When you are relaxing, comfortable in your favorite chair, the fire in the
fireplace providing ambiance and a glass of your preferred beverage in your
hand, what are the tool memories that bring a smile to your face?
Here's my most memorable moment. When I got seriously interested in making
sawdust I got a Delta bench saw. It was fine for a couple years -- my
errors and problems were much larger than the Delta. But eventually I
*knew* the bench saw was holding me back. I was building things that the
bench saw simply couldn't handle. So I cashed in my pop bottles and green
stamps and bought the 2nd-from-the-bottom-of-the-line Grizzly contractor
I was excited seting up the the Griz. Its surface was at least 4 times the
size of the Delta! I had the space to start the saw with a 1x6" fully on
the table in front of the blade! I put on my only carbide blade with its
blade stabilizers. I started the saw for the first time and with the miter
gate cut thin crosscuts of a scrap pine 2x4". After the end of the 2x4" was
trued up I cut thin slice after thin slice off the 2x4. Many of them were
almost so thin you could read through them! The Delta had too much
vibration to cut slices anywhere near this thin! The Griz was outstanding!
Though I was over 40 years old I put some of the wafer-thin 2x4 slices in a
letter to my parents. Maybe they put them on the refrigerater, I don't
know... ;-) I recall that I wrote that I would have to spend a lot more
$$$ to get a saw that had the accuracy to cut thinner slices from the end of
The Griz contractor saw is of course the prime tool in my small shop. Since
I got it I've added other useful tools -- 6" jointer, 13.5" planer, three
1/2" routers, floor drill press, 14" bandsaw with riser, many hand tools and
probably 40+ clamps. I have used these tools to make things I'm proud of.
I have a "critical mass" of tools -- I can create anything in wood I want
Someday I hope to have a shop with a 12" or larger cabinet saw as the
primary tool. But no matter how capable the "shop of my dreams" is, I doubt
if I can ever have the thrill of the first paper-thin cuts from the end of a
2x4" on my brand new Grizzly.
Tue, Nov 9, 2004, 4:16am (EST+5) email@example.com
(Mark Jerde)said a bunch of stuff, I snipped.
Probably when I got my new-second hand planer and tried it out. It
nicely took a chunk of 2X4 down to about 1/2" that I used in making my
planer sled. With the other pieces of wood I ran thru it, had about 6
inches of shaving on the shop floor. That was fun, and using it still
is fun. Noisy machine, wood, big mess, fun.
Viet Nam, divorce, cancer. Been there, done that. Now, where the Hell
are my T-shirts?
On Tue, 09 Nov 2004 04:16:49 GMT, "Mark Jerde"
Mine are 2nd hand...
I remember going to my dad's sign shop after school and watching him
and my older brothers cutting out letters on the bandsaw and smelling
Couple that with the nehi (sp) green soda that was in the ice chest
and as they say, it "takes me back" every time..
Probably the closest I've had to your saw experience was after having
my Shopsmith for about a month, I decided to see what the"lathe thing"
was all about... had never used or even SEEN one before...
Followed the instructions and got a piece of 2x2 between centers, and
just got lost in the spinning wood and flying shavings...
I ended up with a 2 foot long fancy tooth pick but didn't care, it was
such an interesting experience.. I call it my "horizonal pottery
Swap Skil for Delta, Crapsman for Griz, and bottom for top, and you just
told my story. I traded the Skil equivalent of that Delta for the
second-from-the-top Crapsman, when they went on sale last spring, to make
way for the in-with-the-new out-with-the-old models. Forty-four acres of
cast iron, real miter slots, a real fence with a ruler that's actually
useful, a tilt wheel (a tilt wheel!). It's 17,294% quieter, and off-cuts
practically never vibrate into the blade and kick back at my head.
(Exception being realllllly small off-cuts that don't have enough substance
to anchor themselves to the table itself, and fall entirely on the insert.)
Gloat, I was only 31 when I bought that. I guess among this gaggle of
geezers being young is probably gloatable. My joints don't ache much yet,
and Ol' Dickory is as hard as hickory without the aid of these geezer lady
pleaser pills the punk pill purveyors pimp all over the place.
#2 is when I traded my baby 10" DP for a big'un. No more swinging the table
out of the way and stacking up blocks of scrap to try to bore that hole
that just won't quite fit. I only use about 1/3 of the elevation normally,
and I only increased the useful range of motion by 10% or so, but it's a
world of difference nevertheless. It also has a much better chuck.
Bah. You need more power, more floor space, and bigger everything. I got
to play in the woodworking factory again, and I'm all jaded. 14" saw with
a 300 acre table, and a fence that weighs 16,000 pounds. A bandsaw that
runs at about 75 surface miles per second, and could probably saw up pretty
good sized trees (probably 24" between table and guide, and I'd say more
than 4' from the blade to the edge of the blade housing), a shaper with
cutters the size of a tall boy beer can whirling at 16.7 million RPM,
running on 440V. Yeah baybe, it's hard to come home after that.
I guess I have to say the biggest thrill ever was my first real piece of
walnut. I didn't have very many planes yet, and all I had was planes. (No
power flummies. Actually, I have a baby benchtop jointer now, but
otherwise I still don't have any power flummies for this kind of work.)
Until I had the planes, I couldn't begin to imagine using semi-rough
lumber, so the world of everything that wasn't S4S (ie grossly overpriced
red oak and poplar from the BORGs) was out of reach. Then that lone new
not very good #4 and that first piece of walnut... Magic.
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
My older brother sold me his 1940ish vintage Craftsman/King-Seeley
scroll saw (nee jigsaw) in the mid-50s for $25. I went from Neander
(coping saw) to Normite in an instant. I could crank out those toy
pistols and animal cutouts for sale to the local kids in an instant.
Still have the saw with its original motor AND the original belt. The
belt is a bit tattered but if it ain't broke...
Hasn't happened yet, but will in a few months... When my father passed
at 58 his machinist's tool chest, tools, and 1952 edition of Machinery's
Handbook were given to his first grandson- my then 4 month old. I've
been holding them "in trust" since 1987. That 4-month old will be 18 in
March, and will finally get his inheritance from Poppy. He's been using
the tools for years but soon they'll be passed along to their rightful
caretaker for the next generation.
It always brings a smile to my face when I see my son working in the
shop using Pop's tools, knowing that another generation keeps the skills
Neither of my two daughters are "country girls" according to them, and only
the youngest (now 19 and at college) did any work out in the shop with me,
but I'll never forget teaching her to start a crosscut on a board with the
very same hand saw my grandfather taught me on at the age of 5.
Great feeling ... and since you mention it, you're obvioulsy cherishing it
We were working in the shop late one night. Deadline long past, trying to
get a bookcase finished for a store display. I was using my very heavy 4
inch belt sander and it got away from me with the motor locked on. It went
across my 7 foot bench turned to the left and hit the floor. Still running,
it did a u turn and came after me. It scooted across the floor right at me.
I was very tired and my partner and I just froze. It went by me and I
grabbed the extension cord and finally unplugged it. The cast handle broke
as did the belt guard. That was enough warning that we were tired. I welded
the handle back together and it is still running 10 years later.
The first time I ever used a sharp and decent quality handplane (an
old Stanley #3 SW bought off of Ebay). It gave me an appreciation for
how good some hand tools can be, and how good the old craftsmen must
I was maybe seven years old, in the late 50's and my uncle, a finish
carpenter, left his tools with my dad, while he went off to Kwajalin (sp?)
to work for the military. Exploring in that wooden tool box, and 'helping'
my dad build stuff for the house was really magical.
There's a couple of those old hand saws in my shop now...
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