Monday, January 30, 2006

Commence to start

In a last ditch bid to be able to claim to have started this chair business "back in January", I made a small start today. Had to clear the bench top and install the new bandsaw blade first mind you; the latter much more intuative than I feared, so the manual wasn't required. I'm going to have to watch I don't over-tension these 5/8" blades though; I'm so used to 3/4" I cranked up to that setting without engaging the brain cell. A warning creak reminded me to think again...

Anyway, the real business. I took the top board off the pile-ette of beech 6"x2" with a view to going through the lot and finding the least straight-grained, but that one was it. It's darker beech than some of the stuff I've got, and proved to be harder if the labouring of the Maxi was anything to go by. Oh deary me, that does not bode well... Nevermind, onwards to stage two.

Consulting my notes from JB's articles three boards deep by around 22" wide seemed a possibility, so erring on the side of caution I marked them at 2'. The plan was to saw them a little thinner and 24" offcuts would be most useful as well. I regret electrons were burned... It's no good, I have to be realistic. Time is at a premium and I'm going to have to risk the wrath of JB and the hand tool gods - they got their revenge quick enough...

Again, not winning prizes in the JB-alike stakes, I treated them like "proper" cabinet work and squared up both faces and one edge on the Maxi. I know, I know; it's not really necessary but it'll make the glue-up less stressful and I can select which board where easier too. That's my story... Probably just as well because the board was more twisted up than it looked; enough to lose a noticeable thickness and decide me against sawing off any thickness, in fact. It took time because this was the first serious amount of use the new dust-ex has had. Whoever designed that stupid grill across the intake evidentally has never used a planer thicknesser in his or her life. The stuff was just wrapping itself around the damn thing and blocking up the flow. I had to keep stopping, remove the hose and feed the shavings in manually, thus bringing my hand considerably closer to the impeller than it would ever have been if the grill had never been there. Grrr.

Anyway, eventually done. Then I fiddled about for a while and finally decided on board orientation, quickly drawing a big chalk triangle before I forgot. DAMHI... Now I started to joint the edges using the BUPP, but things went a bit awry. First I was delayed by having a new blade to sharpen, with a camber natch, which took a little time - particularly flattening the back. Then I set to on the first edge. Yuck, what had looked like a pretty square board turns out to have no so much an out-of-square edge as a bevel. It planed up okay, but it's all taking too long. Mustn't waste time on stuff like this when I have real learning curves to tackle later. So for the second edge I decide to run it through the thicknesser bit of the Maxi to at least lose the worst of the bevel. I measure it and it's just within the capacity. I don the ear muffs etc and run it through. No problem. I take up the third and final board, measure it, just within the maximum capacity, run it through. No prob... Oh bugger. It's 3 inches from the end and it turns out the width/height of the board is - disastrously - tapered. Guess who'd checked only the narrow end? I hit the stop button at speed and go to see what the state of play is.

Like Pooh Bear after eating the honey, it could go neither forward not back. The wretched anti kick-back pawl thingies held it fast and the thicknesser table's already as far down as is possible...

Damn, damn, damn, damn. Stupid idiot. Why didn't I check both ends?! Why did I use the absolute fullest capacity? Fool. Cretin. But this will butter no parsnips; action is required. I fetch out the Maxi's so-called manual to look at the exploded diagram in the hopes it'll tell me the best way to solve the problem. Apparently, according to that, there are no anti thingie fingers. Merde.

I peer into the bowels of the Maxi (no fun, I assure you) and see two nuts on the ends of two bolts in a likely place. A bit of blind furkling with one hand and yes, they're holding the pawl assembly thing on. Maybe if I remove those I can get the board out? I get out the socket set and ratchet the first nut off in reasonably quick time. The second seems to be taking a long time. That's odd. Suspicions raised I try ratchetting madly while my finger quests for the head of the bolt. It's not a bolt but a pin that's part of the pawl assembly, and it's turning...

I hate the Maxi.

Now at this point I'd think about removing the outfeed table (this is an under/over P/T you see, so they remain in place during thicknessing operations) in order to get a better look. Trouble is, while I can get to three of the bolts holding it on, the fourth is virtually inaccessible. I know it can be done because a chap from Mallets spent 2 hours doing it when we had the dented table replaced when the Maxi was newly delivered, but I ain't doing it. No way. So plan B - and don't try this at home, kids.

I dig out a chisel that I have yet to expend any energy on cleaning up and a mallet and try to carve that beech out of there. It didn't work, but I did manage to get the fingers of the pawl to loosen their grip enough so that, with careful manipulation, I could hold them up while I pulled the board back out of the machine. Sucess! Looking at the chisel, despite plenty of chisel-on-metal action, the edge was undented. Evidentally a good'un, so it's earnt its right to be put back to work. After all
that hoohah I'd had enough, so left it for the day - after venting my spleen hacksawing off that grill over the dust-ex intake.

Of course I wouldn't have actually minded if I'd finally rendered the Maxi unusable so I could legitimately get rid of it. But I was damned if it was going to get that perfectly good piece of beech...

1 comment:

  1. Wow, after that ordeal, I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't venture to the workshop again until after a run of therapy!

    Good luck for the next session!

    And keep up the excellent writing, i'm really enjoying reading your posts.


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