Life at the Speed of a Tractor

The past few weeks have been an interesting ride, weather-wise, and have, yet again, led directly to me spending an awful lot of hours on an old tractor clearing snow - shades of 2017! Old tractors make some great thinking time too, plodding back and forth at a slow pace. And thinking? Well, that leads to blog posts!

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Supply chains are so important and so ignored. Here in WI we never ran even low on milk or cheese - at least at the places that source it close by. And the three month supply of TP I regularly buy at Costco served us well.

It is quite worth knowing what is produced locally and where.

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Totally agree on a good compound miter is just USEFUL. I got the 12" double-compound miter with the aluminum folding stand. Used, and with minimal work upgraded it to add the LED light to do blade markings for cutting. Even better, with minimal work and cleaning this thing should last forever. Only step up IMO would be if it was a slider, but that’d add significantly to the bulk/size and my storage space is limited. Having a few acres and good amount of storage definitely helps in regard to all of that. And I prefer to call it future useful odds and ends, rather than being a pack rat. And honestly, if you’re smart about what you keep rather than say is waste and toss it, even with limited storage you can manage to re-use or use extra scrap and not have to buy new as often! Only tool I’d love now is a table saw. Still debating that one, and plywood and the like a circular saw can work fine if you’re careful and have good support.

And yeah, doing the plywood for shelves…yeah, I made the mistake of getting all the platform in first, and then trying to add the plywood. Couldn’t quite get one of them in and had to chop it to fit both pieces in separately. Good lesson for me. Was also motorcycle pallet 2x4s, so they weren’t exactly nicely squared/flat. Fairly warped, which didn’t help assembly much. Never thought of using hangers like that.

I’m going to be building some new shelves myself for a spot on my back patio that will be useful for them, but being outside I definitely need to paint/coat them. Might just do cheap clear poly coat to help them last. Just want to put some waterproof bins out there, and will probably do a slightly sloped “roof” piece as well, just to keep off direct rain. Just a “good enough”, and if I’m still here in 5 years and it needs replacement, oh well.

I used to have a nice Bosch compound slider and even with the care and precision of that unit, it was still less precise than a non-slider. After that, I’ve come to the conclusion that the combination of portable tablesaw and custom sliding table plus a fixed compound mitre results in a much better setup than a single sliding mitre, even considering the extra unit’s bulk. You just get far better results with much less frustration.

Oh that’s some interesting experience. Obviously haven’t been able to have that experience. And being honest, a 12" miter lets me chop a LOT of different amounts of wood. And if I truly need, if I’m careful, I can cut wider, to some degree, by just flipping the wood. Close enough mostly, but I don’t really anticipate needing over 4x4s (well, 3.5x3.5 actual) which I can do even at full compound on a 12".

The biggest use I’d have for a table saw (probably get one of the portable ones) would be some dado or rip cuts to make dimensional lumber actually all the same size. Some plywood now and then, but usually the big box stores I can get them to make a few cuts to at least get it to the vicinity of the size I need, or use the circular saw and accept it won’t be all that straight. Should just get a saw guide for it.

Currently I just use a big piece of aluminum angle as a saw guide, but I’ve always wanted to try one of these:

Sort of a ‘poor man’s panel saw’ I think. Certainly handy if you needed a lot of very straight plywood cuts without fighting the circular saw so much.

Having used the Festool version of a track saw I think they’re absolutely fantastic, if you have the room to transport an 8’ piece of track around! They’re mostly useful for ripping down plywood or other large sheet material, though, and have limited utility compared to any other type of saw for nearly any other type of application because the track is long but doesn’t offer much side-to-side stability so you would NOT want to use it for, eg. ripping a 2x4. I’ve seen it done laying other 2x4 to the side but the end result is a bit dangerous, definitely not very precise (different thicknesses and warping etc. contribute to a non-straight result), and much more easily done nicely with, again, a portable tablesaw with a slightly upgraded fence. But if I were doing a lot of work with plywood, sheet aluminium, MDF, etc. on a job site, that’s pretty much the best solution for cutting those down properly without a proper large tablesaw.

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Hm, maybe some lengths of square aluminum T-track with joiners. Lay it out with the distance from the edge offset by the with of the foot/blade, and then clamped down at the ends. Maybe keep a 2x4 that’s long enough to clamp down and support the back as well. Or just some short pieces of T-tube across the back-side at the joins to provide the extra support, I dunno. Hmm…

Or the right tool which is probably a table saw. :wink:

The main reason I’ve got the slider is that some of the 45 degree cuts in 2x10s were very long. I couldn’t easily do that without the slider.

I also don’t build super high precision stuff, so a half a degree here or there doesn’t really bother me.

It is…but like I said, I don’t have much in the way of storage space for tools. Even the jobsite table saws are bulky in terms of my storage space :stuck_out_tongue: So if I can do something “good enough” or “close enough”, well, I don’t have a need for great precision for most stuff like that.