Craftsman Vise Restoration

Posted: November 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

Here’s a couple of new Vises from Amazon:

Yost LV4 Home Vise 41/2″

IRWIN Tools Multi-Purpose Bench Vise, 5-Inch

DeWalt DXCMBV6 6 In. Heavy-Duty Bench Vise with Swivel Base


My dad passed away in November, 2016 at 93 years old.  When my family and I were going though everything, I ran across a vise.  This vise had been in the same location since I was a little kid.  I had used this vise to hold my bikes while I was working on them.  I had used it to hold my BB guns to try to site it in (this never really worked).  The vise had always been under this lean-to connected to an outside storage building


There was a table that my Uncle Dale build which held the vise, but it sat right at the edge of the roofline.  So this vise was constantly getting hit with rain, snow, and wind.  Anyway it was in pretty rough shape.

I removed the vise from the table.  Donald (Dale’s son) wanted the table since his dad had made it.  I brought the vise home and did a basic cleaning on it.  Just using Simple Green and a degreaser got some of the gunk off, but it still looked pretty bad.


In fact, until this point, I couldn’t really even tell that the original color was red.  Anyway, I wasn’t overly concerned with the condition.  After all, it is a tool.  But my biggest issue was that the bolts were stuck.  The bolt on the side that allow it to swivel were stuck solid.  The bolt that holds the base to the body of the vise was also stuck.  So I decided I needed to take it apart and rebuilt it.

I first needed to work on getting the bolts unfrozen.  So I went through many processes trying to do so.  I heated the bolt with a small blowtorch.  Then I tried heating the nut side.  Then I tried putting the vise in the freezer overnight.  Then the blowtorch on the bolt.  Then I went through an entire spray can of blaster.

Ended up the best method was to spray blaster ,  Then wait for a week.  Spray again, wait…   After a month, amazingly the bolts, just loosened up enough that I could remove them.  At this point, I spent a lot of time with wire wheel brushes attached to my drill press cleaning the metal.  I tried to use my sandblaster, but the blasting media I bought a little to big for my small air compressor.  So I was mostly using wire brushes.

Here’s a picture of the base after I removed all the gunk, paint, and rust:


After they were all cleaned, I used an alcohol wipe to get all the remaining residue off.

I had done a little searching on the proper spray paint color for Craftsman red.  Most of the posts suggested Rust-oleum Regal Red.  So I ordered a can.


Here’s a picture of the parts getting painted:


A few coats of paint, and then it was time for assembly.  Luckily, the vise went back together so much easier than taking it apart.

Here’s a few pictures of the final product.


Overall I’m happy with the vise.  There’s some definite pitting on the handles, but not too bad.

The single best thing about this vise; every time I see it, I think about my dad.  And I have to walk past it every day going through the garage.

Here’s a picture of my dad when I took him out to get a steak for his 93rd birthday.

Dad on Birthday 2016


Adding rod holders to Kayak

Posted: September 22, 2018 in Uncategorized

amazon business1

For my birthday this year my wife bought me a angler kayak.  I wanted my wife to be able to go fishing with me (and yes she actually wants to go with me).  We bought her a little less expensive kayak from WalMart.  It was a Sun Dolphin Kayak.

But it wasn’t a fishing kayak.  So it didn’t have any rod holders.  One of the first upgrades we did was to add a couple of rod holders.  We ordered Floor Pack of 2 Flush Mount Canoe Kayak Fishing Rod Holder with Gashet Cover Cap from Amazon.  It was around $10 for two rod holders.  That’s much cheaper than Wal-Mart or anywhere else.

I hadn’t noticed before, but the kayak had marks on it like it was made to have rod holders installed.


Just like the nipples, there are three screw holes.


Those little nipples tell you where to drill.  I ended up using a hole saw aligned with the center nipple.  Then I could insert the rod holder and drill the other holes.


So I drilled the hole out with the hole saw with the drill straight up and down.  Well this didn’t turn out too good.  The rod holder has the hole at an angle.  You can see from this picture, why the angled cut is important:


So to get around this, I decided to use my Dremel Tool to make the circle more of an oval to match the rod holder.


After making the circle into more of an oval, the rod holder fits perfect.


Now I just need to drill the holes for the screws.  Turns out the three holes don’t match the nipples exactly so it is a thing I didn’t drill them first.


Once the screwholes are drilled, the rod holders come with specific screws.  They aren’t actually screws.  You need an Allen Wrench to tighten them.   I assume this is so you don’t overtighten them with a Battery operated driver.


Here’s the finished product on the first side:


Now I’m ready to install the second rod holder, but now I’ve got a little better experience.  My goal was to drill the hole with the drill angled so it would create an oval.


So doing this made the rod holder fit a little better, but it still wasn’t 100%.  I had to use the Dremel Tool again.


Now the Rod Holder fits perfectly.  Time to drill the screw holes and put in the screws.


Here’s the finished product.  Overall these rod holders are awesome.  I love the rubber lids to keep water out.


You may have seen my previous post about why I bought a SawStop:  Why I Bought a SawStop

But I saw on Facebook today that SawStop is giving away a cabinet saw in celebration of their 50K like on Instagram.

Click this link to enter the contest:


Of if you are ready to purchase a SawStop.  Check out my Amazon link below:

SawStop Jobsite Saw

SawStop 1.75 HP Cabinet Saw

SawStop 3 HP Cabinet Saw (like the one they are giving away).


Fence Finished!!!

Posted: June 10, 2018 in Uncategorized

I’ve made a couple of posts about the process of re-staining my fence.  As well as adding decorative cap on top of the fence.


Fence Part 2

So I finished (at least the outside part) this past weekend.

Here’s the final pictures:


It isn’t perfect, but it is so much better than where I started:

my fence 2


Well I’ve had my Sawstop Jobsite saw for a year and a half.  Until a week ago or so, I had never tripped the brake.  Well that all changed.  I was sawing some new fence boards in half length wise.  I had sawed quite a few.  I grabbed one board and the second it touched the blade, there was a pop.  I instantly knew what had happened.


when I looked at the piece of wood.  Right at the point where the blade made contact, there was a significant wet spot.  Obviously this was something I knew might happen when I bought the Sawstop, but I still think it is worth it.  Here’s my post about why I bought a SawStop.

Anyway, so now I need to swap the cartridge.

I bought a new on at Rockler:



Anyway. I had many more ways I would rather have spent $70, but it was a no brainer.  If you can’t get one locally, Amazon sells them: SawStop Brake Cartridge.

Luckily SawStop makes it easy to replace.  The instructions are on the slide out storage:



After getting the cartridge and blade out, I was surprised how far the blade was buried in the aluminum.



So I saw a few YouTube videos where people were able to extract the blade from the brake cartridge and reuse the blade.

I played around with it for a bit and was able to get it out.



Look at the difference between the activated (top) and new (bottom) cartridge.  Check out how deformed the aluminum is on the activated one is.


So following SawStops instructions I was able to put in the new cartridge and blade.


Now I will say I’m not sure I am actually going to run the saw like this.  It isn’t that expensive to just buy a new blade.  I was happy with the SawStop blade that shipped with the saw.  For $40, I could have a new blade.  SawStop also makes a nicer blade for a little more money.


Fence Part 2

Posted: June 1, 2018 in Uncategorized

I previously posted about having to work on my fence.  Fence

I’ve put in a little more work.  I started working on the cap.  But ran out of time.  I ended up power washing the fence and a week or so later (had a small vacation in there somewhere) my wife and I started staining the fence.

Here’s a picture after we stained it.


Here’s a pic of the difference the stain makes.  I turned the corner on the fence and the wind picked up.  We are using my Rockler HVLP sprayer to spray it.  It does really good. But a lot of wind makes it really a mess.  Plus my neighbor had his car parked in his driveway.  Didn’t want to get stain all over his car.  Even though we were using the sprayer we did go over every thing with a brush too.  It just smooths the paint out.  Any runs get taken care of and any missed areas get taken care of.   My only issue with the HVLP sprayer is the small container.  It seems I could get one panel done before I had to stop and refill the container.


So while working on the fence, a few neighbors have stopped and asked what was so bad with my fence.  They couldn’t understand why I got a letter.

Here’s what the fences on my street look like:

neighborhood fences 1neighborhood fences 2neighborhood fences 3

And here’s my fence:

my fence 2my fence 3

To be honest, my fence didn’t look too bad until lately.  I remember most of my neighbors had re-stained (or had it re-stained) last year.  They all informed me that they received letters last year.  So they did what they had to do, but it made my fence look worse.

But while I”m going through the process, I need to clean up the inside of my fence too.  The HOA doesn’t complain about this, but I’m tired of looking at it.

myfence 1

Here’s a couple of pictures of me working on the fence.  This is what I was putting the first part of the cap on.


working on fence from drone

In the above picture (from my drone) you can see my Sawstop Jobsite saw.   This thing makes me feel so safe when cutting.  I wish the technology was available in my Miter Saw.  But I just have to be careful.

working on fence

There I am putting the top part of the cap on.  I wish I would have finished all the work back then.  It is so much hotter now.  Texas is non-forgiving.



Why I Bought a SawStop

Posted: May 6, 2018 in Uncategorized

In this post I want to go over some of the reasons I bought a SawStop table Saw.  I ended up buying the SawStop Jobsite Saw  It has been a great saw.  I’m convinced it was the right saw for me.  Whether it is the right saw for you depends on you and your needs.  I just want to go over some of the reasons I bought this saw.  I realize this decision is almost religious or political in some peoples mind.  If you don’t pick the saw they chose, you are an idiot.  I just don’t feel that way.  Whatever meets your needs, is right for you.

I was using older Craftsman Contractor Table Saw.


I bought it about 18 years ago when we moved in our first house.  I was building a headboard and footboard and needed something to cut the big pieces better than a circular saw (because I could never make a straight line).


The things I disliked most about that Craftsman saw were the following:

  • It had non-standard miter slots.  I could never just run to Rockler and get any sleds or anything that would fit the saw.
  • It never seemed to cut true.  I could get everything squared up and before long it was back to cutting weird again.

The non-true cut was the final straw.  I was making a test piece.  A stave Snare Drum.  While the test did work out.  I had so many issues getting the staves to come out right, I just kinda gave up.


So I had made the decision that I needed a new saw.  There were a lot of good options:

So I had to come up with the things that were really important to me.

First I knew I needed a portable saw.  While I love the cabinet saws with the iron table, it just wasn’t practical for me.  For one thing, my shop is pretty much my garage.  I have half full of all my stuff.   The other half is so the wife can put the Jeep Wrangler in there when it is bad weather.  So I have to compact all my stuff as much as I can.

Here’s a picture of my garage/shop:


I also need the ability to take the saw with me.  I volunteer for a few groups.  First my wife was Kid’s Pastor.  So I built a lot of games for VBS and stuff.  It was much easier being able to take the tools with me.


I also work with the Football boosters group at my son’s school.  We build the football floats they use in the big city-wide parade.  We typically end up at someone’s house doing all the construction.  Again being able to take the saw with me is a big advantage.


I also help out with my daughter’s marching band.  We help build the props they use during the halftime show.  These build days are typically at the school, so again having a portable saw is awesome.

We made the PVC boxes in this show along with the wood bases (with casters) they sat on.  We also built the stage on the left 35.


In this show we built the beds (again on casters).  We also made the sideline cover frames.


And since my dad passed away, we moved my mom in with us.  She kept their house and is renting it out.  It is in another state from where we live.  So when it is time to do work on the rent-house, I’ll need to pack everything up in the truck and head over there for a few days.  Couldn’t easily move a cabinet saw.

The next biggest question is did I want to pay the extra money for a saw that has flesh-detecting technology.  At the time I bought my saw, there was SawStop and Bosch that made flesh-detecting saws.  Bosch was making their REAXX saw.  It had a similar design to the SawStop in that it removed the blade away from the top of the saw.  The difference was that the Bosch didn’t stop the blade, it only dropped it below the saw top.  Thus it didn’t cause the blade to be damaged.  I won’t get into the details on why, but they are no longer making that saw.

So back to the question for me.  Do I need flesh-detecting technology.  Here are the reasons I chose to go with it:

  • My dad lost one of his fingers while working at the Paper Mill.  It wasn’t saw related, but I saw the effect of that finger loss.  He was a talented guitar player, but after the finger loss, he never played again.
  • My mom’s dad (I called him Pappa Floyd) lost his finger using a large saw cutting down a tree.   I actually have this saw in my garage and look at it often to remind me to be careful.
  • I use a computer keyboard for a living.  I also play drums, so the damage a finger loss could do to my life might be difficult to take.

Here’s a picture of me holding the saw that cut off my grandpa’s finger:


For the above reasons, I had made the decision to go ahead and pay the extra money for flesh detecting technology.

Like I mentioned at the time, there was a choice between the SawStop Jobsite Saw and the Bosch REAXX saw.  The REAXX was actually a little more than the SawStop.  But the REAXX would be cheaper to replace after an activation.  To be honest, cost doesn’t matter after a near-miss.  I would just be happy to have all my fingers.  But after a false activation (like cutting wood that is too wet or something), then the cost might matter since I would need to replace the blade.

To be honest, I was worried that if I bought the REAXX saw, pending lawsuits might make it hard to get replacement cartridges.  I also work in technology, so I know how unreliable newer releases and products can be.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to risk my fingers on a new product.  I have a great deal of confidence in the SawStop technology.  It has been around for years.  If it wasn’t reliable, they would have been sued numerous times.

I also heard a rumor (may or may not be true) that you shouldn’t have a phone around the REAXX saw.  This concerned me.  I always have my phone in my pocket when in the garage.  I also wear my Apple Watch the entire time.  I like for my kids and wife to be able to get in touch with me in case of emergency.

Now understand, I still try to be as careful as possible.  The only tool I have with flesh detecting technology is the table saw.  I still have a miter saw, a router, and numerous other dangerous tools.  But even my grandpa cut his finger off with a non-powered hand saw.  So being careful is always job one.  But I know myself and I seem to do stupid things sometimes.

Here’s a picture of the SawStop sitting next to my Miter Saw.  Note: since this picture was taken, I’ve also replaced the miter saw stand with a portable one.


Feel free to leave any comments about your choice for a Table Saw.  I would love to hear if you got a SawStop and if you have the same satisfaction I have.

UPDATE: trying to cut a piece of wood that ended up being a little wet, I ended up tripping the brake on my Saw.  Here’s the post I did about changing the cartridge.