Well yesterday was just a dandy! Even though it poured rain and the wind was howling most of the day, it didn’t put a damper on my spirits. I got a lot accomplished AND I discovered something that was pretty cool. It was a great day!
In receiving the new for a second order on my Halloween painting kits, I knew I needed to kick it into high gear. I had some wood left here from when I made the last set of kits, and there was also more left that we had stashed at Keith’s parents house. It was enough to get me started until we had a chance to get to Digby on Friday.
I spent the morning cutting out kits from the wood I had. I chose to do the little pumpkin ones because the pieces were smaller and I would get the most mileage out of that wood. Keith had some drawing to do so while I started cutting, he was at the computer.
Even though I didn’t receive the parts yet for the Excalibur saw, I still had my trusty “ole Yeller” here and the pieces were simple enough that I didn’t think I would have any problems adapting to the saw like I did with the thick “Birthday” letters.
I set things up and got everything ready and began cutting. I was a little nervous because with cutting these kits, it was very important to me that I be really, really accurate. I don’t want people purchasing kits and not having the line match up exactly when they try to paint the pieces. I put in the #3 Olsen Mach blade that I had used to cut the other kits and I started cutting. Then something really cool happened.
I LOVED the way this saw worked on these pieces!
No kidding. As soon as I began working I noticed a difference. Apparently that slight front to back motion, which make the saw “more aggressive” was the perfect formula for this type of cutting.
Once again, I was cutting through four layers of 1/8” Baltic birch plywood. While I was able to do this on my Excalibur, it was a bit slower in cutting. The truer perpendicular motion of the blade meant that it would need more forward pressure to cut, which is great for some of the more intricate things that I do, but kind of slows me down when I am doing basic cutting such as with these pieces.
The slight forward movement of the blade with the DeWalt helps move you through the piece of wood a bit faster, and is ideal for cutting these simple pieces out. The real test was in the corners, where the stems met up with the body of the pumpkins, and I was still able to maneuver through these areas very quickly without the chattering that I had experienced on the letters. This was really great!
In what seemed like no time at all, I finished up cutting the wood that I had here on hand. I had cut out 28 of the 50 pumpkin kits that I needed and was well on my way. My conclusion is that I like the DeWalt saw better for this type of cutting (although it is much louder – probably because of its age) and I think that I will continue to use it for my big orders like this as my “workhorse” saw.
I still think the Excalibur is the best choice for me for my usual every day cutting where I need to maneuver and not plow through 3/4” of wood. I am fortunate that I have both saws and now our only dilemma is where to keep the extra one when I am not doing orders like this. We can either store it at Keith’s parents (which is only 10 minutes away) or try to find a place here where it will be out of the way when I am not doing large orders. I think it will not only get me through this type of work quicker, but will also save wear and tear on my Excalibur when doing these big orders. It is a great solution!
I suppose I could get all philosophical and say that I am happy that I had a problem with the Excalibur, or I would have never realized how well ole Yeller did on this type of work. It is difficult to compare unless they are side by side. We tend to adapt quickly to whatever we are using and make it work for our situation. And that is a good thing. I am really glad that I was given this opportunity to use this saw in this situation, as I think it will make the job go a bit faster. I had just got the #3 Mach blades from Olsen right at the time when I changed saws. I don’t think that I ever had the opportunity to use them with the DeWalt. They are precision ground and they are my favorite ‘go to’ blades for any of the simpler cutting that I do. Even on the Excalibur, they go through the four layers of plywood easily and smoothly, and I continue to recommend them for the simpler cutting jobs. But in conjunction with the DeWalt saw, they really do a great job on this type of work. While I wouldn’t use them for more detailed pieces such as the skaters for the pond project, the simple cuts for the pumpkins, hats and boots are ideal, as there aren’t any intricate curves. I think it will make this job a breeze.
With finishing all the cutting I could, Keith and I went to his parents and prepared the rest of the wood we had. We used the table saw to cut the plywood sheets into workable 10” x 10” squares. That went quickly and we had a bit more left there than we initially thought. I do believe that we have just about enough to fill this next order, which is great because it means that I will be all set when the next order comes in. We are still planning to make a trip over there tomorrow to pick up the order of wood.
When we got home, it was still pouring rain. I would have liked to sand the pieces on the front deck, but the forecast is for rain for the next several days. I had to sand them inside, which wasn’t really a problems since we got the shop vac. It does an amazing job at grabbing the dust from the little 1/3 sheet sander. It took me a couple of hours, but I got all the pieces sanded and ready to go. Keith got a picture of me working. Since I don’t have any other pictures for you today, I will share it here:
I look rather goofy with my zebra striped glasses and headphones and sitting on the floor, but I was really quite comfortable and the music made the time pass quickly. I like sitting on the floor and have ever since I was young. I used to paint while sitting on the living room floor and still do so sometimes even now. Go figure!
I finished up by around 8pm and I felt like I had a great day. In the mean time, I printed all the pumpkin patterns out, so I only need to do the hat and boot ones. I need to get a case of paper while in Digby tomorrow. Near us at the store here, they want $9.95 a ream! Since the kits aren’t going to be mailed until next week, I can wait until the weekend to print and there is no need for me to spend that much here.
Today I will continue cutting and see how far I can get. Now that the wood is all prepped, it will go quickly I think. I am already lining up music to keep me happy while cutting and make the job fun.
It is good to be able to have such a great variety in what I do. I am what you would call a ‘happy camper.’
Have a great day!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"