Monday, March 28, 2016

Tray + Box = Japanese Style Tray Tool Box.

the necessary parts.

 Sometime ago I bought a few of these metal tool trays, now I am finally going to build some tool boxes to make use of these wood show bargains. 

 The tool box I ended up making is a Western/Japanese hybrid. 

Tool box and Rockwell Bench Jaw.

 The tray sits inside the box and the metal handle on the tray is the handle for carrying the tool box. All very ordinary, until you look at how the tray is attached to the wooden box.

 The box, which I painted grey is made from left over plywood and held together with brad nails so nothing special. The red board sides under the tool tray handle and acts as a lid and the little red thing that looks like a handle locks the tray in place while you carry the box. ( I painted the wooden pieces red to keep them from blending into the background in the shop)

  In this picture you can see the box without the locking pin in place.


  The tray is put in under the long side, then slid backward under the short side and the pin keeps the tray from sliding while it is being carried.  I got the idea from the Japanese Style box  I made recently for my smaller marking tools.


 When I was making this box I used my brad nailer to tack the parts together quickly, and easily. A nail gun makes two handed assembly easy and when nail heads showing doesn't matter it is the way to go.

  Now that I have the design worked out I think I will make another tool box with nicer materials because I still have a couple of trays left.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday - shop time

 In keeping with my efforts to clean and organize my shop I have been trying to bring the chaos of my computer/art centre desk under control too.  I have the luxury/curse of having too much stuff.

 This morning I went down to my work shop with the intention of making a small rolling computer work centre. The work desk would have room for my computer, keyboard, mouse, printer, speakers, extra paper and spare printer cartridges. The plan was for everything to be on one rolling unit.

 That didn't happen this morning. Let me tell you what did happen instead. First thing I had to glue my travelling coffee cup back together. Then I had to paint a pair of shoe lace sliders black to match my new running shoes. Then I began to seriously begin working on the computer table.

 My plan was to make a very compact work station and so it didn't need  materials.  After checking in the garage and the lumber rack I was able to gather all the wood together.

   However I did get side tracked by the mess in the back corner of my work shop.

 This is actually the cleaned up version, after an hour's work.  This back corner is were all the little bits and pieces are collected and saved for another time. There is a drawer on the desk fulled with various types of tape, another with handles and yet another with hinges. The rolling box under the desk holds router accessories and related items. The metal cupboard is filled with jars of screws, and washers and, and, and.

 So this morning I couldn't ignore the corner any longer. Also I really needed to uncover my desk top where I have my sharpening station.

  What remains is for me to get my grinder out from under my work bench and get it back here too. If all that sharpen gear is handy I will be more likely to briefly interrupt what I am doing, step over to the sharpening tools and touch up a blade rather than soldier on with a dull and growing duller tool.

 Sitting beside the sharpening tools is my scroll saw. It was on my work bench for a few weeks and always in the way. If I moved it once I moved it 47 times. Now the saw is out of the saw but still handy for making hippos and rhinos.

 As I organized and vacuumed I sorted things out. I found my next small project staring me in the face. 

 Sometime ago I bought a few of these metal tool trays, now I am finally going to build some tool boxes to use these trays. There is the tray and wood to make the box ready to go. You can never have too many tool boxes. ( or clamps)

 I also found a piece of maple and glued it into a turning blank. 

  The computer desk idea has not been abandoned, it is just going to get some design reconsideration while I work on some other things first.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Toy Box and a Woodworking Project for Someone with No Tools.

 I have been working away in my shop, but not on new things. I am making another Quarto game and board, this time I am using an integrated wooden hinge in the box. Also I scroll sawed another Hippo like last week, so there isn't anything new to share. As I looked out the window at the wind and the rain I looked through some old photos and thought about some previous projects. 

 A favourite wood working photo is:

 grandson in toy box that I made for his second Christmas. To keep the toy box from weighing a tonne I used panel construction and assembled it with pocket holes. The box is still in use use filled to the brim with all manner of toys. 

  The second thing I decided to share is a wood working project that only needs glue.

  This puzzle is an old fashioned 9 x 9 square, 

If you are creative it can also make a snake.

  To make this puzzle without tools you need to go to a craft supply store and buy wooden cubes. 3/4 inch work okay, 1 inch better. The only small trick is to glue the pieces together carefully and make the angles square. If you have a shop you can make your own cubes of course but some times, some things are best made in a giant factory.

 This evening I am headed to a local Boy Scout meeting to introduce the scouts to whittling. Who knows, aside from a pile of basswood, wood chips there maybe a woodworker inspired this evening.

 cheers, ianw

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Two Videos from Two Points of View

I have shown various little projects in my shop lately. For this blog I decided to share two long(ish) videos from two shops with different philosophies. Today's blog is like those 'compare and contrast' questions you used to get on exams years ago.

 The first video is from Chop with Chris, an old school hand tool wood worker.

building a carving bench
  I admire everything about Chris's bench and am very impressed by the quality of the video and the method of work.  The video is worth watching all the way through.

  The second video I am sharing is from Jay Bates.  I have shared videos from Jay before. His work is excellent and the product values on his videos is also very high. Jay works with power tools instead of all by hand. I admire both wood workers and believe both methods to be authentic and sincere, and would love to be as competent as either one.

two ways to make a mallet  
 Jay's work is professional and high quality. In his video he shows a hybrid method of wood working involving hand and power tools. Personally I lean toward the hybrid style of wood work.

  Regardless of how you work wood you need to have reliable measuring and marking tools. AND....don't forget to maintain your tools and to check their accuracy regularly, wear and tear can effect tape measure tips and one fall to the floor can knock a square off 90 degrees. 

 I hope you enjoy and find these short videos useful.

cheers, Ian W   

Thursday, March 17, 2016

More Small Stuff

 Lately I have been working on small stuff.  Wrestling big sheet stock around my shop and using noisy machines has been given a holiday.  

 I have turned a few small projects on my mini-lathe. The napkin rings turned out fine, the larger project has had to be turned in fire wood. After knocking the spindle roundish it began to crack. Initially I thought the crack would add interest, ultimately it just split the piece. Not all projects turn out.


  One of the first tools I bought for my workshop was a scroll saw and recently I have dragged it out, dusted it off and have been making a few things again. In many ways a scroll saw is the ideal small project tool. 

  This rhino and hippo are cut from basswood and intended for my grand daughters in Sweden.

 *A shop tip* use dental floss to clear the sanding dust out of the tiny slots. 

  A couple of years ago I took a drawing class at our local seniors centre and have continued to sketch and paint. I took the class to enable me to design my own carving, wood burning and scroll saw projects. Until I began drawing myself I had to relay on purchased designs. While my art talent isn't great, creating my own designs has expanded and personalized my work.  These two beasts and the spreader knife where inspired by things I've seen but my own designs. 

 Sitting at my work bench hurts my back, but I am able to recover more quickly then when I do heavier work so I think my shop is going to turn more to small projects in the future.

cheers, Ian W


Monday, March 14, 2016

 On Sunday I was in my shop doing some small repairs on 10,000 Villages products when my Grand Daughter Clara came down stairs and offer to help sweep my shop while I worked.  She didn't have a project that she wanted me to make for her,she just wanted to help out. I can't describe how happy I am when the grandkids want to be in the shop with me. 

  A couple of weeks ago I was in the Burlington Lee Valley and they were selling of totes (handles) for $1.00 each. I bought two,not really knowing what I was going to do with them, but knowing that $1.00 each was a wonderful price for a very comfortable handle. As you can see I attached one of the handles to make a push stick to use on my jointer. The other handle I may just hold on to as a pattern for things down the road.

There is a hollow in the base of the handle, I filled the hollow with piece of pine I shaped to fit,then glued the whole thing the board.

 My current distraction is a bit of wood turning. I had some pieces of Black Locust (I think). If you can recognize the wood by the bark and it isn't Locust let me know please. I cut one section into some napkin rings.  This larger section is mounted and been roughed into round and currently has filler drying in a serious crack and the plan is to make a couple of candle holders from that chunk. 

  My current plan is to doll the rings up with some carving or wood burning or something....

Small project can bring big satisfaction.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Spindle Turning Project

 Usually a cylinder with a lid is turned as a spindle and then finished on a face plate of multi-jaw chuck. The body is hollowed out while the cylinder is held by the four jaw chuck and the lid is also finished that way.

 In this case I made the lidded cylinder without using a face plate.

  First I turned the cylinder 

 leaving about 1/8 of an inch on each end knowing that those pieces would be cut off, and about 3/4 from one end I cut deeply with my parting tool.

 Once the cylinder was round I cut the top quarter off using my table saw sled, so that the cut would be at 90 degrees. I then cut the extra wood off the base, on the table saw again so the base would be flat and square. Next I used a Forstner bit to drill into the bottom section, since I couldn't hollow it out on the lathe. I used dividers to make sure that I was drilling in the centre of the cylinder, if the hole were off centre the top would not fit properly.

 The base once drilled is ready for final sanding.  I had sanded the cylinder to 400 grit on the lathe.

 The top section was now re-installed on the lathe and a tendon cut to fit the bored hole  in the cylinder. The other end has the extra wood that will be cut off with a saw once the piece is removed from the lathe.

  The cylinder has a flat top where it has been cut off the extra wood and that needs to be sanded carefully to get a nice end grain finish.

  The only real downside to making a cylinder like this is the final sanding isn't done on the lathe but by hand. The up side is the money saved. 

 Once sanded I sprayed the two pieces with 3 coats of varnish.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Evenings in the Wood Shop

  You may be a "woodworker" if you are more likely to make or something than watch 'Downton Abbey' in the evening. Eve has been out and about with music things the last couple of evenings and I have been knocking around the place, humouring my sore back and drinking too much coffee.

  Two evenings ago I was sharpening some of my shop tools and decided to kill time whittling the penguin on the left. As I was cleaning up my shop I found many little pieces of bass wood laying around, and I didn't have the heart to throw them all away. Eventually the penguin will get finished and painted, eventually. I enjoy wood carving (whittling) it can be done with simple tools at low cost.  Since I have limited time and expense invested in a whittling project if it does get finished, I don't care.

  On the right is a turned cylinder that I made last evening. The wood is 'firewood'. I think it is soft maple, last spring I brought home some branches I picked up on the side of the road. It is about 2 inches in diameter and was very nice to work on the lathe. I'm going to make a lid for the cylinder, someday. This was a project to kill time and to practice finishing pieces on the lathe. On this piece I sanded to 600 grit and then used steel wool for the final stage. 

 After I got the cylinder very smooth I put paste wax on it for a final finish. I put the wax on using my polissoir, it does a good job and really works the wax into the wood.

  Usually I build with a purpose, but it is freeing and fun just to make saw dust just for the 'heck' of it.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Finished the cabinet

  This morning I finally got around to finishing the doors on my latest tool cabinet by making a latch to keep the doors from swinging free. 

  You can see that the latch pivots on my favourite low cost Canadian washer. The latch is made from poplar and will get a coat of orange shellac the next time the tin is open so that it will match the other trim.

  There are five boxes of off cuts sitting in our garage at this moment.  Getting the shop sorted out is more work than I thought, I left the job too long. The new cabinets are sure going to help keep things organised and cleaner.

  This is a cool bench at the geothermal area in Furnas, Azores.  We had a great holiday on Sao Miguel Azores. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Back in the Shop, making a mess.

  After a very nice holiday away to the warmth of Madeira and Sao Miguel we returned home late Wednesday. Thursday was spent unpacking and getting re-acquainted with cold and snow. Friday I began to plan my next shop projects and check out videos on the web.

  You see, I have a whole bunch of ash wood rounds. Twice as many as you see in this photo in fact.  I experimented with a variety of ways to smooth and level off the rounds of wood. End grain is always tougher than long grain and ash is especially challenging.  My various sanders and grinders don't make much impression on the wood at all.

 And so I made a version of a router planing jig. The internet is filled with videos of how to make this type of jig.  In making my first version I opted to attach the router to the base and move them together. There are jigs with a long slot in which the router sides. I also choose to use my Porter Cable 690 fixed base router because it has an on/off switch rather than a trigger. ( mine is older without variable speed)

 I will make a slider that is more robust with a better system to attach the router before I undertake the planing of several rounds in the next  session.  My slider will also have handles and I am trying to think of a way to attach a shop vacuum to help control the mess. It is a messy business.

 The final result is flat with parallel faces which still need to be sanded, a bit.  An interesting thing is this tree was attacked by the Emerald Ash Borer  and so has channels eaten in it. To get the face dead flat will require some grain filling and will not totally hide the damage done by the bug.  

 A side note to my day in the shop is that I am  laid up with a sore back again. Being bent over the bench and working is clearly the worst thing for me. Worse in fact than hours in airports and airplanes. Now I know for sure, what am I going to do?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Back To Work and What an Inspiration !

 I found this plywood creation in my Facebook account this morning. Don't ever tell my plywood is not a good building material.

 It was a great holiday and it now is time to get back onto track.

cheers, ianw