Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saturday Afternoon in The Shop

My last blog showed the preparations for Kieran and I to make his tool box.

My Helper bringing the box he stands on to work at the bench.
 The original plan, ( my plan ) was to assemble the tool box and then assemble the bird house that was to hang on the back fence. The original plan was for a two room bird house with a flat roof.

  I had pre-cut all the pieces and we were going to screw them together.  I used some more from my cache of barn boards, since the boards are 1 inch thick and bird houses ideally are made from thicker wood to make for more stable internal temperature. Also the boards are seriously weathered and look the part.

  Well...., my plan and the young architect's plans turned out to be different. I wouldn't have traded away the afternoon for a whole shop on new tools but...it was an education for Opa. ( I did have to do some fast talking and faster cutting)

  First thing, he wasn't interested in making his tool box.  He was focused on the bird house, and he had his own design in mind, he decided that bird houses have peaked roofs. The other bird houses we've made had peaks and so this one needed one too. He wanted a second floor added with another bird apartment and a peaked roof. We arrived at a compromise, no less of a bird housing monstrosity. 

  


  I had not prepared enough wood for his plan and so we added a chalet roof line with a dividing wall inside so there are now two apartments upstairs and two down. One of the challenges to projects with little helpers is to have something for them to do. We did some hand sawing on the late design addition but mostly what he does best is drill and drive screws. I bought a 12 volt drill driver  like the Milwaukee so that it would fit his smaller hands better than my larger drill. He found it very satisfying to be able to drive the screws by himself. (stick with red Roberston)  

  I will have to do some serious rebuilding on the bird house before I can put it out.  We don't even have a tree big enough to hold a four apartment bird house like this yet. And don't think we want to feature quite as distinctive birdhouse as that on our fence. It will however have to go up some place, because it will be looked for next visit.

  Condo Hammer - Woodworking  

  In the second project of the day, his idea, Kieran was able to use another of the tools from his yet to be completed tool box.  I bought him an apartment owners hammer.  He thought it was heavy but the short handle meant that he could hit the nail and drive it in were the really light tack hammer required much better aim and greater swing speed. 


  The boat crazy boy decided that we should make an aircraft carrier.  We have already made river boats, and tugs and sail boats. Thank goodness for the internet and Images.  We looked up aircraft carrier photos, together we drew out a design, yes he helped with the actually drawing, it was a chance for me to introduce the 24 inch ruler and the square.

  Once we made the flight deck I cut out a hull from 2 by 12 and we made the command tower from scraps. K used his short handled hammer to nail the deck to the hull using brass nails.  I held the brads with needle nose pliers while he hammered them in. I am not really happy with the flight deck material, the edge is a bit chippy, but he and I sanded the edge and the ship went home with him today. We are going to have to revisit the flight deck soon. I didn't have a large enough piece of Baltic birch on hand, the deck is 21 by 12 inches. 

  My next commission is planes to go on the flight deck. 

  My grand daughters are too young to be working in the shop yet although the 3 year old does help sweeping,a bit. However when the girls get big enough, they will be invited to build things with Opa.

  There is nothing better than working in the shop with my little helper. (even when the result is truly butt ugly)

  
  


Friday, July 25, 2014

A Very Important Project.

Today Kieran, his sister, Mum and Oma are having 'A Day Out With Thomas'.

Thomas Tank Engine 1.JPG

 While they are out for the day I have been working on a very important project.  For Kieran's Fifth birthday I promised him that we would build a real tool box and begin filling it with real tools so that he can work with Opa in the shop. His birthday was at the beginning of the summer and this is the first time he will be here with time to work in the shop. 


  The tool box is 16 by 6 by 8 inches.  The ends and bottom are made from 1/2 Baltic birth plywood and the sides are 1/4.  I have cut the whole thing out and marked all the spots that need to be drilled for assembly.  Drilling is something at which K is good. He also likes to use a drill to drive screws, the box will be partly glued and screwed and partly glued and nailed.  Once assembled he needed to sand the assembly and then we'll finish it with shellac. 

  To keep the handle small but sturdy I am using 1/2 copper pipe rather than a wooded dowel.  I also kept the tool box narrow so that a small person could carry it without it bumping their leg.

  In an ideal world he and I would have cut the parts out together but sheet stock is awkward to handle, and is dealt with best by bench tools.  A keen 5 year old would not have had a positive experience in the shop doing the cut out stage. He would have been stuck sitting on a chair watching the work get done.   Maybe down the road he and I can make a tool box from real wood and he can do all the work.  He has done some cutting with a hand saw and used a block plane once, developing those skills requires time and stronger hands than the little boy has, yet.


  There is nothing radical about this tool box, he will now have a version of the tool box his great Grandpa had, (its in the shop), his Opa has, his Uncle Leroy made in public school wood shop and next we'll have to make one for his Daddy. 


  This is the selection of tools that will go in his tool box to start him off.  Kieran was quite excited to think that he was going to have 'real' tools so he could help in the shop. Most of the tools are not new but all of them will help him build and fix things until he finds his way in the world and decides what he needs for his shop.

  I hope that it rains tomorrow so he will want to play in the shop with me.

cheers, ianw