Past my bedtime so this will be quick. Tonight, I installed a vent on the hallway door that keeps the two cat-families apart. The vent should help a lot with the air-conditioning here at Roseholme Cottage.
Last week, I picked up one of these "rotary cutter" attachments for my Dremel, thinking that would simplify the whole thing. It's an old, two-panel door, so all I had to do was mark it and drrrrrr, the Dremel + attachement would let me cut a nice, neat opening for the vent.
Only not. Old 3/8" plywood and single-speed Dremel: the bit hit the wood, I cut slowly, and smoke began to trickle. H'mm. Applied even less pressure, still smokes. Changed spiral downcutter bits to a coarser one, same result. Y'know, maybe I should have ponied up the extra bux for a variable-speed version, way back when. Or just bought a purpose-built rotary cutter. But I didn't and Ted's All-Nite Drivethru Tool Outlet* is closed anyhow.
What to do? Easy: head down to the basement, grab the proper Japanese handsaw, and have at it, using the annoying rotary thingie only to make a starting cut. Why didn't I start out with this plan? The ryoba cuts about three times as fast with a quarter of the noise, the kerf is a nice thin straight line, and the traditional long handle means I can lay hold of it with both hands.
If you work with wood and have never used a Japanese-style handsaw, you are missing a treat. The tooth pattern is very aggressive but leaves remarkable smooth edges; they cut on the pull stroke and once you adjust to it, buckling saw blades will never bother you again. Best of all, they require remarkably little effort.
Having learned my lesson, I drilled the holes for the bolts that hold the vent grille with an old and very nice Craftsman (made by Stanley near as I can tell) handcranked drill. A good sharp awl and a decent level made the project pretty easy.
And air circulation is markedly improved!
* Motto: "We don't actually exist." A pity.
4 months ago