Monday, July 30, 2012

Hand Cut Dovetails

I begin with this box just in  case you didn't know what a dovetail joint was.  Of course, if you didn't know about dovetails, you probably aren't reading this blog.

drawer box sizes
none of the hand cut dovetail people would ever be caught dead working in Plywood,  that is why I used this photo, clearly it is not any of the people listed below, so I have shown no favouritism or preference 

YouTube video showing both tails and pins being cut.

Wikipedia's entry on Dove Tails.

Chris Schwarz's "Five Dovetails Personalities" 

Hand cut dovetails after 50 , an internet entry that inspired me give it a try again

The Village Carpenter , a very good video showing technique

  All of those entries influence my thinking, I have books in the basement and once sent three days watching Rob Cosman cutting dovetails in a sales both next to mine at west coast wood show. Certainly i have a high level of dovetail awareness, now the question is whether awareness will lead to a change in behaviour. 

    I have cut a few dove tails for projects.  Note: I am not showing  mine when there are so many good examples out there to show.

  Maybe, when the weather cools down I will get more active in the shop and give it a go on more time.

cheers, IanW

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Canadian Success Story

Grit Laskins has been making guitars as long as I have been playing them, and they are a work of art in wood

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sanding Boards - shop tip

   A while ago I was at a clearance sale and bought a couple of boxes of sanding belts, very, very cheaply.  The belts were so cheap because the glue joint that held the belt together and dried out to the point that the belts would only run for a couple of minutes on the sander and then fall apart.
   I do a fair amount of sanding and $0.25 per belt is a really good price.  I had hoped that the seller was just being extra careful not to sell a disappointing product, but when I got them home, the belts fell apart almost instantly when put on my sander.

   I wasn't too up set, I decided to cut the belts into smaller pieces and use them on a sanding block.

   Then..... I had an inspiration:

    You know how sometimes the project pieces are too small to sand with your belt sander or orbital sander and you end up fussing around with a hand sanding block.

    When I hand sand now I often use those old sanding belts on a sanding board.

the board is 3/4 plywood about 32 inches long

I tacked 60 grit on one side and 120 grit on the other and drilled a hole on top to hang it up.

    This set up gives me a flat surface on which to sand small pieces and since the belt is more than two feet long I can remove a good amount of material quickly and evenly.  A further bonus is the belts can be cleaned easily with a crepe block just as if they were on your belt sander.

    A cheap and handy shop tip

Monday, July 23, 2012

Just a Dream

the burning of Atlanta.

   Last night I had a long and detailed dream, actually a nightmare.  I dreamt that my family and I were battling to keep fire from consuming our yard and our home.  It was a vivid dream and I can't imagine why I had it last night, fire is not a common theme in my dreams. Fortunately, I awaken before the conclusion of the dream, I have decided that the story would have had a happy ending.
   So,  I took the dream as a "sign".  I checked out our fire extinguisher and the fire/smoke alarms all over the house.  We've been in the house four years and I don't remember checking the alarms, they are hard wired so batteries aren't an issue but they should be checked to see that  they are working properly, the one in the shop could easily fill with dust and become inoperable. 

  I also plan to pick up a little ABC fire extinguisher for the shop when I am out next.  Safe is better than, sorry.

  As a foot note to this story,  as a young man the apartment in which I lived burned and I was left standing on the side walk in a change of clothes holding my pet cat.  It was a long time ago but a set back none-the-less.  I guess it is still active in the back of my mind.

  Do you have a plan to deal with a fire?  

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday-the blog report

 If this blog has a theme it is catching you up, with what's been going on in my shop and my life.

So, Part the First
 A couple  of Friday's ago; not the hottest day in recorded history, but a day that finished a close second we had 82 square feet of stone and 1/4 yard of screenings delivered to our back gate.  We put our heads down and went to work putting in this little patio.  We need the patio since our house has a lower level walk-out that was either wet, or muddy or covered with poor quality grass, it always looked a mess.
   After fussing over what to do and exploring the possibilities of plastic composite "wood" product we decided that the thing that resists wet and hides mud best is stone.  We went local, the stone is a Hanson product made in Ontario.  Eva laid the stones and I carried them down the hill from the street, a heavy and tiring job but clearly worth it.  In all the job took about five hours of serious focused work.

Part the Second:

   This is the project that I started a week or so ago.  It got put aside when the Grand kids arrived, mostly because I would rather play with them than make boxes for re-cycling. I made the two bins to fit under the coffee machine and they sit on a wheeled base.  This arrangement is easy to move around and not too heavy to haul out to the garage on garbage day.  Eventually the boxes will get painted to match the unit under which it is sitting, eventually.  It was  a "use up scraps" project that used shallow dados to give the project just a little more strength and make building the boxes a little more interesting.

Part the Third:
Scott SUB 10 Bike - 2012
   Last week I bought one of these bikes, a Scott SUB 10.  I have owned a variety of bikes over the years, in some seasons I'd ridden more than 2000 km, one year I rode over 5000km. Needless to say serious riding, by a XL size guy beats bikes to death, eventually the gears don't shift and the brakes are broken and riding is barely controlled chaos.   In spite of my preaching about using good tools, I allowed my self to ride a bike that was worn out and prone to break downs for way too long.  I was spending more time fixing than I was riding, and should have known better.    After two very frustrating days in a row last week, I finally caught on, and bought a new bike, with new technology.

  This morning my wife and I went for a bike ride on the local rail trail, it was the first day that a cyclist wouldn't be roasted while riding and so we went out for 50 km together. On the rail trail we passed by a patch of wild black berries, and each ate several handfuls.

 Working in the shop is one of my pleasures in life. Riding the bike and improving my general health and extending my life to work in the shop is an other pleasure.

   Fresh, wild local berries,  are a special treat and these are far enough out of town that it would be cyclists only that find  them.  I plan to get there again before the season is past.

   There will be time for shop projects, but the time spent in the fresh air with family and friends is good  time too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

Puma Knife-home made sheath

The Puma White Hunter is a very famous straight knife, and one that is sought by collectors, I am told. I am a folding knife guy, and yes I have some that are just  collected, not for hard use.

   The one in the above photo belongs to a buddy of mine and while the knife is well know the sheath is the star of this blog.  The knife owner, Clive is a serious camper and canoe tripper and so had serious tools for his adventures, one of them is this knife.  If you linked to the Puma home page you saw that a White Hunter is not a tool you want to lose while packing your gear over a portage in Algonquin Park.  Puma makes a leather sheath with a safety string you are supposed to thread through the hole in the handle and then tie off.

Clive's solution, one that can be used one handed was to make his own sheath and add a thong with a monkey fist braided on the end.  The person carrying the knife just loops the thong over the hilt of the knife in a clove hitch and pulls it tight.  A clove hitch is easy to form and to undo, but stays tight once tied. Probably the ideal knot for this application, and I agree with Clive, a better solution to keeping your knife safe that the factory supplied solution.


Friday, July 13, 2012

20 Years of Roy

This post is sort of a "no brainer". 

   Popular Woodworking is copying twenty years of "The Woodwright's Shop" to DVD and selling them on line.  The link will take you to their blog and onto the Twentieth Anniversary show, on-line for all the world to see.  It is a fun thirty minutes.
   We wood workers are better off for the efforts of Roy and Norm, and for Canadians, John Silloates.

Ian W.

P.S.  an important workshop tool in the summer time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chisel Rack

   As I work on projects I also work to make my shop space more efficient and easier to keep clean.  Recently someone commented that a workshop is never finished, which I believe to be true.  The nature of the projects change and new tools arrive and old ones depart, all of which means floor space and bench space evolve over time.

   On the wall above my bench I made a rack for my chisels last winter, I knew that it was a prototype so I didn't make it out of nearly nice wood, when it was done it was OK but immediately I began redesigning the rack to use less space.

 The first thing I did was lay out one set of chisels to give me an idea of the spacing I needed.
    Next I cut out a bunch of spacers and glued and nailed it all together.
    Again this is a prototype, but this time I really like the design, it takes up much less space and can hold chisels two row deep, the trick.

  The two racks are attached to the wall at one end with a hinge.  When I don't need access, I push the rack against the wall where it is held firmly out of the way by rare-earth magnets.  This makes much better use of the space.  Now I need to find the time to make quality racks with good hinges and then the chisel storage question will be solved for all time.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Old Clock

As I continue to rave about wood this clock comes to mind. 
This is the label that is pasted to the bottom of this clock.  

   Twenty nine years ago I made that clock for my Grandmother. She has been gone for a few years now and the clock sits in our bedroom.  My Grandmother and my Wife are flower lovers and so the clock face continues to be popular.

   In 1983 I was living at home and working in a factory down the street raising money to go back to school.  I always made my had money to pay for post secondary education before I went to school, so I always graduated with no debt.  Also I worked at couple of heavy, boring and poor paying jobs, these taught me to go back to school and get some marketable qualifications. 

   In the back yard of my parents house is a small workshop, about 10 by 12 that I built and then worked in for a couple of years.  This clock is one of several I made back then, it is constructed from reclaimed lumber and painted with 5 or 6 coats of latex paint.  I remember painting and sanding, and painting and sanding, just like you would with a varnish finish.  What I got for my efforts was a mirror smooth white finish that has stood the test of time for 29 years. (not bad).

   I was replacing the battery today and see that I could take sometime and do another paint job, there is a good chance that will be the last one that I have to do.

   I also did a search and find that Murray Clock Craft is still in business.  I bought  my faces and my clock works from them years ago.  It is nice to see a company that has stayed in business for so long.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Mitre Saw Dust Control

  Last March I wrote a blog about mitre saws of various types, I really like my saw and use it all the time.  If you click this link you will see a very good system to reduce the saw dust and blow by dust that you get when working with your saw.

I strongly encourage you to check out the link and watch the video.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cabinet Shop at Colonial Williamsburg

This modest building is the cabinet makers shop in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.  This shop has serious Roy Underhill connections, the hot link is just in case you don't know who Roy is?  If you don't, you probably aren't reading this blog anyway.

  This photo came to my attention from another blog that I follow, Tom's Workshop.  Tom sets out each week to introduce a blog or site by another woodworker so that ideas can go around and around.

  My wife and I went to Williamsburg a couple of years ago, it was great.  I only had about a thousand questions to ask that they patiently answered them all.  The entire experience at Williamsburg in all aspects was worth the trip and would be worth another trip in the future.

Williamsburg Website

Monday, July 2, 2012

Completed Boat

A small boy and his new boat
   Sunday was Kieran's birthday, he is the apple of many people's  eye's and so he gets many great gifts each year.  This year he requested that Opa make him a sail boat. Last week you saw the work in progress, today the result.

the sail was made by Oma
   Oma also made K a Titanic cake,
chocolate and white cake with layers of icing and the iceberg was whipped cream. He loved the boat cake, but the one I made will out last the Titanic.

   It was very interesting, K immediately latched onto his blue boat and seldom put it down.  It was not because the boat was/is beautiful, I think it is because it is wood.  Wood have a feel to it that no amount of plastic can replace.