It’s been so brutally hot and humid that I’ve pretty much taken the month off from the project. The Labor Day weekend was nice — not too hot and surprisingly low humidity — so we took our other boat out for the weekend. Then the heat and humidity came back with a vengeance. We’re almost halfway through September, and it’ll be in the high 90s and dripping wet this weekend. It looks like this will be the last miserable weekend of the year though, so I hope to get back into it starting next week. Frankly, it’s been kind of nice taking the time off. I was starting to get burned out.
That said, I did get the wood shop set up to process moldings faster.
The new saw was a craigslist find. It had been sitting in a guy’s shed for 10 years or so. He bought it from the original owner, who didn’t use it very much, but the second owner never fully assembled it. He’d replaced the belt, but never aligned the pulley properly. Almost all of the pieces were there, but it was missing some of the anti-kickback brackets. There was also quite a bit of surface rust on the table. Oddly enough, the seller even had the owner’s manual, which includes all of the assembly and adjustment instructions. I ended up paying $40 for it…what a score!
I assembled it, replaced the blade, adjusted the belt, and made a sort of outfeed extension with a board so I can cut the long pieces of molding I need for the V-berth head door. I also need to make infeed and outfeed extensions for my Shopsmith, which I’ll use as a shaper/router.
The Shopsmith is a great machine, but one problem I’ve been having with it is that unlike typical table saws, where the blade is adjustable for height and angled cuts, on the Shopsmith the table is what’s adjustable. For small projects that’s fine, but for some of these moldings I need to make between four and eight passes. Since the moldings are long and the Shopsmith table is fairly small, I need infeed and outfeed extensions to ensure a consistent height along the entire length. It’s easy enough to change the height of the table, but re-setting the boards I’ve used as infeed and outfeed extensions takes 10~15 minutes each time. Getting them to line up with the table and be level all the way from end to end is a pain. Going back and forth from the table saw configuration to router/shaper takes additional time. This was the main driver in my decision to start looking for a conventional table saw. For routing and shaping, I’ll set the Shopsmith up once and run all the pieces of molding through. That $40 investment in the saw, plus a day spent assembling, cleaning, and adjusting it will be well worth it.
I cut the rabbet for the full depth of the aluminum angle on both the infeed and outfeed extension, but then realized it would be better if the aluminum angle for the outfeed extension hooked onto the track for the saw fence. That’ll make it much easier to align the extensions when I change the table height.
Having the aluminum slide in the table saw fence track makes a much better connection than trying to clamp it to the table horizontally. I was going to TIG weld the aluminum bar to the angle for a nice fit. But the aluminum angle isn’t long enough to have a rigid connection to the board with the bar welded to it. There’s only a 1/2″ or so leftover for the board. So instead I used the same basic idea but without the additional bar.
With the outfeed extension made, it was a breeze to make the infeed one.
I use scrap 2x4s and clamps to hold the far end of the infeed and outfeed extensions to match the height of the table. The scaffolding framing provides plenty of places to clamp the crossbar supports. With this setup, it takes about 5 minutes to set the table for different routing/shaping operations. And I can run 8′ or longer pieces of lumber through without any trouble at all. Now I’m ready to make moldings. If only it wasn’t so danged hot and sticky this weekend!