Tuesday, June 28, 2016

In the shop today

  Since everyone knows I do wood work for a hobby they also know that projects progress through my shop in a non-linear fashion.  I have the elm glued for the jewel box but today only touched it to move it out of the way.

  A couple of weeks ago I brought this piece of cherry home from my friend's place. It has been sitting in the garage, in the way since then. Today I got fed up and set to work making it manageable and useful in my shop. This tree trunk is nearly at the limit of what I will lift now days and so I opted to bring the shop to it instead of haul it down to my basement wood shop.

  I brought my saw bench and its helper bench up from the basement and strapped the log down so that I could cut it safely.

  I cut a limb and the big end off of the trunk and was able to carry it down to the workshop with little effort.  I don't have a chain saw, they scare me and I leave that sort of cutting to the folks that are trained for the job. The 'swede saw' (bow saw) did the job just fine.  A hand saw like that is low tech enough that I can get it started every time and not have to worry that it will get away from me and make a big mess.

  Notice that the saw bench 'helper' is in the photo.  Here it is after I remembered that I wanted to paint the legs.  The little bench looks pretty good.  Once the legs dry and I am going to do something (?) interesting and unnecessary to the top, maybe wood burn it or something.

  As I cut up the limb I got the brain wave not to turn all of it on the lathe but to cut 3/8 slices off and make coasters. I soaked the slices heavily with shellac and will come back and sand them smooth.  The shellac raises the grain and seals the wood and that makes sanding end grain/rough lumber quicker and easier. 

  I am working on making some small things for my friends from their tree and all houses need coasters.

cheers, ianw

Monday, June 27, 2016

Why Wood?

  Over the weekend we were at our cottage and spent a bit of time wandering around the nearest towns.  One thing we saw was a young man playing a cigar box banjo  / guitar.  The instrument had a through neck with the cigar box as the body.  We heard the instrument initially playing through a portable amplifier but it sounded cool as a strictly acoustic instrument too. The cedar wood cigar box added style and character. 

  On another day we were walking through Thornbury admiring the town and the river.  By the way the local bakery makes a very good cinnamon roll. As we crossed the bridge we saw several really beautiful  flower boxes on the railings of the bridge.

  The flower boxes were made of 3/8 inch steel bar stock welded together to provide a frame. What really made the boxes visually appealing is the contrast of the flowers with the barn board boxes in the frame. I am sure that the boxes could have been made with sheet metal or the frames filled with plastic boxes, but in neither case would be result have been as pleasing to the eye. 

   I am a big fan of the re-using or up-cycling of wood.  Pallets and barn board have years of rough wear left in them that should not be wasted.

 cheers, ianw

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Lumber Prepared

  Recently a brought home five of my late father's wrist watches.  None of the watches are collector's items to anyone but me but they over filled the available storage, so it is time to make myself a  decent jewellery box. 

   I decided I wanted to make a box from elm and to my surprise my huge pile of elm has shrunk to just a few boards.  A couple of years ago I bought a pick up truck full of ends from a hardwood flooring manufacturer.  It looked like I would have oak and elm for the rest of my life. Not the case, it is time to look around for another super deal on hard wood 'shorts' .

  I re-sawed the boards to 5/8 and the thin slices left  I planed down to use as drawer fronts for the box.  This job was important enough that I even replaced my band saw blade.  Actually I had kinked the previous blade cutting up the cherry branches. 

  The plan is a box 12x14x9, more of less.  These pieces of wood need to be planed flat and sanded before being cut to size. The box will have three drawers made from 1/4 plywood. I think that should accommodate all the stuff I own and then some.

  But not today.  Today is day one of a motorcycle trip, I'll be home Sunday. 

  I will ride carefully,  I never drink and ride and neither should you.

cheers ianw

Image result for honda silverwing

                      Roll on Summer!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Shop Stool, a supporting member of the cast

  A couple of weeks ago a video showed up from the Samurai Carpenter, showing him building Crib Ponies. If you don't know what a crib pony is you'll need to watch the video, I didn't know either. It turns out a crib pony is a sort of stool.

   I liked the design and have been thinking of making a stool/chair for my grandson's new bedroom. He and I would be able to make and finish something as straight forward as a Crib Pony. 

  Than as usually happens I got thinking about the project, the time line and the available materials.  Also a funny thing happen a project ago when I was cutting up the long plank for the garden support. I opted to take my circular saw out side instead of trying to bring the 16 foot plank inside. I have a saw bench that I made last last year.

  But the plank was so long that I ended up having to support one end on a lawn chair, only moderately successfully, while I cut the plank to length.

  What I needed was a supporting character to hold up the other end while I worked.  A small light bulb went off and I thought of the Samurai Carpenter's video.

  I decided that I would make my supporting stool as tall as my saw bench, which is 21 inches tall. Taller than the ones in the video. Other changes were made in the process too. In fact my pony is much more like a stool.

12 x 18 x 21 inches
  I had a wide softwood board that I used for the top and rounded one edge to make it nicer to sit upon.  The legs are 2 x 3s attached at a 3 degree angle, with a corresponding 3 degree cut on the bottom so it sits flat on the floor.  I opted for 3 degree to broaden the stool's stance.

   You can see that the stretchers are attached with pocket hole joinery, and the whole unit is very stable and sturdy.

  The plan is to paint the legs but put a nicer finish on the seat since it is a very nice piece of wood.  

  I think I may still make a pony (5 pieces of wood) with Kieran if he wants a seat for his new room.

  As well as working on the stool yesterday I finished a boot clip and cut up some cherry ready to be turned.  Like in a kitchen there is chopping and prepping that needs to be done before the fancy work happens.  I will have to dimension and plane a bunch of elm for the jewellery box I plan to make next too. (maybe this evening if things cool down a bit.)

cheers, ianw

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Saturday, and it is hot....

  Today we are having one of the hottest days of the year so far.  We waited for it and it finally came. So, today my wife and I rode our bicycles across the city to get ice cream cones. Twenty three kilometres round trip. The ice cream was good but I melted a bit on the return leg of the trip.

  I have been doing a bit of fussing with the format of the blog, nothing obvious on the screen other than a change in font, and size.  This is an ongoing process so expect to see further changes as I try to accommodate a request for an easier to read blog.

  The wood working part of the blog has bogged down a bit.  I recently got several pieces of cherry that I plan to turn on the lathe.  I also have a couple of things slowly simmering in the back of my mind.  In this sort of weather our yard takes attention from the shop as do two wheeled pursuits, motorcycle and bicycle.  We are also looking forward to day trips and family visits. Nearly all of those things take time from the shop and put strain on my back.

  In an effort of maintain balance (or at least seek balance) in my  life the time spent bent over the work bench has been reduced.  However, I will keep you in the loop when the projects are happening.  

  This afternoon while laying on the floor recovering from a hot bike ride I did found a couple of videos I want to share.  I wrote a blog called 'Plyers or Pliers' a year ago March. And here is how pliers are made.

  Recently we were in Austria, and drank some wine, and a few beer too. I think many things are now made in stainless steel barrels, but time is spent in oak barrels for favouring still.

  Enjoy the nice weather, I hope you enjoy the videos and stay tuned for a shop stool and a jewellery box.

 cheers, ianw

Friday, June 17, 2016

Quick cheap project, because we should fix, mend and make things.

  In the summer we travel around the province a bit and go to our condo by the lake a bit and recently I left my tooth brush, tooth paste and tooth brush case in a hotel room. Brushes and paste are no big deal, there is close to a lifetime's supply under the sinks in our bathroom. The tooth brush travelling case had to be replaced. I decided to make my own. 

  I can make these things because I have a shop in the basement with lots of odds and ends that I have collected over the years....just in case.

Not a flute, but I could make one
and have a multi-purpose item.
The secret revealed, though
you'd already guessed.

  This is not a wood working shop project except I used a drill to make the holes in the plastic pipe so that the brush will dry out while the cork is in the top. 

 What this is a comment on just making something instead of buying yet another piece of plastic made in a factory on the other side of the world. Why can't we happily improvise things like this? This is a item for which looks are totally unimportant, and style/fashion does not enter into the equation at all. Whether my tooth brush can rattle around in my travelling bag and not get talc, or Rub A535 is what is important and this home made solution does the job.

 I think every house hold should have a few tools, some odds and ends, and a bit of imagination. 

More Tools

 Cheers, Ianw


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Project for a Golfing Friend

I was looking around the net for a quick and easy project and I came across this one.


    With a bit of wood burning these could be consolation
prizes for your company's summer tournament .

  All you need is a drill press, some sand paper and a stove.(how often do I say stove in this blog??)

 cheers, ianw

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Reclaimed wood in the Garden

  So Tuesday was my  more recent day in the shop.  On Wednesday I took off for a couple of days at the lake. Eva and I are trying to make good use of the fine weather, after all we waited for a long time for it to arrive.

  To get to Collingwood I always travel a scenic route that takes me through farm country and down the Beaver Valley.  It takes a bit longer but is so worth it, since the scenery is quite lovely.

   I got home yesterday afternoon and spent time watering our gardens.  We've had beautiful weather but....it has been very dry and so our gardens need on-going attention.

rock garden at the back of our house

east side of our house

roses in the front yard

  On the east side of the house are several roses, some of which grow to be tall and rangy.  To help one of these roses I used the rest of my reclaimed skid and most of a 2 x 8 that was left by contractors last summer.

  The 2 x 8 was about 16 feet long and had been used to frame concrete curbing on our street.  After the contractors left, part of the mess they left behind was this board. Never one to past up free lumber I gathered it up expecting to use it in a garden for a retaining wall or the like.

 It turned out we didn't need a wall we needed something to support our biggest rose. That wooden thing is six feet tall, as you can see the rose is taller.  Right now the thing is just standing where it belongs generally, my wife will decide its exact placement and tie the rose up solidly later.

  Building the 'thing' was really a circular saw job. There was no finesse and not much design. It is a good reminder of what you can do with a circular saw, a cordless drill and a square. I split the 2 x 8 to make a couple of legs and used some left over 2 x 4 for the frame that holds both sets of legs together.  If you want to make something like, the legs are splayed apart 3 degrees. And I will be putting a couple of stakes into the ground and attaching the 'thing' to the stakes with wire once the final location is decided.

  Working with a 2 x 8 six feet long reminds me that my shop is not really set up for pieces that long and my back is not set up for things that heavy and awkward.  However, it is nice to get this job done and checked off the list.



Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Call Out the Dogs

  Since my dogs are wood I painted them red.  Not from a childhood inspiration but so I can find them.

  The dogs on the outside corners are new, two are much longer than the top is thick while two are just about as long as the top is thick.

  The longer dogs hook onto the edge of the big bench and let me push hard on the work piece clamped to the bench topper.

  I also found that setting this bench topper on Bench Blocks/Cookies/Pucks provided enough friction to keep the top from wandering while I worked too.

  This arrangement enables be to securely clamp an ash round down while I work on it with planes and sanders etc.  Since I have about a dozen rounds left this was a very worth while project for those jobs alone.  But  I also plan  to use this in combination with my Work Mate in the garage and back deck. 

cheers, ianw

Monday, June 6, 2016

Finished bench topper

16.5 by 17 by 1.5 inches

  I got my bench top finished today.  Rather mostly finished. 

 Since my shop is filled with tools I like to use them. I am amazed at how many tools I used for this simple little job. There is no doubt that more effort and a bit more time and this whole thing could have been done with a small number of hand tools. But just for grins here is the list of what I used to stick five boards together and mount two clamp tracks along it edge.

 Last time I said I used my table saw (1) to trim the edges square on the boards. Then I used my pocket Zip Slot (2) to put in the loose tenons. And of course, glue and clamps.(3 & 4)

  Today I used my circular saw (5) to trim the edges square, after I marked the edges with my carpenter's square (6). After the ends were cut square I used my disk sander (7) and my belt sander (8)to flatten the faces or the bench top. I used sanders instead of hand planes because this is reclaimed wood. 

  After the face was flat I used my router table (9) to cut dados on two edges of the top. Then I used my shoulder plane (10) to clean up the dados. 

  I put off buying a shoulder plane for years from cheapness and ignorance. 
Don't make that mistake.

  Then the Kreg track had to be cut to length, enter the hack saw (11). Next I used my belt sander to clean off the burrs on the track. Screwing ( cordless drill 12) the track down meant I needed my 4 1/2 inch angle grinder (13) since the screws were just a bit to long and needed a 1/4" ground off. 

 Then I laid out and drilled six 3/4 inch dog holes. (drill press & Frostner bit 14 & 15)

 At this point I am not adding dog holes in the middle. My current plan is to make some dogs and use the top and then develop what I need for what I am using. Looks like a lathe project to me.(16)

 Was this an over produced event? No... Well-maybe. I just have all those tools and I like to use them.

cheers, ianw

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Making a Portable Bench Top

 A while ago photographs of a portable workbench call the "milkman's bench" were floating around the world wide web. This bench looked as though it was a larger version of a carvers bench top. It is designed to hold wood while you work on it. The "milkman's bench" uses vises rather than 'dogs' to hold the work.

Milkman's Bench

Recently a major tool company has begun selling small portable  bench tops using dogs and rail mounted clamping in place instead of screw vises.

 I have begun working on my own version of the 'dog hole' bench top. Interestingly the body of this bench top is recycled skid wood. The rugged quality of the 2 x 4's should be solid enough for this project.

 First all the rough pieces of skid were sawn on the table saw to get square edges and then glued it together.  

 When gluing I don't usually use biscuits or dowels but in this case I decided I wanted extra strength and alignment so I used my Mortise Mill to cut slots for floating tenons. 

 Once I trim all the edges square I am going to put a 3/4 inch hardwood frame around the edges and drill the 3/4 inch dog holes in the body. Once this portable bench top is done I can use it for holding wood for carving or the ash wood rounds with which I have been working.

 It has been a couple of very nice days here, we've been out bike riding, walking and motorcycling.  Now the walk that needs to be done is following the lawn mower.

cheers, ianw