Saturday, June 04, 2011

Catch the Vibe

It's funny how life evolves. Oh, this isn't a big revelation. If all of us looked in our rear view mirrors, at our lives just two years back, we'd all probably see a much different life than we see right now. Stuff happens.

It was just two short years ago that I was fretting about starting the woodworking school here in town. Should I do it? Would it fly? What tools to buy? How to lay out the woodshop?

With the help and advice from many friends and family, luckily - I figured it all out. It's been a ton of work, but you know me - I like work. It grounds me. It gives me structure and keeps me sane.

With the addition of UNLV classes at my shop, things have ratcheted up a notch. There are more people working, building some amazing pieces.

The vibe of creativity is... well, all I ever wanted.

Open Shop on Saturdays is the best - an opportunity for people to work on whatever they feel like making. Some people just come in to hang out and catch the vibe; that's fine too.

When I had a chance to buy another SawStop, I jumped at the opportunity. See, with the shop holding more classes, there are more students than ever. Which means sometimes, someone has to wait to use the tablesaw. There's nothing that interrupts your flow of creativity than the distraction of waiting to use a tool, so I knew I needed to make the purchase.

Roughly assembled and set into a mobile base.

The fence parts still need to be bolted onto the front, and this saw needs a thorough tuneup.

A polished top - so the wood will glide across it.

Here I'm checking the blade, to ensure it's at 90˚ to the tabletop. The digital cube is zeroed out here

and then the blade adjusted so that it's perfectly plumb.

(Have I mentioned how much I love the cube?)

Next - the miter gauge needs some TLC. The protractor is aligned with the blade, and zeroed out.

Then one arm is rotated over to the miter gauge, which is adjusted until it reads 90.

It's really quite easy, and just adding these two quick adjustments will make your work much more accurate.

This contractor's style SawStop runs on a household (110) circuit, and is probably the type of saw most hobbyist woodworkers would want to purchase. How does it stack up against the larger Industrial Cabinet Saw that they make?

The biggest difference I've noticed is the weight and quality of the saw. Obviously, the larger cabinet saw has much more beef behind it, and the saw just feels more stable and hefty. The contractors saw feels a little more flimsy - from the fence to the sound of the motor starting up, everything is just feels like it has a little less power. Oh, I'm not talking about the quality of the cuts - this saw performs very well in that area. I'm talking more about the heft and feel of the machine.... like the difference between riding in a Humvee versus a Hyundai.

It's sort of like when the Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart made the comment about
his threshold test for pornography
- he couldn't put his finger on it, but he famously commented "I know it when I see it."

If you've operated both SawStop saws, you'll know the difference. Still, the contractors saw would be a very nice addition to anyone's home workshop.

Finally, since buying a second saw feels like a nice accomplishment, I'd like to share this video. Speaking of accomplishments, this young boy has an inspirational speech for any other kids just learning to ride a bike by themselves for the first time. How cool.


John said...

Awesome Jamie, is this the one the lady from Louis & Company talked about? Keep growing like this and you'll need to evict the guy next to you and take over his spot as well! Congrats, glad you're doing so well with your shop & school.

Julie @ followyourheartwoodworking said...

It's great to hear things are going so well in your shop. How nice to have a second table saw... while working on a project you could keep a dado set on one for awhile and use the other for cuts. I can only dream!