Squirrel Cage Swift

I did get the squirrel cage swift finished over the weekend. I realized that I hadn’t bought enough maple to make a frame for it, so I put together a frame out of some mahogany (probably it’s lauan, Philippine mahogany) that Matt had originally bought for deck flooring and brought up to Casco for bridges on the trails. There are dozens of board feet of it, so I took three lengths. Maybe I’ll make a nicer frame, but this one is perfectly servicable for now. Notice the handles on the axles; that’s something you can do once you’re a little comfortable with a lathe. I used the plunge router, too, without making a big deal of it. I probably commented when I got it about how much nicer it is to use than my old router. When I saw it at Marden’s I thought, “I’d like a plunge router, but is that feature enough to justify buying it?” It’s not just the plunge (which means you can set the base in position on the workpiece, in the right place, before turning it on, and then push the cutter into the work, rather than have the cutter projecting and spinning before it contacts the wood, which makes it impossible to do precise work in the middle of a board), but two other things that are even nicer features: First, a soft start. My old router goes from 0 to full speed as soon as you push the switch. The startup torque almost yanks the tool out of your hands, which is scary as well as detrimental to doing precise work. This one starts slowly and builds up to full speed over a few seconds, so it’s much easier to control. Secondly, this has a vacuum port for sawdust extraction. A router makes a tremendous amount of sawdust, all right, not as much as a lathe, but probably more sawdust per second of operation than a lathe. Having a place to put a shop-vac hose while running the router makes it a lot neater to use and clean up from. So, overall, although the old router “works just fine”, the new one was one of my best tool purchases.

Here’s the swift:

— ready to use, and below, loaded up with a big skein of Reynolds’ Eco Wool (bought at Fabric Place when they went out of business last year)

2 Responses to “Squirrel Cage Swift”

  1. Judy Says:

    I love Marden’s ! Disovered it when I was in Maine last summer. Got a great crock pot there which I christened this weekend with a pot roast. The swift is lovely but do you use a ball winder with it ?
    Happy New Year !

  2. diane Says:

    Thanks for your reply………It looks fabulous!