Dial Indicator Sled for Calibrating Table Saw

I own this cheap dial indicator set, and while it is indeed cheap it works fine for calibrating my table saw.  My only complaint is that its versatile base and arm system just doesn’t work that well for this purpose, especially for setting up the fence where sliding the indicator causes the small base to wobble and also scratch the cast iron top.

My solution was to make something a bit like Woodpecker’s Saw Gauge, only about $59 cheaper.

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Enter the dial indicator sled!

As you can see, it’s just a scrap of 1/2″ plywood with a rail glued on, onto which the indicator is bolted.  Because it’s wood it nicely slides on the table saw surface, and because it has a long edge it registers well against the fence.

While the rail should be somewhat squarely attached it (thankfully) doesn’t have to be all that precise.  We’re only interested in relative distances (how much the needle moves), not absolute numbers.

Here are some more photos, including it being used against a Master Plate to calibrate my sliding table and the fence.

Black & Decker Easy Clean Toaster Oven Repair

I’m writing this short post not to brag about my toaster oven repair skills but to hopefully help out someone else looking to fix their appliance.

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I have had this stupid toaster oven since college (18 years as of this writing), and still use it every day.  I even built a custom under-counter mount for it which lets it do double duty as a plate warmer.

So one morning while toasting an English muffin my kitchen was filled with the odor of burnt electrical insulation instead of toasted baked goods.  “No worries” I thought, this oven has served me well and I just buy a new one to take its place.  I was surprised to see that the under-counter toaster oven was merely a phase, with only one on the market right now.  It’s very expensive for a humble toaster oven, and also mounts differently so I’d loose my sweet plate warmer.

So off to the shop I went with it.  Thankfully the problem was simple to both diagnose and fix: one of the conductors on the main power supply line had degraded, causing it to heat up and burn through its insulation.  I simply cut a few inches off of that degraded conductor and then pulled a few extra inches of the power cord through the grommet into the case of the oven.

The two power conductors each have female connectors and clip on the corresponding male connectors.  One connector was in good shape the but the wire leading into the other had burned out.  In the photos, that wire is labeled #1.  Wire #2 heads to one of the heating elements while #3 goes to a control board.

After pulling in another few inches of power cord, I cut away the crispy burned wire, stripped the insulation, and then soldered wires 1, 2, and 3 back into the old female connector.