Saturday, November 24, 2007

For my first trick...

With the addition of a table saw last year and now the Shopsmith, space has gotten a little tight in the shop. I am hoping to get some retractable casters for the shopsmith so I can roll it out of the way. But that still leaves all the accessories, each of which takes up room and are currently stored in a 'lean it against something else and hope I don't break it' kind of way.

The answer? Build a table. Now I know this thing ain't purty. It's made from the crappiest scrap wood I could find lying around, but it does the job. The table has sets of holes where each of the tools posts slide in keeping them off the ground and easy to get to. It's held together with deck screws, the star pattern kind rather than philips heads and I must say that it was like discovering fire. They are 286% better than using philips, which now seem like crude bits of bone.

I also changed the power switch on the shopsmith. Shopsmith actually has a bunch of cool videos on their site showing you how to do just these kinds of things. Yes I know that swapping out a toggle switch isn't exactly sequencing the human genome but it does involve putting your hand directly into the motor housing, a place hands aren't supposed to go. I managed to scape up my bear size paws pretty good in the process, adding to my sense of accomplishment. After all, it's not a successful shop project unless there's blood involved.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The most amazing thing you've ever seen...

People throw that term around a lot. But i think I can safely say that the following link will take you to a story about a place so amazing, made in secret by people with such passion, that you will agree with my statement that it is the most amazing thing ever. I don't know if it's possible to visit this place, but I am damn well going to try.

I give you, The Temples of Damanhur

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Who are we?

I found this short film to be the most poignant thing I have watched in quite a while. If only we would embrace its simple truths, things would be a lot less messed up on this little blue planet.

Tool Pron...

Most women and many of those I call "tool impotent" may wish to click away to another site. This posting is about the sexy little number I brought home the other day, and man, can she deliver.

It all started a few weeks ago when I was browsing the toolmonger blog. They have a regular feature called "hot or not" where they ask if a specific tool is worth getting or lives up to its hype. The subject of this hot or not was the Shopsmith Mark V. This is a multi-function tool that first appeared in the 1050's and it's still in production today with almost no changes in funtion or design. The basic model is a table saw, a lathe, a horizontal borer, a drill press and disk sander. BUT, you can add ALL manner of accessories making it a true all in one tool. There was a great deal of debate on whether this was a tool worth investing in, since a new one (base model) is about $2500 and accessories can range from $2-400 bucks each.

Since I don't have a large barrel of money sitting around it seemed a moot point to consider its "hotness". But then I started checking ebay and craigslist. Sure enough, you can find used ones for a LOT less money. Often, they have accessories included. I found mine on ebay. It was bought at an estate sale and the owner was looking to make a quick buck on turnaround. I got it for $600! But wait, it gets more tasty. Included with the base unit was a Jig saw, a band saw (and blades), a joiner, router bits and a sander. Holy crap! All that stuff new would around $4500!!

My friend Ed drove with me out to Pittsburgh to get it and haul it home, a task that took the better part of a day (thanks Ed). I've spent the past 2 days cleaning, aligning and testing it out. So far everything works. The genius of the design is that it's A) Built like a tank and B) It has only one motor and IT is built like a tank. The power switch is a little flaky and the motors variable speed control feels a little off. Luckily parts and service are still available for it to this day. My unit was likely built between 1968 and 1978 and almost any new part or accessory I get today will work on it and there are a LOT of parts for sale on ebay.

I don't have the manual or the woodworking books that came with the unit originally, I may get these from the company. It was also missing the sanding disk, but that's it. Even without the manuals the design is so good that you can figure most things out yourself. I am beyond geeked about this thing. What should I build fist?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Just got back from a wake...

But this was a fun one. My friend Duffy has a rare form of Anemia and wasn't expected to live much beyond 21. Well she's in her late 30's now and to celebrate another year thumbing her nose at the Grim Reaper she has a great party/wake. I guess her thinking is, why wait until you're dead to have a great party?

This year's theme was Harry Potter. I was surprised at the number of people who came in costume bearing wands, household ties and other props. Duffy and Jesse came as member sof house Sparklypoo. Go look it up, it's kind of funny of you know anything about fanboyism.

Ed as Hagrid (or maybe just a filthy hippie)

Me as Professor Catwhacker (potions) and Professor Fifi La rue (Defense against the Fark Arts by kicking it in the balls and then breaking its nose)

Holly and Myron. I love the idea of Harry Potter entering the workforce and swapping out his wand for an extending pointer with a bottle opener.

Cat as the flying instructor (forget the name at the moment) This was a great costume.