Episode 101 David and Goliath

Featuring the smallest, and largest Amana Tool router bits from Toolstoday.com (at least those that fit a standard 1/4″ and 1/2″ router).  Surfacing is done on a Torque Workcentre.

Music by Lis Viggers

Shed arrives, and is up already!

It’s Amazing
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It’s Astounding
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It’s slightly smaller than I expected
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Assembly was a breeze, except for the breeze
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But a shed is a shed- right?
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Just a week to go

Slab signoff

With the expansion joints now cut, the slab is complete.

And the shed is due to arrive a week on Monday!

I am rather tempted to get my daughter’s outdoor chalks out, and sketch out where each machine is going, but that is just a lack of patience and would have little other benefit.

Time to twiddle my thumbs some more.

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The slab becomes a reality

6am start, with the cement truck arriving at 7:30.  It may have been drizzling to start, but the day sure cleared up by the end.  Irrespective, a pump truck was used to get the 6.4 m3 of concrete on site. Made the job go very quickly.

So it is in and done.  The expansion joints will be added tomorrow (done by saw, rather than trowel).

It can be walked on tomorrow, and built upon in a week.  Given the shed is a week away on Monday, the timing was getting pretty tight in the end (although there will still have been a few days grace as the erectors won’t be on site the day the shed arrives!  I’ll soon be able to take delivery of the SawStop as well (finally!).

Timelines

I received the invoice today to pay to start the building permit process.  Probably the fastest bill I have ever paid.  The digital ink wasn’t even dry before the bill had been paid, and the receipt (as proof) sent back.

So time to break down the timeline and see what it may mean.

1 October – 13 October: Obtain building permit

14 October: Place order for concrete

14 October: Order placed for shed

14 October – 10 November: Shed manufacture (I am really hoping we can hit this window – this is the highest risk to the program)

19 October  – 20 October: Clear out current 3×3 shed and deconstruct

21 October: Order skip

28 October – 29 October: Block clearance including skip for waste removal

30 October – 31 October: Casting slab

11 November: Shed arrival

11 November – 24 November: Lead time for shed assembly.  Once construction starts, and the slab is in, I don’t see why the assembly can’t be booked in, so it happens only a few days after arrival, rather than a few weeks.  That would bring shed assembly forward to around 13 November through to 20 November.

25 November – 1 December: Shed assembly

It would be tempting to have the electrician in straight after and get the power sorted out as well, but going to take a more sensible approach and use the shed as is, with the Promac generator providing primary power (especially 15A), and some 10A being run from the house.  That will give the time over the Xmas break to get a reasonable idea about tool layout, and the corresponding power requirements.

I have the lights sitting in the garage, so they will be up very early on (light is one of those mandatory things!)  They currently have 10A plugs on each, so temporarily wiring them up will be easy.

I have to remember to run some piping under the slab for the dust extraction, and mid-floor power.

It feels like it is still going to be a long time – another 2 months!  But when I break it down like this, there is something happening almost every week so it will really feel like it is moving quickly.  It won’t take much to knock this program right however, and if it moves to the right much, it will clash with Christmas and that would be disastrous (as that would cause another month delay, and at a time when I would be on leave and actually able to make use of it.

Going to need new carpet after all this – have worn an absolute track over the last 6 months!

Shed Progress (sorta)

Bit more waiting required before things are locked in – perhaps Monday.

In the meantime, the Report and Consent is still with the council – they indicated they may have a response by today (which presumably means in the mail, so again early next week to hear how it is progressing, and if there is any further work required).  My phone call to them last week didn’t throw up too many issues, but I’ll know more when I get their official response.  I am hopeful.

Had a concreter out today for a quote – again they will put it together over the weekend.  Looks like the potential for a lot of news on Monday, but I’m not pinning too much on that likelihood!  One thing to say – this was the first concreter even willing to turn up to quote.  I equate it to standing at the side of the road, waving a cheque book (or cash) and no one interesting in taking my money.

At least these guys sound competent.  Will be interested to see their quote!

When I ask for a slab

I may be talking about a cool amber beverage, but I’d certainly settle for one of these!

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Photo taken by my old man on one of his overseas jaunts – will get more detail about where (and what). He neglected to bring it back for me – something about carry on baggage on the plane.

Can’t imagine what you could do with it to justify the timber – whatever it becomes, it would be impressive!

Picking up a slab

In many sheds (and parties, and sports clubs) down under, that’d raise connotations of an end of the productive side of the day, and the cracking of a few favourite beverages is about to commence.  But for woodworkers, there is also the possibility that it means just that – the acquisition of a large flat slice of timber, usually cut by someone else who has more specialised toys than in the average shed.

However, if you own (or are considering) the Torque Workcentre, it is not out of reach, as the slabbing attachment gives the typical workshop the ability to claim very useable timbers from the very trees in which it grows.

The attachment has 2 main parts – two clamps that attach to the main arm on the TWC, and securely clamp a chainsaw between them.  About 4″ of the chainsaw bar length is lost in this, so a 16″ chainsaw can slab a maximum width of 12″.  The bigger the chainsaw, the more powerful the motor, the larger the slab you can manage.

There is a block on either side of the bar (narrower than the width of the bar, so as not to touch the chainsaw teeth) that hold the chainsaw firm, and with one at either end of the bar, it is locked in tight.

The position is probably different from chainsaw to chainsaw, but a hole through to, or scalloped out area near the chainsaw would be useful so blade adjustments can be done without the need to remove the chainsaw from the jig.

I’d also like to see some form of oil reservoir mounted above the chain with a controllable feed rate, as the normal chain lubrication method being gravity fed is rather ineffective with the chainsaw perpetually on its side.  However, these are all refinements to the basic operation.

I started with a lump of camphor laurel (yes, oh Roving Reporter, THE lump of CL – you’ll have to find an alternate seat!) that I picked up for $10 a couple of years ago, and secured it to the TWC.  Although this piece is short enough to pass through a resawing operation on the bandsaw, it works well as a test piece here.  With the chainsaw bar levelled out, and the depth of cut set, I was ready for a first pass.

The first cut was set very shallow – I only wanted to take off enough to flat-spot the log, so it would sit more securely on the workbench for further slices.

As the chainsaw bit in, the unmistakable aroma of camphor wafted through the shed, undiminished by the continuous air filtration of the Microclene unit, or even the head protection afforded by the Purelite Respirator (I geared up a bit for this) – I’d have to have used a carbon filter to extract that, but it isn’t unpleasant (although my wife strongly disagreed when she made a surprise visit, committing the cardinal sin of interrupting shed time 😦 😉 )  Even a couple of hours later when I walked past the outside of the shed, the smell was still very much in evidence!

With the first cut complete, the log was flipped over for the first slab to be cut.

One of the problems I always have, is getting timber that is thick enough when I go shopping – like purchasing steak from the supermarket, they are sold so measly thin, on the (probably correct) assumption that people will buy more quantity, rather than quality (3 thin steaks sells better than 2 thick ones).  This isn’t an issue when you do it yourself, and in the case of slabbing a trunk, you can cut the slab as thick as you like.  And you can also choose whether you want regularly sawn timber, or quarter sawn.

Not an option you normally get from a box-hardware store.  For the same reason – a quarter sawn log is more expensive (more timber is wasted) and the average shopper doesn’t distinguish, other than on the price.

There are plenty of ripples across the surface from the cut, but a few quick passes through the drum sander got rid of them without a problem (I used the drum sander to avoid the snipe from the thicknesser on a short board).

Finally, it was off to the new workbench, and firing up of the Festool ETS 150/5 (random orbital sander)

Hard to see here, but a quick rub down with a wood oil (the ol’ Triton oil in this case) really picked out the details.  I didn’t actually need to oil it yet, other than my own curiosity – the board will head over to the tablesaw to cut it to size for the next project, and get whatever finish is applied to that, but I just wanted to really see how the details responded, especially the spalting, to a bit of oil.

Seeing what the Chain Saw

Just before deciding to waste an afternoon getting a finger tended to, I had been trying the new Husqvarna out slicing up a bit of firewood (gathered from the side of the road years ago).

Chainsaw went very well – slicing easily through what now looks like to be spotted gum.  Instead of destined for the fireplace, I guess this cube is now going to become something a bit more interesting.  No idea what yet.  That’s the problem with being a woodworker – even something destined for the fireplace gets assessed whether it is better diverted to the shed!

The clamp I am using here is one of the original (Australian made!!) Superjaws.  It has the upgraded (newer) version of the log jaws that bite strongly into the log, and where there is a heavy, soft bark, these jaws bite right through.  An excellent tool to take to the job site where you need to make the job of chopping up firewood a lot safer (that is just one of the jobs I use the SJ for).

I’m quite pleased with the Husky as well – about as powerful as you can get on a 10A supply, and although you can get larger petrol chainsaws with more power, longer bars, this one did the job.  Perhaps needing a bit more time to complete a cut required (although to get more power in a petrol model would cost a lot more), but for a home user- an excellent tool.

There is a definite advantage to the convenience of an electric saw, especially in the shed.  Not having to get the engine running, dealing with fumes etc.

Just another look at those jaws.  The rear jaw is singular, so the timber/log is held in a triangular pinch – no point trying to use jaws with 4 points – ever seen a log with truly parallel sides?

I did set the saw into the Torque Workcentre slabbing attachment this weekend, but didn’t get any results to write about.  Will have to do some more experiments to work out how to get the best out of the attachment.  It clamps the chain bar well – certainly feels like a secure arrangement, but couldn’t seem to get the saw to cut.  I know it works well when freehand – especially given what it did to the spotted gum (where I tried both rips and crosscuts), so some more testing needed.  It could be I didn’t have the blade parallel to the table, or the test piece I decided to use was too green/gummy or something.  I’m tending to wonder about the parallelism because about 1/2 way through the cut I was seeing an increasing wavy surface – indicative of a blade trying to cut in one direction, and forced to cut in another, but I didn’t have time to pursue this further.

321EL Husqvarna

Picked up this chainsaw from Clayton Mowers yesterday in preparation for slabbing on the Torque Workcentre.

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It is electric, which has advantages and disadvantages. Limited to a 16″ blade, it is 2000w, or the equivalent of a 2.8HP / 45cc petrol. That is still pretty punchy so it’ll be interesting to see how well it goes.

Not going to have the fumes etc in the shed that I would have otherwise have gotten with a petrol unit, and with Clayton Mowers running a Husky special at the time, as well as some extra horse trading, I got it with change from $440, including bar oil. Also means I will be able to use it in situations where OHS regs would otherwise prevent its use (demos, woodshows etc).

For the equivalent power & bar size in petrol would have cost $850

My preference would have been for a 24″ chainsaw, but then in a cheap brand it is over a grand, and close to $2k for a decent saw. So in context, doesn’t seem at all bad for such a reputable brand.

Now to commission it- certainly will be easy to start!

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