Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Design Process or How To Make A Mountain Out Of A Mole Hill. Project #10

  Yesterday afternoon I set about fixing a small problem in my shop.  I like to listen to music or pod casts while I work and have been using my tablet computer for that purpose.  A couple of years ago I made a passive speaker system for a previous tablet, my new tablet doesn't fit, of course. I have been leaning the tablet on things and hoping it doesn't get knocked over for a while now, yesterday I decided it was time to take a stand, and make a stand.  Another passive speaker system wasn't necessary but I wanted a stand.

finished version

  My initial plan was basic, cut a slot into a chunk of wood and have it hold the tablet.  Once I got the slot cut I decided it would be a good idea to drill some holes into the wood so the sound wouldn't be blocked.  Okay.  I measured the holes and made an effort to make it look designed rather than random.  

  Then the trouble began: the hunk of wood now needed to be shaped a bit on the band saw, then sanded on the belt sander to make it looked designed rather than random.  That took almost no time and improved the visual effect. What happened next was just silly.  I decided that the general shape needed so be sculpted and shaped, after all I had jumped off the artistic cliff and there was no going back.

  First I decided that the top of the hunk of wood was too plain and so I used my drill press and various chisels to carve out an indentation, in which to put.....I don't know but small somethings now have a place to be put. It wasn't that tough to rough out.  I drilled a bunch of holes with a Forstner bit upon which I have ground off the centre spur.  This modified bit leaves a much smoother bottom .  Not so smooth that it doesn't need to be sanded but not bad.

  Since that worked no bad I completely lost my mind and decided to shape the front side of the tablet stand/wood hunk.  The layout was easy, but I should have recognised the can of worms I was opening when the marking gauge had trouble with the end grain.  

  When I began this project I selected a bit of 2 x 6 spruce lumber from the scrap bit.  Spruce is fairly soft, pretty cheap and totally crap for carving. Not a problem since at the beginning of this process I had no plan to carve, shape or even sand this thing. 

  Now I am trying to cut a dado on a curved surface, across end grain that is course and chippy.  I cut the limits of the dado with a hand saw, then I cut more slots in the waste material hoping that it would make clearing the material away easier.  It didn't. I tried various chisels, fine with the grain, no luck across the grain, on the curve.  Finally I finished the job with wood rasps, they removed the wood but left a surface covered with voids when bits of wood pulled out while being rasped.  The wood that was left was filed smooth and sanded but there were many voids and much tear out.

  The holder was too ugly to be left bare wood and so I had to fill the rough spots with putty  before I resorted to spray paint.  If I'd left it as was I would have to invent a story about it being the loser in a pitch fork catching contest.  

  REALLY, all I wanted was a piece of wood to hold up my tablet computer.  It was organic design? Are organic designed products meant to be ground up and composted when you are done?

  For all that, it does the job, it is holding my tablet right now, and blasting away bassoon concertos. 

cheers ianw

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