Archive for the ‘Shopmade’ Category

Fun with Small Dadoes

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

photo of dividers, end piece with dadoes and toolsA small box I’m making wants interior dividers. This is the first time I’ve tried making them, so it is a learning experience. The idea is 3 lengthwise dividers organized by two end pieces. The end pieces need dadoes. The scale of the project is such that the interior pieces are only 1/8 inch thick. I don’t have a 1/8 inch chisel and didn’t want to order one and wait. I do have an “Old Woman’s Tooth” router. So, off to the scrounge bin of Allen keys … some time with the hand cranked grinder … and some more time with the stones. The result is a 1/8″ router made in about a half hour.

photo of divider gripped in a good dadoThe material shown here is a sub-optimal choice, but it will do. It is cedar which is quite soft and crumbles in fear when a chisel comes near. Slicing is the key to success, and that little knife is kept razor sharp for marking, and now for slicing cedar.

Haunched dividers and stopped dadoes: a success, and fun learning how to make snug. (Yes, each fits snugly enough to support the end piece.)

Bob Builds Another BOB – the whole story

Friday, February 28th, 2014

The first Bench On Bench worked well and taught me what improvements it needed.My first Bench On Bench was delightful. It brought carving and joinery tasks to a very comfortable height. Two and a half years later, I still appreciate it, but know of ways to improve it. The most wanted improvement is better work holding capability for carving work. Pinching stuff between dogs in the front vise and the “floating planing stops” just wasn’t working well enough. Shims of various sizes were almost always needed. The front vise itself grew to be a bit floppy, the result of installing the vise screw nuts loosely in softwood sockets. As they floated and wiggled around, they also wallowed the sockets. The best part about the bench was the vise screws, 1/2 inch veneer press screws that were available several years ago from Tools for Working Wood, but are not to be found anywhere today. The handles on those screws can be pulled out and rotated, very convenient for moving them when “tight” leaves them sticking up in the way. Those are keepers! Lastly, the excellent Gramercy holdfasts were rarely useful due to the smaller size of most of my work pieces.

Along comes Chris Schwarz with the “Milkman’s Workbench.” Intended as a portable bench, it has a few features I like and thought would be useful. In the end, I borrowed a few ideas from that bench. The first was lamination from maple instead of fir. This is the last workbench I’m going to build; I might as well use hardwood. The next feature was the wagon vise. However, I’ll use another veneer press screw instead of the wooden screws. I can’t justify the tooling cost for making just one of those wooden screws, and for what it costs to buy one ready made, I can buy a couple of top of the line carving gouges. The last feature was square dogs and their recessed self-storage. I’ll keep the full width front vise and the excellent screws with adjustable handles. I find that vise better suited for the way I work.

Start with 3 boards 1x6 by 8 feet. Rip each into thirds. Then, crosscut into thirds. The color streaks are from spalting.One of the nearby home centers actually carries maple. It’s “mystery maple” since the specific variety isn’t identified. There was some minor spalting in two of the three best boards. My right thumbnail Janka gauge determined the stuff was OK. That’s the discoloration seen in a few spots. Even though the specific type is unknown, it was straight, free of knots and a joy to work.

Plowing 1/2 inch grooves used more than one tool, and a good bit of patience. The 044 plow plane was good at removing waste, but only after the groove sides were cut ahead. Maple is hard.Yes, it is a lot harder than most stuff I work with, and yes the Record 044 didn’t want to plow a 1/2 inch groove without a bit of help, and yes, cranking a 1 inch auger through it with an 8 inch brace was a bit of work. Yet, it is remarkably predictable and finish planing leaves a glass like surface.

All parts catalogs say this is a 1 inch force fit. Yeah right! Asymmetrical, winged, and tapered. Lots of fussing... The Auriou rasp is superb!The new veneer press screw doesn’t deserve nearly as much praise. It is advertised at most all woodworking supply sources and out of stock in almost all. Once acquired, the threaded socket that is advertised as a “1 inch press fit” is found to be an elliptical shape with ribs on the side and must have been the seventieth son of the seventieth son to be so asymmetrical. There’s enough play in the threads to never have to worry about them seizing, but maybe that’s why they hold a setting so well. Fitting something like this is when one learns to really appreciate how well Michel Auriou’s rasps perform  (the one on the right, not the rat tail).

Plan A - Traditional, with wagon vise on the right.About 3/4 of the way through gluing up the pairs of strips that accommodate dog holes, I remembered that some of my working methods really want clear space on the right end of the bench. Actually, I find myself doing several operations that overhang the right side. Oooops, that vise screw is going to be in the way. OK — Plan B! Just flip it over … and smooth finish the bottom side … and make some more dog recesses.

The rest is a matter of careful assembly, lots of gluing and clamping, lots of planing, a bit of drilling and fitting. By the way, the entire project was done with only hand tools. No electrons murdered. No sandpaper martyred. Very sharp plane blades, and well groomed card scrapers gave excellent results. There’s only one area not completely finished. I did not glue the end block for the vise. It is temporarily fixed with press fit Miller Dowels. It is the dry season now, about 25% humidity. In late summer humidity goes to 90%. I’ve left this area free of glue in case it needs to be disassembled and adjusted.

Update: I forgot to mention dimensions in the original post. The bench top measures 31.5 inches by 18.5 inches. The top surface is 8.5 inches above whatever it sits on. It weighs 32 pounds.

The work holding capability is better than I aimed for, and the fit and finish is a big step above the previous version. All of the methods I practice can now be done easier and more reliably with this bench. There’s a slideshow below this last group of photos. It has a few more photos with explanations. As always, click on any photo to see a larger version.

Work holding - a typical relief carving Work holding - a larger and scarier relief carving - space for much larger... Work holding - This one is hard to hold well, but this works, a good test for moderate sized 'in the round' carvings. Work holding - typical joinery cutting - 22 inches between vise screws gives lots of capability. Work holding - on the bench surface - plenty of capability for my scale of box making Work holding - Needed a slight overhang. Easy. Drop the left end of the front chop and use the wagon vise. Easiest grooving ever.

The first Bench On Bench worked well and taught me what improvements it needed.

The first Bench On Bench worked well and taught me what improvements it needed.

Start with 3 boards 1x6 by 8 feet. Rip each into thirds. Then, crosscut into thirds. The color streaks are from spalting.

Start with 3 boards 1x6 by 8 feet. Rip each into thirds. Then, crosscut into thirds. The color streaks are from spalting.

Plowing 1/2 inch grooves used more than one tool, and a good bit of patience. The 044 plow plane was good at removing waste, but only after the groove sides were cut ahead. Maple is hard.

Plowing 1/2 inch grooves used more than one tool, and a good bit of patience. The 044 plow plane was good at removing waste, but only after the groove sides were cut ahead. Maple is hard.

Checking the layout. Yep, that'll work.

Checking the layout. Yep, that'll work.

Turning a 1 inch auger, in maple, with an 8 inch brace is near insanity. My 10, 12, and 14 inch braces are still on the 'buy someday' list.

Turning a 1 inch auger, in maple, with an 8 inch brace is near insanity. My 10, 12, and 14 inch braces are still on the 'buy someday' list.

All parts catalogs say this is a 1 inch force fit. Yeah right! Asymmetrical, winged, and tapered. Lots of fussing... The Auriou rasp is superb!

All parts catalogs say this is a 1 inch force fit. Yeah right! Asymmetrical, winged, and tapered. Lots of fussing... The Auriou rasp is superb!

Vise dry fit #1

Vise dry fit #1

Ahhhh. Vise dry fit #2. Now, it looks like a vice. Those walnut pins are the garter, temporary for now.

Ahhhh. Vise dry fit #2. Now, it looks like a vice. Those walnut pins are the garter, temporary for now.

All the parts ready for assembly ... in 'Plan A' configuration.

All the parts ready for assembly ... in 'Plan A' configuration.

Do this 6 times over the next few days, or go buy 50 more clamps. :)

Do this 6 times over the next few days, or go buy 50 more clamps. :)

Nuts for the front vise screws are mortised in very snugly, and then epoxied to prevent any wiggle.

Nuts for the front vise screws are mortised in very snugly, and then epoxied to prevent any wiggle.

Plan A - Traditional, with wagon vise on the right.

Plan A - Traditional, with wagon vise on the right.

Plan B - Flip it over. Wagon vise on the left and better use of the right end of the bench.

Plan B - Flip it over. Wagon vise on the left and better use of the right end of the bench.

Scrub baby, scrub!  I have an alternate curved iron for the #5. Maple is hard, but predictable, and finishes very nicely.

Scrub baby, scrub! I have an alternate curved iron for the #5. Maple is hard, but predictable, and finishes very nicely.

Miller dowels through the bridle joints make the vise strong enough. Nothing here was glued for now. It's the dry season and may need disassembly when the humid season arrives.

Miller dowels through the bridle joints make the vise strong enough. Nothing here was glued for now. It's the dry season and may need disassembly when the humid season arrives.

Work holding - a typical relief carving

Work holding - a typical relief carving

Work holding - a larger and scarier relief carving - space for much larger...

Work holding - a larger and scarier relief carving - space for much larger...

Work holding - This one is hard to hold well, but this works, a good test for moderate sized 'in the round' carvings.

Work holding - This one is hard to hold well, but this works, a good test for moderate sized 'in the round' carvings.

Work holding - typical joinery cutting - 22 inches between vise screws gives lots of capability.

Work holding - typical joinery cutting - 22 inches between vise screws gives lots of capability.

Work holding - on the bench surface - plenty of capability for my scale of box making

Work holding - on the bench surface - plenty of capability for my scale of box making

Work holding - Needed a slight overhang. Easy. Drop the left end of the front chop and use the wagon vise. Easiest grooving ever.

Work holding - Needed a slight overhang. Easy. Drop the left end of the front chop and use the wagon vise. Easiest grooving ever.

 

Bob Builds Another BOB

Monday, February 17th, 2014

just one photo for now…

bob-2-parts

Treadle Lathe – Parts Update

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Any of you who followed my treadle lathe project know that most of it was based on Stephen Shepherd’s drawings of an 1805 Turning Bench. You might also remember that I stalled for a long time while searching for a blacksmith … who apparently fled NY’s wonderful tax system and literally headed for the hills.

I recently heard from another lathe builder who was also looking for certain parts, all the metal bits. Good News…

Just in! Stephen Shepherd has just pulled together a hardware package for people building the lathe. The hardware lets one keep the authentic nature of the machine with fittings that match the original plans (with a very minor size difference here or there). From Stephen’s description, the fittings look great and I see the price as very reasonable.

Highly recommended! see: http://www.fullchisel.com/blog/?p=4425

 

A Pair of Shopmade Grooving Planes

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

So, what happened to the wood that sparked a party?

photo of grooving plane partsTime in the shop is sparse in the summertime. Yet, I have found time to make a pair of grooving planes. These are destined for making grooves that hold the bottom panels of boxes. Those grooves are always the same width and the same distance from the edge of their boards. Making two planes, provides one for each grain direction.

The idea and plans came from Fine Woodworking’s Matt Kenny.  FW has the article online here.  photo of planes in progressLie-Nielsen also offers an article with plans (PDF) at no charge. That’s because Lie-Nielsen makes and sells irons for these planes.  Whoa there, back up and hit that link. The only negative thing I’ve ever had to say about Lie-Nielsen is their web site has no search function. Shopping for something specific in their online catalog is like Where’s Waldo. The irons arrive fully sharpened and ready to use. But, I polished them some more.

photo of finished pair of grooving planesThe plane is made as a 3 layer sandwich, Krenov style. The outer layers of my planes are beech from Woodworkers Source, the people who threw a party when they packed and shipped my $32 order. I ordered sample blocks (3″ x 6″ x 1/2″) because they were very close to the sizes needed. They took only a little resawing and sizing to match the plans. I used some Cherry I already had for the 1/8″ thick inner layer and wedges. That inner layer serves as the skate and projects to the desired groove depth of 1/8″.

closeup photo of a grooving planeI didn’t take step-by-step photos, but you can get those from the article. Unlike Kenny’s, all of my construction was with hand tools and not at all difficult. If you make a pair, don’t fret too much with extreme accuracy.  Make the rebate for the fence very accurate and the rest works itself out. After assembly, you’ll be paring or sanding the skate for smooth, but not sloppy, travel in the groove.  My planes are marked “A” and “B” only to pair the respective wedges with their intended plane. Made by hand, the throats vary enough that the wedges aren’t interchangeable. Such a little nit.

photo of the grooving plane twinsWhat a joy to use. Pick ‘em up. register and push. Smooth! And these irons cut much cleaner than those in my vintage Record 044.

Lastly, there’s also a lot of joy in dealing with a company like Woodworkers Source. Yes, the humorous shipping notice is a clever marketing ploy from a firm that has a great sense of humor. It doesn’t end there either. A follow up email from the company owner, “Craig Haggarton and The 107 Good Looking Lumber Pickers,” asks if everything arrived, was OK, post a review, etc.  Yes, I’m a geek who does a lot of web development work and I know these things are a SMOP, but not every firm behaves this way. Good for them!

SMOP – Simple Matter Of Programming

Wow! They had a Party!

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

How often do you order something online? How many times have you seen the “Your order has shipped” email message? They’re usually polite, business like and factual.

Not THIS one… I wanted a few pieces of beech for a tool making project (details later, maybe, beech = planes usually) and went shopping online. Woodworkers Source listed just what I wanted at a price I think reasonable for the project. It was a small order, $32 total. Little did I expect the following as “Your order has shipped.” Enjoy.

I have some great news, Robert.

Our team of 107 hard working (and exceptionally good looking) employees has – with great care and attention – selected, packaged and shipped your order #78701 on this beautiful day.

I really think you’d have enjoyed watching all the action when your order came through. When I handed it to Robert, our master packager, he looked at the order, smiled, pulled out a pair of his favorite Italian leather gloves and slid them onto his hands. “Nothing but the best,” he said. And off he went! As he selected your order, he placed it all on a satin-lined chariot to transport it to the packaging center. And there’s more . . .

All other 106 crew members stopped. Every last one of them. They gathered around, lit incense and candles, and watched with hushed awe as he wrapped the entire order in the finest gold-laced cardboard and stretch wrap that money can buy. Seriously, you could have heard a pin drop.

In the end, the guys were so thrilled that they wanted to throw a party just for your order. We’re talking about a big fiesta with live music, a roasted pig, and a dessert spread of homemade chocolate ganache, Ukranian prune tortes, and cinnamon madeleines. You should have seen the look on the UPS driver’s face when he showed up. He thought he was going to pick up the packages as usual, but instead we picked *him* up carried him down the street on our shoulders while the band played. You can imagine what happened next, right? Our neighbors came outside to see what the fuss was all about, and when they saw your beautiful order they joined in, and toasted ol’ Robert who then delivered a rather moving speech on the joys of working with wood as a means to self improvement.

Someone must have called the local TV stations because the next thing I knew I had six interviews to handle for reporters who asked, “What does Robert Easton intend to make?” But don’t worry, your secret’s safe. I told them, “World peace.” Man! If only woodworking could do that!

Anyway, the guys hope to see pictures of what you make so we can have another party (I know what you’re thinking). I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at Woodworkers Source. We enjoyed every minute of it, and we’ve named you “Customer of the Year.” That gets you a pretty good parking spot right out front if you ever come see us. So come see us some time.

Okay, okay. You want the info, I’m sure. Your tracking information is below, or you can also get it all by logging into your at account at our website.

After you receive your order, we’d love to know what you think:
http://www.woodworkerssource.com/myorder.php

Thanks again,
Craig Haggarton and The 107 Good Looking Lumber Pickers
Woodworkers Source

Yes, putting some extra fun into business has me wondering what the next “Your order has shipped” message will say.

Oh by comparison, an order for some extra strong neodymium magnets sent a “Your order has shipped” message that was a long page of warnings about how dangerous the things were, warnings about not eating, swallowing, breaking, cutting, sawing, drilling, setting fire to, breathing the toxic fumes from burning, or placing them near stuff you want to keep working … like pacemakers. Nice info, but the tone of the Woodworkers Source message made for a much bigger smile.