Alaska Jim's Comments of the Day #16: Some work on the sled, and Sharp Objects......ouch...........

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Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 02-20-2010 05:19 AM 1345 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: Valentine's Day Rescue.........a solution from the man-cave Part 16 of Alaska Jim's Comments of the Day series Part 17: Still working on the sled.........some progress........ »

Recovering from a week, and last weekend, of hard work. Finally got out to the shop today. Mid afternoon. The job stress and my age makes for many days of recovery….........

Pared down the width of my sled from 48 to 44 inches..........more about the reason for that in later entries. Then I put the angles on the little fence......I never know whether to call it the front or the back fence…......furthest from the operator.

Well, goofing around with setting the blade angle on the TS I came in contact with the extension fence supports that came with my Vega fence, and got a minor though irksome cut. Love the fence, hate the supports. They are very sharp mild steel.

So out came the huge rasp, and I filed down the corners and the edges. I am not quite ready to make an extension table. There will be an intense planning process there…....more later. So I said, I need a place to put my push sticks, calibration block for the Wixey, and the wrench that I occasionally use to remove the guard.

So I made a tray, out of warped 3/4 inch ply and some junk MDF for the rim to keep things there.

Most of the stuff I need for the saw is low profile, including the push blocks, so the fence will pass right over it. Now instead of sharp objects, I have a tray to hold stuff, untill I make the real extension. The TS cabinet will have drawers, a router table, etc.

So spent a couple of hours in the shop, and got some worthwhile things done.....some project stuff, some temporary things for protection and utility.

Thinking about the old tools, the RAS and the TS, I almost think of them in a personalized way. Kinda goofy. They are old friends.

Like Kermit, my 20 year old Mitred Conure. He plucks his breast feathers, he is not pretty. And neither am I. We are old in our life cycle. The saws cannot express feelings or talk. But Kermit, that’s a differnt story.

Of course, Kermit talks to me, and sometimes he makes sense.

As I was changing clothes yesterday after work, and, like I always do, I put him on the exercise machine in our large bedroom, looking out a giant 13 foot window onto the back yard. I call it the Big Sky whenever I sit him there. A wonderful crab apple tree lives in our back yard, probably about 40 years old. We always leave some fruit on it for the Bohemian Waxwings that come every winter to dine on the frozen apples. And much to my surprise the Waxwings had arrived.

Kermit becomes animated, and excitedly blurts out ’Birdies’, in his unbelieveably loud and piercing voice. Never heard him say that before. Unreal.

Do our tools talk to us. No. But somehow I think they have personalities, after long use. Friends like Kermit…...

Guess I am hopelessly romantic….......

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

12 comments so far

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3169 days

#1 posted 02-20-2010 06:02 AM

For those of you who got a bit bogged down in the text, here’s the video version of Today In The Life of Jim and Kermit:

-- -- Neil

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3330 days

#2 posted 02-20-2010 12:53 PM

Hi Jim. Since you have an RAS, I wondered if you have ever considered using it with your router so you could do overarm routing? You would need some kind of attachment bracket, but there are probably ideas to be found on the net.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3751 days

#3 posted 02-20-2010 05:26 PM

My tools always are talking to me. We all know the sounds of their different voices and when something just isn’t right- too lose, too tight what ever- they tell us. I guess the key is to just listen.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3160 days

#4 posted 02-20-2010 06:23 PM

That bird looks just like Kermit, when he was 6 months to a year old. Of course Kermit is almost 20 years now. Kermit is half again as big, a whole order of magnitude louder…...if he really squawks he would pin and distort most mics set that close. First, birds never talk when you want them to. And they won’t shut up when you want them to be quiet. That young bird knows a few words but probably has no concept of their meaning. Kermit uses words to get someplace or get something, or to greet you. Sometimes when Kermit is in a car, and he did it consistently when we got in the motorhome, he would do what I call going through his repertoire, which now would probably be 50 to 100 phrases and words, some repeated in different inflections. He would utter every phrase or word he ever spoke one right after another, and he would do so with near full volume, so that the noise of the motorhome wouldn’t drown him out. He would do it while sitting on top of the steering wheel in the motorhome, watching the world go by, and shuffling to keep on top when you turned the wheel.

He will bow on command and play dead on command. We can get Kermit to say certain phrases that we have associated with hand signals, that was Sherie who did that. So when visitors leave, we get him to say goodbye by waving in a certain way. Although he says goodbye to me as soon as he sees me in my jacket, or even dressed up for work. When Sherie comes home, and opens the door from the garage down in the stairwell she yells ‘Hi Kermit’, and he yells out ‘Hi Mommy’

When I get him up from his sleeping cage this morning, I will say ‘good morning Kermit’, but he will probably say ‘Whatcha doing, huh?’ When he wants to go to his sleeping cage, which he routinely does at 700 to 730 PM, he starts saying ‘Go nigh-night’ over and over again loudly until you take him. When he wants to come to me he says ‘goto Daddy’. But if he wants to go from me to Sherie he also says ‘goto Daddy’. He has generalized the phrase to mean changing locations. I could go on for pages talking about him and his mannerisms.

The point I am making, is that he does not just ‘parrot back’ what we say. He uses phrases to accomplish things, and will answer us with different words than we say to him.

I think that video is someone’s ‘baby pictures’. They are enamored with the cute little bird. He could be older, but if so, he is not an accomplished talker. If he is the age I think he is, then they are going to find out they have a whole different animal in about a year or two from now.

I suppose I will have to get a video camera one of these days. Another damn gadget….............

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3160 days

#5 posted 02-20-2010 06:37 PM

That is an interesting concept. Seems to me that their was a gadget that you used with the RAS motor turned so that the arbor is down, and you used it in freewheeling mode to flatten surfaces. Actually, you can put a chuck on the back end. Then put that end down, and attach a drum sander, or a router bit. I have done that. Then you can use it in freewheeling mode, or as an upside down router table. Because you can set that motor in any position, it makes for a large number of possibilities, including dadoes, which can be done in a quick and dirty way with the standard blade, or a dado set.

Whenever their is something awkward that needs to be done, I think of the RAS due to that flexibility. I am sure you were thinking of thatTorque Workcenter that degoose has blogged about….......

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3160 days

#6 posted 02-20-2010 06:44 PM

I listen to my tools. It is surprising what a different sound both my TS and RAS have on 220V. The TS does not sound anything like it did 6 months ago. It used to rumble and vibrate a bit. Now with 220, new link belt and machined pulleys, it is quieter, no vibration, and just emits a higher pitch whine.

We spend so much time with those tools, that we start talking back to them, I know I do…............and sometimes with some very colorful language….........(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3169 days

#7 posted 02-20-2010 06:57 PM


Laudably, you took the bait.

As the Godfather to a blue/gold macaw and an African Gray (still in San Diego), I knew the bird in the video was a functional illiterate.

I calculated that your paternal instincts—primarily those of pride and puffery—would take over.

So … yes … a video is indicated, here!

The Gray does the repertoire thing, too. Around sunrise, he’ll do his R2D2 clicks and whistles, sing “Happy Birthday,” and a laundry list of other speech pathology exercises. I taught him to whistle the theme from “Andy Griffith.” He’s overtaken me on that one.

He, too, uses context-appropriate language. It’s somewhere between amazing and scary, I’nt it?

Since the Gray came on the scene, though, the macaw has become quite reticent. He’ll still utter the occasional “goodbye” and “There’s NO REASON for that,” but … he’s rather put off by the smaller, and—frankly—cuter winged upstart.

We had a Conure come stay with us … eons ago … while his person was on a trip. The decibels reached by that guy boggled the mind, and liquified the internal organs. Your eardrums must be made of Kevlar.

We had cockatiels. They went with us when we’d take the Airstream motorhome places, in Upstate New York. Motorhomes are just wonderful for the acoustics of those all-too-frequent inexplicable ear-piercing shrieks!

So … yeah … please … video. I’d like to meet Kermit.

Birds: it’s like having a child that never grows up :-)

-- -- Neil

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3581 days

#8 posted 02-20-2010 07:13 PM

Man all I can say Jim is that bird must be Scottish he’s so clever.well done my friend Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3160 days

#9 posted 02-20-2010 08:01 PM

You old rascal you…......................yes perpetual 2 year old.

Yes, definitely scottish, and it figures he would have inherited my Fraser Clan heritage from my father’s mother. The heritage has been traced back, since the clan system makes it so easy.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3111 days

#10 posted 02-20-2010 09:24 PM

Hej Jim
Kermit is qeit clevere than I expected from the first time you mention him
thank´s for those small storie´s abaut him he is qeit entertaining

sorry to hear that you have to cut your sled did the devil run with one of the measures ?
like measure one cut twice :—(
I can´t belive that it most be something ells for what I saw on your picture off it
it was looking qeit good and empressive and from your blog it seams to me it was dead on
but what do I know ( as we said here what does farmers know abaut sliced cucumber with vinegar)

of course tools talk to you, maybee you don´t hear them when they are new to you but after a while
you learn how they talk (it´s like learning a new language ) and when you had used the tool many
years you can feel asap when there is something wrong , don´t sounds right / don´t cut right /feeling unsafe
somehow / excacly the sameway as you know how the beloved is not in the mood to hear our excuses
for buying new tools or that we have forgotten something importen in there eyes etc.


View Woodwrecker's profile


4148 posts in 3571 days

#11 posted 02-21-2010 12:14 AM

Man, you crack me up!
I can’t believe I watched that stupid bird for almost 3 minutes…. LOL

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

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Jim Bertelson

4173 posts in 3160 days

#12 posted 02-21-2010 12:27 AM

Yes, Kermit has been a family member for 20 years, so I am very used to him. Still in good health, had his yearly physical recently. They draw blood and do all kinds of things to check him out.

I cut the sled because I came up with the idea of how I was going to store it. 44 inches is easier to build around than 48 inches. It didn’t need to be that wide in any case. The depth of over 24 inches was more important. But you have to wait until the storage is fully idea is fully worked out, and is built… more hints…......(-:

Yes, I am going to take a nap, and then go talk to my tools. See if I can get in a little more work on the sled.



-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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