Monday, March 27, 2017

Corner Clamping Jigs and Glass Shelf

  I don't make many large projects any more but when I do I wish I had at least one more pair of hands.  Recently I watched a video from Stumpy Nubs Woodworking. I like Stumpy because he makes many of his own tools.  The video I watched was Moustache Mike making corner clamping jigs. 

  After all these years I finally make a set of jigs and used them today.
my jigs are red.

made today, used today.
  I used the clamps to help me make the last part of the glass storage unit. I added the dividers  in the lower left hand section of the shelf unit and now it is done.

  Look at the mess.  I make five small jigs and a bit of a divider in 3/4 plywood and my work space is again buried in tools and gear.

  After supper I will turn on some music, make a coffee and clean the place up, again.
 cheers, ianw

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Shelf Done - Project #8

   The design was very good, the materials were mostly recycled. When was all said and done, one leg needed a little bit of shimming. I'm actually pretty pleased.  Eva is quite pleased. Her space is much nicer in which to work and the old desk that was there with stuff piled on it can be moved upstairs in front a window.  A win-win situation all around.

  On Tuesday I bought 3/4" plywood so the actual shelves are okay.  The frame is old 2x4 and pretty much worse for wear. ( half hockey stick, half airplane propeller). However, the unit is very sturdy and already getting loaded down with coloured glass and related gear.  The rough guess for weight was the load bearing shelves would have to carry hundreds of pounds once filled so everything is heavily engineered.  Interestingly once the unit was put into the corner and loaded down it works perfectly.

  If you look closely at the construction you will see that all but the top shelf directly supported with wood, not just screwed into place.  Now that the kiln has found it home I will make a support to go underneath the bottom shelf in the middle so there are supporting legs every two feet. 

  There are little touches that I included that I put on any kind of unit like this.  The back of the shelves have a two inch piece of trim so that things can't fall off the back of the shelf if pushed too far. Each shelf has an enclosed ends so that is can be used to the very edge without things falling off. You really don't want bits of glass falling behind the shelves or off the end onto the concrete floor.  The upright dividers are held in place by pocket holes rather than just screwing though the shelf into the end grain of the plywood.(construction grade). 

  The goal was to make a solid, serviceable  storage unit and anticipate the needs and uses so that it will not have to be replaced or repaired any time soon.  The rugged appearance and low cost are just bonuses.

  Two follow up notes:
1. I didn't miss the table saw at all in this project.  I used my sliding mitre saw, jig saw, band saw and circular saw. Maybe it was a little slower to finish this, but not much.  


  This is the painting that is on the right hand wall.  My Mother's Mother painted it in the 1970's.  It is a landscape with a small camp (cottage) in the forest near Espanola Ontario. I live in the city now but still love the north.

cheers, ianw

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Big Project, Stained Glass Shelving Unit - project #8

My wife makes lovely stained glass projects. 

  Stained glass has its own set of tools and materials.  My wife has accumulated many pieces of coloured glass, grinders, patterns and a kiln.  I made her a rolling storage unit Feb.3rd 2016 and she has out grown it, so it is time to make another larger unit.

  I have a plan, drawn by Eva to fit a particular space in her work area. 

  I'm about half way through building the shelving unit. Designing storage for glass must always account for the weight of the sheets and pieces of glass.  Once this unit is filled with 12 by 12 sheets of glass it will be carrying 100's of pounds.  To insure the shelves can carry the weight without twisting or sagging  it is framed in 2 by 4 lumber,

 with 3/4 inch shelving. The 2 by 4s are left over from construction work at our kid's house so much of the lumber requires attitude adjustment with clamps before it can be screwed together. Since this unit sits in the back of the basement and will be soon covered with glass and gear its minor eccentricities can be ignored, mostly.

 Once this unit is installed it will enable Eva to work much more comfortably and to enjoy even more making her projects.

  Interestingly this unit is being built without a table saw,  I used my circular saw, (Jan 23rd 2017) to cut some of the plywood to size. It needed set up which makes it slower than using a table saw, but...the result was good.   I really can see a shop  without a table saw. Getting rid of my table saw will free up serious floor space. Space is always at a premium in a small shop, you can see that I am building the shelf unit in the family room for lack of space in my shop.

cheers, ianw 


Monday, March 20, 2017

Weekend Work

  My local Grandchildren arrived for the weekend on Friday and they always like to build something in the workshop.  K arrived with a homework project.  He needed to make a cottage for a project. K likes to build with screws, so after he cut the wood on the band saw he drilled and screwed it all together.  I got him a four volt screw driver last year, it is smaller and easier for small hands to control.

  After he finished his homework we began work on a fun projects.  Between he and I we designed and built a rubber band powered catapult. The catapult threw marshmallows all over the house. For this project Kieran used the band saw and the drill press, and his screw driver.  

  Sunday's projects were boats. I bet you can guess which boat was designed by the 5 1/2 year old girl and which by the 7 1/2 year old boy. The round colourful boat is an "aircraft carrier". So says the young princess.  

  The grey boat is a destroyer with three turret guns that turn and shoot rubber bands.  My Grandson did most of the designing and nearly all the cutting.  I helped with the hot glue gun and shaping the hull a bit.  Having discovered the heat gun paint drying method we were even able to paint the boats.  

  The major issue for young wood workers  I have found is hand strength.  The band saw and drill press don't need the wood worker to have a vise like grip, sanders and routers do.  Also hand planing needs grip strength but K is getting better.  This weekend he used a block plane to do some shaping and spend more time sanding than in the past too.  Best of all, he helped his sister by cutting out some of her pieces on the band saw, all by himself. Who's the proud Opa??

cheers, ianw

P.S. never throw out the off cuts from your hole saw.

  You never know when they will be needed to build a destroyer. 



Saturday, March 18, 2017

Yesterday Brutes, today Fine Tools

  A workshop that does everything, building, crafting and repairing projects makes life interesting and allows me to gather together all sort of tools.  Here are photos of some of my fine work tools, small clamps, gauges, knives and things.

  The thing in the centre is a drill bit holder for, very very fine drill bits.  I've used those drill bits when repairing jewellery.  The plumb bob and small router plane look like big tools in this group.

  Clamps, pliers, forceps and a pin vise.  I use these to make things like noses for small wood carvings. Or to hold a small piece while boring a hole in it.

  Again larger small tools. A scraper, a dentist's pick as well as more common tools.  The very fine tipped nail set comes in handy when setting fine pins. 

  All these tools have been gathered up over the last 15 years, usually at random while at wood shops or speciality shops. Each of these tools get used, some more than others but they all get used.

  My big shop news is that my 7 1/2 year old Grandson used the band saw by himself for the first time today.  I am trying to teach him all the safety tips and tricks that I learned from  books and experience so that he is confident and safe when using the saw.  A while ago we worked with the drill press and he is pretty comfortable with that now and to day we added the band saw.  

cheers, ianw

Thursday, March 16, 2017

My Brutes

  In my shop I have several tools that are 'brutes', these are tools that do the ugly work that needs to be done.  I don't abuse these tools, but I do use them hard.

Heavy dudes, for heavy work - left to right

a- Heavy bladed knives with shop made handles.  These knives get used for scraping, staple prying, and cutting any sort of none wood.

b- Linemen's plyers. Great for cutting heavier wire, pulling nails/staples and twisting stuff.

c- Plywood saw, Japanese style.  I am on my second blade with this saw. When in doubt this is the saw I use.  It cuts wood, plywood. bone and all sorts of plastic hose and pipe.  I once cut a blue recycling box apart with this saw.

d- The rasp.  I made the handle for this rasp.  This tool never gets used on decent wood, it cuts like a demented chain saw.

e- Super Screw Driver.  This tools has opened more paint cans, pried more stuff apart and with stood more torque than I would have imagined.  I really don't remember when or where I got but would miss it terribly if I lost it.

f- Glue Knife.  I do not have much luck with silicone glue brushes, give me a heavy duty pallet knife every time.  Eventually these knives get thin from having the build up glue ground off and they break.  This is my second one so I think they last me 15 or so years, good value.
and on top

g- Japanese Shop Scissors - These scissor will cut leather, paper, tin, duct tape, rags, you name it and they were cheap.  When they get lose I hit the hinge with a hammer and start all over again. I love knives, but sometime scissors are just better.

h- Pry Bar  I have torn apart skids and bricks with this bar.  This tool and a hammer make me the new anti-hero "Distructo Man"

  There are times when grace and subtly are not what is needed.  At those times of brute force you also need the right tool.  Using the correct tool, always makes the job safer, easier and quicker. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Craving Knife Handle Upgrade

  Two of my 'go to' wood carving knives are actually just blades wrapped in painters tape. I bought the blades a few years ago when I began wood carving at the Seniors Centre intending to put wooden handles on them....some day.  

  Today seemed like a good day.  We are having the biggest snow storm of the winter and at my age that means it is a play inside day. 

    First thing I did was use a rasp to grind the tape off the spine. Someplace, some time ago I bought a horrible, ultra aggressive rasp for cheap. I truly do not know what  the intended use is for this heavy duty, super coarse rasp, I use for the really ugly and un-natural tasks.

  I have made handles before for knives.  These knives are my glue gouging, paint scrapping, staple prying knives.  They are actually good blades but are so  thick and robust they can take the punishment with out being ruined.

  After peeling the tape handles off I glued wood scales (wooden slats) on to the blades with Gorilla glue.  In this case I dampened the scales to make sure that the glue reacted most efficiently.  I am confident enough in the glue that I did not drill the blades and rivet the scales on, this time.

    When working on edge tools always tape the blade to protect you while you work.  Always.  To protect the tool I face the vise's jaws with card stock (cereal box) as well.  I shaped the handles with chisels, knives and rasps.  The card stock means that if (when) the chisels slips it doesn't run against steel jaws.  There are few things more frustrating than damaging a edge tool while working.

Top View
Front View

  Since this is a carving knife I didn't make any effort to make a showy handle.  I made a handle that fits my right hand very nicely and will enable me to work with it for extended periods of time. The handle is slightly out of round so that it will not easily roll of my work table.

   I included this picture so show my work table after making two tool handles. Only one of which I finished today, jeez. There are knives, rasps, needle files, pencils, chisels, vises, rags and finishing wax.  It seems like a real rigmarole just to finish off a couple of knives, doesn't it?

  But....the knife feels really nice in hand now...

cheers ianw

Image result for blizzard photos

Monday, March 13, 2017

Completed Drawer, Project #7ish - A painting trick too

I completed the drawer last evening.  It fits in beside the white refrigerator drawer snugly.  

  When a box is made using dadoes it can be glued together without needing any fasteners,

  although you do need a bunch of clamps.  Once the glue dried over night I added some nails and screws to increase the rigidity of the drawer.   

  Having decided that I wanted to paint the project white I used a trick I learned from Izzy Swan.  Recently I saw, but now can't relocate a video of Izzy drying latex paint with his propane torch, fast.  I modified his method by drying the white paint with my heat gun.(almost as fast)  

Black & Decker Dual Temperature Heat Gun 016507780

  I used the highest heat level  to dry the paint, and by moving it around steadily I didn't have any troubles.  Using the fast dry method last evening I put on two coats of paint in 30 minutes, including clean up.   I like the idea of very short drying times.  

cheers ianw

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Back Home Again.

  It seems that the last two months have flown by in a whirlwind of world travelling.  My wife and I just returned from twelve days in Sweden with our children and two grand daughters.  The kids are nice, but the 1 1/2 and 3 1/2 year old girls  are the real reason for making the trip. After a long but uneventful trip home yesterday, I've completed my unpacking and am returning to routine.  One of my favourite routines is shop time.

  This morning after breakfasting and dealing with laundry I went down to my shop, made a coffee and a plan.  You can see my drip coffee maker in the back ground and my wooden coffee spoon in the fore ground. The coffee is great in Sweden but coffee at home just tastes that little bit better. 

  I thought I should get working on something, just to see if I remember how.

  In the garage by the back door is a small shelving unit upon which we store fruit and vegetables. The unit is  from a flat pack store and you can see we use left over refrigerator trays for storage.  This morning I decided I needed to make a couple of drawers to use up the rest of the space more efficiently, 'cause we need it? no. 'Cause I like making boxes, and stuff that has a use. 

  If you are going to make boxes one of the best tools to have is a router table and rabbeting bits. 

  Second only to a round over bit I use my set of rabbeting bits most frequently. It is nice to travel, but it is nice to be back too.

   These drawers are being made from plywood and lumber from the 'left over' bin.  I like box joints but they turn out better when you begin with solid wood rather than plywood.  Maybe the next project will have nicer wood.

   cheers, Ian

Image result for sweden

Sweden looks like Muskoka Ontario to me.