Monday 30 January 2012

Vancouver bound!

This is just a quick announcement for anyone in the Vancouver area. I will be joining Lie Nielsen for a hand tool event being hosted by Dan Clermont at Clermont’s Ultimate Tool Supply in Burnaby BC. It is this coming weekend - Feb. 3rd and 4th - here are the details.


Blogger Kevin Brehon said...

Please let me know if you ever come to Saskatoon!

30 January 2012 at 20:26  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Kevin,

Will do. Saskatoon is on the list.


31 January 2012 at 18:41  
Blogger Dave Beauchesne said...

Saw Konrad in Vancouver on Saturday - World class planes, world class guy!

Dave Beauchesne

5 February 2012 at 22:04  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Dave,

Nice to meet you this past weekend and thank-you for the very kind comments.


8 February 2012 at 16:14  

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Saturday 21 January 2012

The last planes of 2011

2011 was a rather amazing year. It was the tenth year of Sauer & Steiner Toolworks and while there was not an official celebration - there were wonderful things happening all year long. The first Damascus sided plane, the pair of Bayfield planes, the rebate panel planes the K13 and my dream bandsaw - the Y30 snowflake. In my wildest dreams, I could not have predicted such a year.

As I walk across the yard to work every morning - with a coffee in hand, my camera over my shoulder, I am already smiling by the time I get to the door. I often stand on the landing just inside and look around. A mountain of wood - and the most beautiful bandsaw greet me - what more could I ask for.

Thank-you to everyone who has made the last 10 years possible. Your encouragement, support, insight and generosity have allowed me to continue. It has been a staggering adventure thus far.

Curiously - the last 4 planes of 2011 were all unhandled smoothers and all SNo.4’s.

This is a SNo.4L - 7" long with a 52.5 degree bed angle and a 1-3/4" wide high carbon steel blade. Desert Ironwood infill.

Next is a SNo.4 - 6-1/2" long, 1-3/4" wide blade, 52.5 degree bed angle and Honduran Rosewood infill.

These last 2 are a matching pair, and have a really great story behind them. They were commissioned by a friend of mine who wanted a gift for a life-long friend. This friend had helped him out during a difficult time in his life and this was his way of saying thank-you. Not only was this a great feel-good project - but they were picked up in person by both the person who commissioned them, but also the unsuspecting friend. That was a pretty great moment.

These SNo.4’s came from the same piece of Desert Ironwood.

2012 is already looking very promising - two more ‘K’ series planes are in the early prototype stages and I am working on a large furniture project that has been on my bucket list for a very long time.


Blogger Richard Wile said...

Love that first plane Konrad, the desert ironwood is one of the nicest woods I have seen yet. It is getting daily use on my own major furniture project!!

21 January 2012 at 09:32  
Blogger Unknown said...

Happy New Year Konrad- as always, amazing work.
"perfectly imperfect" ; )
All the best in 2012.

21 January 2012 at 09:59  
Blogger Kev said...

Konrad great work in 2011, looking forward to some amazing posts in 2012.I'm sure you will please your wife and family as well as all the folks that follow your work,I'm sure your table and chairs project will be the bomb!!!!

God Bless!


21 January 2012 at 19:12  
Blogger Jim Shaver said...

Konrad, it is a joy to see someone working with a passion, you make incredible tools for us to use, but more so the joy it brings you is a mutual reward. Thank you for making the Twins, they are beautiful beyond description.

I look forward to each blog update and witnessing your changes with time, you only get better my friend.

All the best to you, Jill and the Boys, the best is yet to come, Happy New 2012!

22 January 2012 at 09:47  
Blogger Jamie said...

Can I wish you a very Happy new Year, every time I use my laptop, one of the first 'must do' tasks, is to check what you have posted. I just love the Desert Ironwood timber with the metal sides of the Twin SNo.4's, your work just inspires me, please keep up the fantastic posts. I must read through them at least twice a week.

All the best, Jamie

22 January 2012 at 15:25  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Richard,

Glad you are enjoying the plane and getting so much use out of it. Yeah - that ironwood is pretty amazing stuff.


22 January 2012 at 21:44  
Blogger Konrad said...

Happy New Year to you as well Tom. Perfectly imperfect is a good description:)


22 January 2012 at 21:45  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Kev. Yes - we are all looking forward to the new additions to the dining room.


22 January 2012 at 21:47  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Jim.

The twins were a pretty great project - on so many levels. I still have to pinch myself from time to time - just to make sure this is all real.

All the best to you and yours for 2012.

Take care,

22 January 2012 at 21:50  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thank-you Jamie for the very kind comments - and Happy New Year to you as well.

Really glad to hear you have been enjoying the blog so much - it makes all my midnight entries feel worthwhile.

Best wishes,

22 January 2012 at 21:54  

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Saturday 7 January 2012

Magnificent - with apologies to Jill & Stan’s daughter

(a shot of the upper wheel covering for Al)

Stan arrived during the holidays with a bright and shiny white box, some wire, testing tools, a laptop and and a hair dryer. Everything made sense but the hair dryer.

We mounted the VFD to the wood clad steel column behind the bandsaw and then started with the wiring. Everything made sense until Stan wired the hair dryer and placed it on top of the bandsaw table. He said it was to test the brake. Sure enough - when he cut the power - the hair dryer started up. He asked me to check to see if there was warm (or hot) air coming out of it. No - not really. Hmm he said. Fired up the laptop and started reading.

Now I have to admit - I was completely out of my element here. My very basic understanding of VFD’s came from Stan the week before. I had no clue what the hair dryer was really doing - but it sounded like a clever cross-check to me.

There was a blade on the saw now, so we had a real-world set-up. We took some readings as we started and stopped the machine. We delayed the start up to 6 seconds to lower the start up draw and then focused on the brake time. Stan was reading furiously and changing things on the VFD and every time we turned it off - the hair dryer would come on. But not always in the same way. One time, it came on with such force that it launched itself backwards and almost into the path of the slowing blade. That could have ended badly. Another time, it gave a bright red blast of really hot air.

There was something more to this hair dryer than I was aware of. So I asked. Stan said that he had looked into braking capacitors and they were at least several hundred dollars for a suitable one. As he was pondering the function of the brake capacitor he realized a hair dryer could accomplish the same thing. So he ‘borrowed’ his daughters hair dryer (checked the Ohm’s), to test it out.

Stan was not quite sure what was happening and checked the specs printed on the hair dryer. He asked if we had one and if we could use it. I said sure, ran into the house and grabbed the dryer. He wired it up and turned on the bandsaw. When he killed the power, the new hair dryer blasted red hot, sparked, and then gave a last breath of smoke. It was cooked. There was a pursing of lips, then a slight smile and a knowing nod. Not a word was spoken and the other hair dryer was hooked up again.

All the adjustments he was making to the VFD had to do with controlling the manner in which the brake was applied. The feedback was the hair dryer’s response. It was at this point that Stan commented; “I am not sure if the hair dryer will fit with your aesthetic or not.” This is the point where I fully appreciated the situation - the hair dryer was the brake capacitor!

I just smiled a slow smile as this all sunk in. Are you kidding me - your daughters hair dryer as a vital part of the Y30 - this is going to be wicked! I told him I would have no problem with it - there would be a way to make it look good.

In Stan’s words - here is what is happening;

“The hair dryer is working as a braking resistor. When given the command to slow down, the VFD turns the motor into a generator and the kinetic energy in the bandsaw wheels is converted into electricity, and then heat by the blow dryer.”

The ideal situation was for the hair dryer to come on for several seconds as the bandsaw stopped. That would indicate that it was functioning properly and dispersing the heat. After some further tinkering, We had the blow dryer running for several seconds and the bandsaw stopped within 13 seconds. The hair dryer came on with an even blast of heat - not red hot, and not a strong blast. We had found the sweet spot.

It was at this point that Jill came into the shop, hair wet and asked if I knew where the hair dryer was. Stan and I looked down at the dead dryer on the shop floor. It was all we could do not to burst into laughter. I explained the situation quickly followed with, “I will pay for a new hair dryer”.

It was getting late in the day and we were out the door to go for dinner with some friends, so Stan packed up and left me to wire up the on/off switch and deal with the hair dryer.

The next morning, I got up early, excited to finish the installation. It was too early to go to the hardware store to get a surface mounted electrical box - so I decided to work on the hair dryer. I made a plywood mounting bracket and placed the dryer just above the VFD.

We had taped the switch in the on position.

Onto the low voltage switch. Stan has said a light switch would be sufficient, but I was a little worried about it accidentally being bumped on or off. A push button switch made more sense to me. As we have been renovating our house, we have been replacing the original push button switches with ones that are up to code. So I called my electrician to see if he thought I could use one of the old push button switches from the house. He reminded me that every woodworking machine must have a magnetic switch (so if the machine is running and the power goes off and then comes on again - the machine will stay off). The VFD is a magnetic switch so I was covered that way - and he thought the old switch would be perfectly good.

It felt pretty neat to be re-using one of the old switches on the bandsaw - somehow the 100 year old brass plate seemed like a much more suitable solution than a plastic or galvanized plate.

Here is a quick shot of the VFD with the dryer.

One of the other things Stan and I tested was the amperage draw as the saw was cutting. Stan asked if I had a large piece of scrap wood to test it with. I handed him a large piece of scrap cherry (several inches thick) and he shoved it through the saw faster than I have ever cut anything in my life! At full running speed, the saw was drawing 5 amps and the needle barely moved as he slammed the wood through.

I have been using the saw for almost a week now and I have to say - so far, it is exceeding my expectations in every way. The first real work I did with it was cutting the perimeter of a chair seat. This is something I could not have done with my Laguna bandsaw - the table is not large enough to support the 20" seat and there is not enough room for the seat to fit between the blade and the column. And the cutting action is completely different. It is a little hard to explain really. It is incredibly smooth, there is no vibration to the table at all and even the sound is different. The blade tracks perfectly, cuts perfectly and seems to be taunting me with “is that all you got little man?” All I have to say is the 10" thick rosewood is coming soon enough.


Blogger Adrian Baird Ba Than said...

All I have to say is,
"You have 10 inch thick Rosewood?"

7 January 2012 at 10:39  
Blogger robert said...

The hair dryer is an innovative solution that creates a problem.

It works really well right now, all nice shiny and clean. However, this is a wood shop, and even with great dust collection there will be dust.

Have you considered what is going to happen when those nichrome wires in the dryer get coated with wood dust, then heat up and air is forced over them.

I would be really sketchy about this as a long term solution. There really has to be a better solution. Maybe a big set of parallel wired resistors?

7 January 2012 at 16:52  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Black,

10" wide at least - for resawing into handles.


7 January 2012 at 17:41  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Robert,

Thanks for your comment and concern. I have a similar concern and will certainly keep an eye on it. If it becomes an issue - I will make a change.


7 January 2012 at 17:43  
Blogger Steve Kirincich said...

Hi Konrad,
This is a bit off-topic, but have you ever had an allergic reaction caused by exposure to rosewood dust? Thanks.


7 January 2012 at 21:45  
Blogger Konrad said...

HI Steve,

I have been fortunate that I have not had a reaction to Rosewood dust or any other dust for that matter. I am quite careful though and will not work with Cocobolo because it is a known trigger wood and has forced many woodworkers into early retirement.


7 January 2012 at 21:53  
Anonymous Chris said...

!0" thick Rosewood Niiice.
I like that Walnut seat blank too! What do you have planned for that?
Boy you really got me thinking about my own bandsaws inadaquacy. Only so much tuning you can do to a 14" Delta

7 January 2012 at 22:13  
Blogger Jim Shaver said...

I will never look at a hairdryer again without thinking of this story I think this story is wonderful!!

Thanks for taking the time to document this adventure, I can't wait to pop over and see the saw in action, then the sound of the hairdryer, perhaps you could attach a bellows to the hair dryer that inflates as the saw comes to a stop, maybe an old fog horn, LOL :-)

8 January 2012 at 11:15  
Blogger Pete said...

Hey Konrad, another household appliance that could stand in for the hair dryer would be a clothing iron. If you found one with the same wattage rating as your hair drying it would be a drop in swap. It would not be a fire hazard because nothing would get nearly as hot as the element in your hair dryer.

Btw, I'm very, very jealous of your new saw! I'm drooling on ~20" Grizzly saws but they aren't as classy as yours.


8 January 2012 at 23:37  
Blogger Unknown said...


Awesome addition and great find. Those old saws have so much character. My MM16 bows in humbleness, to your Y30. ;)



31 January 2012 at 10:48  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Lee. Hey - your MM16 is a fine saw too. My Laguna 16 has served me very well for a long time - it does not owe me anything.


31 January 2012 at 18:42  

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