I arrived at Belfair excited to see all of the improvements Lars has made to various tools this year. There are many! The first thing he showed me was the housing that he built for the lathe motor. He bought a riveter this year, so he was able to make it quite light (unlike many of his inventions that feature thick, welded steel). He also improved the lathe chucks by adding permanent bits of rubber that cushion the ice against the chuck screws. In the past we've had to insert loose pieces of rubber every time we mounted a blank.
Next he showed me Sleipnir's new skateboard wheel tensioner which stabilizes the band action enough to make the beast considerably less frightening. He also installed a built-in jack to raise and lower the table, making cutting depth adjustments faster and more precise.
You might think that using a jackhammer on an ice sculpture would be a bad idea. You might be right, but so far this bit Lars made for his reciprocating saw has performed admirably. We may use it to clear away the ice between suckers, but we aren't sure yet if it is any better for this task than small hand chisels or a die grinder.
The Senator has been upgraded with the simple addition of some silicone on his base plate. This saves us the trouble of having to hold pieces of rubber between the device and the ice. His interior series of tubes has also been soldered together which should help speed drilling operations.
Big thanks to Evan, a long-time Belfarian, for the use of his camera. Mine died today, but it was old and beat up anyway.