Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Merry Christmas to me - A new tool...

My present from my kids!  Well, not exactly.  Evidently, they couldn't bring themselves to buy me something that could cut off my fingers, so they all gave me gift cards so that I could buy it myself!

I was so excited to purchase this.  I had it home for about 10 days before I got up the nerve to start it up.  Then, it was time.  I was ready.  I had my little block of wood ready to practice on, and I was sure that my practice piece would also turn out to be a beautiful little box.  I plugged this baby in and flipped the switch.  And, the switch flopped right back down!  I had been so excited!  I switched and switched and I couldn't get the switch to work.  I read the directions - which are pitiful, by the way!  No luck.  Finally, I realized that the picture showed something called a switch lock.  Well, I didn't have a switch lock anywhere!

I'd purchased my band saw straight off the display shelf.  The one and only saw they had in a box, did not have a manual and upon close inspection they discovered that it was loaded with sawdust.  It had been used and returned.  When they offered me the display at a 20% discount off the regular price, I jumped at it.  I went home with the saw (no box) and a manual.  But, I realized then, that I brought it home without a switch lock.

I went on line and found that the switch lock only cost about $2.  But to have one sent to me I'd have to pay an $8 delivery fee.  So, I got on the phone right away and called my Home Depot (notice I said "My" home depot - I feel like I must own part of it by now with all the money I've spent there !).  I spoke with Gary in the tools department.  Gary and I are buddies now.  We chat when I'm there.  He asks how my projects are going and he helps me find the tools I'm looking for.  He also gives me discounts on things when he can.  Well, while Gary was on the phone he searched other Ryobi tools and finally found a switch key he thought would work.  He said he'd hold on to it for me until I could get in to pick it up.  How long do you think it took me to get there??  Well, if you said I left right then, you'd be wrong.  I showed considerable patience.  I waited until the following day and headed over there after work (I did leave work early though...).

Switch in hand I headed home (by way of the chiropractor).  It took me a bit, but finally, finally, the switch key stuck and when I flipped the switch up, the hum of the saw was sweet music to my ears!  Oh, the excitement was almost palpable.  I grabbed my block and carefully guided it up to the blade.  It took hold and started moving through the wood.  I gently maneuvered the block - I'd gone about an inch and a half and I was coming to the first curve.  I slowly inched it forward curving the block slightly, ever so slightly into the blade.  And, suddenly there was a loud pop and I thought for sure someone had shot the dang thing!  I quickly turned off the saw.  I the blade must have snapped.  I opened up the side of the saw and glanced over the wheels.  Nope, the blade was intact - it had just slipped off the wheels.

I struggled to get the blade back on, then found the "quick" release knob that lowers the top wheel and allows you to stretch the blade over both wheels.  When you release the knob, the wheel raises and the blade tightens over both wheels.  I closed up the side and turned it on again.

And, as I slowly inched the block up to that curve again, along came another loud pop and the blade was loose again!

Well, now I was frustrated.  I thought about taking that sucker back to the store and giving up on making those cute, little, useless boxes!  But, I really, really want to make at least one!  So, I came up with another plan.  Here's what I'm going to do.  This Thursday, tomorrow, is the beginning of the Adult Ed winter woodworking session.  I'm signing up again and will focus on learning to use the danged band saw.  I'm sure that with some expert instruction I'll learn how to approach that curve and get through it without the blade bouncing off the wheels.  I'm sure of it.

Besides, as an added incentive to the class, they're planning a field trip to Peterman Lumber in Fontana.  It's a huge lumber yard.  Don used to buy most of his lumber from them.  But, did I say it was huge??  It's HUGE!  And, it's very intimidating.  But, I won't be intimidated if I go with a group of people interested in seeing what they have and how to go in and purchase just what you need.  It would be so much cheaper, and I'd get a better quality of lumber if I could purchase from them.  I'm so excited about that trip!

The band saw is a challenge.  I'll conquer it, I'm sure.  I just need to have patience.  I'll have my first little box done soon - look for it!

Geez, I have orders...

It seems that other people think teensy beds are cute!  I have two more built for Christy's friends in Ft. Jones, my neighbor saw them and ordered two, and I have an order for another bunk bed and for a day bed with a trundle!  My imagined "garage full of teensy beds" might become a reality!

This weekend I'm going to be a bed builder.  Hooray!