Hunter-Gatherers

These days, if you want vegetables to cook, they are laid out in the supermarket. Lettuce is sold pre-shredded in bags, meat in plastic-wrapped packages, cheese in tubes, even water in bottles. It may be convenient, but we have lost that ability, even the drive to be hunter-gatherers. Even many woodworkers are guilty of being tempted by the convenience of modern pre-prepared timbers, ripped and dressed all round, some coming plastic wrapped, even pre-cut ready for joining together.

But behind the temptations, there must also be a sadness that when they do come across a felled tree, sitting on the side of the road, they know not only how much timber is just sitting there waiting for someone, but also that this is free timber in a world of overpriced rubbish. When they have no ability to harvest the timber, they have to drive on, leaving the find for someone luckier.

Having access to a slabbing machine would open the floodgates to cheap and free timber, but these are typically thousands of dollars, and for a smaller scale woodworker, that is likely to be a lifetime of timber, so impossible to justify. However, if you are an owner of a Torque Workcentre, and have a chainsaw, then for only $200 for the slabbing jig, you will have a slabbing machine of your own, able to handle lengths up to approximately 0.5m shorter than the length of your workcentre (eg 3 metre slab if you have a 3.5 metre workcentre).

The slabbing attachment is very simple, and it can be because of the inherent properties of the Torque Workcentre itself. The workcentre has a very solid base, able to support significant loads. The tool support arm that slides the length of the table is very heavy duty, and travels smoothly on 10 bearings creating a solid platform for the slabbing jig to attach to.

The slabbing jig holds the chainsaw securely by gripping onto either end of the chainsaw bar. You use the adjustments designed into the slabbing jig to get the bar level, then the main vertical adjustment on the Torque Workcentre to set the blade height, and therefore the slab thickness.

With very little effort, you are ready to slab to your heart’s content, and for some extra money on the side, there are many other woodworkers out there jealous of your workcentre and willing to pay for you to slab their logs for them as well.

The Torque Workcentre – not only a crosscut and rip saw table, or an overhead router with pattern-copying ability, a thicknessing machine, and slab planer, but now also capable of producing the slabs for you from materials you can find.

Let the age of Hunter-Gathering woodworker return! At least for proud owners of the Torque Workcentre.

2 Responses

  1. Most timber left on the side of the road is usually cut to 300-500mm lengths and therefore very accessible to anyone who has the time (and inclination) to mill/slab their own with a chainsaw, bandsaw and table saw. I’ve been the lucky recipient lately of some Himalayan Cedar (Cedrus) and Peppermint Tree (agonis) logs which have been ideal for turning blanks.

    Which leads me to the question about longer logs to slab. How cost effective is it to purchase a Torque Workcentre Vs something like a small Lucas?

  2. […] Hunter-Gatherers (stusshed.wordpress.com) […]

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