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Blog series by Gary Fixler updated 05-22-2010 07:59 AM 14 parts 45283 reads 161 comments total

Part 1: sealed with a trip

06-21-2009 12:46 PM by Gary Fixler | 21 comments »

Let me show you why tonight’s shop-time sucked… Sigh… So I had a 2gal bucket of Anchorseal – prized wood end grain sealer for drying logs and planks. I was carrying it to a spot in the shop where I was to seal up a bunch of European olive bottle blanks I resawed and cut up from a large log tonight. My foot got hung up really well on something – maybe my rolling stand – and I lurched forward hard. Of course, I never trip like that, but since I was car...

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Part 2: National Lampoon's Economic Downturn Vacation

10-01-2009 05:02 AM by Gary Fixler | 20 comments »

I work in video games, and it’s seemed this year to be pretty immune to the recession. Kids always want their video games, and when you can’t do much else, like building that addition, or moving to a new place, picking up a game or two to play away the misery is a comforting alternative. Or so we thought. Looks like it’s finally trickled up, or down, or sideways, and as such, we had The Meeting today. While not officially laid off, I’m on ‘forced vacation&#...

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Part 3: Craftsman 13" planer woes

10-24-2009 09:25 AM by Gary Fixler | 7 comments »

I’ve been so fantastically lazy these past 3 weeks of pseudo-laid-off time. I wanted to use this unexpected break to go nuts in the garage, as it’s what I’ve dreamed of for more than a year now, but I think the anticipation of hard times ahead, and light anxiety of not having a steady income at the moment (first time in 6 years – since shortly after moving to CA) has sapped my motivation almost entirely. I’ve done almost nothing but wait. I’ve had some thin...

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Part 4: Jimi_C nails it - my planer suffered a blown bearing

11-16-2009 09:06 PM by Gary Fixler | 10 comments »

In my last post, I mentioned my planer seizing up entirely. I couldn’t move the belts, and I couldn’t spin the knife wheel. I also talked about how insanely built the Craftsman 13” is, and I still stand behind that. I think taking apart my Toyota pickup’s engine might be less involved. I finally found the secret under the black slide-in plastic caps that the top rods sit in. There were access ports that let me undo some hex screws and finally lift off the top shrouds (...

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Part 5: My planer's broken bearing

11-22-2009 05:59 AM by Gary Fixler | 14 comments »

I got some shots of the gruesome outcome inside the machine. The replacement bearing has been ordered through Sears Parts Direct and should be here in a week or two. Meanwhile, the carnage… Here are some closeups of the broken bearing from the side where it opened up: Note the broken cage and missing balls. No idea where they went: The shaft was pitted beneath the bearing. At first I thought it was damage, and it may be, but I’m leaning a bit toward it being a...

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Part 7: still hoping to fix that Craftsman planer...

03-18-2010 06:09 PM by Gary Fixler | 8 comments »

When we last left off 116 days ago, my planer had a blown bearing. It was an effort of monumental proportions to disassemble the thing to get to it, taking several days spread over weeks or months – whenever I had time and motivation to figure out how to get deeper into it. Removing the bearing showed the shaft had been peened to fit the bearing, and several people suggested that that was what caused the failure. Peened shafts are likely not concentrically aligned with the bearing, and ...

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Part 8: several near misses

03-21-2010 01:19 PM by Gary Fixler | 8 comments »

I have not been lucking out timing-wise these last few days. I used a $50 gift card to Rockler from my aunt from Christmas last week, but I guess I ordered too late in the week, so I haven’t yet gotten the stuff that would have helped this weekend. Taking some advice commented to my last post (and wanting to try the heat/freeze and light sanding method combination), I actually tracked down a local bearing shop not too far away. I had looked before and found nothing but wholesalers an...

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Part 9: I got the new bearing in place!

03-23-2010 03:11 PM by Gary Fixler | 3 comments »

I lamented last week that I just missed the closing time at the local bearing shop. I got there yesterday nice and early and they not only had the right bearings, but bearings with the exact same set of numbers stamped on the side. That gave me some confidence, even though the race covers looked a bit different. The man told me they were from their higher quality line of bearings, and here’s hoping. They were $10/ea., whereas Sears’ version were $4/ea., but I was happy to just get...

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Part 10: I just planed a board :)

03-23-2010 09:25 PM by Gary Fixler | 5 comments »

It all sounded pretty normal. The first attempt was met with a lot of knocking. Perhaps I had it too low. Hitting stop, raising it, and trying again worked fine, though there were a few slightly raised lines, about 1/4+ wide. I must have chipped the blades slightly. No matter – I can flip them around to the new edges, and I have another pack waiting if I need them. It does look like there’s a slight difference between left and right sides, but I’m talking something like 1...

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Part 11: the back yard fence saga

03-26-2010 09:51 AM by Gary Fixler | 7 comments »

It sure feels like everything is falling apart this year. There was the planer and its bearings. Too, more than ever I’m wearing out shoes and clothes. I’ve gotten wood glue or finishes on and holes in so many shirts now, and had 3 pairs of jeans become for lack of a better word ‘dry rotten,’ each ending up with tears more than a foot long. The dryer broke… again (washer broke last year – the bottom rusted out and after filling, it popped and dumped water a...

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Part 12: fixing my dryer's tensioner

03-26-2010 10:30 AM by Gary Fixler | 12 comments »

I mentioned my broken dryer in my last post. It’s not woodworking, but it’s ‘making,’ and I thought it might be of mild interest here. So a few months ago I heard a loud bang while doing laundry and soon realized the dryer was no longer spinning. The motor was running, but the belt had popped. Not knowing how to access anything, I must have spent an hour fighting it away from the wall and digging through internals, unscrewing panel after panel, hitting dead ends, be...

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Part 13: Chinese elm logs and the forces of nature

04-07-2010 12:06 PM by Gary Fixler | 16 comments »

After picking up the Chinese elm logs the other day, I noticed hours later they were rapidly beginning to check. I headed out a few hours after that to seal them up, and of course, a few hours later it was raining. The not-yet-dry Anchorseal began to wash away: My truck bed ran white with wax: And so did my driveway: The following day I moved the pieces to the back yard, shortly before it began to rain again. I put them under the Hollywood junipers, where the thick fo...

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Part 14: Oh the humanitrees!

05-22-2010 07:59 AM by Gary Fixler | 12 comments »

No throwing your wrapping lines while under the power lines!

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