Ace Is The Place

28 May

Kids these days; they don’t know.  Knowledge used to be hard to get.  Lots of other stuff was too.

Back in the day, we had Norm Abram to tell us about woodworking.  He was it.  He was the man.  He was what a normal guy in a garage could find out bout woodworking.  When Norm made dovetails he had a dovetail jig – several even – but anyway, that’s how he did it.  That was the way.  That was how it was done.  Today you go on youtube and find half a dozen techniques produced at least as well as NYW.

Years ago I was very interested in growing plants in an aquarium.  That was at the very dawn of the internet revolution.  We had UseNet, which allowed people to build communities, and it was a really powerful thing, if you could find your way around it.  I learned from that community that water with a large amount of dissolved calcium carbonate was terrible for growing plants, unless you could nudge the ratio of CO2 to CO4 somehow, in which case it could be absolutely terrific.  The way you nudge it is to slowly dissolve CO2 into your water.  Where do you get that CO2?  Well, you can pay through the nose from a fish store for teeny little cylinders that required expensive refills every two jerks, or you could find a welding supply store and a few other odd bits from hydraulic equipment suppliers.

I got the welding stuff really easily – I got a bigass tank of CO2 and a regulator.  Then I got the drip valve from a specialty hydraulic supply.  I was missing just the adapters to hook them all up.  I was pointed at another hydraulic supply vendor and equipment rental company.  I brought all these parts down there and said I needed adapters for all that.  They looked at me like I was from another planet.  “Whatchaneedthisferr?”  Anyway, got nowhere.  Absolutely stoned.

Then I asked Usenet and somebody said “Ya gotta know the lingo…”  I went back to the place and inquired about a male-to-male 1/4” NPT to 1/8” Hose Barb adapter and bam, I was supplied.

 

I was looking forward to an experience like that again with this band saw:  Showing up at some glass door in row upon row of light industrial buildings with corrugated sides and loading docks.  But it didn’t work out like that.  I suppose it’s all just the modern experience.  I was just too lazy to go driving around and ordered the rod from SpeedyMetals and the bearings from VXB.

By the way, if you care, these are the parts I chose.  I don’t know if they’re good or bad, overkill or what.  They were just the right size, really, and looked not too cheap and not too expensive.  If you are building one of these saws and you want a recommendation, I suppose I can spew these.  They spin smoothly and haven’t failed yet.  That’s what I know.

6205-2RS-16 Sealed Bearing 1"x52x15 Ball Bearings
1606-2RS Sealed Bearing 3/8"x29/32"x5/16" inch Miniature Ball Bearings

The big surprise in sourcing parts for this thing was my neighborhood Ace Hardware.  They had, in-store, almost all the parts needed to build this band saw plus they had people who were capable of helping me find some of the weirder bits.

Ace has become, over the course of this thing, my go-to place for stray parts.  I still hit Home Depot, but honestly, I wonder why anymore.  There are better places for most stuff I want, and closer.

 

But for how much longer will it matter?  I think making stuff out of wood will always have a place, because 3D printers are a ways off from making things that will be as appealing as wood.  People will always be drawn to natural things.  But for a 6” carriage bolt?  If the 3D printer makes it strong enough, I think the 3D printer will own that space.  On the band saw, there are quite a number of fiddly parts (particularly around the riser block assemblies) that would have been better off of a 3D printer than out of wood.

Funny.  I have no longing for the good old days of hard to get knowledge, and I really like it that I can count on getting any weird old thing delivered to my door.  Sometimes being connected to a world of smart people makes me feel small, but I can get over it.  I wonder if I’ll find the coming 3D printing revolution as easy to take.

Building The Bandsaw

1 May

So, if some sunlight-deprived, Moosehead drinking Hoser from the Great White North can build a bandsaw, surely I could do it.  How hard could it be?

Well, let’s not kid ourselves.  It’s going to be pretty hard.  Matthias Wandell is making engineering and woodworking a full-time job; he’s a skilled engineer and a veteran woodworker.  In contrast, I’m in the shop a few hours a week and I’ve got another full time job.

So why build a bandsaw?  Why not use the proceeds from my job to just buy one?  Maybe scrounge a good used one off Craigslist?  Well, Henry David Thorough left a perfectly good house to live in the woods:  “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

In Matthias’ videos, he goes through all kinds of experiments to figure out just how much of this thing he can make out of scrounged parts or whatever to make it for next to nothing.  For Matthias, building a bandsaw is really not that striking an achievement.  Compared to some of his other projects, this one really isn’t that hard.  I suspect I know one of the reasons why he’s building it on the cheap – he’s trying to inject a little challenge in there for himself.  I respect that, but I’ve got challenge enough just in replicating his design.  Although I’m a cheapskate, I’m not going to spend a lot of time dumpster-diving to build this thing.

I’m doing this for the sense of accomplishment I expect to feel every time I flip the switch on.

When I was learning to fly, I remember flying with a flight instructor who had, among other things, flown F-104 Starfighters in the 1960’s near the edge of space.  We were taking off in a Cessna 172.  This was hardly my first flight, but still, when the wheels went up, well, I don’t know exactly what I said, but I remember what he said.  He looked over and saw that thrill go through me as we went wheels up and he said “I get that thrill too.  Every time we lift off.  When I stop feeling that way is when I’ll stop flying.”

While lifting off is an amazing feeling, it’s way, way more amazing when you command it yourself.  Lifting off in a commercial airplane is exciting – the first few times.  But after those first flights, if you extract the thought of crashing from it, there isn’t much thrill left.

You see, it’s not about the flying; it’s about you flying.

I haven’t been flying in a long time, and I don’t think it’s in the cards for me to fly again for a while.  It’s a choice I made when I had kids and chose where we’ll live.  But things change.   Kids grow up.  When they do, I’ll choose to live somewhere else and do other things; if I can, I’ll go flying again.  Meanwhile, I’ll be building my band saw.

Ewww??! What’s that smell??

15 Feb

No, it’s not what you think.

toot

Really.  No.  This article isn’t about that sort of thing.  It’s about my router…

I was in the midst of routing a profile on a long board.  I had my dust collector turned on, the air filter turned on, and the shop-vac engaged for chip-collection out the top.  My son came in the shop and immediately wanted to know what stank.

I finished the pass and I could smell it too.  Something was burning or scorching somewhere.  But with this smell, like some others, it was hard to pinpoint the source.  There were plenty of machines turned on and enough air movement to distribute it around the shop.  I thought perhaps it was the router bit burning against a badly-adjusted router table fence.  I fixed that and carried on.  Anyway, after a while, the router nominated itself by quitting completely.

When it comes to motors, I’ve gotta admit, I’m like this guy:

TheresYourProblem

If I’m driving down the road, and the engine seizes, I’ll pull over to the side, pop the hood and check the dipstick as if I had some sort of a clue.  I mean, even if some friendly fellow came along and said “Hey, is this one of your pistons?  I found it back up the road a bit.”  I’d probably react by saying, “Hey, you know what, the oil is low; I can see why if it threw a rod.  I bet if we just give it enough oil to fill to this line here, it’ll crank right up.”

So I applied that sort of knowhow to the router and pulled out the brushes (because that’s the only casually-serviceable part on an electric motor).  Sure enough, one was ground to a nub and the other was, well, basically not there.

Please Explain The Nature of the Medical Emergency

After an epic search for a parts distributor for Triton Routers within the Continental United States, I finally found the good folks at Avail Distribution.  Apparently they’re a part of Kreg tools, and they’re located they’re located in Huxley.  I’m sure you’ve heard of the town.  It’s smack in the middle of Iowa, and, as far as I can tell from the map, nowhere else.  That’s not a bad thing; it means they had plenty of time to talk to me.  Talk.  Yes.  Really.  They don’t make you go through a gauntlet of clueless folks reading from scripts before you can talk to somebody with a clue.  Manner of fact, I’m beginning to think they haven’t discovered outsourced call centers in Huxley yet.   Let’s not tell them.

So anyway, I talked to a fellow who put a new pair of brushes in a box and sent them to me for a very reasonable price.  I asked what might indicate a more extensive problem and he replied that I should shine a flashlight into the slot where the brushes go and see there’s anything that looks blackened or scorched.

I did as he said and found nothing that looked burnt up.  There was just this little gap…  I wonder if that’s normal?

Anyway, once the new brushes arrived, I gave it a shot.  Wheee!!!  It works.  There is this clicking sound though…  I wonder if it had to do with that funny gap I saw when I was looking for something burnt up.  I pulled the brushes out and saw that they were chipped up a bit.  I started pulling the router apart in earnest and I discovered that I was cruelly misled by the gentleman from Huxley.  As you can see here, this really isn’t “scorched” per se.  It’s much more along the lines of completely and utterly friggin’ disintegrated.

Disintigrated

So…  Yep.  Time to get a new router.

These Skills?  It’s All Talent.

So I finished my project with a new router.  But I don’t give up that easy.  I do like the Triton router.  I’d like to replace my aging Porter Cable router that I use for most non-table routing.  Looks like I can get a replacement for the cost of this here motor drive.  I called the folks in Huxley up again and got a replacement for the tragic situation above and, oh, yeah, um.  Some brushes.  Yep.

Months passed between the time I took it apart and the time I got around to fixing it.

The best resource I found for reassembling the router was from Ray Girling’s blog, http://www.raygirling.com/dismtra1.htm.  I think he was dealing with an older version of the router than I had, but still, the steps were good, especially the tricks he offers for getting the chuck off.

The only tough part that I had to figure my way through on my own was getting the two bearings off.  The first bearing is the one between the shaft and the chassis.  That is, if you break your router down as far as Ray’s instructions take you, your rotor is still firmly wedged into the machine.  I got mine out by tapping on the router with a hammer, gently, but straight up & down.  After a couple minutes, it came out.

To take off the other bearing, you first need to take off the nylon nut at the end.  I first used a wrench, 9/16”, which was a bit too loose, but it doesn’t matter much because the nut isn’t hard to get off.  Probably the right size is a metric size.  Anyway, be aware that the threads for that nut are reverse-threaded.

I then was able to stick the wrench between the bearing and the rest of the motor and again gently tap the shaft until the bearing slipped off.  Getting the bearing back on was a bit tricky, but I did so by getting a 3/8” socket from a socket wrench set and putting that over the shaft so that I was able to knock it back on with even pressure all around.

Only A Few Extra Parts

But yeah, I do wonder where these are supposed to go…

ExtraBits

Alright alright, I’ll read the friggin’ instructions if that’s what it takes.  Yeah.  The TRA-017 cord-restraint.  Totally goes on under the power cable housing.  And the washer isn’t really a router part – just something that was laying around when I packed up the stray pieces to put it in storage.  I think.  Yep.  Pretty sure.

Alas.  That’s what you get for leaving that months-long lag between breaking it down and putting it back together again.  Smart people take pictures of each part as they take it off because the film for digital cameras is very reasonably priced.

The best part is it’ll be months before I need to use it – only then will the truth be revealed.  Until then, I can revel in victory.

Another Year in the Books

5 Jan

Another year in the shop is at a close.  I spent the weekend cleaning and moving tools around, shoving them all in the back of the garage so I can pull the car in.  Too cold in the shop to enjoy time out there and chipping ice off the car in the morning is a drag.

I think this year marks the earliest I opened the shop and the latest I closed it.  Not that I have all that much to show for it in the house.  I built a big bookcase sort of thing.  It’s a nice project, but I have to say, I think it lacks awesome.

I did a lot of stuff around the shop, tricking out my tablesaw with dust collection, a Biesemeyer fence, a nice storage place for sawblades, and a much-improved fence for the router.  I really enjoyed doing the metalwork for the table saw.  I think it was the novelty that worked for me, I’m definitely not switching media or anything.

Funny, though, as I mashed all the tools into the back corner and congratulated myself on fitting it all in there neatly, my closing thought was “Gee, you know, I think I’ve got enough room for a band saw here.”  I’ve got a weird aspiration to build my own bandsaw using Matthias Wandel’s plans.  First off, I think it’ll be fun and satisfying, and I think I’m likely to end with a better saw than I would actually buy.

Second, what with all the tools of mine that decided to break this year, I like the idea that I’ll be able to fix it.  I’m down one router (But I’ve got parts to fix it.  More on that later).  That was the worst of a series of ticky-tack failures that dotted this year.

Oh yeah, I kinda built that…

Here’s the last of the shop projects for the year.  I finally got around to building an entryway organizer using the baskets I made a couple years ago.

clip_image001

More pics on skydrive (although alas, poor light, the camera and the unfinished wood combine to make the pictures kindof fuzzy.)

I’ll wait until it warms up to put on the finish.  The dream is that the kids will come in the door and stow their shoes underneath it, their backpacks and such on top of it, gloves & hats in the baskets, and coats on a soon-to-be mini coat tree.  Yup.  It’s a dream.  I’ll settle for everything piled up in a heap on top of it.

The wood selection is cosmopolitan:  Walnut frame and top, maple and Baltic birch plywood on the inside, and the baskets are Ash.

The top was cut from a single 11” wide 8/4 stick with some help from a friend with a really serious bandsaw.  You wouldn’t be fooled into thinking it was one board, but you might be fooled into thinking it is thicker than it is.  I have a 1.5” front lip on it, but it’s about ¾” thick.  The overall theme of the design revolves around pieces covering other pieces, rather than coming together in a plane.

Assuming I don’t change my mind, I’ll probably use an oil/varnish blend on all of it, except perhaps the baskets.  Them I think I’ll dye a bit darker and spray it with poly.  Maybe my wife will let me add a few Arts & Crafts details to it too.  We’ll see.

I probably won’t change this project, but after completing it, I think my design aesthetic might be changing.  I look at all the walnut I made this summer and wonder “where are the curves?”  I’ve always felt that walnut is one of those woods which looks better with soft edges rather than hard ones.

Hm.  I have a project in sketchup right now that might just scratch that itch.

We’ll see if I get after it in April.  Or perhaps the band-saw bug will be too strong.  Afterall, band-saws are really good at cutting curves…

Ikea Side-Table Kitbash

5 Jan

My wife picked up this $20 side-table from Target or someplace and plopped it in our entry hall.  I have mixed opinions about some of that cheapo furniture.  It’s made out of real wood (even if it is joined off-cuts), and they’ve learned how to make them less flimsy than they used to be.  Still.  I can do better.

I decided to redo the top and the drawer.  I’m not sure I like the combination of woods, but it was a good chance to practice matching up a nice top.  I really wanted to practice at that, because I think one of my biggest problems in making really nice furniture is that somehow my brain’s number one concern always seems to be to end up with the smallest possible scrap pile, rather than producing the nicest possible output.  So I figured here was a single, simple thing to practice changing my mindset…

You’ll no doubt notice that the top has quite a few knots on it…  So I didn’t exactly achieve my original objective.  But if you looked at the bottom of this panel, you’d see it was pretty free of knots and the grain matches a little better…  Yep.  And it’s also got that giant divot I made with a hand-plane…

Yep.

So the top is an exercise in wood filler.  It still looks pretty good, and most of the fills stand up to close inspection.  (There were about ten places that are filled on that top, including fills on both the front and back edges).

The outside of the drawer looks pretty good.  I’m happy with that.  The strap is walnut and the end pieces are Bubinga, which is a close match to the original piece.

Click the photo for a higher rez image.

clip_image001

You know I love Norm Abrams and all, but I swear, every time he pulled out his dovetail jig, did something, and said “Perfect results, every time!”  I wanted to chuck a cement block through the TV.  I dovetailed the drawers with a new-to-me Leigh jig and, well, there were issues.  (Not the least being because I didn’t have quite the right bit for the job, I had to swap out the collar to make a fit.)

Anyway, much fiddling later, I have some dovetails that came out sortof okay.  I’ve never made a perfect result from a dovetail jig, like ever.  Ah well.  More practice.

More Love for the Table Saw

7 Oct

So these shop-build stories have got to stop.  Really they do.  My wife has a list of stuff she wants to either buy or for me to build.  I keep saying I’m going to build them, but…  Alas, another season in the shop is coming to a close and they’re not done.

But the dust collector is sorta working and the table saw now has a new fence system.

Don’t get me wrong, the old fence system that came with the saw worked well; certainly better than my Dad’s fence.  Still, it had its faults:

  1. It wasn’t really as straight as one could want.  Granted, there was an adjustment for that, but it was forever getting slightly out.
  2. It wasn’t very tall or long.  Couple that with #1 and I finally built an extension that made it larger, straighter, and taller.  That worked okay, but it was a big heavy inconvenient thing.  It met its end in a tragic accident involving tomatoes; we don’t go into that here.
  3. The back side of the fence had adjustment knobs on it, making it impossible to use on the left side of the blade.  The rail extended in that direction and even had markings for it.  As I understand it, the theory was that you’d be able to take 20 minutes out of your day to reconfigure the the fence for that sort of operation.
  4. What made the above really annoying was that I also have a router table on the right of my saw, and a special router fence that I could clamp on to the fence.  That guy then always had to face towards the sawblade, so doing a router operation with the fence always involved a bit of a reach.  Hm.  It’s hard to explain.  No worries, it’ll make itself clear later.
  5. The original fence is a two-rail system, with a tube in the front and a piece of angle-iron in the back that the fence had to hook onto.  That meant putting the fence on always required some fiddling & finagling.  Plus it made my outfeed table have to sit a good couple inches away from the table itself, and that gap was a constant source of chafing.

None of those things were really fatal.  I mean I could get by with all that, but then, the fates intervened.

At the Root Of It All: YouTube

This spring I sent my Dad a link to the YouTube channel of Allen Little, aka “Ask Woodman”.  After watching a few videos of the T-Square fence Allen sells through his company, Very Super Cool Tools, my Dad ordered one.  My Dad’s saw is decent, in most respects, but the fence has always been a very sore point, and this seemed to be the way to sort things out.

I’m not exactly sure how it all came to pass, but after he got his installed, I decided I had to have one too.  My Dad offered to help me build it while he was here on his annual cross-country pilgrimage to our place.  Over the summer we gathered all the components we’d need.  Amazingly, we were only short by two hex bolts.

Here’s how it turned out:

image

As I said, the original saw didn’t have a Biesemeyer fence system.  It was a two-rail system (front & back) with a tube in the front.  The VSCT fence relies on a Biesemeyer design, so we had to tear everything off the front of the saw and hang new 3×3 angle iron and a 3×2 tube.  All that is detailed on the VSCT site and on several YouTube videos.

Dad & I spent a full Saturday making all this happen.  It wasn’t easy, but it should be said that I’ve done almost no metalwork and my Dad’s not done much more.  The knowhow we got came from two places – my Dad’s very experienced neighbor and AskWoodman’s videos.

The only trouble we had came from the way the old saw mounted the sliding table.  Here’s what the saw looked like with the fence tube and the sliding table off, so you can see what we were up against:

image

It’s just another steel bar.  Fortunately, it just fits flush to the front of the saw, so all we needed to do was drill & tap a couple more bolts to hold that bar to the angle-iron.  The only trouble we had there was that the holes needed to be very near to the angle itself, so we had to tap the angle-iron and through-bolt the bar.

We had some adventures coming to that conclusion, but here it is, bolted on there.  You can’t hardly tell because the holes are pretty small.  (Keen-eyed readers will see evidence of our early failures on the left side of the angle-iron).

I chose to paint it black, mainly out of respect for Dewalt’s colors.  That had the added bonus of making the screws that connect the angle-iron to the saw practically invisible.

How Awesome Is That?

Pretty awesome.  Yup.  Pretty awesome.  The fence knocks off all five of my complaints with the original.  The Aluminum extrusion is dead straight, dead vertical, moves easily, and works as well on one side of the fence as the other.

There were casualties.  If you looked at the first picture and were puzzled about how that sliding table would work with the new fence, well, here’s your answer: it doesn’t really work well anymore, as I effectively removed half its travel.  I could have cut some holes in the fence, shortened it up a bit, and all that and made the sliding table work.  Allen also details a way to build a bolt-on extension to the rail, which could work.

But I see no point to doing that.  The new fence is goodness, and the sliding table is pure fail.  It seemed like a good idea when I bought it, but what you want is a proper table saw sled.  Here’s William Ng’s video for making one.  That’s what you want; the sled on the saw is never going to equal that.  So there’s no sense throwing good money after bad, and I’m not going to sacrifice anything on my new fence to make that table function.

The only question I’ve got is where am I going to put the sleds?  I’ve got a big 4’ one for ripping, a small one for dados, and I seem to need one like William made there for precision crosscuts.  I’ve got designs on making a way to store them underneath the sliding table.

 

But again, getting back to the awesome, here’s the router fence, attached to the back side, making it so that I can much more comfortably work with the router.

image

Now, imagine if I had to put the router fence on the other side of the table saw fence – because that’s what I had to do before this.  Now I’ve got easy access to both the front and back side of the cut, whereas before I could only reach one side.  Also, the power switch is right in front of me, all the time, which adds another element of safety.

By the way, here’s a link to the sketchup plans for the router fence attachment.  I deviated from the design a bit, mostly for the worst.  The only real win was using some High Molecular Weight Plastic for runners to make the fence slide across the table easier.

Squawk List

There are a few things that weren’t quite right, out of the box:

  1. It comes with some High Molecular Weight Plastic glides.  That’s win.  But they’re cut perfectly square, which means they catch like crazy on my miter slots, T-Tracks, and whatever else.  I rounded over the runners with my block plane and that settled that.  They should be shipped that way.
  2. The piece of plastic for reading the distance to between the saw blade and the fence seems to sit too high – too much distance between the tape and the bottom of the plastic.  In my case it’s the better part of a quarter inch out.  I think I can rig it to have a tighter clearance.  Perhaps I’m making a big deal out of nothing.
  3. There’s only one of those things.  I need a separate one for left-of-blade operations.  In fact, I’m considering going for three – one for the router fence.

All In All…

It’s a good fence.  I had fun building it and it’s definitely satisfying to build a tool that you’re going to use.  I definitely enjoyed working with metal, but I don’t think I want to do too much of that kind of thing, as it makes a hellabad mess.

I think, all in all, that I should have gone with DeWalt yellow, rather than DeWalt black.  Yellow would have disguised the sawdust better.

Table Saw Rebuild – Saw Blade Storage

1 Aug

When you look around YouTube at Woodworking videos, you see a whole lot of “shop projects” – that is, ways to organize your workshop, improve & extend your tools, etc.  Why are there so many of these?  I guess we woodworkers watch a lot of them.  But personally, I feel a certain guilt about watching them.  I mean, for any right thinking person, tools are a means to an end, and I should be watching stuff that improves my technique, not makes my router bits easier to find…

So obviously I’m going to write about what I did with my table saw.  Now, in any good and proper world, you’d be overwhelmed by ennui at this point and find something else to read.  Maybe that’s how it is.  Maybe not.

But if you’re still reading, you should feel guilty about it.

There.

Now, with that said…

 

Everybody else you see with an enclosed router table seems to feel compelled to put their router bit storage under there and will happily show off complex dovetailed drawers made out of exotic hardwoods.

But…  I’ve already got a good cabinet for storing my router bits.  It works really well, it’s conveniently located, and, you know, it’s already there and all.

But I got to staring halfway across the room at my dado set.  Now there’s a thing I don’t enjoy changing out at all.  I gotta walk all the way across the shop, grab the dado set, some wrenches, and a sorry-ass stock dado insert that’s about as far form zero-clearance as you can get.  Then I gotta pull the standard blade out, find someplace to put it down, stick on the dado blades, find someplace to put the dado set that’s out of the way, since I sure don’t want to march it halfway across the shop again…

You get the idea.  I need a sawblade organizer.

So how about this:

image

Do you like it?  My fearless assistant sure does.  It’s got a dozen or so platters for all my sawblades, including all the blades in my dado set.  It’s got handy tabs to find blade and pull out the platter easy.  I also made bays for zero-clearance inserts, and I made up a small batch of them with the leftover plywood.

“Leftover”?  What do you mean.  It’s all leftover.  That’s one of the charms of shop projects.  It lets you use up those big scraps that you can’t bear to throw out.

 

Credit where credit’s due:  I got inspiration from this Lumberjocks project:

Saw Blade Storage/Organizer

I think the shelves he’s using for his sawblades are overbuilt.  I just took some quarter inch MDF that I had laying around and routed out 8” and 10” circles (with a circle-cutting jig) that were about 1/16” inch deep and that seems to be fine.

 

I used my lock-miter bit for the corners, and in spite of me being really kindof lackadaisical in my setup, the joints turned out stupid tight.  I think that must have been some kind of karmic backlash for badmouthing lock miters bits to my friends at work.  I guess my takeaway is that if you want that kind of sharp joint and you don’t mind fussing over the setup, and you don’t mind throwing away a few failed attempts, you can get some excellent results out of a lock miter bit, even in plywood.

The second lesson learned here was with the French Cleat I used to stick it on to the saw.  I didn’t really pay any attention to the placement or the angle.  As a result it just doesn’t work like a cleat should.  It’s really just screwed to the saw now; the cleat’s not really holding the weight.

I felt so chagrined at this failure that I went back and did some remedial physics.  I could be wrong, but I came up with this:  First, the higher up on the back of the thing you’re hanging you put your cleat, the better, but the angle of the cleat matters too.  You need to make your cleat angle at least the inverse-tangent of the distance between the cleat and the bottom of the thing you’re hanging divided by the distance between the wall you’re hanging on and the center of gravity of the thing you’re hanging.  Got that?

Here’s a half-assed free-body diagram to help you not screw up like I did:

image

Of course, it’s possible my physics is wrong.  Use at your own risk.

 

My next installment will cover yet more shop improvement, as I improve the electrical arrangement of the saw.