Friday, January 6, 2012

Adventures in Woodworking

My grandfather was a carpenter. I remember when I was small, I used to look around in his garage and see lots of lumber and nails and old stuff that he used to use when he was working. I never asked him to teach me how to build anything, and for some reason I'm thinking that was probably a stupid mistake.

I've always had a fascination with woodworking. I remember watching things like the New Yankee Workshop and This Old House with my grandparents and being very interested in it, even though I didn't have a clue as to what was going on. I didn't understand the techniques at all.

Fast forward to Christmas 2010, and I really wanted to build something to help me out with fishing. I fish at Maalaea Harbor from time to time, and I was often frustrated with not having a place to set up my fishing rods. At the time, my fiancee's sister was seeing someone who was also really into fishing, and he had this cool thing made out of 2x4's to put sand spikes in. Thinking that was a great idea, I was also fortunate enough to receive some cordless tools (a small skil saw, drill, sawzall, etc.), and with those rudimentary tools, I was able to fashion a frame for 4 poles for the back of my truck. Of course, they started doing all sorts of work down at Maalaea Harbor, so my rack is still sitting there waiting to be used.

Over the course of the past year, I was talking with my mom and she mentioned that we should start working on the house a bit more. I knew right then and there I wouldn't be able to build anything she wanted with what I had, so I told her that I'd like to have some better tools. The first thing I would have definitely needed was a table saw. So, my Christmas present this past year was a new table saw!

I spent pretty much all day today setting it up. I took a small break to grab some soda, but in all it must have taken me about 6 hours total. There were some blade alignment issues and the rip fence was a little off, so that was the bulk of the time I spent. I got it all put together, and then I gave it a few test cuts.

A few things I noticed - this saw is quiet. Even without earplugs, it's quiet. I could easily carry on a conversation with someone while it was running. It also cuts very well with the stock blade, which surprises me. After some toying around with the fence and miter gauge, I got it to cut very square and true.

I'm now looking forward to using this to build some furniture for the house...