Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Meet Ron

A lot of oven builders go with a Harbor Freight 10 inch wet saw because you can be set up to cut bricks for under $300. The only problem with a 10 inch wet say is that you can really only cut bricks up to about 4 inches. Probably a little less. A standard firebrick is 9”x4.5”x2.5” so there would be a lot of brick flipping to cut all the way through. My plan was to buy a bigger 14 inch saw, use it to build the oven and then sell it for a little less than I paid for it. Kind of like a long term rental.

I first saw Ron last summer on Craigslist. For a little over a year I’ve been scanning the Craigslist sales within a 150 mile radius of Albany for 14 inch wet saw. I hemmed and hawed and there was another saw for sale near Syracuse but it didn’t have a picture…and then within a week of each other both saws were gone from Craigslist. Oh well.  There was another tempting, but very pricey, saw in Elmira and a surprising amount of wet saws are for sale on Long Island. Then in November, Ron was back on Craigslist. This time I called.

The owner is contractor and hadn’t used Ron on a job in two years. He figured he’d sell it and get it out of his shop. But he was a little reluctant to sell thinking that as soon as he sold the saw, he would need it again. A number of things delayed me in making an offer again – replacing one of our vehicles took a lot of time this winter. And then in January, Ron was gone from Craigslist once again.

My search continued. There was decent looking saw in Andes, NY that was a little cheaper than Ron. But by the time you factor in a 2 hour drive each way to even look at it, it didn’t seem worth the $100 in savings.

Through the magic of cell phone logs and a saved Craigslist search, I still had Ron’s owner’s phone number. In late April, I gave him a call to make sure Ron was sold. Seemed like there was a good chance he just took down the ad again. We played a little phone tag and yes, he did still have Ron and even better, he was still willing to sell.  He’d have his mechanic give Ron a once over and get back to me. A few more phone calls and we agreed on a time for the sale.

With a little bit of effort I managed to get Ron set up in my garage. He’s really big. And he can run on 120 or 240V. Apparently on 220V he can really slice. I’ve ordered a new blade for him and started working on a few jigs. I’ve built one that can cut an adjustable angle with a set 5 degree bevel. The hinge has a pin so I’m going to make a few more jigs that can slip into the same base.


I’m also debating on repainting his tub. Get rid of a little rust and make the basin shine. Normally I wouldn’t really care, but I want to keep the firebrick shavings that will settle in the tub to help level the oven floor.

Nice to meet you, Ron. I look forward to working with you.


  1. That's a heck of a project, but I know you're going to use the heck out of it when it is together. Enjoy the journey!