!
  • Assorted metal tools:   air saws, air-powered files, air hammers, needle scaler, etc
  • Air impact and ratchet wrench sets.

3D Design/Printing

  • Creality 3D printer  9X9X13 build volume
  • CNC Router (3018 series SainSmart)
  • With interchangeable 5.5 watt laser cutter head for the CNC
  • Laptop with “Blender” design software
  • Library of open source printable designs (prepping stuff)
  • Fair supply of PLA, ABS and PTE filament to print
  • 3D air handling: HF 1 HP 650 FPM vented outside for the plastics area (so can print ABS and styrene…)


  •  Two 6-inch grinders:  3-stone types and one wire brush
  • Circular saw sharpener (electric)
  • Chain saw sharper
  • Sharp stones, leather hone/strop
  • Knife-making 1″ belt sander
  • 1/2 HP Buffer (2 wheels) on stand

In the Wings

  • Backyard Metalcasting furnace
  • Refractory to complete.
  • Green sand.  Need to build a cope and drag in woodshop…
  • Have two crucibles but need charging tongs, lifting/pouring tongs
  • Have 250 pounds 6061-T6 scrap for melting.
  • Need to plumb this into the 500 gallon propane tank…

The Big Question

What power/stationary tools have I missed?  Anything big you can think of?

Electric honing machine is a maybe but wouldn’t be used hardly at all.  I want to add mor pipe clamps for doing more/larger laminations and glue-ups.

I didn’t keep the sail repair kit from our sailboat.  But maybe a couple of sail needles, some bits of canvas and leather would be good to have around?

Always a Project

While it’s grand to have worked your ass off and gotten a small parcel of land free and clear, its not really so much YOU own the land as it is “The Lands Owns You.”

Another farmer saying is “When you own the land, everywhere your eye lands is a project that needs doing…”

That saying was proven again just before the Monsoons brought up nearly 2-inches of rain this week.

The front gate fell apart.

Let me show you how Lazy George fixes a 12-foot wide metal fence that as been pulled out of an aging cedar fence post.

I removed the rusted pin.  Gave the screw-in part a quick once-over with a wire wheel.  Then I grabbed a couple of tubes of self-mixing 5-Minute Epoxy, and filled in the hole. (Pretended I was a dentist and making beau coup bank…)  Then for good measure, glopped some on the fence hinge pin, too.

Then I reassembled, blocking up the far end on some 2-by’s to set the heighth where I wanted it.  Then off to breakfast.  By the time breakfast was over, warm weather and 5-Minute Epoxy has done their magic.  Works like a charm.

Almost disappointingly, so.

You see, here’s the thing:  When you have a real capable  shop – even if I’m not the greatest at any of these tools (save the computer?) even the village idiot (oye) can cobble up something that would fill the bill.

As I brought the 2-by “blocking” back to the shop, I had imagined an ornate waterproof plywood and cedar rebuild.  No?  How about bending up some inch-and-a-half by 3/16th’s bar stock and making a “hinge ring”?  Then cut the pin down to an inch and a half and weld it onto this strap ring…and then put that into the post with long heavy deck screws all around….

See all the choices?

Learning moment:  1-Minute Epoxy is great for some jobs, but the strength when done runs around 2,400 PSI.  5-minute epoxy pays off patience with 3,600 PSI.  So there are some differences in epoxy’s to be aware of.  And yes, it is vastly superior to Super Glue in many applications, particularly when porosity is involved.

One Last Farm and Yard Hint

We never used Round-Up, but here lately the 20% vinegar you can buy on Amazon is working well at keeping under the fenceline trimmed up without so much effort on the weed eater.

This is almost 3-months since last application and 6+ weeks without the trimmer coming out.  As soon as the rain passes this week (the Fourth, rain, right?) then I’ll make a low pass with the trimmer, give it a few days, and then hit it again with more vinegar.

Got the idea from my buddy  the Major who is Mr. Strack when comes to his grounds.  He uses a gallon of regular vinegar and then melts a cup of Epsom salts to a saturated solution (a minute in the microwave gets more dissolved) and a teaspoon of dish soap to cut surface tension.

You’ll want to apply this with a sprayer a day or two after rain and when it won’t rain for 3-4 days, at least.

A further caution here:  My Amazon cheap sprayer pump (Chapin) failed after I left the plunger sitting in 20% vinegar for a few weeks.  So use what you mix, then rinse out the pump and maybe yours will last longer than mine….  The small 1-gallon size pump fits several sizes.  And I didn’t see where I could buy the pump portion, by itself. Naw, that would make too much sense….

OK…ride ’em lanmower!  Yee Haw!  Bet if YOU were to start mowing at 6:15 AM on Sunday the cops would come.  Not out here, bubba…there’s a tiny part of America that’s still relatively free.

Write when you get rich,