Saturday, February 25, 2017

Last Minute Puffin

  Shortly we are headed to Gavle Sweden to visit with our grand daughters and their parents.  I have already made some trucks for the girls.  Last evening I decided I wanted to do something in the shop, but something small.  I got some carving tools out, copied a pattern and made a puffin

  This is a pocket puffin for the oldest girl.  I am planning to provide them with some little toys like I did her older cousins.  I made this little carving with a couple of basic knives, a small carving gouge and needle files.   There are times when I want to be in the shop, but I don't want to take on a big project.  Sometimes it is nice to settle down with a coffee, nice music in the back ground and whittle a while. 

   If you are living in a condo and still love wood you can whittle away the hours with some basic tools: 
utility knife kit ( you can skip learning how to sharpen, for a while)
sand paper 

 I suggest that you don't buy the cheapest saw or files. The Dollar Store does not sell tools worth taking home. All that you need is to get some bass wood, or linden and you are ready to go. If you really need inspiration look to Pinterest or Google Images for carvings and plans.

 It has been an easy month with holidays at both the beginning and end.  When we get home from this trip it will be time to settle down and get to work. (maybe)

cheers, ianw

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The JIg Saw - A tutorial

Steve Ramsey calls the jig saw the one saw to rule them all.  But, if you only have room or money for one saw the jig saw is a really good choice for you 'one saw'.

What Can You Do With a Jig Saw.

  When it comes to Jig Saws there is a spectrum of out there.  I feel that it is a tool that you need to choose to fit your hand and your purpose. I also feel that it is a  tool that no shop can do without. Watch Steve's video, there is lots of information there and it is all good.

  cheers, ianw

Monday, February 20, 2017

Wooden Toys for Sweden

I have been working on multiple small tasks in my shop these last few days. I got all the repairs done for 10,000 Villages and will drop them off tomorrow. The job that  I enjoy most is making toys for grand children. 

  Shortly we are headed to Sweden to a while and I am taking some toys with me.  The turtle still needs some colour but the trucks are done.  I left the wooden truck wheels unfinished so thay will be less l likely to mark the floors or tables.  In the past I have painted wheels black, but the paint can come off and leave marks. 

  If you want to make toys and aren't comfortable drawing or designing your own toys the internet is filled with patterns, ideas and videos to get you started.

 When you decide to make toys you will find that the investment in tools is very small. About the only specialized tool you need is a coping saw. Everything else can be done with a few hand tools and sand paper.  

  With my table saw dead I have been exploring other ways of sawing.  I like my band saw, it is quick and for these small projects I have been squaring the ends and edges on my shooting board.  I have also been using my backsaws, I've got a pair, one cross cut , one rip, both saws work great in soft wood.  Kids toys can easily be made from pine, basswood or some other soft wood and so the energy and effort to saw, shape, plane smooth and the toys is really quite small while the rewards are huge.  

 cheers, ianw


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Another Group of 10,000 Villages Repairs

  Being away on holiday does not prevent the rest of the world from carrying on.  I came home to five things from 10,000 Villages that needed repair.  As I have been working on these things it struck me how a repair shop is different from a typical wood working shop. 

  For example I am making a repair to a glass goblet.  At some point in this glass objects life it got chipped, small but sharp edged. Repairing it is not a typical wood shop job.  I turned to my collection of glues and mixed up a tiny dab of two part epoxy and filled in the chipped spot.  The repair is not invisible but the goblet can now be discounted and some one will buy it as an object d' art rather than a regularly used wine glass.

two part glue at work 

  While talking about glue, here is a video of a band saw box being glued together using adhesive and hardener. This is  the more typical wood shop application.

   Another repair pending is trying to remove this stain, or repaint the piece to try and hide the it. 

  This piece is painted with acrylic paint and I have already tried to remove the stain but I am pretty sure it is brown paint that was left to dry by accident.  I am going to have to over paint this blotch to hide it.  Luckily! I have a pretty good selection of acrylic paint kicking around. Again a repair shop needs various types of paint that a serious wood shop could live without. (happily) 

  I also have a typical repair on my wood bench.  It is a carved box from Indonesia, and the lid doesn't close properly.  The solution is some planing and sanding. Once sanded I repair the finish using orange shellac. I am very fond of shellac, but I wonder how many wood workers still use shellac as a sealer or finish?  The new water based sealers seem to be pretty good, now.

  The repairs that I have done for both 10,000 Villages and other customers draw heavily on a small selection of tools.  Knives and scrappers, glues and clamps, drill press, hand drills  and bits and sometimes fine blades saws.  Seldom do I need a table saw, router, jointer or planer, power doesn't seem to be as important in repair work as patience.  It has been a long evolution from being a power tool, belt sander kind of guy to where I am now.  

  Just can teach a old dog new tricks.

cheers, ianw

Image result for old dog photos


Monday, February 13, 2017

When are Tools more than Just Tools?

  We returned from a very good holiday in Ponta Delgada on the Azores island of Sao Miguel yesterday and this morning I returned to my work shop.  Recently I watched a video by  April Wilkerson talking about her feelings related to moving from her current wood working shop. Aside from the pragmatic aspects of having a shop,  like saving money and the creative control available she talked about personal sanctuary, peace and joy.  

    If we pause to consider our shops and tools fully I think we all have those feelings.  Maybe not all the time, joy is not the feeling I have when struggling with an awkward glue up or when facing hours of hand sanding, but mostly my feelings are positive.

  This morning I was making a couple of little trucks for my Granddaughters in Sweden.  As I was working I realised that I enjoyed our holiday, but I love to be home.  I was aware that I was using tools that were my late father's and grandfathers.  I thought about the really good hand planes that were bought with Christmas gift money from my Mother.  I also looked around the basement at the lovely home my wife and I have made here together, all those feelings: peace, joy and sanctuary were all there.

  Wooden toy trucks is one of the many children's toys I've made over the years. 

Image result for simple wooden toy trucks
I've actually made a few of these.
Go to a clearance store and you can buy the bins for cheap.
  My policy is that all the toys I make are simple, study and meant to be played with until they are fire wood.  And....I don't care if the toys are played to death or forgotten at the play ground, I'll make a replacement if asked.  I don't like to see toys smashed in anger but I hate to see toys  sitting on a shelf in a pristine box,'collected'.

  Today was the first day working without a table saw.  So good.  I was able to break down the boards as needed with my band saw and hand saws. I used my shooting board more this morning that in the last year.  It was actually a quieter more gentle way to work.  I'm not kidding myself, this is small stuff with more sanding than sawing going on.  I'll report later in the week when I get into a heavy duty storage cabinet that I have to build for a stained glass group. (glass is really, really heavy).

  Anyway, I'm off to take care of those 3,275 that that pile up while one is away on holiday, and visit my Mom.

cheers, ianw

Thursday, February 9, 2017

  I am just wrapping up my 'get away from the winter' holiday and beginning to turn my thoughts to my workshop again.

  I have a couple of projects for grand children that await me when I get home and the first tool that I will be using is my scrub plane while I knock  a small rought pieces of wood into shape.  I have a small truck and trailer to build. I have the wood sitting on the bench, it is all too small to go near power planers or saws. I will use various planes, knives and chisels to shape those trucks.

Scrub Plane

Sitting on my bench is my Veritas Scrub plane. I bought this plane several 
years ago and it just occurred to me the other day how often I reach for it. 
 I suspect that real woodworkers would shriek if they saw how I use my scrub 
plane, but tough. As you can see from the photo I amabout to turn my scrubber 
lose on a glued up cutting board. It will knock down the high spotsand clear away 
that glue in the blink of an eye. I will then turn the board over to the more gentle
ministrations of various smoothing planes and scrappers. I am also a fan of my 
random orbital sander.
    The scrub plane also comes to the fore when I need to clear away lots of wood 
in a hurry. I can remove material for smaller projects faster with the scrub than 
I can get the planner out of its corner in the shop and hook it up to the dust 
collection and move other things out of the way.

It is a work horse, or if you will a bull in a china shop. I do adjust its blade for 
depth of cut but usually it is an adjustment from very deep and aggressive to
sort of deep and slightly less aggressive. Not a delicate tool but one that I am 
really glad I own and use often.

cheers ianw

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

On Holiday Blog.

Even when I am on holiday I am looking for wood and wood related things.

This is a table in the lobby of our hotel.  There is no amount of wood working skill that can make this table, only wind and weather.  Someone, sometime ago saw this rotted piece of tree trunk and thought, nice.

  This on the other hand is from the creative hand of man.  I have never seen a lobby ceiling up held by anything cooler than this.  

  It really appears as though it would fold together somehow???!!  My wife and I are walking about, taking photos and eating pastries.  A good holiday all around.

cheers, ianw