Reply by Tennessee

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Posted on Sarvodaya Export Should not be posting on LJ

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2891 posts in 2711 days

#1 posted 06-19-2012 05:20 PM

Xylophage, I think what we have here, based on my time in China, is a little guy trying to make it big. Through a posting back to me his name is Ramesh Balara, and it is apparent through his postings he is doing all this mostly by hand, with few tools, probably in a poorly equipped shop. I don’t mean empty, I mean snake infested, dirt floor poor. He might be part of a co-op, where dirt poor people have a few tools each and make what they can. He may be the manager of the co-op. By the way, this is the Go Fish store concept in this country, Gives an outlet to people in 3rd world countries to sell their wares.

In any case, here are my clues to the givaway.
He reads English, but like most Asians and Indians, cannot think very well in English, so his written word is poor. He does, however, totally understand what you write.
The three piece table looked like it was built in some kind of converted area with a dirt floor, and you can see a fairly large mill of some sort in the background, and that was about it. Probably limited power, mill might be on generator power, lots of hand tools, not even proper sanding equipment to finish off what should have been a stunner of a table. Beautiful wood, though. Funny how we would give almost anything for a truckload of that wood, and he would give almost anything for one of our large power tools.
In one picture his legs are seen, and the pants, whooo boy, have I seen a lot of those pants. They are the choice for working men just about everywhere in the Asian area, since they look like Levi’s but are actually a cheap rayon pant that does hold up pretty well but costs next to nothing.
He might be the builder, he might be the warehouse manager for the co-op, since the one table picture was obviously taken in a typical Asian furniture shipping warehouse, fully wrapped pieces, ready to be loaded into shipping containers. No pallets. Pallets take up room. They would load the containers by hand.
On the table with the sloppy joints, shame but pretty normal. They are cutting it all probably on an old table saw, and one person cuts the grooves in the top frame for the cross slats, another person cuts the sides of the joints for the top slats on the same saw, putting it through vertically but the blade was too high. Another might be assembling it. Too bad, put it together anyway. The nail in each slat and the bolts tell me they have limited glue – glue is expensive, nails are not.
He talks about spirit based lacquer, probably meaning he is mixing his own. From local chemicals he can get cheaply, where finished product is expensive. It looked more like a wax finish on that sideboard.

They will get better, but not if they keep getting chewed up by us. They pose no threat to our work, it will be sold probably in island areas South of them, somewhere on the Indonesian “ring of fire”, where poor craftsmanship is allowed in “island condos” that Europeans and Americans alike like to visit.
Of special note were his comments on how to router the front of the drawers with the slanted edges. We would never do that with a hand-held router, you could kill yourself and keeping a straight line would be especially hard at that angle. I give him chops for keeping that router straight! We would use a router table maybe, or a special jig for a tablesaw, and he doesn’t have the jig or table.

I think that wraps it up.
I have a bit of an affinity for these folks – they have a lot of disadvantages, and little or nowhere to sell their stuff. We are blessed with all our Powermatics, Grizzly’s, Rikons and all the rest, and I believe wrong for knocking his effort. He would probably give real teeth for a 14” Powermatic bandsaw. See if you could build that sideboard with a hand router, a log mill, an old table saw and a dirt floor with no lighting…

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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