Five Stages of Tool Assembly Disaster

Putting Jeff Together

The was some concern on Monday, among the hand saws, when the new bandsaw named Jeff arrived.  They didn’t take to Jeff like I had hoped.  The hand planes seemed to like him just fine, but that didn’t surprise me, as they are the friendliest bunch.  Most of the other tools appeared to take a wait and see position.  Archie the mallet thought he was cool.  I could tell that Jeff was a little upset by the hand saws attitude, but I told him not to worry.

It was apparent from the directions that assembling Jeff was not a trivial task.  The third step required two people, as the top part was too heavy for me to lift safely.  So I spent Monday evening reading the instructions and getting mentally prepared.  At 1 am on Tuesday I woke up.  I was too excited not to go down and see if there was any way I could get the top and bottom together.

How the Pyramids Were Built

There are two widely accepted theories about how the pyramids in Egypt were built.  The first is that the huge blocks were cut at a quarry, dragged to the site by lots of strong men and then pushed up a ramp and put into place.  The second theory is that Earth was visited by Aliens, who cut the blocks at a quarry and drug them into place, using the same method, but at a slightly faster pace.  I now have a theory.

A group of alien woodworkers, who had read over the instructions they were given for building pyramids, and dismissed the pushing up the ramp idea as being inefficient and too hard for the dry heat, came up with an alternative plan.  First they cut very thin and manageable slabs of limestone, several hundred I would imagine, probably only a few inches thick.  Perhaps it was some other stone, I can’t be sure, but the point is, they made a bunch of slabs.  When the giant blocks arrived and after the first layer had been placed, they simply tilted one block and slid it up onto a thin slab.  Note, the slab was placed next to the spot where the block would need to rest on the second row.

Next they put two slabs adjacent to the first slab, the one with the humongous freaking stone cube on it, tilted the stone and slid it up onto the slightly taller tower.  They used a top tilt stone which had half, actually slightly less than half the stone shaved in a ramp.  The designers measured the middle spot, and then moved over 2.54  centiquints (about 1 inch…silly alien metric system), and shaved it down.  By having a tilt stone on the top of each pile, they were able to more easily make the transition from one stack to the next.   They just kept increasing the stack, one slab at a time,  until it was tall enough to slide the heavy ‘block’ (or as the aliens called it…block) into position.  The benefit of this method, aside from being able to take advantage of leverage, was that they were able to have teams stacking stones in multiple locations.  It was the first known example of multi-tasking.

How I Made The Discovery

I made this discovery while building towers to assemble Jeff.  It worked marvelously and several aliens who stopped by, said they were impressed and that it reminded them of the time they built the Pyramids for their high school science project  (These aliens were fairly old.).  It took me two hours to slowly bring the top section up to even with the bottom, but when I did, it slid over easily and the bolts popped right in.  This was quite a triumph for me.  The aliens clapped.  The rest of the steps, of which there were many, took a long time, and weren’t nearly as interesting.  That is, until I broke the tension release lever.

[Note:  Please don't try my method of building the Powermatic 14" bandsaw.  I am not suggesting you should build stacks, just get a friend to help.  Also, I had the aliens standing by, so if things went awry, we could just travel back in time and start over.]

This made me very angry.  It didn’t help that I was sure I heard one of the Japanese hand saws giggling.   I was forced to stop for the evening, write an angry blog post and then go through the 5 stages of tool assembly disasters, (Denial, Anger, Pop Tarts, Depression, Acceptance)  There was little else I could do.

Wednesday rolled around and when I had a free moment, I rushed off to the greatest tool store in the world, ACME.  I took my broken tension release arm into the store and showed it to Del.  I could tell he felt badly for me, because he knew how excited I was when I bought Jeff.  Del is a woodworker too and he knows what it is like to get something new.  We went back to the counter where the guy with the parts lives.  He looked it up and sadly they didn’t have any.  It would need to be ordered.  (Heavy Sigh)  But just when I thought that it was going to take me several weeks to get it, Del decided to give me the one from the floor model.  That is why ACME is the greatest tool store in the world.  I was almost as happy as when I bought it, perhaps more so, because the thought of waiting was just terrible.

When I got home, it took only a minute to add the handle, as I had seen how it had come off, and the confusing directions weren’t needed.  All that remained was to put on the fence and then check the blade tracking, adjust lots of little wheels and re read all the safety instructions.  I was almost ready, but I had one more part to go buy.  I crossed the great expanse that is Martelle Iowa, went into the C store, and picked up a two pack of 60 watt light bulbs.

Firing Up Jeff

So we got Jeff all settled in.  When I fired him up and made a few cuts, he did his job marvelously.  The hand planes clapped and Archie gave a dirty look towards the hand saws, who then started to clap politely.  I told Jeff that they would warm to him and I think he felt better.  Having such a handsome bandsaw in the shop, really does give it an air of seriousness, and I think that overall, most of my tools are pretty pleased he has joined the team.  When they see how he helps me speed up projects and realize that we will get to do more stuff, I think even the hand saws will be on board.

So now I have to design an  in feed and out feed table.  I already have some ideas.  I also want to get back to work on the tiny walnut boxes.  I need to build another jig to complete them too.  So I better get back to work.  Thanks for checking out the old blog, and thanks to the handful of readers who have been looking me up on Stumble Upon.  I am glad to hear you are enjoying it as much as I am.