Sunday, February 26, 2023

Chevy's Salsa

 Modified version of this recipe for Chevy's salsa:

  • 2 lbs fresh tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 table spoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  1. Grill tomatoes, onion and jalapeno on open flame until slightly charred and tomatoes soften and split.
  2. Remove from grill and let cool
  3. Drain accumulated liquid
  4. Remove stem of jalapenos and tomatoe ends
  5. Blend (approx 10 sec) all ingredients in blender
  6. Chill and serve.

Monday, February 13, 2023

First Cross Cut Sled

I decided make myself a small basic crosscut sled to use with my table saw.  YouTube is filled with videos on how to make a crosscut sled ranging from simple to ones with built-in clamps, adjustable kerf openings and many other features.  I won't go over how to build the sled as there are enough videos on YouTube to learn from. I will just share what I learned from building the sled.

Not knowing what features I would really need, I didn't want to spend too much time and money on my first sled.  I figure that I just need to build one and try it out to see how I would use it.

As basic as this sled is, it isn't the most basic type of crosscut sleds which just needs one fence and one runner.   I decided to have fences on both ends and have it sit on two runners since it felt safer and more stable to me.

There needs to be runners that rides along the miter slots.  The majority of videos on Youtube shows how to make them using wood, but some Youtubers advocate buying metal ones to save on the hassle.  Wood runners can change in size over time causing the sled to wobble or become difficult to move.  Instead of either, I made mine out of HDPE plastic which I can cut on the tablesaw until it fits into the slots.  The easiest way I found is to buy a cutting board and cut it to size, but I made two mistakes.  I first bought one that was 1 inch thick thinking that I could always cut it down to right width and thickness but while getting the right width was pretty simple cutting to get the right thickness caused the plastic to bow.  Even a 1/2" thick board was a little taller the the height of the slots and you want the thickness to be less  then the height of the slot so debris on the floor of the slot doesn't lift up the sled.  With plastic, you also need to pre-drill your screw holes or it will cause the plastic to bulge out as the screw is driven in.  In the future, I'll go with 1/4".

The fence that sits away from you is there to help hold the sled together and doesn't need to be flat and or be 90 degrees to the blade.  The fence closest to you needs to be both.  I glued two pieces of plywood together (both had a slight bow) and sandwiched them between two straight box levels to get them flat.  I made sure that the height of the fence is higher then the saw blade so it doesn't get cut through and I figure that higher the fence the less chance of me getting my fingers too close to the blade.  Then I realize that the fence was too tall and it made it hard to reach down to hold my cutting pieces so I can to cut down two sides of the fence where I would be holding on.

The blade guard block behind the fence is to prevent your thumbs from getting too close to where the saw will come out if you push the sled too far forward.  While I rounded everywhere else on the fence, I kept that block guard sharp to further discourage my thumbs from getting near it.

Making the runners took most amount of time but that might be because I got lucky when setting the fence to be perpendicular from the blade.  I put in a screw on one end of the fence so that I can pivot it.  Then I used a woodworking square against the fence and saw blade until it was 90 degrees.  I clamped down the fence and was prepared to use the 5-cut method to calibrate it but after I found that I was within .001 and .0005 of an inch I decided that was good enough for me!

Having a crosscut sled can help with some of the cuts that I used have to do with a hand saw since they were too hard to do on a track saw or too dangerous on a miter saw.  I expect the small size is enough for my needs except with doing miter joints when the length is long.

Building this sled doesn't require a lot of techniques and it took one afternoon