By John R. Greenwood
|New switch on the lower left|
My first lessons on the Delta consisted of dad reaching over my shoulders and guiding my kid-hands with his heavily callused, blue-collar hands. Two fingers on his left hand held deep scars from a saw accident he'd had before I was born. He admitted that they were the result of carelessness. The apple didn't fall far because, in my early twenties, I earned the nickname, "Nine Fingers." We'll table that story for another episode. At first, I was only allowed to use the saw when dad was in the shop. My first build was probably a birdhouse. Once I proved I could be "fairly" responsible in the shop, I was shown where the key was, and as long as I asked, I could use it without supervision. I really enjoyed those quiet times building things. I loved using the bench vise and all the different hand tools.
My father owned every tool imaginable. He also built a wall of shelves filled with Gerber Baby Food jars. The ones with the metal half-twist lids. Each jar was neatly marked and filled with every size nut, bolt, or screw ever made. If you needed it, it was there—somewhere. It wasn't a fancy shop, but it was functional.
|Made in Milwaukee USA|
|Work Light with old GE Bulb|
Once I had the saw cleaned up, it was time to try it out. I found an old piece of trim and flipped on the switch—nothing. I wiggled it a little, and as it snapped back to life, I suddenly remembered something. It had always been bad. It was 1968, and I could hear my father as clear as day saying, "I have to fix that switch someday." Well, dad, it's June 2020, today's the day! I ran back into the cellar and found a new one. It took less than five minutes to take something off a fifty-year to-do list. I'm sure I could detect a smile on the Delta/Milwaukee when I flipped her on this time. I'm guessing dad was smiling down too. It felt so good I even replaced the lead to the work light dad had mounted on the saw years ago.
|Time to make a new key rack|
Happy Father's Day!
* Founded in 1919, DELTA Power Equipment Corporation is still in existance and making bandsaws. The 2020 version of this saw is not all that different than the 1945 version I own. I was able to verify the year of manufacture by calling Delta Machinery's 1-800 number with the serial number. I was surprised to learn it was 10 years older than I thought.