Sunday, 21 March 2010

Getting the Yucky Stuff Out of the Cracks...

I'm not into gimmicky stuff. I don't sit around watching tv wrapped in an adult sized equivalent of a baby's sleeper, I don't make fancy drinks in a little blender that looks like it came from a sex shop and I don't use a chamois on my car that is purported to be able to absorb half of Lake Erie. Because of my aversion to this kind of junk, I was surprised when I actually made a special trip to-day to pick up some gunk that I have seen advertised on tv lately.

This weekend was spent cleaning the car; claying and waxing the exterior and scrubbing the interior. I really enjoy doing all of this except for one job - getting the crap out of the little joints, cracks and crevices on the dashboard and console. Having had enough of trying to get it out with a rag-wrapped screwdriver, I remembered the ads for this stuff and while I couldn't remember the name of it, I did remember one of the retailers listed in the ad that stocks it. I had my wife run me over to buy some. It took a while to find it as no-one who worked there knew what I was talking about, but we eventually found it.

I didn't even wait to get back home to try it, but instead, while my wife was driving us home, I was stuffing this gunk in every crack and crevice I could reach. The stuff is lime green and looks like that slime stuff the kids went crazy for a few years ago, but it doesn't feel slimy. Actually, to me, it felt like a breast implant, which, if nothing else, proves to you how twisted my mind is. Now whether or not you want to consider its feel as a bonus or not, the main point here is that it actually works.

I forced that stuff into every crack and crevice I could find and watched as it lifted every spec of dust, dirt and dog hair without leaving any residue or stains. It was amazing. So amazing in fact, I brought it in and forced it into the carvings in all our furniture. Same thing; that grey shadow of dust that appears in the nooks and crannies of antique furniture all but disappeared. I got so carried away with this stuff, I even used it on some of my tools to get the elusive sawdust out of some of their corners that I couldn't get out before. Ok, even I will admit that is a bit anal, but like I said, I got carried away.

The stuff is called, "Cyber Clean" and is actually made for cleaning computers and electronics. I used canned air for those, so I doubt if I will ever use it for its intended purpose, but for everything else, it will be the first thing I will reach for. Great stuff.



Saturday, 13 March 2010

Possible Answer For Saw Success...

Doing my constitutional this morning, I hit my daily websites to see what they had to say, sell and offer. A posting by Christopher Schwarz on the Woodworking Magazine Blog caught my attention as he was writing about working a handsaw. Having a read, I think I came across an answer for my newly found ability to "cut to the line".

In his article entitled, "My Strategy for Going Deep", the line that really made me sit up and take notice stated, "A low sawing angle is less aggressive, but it is more accurate." Thinking back to my set-up for hand sawing, I realized I had changed it recently, and that change caused a lower angle than what I have used in the past.

Up until recently, I have been clamping the stock to a portable worktable in such a way that allowed me to stand off to the left of it and follow the saw backwards as I made my way along the line. Because of an overabundance of junk in the office lately, finding room for changing my mind, let alone hand sawing a piece of wood has been difficult. As a result, I had to change my set-up and I started to clamp the stock to the right side of the table and stand behind the table to cut along the line. The difference in positioning results in a much lower angle of attack for the saw, I would bet a lower angle of at least 20°. As Chris states, a lower angle means more accuracy, and with the results I have been having lately, I would have to agree.

While the portable worktable that I have been forced to use this past year is one of the better manufactured ones, there is no better terminology to describe it than to simply say that the thing "truly sucks". I am, however, slowly weeding my worldly possessions out of my office, having finally crated my rolling mechanics cabinet this afternoon and booked a shipper to pick it up on Monday. I gave the whole kit and caboodle to my son almost a year ago, but getting about 800 pounds of tools and set of cabinets shipped across the country has not been the easiest, or cheapest thing I have ever done. Finally it is done and the last of it will be out of here come Monday. I also have a set of 4 mag wheels for the car stored here, a purchase I made on eBay over the winter. I have been storing them in my office while I wait for the weather to break and the snow tires to come off. Winter, thank God, is almost over, so they should be out of here in a few weeks. When that happens, the area that has been designated for my small but well built workbench will finally be free after all this time, and I can finally get to work building it. I can't wait. A real workbench again with a pair of saw horses to match. Heaven.