Wednesday, March 23, 2022

I just discovered helicoils, and I'm in love...

It's time for a little maintenance, and not just recovering our stools. These stools are a mess, but luckily - should look much better soon. 

But one of the more pressing repairs is this Sawstop tablesaw - the PCS in particular. 

Maybe a year ago, the brake was activated, and when that happens, the future elevation of the blade can be affected.

After activation, you have to reset the retraction of the arbor block.... mostly it involves lowering and raising the blade to its maximum limits, until it "clicks" back into place. If you don't do this, the blade has definite issues, which is what we've been experiencing for a while.

I thought we were losing our minds! 

Every time the saw is turned on, the blade drops a bit. Just a smidge, but if you're trying to cut dados, this problem with the blade dropping becomes monumental.

Good news is - I had the parts, and had some time, so I decided to tackle this for the third time.  Chances are - if you see the shop like this, 

or my head buried deep in the cabinet, 

there's some serious repair stuff going down. 

Turns out - it wasn't good news.

This bolt has to thread into a block of cast iron and...well... I probably stripped it the last time attempted this repair.

 Here's the hole, underneath this retraction plate, where that bolt belongs. It's a tight squeeze to get inside there, and a little awkward to access.

I felt like I was getting ready to perform cast iron orthopedic surgery. 

Did I mention...  the tech support team at SawStop are awesome?

 Seriously, I have them on speed dial, and they even recognize my voice when I call. I'm not so sure that's a good thing, but ... they're amazingly helpful.

So here's the good news - I had suggested simply retapping the cast iron with a larger diameter thread, and then using a more common bolt to attach the plate back in place. But my tech guru suggested getting a helicoil kit.

Ever heard of it?

Neither had I, but within minutes, we located one online, and it's coming tomorrow. 

AND - it's a brilliant solution to stripped cast iron parts. Anyone who works on cars probably knows about these, but I'd never heard of them. Basically, the kit comes with everything you need. 

It includes the drill bit to drill out the cast iron. A tap, to cut new threads into the iron, and these inserts to create new threads in the iron. 

I don't have the faintest idea who invented these, but they're ingenious, and allow you to use your original bolts. 

I'm so relieved that we don't have to tear the whole saw apart, and glad that I have small hands, so I can work inside the saw cabinet, without too much trouble. Keep your fingers crossed for me - I'll be tackling this in the next few days!

Thursday, March 03, 2022

Now I get it...I'm in stage two

You know those five stages of grief that Elisabeth Kubler Ross wrote about years ago? 

I remember reading her book - On Death and Dying - in a college class, and at the time, my 20 year old brain didn't really comprehend much of what she wrote. 

But I did remember the stages - which are: 


Well let me tell you - I'm in the anger stage. 

In mid January, I was on a video podcast, invited by my good friend Rick, to discuss entrepreneurialism and how Covid has affected being a business owner here in Las Vegas.

Now - I've known Rick for years - he's not only one of my students, 

but I call him my friend. A good one. 

We've shared meals, and margaritas, built things together, had long talks about business, and family, and life. In fact, as I was going through all my texts from him, I found dozens of things like this: 

That's the kind of guy he was... always thinking about others. He married his childhood sweetheart, and often told me he didn't know he got so lucky to have convinced her to marry him. They were the perfect couple, and I don't say that very often.  

Beyond that, you wouldn't find a guy more devoted to his grandkids.

 In fact, a few years ago, he made two walnut rocking chairs for them, and in fact, with a new baby added to the mix, he was planning on building another rocker. Sadly, he didn't get that opportunity.

The podcast we did together in January - The French Workbench - featured a panel of five real estate experts here in town, discussing their insights into current market trends. It was a fun interview - lively and often hilarious; you could feel their respect and affection for each other. 

If you're interested in hearing the podcast -  Click here.

After the session, Rick walked me to my truck, and we caught up with the usual - how our families were doing, what we were currently building in our woodshops... our usual conversations. It ended with an - I love ya, buddy - and I drove off, unaware that it would be the last time I ever saw him. 

Rick contracted COVID shortly after I saw him, and passed away last week. I don't want to get into a debate about vaccinations, but I have no doubt that had he been vaccinated, he'd still be here. 

Honestly, I'm broken hearted at Rick's passing - we not only lost another talented woodworker, but I lost a great friend.  

RIP, buddy.