Workshop up and running

I am celbrating the successful installation of 3 phase power in my shed! All the old machines started up and run smoothly though the lights dim a bit when the saw or planer start up. An ammeter is on order.

Pictures are of: super cable routing behind pattress; lathe in front of 3 phase box, new 240V box and big switch for converter; morticer and multi-function machine in front of half-finished wall panelling; band saw and pull saw along insulated, panelled wall (somehow, the big table saw is hiding behind the wheeled bench at the far end); planer in front of new corner office with stove peeping out. 

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After weeks building walls so that the cables have somewhere to live, then another week switching out the old electrics and installing new, I had my fingers crossed when I fired up the converter for the first time. It has been sitting on the floor for more than a year and I had no idea how noisy it would be. No worries; it’s nearly silent. Then each of the machines had to be tested and almost all of those haven’t been switched on for at least a year. In fact, as I had only seen one of them working, it could have been a bit of a disaster. However, quality shows and, after only a couple of phase-swaps, each machine runs correctly and passes the coin-on-edge test for smoothness. The newer multi-function machine’s perishing plastic switches need replacing but it’s saw, planer/thicknesser/morticer and spindle moulder motors all work. The pull-saw, unbraked, is still slowing down and I’ve been in the house for an hour.

Now I need to persuade Monica that her odd jobs warrant the purchase of tooling. I think the moulding cutters will be easy because Kevin’s house needs loads of beading and skirting; it’s all very expensive to buy ready-made.

All of the machines will get a service and a true-up. Most will benefit from extended tables. The greatest novelty for me will be the two planer/thicknessers. As an inveterate recycler, I love the idea of milling pallets into cabinet timber (at least for workshop cabinets, though some from Kevin’s heavy engineering works contain quite stout, exotic timbers). I also have a sizeable pile of 100-year-old Baltic 12 x 1 x 12 foot pine floorboards from the hay loft; I hope a few don’t explode into dust on contact with the spinning blades. I have a decent bandsaw that will resaw or plank bigger stuff and I have some cherry logs to work with, if I can make a carriage to present them to the blade.

So, the shop has heat, water, light, power and machines. Oh, joy. And all just in time for me to switch to outdoor work, with tree-planting and fencing starting this week. I just hope we get a good few wet days when I have to find something to do in the shed.

Actually, I’ve a feeling in me bones that this spring and summer will be superb. If they are, nine thousand trees, planted two seasons ago, should start looking rather spectacular. That will make me very happy.

Monica and her youngest sister, Una, agreed to have another weekend away. Bath was meant to be the regular destination but Una tried to substitute Marrakech or Prague. I complained about the carbon footprint so now they’re carbon-booting me off the farm while they hide here! Can’t blame them, really.

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