Friday, June 15, 2007

New Blade and Continued Adjustments

I've continued work on setting up the Radial Arm Saw, and it is getting close to complete. On Wednesday morning I picked up a new blade (8 1/2" thin-kerf finishing blade, appropriately from DeWalt) and I'm anticipating the first cuts (which will be on the MDF for the sacrifice table top).

Last night I continued adjustments to the machine so that it will be precise in its cuts. First, I adjusted the 90° setting by pulling out my combination square, releasing the clamp for lateral adjustment, and carefully aligning the blade trajectory with the square. I think this came out well, but we'll get to test it once the sacrifice table is on.

Then I started making the first of two horizontal blade settings: front to back. This took a while because I misunderstood what Wally Kunkel was describing in his book, Mastering the Radial Arm Saw. I found the three allen screws on the yoke, loosened them as described, and spent a while wondering how this was supposed to modify the angle from side to side. Once I realized that I was supposed to be monitoring the front to back angle, I could actually judge my progress and I got the saw blade lightly touching the reference block on both front and back, as shown in the photograph above.

Next (and perhaps last) I will be adjusting the side to side angle so that the horizontal blade setting will parrallel the table in all axes (plural of axis, not plural of chopping implements). Hopefully I'll get some time Sunday after our camping trip.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Doodling Design Inspiration

Some of my doodles that explore furniture forms

Furniture doodles creep into my notebooks both at work and at home. Usually they explore shape and concept, like those shown here.

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Rosewood Studio Closes

From the Popular Woodworking blog I learned that Rosewood Studio is shutting down. This is a big dissappointment to me, as I had hoped one day to take a class there.

I'm lucky to be near the North Bennett Street School where I can take classes fairly easily, but I won't be taking it for granted any more. Now if I can just see my way clear to a 3-month leave of absence to take that Furniture Making Intensive before it's too late.

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Monday, June 4, 2007

Keeping the Shop Clean

I admit I have a problem clutter, and specifically with boxes. This week will be the fourth week of Tuesday night box break down, and I'm sure to put out 2 more bags of trash and fill another 5 - 10 bags with cardboard.

Since starting the shop "renovation", which really boils down to a shop clean up, I've adopted a habit that makes it so much easier to do something in the shop. After every shop session, I put away or otherwise clear all tools, drawings, woodshavings, scraps, and other detritus created during the project (although the floor is allowed to remain messy).

This means that every project in the last three weeks has had a work surface ready to receive it. I'm finding it makes starting a project easier and more satisfying, and I've been getting a lot done. I don't think I'll ever give up this habit. Even if the basement is a dump (which it is) the clear worksurfaces make the shop an inviting place.

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Friday, June 1, 2007

Radial Arm Saw Table Partially Installed

Removing the Old Table

Levelling the New Table

About a year and a half ago I bought a Radial Arm Saw, but I have never used it because the table was in such rough shape. In January, I started the project of replacing the table. The old one was removed and brought up to New Hampshire, where I worked with my freind, Sean, to assemble the new "Mr. Sawdust" table for the saw.

On Saturday, Sean brought the Radial Arm Saw's table down from New Hampshire and left it on my front porch. On Thursday I figured out proper screw placement, drilled the holes and attached it to the supports.

So today, when I had the day off, I decided to work toward completion. The stand (as I mentioned last week) needs to be replaced, but I made do by installing a shelf for increased stability (and storage). I also wanted to raise the table height above the benchtop next to it, so I cut and attached a plywood top where the saw used to just sit on top of the 2x4 legs. After a trip to the hardware store for bolts, I attached the saw base to the new stand top and attached the table supports to the base. The picture here shows the arbor turned toward the table for use as a fixed reference for relative levelling. After about two hours fidgeting with it, I have it to the point where the arbor rides about a paper's width above any point on the table. We're nearly ready for blast off!

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