Archive for May, 2011

Bob Builds a BOB

Monday, May 30th, 2011

“Bob” is an easy to remember name that’s spelled the same way coming and going. (Mama knew I’d need that.)

BOB can also mean Bench On Bench. There have been a lot of those featured on various blogs lately. We build great workbenches at low heights that are comfortable for planing, but not a lot of other work, then build Bench On Bench accessories to raise the work surface.

Some forms of relief carving have caught my interest and fueled some new ideas. For that work, I certainly need a BOB and the Steve Branam’s version recently caught my attention. While I’m not a furniture builder, don’t need to hold large panels vertically, and will never seek dovetail proficiency, his BOB does promise a good raised work surface and some great work holding possibilities. Steve did a wonderful job with his step-by step description. Follow his lead if you want lots of detail. THANKS Steve!

Here, I note a few differences in both materials and technique, and yet another kind of work holding.

  • Steve used nice clear poplar. I used semi-beautiful construction lumber, with the most attractive knots oriented to the bottom side of the bench top. The “butcher-block” laminated top lets one make a thicker top while giving a good bit of choice in hiding small knots. Saw around the big knots and let them drop to the floor.
  • photo of frame saw, saw benches, and a long boardMy shopmade frame saw made ripping a job that didn’t require knee pads.
  • No mid-rip jointing for me. Those ripped edges become the top and bottom surfaces, and I deferred planing them until the top was completely together. Saved wear and tear on the bandanna.
  • Instead of veneer press screws, I substituted Joel Moskowitz’s excellent bench screws. The very nice thing about these screws is that the handles can be repositioned once tightened. This avoids the problem of having the handle sticking up in the way of putting chisels to the workpiece. Pull the spring loaded handle out from the screw and rotate it to a more convenient position. Very slick. THANKS Joel. They were easier to fit too; a square nut falls into a simple square mortise.
  • photo of a router plane in a grooveMy I-beams are solid wood, some sort of splintery pine from the on-hand lumber pile, instead of plywood. The dadoes in these offers a tooling problem. What kind of boat building shop is it that doesn’t have a nice narrow rabbet plane? Oh well, I cleared the bottoms of the dadoes with my shopmade router plane.
  • The top was laminated in three sections, for reasons we’ll see in a moment. I attached it to the beams before planing the top surface … once again deferring the work that requires a bandanna. Long ago, an oral surgeon charged with removing my 4 wisdom teeth (see why I needed the simple name) asked, “One at a time (4 different sessions and 4 different times for a sore mouth) or all at once?” I chose all at once.
  • A series of 4 photos showing how to use the floating stop.A BIG THANKS to Bob Bob Rozaieski at The Logan Cabinet Shoppe for his recent post: The Workbench – 1 Year Later. One part of that post shows a “floating planing stop” that was a game changer for me. My intended use for this bench is for holding flat work on top of the bench. Pinching that work between one of these “floating stops” and a couple of dogs will be very very handy. Anticipating work of two general sizes, I incorporated two of these stops in the bench top. Normally, they rest loosely upon the i-beams. Flip one over, and an edge sticks up. Very neat and very easy. See the picture collage as a demo. [We'll see how well the construction wood vice jaw holds up. It may need a hardwood replacement.]
  • Lastly, no scrapers were harmed. This is construction lumber and there’s NO way we’ll get it to look like Donald Trump’s boardroom conference table. Nor, did I use any Avocado (ooops, “Aged Olive”) paint.

The completed bench measures 29″ wide, by 19″ deep and a little over 8″ high. It is tall enough to use the excellent Gramercy holdfasts, and the space between vice screws is just over 24″ (wide enough for holding cabinetry panels – just in case).

Whittle Gnome

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

“Out of the mouths of babes…”

photo of whittle gnome carving

Leave it to the youngest of our grandchildren (let’ call him little “Georgie”), to explain to everyone else about last year’s Christmas ornaments: “Grandpa hasn’t learned to carve eyes yet.”

Yep! Got me!

So, when I decided to mimic the “Whittle Dwarfs” carved by Don Stephenson and featured on Don Mertz’s “WoodBeeCarver” site, I added eyes. It’s a cute little gnome, just under 2 inches tall. … and it has eyes!

Cub Scout Neckerchief Slides

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

photo of bobcat and tiger cub neckerchief slidesOne of our grandchildren is working his way through the first year of Cub Scouts. All forms of scouting, at least in the U.S., have a set progression of ranks, or levels. First year Cub Scouts usually see two ranks: the Bobcat and the Tiger Cub. Part of the Cub Scout uniform is a neckerchief, which is held in place not by a tied knot, but by a slide. One of the only areas of a scout’s uniform where there is latitude for personal expression is the neckerchief slide. Here’s where Grandpa steps in and does some woodcarving.

My woodcarving interest so far, has been caricature carving, and not so much animal carvings. However, these scouting symbols are not much different than caricatures. They are simplified representations of the various animals: bobcat, tiger cub, wolf and bear.

pattern and reference photosCarving these has been a multifaceted learning experience. Part of the learning was getting an actual neckerchief and determining what size hole works well (answer 3/4″). Next was making patterns from a combination of the official emblems and from lots of reference photos scavenged from the internet.

One of the discussion forums I frequent often has requests from people saying “Where can I find a pattern for such and such?” My answer to those sorts of questions (which I don’t actually post) is “Doh! find some pictures and make your own patterns. It’s easy!” Then again, “Engineering Graphics” was one of the best college courses I took some 40+ years ago … and had the most expensive textbook I’ve ever bought. I thoroughly enjoyed that course and use many aspects of it to this day.

6 photos of bobcat neckerchief slide6 photos of tiger cub neckerchief slideOne need know two major things to successfully carve these slides.  A couple of bobcats made it onto the burn pile before I learned the first thing.

1. A carnivore’s eyes are located midway between the tip of the nose and the base of the ears. Get this right and the rest of the head is not too difficult. As a minor point, youngsters such as the tiger cub are generally softer and rounder than adults.

2. Coloring and distinctive markings are as important, maybe more, than actual shape. So, painting is “the cat’s meow.”

This grandson is pleased with the results. His slightly younger cousin will also be pleased to learn that Grandpa is learning how to carve eyes.