Monday, January 23, 2017

Circular Saw Jig(s) - project #6

  Until recently I had every kind of saw that there is. With my table saw dead I am one saw down and I'm trying live with that situation.  I have seldom used my table saw for cross cutting, I have a sliding mitre saw for that and I have a ten and fourteen inch band saw that can do ripping for me.  Also I have a scroll saw,  jig saw,  two circular saws and a whole bunch of hand saws. 

  Long straight ripping was the principle task for which I used my table saw and  now I am going to see what happens when I turn the ripping over to my circular saw and saw jig/guide.

  I searched the internet for ideas, there were many.  I opted to follow the directions from "this old house"  , it seemed to be straight forward and I liked the idea of having two cutting sides.

   Here is the finished project.  I waxed the top of the track/guide, and painted it Jig Red.  In the past I had made a cross cut jig for my other circular saw. 

 Am I ready to embark on life without a table saw?   

   While the glue was drying on the circular saw guide I took the time to clean up my work bench, and used my small parts bit to sort out the various bits and pieces.  Mostly stray screws, wheels(?) and corks. Mostly left over crafts supplies, not drinking supplies.

  Getting the bench clear is a nice bonus.  I was also able to sharpen  a knife and re-frame two pictures while the red paint was drying. Getting organised is a good thing.

  There maybe a bit of an interruption to my blogs. Eva and I are headed off for some vacation time in the Azores   I'll share some photos over the next week or two.  

Cheers, IanW


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Project # 5 - for real

  As I was working on the table, I introduced this set of long suffering, abused chisels. They were used  to chip away old hardened glue on the table legs and in the leg mortises. These stainless steel, one piece chisels get all the really terrible jobs, but I decided they deserved a better home then loose in the back of a shop drawer after this last project.  Also I figure that If they are closer at hand they'll get more use and maybe! better treatment.

  I really don't remember where I got them, what they cost and why one has black tape wrapped around it.  I know they weren't expensive because they've always done the dirty jobs.

  My first thought was a box for storage.  I like making boxes and tools store well in boxes  and the box would take up as much space as the chisels alone.  So I thought about a tool roll/sleeve.  I have bits of leather laying about and make duct tape cloth too. Then I decided on a compromise design, it will store the chisels and not take up too much space, and will keep the tools at hand.

step one: thin oak board, leather and contact cement. 

step two: read and follow the instructions for your glue. In this case clamp and let dry over night.

  Step Three:  as well as gluing the leather, I glued various wooden spacers onto the oak back board. I have become partial to Weldbond myself for wood, paper and leather.

  Step Four:

  Ready to be hung on the wall beside my other chisel rack. This is one of those projects that cost $00.00 to make, or at least almost nothing.  The wood is all scrap, the rubber band in the middle is a bicycle tube.  I suppose I paid some money for the bits of leather, at some time but I don't remember how much or when.

  Now these rough and ready chisels will hang on the wall above my bench and will do the chipping and scrapping jobs so saving  my  'good' chisels for paring and trimming. 

cheers, ianw

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Project #5 *

My grand kids were visiting for a couple of days while their parents went off for a skiing trip. Both the kids love to make things in the wood shop but this time my bench was taken up with a large live edge table and so I had to think of other things to make.

 The first thing I hit upon was:

  These were a big hit with the seven year old boy, K.  I suspect by next summer he will have learned all of the different stars.  I need to look for better quality sticks with which he can work.

  The second  deflection from shop things was also building.

  K worked on the tracked excavator for over an hour solid, took a break and came back to it.  He picked a project that was listed as difficult but he felt that he knew what a tracked excavator looked like and that would be a help.

  He did pretty well.  He used pliers, tweezers, glue and finally tape.  If you look closely he got the boom on upside down but otherwise it came together not too badly.  If you are looking for a rainy day project with a kid that likes to make things I recommend this.  

 cheers, ianw

Monday, January 16, 2017

Project #4 and again the table 'sigh'

 My latest little project was easy because I had the materials on hand.  Several years ago I was at a craft store and bought a few dozen wooden pegs. I didn't have a plan for them at the time but....they were on clearance for pennies each.  Since that time I have used most of them on home projects.  A dozen ended up in our laundry/mud room and some more are in our master bathroom on a drying rack and now....a scarf rack for my wife.

  I used a piece of oak and the pegs. All that the project needed was some time spend smoothing the board and sanding the pegs a bit. I enjoy planing good wood, it is a pleasure to shape and it can be made so smooth to the touch.  I expect IKEA or some such place has a rack like this for sale.  I also know that the rack is not solid oak.

  Here is the rack in the closet sharing space with a cubby hole storage unit I made a few winters ago.  I like making things that have a use.

 Work continues on the table. The legs are done and the first few coats of varnish are on.  I expect to spay on 6 to 10 coats of varnish then hand rub a wax finish on to this table.  There has been a whole bunch of hole filling and stain/colour retouching to get this looking good.  

  I have a couple more large jobs outstanding, and so I really need to think hard about my table saw situation.  

cheers, ianw

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Table Legs Finished

  I got the dresser out of the way the other day and so the remaining big job is this table.  I got help today flipping it upside down and then glued the legs back into place.  I was able to keep the original legs with only some clean up.  To  attach the legs as solidly as possible I used Gorilla Glue.  In my experience it is the best product available to glue loose fitting joints together. I dampened the dried out tenons and jammed it together, now it needs 24 hours to cure.

Live Edge Table 

  You can see the glue foamed up and hardening.  Once the glue is cured the leg will not wobble, ever.

  Getting the old dried glue off the tenons and out of the mortise called for some less than gentle wood work.  This set of chisels as been around for more than 10 and less than 25 years.  I think they were a one time sale someplace and I have used/abused them without conscience for their entire life. I have three gauges and three straight chisels and they are only used to chip away hardened glue or dirty bark or on nasty recovered boards.  Once I have the heavy going dealt with I switch to my nice quality chisels. I think it is good to have tools like this, because sometimes there are nasty jobs to do.  I also don't use a slot head screw driver for bashing and scraping, though I have a huge heavy one from prying open cans and things.
  Until this latest effort these chisels have lived loose in the back of a storage drawer.  As a reward for their continued service I think they need a tool roll or storage box, not to protect the chisels as much as to protect my hands while I rummage around looking for things.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Project #3 - Small Box - Making Pretty

  After making the bit bit holder I set about putting tools away and clearing off my bench.  A while ago I made a little holder for my bench in which my marking tools are stored between jobs. As you can see my pencils are in a flattened tin can. Such an ugly shame on a wood workers bench.

  The slightly improved version is a small wooden box made from scraps to hold my pencils.

  The nicer version is a small wooden box wood burned, tinted with pencil crayon and finished with spray varnish.

  A small box like this can be made from scraps laying around the shop.  I cut out the various pieces, then glued and clamped them together.  The quality of wood glue is so good now that if you have time to wait there is almost no need for pins or finishing nails.  The smoother the wood is sanded the better result achieved in wood burning so I sanded to 320 grit before drawing on my design and then burning it.


  Yesterday when I set to work my table saw died.  I have been busy with other things today so I've not dug out the shop manual to see if there is an inline fuse or something of that sort that could have stopped my saw's motor but can be saved/reset.  If....the saw is dead.....what do I do?  What do I do? 

  I don't use my table saw very often anymore,  could I get by with a home made track saw and my band saw? I have a good circular saw with good blades and two band decent band saws.  But I have always had a table it necessary in a small hobby shop like mine?  I am filled with questions and considerations, I'll keep you posted on what I decide.

cheers, ianw

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Project #2 - a drill bit holder

  What you see is the remains of a laminated hardwood head board that I picked from a curb  on my way home a few months ago.  As you know I am always on the look out for wood that is worth re-using.  If you look it is amazing what is laying around, much of it nicer that pallet wood.

  Friends of mine had some work done in their basement to help in organising their storage space.  They build a basic solid workbench from 2 x 4's and asked me to check my off cut bin for some pieces of wood to make a drill bit holder/organiser.  I wanted to use hardwood so that the holes drilled to hold the bits wouldn't break down too quickly. 

  The resulting is a three tiered holder, before drilling is 16 x 6 x 3/4, 16 x 4 x 3/4, 16 x 2 x 3/4 inches. The head board was probably  birch, so hard.  The stain that covered the head board was of the stained varnish variety that sanded off without much effort.  

  In keeping with Chris Schwarzs' 'make pretty' thinking I used a round over bit on the leading edges, then filed and sanded the end grain and edges.  This bit holder had no sharp edges and no saw marks showing either.  It is nicer than the one I made myself a few years ago to hold router bits. That's just embarrassing, time for me to organise the drawer and its router bits.

  Just an FYI.  A really nice bench top router table, that will do lots of 'make pretty' .

Kreg PRS2100 Precision Benchtop Router Table

 Cheers, Ianw

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Biggest Change in my Shop Practice

 When I got serious about making things in my wood working shop a dozen years or so ago one of my major problems was impatience.  I could not settle down and accept that it took time for glue, shellac and varnish to dry.  I was always in a hurry.  And as the old saying goes, "haste makes waste" and makes you redo things to get them right.  Commonly I would go into my shop after breakfast and hammer n' saw until lunch then rush back for the afternoon.  I made some big things and had a spell where I was almost a commercial bread board maker.  

  Now things have changed.  For example today.  After spending some time this afternoon helping to take the Christmas tree down and vacuuming up about a million pine needles I headed down to the shop to finish off my small parts box and work on a couple more small scale projects.  By the time I had cleared away the tools, and bit and pieces from my previous efforts my back was getting sore.  

The box has absolutely the wrong hinges and a strap closure.  I will not be polishing the version up.

  I have decided on a better and smaller design using slightly different containers inside.  I am thinking that it this could be refined and used as a paint box for someone crafty.

  I did get most things put away and the wood and materials for tomorrow's effort laid out, I am hoping for a quiet evening, a good sleep and will return to the shop tomorrow.  

  As I was prowling the net I found a nice little project for folks doing hand sawing and the tools to do the job.  

  Time for a medical drink and some Miss Fisher Mysteries. 

cheers, ianw

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Project One - 2017

  Step One: lay out.  I marked out the top board into ten equal squares in which I found the centre point.

Step Two: drill out the openings with my hole saw and drill press.  I have a hole saw set that I use a couple of times a year but would be lost without.  I also keep the cut outs to make wheels or toys later.

  The design is for ten yogurt cups to sit in the holes but not fall through.  Over the holiday we had this new yogurt in round cups, so the openings were easier to do. 

Step Three: make a frame around the top.  I used left over plywood for this with the plan of edge filling and painting the project once complete.

Step Four: cut out a thin piece of door skin for the top and glue a couple of pieces of solid wood to the top so I can use screws to hold hinges on.

   I have attached the hinges.  Also I have glued a strap onto the the box to be used to hold the hid down.  As I looked at the project I decided to replace my current hinges since they are ugly.  I save hardware when I take something apart and the hinges that I had laying around were not really the right ones for the job.  The strap is held on with contact cement.  I have found that good old contact cement glues mixed materials very well, in this case wood and rubber. (photo to be included next time)

  Once the glue dries and the strap is secure I will go back and take my ugly hinges off and replace them with something better. (I don't know what yet, 'cause I am cheap and don't want to buy anything).

This ten bin parts holder will be used in my shop as a small parts catch-all.  I will  collect loose screws, nails, nuts, bolts and hardware into these bins while working and then it will be quick and easy to return unused and stray things to their proper place in the shop.

  I will carry on with this project while shellac dries in the back ground as the layers pile up on the re-finished table.

  cheers, ianw

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year 2017

  So the new year did not start off that great for me.  I have been battling a stubborn head cold for nearly a week, so New Year's Eve was spent fulled with cold medication and in bed early.
Taking cold medication has also meant that I have done almost nothing in my shop either.  I believe absolutely that sharp tools and slow heads are a poor mix.

  Anyway, I am finally feeling better and thought I better greet the new year and post a blog.  Chris Schwarz is a work shop hero, as you know and yesterday I saw a deeply wise post from him called "up your game with 'make pretty' ".  

  Successful Chefs have learned about "make pretty."  They know that the food is eaten first with our eyes.  Movie stars have learned "make pretty" too, some of them are as hollow as an old tree but get along because they look good. 

  I am going back to the restoration of the live edge table that I started before the holidays and that is very much about "make pretty".  The blood and guts washed off without too much effort but filling the gouges, refitting the legs and refinishing the top will make a serviceable table into a lovely, serviceable  table.

  Another large job sitting in the middle of the floor of my shop is the chest of drawers I collected for free.  It is time to get soap and hot water flowing to see what is needed to make this furniture piece pretty again. 

  The process of finishing and making truly things pretty does not necessarily demand high skill, just time and serious attention to detail.  Attention to detail  separates the serious craftsman from the causal hobbyist.  I have time now and so aspire to serious craftsman.

Happy New Year,

cheers, ianw