Tuesday, October 18, 2016

When dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and Workshop

  When the time comes, which is most assuredly will, and you are downsizing your life, it is likely that your woodworking shop will have to downsize too.  Your new digs will probably be in a condo, or an apartment someplace convenient to your day to day needs and not out in the country on a lovely concession road far from the madding crowd.  You will no longer have to shovel your own snow or mow you own lawn but the total freedom of wandering into your shop and making saw dust any time you'd like will also pass away.  Or must it?

  Elements of our far flung family are currently visiting and my little grand daughters are filling my days will delight and confusion. Have you ever noticed how much a three year old has to say,  how difficult they are to understand and how frustrated they become with your lack of understanding? 

  What I did understand is that the big one (3 year ) likes dinosaurs.  In ages past I scroll sawed many 5 and 6 piece dino puzzles. This afternoon I cut out a puzzle, the first in a couple of years. And I discovered that I enjoyed it again.

   Purely by happy accident I made a brachiosaurus, (more or less) and its her favourite.  I think the brachiosaurus has been discovered/identified since I was into dinosaurs as a kid.  
  This little project reminded me how much satisfaction can be derived with so few tools and so little space.  I used my table top scroll saw to cut the puzzle out. I had a piece of pine that was a couple of feet long from which I cut the puzzle, there is room left for several more.  This sort of wood can be bought in any size at big box store and they'll even cut it into bit sized pieces if you can't fit full length boards on the back of your bicycle, or on the bus.

  After the dino was cut out I used a couple of files and some sand paper to smooth down the imperfections that come of lack of practise and shazam....a toy for a little person, a very happy little person.  That is as satisfying as any project I have done in some time.

  A scroll saw or small band saw, a couple of hand saws and an assortment of other hand tools can be used to make small projects with large satisfaction quotients and don't you forget it.

cheers, ianw

 Image result for brachiosaurus


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Hammer Time

 This week our other grand children are visiting us from Europe and so we now have a one year old and a three year old (and their parents) staying with us.  Nap times and early bed times are going to impact shop time somewhat, and the fact that I'd rather play on the floor with a baby then work in my shop are going to impact shop time too.  
 In advance of their arrival I had a quick project to do.  The three year old likes to hammer. So I made her a bench and mallet for hammering.

  The blue bench part is mostly maple with a bit of poplar. The top pivots on two dowels so the wooden 'nails' don't actually come out, so they can't get lost. This way you pound in the 'nails' then flip the top over and pound them back again.

  The mallet didn't have enough mass to be effective and so I drilled it through on my drill press and glued steel ball bearings inside then glued plugs into the ends.

  Since the bench is made from hard wood all the screw holes needed to be pre-bored. The top pivoting on dowel inserts needed to be fairly accurately drilled too.  When I am doing a  small project like this I really prefer to do all the hole drilling on my drill press.  Whether you spend $99.99 or $899.99 I really believe that a shop needs to have a drill press.  In a pinch you can also use your drill press for sanding and buffing.  I still use an old  drill press as a spindle sander, I know it is a compromise but thus far I have been satisfied with the results.

 I am continuing work on the sofa table too.  Since everyone is out for High Tea I have had some quiet time to cut and shape the taper's on the tables' legs. I have the skirt to machine from large stock and then it is all about sanding and assembly.

  We've been having unseasonably lovely weather, I hope you have too.  Get out and enjoy yourselves, snow/work shop season is just around the corner.

cheers, Ianw