Going Cold Turkey!

July 22, 2016

Banned from shop! Chopsaw


After seeing this video by Matthias Wandel


and finally accepting how much dust this thing produces . . . I have taken my 10 yr. old Makita compound sliding miter saw out of the Woodshop and put it in the garage for use outside. It is handy for quick cuts, but I now have other ways to crosscut wood (table saw, band saw, hand saw) without producing so much dust. Even with dust collection this kind of saw throws clouds everywhere.

I miss it though, and I feel a little bad about it out in the garage. OK, I can do this. It is for the best. I can use it for handyman stuff around the house. Done.


Banned Chopsaw in the garage.

At Oakwood Cemetery . . .

July 22, 2016

IMG_0294.jpgIMG_0295.JPGthis morning to bless my mom’s grave marker and to say prayers. With Marianne, Bill S., Dcn. Alicia Todaro, L. Craig Bryce, and Laphroaig.

Robland X31 Straight Line Rip Jig!

July 18, 2016

IMG_0292The Robland X31 predates modern sliding table saws where the wagon slides very close to the saw. The newer sliding saws do a great job cutting a straight edge on a crooked or waney edge board.

Here is my new attachment for the sliding table so that I too can straight line rip like the big boys! Well, not quite. The travel on the X31 sliding table is limited to sawing about 52 inches long. But for most everything I do this is plenty long enough.

Robland X31 Update

July 15, 2016

Please see the previous June 3, 2016 post re: my ups and downs with buying and setting up an old euro combination woodworking machine. I think I have finally got the machine working properly, but it has been a struggle. I would caution anybody contemplating obtaining such a machine to proceed carefully and with eyes open.

Motor Failure Mystery Solved!

I had assumed that the previous owner knew what he was doing when he put a starting switch on the front of the machine. It turns out that the simple momentary switch he used was permanently wired to both the running and start windings. I thought that he had disabled the original switch, and positioned the new switch, simply for convenience of operation.  Probably what happened is that the original switch broke and the new switch was put on the front because it was easier than taking out the old switch and mounting a new one back in the control box. Sigh. Long before I got the machine the motors were running continuously on their startup windings, and therefore at higher amps. This type of use eventually caused the two motors to burn up.


The red button is a stop or “kill” button. There are three of these around the machine that can stop whichever of the three motors is running. The silver box has the conveniently placed, but improperly wired, starting switch. This switch eventually caused two of the motors to burn up. A completely different kind of kill switch!

The Robland X31 is intended to have a manual starter that engages the startup winding to bring the motor to full speed, and then when the starter is released the motor operates on the run winding at lower amps. In contrast, the U.S. standard is to produce motors and starters that automatically switch from startup to run mode.

I purchased a new OEM starter from Salzer Corp in Mesa, Arizona, and after waiting three weeks for the part to arrive from Germany, I was able to install it in about half an hour. All the motors are now running without a load at under 4 amps.  They had been running at between 11 and 13 amps off of the old non-OEM switch due to the resistance of the start winding. Jeff from Gray Motors, Schenectady, says that if the saw motor runs at similar amps to the rebuilt motors there is a good chance it is not damaged. Let’s hope so! At least not for a while, so I can save up to have that motor fixed.

Note (August 3, 2016): I still have an amp clamp on a hot wire to the machine, and it is interesting to see that each of the motors start up at around 32 amps then immediately drop to around 11.5 amps, and when I let the spring loaded start switch return to its original position the motors go down to 4.2 to 4.5 amps. Within about a minute of warm-up the motors then run at 3.5 to 3.9 amps. This is not under working load. The planer will plane a 1/16″ off a 5 inch wide oak board at around 5 amps. I’ll need a helper to see what the other motors do under load (not taking my eyes off while sawing or using the shaper!). I only need to turn the start switch for a second to get each motor up to speed. Working fine now! TBTG!


Robland X31?

June 3, 2016

A typical european combination woodworking machine has a sliding table that can be used with the circular saw and the spindle shaper. The machine also has a thickness planer, a jointer, and a mortiser. These machines generally have three separate and identical motors; one for the saw, one for the shaper, and one shared by the jointer/planer/mortiser.

I bought my 1990 green Robland X31 in February of 2016 for $2100. My understanding is that it was purchased new from Laguna Tools, CA in 1990-91, was used for ten years, and then basically not used much until I got it.

In order to get it out of the basement where it was stored I had to take off the sliding table and rail, electric control box, left side cabinet, saw top (with attached saw+motor and shaper+motor), and both jointer tables.

I moved it with hired help to my basement for $500, and re-assembled it. The jointer/planer/mortiser motor burnt up within a couple of months and I managed to remove the motor through the side panel. I called Laguna Tools and they suggested having the motor rebuilt since a new motor from Belgium would cost at least $1200 plus shipping. I had a shop in Schenectady do the work and they charged $650.

Last week the shaper motor died. I used ratchet straps to take up the saw top, (and quickly bought a chain hoist) so I could remove the motor. The motor is now out being repaired. The saw motor is running at 11.5 amps and seems to be fine. [Note: Not “fine”!: see July 15, 2016 post here] The rebuilt jointer/planer/mortiser motor runs at around 11.7 amps. Even though I had run all the motors before I bought the machine, I didn’t check amps until after the first motor burnt up. I have been using the shaper and after a little while it would run over 13 amps, and it had that acrid-hot-motor-smell.

1.  The saw top is now back on the machine and the saw is running fine [Note: Not “fine”!: see July 15, 2016 post here]. The top is secured with only four cap screws, and getting inside the machine to do maintenance/repair (including the planer motor, drive belts, and chain drive mechanism) is really best done by removing it (and the attached shaper and saw) with a chain hoist.

2. By now I have almost $3500 into the machine (not including moving costs). I’m very glad I got it for the price I did. I like having one dust hose and one power cord. I like that it is compact. The mortising machine is great. Actually, the whole thing is good. I don’t even mind the saw adjustments and the fence.

3. Buying and keeping a vintage (25+ year old) euro combo machine is like taking on a long-term committed relationship. The trouble involved with moving a 1400 lb. machine out, and/or trying to sell it, makes you think twice about getting rid of it.

4. I have both a small 5” jointer and a 10” jointer/planer (Inca brand). Most of the time I use these other machines, and save the Robland jointer/planer for when I have a pile of wood to mill. It is really inconvenient to swing out the jointer tables and then have to wind the planer table all the way up (and back down again) in order to flip over the dust hood. Really.

5. A trick I learned: In order to use the saw to cut a wide board (or use the shaper), without removing the jointer fence, I can swing the infeed table of the jointer out of the way with the fence attached. This works up to 25″ – anything wider and I have to take the jointer fence off.

6. I’m not sure why but I have an amp meter on the machine all the time to check to see how the motors are running. Just a little paranoid I guess. If you have a spare Robland motor for a reasonable price let me know.


The ratchet straps lifted everything fine, but it was not so smooth going back down! I bought a chain hoist and had a much easier time of it.

Sermon for Katie and Ryan Clapp Wedding on Saturday, May 21, 2016

May 25, 2016

I suppose some people are getting really tired of hearing me talk about being married for 45 years. On the 23rd of June Marianne and I will have completed 45 years. My reason for bringing this up again is not to brag, but to say something about marriage. When we got married I wasn’t much of a catch. I had dropped out of high school after the tenth grade. I was 18 and was working as a guard in the county prison. Marianne had finished high school and was working as a counselor in a crisis center for runaway teens. Neither one of us had any family to rely on. We were on our own and sort of stuck with each other. I bought this ring and a matching one for Marianne and the two of us went off to North Carolina and we got married.

The first 25 years were really tough. We always had money problems and I wasn’t a very patient person. We fought all the time. We went into counseling and eventually started going to church. By the time our 25th anniversary came around we could have a nice ceremony in an Episcopal Church to renew our vows with our children, grandchildren, and friends around us.

Over the years I have had a lot of opportunity to think about marriage. When I was eighteen I thought that if we felt strongly enough about each other and had some luck we would make it. Now I realize that luck has nothing to do with it. God was looking over us the whole time, and taking care of us. I had to come to appreciate the gift of marriage the hard way.

First of all, marriage is an institution. Marriage is something we enter into. We go in and live by the rules of marriage. We promise, in public, in front of witnesses, completely freely and without coercion, to start a new life living by the rules of the institution of marriage.  These rules are not arbitrary. The rules provide for a good life and the blessing of God. Sometimes we have to force ourselves to follow the rules. I wake up and say, “but today I don’t feel like it!” Sometimes you just have to decide to love her. Sometimes you just have to decide to love him.

But I don’t want to give you the impression that you have to just grit your teeth the whole time while you follow the rules of marriage. Many people think that religion (and marriage for that matter) was invented just to keep people from doing bad things.

(It is true that there is a part of the Christian tradition that embraces self-denial; fasting, vows of poverty, celibacy, etc.)

The Song of Soloman is a very short book in the OT: 117 verses. It is included in the Bible as a picture, in human terms, of the love that flows between God and His people.

Today’s text, however, (from chps. 2 & 8) is one of the readings appointed for use in our prayer book, for a celebration of a marriage. A recognition that the content is about a man and a woman.

The inclusion of The Song of Solomon in the Bible reminds us that it is simplistic to think that religion, especially Christian Faith, is only designed to make us behave like good boys and girls. (in theological terms this is called moral restraint.)

On the contrary, we believe that God made the world out of the pure joy that comes from making something – the act of creation.

And that God has given his creation the freedom to grow, develop, and change. And to take pleasure in doing these things.

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.” Genesis 1:31, RSV.

God took pleasure in making the world, and he only wants the best for us.

Song of Solomon:

“1 The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s.

2 O that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth! For your love is better than wine,” Song of Solomon 1:1, 2, RSV.

“5 I am very dark, but comely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.” Song of Solomon 1:5, RSV.

I won’t read you chapter 7, where the man tells the woman everything he likes about her body.

OK, so you get the idea. This may be a picture of God’s love for His people, but is also a picture of human love.

In the reading for today: Chapter 2, the woman is resting and thinking about how much she loves her man, and suddenly he appears at the window and speaks – he says:

“10 My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; 11 for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. 12 The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. 13 The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Song of Solomon 2:10-13, RSV.

The man wants to get away with his woman and have a good time. It is springtime after all, and flowers are blooming and the birds are singing.

Katie and Ryan: May you have many times of recreation and refreshment.

But in Chapter 8, the woman asks the man to confront the other truth about love. It is a deadly serious business. People can get hurt. People can die.

The woman says:

“6 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned.” Song of Solomon 8:6, 7, RSV.

“6 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm;

The Good News Bible makes the translation:

“Close your heart to every heart but mine; hold no one in your arms but me.”

Marriage means making a commitment, and that means making a decision to love no matter what – it means that you promise to give up other loves that could ruin this love. (Not just other women – but anything that will hurt this marriage bond).

Katie and Ryan: My prayer is that you will be content with what you have today. Jesus loves you today and the next day, and all days. Marriage means making a commitment, and that means making a decision to love no matter what. May you each grow in your desire to please your spouse, and may you learn to forgive, and may your union grow stronger and stronger through the years. Amen

Outfeed and Sliding Table Support:

March 29, 2016

Robland-X31 Posts

More Robland X31 progress:

Having used various arrangements for supporting wood boards and plywood on and off machines, including permanent tables and rollers, I have decided this time to combine the best of what I’ve learned over the years. Roller stands are small and portable, but they can tip over. Sturdy shop-made tables are great, but they can take up valuable space. On the other hand, the tables are good for stacking, sanding, assembly, and finishing.

I bought two portable Keter work tables. One is sold at Home Depot and can be taken apart and put together in a couple of minutes. It comes with a router table insert, which I replaced with a piece of plywood. The other table I bought on Amazon, and it deploys and folds up in two seconds! Both tables are only 22” x 33” x 5” taken down. On the portable tables there are 2ft. x 4ft x 1in. thick plywood tops. These work tables each support two other 1/2” ply tops that serve as the machine support tables. I put the Keter router table insert into the out-feed table. This way I can use the Robland shaper fence and the sliding table along with the router table.


File Mar 29, 2 19 25 PM

2016 Lenten Reflection

March 24, 2016

Lenten Reflection by Fr. Michael Gorchov

During Lent I’ve been giving talks on Wednesday nights at St. Anthony’s Church. This is part of a series of events that is designed to draw three Troy churches (St. Anthony’s [Roman Catholic], St. John’s and St. Paul’s [Episcopal]) closer together. The initiative is called the Fellowship of St. Francis.

The Lenten presentations are on the Nature of the Church as represented in agreed documents that have come out of dialogues between Anglicans and Roman Catholics that started in 1967, and became known as the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Committee (ARCIC).

One of the most helpful aspects of doing research on the ARCIC agreements is finding that both sides in the discussions have had to admit that certain terms have separated, rather than united, each other. And that these terms have often been used by each side to mean different things.

The following two words are good examples: Sanctification and Justification.

Some of the difficulty is that Anglicans did adopt principles expressed in two (gasp!) Lutheran Confessions (Augsburg and Württemberg), and that Anglicans have tended to believe that Roman Catholics intentionally repudiated these positions at the Council of Trent. In fact, the Anglican formularies had not even been compiled when the Decree on Justification from the Council of Trent was promulgated.

During the ARCIC discussions it was agreed that the New Testament employs a wide variety of language concerning salvation, and that there is no single controlling term or concept. All the terms (including deliverance, forgiveness, redemption, liberation, adoption, regeneration, rebirth, new creation, sanctification, and justification) complement each other.

Protestants have suspected that Catholics try to “buy” their way into heaven through prayer and good works (sanctification). Catholics tended to believe that Protestants felt so assured of their salvation (justification) that there was nothing left in this life for them to do.

Through the ARCIC talks it was agreed that justification and sanctification are actually two aspects of the same divine act (1 Cor 6:11).
1. Sanctification is that work of God which actualizes in believers the righteousness and holiness without which no one may see the Lord, and
2. the term justification speaks of a divine declaration of acquittal.

What this means for me is that God’s merciful “acquittal” (justification) is not at all the same as being judged “innocent.” Far from it. It just means that I have another opportunity to get closer to Jesus (sanctification).

A Lenten Collect

Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with your most gracious favor, and further us with your continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in you, we may glorify your holy Name, and, finally, by your mercy, obtain everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Gumby and Pokey

March 24, 2016

Got my old band saw working. New guide bearings, blade, v belt, etc. . I bought this Powermatic 141 in 1979. It came with a Baldor 3/4 hp motor which I tried to resuscitate with a new capacitor, and it ran for a few weeks just fine. But last week it stopped running, and I sent away for a new motor. It came yesterday. A Leeson 1 hp in red!



The Woodshop

February 20, 2016

We moved to a new house in February of 2015, and for the first time in twenty years I am putting together a proper woodshop.