Of course the first thing to do would be to draw up plans and I used Adobe® Illustrator® and a points and picas scale. This made the drawing incredibly small, but since Illustrator® is a vector graphics program, I was able to blow up the images as much as I wanted and they’d still stay nice and sharp. We went back and forth on the designs several times and finally got them finished enough to start cutting.
For the cutting Joe offered the use of his table saw which was currently at a friends house (if you own tools, you know that they seldom stay at your place). We put the friend network to work and the roommate got in touch with the friend and worked out a delivery system and a week or two later we got the saw. When I laid eyes on it, though, I realized that it was a lot smaller than I thought. And when I laid hands on it one of the knobs broke. Right. That cinches it. Not using the table saw.
It was at this point that I realized that the two power saws that I had (a circular saw and a jigsaw) were not the best tools that I COULD be using. The best of all possible options was my Father’s Radial Arm Saw. It’s an amazing piece of woodworking equipment that can be used to do a vast array of cuts. It is (in my not so humble opinion) the most versatile cutting device that you could possibly have.
So why hadn’t I planned on using it in the first place? Well, mainly that it was 500 miles away (and even in Texas, that’s a stretch). However, faced with the amount of cutting and the different types of cuts that we’d be up against, I felt that it was an absolute need.
I called my Father and asked if he could bring the R.A.S. up and not only did he do so the very next day, he offered to stay for the rest of the week to help me with the cutting. I gotta tell you, it was a real pleasure to work with him on this. It took me back to the days when I’d help him on his projects, not to mention it put things into a wonderful perspective as I was constantly having to explain what I had in mind and why I was making the cuts I was making (why that man didn’t kill me when I was 9, I’ll never know).
Having detailed plans with exact measurements, I felt confident that we could cut all of the wood at once and Dad would be able to take the R.A.S. back with him when we were done. Well, as we cut I started to get the sinking feeling that something (maybe Murphy himself) was going to jump out and ruminate me in the general area of my gluteus maximus. So when my Father asked me the inevitable question of “So, do you think there is anything else you need to cut?” I was forced to concede that I was probably going to need the R.A.S. for the entire project. Looking back on things, I really didn’t NEED the saw, but it made things quite a bit easier.