Monday, August 29, 2016

Starting Over - Part 4: SIDETRACKED!

It had to happen sooner or later....getting sidetracked, that is.

Some time ago, I had the tools to do the work. Then came the realization the work could probably get done with other, smaller, less efficient tools. So, some of the bigger tools got sold.

Then came the realization that those smaller, less efficient tools needed work in order to work, and that's where the "sidetrack" came into being.

The reluctance to do so, however, was overwhelming. In other words, I had to at least try my circular saw, table saw, and even a two inch router bit with top guide for edging before accepting they weren't going to do the job adequately or to my satisfaction and doing what I knew ultimately needed to be done anyway. Well, as anticipated, none of them got the sides smooth or true enough to be able to joint these planks together. Simple as that.

So, sidetrack onto a tool gloat, or so I thought, of a Wright model jointer/planer vintage 1940's.

Problem is the tool was minus cutter knives that can't be replaced because the company is out of business. That one is going on the scrap metal heap and will be unceremoniously "retired" by the scrap metal guy when he comes for some other metal scraps. Hate to see this antique have to go this route, but truth is I couldn't even give it away. Oh, well....

Enter a little 4" Sears Craftsman jointer/planer daughter Jessi snagged from somewhere awhile ago.

Rust removal, clean-up underneath, and it was ready to go....except for the fact it had to be fastened to something solid and heavy to keep it steady.

Enter the stand from the Wright jointer/planer -- you know, the one that couldn't be used because it had no cutter knives? Yup...that jointer/planer had a stand that, with a little adaptation and ingenuity, could accommodate the smaller Sears Craftsman planer.

Here's how it got done:

Build a frame to support the tool....scraps sure do come in handy every once in awhile.

Align the frame in order to be able to attach it to the stand so the drive belt is open and accessible.

Fit the frame down over the stand and attach it.

Hinge a couple of pieces together to make a kind of free floating motor stand that will allow the electric motor's weight, when mounted, to take any and all slack out of the drive belt to run the jointer/planer.

Set the motor under the jointer/planer and make sure the drive belt aligns perpendicular.

Clamp the hinged motor stand to the stationary stand and try it out by plugging it in and keeping fingers crossed it won't burn up in the process.

Well, after a "pucker factor increase" wondering if this whole thing is going to work or not, I was very pleasantly did! And pretty durn burn well if I do say so myself!

The learning curve on using this thing with those size planks was a long one, though. It took quite a few passes to understand better how to run them through for best results.

Bottom line is even though the sidetrack took a few days to set up, the results were well worth the effort, something I should have known they would be right from the get go, but was just too damn stubborn to admit.

One other thing....give a huge shout out to friend and fellow woodworker, Mike Barrett for letting me use his thickness planer.

That tool made short work of planing the tops and bottoms of the planks mentioned in the previous blog post down to a uniform thickness for the tabletop.

The reason the thickness planer was needed was because I'd sold mine thinking the router planer would suffice. Problem is it cupped every..single..plank in the middle because of the weight of the router and the sled not being quite rigid enough to not allow that to happen (yeah, I know this photo is one I've used before, but it was the best one to help illustrate the problem).

Add to that the fact the table saw blade at its highest point (yeah, I was too stubborn at that point to call Mike and tried this last resort before finally swallowing my pride) still wasn't high enough to true up the tops or bottoms of those planks when they were turned on their sides, and it became a perfect storm of frustration and turning the air blue as a result!

Enter the MAN --- Mike Barrett! photos of this part of the project. Suffice to say the entire operation went "smoothly" and "uniformly".

Next up? Glue-up....