Friday, March 25, 2011

My First Time...With a Circular Saw

So, a few months ago, I convinced myself that Spring really would come eventually, and decided that I will make a couple more Square Foot Gardening beds of various sizes. Previous things I have built, I have paid 50 cents per cut at the lumber yard to get what I need.

It's embarrassing to stand there like a little woman who is afraid of saws or something while Mr. Manly Man with an Apron  instructs teenage Future Manly Man in the things I could do if only I had a saw.

The cost effectiveness of this decision had to be ignored. Really, it's a matter of pride.

So, I called My Dad, My Hero, the guy who made building everything and anything look so easy for my whole life. My dad's been through a few saws in the last bunch of years while remodeling 2 houses. He and my mom and extended family actually built a house, A WHOLE HOUSE, from scratch before I was born. 

It's like having my own The Learning Channel expert on speed dial. He recommended the 7 1/4 inch Skil saw as the best in my budget.  My budget was stretched a long way by Amazon. I love Amazon. In just 88 cuts, the saw will pay for itself!  

He also recommended this set of blades. It comes with one, but apparently, different numbers of teeth are needed for different types/thicknesses of wood. Dad said one of these will even cut the conduit I use for making Trellises for my Square Foot Garden. That's one more thing I got to stand around like a Little Woman while Mr. Manly Man with an Apron instructed teenage Mr. Manly Man in the art of cutting.  Having the right blade for whatever job I decide to do will make life so much easier, and really expand the uses of my new toy.

So, My saw came in the mail. I took it to the garage, cleaned off the work bench, organized the tools some, etc. It's a good thing the previous owners of the house put up a pegboard and super workbench!  My Power Tool Collection now consists of a Drill, Sander, and Circular Saw.

Fast Forward a few weeks. My two youngest kids start playing in the yard on nice days, digging and digging in whatever dirt patches I'll let them attack. I decide to build them a Sandbox.

Eventually we go to the nearest city where building materials cost slightly less than an arm and a leg. This Mega Sandbox is going to be in my front yard, so I have decided I want to build it out of Redwood (whatever that is...), because my SFG book says it's prettier and lasts longer than Pressure Treated. I head into the store thinking 12x12 for my size, since an awesome friend offered me as much free sand as I could shovel! But...2x8x16 Redwood boards are $32/each. 12 footers aren't much cheaper, and I would have used the extra 4 footers to make a pretty SFG for the front yard. Anyway...For $120 I could have bought a plastic Step2 sandbox years ago. Hello...I'm a cheapskate, and the longest board that would fit in my Minivan is an 8 footer, so ....8x8 or 6x8 became my answer.  The lumber yard was nice enough to make those two cuts for free so they'd fit in my car.

All good homemade sandboxes have corner seats, so 8x8 turned to 6x8 so the whole thing could be made out of $66 worth of Redwood.

So, this was cold....but not wet...yay Spring!
 I had marked my lines to cut on yesterday.

Called Dad to get advice on which cuts to make first...angles or straights...Angles.

Ok. I opened the box! and got out my BRAND NEW CIRCULAR SAW!!

Oh crap...must install blade. How hard can it be? With directions in 5 languages, after calling Dad to get the push I needed to use force to remove the little wrench from the machine, on the 2nd try, The BLADE WAS INSTALLED, AND TURNING! yay!

Ok, 2 little kids running around the yard will make excellent weights to hold the boards still while I cut.

My cuts weren't perfect, but I wound up with two 6-foot boards, two 8-foot boards, and two identical corner seats. Mission Accomplished!

How I grew up around saws and woodworking and got the highest grade in my 6th grade Shop class, where I was actually THE ONLY ONE who passed the test that actually allowed me INTO the woodshop to build a birdhouse-- without ever operating a circular saw by myself --is beyond me. But--Now I've done it!

What's next? lots of ideas, but first, I need to FINISH the sandbox project!

8 cuts today =$4. Only $80 more cuts till the thing pays for itself!


Mom said...

Well, you're way ahead of me, Peg. Dad would never let me run the saw. I guess I've always been the "little woman." lol

DAD said...

Way to go peg , I am extremely happy you like the saw and are doing your thing. I know you can do anything.
I only wish we did not have a thousand miles between your house and ours.


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