Monday, July 29, 2013

Project of Necessity

     In the Harry Potter books there is a room at Hogwarts School called the Room of Necessity that you can only find when you really need it.  Leave it to the Magic world to create the ultimate port-a-potty.  Anyway, I am a muggle and so have to make my own things the old fashioned way.


   This is the glue up of the project before I got serious with the band saw and sanders.  I made the bulk of the project from Red Elm, heavy and strong with a challenging course grain.  The top of the project is pine, soft and easy to work.

    There is the finished project, why a project of necessity?  Since my back has decided to go out of its way to make my life difficult I am always accompanied by a cane/stick. I use the stick to help me down and up from chairs and to take some strain off my right leg when I am walking or standing.  Happily I do not need the stick all the time, depending on how much discomfort I am willing to tolerate. As the day go one I get less tolerant. The stick  has become like reading glasses, I don't need all the time, but I always need it close at hand.


    You can see that there is a lanyard on the stick.  This is my motorcycling stick.  I can sling it over my shoulder while I am riding and so have it to use while I am off the bike.  I have been able to get out for a couple of short bike rides recently and plan to keep going whenever I can, hence the need for a motorcycling stick.

   Why necessity?  It was easier to make a stick then find a place to buy one, and riding the Honda is a necessity.  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lathe Spindle Sizing Trick

  As I was cruising around the net today I happened on a cool idea.  Lathe work is something that I enjoy and am spending more  on recently.  One of the reasons that I got a lathe in the first place was because I needed some over sized dowels for a project a few years ago.  I had been taught to use callipers to measure the material as I removed wood and that method was pretty effective but I just saw a new idea on the net.(or at least new to me).

  Check out this video

  If you look at the video at one minute you can see that the pre-drilled size gauge  is hanging on the tail stock ready to be slide onto the spindle to check the size any time the woodworker wants it.  I think that is quicker and easier than callipers.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Shop Tip - Super Glue and you

  In March 2011 I reviewed a glue product called "the last glue". I maintain my opinion that it is a very good product, and I think that it will glue nearly anything to anything as they claim. Certainly it glued anything I wanted but silicone wonderfully.  However, I have used the glue for several years and always end up throwing at  least half of it away.  In the course of use the balance of the glue gets contaminated and sets in the bottle and least half of it gets wasted.  The problem is that there is much more glue than I have need of, and so time takes it toll and the balance is wasted.  

  Since I will never get myself in to a high production situation I have either to buy the glue and bear the cost or.....I found another solution.

  While I don't think this glue product is as good as "the last Glue", it is good enough, very reasonably  priced (cheap one could say) and comes as four tiny tubes rather than one large tube of adhesive.

    I have found that I occasionally  need a tiny drop of this glue to repair a problem with a wood carving, or glue on an eye or something of that sort. If in the process the tube gets contaminated  or the top glues itself to the tube, que sera, sera.  Throw the tube out and get another, much less glue is lost.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Why Wood ? - a bit of personal history in wood.

   In the summer of 1972 my father had earned one months vacation and the family decided that we were going to travel to Prince Edward Island in the big old family car.  I had just competed gr.8 and my little brother gr. 2.  There was no way on earth that I was going to be trapped in a car for days with a little brother and parents. (and besides I just like to be at home best).  The result was that Mom, Dad and brother had a great trip to the east coast and I got to stay with my Grandparents for a month. I didn't get to stay home exactly, but I always had my own room at Grama and Grampa's house, so it was the next best thing. 

Bracebridge Falls

   My Great Grandfather was the mason/bricklayer that built the building with the clock tower in this photo. My Mother's father was an electrician on that job too.  Once a bank and once the town hall and now I don't know what is using the building.  I've not been back to the town in a few years.

 I remember that month as a great time filled with cookies, ice cream, wood chips and a mighty and frightening thunder storm.

  My Grandfather was a wood worker, he renovated a couple of houses and built wooden runabouts, similar to the one in this photo, and just generally made stuff out of wood, he even made skis. 

      One of the tools that my Grandfather had was a wood lathe, it was a home made affair and the chisels were made from leaf springs and old files but it worked. I thought is was the best lathe in the world. Grampa had the lathe to make cant hook handles and ladder rungs, very old school and very practical.

a cant hook, a tool used to control and roll logs.
My Grandfather worked at a hydro electric power house  sometimes the workers pulled logs from the river that got caught in the boom above the dam.

   In shop class that year I had turned a bowl and so knew everything about wood turning. ( isn't youth great).  And after much pestering I was able to get Grampa to let me play with his lathe.  We went to the local bush and got some white birch and I went to work making wood chips in the garage. The other day I was rummaging around in a storage drawer and found this:

not the soda can, the candle holder!!

    which brought back happy and vivid memories.

   That little candle holder is a project dating from that summer in Bracebridge in my Grampa's garage.  I think my Mom has the other candle holder and I remember making a bigger spindle but don't know where it ended up.  Maybe my other Grandma got it.  

60170 <br> 5 Speed Mini Lathe Close-Up
my lathe,  the model is no longer available

    If you are looking for a small, quiet shop tool it is hard to complete with a bench top lathe.  A basic lathe and a hand full of serviceable chisels does not have to break the bank.  You can spend all winter making a set of chessmen and only use a couple of board feet of lumber, so materials don't have to blow your budget either. 

   I now have two grand daughters and fully expect that my candle holder will find it way into one of their households and be a presence long after I am gone.  That's why? Wood.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Silly? Maybe not? Also some wood stuff

* EarthBlender Drill-Powered Garden Cultivator

   I can see this being a problem for a cordless drill but....a 1/2 inch mixing drill might be just the ticket.    This could be a other reason to buy that drill dedicated to mixing drywall and other low speed, high torque grunting type jobs.

sanded to 400 grit, finished with Hemp seed Oil, I love the colour

love the grain

     The boards sitting on the router table are a baguette board and a small handled serving board made from re-claimed white oak.  
    Last winter I got a call from a guy that was tearing an older home apart (renovating) and he said that he had a bunch of nice oak.  Did we want it for the wood carving/wood working club at the Seniors centre?  I drove out to the place and filled my station wagon with bits and pieces of trim and shelving and odds and ends that he had torn from the inside of the house.  All of the wood had nail holes and embedded screws and other hazards but... once it was culled and considered there were enough nice pieces to serve our needs well.  The club got a good pile of wood for carving and I kept some for small projects.

   I think the results show for themselves, once I got the ugly "golden oak" stain and dirt off the boards and worked around the nail holes the result makes me happy.  I love wood, it is almost eternal, I was glad we are able to reuse this and that it didn't end up in land fill.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Not Woodworking, summer time

Kay Home Prod. 30002 Charcoal BBQ Hibachi Steel Stamped Marsh Allen

   Remember when this was the Bar B Q?  For years my brother bought one of these at the beginning of the season (for cheap) and lined it with aluminium foil when it started to rot away, and usually by the end of the season the wooden handles had burned off.  But we where innocents and didn't know that our burgers where less than perfect and that to have a great burger you must spent hundreds of dollars and cook with gas, and probably have a side burner or two.

  Generally I am not in favour of disposable objects.  Usually I advocate for quality and longevity, in this case,  I think a $12.00 bbq is a good deal.  If you want to try old school bbq I have attached a link   to how to make a charcoal chimney  fire starter.

   Try and survive the heat wave, cook out and maybe have a cold beer or two.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Why Wood ? Wood Chip Art

I am going to collect a series of photos from my email and re-post them into this blog.  I have decided not to try and link from email, to email, to email post etc.   The photos are from a friend of mine that collects and sends interesting stuff.
Wood Chips.......
This man takes wood chips, soaks them in water for many days, using a tree from Russia (Red Cedar).Then he starts building his pieces which takes him about 6 months, 10 hours a day to finish. He was offered a lot of money for 1 piece but will not sell any.
Enjoy the pictures. What wonderful work....

    Pretty amazing stuff.

   On another track entirely.
   I follow, and though I have never met Derek I feel that I know him a little bit because of his Blog and website I've learned many new things from him and watched as his shop life has developed.  If you are interested in the emotional/philosophical side of woodworking you may want to look in and read what Derek has to say about his take on woodworking. 

   He is moving ever closer to the "Hand Tool Only", ( Royite) woodworking club.  Dan at Dan's Shop  also has joined the "Royite" hand tool world.  I am not a dedicated  "Normite" (all power all the time) but there are aspects of what I do in my shop that requires power tools.  For example, I make and sell cutting boards. 

 I can make cutting boards by hand, body would pay what they cost to make.  Table saws, jointers, and planers make cutting boards cost effective.  Power tools also make it fast and easy to make those practical, functional, none art items like flower boxes and shelving in the basement etc.  For Arts and Crafts or High Art furniture  I can see hand tools only.  I guess like in so many things I have one foot on the dock and one foot in the boat. (Lets hope I can keep my balance).


Friday, July 12, 2013

Necklace Jewellery Box Pt. 2

   Actually Pt.2 is nearly the end.  A few blogs ago I showed the basic project clamped and un-clamped.  I had decided on hinges, but then opted for brass instead of dark iron.

 I felt the brass looked better with the roasted maple and oak.  The roasted maple is very deep brown, almost black, a really nice colour.  I learned also that the roasted Maple was a real pain to work with, sanding it filled the shop with dust that stained the other wood if it got damp.  The fine dust just stuck and stained anything it touched.  I am thinking of trying to make a "stain" from some of the sanding dust and varnish, I'm not sure that the dust actually dissolves or not, it is almost ash texture, from being roasted.  I'll keep you up to date on developments, a really nice brown, with no red in it stain would be nice to have sometimes.
26 hooks, if you are counting
   The back board is plywood, I needed it to be thinner that I was comfortable making the oak.  So you can see that there are two rows of hooks in the back and only one row in the front or door section.  

    You can also see the two big feet upon which the case stands, but I found the oak door was heavy enough that I needed a little tiny baby foot on the door to provide balance when the case is open.  I also see from this photo that there is some dust collected on the bottom corner, fear not, it will get thoroughly rubbed down before being put into service.

    I used Tom's Finish on the case work and will add one quick coat of wax before I send it away.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

KREG Multi-Mark KMA 2900

Kreg KMA2900 Multi-Mark Lay-Out Tool 14507

  The supplied photo can be a bit miss leading. 
  The reality is there is only one metal straight edge.  But.. there is no real reason to complain.  The 45 degree angle is bang on, the try square setting:

  is exactly 90 degrees, the straight edge is imperial on one side and metric on the other.  I was just building a project and used this lay-out tool over and over.  

  When I am fitting hardware, hinges, hasps etc. I use a square and a depth gauge so that I can fit things accurately usually I turn to this tool as my depth gauge.

  When I am taking a tool box to a work site, (kids house) I take my KREG Multi-Mark Lay-Out Tool.  I like its versatility  it is four tools but I only have to carry one up the stairs from the shop. 

  A funny little aside, from

Fundex The Original Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine 18252

     This could become the most popular tool in your shop, according to the grand kids. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Wooden walking stick

   For about fifteen years my parents lived at the cottage  for the summer and over the course of those years my Father carved lots of turtles and feathers and he also made walking sticks.

  When he gave me this stick I doubt if he imaged me needing it to help my mobility  I suspect he figured it would be used for rambling though the bush, turning over rocks and helping we walk across wet and slippery stones in creeks. That is what walking sticks are for, you can walk faster over broken country with the help of a stick than you can unaided.

   Since my Father is not around any longer I can't ask him what sort of tree the burl came from, but it makes a very nice grip.

   My Father chose the wood, wild cherry and the burl but my Mom painted the humming bird.  I am lucky to have such a supportive stick, from a supportive family.

   The latest back news: I was out and about for a bit the last couple of days, so, yesterday I spent the entire day on my back, and missed am important birthday party.

   One of the things that I was doing on Friday when I was getting around a bit, was dead heading our roses. (45 feet of rose bushes, in flower amazing.)

   Can't forget the front of the house.

      If you are going to do a job like that get pruners like these Fiskers.  You don't need full blown pruning shears, and a multi-tool like those Fiskers might keep you from cutting plastic and cord and crap with your good pruning shears.(maybe)

   I am on my feet a bit today. I'll be trying to do some work in the shop.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Necklace Jewellery Box

    I couple of seasons ago I made a prototype of jewellery box to store necklaces.  My wife has dozens of necklaces from all over the place and for a long time the strings of beans etc. lived a tangled life in a shoe box.  Sometimes it took longer to get the accessories sorted out then getting all dressed up. 

   The solution was a box that featured a bunch of hooks and room for things to hang.  The version is made from left over poplar and actually nailed together, left unfinished.   This is definitely a prototype.

   After a while, a year?? I have got going on making a quality version of this jewel case.

   This is the fully clamped and drying box that I started with to make the new case.  This example is built from oak, roasted oak and the corners are mitred.  

    Next I cut the box apart I got two equal halves that will be hinged on the left side. I bought the hinges last evening and I need to figure out some nice feet.
Surface Face Hinge

    After the feet are designed and attached I will begin the finishing process. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

More Stuff for the Grand Kids.

    I have been struggling to get back working in my shop.  Today was the first day in three months that I was able to really take on a serious project.  And at that,  it is tough to work when hopping around on one leg part of the time or resting on a walking stick. Soon I will be better and/or more use to limited mobility, (no heavy lifting and almost no bending down to get stuff off the floor) and maybe only small scale projects from now on.  Time will tell.

   Anyway, I started work on a jewellery box made from oak and roasted maple, once today's glue dries you can see some photos of the project as it develops. 

   The minion and the penguin, that is the type of thing I have been doing while laying on my back for the last couple of weeks.  I carved the two little fellows in basswood and then painted them with craft paint. I also carved a couple of Santa Claus and a couple of snails, and a space shuttle and a wee boat and messed up a couple of other things. 

   If you have been debating wood carving, give it a go.  You don't need expensive tools.  I do lots of carving with my Bessey Utility knife.
Bessey D-BKWH Quick-Change Folding Utility Knife - Wood Grain Handle

   Remember any shop time, is good time.