Although it’s been some 10 years since I had the guide made for my slabbing saw, I became aware that my design was deficient in one area, brought home recently when the motor overheated whilst I was cutting some slabs. The problem was that any part of a slab which broke-off along a fracture during cutting anything thinner than about 6 mm could slip down the blade-slot recess in the base-plate and become wedged against the blade, increasing the drag and heating up the motor.
On this occasion, I couldn’t see it as the remainder of the slab was still being cut.
So a fix was necessary. I thought about it for a while and came up with the idea of a sliding plate, recessed into the guide base-plate, with transverse slots for the securing bolts, which had to be flush top and bottom to allow the slab thickness guide to slide across above, and the guide base plate itself to rest flush on the blade rest bed-plate below.
Not knowing any local toolmakers or small engineering companies I approached the Men’s Shed which makes the lovely boxes I use for my work. They couldn’t help, but recommended another Men’s Shed with a metalworking capacity and a suitably qualified and experienced toolmaker. I visited by appointment and met the gentleman, John Kenney, and showed him the problem and the solution I’d come up with, and he set to work. The result is a beautiful job, and the attached pictures show it completed, but before I used it for the first time.
So after assembling the blade rest and slabbing guide, I can now slide the new plate across to close the gap between the edge of the blade slot and the blade itself to 1 mm or so, and know I’ll not lose any pieces of stone down the gap, or if I do they will be flung-off safely beneath the rest by the blade.
I hope the need for this modification with my equipment will alert anyone who is designing their own to use a narrower slot for the blade in the slabbing saw rest, which will then mean this modification isn’t necessary for them. And I now look forward to cutting many more, trouble-free, thin slabs in the future! Happy slabbing to you all!
On this page I intend to add monthly updates on aspects of jade carving. I also plan to invite more experienced carvers to offer a "master-class" on a particular subject of their choice. With this I hope to enthuse both the novice and the expert in this ancient and beautiful art-form/craft. And comments are welcome!