Monday, October 20, 2014

A Working Boat

 Our local Grandchildren were here for the weekend and as well as watching Thomas Tank Engine Videos and Snow White on VHS tape we worked in the workshop.

  My five year old grand son has been involved in a variety of projects with me in the shop and my three year old grand daughter is following his example.  Now Clara is a very focused cleaner in the shop which give rise to a new safety concerns, unlike her brother she is not scared of the big machines. He is cautious, she is fearless, and I am going to have to remember that at all times.

  However as Clara was cleaning with brush and dust pan, a role she has taken over from her brother he decided that we should make something. Inevitably he wanted another boat.  I have made many boats for him and as he gets older he has higher and higher expectations of Opa's Boat Works.

 For this boat, I thought I would put up small hurtle, a challenge if you will that he would have to surmount before I undertook to make another boat.  The challenge; I played dumb and told him that I couldn't build a boat without a plan.


  This is the plan for the working boat drawn by my five year old Grandson.  I added the labels as he explained the details of the plan. Also included is the scale if you wanted to make your own boat.  The boat has a crane on the front, he's seen this type of boat in Toronto and Hamilton harbour. The request was for eight square cargo containers, on which there were hooks so that the crane could pick them up and the captain's cabin is at the stern.

  The crane turns and has a hook to pick up the cargo containers and the hold of the boat has been routed out 1/2 inch with a straight bit in my Bosch Colt.  When we didn't have a crane with a telescopic boom he decided that there was a conveyor belt underneath to move the cargo forward. Isn't imagination a wonderful thing?

  I cut the hull out of a 2 x 8 and used some of the off cut for the cabin. Kieran used a hand saw to cut the dowels used in the crane as well as spent a good deal of time sanding the hull while I worked on cutting the cargo containers on my sliding mitre saw.

  The projects are getting more advanced and K wants to be more involved. My challenge is to find more ways for hand tools to be included in the process without making it too slow and frustrating. At this point he doesn't like to paint the boats, he says he like wood colour, but he also says he wants to play with the new boat: NOW, not wait for paint or glue to dry.

 Building needs to be good and quick.  Opa will have to work on his methods I guess.


Friday, October 17, 2014

The Cajon Project

  The Cajon drum is currently a fashionable folk instrument. It has a number of attractive points, it is not very loud, it is easy to play and fairly simple to make.  All of the above virtues gives it potential as a elementary school musical instrument. I have a long time friend teaching in a local elementary school that has commissioned two class sets of cajons for his kids, 30 drums in all.

  I am not by nature a production wood worker but the cause was good and there was a bit of profit in the project,(if I don't keep track of time invested too closely) and so I have under taken to make 30 Cajon drums.(with my friend's help)

1st. you begin with a pile of Baltic birch,
 7 sheets 1/2 inch and 4 sheets 1/8 inch.

 The next part of the task was work space, there was no way to comfortably work with 5 foot by 5 foot sheets of plywood in my down stairs shop.  Two saw horses with a sheet of plywood and some supporting pieces made a work table arrangement that was up to the task, when there were four hands available for moving the sheets and holding them firmly while cutting.

  The Kreg Rip Cut jig proved to be an excellent tool for cutting those sheets of plywood into 11 3/4 inch strips. There are two things which you need to be aware when taking on a job like this with a circular saw and a jig. One, the long arm of the jig makes clamping the wood a problem, thus the need for an extra set of hands. Second, the jig doesn't have much registration left as you get to the very end of the cut and so you have to be very, very careful not to nip the end a bit as you finish the cut.Keeping those things in mind the jig worked a charm.

 As well as a good jig I used an excellent saw blade. The Freud blade I used cut very smoothly with nearly no tear out, the edges of the Cajons will need only the lightest sanding, just enough to break the edge, not to hide tear out.

some of the plywood ready to be cross cut.

  I will cut the plywood to length with my sliding mitre saw because I want to work in my shop where it is warm rather than in the garage where the only heat is supplied by mother nature, not because I think it will do any better job than the circular saw with the good blade.

  Next week I am away on holiday so the blog posts will be atmospheric, not practical.

  cheers, ianw