After the rocky start yesterday morning, the day didn’t turn out to be all that bad. I truly do believe that attitude plays an important part in how we live our lives and that taking things in stride and moving on made a big difference in how I felt all day. One by one I was able to right all the things that went wrong and in the process, it gave me some time to think and reflect on all the other good thing in my life that are going well. Either I could have been crabby and spent my day being upset, or feel accomplished as things were put back to right. It is easy to guess which path I took.
Keith is feeling a bit under the weather. In the over three years I have known him, it is rare that he is sick, but it appears that he has caught a nasty cold. He is tired, achy and his head is stuffy. Last night it seemed that it was turning into a deep chest cough too. That isn’t good and I am encouraging him to lay low and rest. He is taking some meds for the symptoms, some which make him sleepy and I hope he takes the weekend off and rests up so he can feel better.
I suppose that is one thing about working from home – you are rarely able to put it aside completely and are always ‘at work.’ While taking off when you have an outside job usually means staying home and relaxing, it is often very difficult to be here and in our normal work environment and keep it completely out of mind. While he did take it a bit easy yesterday, he also spent an hour or so at the saw, finishing up cutting his latest project. He said he felt bad not working when there is so much to do, but I reminded him that there is always lots to do and he needs to take some guilt free time in order to heal. Whether he listens or not remains to be seen.
I went out yesterday and did the rounds. I needed to pick up a package from the post office, the saw from Keith’s parents, some medicine for Keith and also fill the propane tank that I let drain. It was a beautiful day outside and I actually enjoyed the time out. I drove along the ocean and while I toyed with the idea of stopping and spending some time on the beach, I was anxious about the saw and hearing back from Ray from Seyco so I just stuck to my errands and headed home.
When I arrived there, Keith had already spoken to Ray about the problem. As always, Keith said he was great to talk to. Apparently the problem with the bolt was due to some bad casting on the part and there was a short production run of saws that had this problem. Ray assured Keith that there was nothing that he or I could or couldn’t have done to make this happen. He was surprised that we had the saw torn down to the point that we did, where we were able to remove the defective piece, as it wasn’t an easy task. (We both could attest to that) But Keith is pretty competent at building things and I actually was relieved to have someone around that knew how to do it.
Keith told me that Ray gave us two choices – send us a new saw or send us the part. He was checking on the availability of the part when I arrived home and was to call back with our decision. In talking to Keith, we both decided that replacing the part was sufficient and that getting a new saw wasn’t necessary. After all, there was nothing else wrong with the saw and we are both pretty confident that we will be able to get it together properly and it will be fine once it is fixed.
When we opened the saw up, we looked for wear on the parts and it looked really good. There was very little dust in it and no signs of metal pieces wearing and we both feel that it should be good for many years of service. While Ray offered to ship the new saw first, and then have this one shipped back after the new one arrived, we both felt it would be wasteful and costly and thought we would give the new part a try first. We very much appreciated the offer though and it felt good knowing how good Seyco was about standing behind their product.
People ask me frequently about the saw and sometimes I hear stories about others who have had bad luck with their Excalibur saws. When I looked for the schematic online, I came across the drawings for the Excalibur 21 inch saws from Carbetec and also Axminster. While they were quite similar, there were slight internal differences in them which could be where some of the problems are in these markets.
Unfortunately, Carbetec has a very bad reputation for customer service. It seems that these saws are also the most trouble when it comes to performance, too. I have heard many tales from unsatisfied customers where Carbetec has washed their hands of the saws the minute they leave the store, leaving people angry and frustrated. Not knowing what is available in Australia, I find it difficult to recommend anything.
I have also heard of a couple of problems people in the UK have experienced with their saws, but most of that seems to be initial adjustments. Axminster, the main distributor in the UK, seems to have a good reputation with helping their customers after the sale though, which is good to hear. It seems that they at least try to pinpoint and rectify any problems that occur and work with the customers until they are satisfied.
To me, customer service is as important as the item itself. While purchasing something at a big box store may be cheaper, without good customer service it is like you are rolling dice. If you have a trouble free machine, it is great, but from my experiences with the big stores, there is little knowledge among the personnel regarding mechanics and adjustments. It could be very frustrating if things go wrong.
Since scroll sawing is kind of a specialized area of woodworking, there isn’t a huge market for these saws. There aren’t very many models to choose from and it seems that the prices jump from the really cheap saws to the DeWalt/Delta counterparts to the high end saws that cost over $1000 with few choices in between. The Excalibur is one of the few saws available in the $500-$800 range. That said and having owned both a Hegner and RBI (both higher end models) the features and performance and ease of use makes this saw my first choice. Even with this issue that we are having with it, I still think it is the best saw of the nicer saws and I wouldn’t have any need to ever ‘move up.’
I realize that everyone can’t always afford this saw though, and the DeWalt I had prior to this is I feel the next best thing. The only problem with that, as I have said many time, is that I have the Type 1 saw and it is no longer made. There are issues with the Type 2 DeWalts that are now on the market, as well as the Deltas that I prefer to not deal with (including the customer service departments). To each their own.
But for now, we brought in “the understudy” :
I am very happy we decided to keep it when we got the new saw – “just in case.”
We dusted her off and she seems to do the job, although it is quite an aggressive saw compared to my Ex21. The front to back blade motion is almost 1/8”, which means that it cuts quite a bit faster than the Excalibur. It is something that we need to readjust to, as if we are driving a different car, but it is certainly workable and thank goodness we have it for a back up. Keith was right in the middle of finishing up his ornaments for the holiday issue for the magazine and it would have really put him in a bind not having a saw.
As for me, I am OK. I worked on finishing up a personal project for a friend yesterday and I have nothing really pressing at this time, so I can spend the majority of the next several days drawing up new designs until our part comes and we are back in commission. In the mean time, “old yeller” will be fine to work on if I have the need to cut.
So all the disasters are pretty much under control. I even came home to find that Keith re-spliced the wires to my charger for me. (What a guy!) Coco is forgiven (of course!) and all is well again.
As each item got checked off the list, I felt better and better about things. So often when something bad happens we ‘react’ rather than think it through. I am finding that usually by the time we are done reacting, we could well be on our way to resolving the problem. By staying calm and thinking things through, we save ourselves the unnecessary anxiety and are able to channel our energy into a positive direction – fixing what went wrong in the first place. And overall, it seems that makes life just a little better.
I hope you all have a great Saturday. Keep a good and positive attitude and you will be amazed what a great day you will have.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"