I am finally feeling like I am getting a bit back to normal today. I was still so tired most of yesterday, but I did manage to accomplish a lot of things. I keep wondering if the reason it is taking me so long to get to normal is due to the scope of the trip or the length of time I was away, or is it just because I am a tad older than last time when I traveled. I haven’t been away for so long before though. And even though we had the laptop and everything we could think of with us, it wasn’t the same as being here and running the business from home base.
I spent much of the day making phone calls and talking to and writing to people to thank them for the different kinds of support that they offered during the show. I believe that I was very successful in getting the products out there that I believe in and explaining to others why I choose them in the first place.
One of the main points of interest was of course the saw. There were so many questions regarding it. Although I had a DeWalt saw in the lecture room where I spoke to people, I had the Excalibur set up at my table for people to try (and during the lectures I had invited them to do so.) Keith said he was quite busy telling people about it and letting other try it while I was gone (which was much of the time at the show) and that several people had said that they were going to order one. My initial impression of it is that it is a beautiful machine, and I look forward to really running it through the paces.
Although I haven’t had much time to actually cut on it, I am already convinced that it was a good decision not to get another DeWalt and move up to the Excalibur. During both the lectures and the classes, the DeWalt saws began to rear their ugly heads with the same characteristics that my own saw at home was experiencing. The main problem seems to be the blade slipping out of the holder and the tension not holding tight. I fortunately knew how to fix this by sanding the small stop which holds in the blades and took the opportunity to demonstrate that to others at one lecture.
I didn’t want to bad mouth the saw, but when asked which saw I would recommend and why I had to answer honestly and it didn’t show the DeWalt saw in a very good light. It seems that the new “Type 2” saws are full of small and irritating problems (as well as major ones) and I understand that the Type 2 DeWalt is made so much cheaper than the Type 1 that it weighs a whopping 13 lbs. less! That translates to cheaper materials and more undesirable vibration. It appears that DeWalt has been cutting corners every way they can. Now I also hear that they are no longer even going to continue making the saw at all, leaving only the new Grey Delta saw (which is identical to the DW788 except it is gray instead of yellow) to carry on. This was the saw that was introduced last year and I fear that it is made exactly the same as the DW788, including the same problems and issues.
Another issue that seems to be plaguing the DW788 is the front to back blade motion. Instead of a true up and down motion of the blade when cutting, there have been alignment problems which cause the blade to also move slightly forward when in motion, causing problems with cutting the workpiece. There are ways to adjust this to minimize it, but they are tedious and limited and don’t seem to fully solve the problem. It is a small thing, but it can make a big difference to someone who is doing delicate work or is new to cutting. Although this type of saw will never have a completely true up and down motion, due to the nature of how it is made, there are, as I stated ways to minimize this motion so that it is barely noticeable.
I am going to do a better review and probably a video on the Excalibur in the near future when I am able to really try it out for a bit. So far though, I find it runs smooth and I am happy with it. The way the head tilts instead of the table when bevel cutting (something that I do on all of my candle trays and other things) is awesome and much easier than trying to cut and follow a line with your workpiece on an angle. The overall feel of the saw is smooth and solid, although I don’t know whether to attribute that to the fact that it is new or not. I suppose that only some real cutting will tell me.
I am finally ready to start thinking about the next deadlines that are in front of me. I have to get some Christmas projects (YES – CHRISTMAS!) done for the magazine in the next couple of weeks and I need to start there. I also need to talk to the wholesalers and get their next deadline dates for new projects so I have something new in each issue. The painting company (the Artist’s Club) who is looking to market my skating pond scene and perhaps my new shell painting packets that I taught at the painting classes is meeting today to make some decisions so I should hear from them next week as to how I am to proceed with those. And of course, the website needs desperately to be updated, as it has been over a month since I have done so and I need to change things around.
There are videos to make and instructions to write and my partner Keith spent the day yesterday working up an order for accessories and tools for his new lathe that he is waiting for. It is great to see him so excited about it and I am so happy that he enjoyed turning some nice pens and will be making more things on it. Unfortunately, I never had a spare minute to even try the lathe, as I was teaching all the time, but I am sure that when Keith gets his he will help me learn how to do some nice things on it too. It will open a new dimension to our business I hope and will open a floodgate of ideas for both of us.
I am happy that I am starting to feel back to normal. My cold kind of went to my throat which is sore, but at least I am not as stuffy or coughing. With some nice hot tea and honey and being here at home I should be one hundred per cent in no time.
I keep telling myself to look at things one at a time and not overwhelm myself. I still have to get to many emails, and I should be able to accomplish that today. It seems so long since I have talked to many of you that I want to catch up.
“May today mark the beginning of many new joys and accomplishments… and a continuation of all of the good things that you have already achieved.”
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"