Thursday, 26 May 2011

Trust me, I'm a professional

The rain that everyone wants has arrived - it's tipping down outside and the scaffolders have reached my window height now - swearing, shouting and trying to see what I am doing on the computor as I downloaded these photos from my phone. Soon they'll be round the back of the house, trying to see what I'm doing in the bathroom.

Top: There is my new blade, attached to the cutter, and bottom: There is an example of what it does best - cutting a chamfer in one go, right to the line. If it were not for all the bloody dust, then it would almost be a joy to use. I've decided that I'm too old for dust now, but also too old to waste time on chisels. I know, I should get someone else to do it, but I would only be breathing over their shoulder when they did - that's if I could breathe for all the dust.

I fitted a brand-new, cheap, 4 inch, diamond cutting-blade to that small red machine yesterday, then applied it to the Portland stone you can see in the pictures.

It sparked for about 5 seconds, then started to polish the stone. I might as well have put a plain piece of steel to the stone, so useless was it. Actually, it was worse than useless, because it made me so angry that it could ever have been made and sold at all. I bought 5 of the bloody things, and I've thrown them all away.

When some fly-by-night gets some peasant in China to make these things for export, they are relying on selling them to people who don't know what they are doing. Usually, the word 'Professional' is printed on the packaging, and this is a sure sign that they are anything but for professional use. When the poor DIY expert goes to use it, they think that all tools are as bad as this, but some cost more than others. I have no excuse, so I am doubly angry with myself for being so stupid.

I took the cheap blade off and threw it away. Then I picked up a good quality one (looks exactly the same) which I had been given SECOND-HAND by a marble worker about 17 years ago. It still cuts like a dream.

I paid about £10 for 5 of the useless ones, and the good one which still works even though I have used it to cut loads of stuff - including about 100 running feet of thick granite -probably cost about £20.

There is a moral there somewhere.


  1. Hello Tom:
    To our untrained eye, the chamfer looks, and we are sure is, highly impressive and we marvel [genuinely] at your skill in producing it.

    But, we live in an age when anything goes and the slipshod and the inferior surface to the top more and more in all aspects of life, of which your cutting blades from China are but one further example. What depresses us is that so few people seem to notice and increasingly there are fewer and fewer real professionals to be found.

  2. That surface on the chamfer is how it is left after the first cut - that's how efficient these blades are. It cost £65 plus VAT, and will last me out. It's paid for itself already.

    The scarcity of caring professionals works to my advantage, because my patron - once he has found one - is very loyal in keeping them by giving them things to do. I am lucky!

    Now I must go off and get covered in dust again.

  3. I love the use of the word 'professional'. I have some really tacky Badminton rackets that apparently are 'pro', I've also bought a 'pro' tarpaulin, and a 'pro' frying pan. I also have a feeling that my 125 mm Chinese angle-grinder was also sold as 'pro'. Mine works fine!

  4. 'Tools for the job' - my current irritating mantra. No point buying shit cheap stuff as you always get what you pay for.
    My wriggly tin shed if full of shite B&Q power tools that have failed in one way or another over the years. I'm a bit of a thicko so it's taken a long time to resist buying useless cheap crap - false economy.
    All my new stuff is Makita or DeWalt and the quality of the build, cuts and finish of the end product is telling.
    Too bad I can't get in the workshop for all the shiny new kit...

  5. So here is what I would do to lift your mood: Hide in the bathroom and when a scaffolder casts a nosy look through the window, pop up with your fancy grinding tool going at full speed and show them a very toothy (and slightly maniacal) grin!

    However, if a scaffolder falls off the scaffold as a result of that, I will deny ever having typed this.

  6. Even though it caused you quite a bit of frustration and probably elevated your blood pressure, it was a lesson learned.

  7. I think that moral applies to almost everything these days Tom.

    I noticed that one of the gardens at Chelsea had polished concrete slabs and I must say that they looked very smart.

  8. i'm with iris!
    good idea gal!

  9. Pop up with fancy tools... wriggly tin shed... 'De Walt' are good tools? This is all too much for me.

    Early, cheap, rotary tools were crap (too much vibration due to bad bearings), but the newer ones are ok. That big cutter is B & Q, and - for 30 quid - it's fine. The blade cost over twice as much as the tool. The small red one is a 'Flex' tool (German) and used to cost about £300, 20 years ago. It now costs about £120, and is better than the originals. The Chinese have driven prices down.

    I haven't learnt any lessons Weaver, otherwise I would post up stuff like this, but thanks for the positive outlook.