Rosewood Studio, Week 2 – Mastering Machines

Last week was all about hand tools, mainly hand planes and saws, and boy are my arms sore.  This week we are on to the machinery, and over the week we worked with the band saw, table saw, drill press, thickness planer, jointer, mitre saw, horizontal mortiser, as well as various hand held power tools.

The week was broken up into how to use the tools properly and safely, and how to maintain them.  The maintenance part was particularly interesting for me as I have many tools that have never been properly setup, leaving them functioning sub par and even being dangerous in some cases.  We took apart each machine and made sure they were all perfectly aligned (down to the 1000th of an inch), replaced blades, sharpened others.  I really wish I could have video’d the entire week as it’s hard to remember everything we did.  Because it’s such a hands on experience, it’s hard to take notes when you’re in the middle of tearing a machine apart!

Biggest revelation this week was regarding band saw drift.  In short, it’s a total myth!  Most bandsaws have adjustable tables, and when the saw doesn’t cut straight, it’s because the table needs to be adjusted square to the blade, and not the fence to the blade as most fence companies would have you believe.

My only regret is that I hadn’t waited to buy some of my bigger machines until after taking this course as I now feel much better prepared to know what machine to buy (how big, how powerful), as well as accurately being able to tell if a used machine is worth buying.

As for a project this week, we made some “Krenov Inspired” saw horses (seen above supporting some pieces of Mahogany).  That is to say saw horses so beautiful, they’d put most of the furniture in my house to shame… Who am I kidding, ALL of the furniture in my house to shame.  The horses are made from maple, and use bridle joints, mortise and tenon joints, and wedged mortise and tenon joints.  Although the week was all about machines, I did have to hand plane the mill marks off the saw horses, and they were finished with several coats of shellac – not the most durable finish, but more used in order to practice for later projects.

I’ll be spending the weekend tuning up my old machines as best I can.  I bought a dial gauge on the way home and plan on squaring up my table saw fence (assuming the table is already square…).

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