Of Borgs, Doubts, Heads, Threads, Yankees and Heat

Of Borgs, Doubts, Heads, Threads, Yankees and Heat

Go North, Young Man

After we printed a rather humorous online thread outlining one person’s woes at Home Depot, this refreshing letter restored some of our faith. – Editor

“I have to comment on the woodworker and his troubles getting wood cut at Home Depot. I have never had such a problem. The saw they use at my store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada was excellent and made precise non-jagged cuts. I, too, arrived early, found a staff person quickly and, because he wasn’t busy, he cut two sheets of plywood to my exact specifications. Maybe it’s only in Canada, eh?” – Gene Nurse

This reader, though, had an entirely different complaint. – Editor

“My recent ill-advised ‘borg’ purchase was three quarter, half and quarter inch oak plywood. The three quarter, stamped ‘made in China,’ had veneer so thin I couldn’t sand it effectively ,and the veneer was glued on with bright red glue. The glue showed through the pores even without sanding, and didn’t cover with stain. If I’d had more sense, I would have returned it. Pieces of the half inch warped so much that parts of my drawers look like someone is standing on them. The half and quarter inch are both so brittle that they break easily. Now I am looking for ‘made in USA’ plywood.” – Steven Hammer

Editor’s note: “Borg” is a common online term that refers to the national chains of large home improvement stores.

Doubting Thomas

“After reading Michael Dresdner’s article on Fraser Smith, I was simply amazed. I have one request ,though. Would it be possible to get a higher resolution image or a fairly close-up shot of some of the detail where one can actually see that it is indeed wood? While I can say it is possible to do that kind of carving, I must say that Mr. Smith is every bit as much an extraordinary artist in addition to being an outstanding master carver. If this were April, I would say that this was your April Fool’s issue.” – Larry Giust

It’s no April Fool joke. Fraser is for real ,and so is his work. Perhaps this will help. Scroll down through these three photos and you will see shots of one of his carved wooden jackets both before and after coloring. In the before shot, it is a bit more obvious that it is indeed carved wood. – Editor

Head’s Up

“I just read about Powermatic’s new Byrd helical cutting systems in issue 194. I have a practically new PM 6-inch jointer with straight blades. Can these new cutters be retrofitted to my machine?” – Bob Morgan

Barry Schwaiger, the Director of the Powermatic Division of the WMH Tool Group, responded: “Every jointer and planer we make or have made in the past can be retrofitted to one of Tom Byrd’s cutterheads. We refer that business directly to them at www.byrdtool.com.”

Yankee Ingenuity

A piece on Yankee screwdrivers in the Premium edition pointed out that this tool was most likely invented by Zachary T. Furbish while working for the Forest City Screwdriver and Drill Company of Portland, Maine, a company later bought by the North Brothers Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia. However, he posited that its distinctive name was coined by the Stanley company, who eventually bought North Brothers. This reader disagreed. – Editor

“The editorial by John Roccanova on Ratcheting Screwdriver claimed that Stanley coined the term ‘Yankee screwdriver.’ Stanley did not coin ‘Yankee.’ The term ‘Yankee’ was adopted by Forest City and North Bros. as a marketing device as early as 1902. That name Yankee reflects the origin in Maine. North Bros. Mfg. Co. was purchased by Stanley in 1946.” – William D. Fortune

Unfortunately, neither writer offered any validating references to back up his claim. Perhaps one of you readers has some proof as to who coined the term. Let us know if you do, and we’ll share what we learn in the next issue. – Editor

Blowing Hot and Cold

Rob’s complaints about the cold weather and snow up where he lives inspired these comments. – Editor

“I live in Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia. The last 10 days have averaged 35 to 40 degrees C with no end forecast for another week. Perhaps we should try to swap a couple of buckets of your snow for a flask of our heat.” – Eddie Jones

For those of us more used to Fahrenheit, that’s between 95 and 104 degrees F. Bob Bresnahan, on the other hand, chose to focus his one-upmanship toward the other weather extreme. – Editor


“How’s this for snow?”

Thread Thread

What started as an online thread about the threads on a saw arbor nut and continued with commentary in the last issue seems to have grown a life of its own. In the last issue, someone wrote in claiming ‘Right-tilt saws have right-hand threads. Left-tilt saws have left-hand threads.’ But is that really the case, or did he mix up his words? – Editor

“A left-hand tilt table saw has a right-hand threaded nut. The arbor is open to the right-hand side, and you thread it on to the shaft from the right. The blade turns counterclockwise if facing the end of the shaft. The nut has to have right-hand threads so that it is self-tightening. The converse is true for a right-hand tilt table saw.” – Doug Kave

“My left-tilt saw doesn’t have left-hand threads on the shaft ,and there’s no reason that it would. The shaft still turns in the same direction, toward the operator, and if a left-hand thread was there employed it would tend to loosen in use.” – Don Butler

“A right-tilt saw has left-hand threads. A simple way to remember is that if the nut is on the left side of the blade then the nut has a left-hand thread, and if it’s on the right it has a right-hand thread, regardless of which way the blade tilts. In other words, when you tighten the nut against the saw blade you tighten it against the rotation of the blade.” – Harold Dunlap

To the Rescue

Someone asked for help designing a tool to cut wood on a lathe using a router, and this reader responded. – Editor

“Sears used to sell a tool called a Router Crafter. It would let you use a router like a lathe, create spirals and woven spindles, and if I remember correctly, could also be set up to copy parts. It’s no longer made, but you can find them by searching for ‘router crafter’ on eBay.” – Cliff Polubinsky

Another reader was seeking a retrofit kit for his scroll saw. – Editor

“In the Q and A section a reader asked about a way of using the pin type scroll saw blades in a saw that was designed for pinless blades. Those pins are a press fit. Drill a similar size hole in a piece of wood or preferably in metal, stick one side of the pin in the hole and gently tap the other end of the pin with a hammer and the pin comes right out. I’ve done it often, and the pin type blades are some times cheaper and are just as good.” – Gary M. Cornelisse Sr.

Typo Corner

Some typos create new words that seem frighteningly appropriate. – Editor

“I took it apart and found all wires to have elecshockity running through it.”

Posted in: