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21 April 2014

Fist of Fury

I mentioned that I'd bought a table saw the other day but then had been horribly disappointed when it turned up broken. What a mess! The good news is that a replacement was sent and delivery number two has been all good. Let me tell you a little bit about the saw...

I bought an Evolution Fury 5. It's huge, dangerous, and I love it!

Here's the official blurb:

"The flag ship power tool of any home workshop, the FURY5 provides tremendous cutting versatility; cross cut, mitre cut, bevel cut, straight cut, large or small applications. Plus, this is no ordinary table saw, this is an Evolution table saw, so the versatile performance does not stop there; astonishingly, the FURY5 will easily cut Steel, Aluminium, Wood (wood with nails) and Plastics, using just one blade. Featuring a quick-clamp rip fence that is solid and sturdy in every position for essential cutting security, precise height and angle adjustment and an anti-bounce device, which minimises movement in material being cut."

I joked on Google+ that this is what it felt like assembling my new table saw. It took me two nights to figure out how it all went together. The instructions provided were rubbish. I eventually managed to figure it all out and haven't looked back since! 

This is where I started. Everything seemed to be present and correct.

I've never used a table saw before, so this purchase has been a bit of a leap of faith. Likewise, other than the picture on the box, I didn't really know what it was meant to look like once I'd pieced it all together.

I did take a number of assembly pictures for you, but actually, I'm not going to share them in this post. If you're interested then go check out my Google+ stream.

Instead, let's jump right to the interesting stuff! I was desperate to find out how to use the table saw and to discover what it can do. The collection of photos above are my first ever attempts at ripping wood. You'll see that I was fixating on how thin a strip I could create and how clean a cut I could achieve. I'm wondering here how easy it would be to produce fretboards and veneers. I tried with mahogany, ebony and maple and the results were brilliant! This is something that I've always struggled with in the past. I wouldn't say that it was always easy to get it right, but with a bit of practice and luck, I reckon I can make this work!

I'm going to call out a couple of things that I've learnt here.

Firstly, I did try and use the Fury with the safety guard on, but eventually, I removed it. I know... it was provided for a reason... but I found it too difficult to keep an eye on what I was doing when I couldn't see the blade. I like to look my enemy straight in the eyes. I hope I don't live to regret this bravado.

Secondly, I'm going to point out that the riving knife (the bit that sits directly behind the circular blade) is too thick at the top, preventing me from partially cutting wood that is taller than the the blade. Perhaps this is a safety feature, but I'm finding it bloody annoying. If you know why this is as it is, then please drop me a comment.

As much as I wanted to start work on my banjo this weekend, I found myself dragged into all sorts of other little projects instead. One of them was to build my son J-Uke a gaming table. He's been on about it for weeks now, pestering me to buy wood and knock it together for him. What a perfect way to dust off the winter cobwebs and to put my new table saw to the test!

We took a trip down to B&Q and picked up some cheap pine. J-Uke dug out his plans and we set to it. The picture above is where we've ended up. I'm really impressed with the end result. I wouldn't say that it was easy, but it wasn't super hard either. Granted, I haven't put in much in the way of elegant touches, but this bog standard table took me two days on-and-off to produce.

The top is three planks glued. You'll remember the fun and games I had doing this sort of thing when I built the Grand Poobah ukulele. This was a much easier, made simple by the table saw. I've still got more to learn in terms of technique, but you can see here that I managed to pull it off for this table.

Another thing I tried out on the top was some round-over routing, top and bottom. Save a couple of dents here and there, I managed to pull this off too! It really adds a professional touch. Being such a soft wood, I found working with pine really easy. The only thing to watch are the knots. They can throw the router bit if you're not paying attention. How do I know this? Yep... guilty! ;-)

When I bought the wood for this project, I got an impromptu hug out of J-Uke. Ha ha... it was worth it for that alone! When we knocked together a prototype of the joint we were going to use for the leg and cross-beams, I got the biggest smile ever and we were high-fiving. Ha ha! Up until that point, I don't think that he could really picture how we were going to join them. My diagrams and explanations obviously weren't enough... he had to see it with his own eyes!

What we ended up doing was to route grooves into the legs which were the thickness of the cross-beams. Then we rounded off one of the edges of the cross-beam and slotted the two together. I was worrying about the legs being weak, so in this picture you can see me being extra sure by also putting two screws through the leg and cross-beam. It's belts and braces, but I don't want his table falling apart on him. I glued it all and stuck it together one final time. We'll just have to wait and see whether it works or not.

It just needs to be sanded, stained and varnished, but I don't think J-Uke will have the patience to wait for this. Ha ha... he's a chip off the old block for sure! ;-)

Did you spot that I'm using my table saw to do all the gluing here? Yep, the blade has been lowered into the table (you can just see the slot top left). The height of the table is perfect for me. I don't have to bend over too much like I do with my workbench.

In case you're wondering, the banjo build hasn't halted. I'm still figuring things out and picking up the odd part here and there. Here's a shot of an aluminium bar I'm hoping to use as a truss rod.

I've also been building my way up to trying my hand at some inlay. This will have to be a story for another post because I just haven't managed to find the time to do it!

So many projects and too little time! Just the way I like it! ;-)

I'm going to leave you with this beautiful song I happened across last week. It's called Cursed Sleep and is by Bonnie "Prince" Billy. I love it!

It reminds me a little of my all time favourite Beck album... Sea Change. I love the orchestration and sombre feel. This sings to my soul. I would love to share a whiskey with Prince Billy and maybe we could knock out a tune or two. Ha ha. The Prince and the King... wouldn't that be something! ;-)

Well, okay, I'll throw in a little tune I wrote earlier this week. Here's a demo of a song I call Home. It's another Desert Groove offering. This time, even I'm hearing a snatch or two of Johnny Cash in my voice. I'm not doing it intentionally, but hey, it's no bad thing. I do make all sorts of mistakes in the demo, but you get the gist of what it's all about. I think I need someone else to sing those choruses for me. Any takers? Are you up for it Prince Billy? ;-)


  1. As always, love your posts. But you know I'm a fan. :) (angelique)

  2. Aw thanks Angelique! Back attcha! ;-)

  3. The FURY5...oh,I thought you were taking about The Furey5.
    I hope I didn't here the sound of the wind coming from your yard KU ?-)
    I've heard of home brewing as a hobby,but not home milling.

  4. That song sounds a lot like Country Roads without the chorus. Not bad.

    FEEL MY FURY!!! :-s