For some while now I’ve had some lemon and olive logs simply…growing old in my shop, waiting for me to “get around to it” and make some sort of milling attachment for my ShopFox bandsaw. (No, I wouldn’t buy it again; it’s a machine which cuts corners where it shouldn’t, in my opinion.)
Naturally, I wanted a cradle that would adjust in and out relative to the blade (on the X-axis?), while allowing me to rotate the log 90 degrees AND holding it securely for the trip through the saw. Just as naturally, such a wondrous jig was nearly impossible to conceive in a format that my resources could fabricate, and, consequently, never actually got built. The logs said nothing, slumbering peacefully in the sawdust, quite content to remain unmilled.
Finally, however, the realization that done poorly is better than not done at all overcame my inertia, and I built a dirt-simple cradle on a runner (to fit my bandsaw slot) with a fixed upright plate. A log is rotated against the upright, with waste extending past the line of cut, and run through the saw. This provides a plane, which, depending on the log’s configuration and my eyeballing, is roughly perpendicular to the imagined long axis of the log. This plane is next butted against the upright, with the log rotated to align the long axis with the line of cut. In theory, the log is shimmed and clamped, but in practice, hand pressure is sufficient to hold the log (less than 7” in diameter by 14” long or so) in place for its next trip through the saw. This yields another plane, adjacent and perpendicular to the first. Voila! From there, the log may be processed into something resembling planks, which are now shellacked and drying in my shop. Where there were logs before, I now have lemon and olive turning blanks (surprisingly damp on the inside) awaiting the lathe.
Perfectionism may be an admirable trait in others, but for me it can be an excuse for laziness. The jig I built is not an award winner, and lacks the bells and whistles I’d imagined for it. But it exists, and it functions—better than I’d actually hoped—and even the simplest hut is far better than any castle built in the clouds, however grand it may be.
-- Leland, OC Calif., www.safetyshowerbars.com