Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Pug Mill Table Finished

Title says it all. The table is finished, took longer than expected because of how wet the wood was/is. Anyway I expect it will support the pug mill and I should get a couple of at-a-boys out of it that might last 15 minutes or until I do something dumb, whichever happens first.

The best news is; it is out of the shop and I've cleaned up all the crap that comes with working very wet construction grade DF/mystery wood.

Here it is with the pug mill:


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Pug Mill Table

MsBubba had a pug mill shipped in a couple of days ago. That sucker is heavy, just under 300 lbs and she wants a table to set in on. As I ran through the options I decided this would be a great chance to prototype a small travel workbench. I wanted something quick to build because I can hear a tapping foot and the "where is my table, the pug mill was delivered yesterday" vibe from 50 feet.

I decided to do a face glue up of the slab and the legs but make everything where no cutting or chopping of joinery is needed. Also because of its intended use I didn't prep any of the 2X4s. The slab cutting and glue up took just under 2 hours. I expect the leg and stretcher cutting and glue up will be about the same.

Bottom line unless there is a major hiccup I should have MsBubba smiling and playing with her new pug mill before the weekend is over.

Here is the slab ready for glue up.

The slab glued up, I'll wait for about 45 minutes before knocking out the leg mortise plugs.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

More Chopstick Maker

I cobbled together a chopstick blank jig. The workflow for now is thickness a sheet of wood with the planer followed by cutting out the blanks with the bandsaw. Then plane each blank to size in the blank jig.

It works well and at $3 USD for a pair of blanks vs. free scrap and a little farting around in the shop it is kinda a wash. Need to do a lot of sticks, buy the blanks. Have some nice, right sized scrap, and a little time, make blanks.

Anyway of photo of the blank jig:

MsBubba is a ceramist and I will occasionally throw a pot, she's good, I at best can throw a pot.

As posted before everyone we know has a small box or two and/or several bowls or plates from MsBubba. I've thought for some time we needed to change our stock of gifts and when I saw the Bridge Cities ad for the chopstick maker my thought was sticks and ceramics would be a perfect match. The plans are to make some small rice bowls and sushi plates to give with a pair of chopsticks.

A memo to record:

I have a Chevy truck that is a couple of years old. It had some pending recalls and needed an oil change so I thought: "Bubba why not let the dealer change the oil and take care of the recalls at the same time". Sounded like a plan. The service advisor suggested that the truck was also due for a coolant and transmission fluid change as well. I thought about it for a count or two then what the hell it needs doing and I'm there. The dealer gave me a ride home and I went on with my day while they took care of the truck. I had planned on picking up the truck the next morning but asked the service advisor to call once they finished. Later that afternoon He called, not to tell me the truck was ready but that they had found "water" in the transmission fluid that likely came from a faulty radiator. That was the bad news, the good was I still had a little less than a thousand miles left on the truck's warranty and the transmission and radiator replacement was under warranty. Damn Bubba you dodged a bullet through blind ass luck.

As said before, it is better to be lucky than good.

See you on down the road,


Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Chopstick Maker

Awhile ago I ordered a Chopstick Maker from Bridge City Tool Works. The UPS girl dropped it off the other night and I found a couple of minutes free tonight to try it out. It works pretty much as advertised.

When I saw it my thoughts were "what a great gift idea to make hand made chopsticks". Almost everyone I know, and a few I don't, have a small box of one kind or another in addition making a box takes time. I don't mind the time and I have a good number stored around the house but.....

I figured hand made chopsticks would be enough different from boxes plus a little more unique, it was worth a go. Also if it didn't work out then I would get a nice Bridge City apron block plane out of the deal anyway. That's my story and I'm sticking to it....truth is I'm a sucker for new toys.

On to the story: The first pair I made were from maple blanks and look pretty good for the first go. The kit has enough blanks of different woods to make 10 pair of chopsticks. The question now is: Order more blanks or make the blanks from shop scrap. I'm leaning toward ordering blanks but we will see. it to big it.

The Ebonized box lid finally dried enough to fit:

The same box with the Cherry lid:

I'm not sure which I like better but then it is not my decision.

That is one of the new style ECE Jack planes in the fore ground, it has been in the shop for several months and I figure it should be acclimatized to the desert by now. I put a nice camber on the iron and gave it a go this afternoon. Pretty sweet, it may become my go to Jack, a little smaller than English style Jacks and I really like the horn. As good as a #5 is as a Jack the Stanley is still heavier, the older I get the better small and light becomes.

See you guys on down the road,


Tuesday, January 03, 2017

MsBubba's Disks

The things we will do for the love of our lives. MsBubba asked the other day "how big a disk can you cut?". My answer was: What kind of disk? What wood? What is it for? What size do you need? I'll bet you know at least one of the answers. "It's for a game for Levi (the grandpeanut) and I don't know".

Bottom line we worked out the size and wood and I cut two dozen 100mm disks out of Baltic Birch ply.

The cutting out wasn't much of a problem but sanding them was kinda a butt scratcher. How to hold a 100mm disk while sanding. Ain't no way to use an RO sander, I tried holding in my palm with a sanding block, ended up with non-skid shelf liner on the bench and a sanding block.

I'm always amazed at the uses for holdfasts. The sanding block is one of those "point of sale" gadgets I'm a sucker for. The good news it is very handy, it holds new or used 5" sanding disks with hook and loop. My guess is it is used for 90% of my hand sanding.

My understanding is the disks will be painted different colors and used in some kind of "matching" game. Whatever, I got my Ataboy for the day.


Monday, January 02, 2017

Marking Gauges

Rob over at Heartwood is doing a very good series on marking gauges. I can't add much other than price doesn't always correlate to functionality.  I've several very beautiful marking gauges that were close to or over $100 USD that are unusable and several very plain and cheap gauges that I use often.

If you haven't, go read Rob's posts, there is a lot good information in the three current posts on marking gauges. About all I have to add are a couple of links to gauges I've found usable and cost effective.

One of the best gauges is a Ryuma screw lock from Tools from Japan that cost around $13 USD. A step up in quality and a little better functionality is also from Tools from Japan, a "Kegaki" double bladed mortise gauge for about $125 USD. The Kegaki is very similar to a Kinshiro gauge which will cost around $320 USD if you can find one for sale. I have both Kagaki and Kinshiro gauges and the biggest difference between them is the Kegaki is machine made where the Kinshiro is truly a work of art.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Another Damn Sharping Post...Just Walk On By

When between projects and with a little time to play in the shop but not enough time or energy to tackle one of the many builds in the queue I will usually spend it either cleaning the shop or tool maintenance. The worst is when most of the tools are sharp and the shop is in near working condition then I gravitate to the really boring "what if's" such as: "Are water stones really better than oil?". "What about diamonds?" Or even better, "Natural vs. man made?".

You know where this is going. Over the last few days I've had limited time in the shop but enough to get in trouble with the "what if's". I've used oil stones as my primary sharpening medium for most of my life. I've made runs at most of the other ways but without fail when adding up all the advantages and disadvantages vs. other ways Ark oil stones work better for me. Of course, as always, YMMV.

The last few days follow the script. It started when I wanted to take another look at sharpening Veritas PM on Ark oil stones vs. water stones as referenced yesterday. Today I decided to play with some O1 chisels on Shampton's vs. Ark stones.

The common thread is almost all water stones will give a very nice polish even at the courser grits, oil not so much not even on oil polishing stones. To get a polish if that is your objective, at least when I'm doing it, requires going to a strop charged with one of the compounds. While I like to see a well polished iron, that really is not the objective, what I want is a edge that is "sharp" (whatever sharp is) and will last pass the first touch of wood.

I've found the scratch pattern is more important than polish and I think that is where most man made stones lose. I've seen very polished irons, irons that will blind you they are so shinny but with deep scratches on the back and bevel. Most of the time natural stones will give a better scratch pattern.

The real test is not visual but how does the iron cut wood, that of course is subjective. I've yet to find any stone that gives a better working edge than oil stones. It could be because I know Ark oil stones better than water stones or I may be full of whatever and/or just do not know how to get the best out of water stones. Both are very likely.

Bottom line, Ark stones still rule my sharpening bench with Atoma diamond stones for grinding.