Forum history

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  • Black wallnut
    cycling to health
    • Jan 2003
    • 4715
    • Ellensburg, Wa, USA.
    • BT3k 1999

    Forum history

    In the 1990's our founder, Sam Conder joined the old Ryobi tools forum. Ryobi produced a new type of tablesaw, the BT3000 (BT3K) which was designed to be a much lighter table saw where everything referenced off the front rail for alignment. It offered precision for a rather reasonable price point. It was different and attracted a cult-like following partly due to the way BT3K owners were treated on some of the popular wood working forums of the time. Most of our early members also were members of the Ryobi forum. What Sam found was many great ideas he wished to save for use at a later date. He started converting interesting posts into PDF documents so as to be able to find them later. Soon he started hosting them on his own website Word of this spread and members of the Ryobi forum would suggest to new owners and member that they check out Sam's collection of articles for good reading and inspiration. As Sam's site traffic increased Sam was considering launching a for profit wood working website. He downloaded a freeware forum software package onto his server and built with Snitz forum software. He included his Articles section, many of which are still available today. he started by sending out personal invites to a select group of Ryobi forum regulars. He asked if folks wanted to do some forum testing and be part of an experiment. Many of us jumped at the opportunity.

    BT3Central flourished! Our first anniversay on December 26, 2003 we had grown to 1454 members. The forum was quickly out growing the free software. A chat was added to the forum and for several years was quite popular with scheduled chats on Thursday nights. Sam changed to using vBulletin software and also did the sites first annual fund drive. Thom2 served as Admin for two of these early years.

    One of the noteworthy ideas that possibly was the most posted sentence in the history of BT3Central was "Paint the red line." Lchien (Loring) coined the phrase. Because the BT3K had a moveable miter fence attached to a sliding miter table (SMT) it was not only possible but also likely that a user would "join the club" and accidentally trim the end of their miter fence when making a miter cut. There is a grove in the main table that lines up with the blade that users would fill with paint as a visual warning that if the fence went over the line it would be trimmed. Black wallnut independently came up with the same idea but used a yellow paint pen yet was not able to take a pic (digital image) and post so Loring's idea and phrase stuck.

    Early on it was also suggested that a BT3K frequently asked questions document was produced and Sam formed about a dozen of the forum regulars to compile it. I do not recall who all was on that list but it included Loring and Black wallnut (Mark). We were to discuss each point by point in a "private" forum and come to a consensus. Well that plan just flat fizzled and never worked. Loring finally gave up on the rest of us and compiled the document himself based on years and many forurm posts. To this day it is free for the asking if only members send him a PM with their email address.

    Stytooner (Lee Styron) another founding member became famous by building the best aftermarket blade guard ever. Dubbed the Shark Guard. He built his first one in 2002/2003 and detailed the build on BT3Central. Soon thereafter he started selling them and soon added a custom riving knife. He has been able to turn this into a full time business. A BT3Central success story! Lee is one of our forum staff, as are Loring and Mark. Lee deserves credit for making an improvement that has possibly saved countless fingers or more. His guards are so easy to use and well made that they actually get used. Although he does not post as much as the early days he still checks in often.

    In 2005 as a fund drive we had a contest. Entrants paid a fee and were to build something useful out of a construction grade 2"x6"x8' with two divisions, turned and non-turned. The competition was fierce with a variety of entries. Sadly many of the posts from that era have been corrupted and the pics are no longer available. The winners were:
    First place: KWGeorge
    Honorable Mention: JBoyd

    First place: Jaywood
    Honorable Mention: gjensen11

    In 2011 we did it again and many of those posts are available.

    On January 24, 2008 Sam made the announcement that Black wallnut would be the site's next Admin, he has served in that capacity ever since. In August 2012 Sam made the decision to pass on the site to the staff members at that time. We after discussion decided the best course of action would be to start a not for profit educational foundation with the hope that BT3Central would live on for years. We also after consulting with the membership decided that a site re-brand would be necessary and SawDustZone was launched.

    Our site has had other staff members over the years. Hank Lee is the first moderator that Sam asked to serve. He actually tried to retire from being a moderator when he retired from his career but we would not let him. He is such a great person you would likely to never know that he is a Mod if we didn't tell you. Loring was asked to join the staff since he is the sites most prolific poster and one of the founding members.Twistsol and dbhost round out our staff as of this writing. Without our team we would not be alive today as a forum. Many thanks to each of them!

    Over the years many members have come and gone. The saw that started it all is no longer being sold. Many of the original members have sold their saws and moved on to other saws. Some others have moved to other hobbies. Thanks to all those that remain and keep this forum alive. We look forward to many finished projects to come and even more works in progress. It really has been the membership that has made BT3Central what it was and has become. Notable names such as Gmack, Monte, Cgallery, KWGeorge, JBoyd, and Dud plus many more deserve pages of their own proclaiming their additions to this forum.
    Last edited by Black wallnut; 04-27-2015, 11:48 AM.
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    marK in WA and Ryobi Fanatic Association State President

    Head servant of the forum