Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Because!

This video is a couple tics over two minutes. It's rough and shot on a whim using my cell phone with no production set up at all. The lighting strobes because I guess I have to replace the ballast in one of my fluorescents, and there's a quick bit of slow-mo thrown in at 25 seconds that sounds like cheep Sci-Fi movie effects.

I shot it to prove a point. Give me two minutes and we'll talk about it.


I build  a lot of things for others, right now I'm building a boarded chest needed in my house. I'm ripping about 1 1/4" off a board so I can turn it into trim. I'm doing it by hand. I like doing this demo because I often hear about how slow hand tool woodworking is compared to power tools.

The three minutes it takes me to mark out the cut, holdfast the board to the bench, locate the wedges to keep the off cut from falling on the floor, and make the cut isn't far behind setting a tablesaw to the right measurements, making sure you have your push stick, and making the cut.

But here's the story in my shop.

I have a tablesaw. I make use of a tablesaw. I'm not dogmatically beholden to any one way of working though I do dislike routers, I own one of them too. Woodworking is about problem solving, and more options lead to more solutions. I often use my table saw for rip cuts on stock four feet and shorter (I will occasionally push it up to six feet but not often)

For rip cuts in longer stock, I tack the board to the bench and grab a Disston.

This runs counter logical to some, surely you'd want to use the machine to do the work on longer boards more than shorter ones. So let me explain.

For a long time, at least as long as I've paid attention, beginning woodworkers get the advice to buy a tablesaw, put it in the middle of their shop, and build their workflow around it. Usually this means a dedicated place for the saw with all the standard apparati surrounding. An outfeed table and a variety of crosscut sleds. Sacrificial fences and organized storage for a stacked head dado cutter. Piles of jigs to cut miter slots, tenon cheeks, enough to fill several books for the jig inclined.

I've set up my shop around this tablesaw archetype in the past, but it's not the way I work. When I moved into my current shop I shifted my thinking. The Earth isn't the center of the Universe, and neither is the Sun. In the Universe of my shop the warm toasty center is the piece I'm building itself. Most of the time that means my workbench is the center of my workflow. My tablesaw is on a locking wheeled system and rolls in from the side and back out of the way again.

This means no regular outfeed table or accessories beyond things like a push stick. Setting up to cut a 10' long rip cut means positioning it in the shop with run in and run out space on either side of the blade. It also means fashioning an outfeed surface or a well trained helper to "catch" the boards without causing binding and kickback.It only makes sence in the face of a production run of some type.

Shorter boards don't require this much fore thought therefore ripping long lengths of board by hand is the quicker and simpler way for me to work.

Question everything and be the best snowflake you can possibly be.

Ratione et Passionis
Oldwolf

6 comments:

  1. Impressive.

    Having far more girlish arms myself, I've lately been using the slitting knife on my Record 405 combination plane (Stanley 45 copy) and find that it works great on soft wood (generic dimensions home centre stuff) up to 3/4".

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  2. I came to the same place about ten years ago. I have a wonderful vintage unisaw that's now rolled to the back corner of my shop. It simply eats up too much prime real estate for the limited things it can do well, besides being from a safety standpoint the equivalent of holding a lightning rod.

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  3. I came to the same place about ten years ago. I have a wonderful vintage unisaw that's now rolled to the back corner of my shop. It simply eats up too much prime real estate for the limited things it can do well, besides being from a safety standpoint the equivalent of holding a lightning rod.

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  4. This inspires me to keep the my shop hand tool only. I am setting up my first woodworking shop and getting started in finer work. My background is in carpentry and hardwood flooring. I have a contractor's portable table saw, chop saw, and worm drive that I plan on keeping in the garage. I don't want to fight the dust and noise of a machine shop. Any suggestions for tooling or setup to make hand breaking down of stock more efficient? Thanks

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  5. To be fair, you probably also have to plane the edge after this rough cut.

    But I really wanted to comment on the use of the wedges to support the offcut. That would never have occurred to me, but it is brilliant.

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    Replies
    1. You have to hand plane the edges of any machine cut as well.

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