Thursday, April 2, 2020

Small Projects and an IKEA knock off

  My Grand kids were here for a couple of days on the weekend and as well as rambling adventures in the 'Dark Forest' behind our house the kids worked on various projects with Oma and I.

  Clara and Oma cooked, they made home made pasta and pizza including the dough and cup cakes, (from scratch).

  The batter and icing was filled with orange zest, those were not ordinary cupcakes.  Clara also has learned how to crochet slippers.  She has learned that things you make yourself bring the most satisfaction. 

  My grandson arrived with a project plan in mind, including dimensions.  He wanted a shelving unit upon which to display his many LEGO projects. He wanted a unit 75 inches long, 31 inches high with three shelves.  Once we seriously examined his plan it became clear that the unit would not fit into any of our cars to deliver it to their home.  We redesigned the unit into two pieces and then cut out all the sections, drilled the necessary holes and even counted out and packaged the screws.

  This project was a useful  learning experience for us.  The young fellow learned how to be a good table saw helper . Safety and operating procedures  are important things to learn from the very beginning.

  We are trying to keep a low profile and stay close to home and so it is a good time for maintenance and improvisation.  I have been sharpening tools as well as culling old finishes and lumber.  It is also a good time to replace glued sanding disks.


  My father made this sander/grinder for his shop when I was a kid. On the right side is a aluminium disk I bought in a tool store years ago to replace a plywood disk.  I have been using the sanding disk for a long time cleaning it with a crepe block. Finally I used my heat gun to loosen the glue and replace the paper.

  On the left side is the original sanding disk, a plywood disk with a 5/8 centre hole.  I had stopped using the wood disk, it flexed.  I decided to improvise and so found an old 7 inch saw blade, a plywood blade with lots of little teeth and glued it to the plywood disk.  Now I have two grits available to me 80 and 150. 

  I am working on 45 degree jigs in my shop now.  I have a couple of mitre corner boxes I want to make from thin wood, too thin to cut accurately with the mitre saw. I plan to rough cut the wood to length and refine the 45 degree mitre using hand tools.  The glue is setting and the jig will be in use tomorrow.

  I am a home body and so don't find the current situation a strain but if you do.  Hang in there, this is a short term aggravation  to avoid long term unhappiness.

cheers, ianw

Friday, March 27, 2020

Woodworking and Making

   I was not aware that "making" was a thing as I grew up, because I lived in a family of "makers".  We often made things that we wanted and until computer chips invaded all aspects of life home made things were pretty good.

  I am still a "maker" as well as a wood worker.  Something I have done for years is make books.  I took a book binding course at college 35 years ago and have bound my own note books since then.  Recently I have been making sketch books for my Grand Children.  My most recent book:

6 x 9 inch pages.

    I mixed a variety of techniques to make a sketch book from mixed-media paper and I recycled the card stock from a frozen pizza box for the cover.  I may need to re-enforce the corners before the book is used up.  I  have 24 pages stitched with waxed thread which makes for a study and useful sketch book.  This is an easy thing to do in a 'wood shop' all you need is glue, half a dozen spring clamps and a sharp knife.  I've been doing things with re-used paper for years. 

   While I've been puttering about in my shop my wife has been very busy finishing her latest stained glass project.

  To enable Eva to work as high as she needed we created a platform upon which the ladder stood.  The platform is oak church pew (3/4 inch) Since I have a well equipped shop the wood is firmly clamped together and then clamped to my two saw benches, with the wings supported by stools.  Eva wasn't interested in taking any risks while working on the ladder.

  Eva  carefully hung 60 pieces of cut stained glass to finish the entrance way light fixture.  

    In the wood shop I have been working on a crochet hook case from Eva.

  I opted to drill out the interior of the case.  In the past I have tried to use a router to clear out material but I have not had success.  The router is an excellent tool in practised hands, but mine aren't,  so drilling out the waste material works most comfortably for me.  This particular forstner bit has had its centre bit ground off to make clean up easier.

  These weights hold the inserts down while the glue dries.  My original plan was to use small hinges on this box, but the cheap salvaged hinges would not provide good enough alignment.  I decided to use leather for the hinge.

  The inside of the hook case remains only to be varnished and this project is done.  I will search out a small hook/latch once I am out and shopping again.

  While doing these various small things and waiting for the glue to dry I have been sorting out and throwing away things in the shop.  I knew I saved stuff.  But the saved stuff is beginning to impinge on the reason that it was saved.  So far I've filled a garbage bag with solid wood finishes and useless cleaning rags.  I had many small jars with a 1/2 cup of stain, or vanish, or oil or ..... All of which is passed being useful and it is time it was tossed out.   I have also been sharpening things, my 'day to day'  chisels are over due for attention as are some shop knives.  

  The biggest issue is going to be the back of the shop.  I have a shelving unit that is the catch all, dumping zone for all manner of scraps and found  bits.  Before I get into it in a big way I need to hang another work light in that dark corner.  Have you even noticed that one job leads to another?

  I'm baking bread, varnishing projects and vacuuming the house today, as well as blogging. Really, luckily, I haven't been forced to change my life much.

  cheers, ianw