ROAD TRIP NOV 2013 PART 2
Part 1 of the November Road Trip highlighted some great pizza and a stop at Hearne Hardwoods in Oxford PA. In this installment I headed to Felder USA in New Castle DE to meet up with my contact Geoff Doubet. I’d been speaking to Geoff on the phone since late 2006 but we had never met so I had no idea what he looked like when I stepped into the Felder office. Turns out he’s a regular guy just like me!
The day before, I was instructed to come hungry as he was going to take me to his favorite cheese steak spot, La Spada’s. Geoff drove, I rode shotgun and after about a 15 minute drive we pulled into a strip mall parking lot and our destination was dead ahead – La Spada’s “The Original”. Having grown up in the grinder and pizza business I immediately felt right at home with the decor, although I would have replaced the Giants paraphernalia on the walls with Patriots gear! Not wanting to rock the boat I kept my mouth shut and perused the menu and after asking a couple of questions and with a little help from Geoff I placed my order. Within minutes our cheese steaks arrived hot off the grill. To be honest, I hadn’t had a cheese steak in quite some time but I know what makes a good one: high quality beef chopped just right, real provolone cheese and the right roll to serve it in. The wrong bread can completely ruin any sandwich but I am happy to say that La Spada’s had all three of the necessary ingredients just right. Some sauteed mushrooms and peppers and a bit of mayo to top it off and I was one happy camper. I don’t know why I didn’t snap a photo but trust me, it was a real tasty sandwich that wasn’t greasy and that I didn’t regret eating an hour later. Nice!
La Spada’s – Steaks and Hoagies.
After lunch we headed back to the Felder showroom to check out some machinery! I had been talking to Geoff about a band saw off and on for the past few months so he had asked Brian, one of the Felder techs, to set up the saw I was interested in – the FB510. This saw is a new model in the Felder lineup that they are manufacturing in their european facility. The FB510 features 20″ cast iron wheels, a 4 HP motor, a cutting height of 16″ and weighs in at about 550 lbs. The two port dust collection worked great and there is also an electronic foot break that stopped the blade quickly. The model I saw has a bit of the same green color scheme as my Felder CF741 S Pro Combo machine along with a more industrial looking two-tone gray for the spine and the wheel housings.
Felder FB 510 Band Saw
After watching Brian do some tweaking on the saw it was time to run some boards. One thing about band saws that you hear a lot about is the notion of “blade drift”, which is what you’d expect it to be: the blade drifting off line from where you want it to go. If the saw is not set up properly and/or the blade is dull, drift is likely to occur, at which point you would have to adjust for that. For the test cuts on the FB510 Brian backed off all the saw blade guides so that they weren’t even close to the blade and the saw cut some real nice thin slices off a board that was about 4″ tall. I was able to repeat it and although it may not be so easy to do with a 14″ high piece of Black Walnut, the point had been made: tune your saw, install a sharp blade and off you go! No drift!
Brian Slicing 1/8″ thick pieces with all the guides backed off.
In a perfect world the showroom would have been filled with every model in the Felder lineup but that would’ve called for a much bigger space. They had a couple of panel saws, a 700 and a 900 series, some jointer/planers with the necessary dust collection hooked up and also a couple of edge banders, one of which was a real monster. In another room they had some of their smaller machines from the Hammer line and one of their smaller band saws set up.
700 and 900 series panel saws.
AD 951 Jointer/Planer with helical cutter head and 20″ bed.
Top of the line Format Dual 51 Jointer/Planer.
Industrial Edge Bander
The remainder of the afternoon was spent shooting the breeze about work, wood and tools with Geoff and a couple of other guys who had dropped in to take a look at the Felder equipment. It was a great trip with some excellent blue collar food along with the opportunity to finally meet my man Geoff, check out some great machines at Felder and get a first hand look at some beautiful wood at Hearne Hardwoods. Throw in some great scenery and a handful of my favorite CDs and it was just what the doctor ordered.
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