This week's column: #778
| May 24, 2013 #777
| May 10, 2013 #776
| April 26, 2013 #775
| April 5, 2013 #774
| March 28,2013 #773
| March 9, 2013 #772
| February 22, 2013 #771
| February 8, 2013 #770
| January 25, 2013 #769
| January 11, 2013 #768
| December 21, 2012 #767
| December 7, 2012 #766
| November 23, 2012 #765
| November 9, 2012 #764
| October 26, 2012 #762
| October 12, 2012 #761
| September 28, 2012 #760
| September 13, 2012 #759
| August 31, 2012 #758
| August 10, 2012 #757
| July 20, 2012 #756
| July 6, 2012 #755
| June 22, 2012 #754
| June 8, 2012 #753
| May 25, 2012 #752
| May 11, 2012 #751
| April 28, 2012 #750
| April 14, 2012 #749
| March 30, 2012 #748
| March 16, 2012 #747
| March 2, 2012 #746
| February 17, 2012 #745
| February 3, 2012 #744
| January 20, 2012 #743
| January 6, 2012 #742
| December 23, 2011 #741
| December 9, 2011 #740
| November 25, 2011 #739
| November 11, 2011 #738
| October 28, 2011 #737
| October 14, 2011 #736
| September 30, 2011 #735
| September 16, 2011 #734
| August 12, 2011 #733
| July 29, 2011 #732
| July 15, 2011 #731
| July 1, 2011 #730
| June 17, 2011 #729
Table Saw Survey
Johns (a wise gentleman from Montana) and I thought that it might be
interesting to take our own survey on the dangers/safety of the table saw. What
with all the recent flack about the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
in the US and Health Canada in Canada possibly insisting on flesh detecting
hardware being put in all future table saws, we thought that we would get some
real opinions from real woodworkers. So fellow woodworkers, would you please
complete the attached brief (honestly) survey for us? The 10 questions will
take just a few moments of your time. You can click here.
ON MY SOAPBOX ……
About 10 years ago
(maybe less) the Home Depot opened their first store in our modest sized city
of 400,000 people. There was lots of hyperbole and fanfare here in Halifax,
full page ads in the dailies, big signs and banners out in the business park
and big promises by the HD management.
I recall that opening
day quite clearly. There were lots of bargains by the various manufacturers and
their representatives were there to promote their wares. There were Orange
aprons everywhere. The management at the new store promised that the new store
would be fully staffed with knowledgeable and experienced people that
would not just point you to whatever you were looking for, but would walk you
Well, as the years
went by, these promises began to fade.
I’ve been a pretty
regular customer of the Home Depot since its opening and I have watched with
dismay, those promises of excellent service fade away with time. Many, no, too
many times I have been in an aisle requiring assistance with nary an orange
vest in sight. The Home Depot’s customer service has dwindled to a trickle.
The Final Straw
Last week, I was in
our Halifax HD store (we now have two of them in the metro area) in the back
area looking for PVC vacuum pipe. I knew roughly where it was so I ambled around
the general area. I did find the pipe but it was in 10’ lengths. Too long to
fit in my van! It had to be cut!
Now, I have to inject
here that in the 15 minutes that I went looking for the pipe not one orange
vest was to be seen. But, now I needed one! The pipe had to be cut into two 5’
pieces. I wandered around the back aisles looking for help but there was none
to be seen. I checked my watch, 17 minutes had passed and I was getting
very annoyed. I decided to use my cell phone to call the store. I knew that if
I called the right department that no one would answer so I hit 0. The central
phone answered and I explained that I needed help. One moment please! The lady
came back and said she would connect me to an associate. I waited……and
waited……and waited, 12 minutes I waited. So, with the phone still on hold I
wandered down one of the aisles and to my surprise, I found an orange vest. He
was busy with a customer so I again waited. Five minutes had passed and I
finally got his attention and I told him what I wanted. His response was “there
is a saw and a miter box in aisle 22 (I think) so you can cut it yourself”. I
went to aisle 22 and found the saw and miter box but no tape measure. I made a
guess and cut the pipe. I was still on hold. I went to the cash to pay for the
pipe. I hung up my phone! When the cashier tried to scan it the bar code was
somewhat obscure so she had to call the department. We waited another five
minutes while other customers were lining up behind me. Finally, I was out of
there, 90 minutes later to buy two 5’ lengths of PVC pipe. The Home Depot motto
is “You Can Do IT We Can Help” apparently not.
I said goodbye to The Home Depot. It will be a long time before they see me again. There are
two other big box stores within a kilometer or two.
For The Birds
I, like millions of
others, enjoy feeding wild birds. I used to have a couple of birdfeeders
attached to our deck so I was able to watch the various species feed while I
worked in my home office. The feeders presented a problem; they attracted some
undesirable animal species such as raccoons and worse, squirrels. These little
rodents with furry tails can and have caused many problems around the home.
They can get into the attic, chew on wire insulation and of course, leave their
feces behind. On top of all of that, they are pigs! They hog the feeders and
prevent the birds from even getting close to the feeders. They fill their jowls
with seed, run off and store it and quickly come back for more.
A New Feeder
The feeders that I
had were not adaptable to the new site so I had to devise a new plan. A
previous owner of our home had left some sort of fence posts behind that were
embedded in blocks of concrete. The posts were perforated ‘T’ shaped steel and
were 10’ tall. They weighed a ton. I used two of them as property markers, one
of them was used to mount a duck nesting box and the last one would be for the
new feeders. A friend and I wrestled it from way back in the yard to a position
closer to the house. I knew that this was going to be the support for the new
feeders but I was not too sure about how I was going to make it work.
The first thing I had
to do was bury the cement block – my wife’s orders. Okay, so now I have a 10’
‘T’ Bar sticking out of the lawn. It is perforated so it makes a perfect
climbing toy for the squirrels. That’s not a good thing. You read above that I
went to HD for some 2” PVC pipe and that was what it is for. I dropped a 5’
length over the ‘T’ placed a PVC connector over it and then the final 5’ length.
Try getting a grip on that you pesky squirrels.
Just to make sure
that it was squirrel proof, I cut a 2’ circle of ¼” Plexiglas, drilled a 2”
hole in the center and dropped it down the PVC so that the connector would
support it. The feeder post now has a squirrel shield.
Back to the Drawing
So, I now have a
squirrel-proof bird feeder pole. How the heck am I going to attach (my plan is
to have four feeders) four feeders to it?
My first idea was to
use heavy fish net cord but they would then just fly around in the wind.
Plan ‘F’ (yes, I
threw out 5 others) was to use ½” copper pipe. I bought four 90° elbows and
four ‘T’s. I would solder them into a square and have four copper pipe arms
extending out. I would then simply drop this over the PVC pipe, screw it into
the pipe and there it would be. Not!
That square ended up
being about 3 ½” on the inside. Too big!
Plan ‘G’! I used
that fish net cord to suspend the copper pipe over the PVC. It worked – almost!
As soon as I hung one of the feeders on the pipe extension the weight tilted
it. This would be fine if all of the four feeders weighed the same. Plan ‘H’ –
I added four rubber blocks between the copper and the PVC – nope.
Several other ideas
went in and out of my head in a flash but then – plan ‘M’.
I had some galvanized
steel strapping in my shop. I cut four lengths and screwed them to the copper
and to the PVC. Stability at last! We now have a backyard bird feeder post that
supports four feeders. I added a couple of screws to the ends of the copper
pipes to keep the feeders in position and it works. I even saw a frustrated
squirrel trying to get up to the food. Here are some pictures:
One More Thing
I keep my supply of
bird seed in one of those Rubbermaid deck bins to keep it dry and away from the
squirrels. Well, I noticed that there were some severe chew marks on the bin.
The squirrel or squirrels actually chewed through one of the hinges. They can
actually smell the birdseed right through the closed bin. To prevent any
further destruction I bought a box of mothballs and spread them on the bottom.
It works no more damage there.
The US Consumer
Product Safety Council has announced the following:
Recalls Pressure Washer Surface Cleaner Attachments Due to Laceration Hazard;
Sold Exclusively at Home Depot, http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11281.html
Our Sometimes Regular
Wow! What a great
book! Intarsia is such a fantastic art and the ideas that are in this book are
an excellent example of just how beautiful this art can be.
Book Of Intarsia Woodworking
Best of Scrollsaw
is such a wonderful form of woodworking it adds a third dimension to simple
scrollsawing. The Big Book is really a big book with 37 projects from a variety
of 16 expert scrollers. There are a whole bunch of animals and birds to choose
from (my favourite is the Pileated Woodworker) from a puppy in a basket to a
majestic elephant. Add to those a whole raft of seasonal treats. The 192 pages
are beautifully illustrated and rife with tips and techniques. Selecting the
right wood species is most important and this is covered in great detail.
Intarsia fans will really enjoy these originals.
If you now own a hand
planer maybe it’s time to put it on Kijiji or E-bay and run, don’t walk to your
nearest tool supplier.
The new Porter-Cable
PC60THPK 6 amp hand planer is the one to buy for a whole pile of reasons.
First and foremost is
that it is one of the most comfortable hand power planes to use and beautifully
balanced. Rubber overmold is strategically placed so your hands won’t slip
engineers have obviously been listening to woodworkers because of the
previously unheard of features integrated into the PC60.
First off, the PC60
has 10 positive depth stops from 1/64” to 5/64” including 0 and P to safely
park the plane to keep the knives undamaged. A spring loaded riser near the
heel ensures that the knives don’t hit a surface when you set the tool down.
The PC60 has dual exhaust ports so no more sawdust in your face. A simple
up-front switch changes direction for you and a dust bag is provided to collect
2 – 3” long, high speed steel double edged knives that are installed. They also
include a pair of carbide double edged knives and a wrench to change them. A
slot down the center of the knives makes installation and positioning easy.
On The Flip Side
When you turn the
PC60 over you will find a nicley ground aluminum sole and three grooves on the
leading one. These are chamfering grooves and are 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5mm deep plus
over on the right, there is a slot to give you up to a 15/32” rabbet.
a 6 ½” long edge guide to be used on the right or left side of the planer. The
squeeze trigger turns on the planer motor and spins it at 16,500 RPM’s. There
is also a convenient lock on button.
The PC60 comes in a
hard shell case that includes the owner’s manual, a blade wrench, dust bag,
edge guide, carbide knives and a shop vacuum adapter.
In a word, a super
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