But if You Don’t Try, You Can’t Even Get What You Need
The workshop is really taking shape, and that’s good, because outer order is a reflection of inner order.
What to talk about first?
I got a jack plane. This is supposedly the most versatile hand plane there is, and people say this is where the “jack” name comes from, as in “jack of all trades.” Don’t ask me if the story about the name is true. Google for yourself.
I found it on Ebay, because buying tools in South Florida is about as easy as hiring people who speak English. You can pretty much expect to pay $75, including shipping, for a decent old plane, so I bit the bullet and found one. It sounds bad, but a new plane of similar quality will be in the low three figures.
The plane was in great shape, but it was impossible to make it work, because the edge was not square to the side of the blade. You can move a blade around in a plane to level it, but if it’s off by more than a few degrees, it won’t help. I had to sit and shape this thing with a diamond stone, after trying to do preliminary roughing on the belt grinder.
The good news is that I’m good at hand sharpening, so it came out swell. Next time, I think I’ll get creative and use my oscillating belt/spindle sander. This is a woodworking tool, but there is no reason why you can’t use it for crude metal jobs, and it happens to be very easy to hold things parallel to the belt or spindle.
Thought of that after I was already done.
Here’s the jack plane doing its thing. I am quite pleased.
I also fixed my jointer/planer.
When I started trying to do woodworking, I bought a DeWalt 735 planer, which I discussed here recently. This thing is wonderful. Buy one. It doesn’t really plane wood. If you have a piece of wood with one side that has already been planed flat, you put the wood down on that side and run it through the planer, and it will give you another flat side parallel to the first. If the bottom is wavy, it will give you a wavy side parallel to it, and that’s why you can’t really say it planes things. Planing means flattening.
To plane things, you need a jointer. It will put one flat side on anything, and if you already have one flat side, it will give you another one at an angle to it. Generally, that angle is 90°, but if your planer has a fence that rotates, you can get other angles.
I was able to do surface jointing on the planer, using a homemade sled. I was able to do edge jointing on the table saw. But that was not ideal. So I invested in a new jointer. As it happened, the jointer I bought will also work as a planer, but I don’t need that function, so I don’t use it. It’s a Rikon 10″ combination machine, based on an old model made by the Inca company. It’s very small and light, but it will handle boards 10″ wide, which is incredible. Ordinarily, a 10″ jointer is a giant cast iron beast that takes up half a garage. My machine is a little over 40″ long, and it weighs 140 pounds.
I had never set the jointer up correctly, because I used the wrong manual. I am too lazy to get up and look at the actual paper manual, which may very well be correct, but the PDF manual I had was wrong or at least useless. Last week I downloaded a newer one, and I found out I had the dust collection hooked up hilariously wrong. I fixed that, and then I decided to adjust the fence. When I tried to do that, the little bracket that holds it broke. It’s pot metal. It’s also about 0.090″ thick, which means it’s about as sturdy as a saltine.
I’m a machinist! I’m not scared of broken parts! I machined a little piece to fix it. Then I tried to reattach the bracket, and the other side broke.
I decided to make a new bracket out of 2 1/2″ aluminum pipe and some crap I had lying around. It was a fascinating ordeal. I found out how hard it is to cut pipes accurately on a milling machine. But I succeeded. Here are some photos. Mind you, it could be improved in some obvious ways, but it works perfectly as it is, and I am not eager to get back to work on it right now.
I fired it up, and it’s fantastic. Unlike most wood machines, it’s quiet. It works well. It’s very safe, as jointers go, which is like saying it’s like the least-crazy Kardashian sister, but still.
Now I can joint wood.
I also fixed the dust collection on the planer. Someone told me she collected the shredded wood using a simple burlap bag, so I ordered one on Ebay and tried it. I paid five bucks. I could not find a burlap bag around here without spending that much on diesel.
I attached the bag and did some planing (not really planing), and when I picked the bag up, there was a pile of dust under it.
I gave up and ordered a Powertec 3-micron dust collector bag, model 75006. It arrived a day or two ago, and it’s wonderful. I fastened it to the hose with a hose clamp, and when I ran the machine, absolutely nothing visible escaped, except for the bits that inevitably fall out of the machine itself. Those are no problem to deal with.
The Harbor Freight stand I bought is wobbly, so I Ebayed some M6 hex bolts to replace the stupid Philips screws that came with it. I replaced 16 of the 32 screws yesterday, and I will finish the rest this week. You can tighten a hex bolt more than a Philips screw, so I expect the added friction to put an end to the scissory motion of the stand’s joints.
Now the workshop was all fixed, right? WRONG, sliding table saw breath.
I miss Carnak.
I was fooling with the wood band saw, and I tried to resaw something with a 3/4″ blade. Crud came off the blade onto the wood, leaving black stripes. There was something on the blade. I looked inside the saw and noticed (I almost wrote “saw”) black goo on the tires. I tried to scrape it off, and I used various solvents, but it seemed to be very deep. Eventually I noticed that one tire had a big gap in it, so the goo was the only thing holding it on the rim.
I ordered two Grizzly tires for it (OEM parts), and when they arrived, I took the wheels out, figuring the old tires would come right off. No, sorry. They had turned into some kind of cheese which was stuck to the iron like rat paper on a particularly sticky rat. I had to scrape them off in crumb form, and then I had to rub the wheels with lacquer thinner to melt the bits that wouldn’t come off. Unbelievable.
When I was done and the wheels were back on the machine, some guy told me Grizzly tires were worthless, and that I could expect them to turn into sponges. Great. But for now, they work.
Today I used the tools. I am determined to make a box, just to prove I can make something. I used the jointer and the table saw, which now has new caster brackets AND a new dedicated dust hose. It was like heaven. The jointer ran perfectly, and the dust collection sort of worked. The table saw hose was much easier to deal with than the old one. Things just fell into place.
I have a bunch of little rough mahogany boards I cut from fresh wood I found in a trash pile, and I also have some leftover walnut from a guitar body. The mahogany has a lot of figuring in it, and I was trying to find a way to use it. Finally I decided to try to add visual interest by making the box from boards which were, themselves, made from strips of contrasting wood. If you joint wood nicely, you can glue strips of it side by side, and they will be as sturdy as a homogeneous board.
Here is what I have right now.
I have to come up with four more sides. The bottom can be plain.
I can’t tell you how great it is to see my tools work correctly, without aggravation or explosions. I know this comes from learning to love inner correction. I was held back because I didn’t get it. If you don’t love correction, don’t expect God to give you success. You may have something that looks like success to you, but it won’t be. Not unless God has completely given up on teaching you.
Two nights ago while I was trying to fall asleep, I saw a bunch of answers to my organization problems. I saw a way to hang my lathe chucks from the shop trusses, on a gadget I can turn on the lathe, from a piece of scrap I just happen to have waiting. I saw a way to build a box to mount on the lathe headstock, to hold the tools I use most often. I saw a way to build a rolling cabinet to hold my CNC lathe, the control box, and all the lathe’s tooling. All this stuff just came to me. Some of it may even work!
Determination is better than nothing, but the best success comes from being blessed. If you want to apply determination to something truly productive, apply it to prayer.
I still want a few more doodads. Maybe a router plane and a tongue and groove plane. Bench dogs; I think I have a design which would be a lot better than the ones they sell online. I can use a few more items, but I am aware that the biggest profit will come from maximizing what I already have.
If you have a Rikon joiner/planer, get rid of the fence bracket before it blows up while you’re using it. My design will work for you, and it’s fairly easy to copy from photos, but you can do just as well by clamping a piece of aluminum extrusion to the table, after cutting a cavity on one side to accommodate the cutters.
If…WHEN…I get somewhere with the box project, I will post photos.
I guess I should add that I quit my church’s volunteer team. I am not a deacon or armorbearer now. People are noticing a change in the church’s direction; I’m not the only one. Unlike me, they won’t say anything, so when the crisis comes, it will seem sudden to the people in charge. Nothing I can do. I have been withdrawn, so I am not permitted to counsel anyone, and if I did, no one would listen. Which is why I’m not allowed. God will not let me do it. He pulled me back to a peaceful place, and I am not going to mess that up by running back to the front line.
I mind my own business. I arrived after worship started today, and I left at 1:15, after two hours. I checked at 2:00, and church was still going.
The volunteers had a meeting at 7:00 a.m., so had I not quit, I would have been there for at least seven hours!
I’ve been to these meetings in the past, when church started at 10:30. We were told to come at 8:00. I would wake up at 5:30 or 6:00 in order to have time to pray, so I would have to go to bed on Saturday by 8:30 p.m. I would be at church at 8:00 a.m. Almost no one else would come until 8:30, because the volunteers had no respect for other people’s time. The meetings would start at 8:45. We would talk in circles for an hour, or the pastor would give the people a very long lecture which a lot of us didn’t need. For example, he would lecture us on responsibility, and the responsible people had to sit through it. Or he would lecture people on punctuality and attendance, when the only people who were there were the ones who didn’t need the lecture. They were there, after all. Then we would sit around and do nothing.
One thing that extended the service today was a very long appeal for money. The church is trying to start an orphanage in Haiti. They’re nagging people to buy tickets to a banquet. I think this is a dead end and a waste of time. The Mercy and Sharing Foundation has a great orphanage going already, and they spend 100% of contributions on the kids. They pay the administration costs themselves. I would rather send the money to someone who already has buildings, employees, contacts, and a track record.
The pastors brother in law showed us a video and begged us to give money. I mean begged. To me, it seemed like a guilt trip. Charity is very important to me, but I never, never respond to guilt trips, because manipulation has been a source of great pain in my life. I don’t mean to be obnoxious, but this is the same man who runs the men’s ministry, which isn’t going anywhere. He runs the church’s building drive, which isn’t going anywhere. We have an Indiegogo page and some T-shirts. When God wanted Nehemiah to build the temple, he didn’t have him sell T-shirts. He sent a man to pay for it. The way to get a new building is to show love and consideration to people who come to church, and to teach them to pray. It seems like they hope a millionaire will walk in and write them a check. That’s not how it works. They don’t need a millionaire. They need two hundred ordinary people who give steadily, and they need to manage the money correctly.
Some people in the church seem to think I’m rich because I’m not on welfare and my used pickup truck is paid for, and sometimes I sense that people want me to wave my magic checkbook and buy them what they think they need. I bought a used organ, and the head deacon asked me when I was going to give it to the church. I said, “never.” When I located it on Craigslist, they couldn’t get it together long enough to chip in and go get it, so I bought it for myself. I did the work. I paid. My organ. They had some sort of need a while back, and one of the deacons said I should handle it. I asked why, and he said, “Because you’re the man with the money.” Oh, really?
That’s how poor people think about money. They think other people get it magically, and they’re supposed to give it to everyone who has less, on demand, because that’s fair. That’s not how it works. God is fairer than I am, and he doesn’t do that. God is an investor. He doesn’t give money to people who can’t handle it, and neither will I.
The organ was never a possibility. They’re killing attendance with noise already. I don’t want to make it worse. I was going to make them another guitar amp, but I’m afraid to let them have it. They would injure everyone in the church.
At the end of the service, they honored the pastors with free dinners at Tejas de Brazil (a very expensive and mediocre restaurant) plus tickets to a spa. The people at my church love spas. They’re always giving the pastors spa tickets. I don’t get it, personally. I think it’s odd to let strangers rub grease on you and put things between your toes, and it’s boring to sit and do nothing, but they’re entitled to like what they like.
I think the presentation was a bad move. The pastors’ daughter and son in law came down recently for a week of recreation, and then the pastors went with them to their home in Buffalo. A week later, they came back, and then they took off for Chicago. Now we’re pampering them as though they had been working too hard.
The church is only open a few hours a week, and the rest of the time, we see social media posts showing that the pastors are taking it easy. No one is at church.
People are complaining that they work long hours and then see Facebook posts about the pastors taking trips, going to restaurants, shopping, and walking on beaches. We don’t see them repairing the church, evangelizing, or doing whatever it is you expect pastors to do during the week. People ask where the money for tickets and so on come from. Attendance is bad, and that’s to be expected when the pastors aren’t around.
Sorry to see it happen. I can’t save the world.
So far I have missed one Sunday service and one Tuesday prayer session. People keep coming up to me and asking where I’ve been. They think I’ve quit. I’ve been there more than the pastors have! We have a house prophet, and he’s the most honored person there except for the head pastors. Over the last year, he has probably missed a third of the services, and he routinely comes late. It’s very odd that people are so alarmed when I miss two events.
Usually there are only two of us at the Tuesday session, so of course, everyone else thinks I’m AWOL. They didn’t see me because they didn’t come.
I don’t think I’ll go on Tuesday nights any more. If only two people are going to pray, I might as well pray at home, save 36 miles of wear on the truck, and avoid an hour and fifteen minutes of unpleasant traffic.
I feel very free. I feel like I was trying to do an impossible job and my boss told me to let it go. People are worried about me, but I sleep better, I’m losing weight, and I no longer have to drag people who refuse to walk. Sometimes churches develop a cult mentality, and they think that if you disengage, your life must be screwed up, but this time, the problem is on the other end.
Today someone talked to me and said she had been praying for me. She said, “We need you.” I know she meant to be nice, but that’s a pet peeve of mine. When people left my old church, they always sent people after them to tell them how much the church needed them. They never asked the people who left what they needed. She’s a wonderful lady, but she said exactly the wrong thing. Let the organization burn. The people are what matter.
I agree; they need me. And when I was a kid, I needed vegetables and exercise. But I chose ice cream and TV.
I could be helpful to the church, but they would have to listen, and that’s not going to happen. So telling me they need me isn’t addressing the important issue. I don’t care what they need. I care about what they are willing to receive. I’m not a Gitmo guard. I don’t force-feed people. I can’t.
Things get better and better. It’s all about humility and correction. I’m thrilled that I managed to share this to a few receptive people. The rest…what can you do?