Thursday, September 27, 2012

Two gadgets

As you know, I have been making shaped planes and John has been melting aluminum (aluminium, for my British readers)  to make castings. Now both of these activities have groundwork to be done. In my case I make my own plane blades from scratch, namely scrap steel. I cut my blades from circular saw blades. In John's case, he cannot obtain very fine-grained sand without importing it from the lower 48 states, at enormous expense, so he sifts it by hand from what he can find. Both these activities have one thing in common. They involve extensive manual labor.

A circular saw blade is cheap. A used circular saw blade is free. It is very tough steel. It may even have carbide teeth, which cannot be cut (or sharpened) by anything short of a diamond cutter. I collect used circular saw blades. But they are difficult to cut with a hacksaw and the process finally got to me. So I built gadget one.
Long ago I acquired, at a thrift store, a used Makita hand-held circular saw. It had no blade guard, so it went really cheap. I used it on construction projects.  Now I really hate power tools, but this is an excellent one of its kind. So what I did was to put an abrasive cutoff blade on it (ACO).  This is much better than buying an angle grinder. I made a sort of tablesaw out of it. I bolted it to a piece of scrap "table" I had lying around. I am a wood scrounge.  The hardest part was bolting the thing to the table. Circular saws are not meant to be bolted to tables. The manufacturers want you to buy their tablesaws, which I consider an invention of the Devil. But with this gadget I can cut up a circular saw blade in minutes. I can use both hands on the work. I can use the sides of the blade as a rough-and-ready grinder. Mind you, I am no stranger to the hacksaw. But neither am I a 100% purist. Hand tools only? Well, there is a limit. Just try hacksawing a circular saw blade yourself. And of course the whole thing bolts to the faithful shop Workmate, the greatest British invention since the steam locomotive. I have it weighted down with about 50 Kilos of logs, so it isn't going to move easily. I can use both hand on the work. I can cut metal or even rough-grind it to size. Invaluable for making metal objects, such as plane blades.
 Gadget two is a bit more specialized. It is a power sand siever or sifter.  I did not invent it. I found the idea on  the myfordboy blog, on his YouTube channel, video #31. This is a blatant knock-off. My thanks to myfordboy. It is a power sifter based on a reciprocating saw, the kind called a sawz-all in the trade. No doubt a trademark. I picked this one up for about $10 at a yard sale; the trigger is very dicey. But it works.

The reciprocating saw drives an arm connected to the saw. Arm is connected to sieve. The cost, apart from the $10 reciprocating saw, is zero. It's all someone else's offcuts, plus some salvaged strapping steel as guides.  By the way, it is very difficult to drill holes in sawz-all blades. I had to use a drill press. Even then it was difficult. Also had to add weight to the thing. But the thing works. It sifts as fast as you can shovel the sand in.

 Note the duct tape, known as "gaffer tape" in the UK. Without this commodity, the state of Alaska would grind to a screeching halt. I do not remember the official motto of this state, but the unofficial motto is "if it moves and shouldn't: duct tape. If it doesen't move and should: WD-40." Oh, how true.

No comments:

Post a Comment