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New Tool Syndrome

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I was wondering how many others exhibit this behaviour? Often, when I get a new tool, I find an excuse to use it, even if a simpler and faster way to do it in the shop already exists.


Case in point-I need to make large mooring cleats for my Constitution. I got the drawings from the Navy web site (since the drawings were made in 1926, I doubt they are still classified :P ).


The shape is a simple Tee, so the way I'd normally do this is to take a piece of square stock, sand or plane it to the correct max dimensions (I'd use my thickness sander if I could get it to work), mark the locations to thin it for the cleat horns, and saw them to the correct depth. After that, I chisel out the waste, and I have my cleat.


Sounds pretty simple, right? But I decide to break in my Unimat mill and table to do the same thing :D! Well, first off, I need to get the stock to the correct dimensions. I'll clamp the stock down on the table and set the mill to the correct height-except that the hold down tee bolts interfere with the 3 jaw chuck B) . So I spent some time shifting the clamping arrangement around to avoid the interference. Now I find I can only thickness enough for 2 or 3 cleats since the clamps and table size won't let me cut most of the strip. So, I fiddle around for another couple hours to get the piece the size I want (note that I've done this in the past with plane and sandpaper in about 20 minutes).

Now the fun begins! I get to use the mill to remove the waste to expose the cleat horns. I try to do it in one pass, taking about .2" of boxwood off. Doesn't work-the strip bends out of the way and breaks :angry: . So, I think about it some more and decide to make multiple passes-but I can only do this for 2 or 3 cleats (remember the clamps getting in the way?). So I take multiple passes to get down to the consistent horn thickness that I want.


Now the cross slide freezes up. I don't know why-the cross slide assembly is new (in January). So I adjust the free play on the slide. No luck. :angry: :angry: :angry:


So, I've ended up spending a frustrating 4 hours with a new toy to do something that previously would have taken me 45 minutes to do.


It was time to call it a night. . .


Anybody else have similar experiences?


One last comment-this is one of the reasons I don't record how long it takes me to work on models (laziness is the other reason)


Thanks for letting me whine.



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Harvey, But I bet you  had fun in the process and enjoyed yourself which is the hole point, right?





Hopeful aka David


“there is wisdom in many voices”


Completed: Sharpie Schooner (Midwest) Posted  to the Gallery


Current: Sultana (MSW)

Current: Phantom (MSW)


Next: Lady Nelson (Amati Victory)

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Overall, yes! I realize that I have a lot to learn about operating the mill and lathe with different materials. Sometimes the frustration comes from not be able to do it perfect the first time-sometimes it comes from something unforseen cropping up (like the tee bolt interference). But the tools have lots of potential-I'm just antsy to start using that potential.


Probably, later tonight or sometime tomorrow, I'll finish the cleats the way I've done them before. And soon I'll find another job for the mill and lathe. Oh, and I need to figure out what's going on with the cross slide. I've got some ideas, so I'll see if they work.





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Don't think of it as spending 4 hours to do something that used to take 20 minutes. Think of it as spending some quality time getting to know your new toy! :D

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I know just how you feel. Sometimes the old proven ways seem the best. Right now I am working on the yards. I have no lathe so...... All the shaping is done by hand. :( I used all kinds of sanding stick, files, my dial caliper,etc. Nice slow pace and a few hours later I have my yard. All I had to do is remove everything from the dowl that didn't look like a yard :D


I think some day I might get a lathe, but I will have to win the lottery first.


NRG member #2666
Current build : USS Constitution


Finished builds: Armed Virginia Sloop (in gallery)

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I have that problem occasionally. I find something laying around the shop, wondering "when did I get that and why?"


But I'm to the point that I have all the basic power tools that I need (plus a few extra), so I'm less inclined to pick up the latest "cool tool".


I still enjoy looking thru the Micro-Mark catalog though :D



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It's odd, but I've always loved tools. My father is extremely handy, and when I was a kid I was the one who helped him in the shop. Even now, I love wandering around Home Depot. I already had a ton of tools for book binding, buildng models has been an excuse to add more. ;Q  And of course, I have to use those new tools!

Edited by rebekb

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First-time builder

Current build: Mini-Mamoli Mississippi Sternwheeler

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MM: Charles Morgan, La Goleta

MW: Ches. Flattie, Crabbing Skiff


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