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A Dog Worrying A Scroll Saw

July 8, 2020

Worry: …When it’s an animal doing the worrying, it takes on a differe meaning. A dog will worry a bone or gnaw on it, for hours. The word worry comes from the Old English wyrgan, which originally meant “strangle,” and changed over the years to mean first “harrass,” and then “cause anxiety to.”

I bought a skill saw shortly before Christmas. I used to make a bunch of Christmas presents.

A skill saw is the tool you use when you want to create letters and names and things.

My scroll saw broke. When you change the blade on a scroll saw you have to loosen the tension. You then need to replace the blade and tighten the tension. You have to do this a lot when you are creating an involved design.

At one point I went to tighten the tension and stripped the screw that created the tension. This meant the saw was inoperable. It’s no longer in warranty. So, I decided I’d fix it myself.

There are three parts to any repair: disassembly, repair and reassembly.

Disassembly went pretty smoothly. I basically kept unscrewing bolts until the two sides of the saw came apart. In fact, I removed all the screws I could see and the case was as tight as ever. It was then I discovered there were four more bolts hidden underneath the body of the saw. Okay, maybe they weren’t technically hidden. But, it sured seemed that way.

I found the damaged screw and removed it from the saw. It was a 1/4″ screw that was about 6″ long. All I needed to do was buy a new screw and I’d be good to reassemble.

I like Allred’s Ace Hardware in Pleasant Grove, Utah. They will spend as long as it takes to find just the right bolt.

They couldn’t match my bolt. Oh, they tried. They high school kid who helped me kept trying to fit it into a nut to find the right size. He finally called over one of the older guys.

It’s a left handed thread. We don’t have anything like that.

You know that old saying “righty-tighty, lefty-loosy”? That helps you remember which direction to turn a bolt or a screw to get it to tighten or loosen. (Mechanics use the same ideas.) Well, that’s only true for right-hand screws. A left-hand screws goes the opposite direction. And only a left-hand screw will fit on a left-hand screw.

I needed a 6″ long left-hand screw. They are not common. Ace didn’t have one. I knew none of the big box stores would have one.

And that’s as far as I got on my repair. The disassembled saw sat on my workbench for the past two months. But, I continued to think about it. The problem was that if I used a right-hand screw, I would need to replace some specialized nuts. And I had to figure out how to join two bolts together.

I had some ideas, but not a complete solution. So, it sat.

But, my mind continued to work on the problem. It was there in the back of my head everytime I walked into the garage. I thought about it when I was at the hardware store. I considered and reject options while working on other projects.

Finally, today, I realized the final piece I needed. I bent a washer into a “V” shape and placed a nut inside the V in such a way that it would keep the nut from spinning.

Step 2: Repairing went pretty quickly once I had the idea. I realized I needed to also repair a broken part of the frame. A little J B Weld and it was good as new.

The weld will set overnight and tomorrow I’ll finish up Step 3: Reassembly, and finally have my scroll saw back. I wonder if I could have fixed it sooner. Could I have figured out the bent washer yesterday? Last week? Last month? Did I require a certain amount of time to worry over the solution before I could finalize it?

I don’t know. I know I’ve been thinking about it for weeks. I have two projects half done that require a scroll saw to finish. I certaintly wanted to fix it.

I guess I just had to worry it enough.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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