A huge upgrade

The last couple of months or so have been crazy. There was a point where I didn’t know if I was going to keep the shop. I was frustrated with everything about it and I seriously considered giving up. Then I turned a corner and it started coming back around. I started enjoying it again, and the shop itself showed it. My passion for trying to get it in order picked up, and the place has gotten a lot nicer to be in. I even pulled off a bit of a miracle project, getting a sideboard bookcase done in a matter of hours, and it was without doubt my best work so far. So, things have been really good and I only see that continuing.

I’ve been pretty good this year, and decided to upgrade one of the old stalwarts, the planer. I’ll give you a little history on it, since I don’t think I did a blog post on it. Or if I did, I don’t remember. It is a Ryobi AP1300 I picked up on Craigslist for $100 in July of 2010. When I purchased, it wasn’t in the best of condition. The cutterhead lock was functional but broken on the end. It spewed shavings everywhere. It came with this tiny little metal stand. It was mine, though, and it did yeoman’s work. I bought a dust chute and an extra set of knives. However I have had my eye on a new planer for a couple of years as the cosmetic damage on the Ryobi added up. Kinda what I get for not using the handles.

Last week the opportunity came along for me to get a nice deal and a nice 0% deal after I paid off a couple of items for a Dewalt 735x, which is the 735 plus the tables and an extra set of knives. I had been good, and getting $100 out of my planer for nearly 3.5 years was a pretty good trade-off. It was time to buy after waiting so long, over two years of thinking about it. It arrived today, and it is a heavy beast at 108 lbs for the whole package. I uncorked it and assembled the minor amount of things to get it running – putting on the height wheel and the tables. I had a rip cut of already planed (by the Ryobi) soft maple from the sideboard build that I ran through as a test cut. I could absolutely not believe how smooth the finish was after it went through. I can compare it closely to prefinished plywood, that glassy, slick texture on the outside veneer.

What this means is that I will be able to get a great finish on anything that will fit in the planer and my sanding time will be considerably shortened. I can now start working on improving my projects from start to finish. The new planer will get it’s first project taste when I attempt to resaw that same maple into 1/4 or 1/2″ boards for the trim for the sideboard. This continues my process of improving and growing.

Stay tuned over the next week or so for a bit of content as it tumbles out of my head. Wants for the shop, future plans, shop layout, finishing the sideboard and moving back to shop projects…going to be hot and heavy on the writing.

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