Over the years we have regularly worked with owner-builders to assist with the management and progression of their projects, and quite often when we become involved after the job has been substantially commenced we find that things haven't gone according to plan. The budget and the completion schedule is often shot to pieces, subcontractors have not performed as expected, mistakes have been made and not rectified and relationships are strained for everyone involved.
So why would we enter these potentially stressful situations and unnecessarily subject ourselves to bad situations which have generally been created by others?
Well... at the most basic level of our strategies... work is work. Also, we are great problem solvers and enjoy a challenging project much more than erecting pre-assembled components on a project home. That's certainly part of it.
But there's also something quite satisfying about providing assistance & guidance to owners who have found themselves in a situation which can sometimes be quite overwhelming. We find that there's always a sense of relief from the Owner Builder at having found a service like ours which has the knowledge & experience to quickly understand how problems have originated, and to be able to implement solution strategies to get the project back on track.
Further, we have a vast network of professional consultants (Structural/Geotechnical Engineers, Surveyors, Architects etc) as well as subcontractors & tradesmen to supplement our own workforce in producing the desired results. Being able to create a work program and completion schedule based on genuinely achievable milestones is often a skill which the OB does not have.
All of our interactions with owner builders have resulted in pleasing relationships and mutually beneficial outcomes, and we continue to offer these types of service. See one of the testimonials received from previous clients here:
"Buildflex is the building dream team you want to be working with – as a homeowner builder we needed a solution driven team to help us and Wayne’s team gets 3 thumbs up from us. When we started working with Buildflex we suddenly had no problems just choices on how to proceed – in short all our headaches were taken away. The team was courteous, professional and patient – they did more than build they took the time to teach and explain. Their workmanship is exemplary I would definitely recommend Buildflex for any project you are working on whether that be a new build or renovation."
See some more reviews from previous clients on this site: https://www.oneflare.com.au/b/buildflex-propitiatory-limited
We all know that chainsaws should cut smoothly and make nice straight cuts on any angle that we choose, whether on a down-cut or an up-cut. However, as we also know, sometimes they don't.
Identifying the Problem
When a chainsaw cut tends to pull to one side or the other, or is making a curved cut as it progresses downwards, it will usually stop cutting fairly quickly unless the bar is withdrawn and realigned, and the bar can often jam in the cut. It can also make it problematic to properly line up undercuts, and in general makes it very difficult to get an otherwise routine cutting job completed effectively. Even professional saw users can experienced this issue to some degree, and it is very frustrating whatever your skill level.
When a chainsaw won't cut straight many users will look at the chain-bar as the faulty component. It seems logical that a bent bar may cause this problem, because it is the bar that guides the chain through the log. If a bend is indeed evident in the bar, it would be reasonable to assume that the problem has been identified. In this case some will straighten the bar, others may replace it. Unfortunately for most, the saw's cuts will usually still pull in the same direction after the repair.
This is because, when a chainsaw won't cut straight & cleanly through the log it's usually the chain that's the culprit in most cases. The example below shows top plates (teeth) that have become unequal over a series of sharpenings. This causes each tooth to take a different sized bite of wood. Since a saw chain is a "team" of cutter teeth, the cut will pull in the direction of the side whose cutter teeth take the biggest bites. It is as simple as that.
Sharp On One Side - Dull On The Other
All cutter teeth should be sharp, filed at the correct angle, and be the same length. Usually this is easier to accomplish with a grinder than it is with a file. When hand filing, this must be done by eye. On a grinder, the angle, depth, and length can all be preset. This makes it easier to duplicate each cutter tooth. When filing, it is more difficult. Those of us who are right-handed often do a good job sharpening the left side cutters, yet find in more difficult to sharpen those on the right side. Those who are left-handed have the opposite experience. After several filings, a chain will usually show the effects of this. Teeth on the side easiest to file are usually sharper but shorter. The other side has longer teeth, but may remain dull even after filing.
People who use the proprietary grinder-sharpeners are not immune to producing inaccuracies in chains & teeth, although the results are usually markedly better than file sharpening. Adjustments on the grinder set-up must be checked occasionally to be sure that ALL the unevenness is being removed from ALL the cutter teeth and that the chain is nicely symmetrical on both sides. This is particularly important when you are grinding a chain which has been hand sharpened a few times with a file. It is also necessary to check to be sure that all top-plates of the individual teeth are equal in length. Grinders are great, but they do not make you completely infallible.
Pulling or Curving Problems Which Are Hard To Diagnose
Some curving & pulling problems are hard to diagnose - even for experienced saw users . Occasionally, cut "pulling" or "curving" problems may indeed be caused by a bad bar plate or perhaps even a tightening bolt/nut that sticks out a little too far. A colleague experienced this problem with one of his new saws. He puts on a new chain, and after a few cuts his cuts start to curve. Chain after chain, this would repeat itself over and over.
What he found was that at a particular speed and/or angle the chain would lightly touch the bar tightening bolt/nut. The contact of the teeth on the bolt, even though slight, would be just enough to dull the corners of the cutters on one side of the chain. Since the other side would be still sharp, the cut starts to curve or pull in the direction of the sharp cutters. He rectified the problem by switching chains to one with a slightly different cutter profile which, even though the difference was only millimeters, was sufficient to eliminate the problem.
When your chainsaw cuts or curves unevenly to one side or another or simply sits there in the kerf without cutting, take a careful look at the cutter teeth on the chain before you spend money on anything else. The condition of the chain and teeth will usually be the problem.
Well, probably not everything - particularly in construction works. However, in these days of YouTube videos and the incredible amount of info on the 'net it's certainly worth doing a little "surfing" before before spending the big bucks on professional services. You may surprise yourself.
Through experience I've learned that it's often too expensive & time consuming for a small business to employ others to tend to various technical requirements. Whether it's building & maintaining a website, setting up your own data network or servicing your own computer systems - these days you've got to be able to do a lot of it yourself.
Anyway, after a recent experience with a well known mobile Geek service outfit I'm going back to doing everything myself.
When one of our twin-screen PC's starting having some intermittent problems I came to a preliminary diagnosis of a problem with the machine's internal video card. I did all the easy things first - updated the necessary drivers, used the machine's own self-diagnose & self-repair mechanisms, tried reverting to a single screen and connecting the affected monitors to different PC's. Everything seemed to point to a faulty video card.
I even checked online to find replacement multi-screen cards and found plenty of tutorials on how to remove the old card and install the new. Didn't seem too difficult.
However, I decided to contact the mobile Geek guys, who said they could get someone there within 48 hours, or today if wanted to pay an extra premium. What the hell, let's get him here now.
So the guy turns up around 4 hours later and I proceeded to give him a summary of the issue and all of the remedial measures I had tried so far. The meter was running for him at around $180/hr (plus his call-out fee) so I didn't want him there any longer than necessary.
Despite my summary, he began to check online for hardware driver updates and proceeded to download/install the ones I had already found. He then went through the same routine of trying a single monitor, then connecting the monitors to other machines to see if the monitor/s themselves were faulty. I told him several times that I had already tried these things but he persevered, saying that sometimes the driver update process would not be successful, or that that an intermittent problem may self-rectify after several uninstall + reinstalls of the hardware components. Sounded like BS.
Anyway, 90 minutes later he comes to the momentous conclusion that it was a faulty video card. Duh! I said "OK, install a new one", to which he replied "Oh, we don't carry any replacement parts - there's too many variations". He could tell I was pissed off and said he would return to install it for free if I purchased a suitable card.
He then produced an invoice which had to be paid immediately, and which came to $340.00. Jesus Christ! $340 just to confirm what I already knew!
Anyway, I bought a replacement dual-screen card from eBay for $65 including express postage and Installed it myself in 20 minutes including driver update etc. Problem solved. The plug & play self-installing hardware we have access to these days is great!
So... lesson learned. DYI for everything that I possibly can from now on!
So we need to start a blog, huh? Well, over the next few weeks we'll start to add some details here about ourselves, and maybe some topical construction-type stories and information.
Feel free to say hello or add a comment to this page if you find yourself here with a few moments to spare.
Regards. Wayne W
Copyright by Wayne Wheeler trading as BuildFlex - Home of 'The Carpenter Guns' and 'The A-Team'!