Vashi-wala Aariwala: Kuljeet and the mini circsaw

Monday, or was it Tuesday, anyway it was one of them days of the week, a few of us woodworkers went off to meet Kuljeet (Aariwalla) at his workshop in Vashi. Poor woodworkers that we wander around in buses, ofcourse this will not be anywhere near as adventurous as my Kolkata bus ride, it is after all the good old and heavily trusted BEST.

Aariwalla's workshop is housed in a small 1 HK in Sector 6 of Vashi, Navi Mumbai. To begin with we were met by a 3 legged dog, barking to high glory and then a deep resonant, "Tripod shutup, these are friends." Tripod kept on barking, but this was my first impression. I then met Frodo who is Kuljeet's dog. A sweet growling till petted pi with the cutest furry ears that I have ever seen. These 2 companions are a constant in Kuljeet's space one defends the outside space, the other the inner sanctum. Being friends we were allowed into a most cluttered workshop space... I immediately relaxed, I was home. Looking around I saw, waste wood lying around, some unfortunate forgotten cabinet perhaps in a corner. A set of shelves that was inundated with stuff; it was a haven for the lost and unwanted. Just like my space at home. Clearly Kuljeet was unburdened by a spouse.

Porter scroll saw with much modifications

I had specifically gone to meet him to try out the scroll saw, the powered cousin to the fret saw or jeweller's saw that I have used in my early days. Scroll saws produce the coolest most sexy looking stuff; and while some will saw it isn't woodworking, I would argue that here like in everything else if you are using solid wood you had better appreciate grain and strength. Ofcourse Aariwalla, is an expert scroller. He gave me a demo at top speed and the saw just flew through the mdf that we were cutting. I gave it a try, and I'm sure that given an hour with the machine, I'd get back into the saddle in no time. Scroll saw blades by necessity are cut in a cross cutting profile. Actually if you can see the profile you are lucky because these blades are really fine.Being cut in a cross cutting profile, it gets quite difficult to direct the blade when cutting along the grain. What definitely does not help is the flexibility of the blade. The blade will twist slowly and suddenly you find yourself pushing left to go straight. (sounds like Doc from Cars right!). Another blinking pain is the tension of the blade, too tight and it snaps, too loose and it bends with the pushing force and then on a turn it snaps. All in all a very interesting tool which has a large potential to absorb a person completely.

At some point we did go out to eat lunch at this really cool "friendly neighbourhood" kinda place called Mystic Mama. If you want your future divined through tarot reading then this is the place to be. Very tastefully done, good food and a most pleasant bunch of regulars. Don't go there if you want to spend quality time with your significant other.

Back at the workshop we finally got down to fulfilling a wish Kuljeet made a few days back when we were visiting Yashika's workspace; he wanted to make a mini circular saw. Everything was mostly ready, he had the blades and the rotary tool all he needed was the motivation. Merwyn and I had brought some motivation in a Bisleri bottle in our bags and it took just a moment for Kuljeet to drink up and begin the project.

First the shaft supports

Drilling holes to screw the clamp like supports for the flexi shaft

Easily done by sandwiching the shaft between 2 pieces of wood which had a notch cut out from either side. We then discovered that there was only about 2 inches between the blade and the shaft, after which the wood would hit the shaft. Kuljeet could live with this version and so we forged ahead.

Here are a few images of the build. The build took about 3 hours, partly because everything we required was easily available in the scraps that Mr. hoarder had around.

At the end of the day, we had a super mini circular saw with a few problems. For one we had no height adjustment, so the blade body was always in full contact with the wood being cut. Second, there was no set on the teeth, hence friction at its fullest. And finally, these rotary tools are not the most torqued up tools available, so the blade would just jam and we would have to hurriedly rush to switch off the tool.

All in all, the mini circular saw build did exactly what the 1st prototype normally does. It educated us. The next version will take care of all these issues and expose a few others, I suppose. Personally I cant wait to get it right because I want one. My miniature furniture make can start up again.


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