The Exile Files

Raging Against the Outrageous. Laughter and Insanity Abound.

Posts Tagged ‘Tools and fools’

A Dear Child…

Posted by Exile on May 21, 2022

..has many names.

That’s a rough translation of an old Danish proverb.

I just bought a dear child. It was quite expensive, but I’m going to love it.

I needed to cut rebates (rabbets, to my American chums) for a little woodworking project. How rebates got to be rabbets just by crossing the Atlantic, I don’t know.
The idea was to set the base board of a box into the carcass making the bottom invisible from the sides. A bit of research led me to a plethora of solutions all involving saws, chisels and other impliments, which I do have but I don’t necessarily have the skill to do the job with the accuracy it requires. My eyes aren’t that good either and that doesn’t help. I could attempt to do it with the router but that is a cumbersome piece of machinery for such a delicate job. Then I discovered the Fillister plane. Or rebate plane, or shoulder plane, or sash plane or any other number of titles for this little tool depending on where one lives and the vernacular one uses. To make it all a bit clearer, see the picture on the right. It is a Stanley no. 78.

A complicated piece of equipment. It has a moveable fence to limit the width of the cut and a depth stop to limit how deep one can go. Removing these two parts will allow one to use it as a normal, full width, plane although I wouldn’t be tempted to try using it as a smoother. The blade is a bit weird as well, being broader at the cutting edge than the part that fits into the body. It needed to be tuned up as a new plane always does. They may appear sharp, but they aren’t. They appear flat and smooth on the sole, but they aren’t. In fact the blade came with a little chip taken out of the cutting edge, so a little grinding and honing was required just to eradicate that. However, with a little fettling and honing, the thing is now ready for use. Cutting across the grain also requires that the “nicker” is brought into play. This is in fact a little knife like blade that sits in front of the cutting iron and it severs the wood fibers vertically before the iron gets to the wood. It is not required when planing along the grain. The cutting iron can also be moved to the very front of the tool where a second frog is positioned, turning this into a bull nose plane. Versatile. I like that..
Having tried it today I’m thoroughly pleased with it. The trick of it is, to keep pressure against the fence while planing down the length of your work piece. It will let you know when you’ve reached full depth. It simply stops cutting…

Now I can do this… and not cut my fingers!

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My Computer is Dead.. Long Live my Computer

Posted by Exile on November 22, 2008

computer-crash It had to happen sooner or later. The old PC gave up the ghost and died on me. It was either the power supply or the processor that had finally met it’s end. I think the processor. Anyhow, it had served me well for ten years or so, being started and switched on and off daily in all that time. Something had to go in the end. I tried really hard to fix it but had to admit defeat and give the thing a decent burial. I will remove the hard disc before taking it to its final resting place at the recycling centre, which used to be called the rubbish dump before PC meant something other than Personal Computer. There is data on that hard disc that I need and will try to get rescued by some devious means or other. I know a few tricks myself, so nothing will go untried. My years of budgets for instance. All paid and preserved. E-mail addresses and other stuff too. Letters, postal addresses, records of transactions both electronic and personal. Phone numbers. All kinds of useful stuff. I can’t throw that all away, now can I? It must be rescued.

And so to the new machine. Computers have changed. There is no floppy disc drive any more. That has gone. There are six USB ports. An all purpose CD disc thingy for DVD’s, music and pictures and with a built in burner. Four slots in the front for various cards, telephone attachments, PDA’s and the like. I’ll probably never use them but they are there. A whole collection, both front and back, for add-ons like loudspeakers and microphones. I may use some of them.

Setting it up with all the wires and cables is a doddle these days, so that went well. I’m back on the internet, so that’s a good thing. I re-established my email accounts too. And for my dear lady. She has her own log in and own profile on this computer now. Which means she won’t clutter my workspace with her games and shortcuts. OK, I could have done that years ago, but this seemed like a good reason to finally do it. Then one has to install all the bits that hang off the machine, like the printer, the webcam, that sort of stuff. All this takes time.

My old camera is redundant now. It took pictures with the aid of a floppy disc. It took great pictures. Now I will have to use the little digital camera to take pictures and put them on show. As I said, there is no floppy disc “A” thingy on my new machine.

It is smaller than my old computer. It has a bigger capacity but is smaller. Go figure. It doesn’t hum and crank or rumble like the old one either. It just has a faint whine to it. The cooling fans I suppose. Not so many blinking lamps either. I can’t see this thing working like I could with the old machine. Ah well…

On the other hand, it is extremely fast. WOW! No waiting here. I am getting used to a new operating system too. XP is dead, long live Vista. Bill Gates seems to have this one sewn up. I will be importing things like Firefox and my email programme is Thunderbird. We don’t have to be totally dependant of Microsoft.

computer-backup Having learnt my lesson with the death of the old machine, I have decided to use a little USB memory stick to store my documents and useful information. This kind of back up is essential. It works like a portable hard disc too. Handy for moving information from one place to another without the electronic connections. I’m sure most of you knew that but hey, I’m an old dog. Bear with me. I suppose the next thing to disappear will be the CD disc drive. Who needs to burn discs any more with these things available? Old dog or not, I can see the writing on the wall – woof, woof.

Now then.. how do I shut this thing down?

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How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Chop…?

Posted by Exile on November 7, 2008

Short answer; I don’t have a clue. But I know how much I have to and as I usually end up ruining myself for a week every year by sawing and chopping my way through all the pallets that carried my winter firewood, I could use a woodchuck or two myself. No matter how much, or little, they could chop for me. The whole process of reducing this packing to kindling usually leaves me sweating, panting and worn out. Not to mention the thousands of splinters that always get stuck in my hands. This year I decided to get mechanical. You know – power tools! My manual labour days are over! I have an electric chain saw, but that is a bit too vicious and unwieldy for firewood. I needed a hand held circular saw. Off then, to the builders suppliers.

One expects to have to pay a bit for a good saw, so buying a power saw of any kind was going to be expensive. So I thought. But not so. My local builders merchants have a selection of small hand held circular saws up for offer. I went off bargain hunting. I found one too. Prices vary, they say, but this was a good buy. Having looked at all the big names, I finally found a saw for less than half what I would pay for the deluxe Black and Decker. I don’t need the deluxe model anyway. After all, I’m going to cut firewood, not build a mahogany table or anything like that. I’m no carpenter. A word of advice for all would be buyers; always inspect the contents of the box before leaving the shop. There’s nothing worse than getting home and finding you miss something vital. Having satisfied myself that all was in order, I hurried home to get started.

lumberjackAfter listening to all the usual warnings from the long haired one about keeping my fingers and such out of the way of the blade, I got set up in the garden. Being a bit short of time today, I decided to limit myself to one pallet now and the rest later in the week. Arming myself with a jemmy, an axe and my trusty new saw, I got stuck in to it. Easing the thin planks away from the pallet superstructure was easy and then I prepared a makeshift bench of the pallets themselves. Hooking up my new saw I gingerly made the first cut.
WOW! See those splinters and sawdust fly! This is living, folks. Easy peasy! I’m a lumberjack and I’m alright…. Well, not really, but you get the picture.
My dear lady wife looked on in awe, or was it disbelief (?) and hovered worriedly around the first aid box.

Very soon, I had a heap of firewood and enough kindling for the entire winter. I used my wheel barrow to cart it off to the woodshed. Even the dogs joined in, barking ecstatically every time I started the saw and running round my feet while trying to catch the sawdust. What normally takes me a couple of hours of blood, sweat and cursing was done in next to no time. And I still have all my fingers.

I couldn’t help thinking, I should have done this years ago….!!

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