Saturday, April 12, 2014

Four Square

As is my want, at least once but usually several times a year my heart over comes my head and I bring out the winding sticks, scrub plane, and the big boys. This year a 700mmX200mm hunk of rough sawn 5/4 Cherry was the chosen victim.

I tell myself it is to justify the shop space devoted to the big, heavy, noisy, dust producing machines setting near the front of the shop. It's true, my production would go down even farther than the already slower than slow rate it is now but damn I would be a buff OF if I did this every day.

This board has a pretty good cup and bow but not too much wind. Here is a photo of the cup side:

I scrubbed flats on the high spots so the board would lay flat on the bench:

 and started on the bowed side: 

You may be able to to see (if you make it big) the pronounced bow on the left side and a bit of wind left to right. Worked it all out with the wood scrub plane and the old Stanley #5 with the heavy cambered iron. Then finished it off with the Type 8 Stanley #8. It is another post but damn I love me some early, Type 11and earlier, Stanley's. Put a Hock or LV O1 iron with chip breaker in 'em and there is no better plane.

With the first face flat and true, I used a #3 to put a "dip" in the middle of the edge and the cambered #5 to bring the edge square to the face.

Then finished off the edge with the #8 and marked the width to 25mm:

Two down two to go. That's where I quit for the night. I should have enough board to end up very close to 25mm or a full 4/4 board, if not it should be very close.

It is a good workout, made more so because my bench is set for working with finished boards. I've been thinking about making a new bench, just because I like to build benches. I have room for a second bench and it would be nice to have one lower for using to prep stock. If I do I might have to re-think the new bench, I had been planning on making a "pretty" bench out of Beech instead of the usual SYP. Pretty may wait. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

It's Better to be Lucky than Good

Back in the day.

Like all OFs the older I get the better I was but back in the day I could fly an airplane, not airshow or combat type flying but I could take a Multi Engine airplane and keep it in its protected airspace almost no matter what the Sim Instructor and/or Aviation gods decided to throw at me that day. But....I've always known the real difference between dying in the old folks home pooping in your nappies and the last words you speak are "Oh Fuck" heard over the cockpit voice recorder is pure blind ass luck. Skill will make you luckier but if I had to choose one I'll take luck any day.

Not quite on the the same level of living or dying but this morning I had a little pure blind ass luck in the shop. Through inattention to markings on the rear apron I chopped the button mortise and a small relief curve on the the wrong side of the apron. Here's where the luck comes in, the joints were to be draw bored so if the tenon was shorter than the mortise no big deal and with the shortening of the tenon the draw bore hole moved enough that I could re-drill the draw bore hole in the tenon and still have structural integrity, add one more bit of luck, I almost always center my tenons so flipping the apron made no difference in appearance.  Bottom line, luck saved the day along with a little age, I can't tell you how close to firewood the table came this morning.

Here is the table draw bored and glued (belts and suspenders don't ch know) waiting for the the glue to dry so I can start the drawer and top.

Don't Work when Distracted

I know better, I've learned this lesson too many times yet I'll also bet this will not be the last time for a teaching moment. Bubba don't do anything in the shop other than sharpen and clean iron when distracted by work, life, or pain.  You will screw maybe, no you might get away with it this time. You will screw up.

I guess I'm lucky, if I can find the board I cut the aprons from I can recover and no one will know any different but the last of the side tables may have a back apron that matches the drawer face or what ever....I know, I designed it that way. That may be my story and I'm sticking to it.

Problem is the screw up is too dumb to cop to.....big red markings pointing this side up on both sides of the apron, who can read, I had top button mortises to chop and a relief curve to cut on the bottom....BTW the relief curve was very nicely done as was the button mortice...just on the wrong side of the apron instead of where they belonged.

This table may be moved to the unfinished projects pile for a few days, I'm too pissed to work on on it today. On second thought, I've wanted to do my annual four square a rough timber and that was going to be the next project, to prep a rough timber and make a small box with out using any of the shop's machines with the exception of the band saw. I know there is a rough Cherry board in one of the wood piles. By the time I have found it and have it trued and sized my guess is I will have worked pass being pissed. Physical labor can clear the mind of trivia.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Slow in the Shop

I've a high pain threshold, once flew for almost a month with a broken jaw, same story with a broken arm. The arm was a perfect example of dumb ass...needed something just out of reach in the shop, there was a ladder on the other side of the shop but a 5 gal paint bucket at hand. You know the outcome, step on the bucket, bucket goes flying...gravity is powerful shit. Anyway last week I had oral surgery and either my pain tolerance has decreased or it was more than advertised. It has kicked my ass, about all I have done is go to work, come home take enough pain meds and Gin to go to sleep and then get up and do it all over the next day.

Anyway today may be the turning point, made it home, the pain was just a little background noise and I put off the self-med routine and worked in the shop for a couple of hours. I shaped the legs, drilled the draw bore holes, cleaned up the rails, and put the table together to mark the draw bore holes on the of the shoulders didn't pull up as tight as I guess is one of the tenons is butting up against the other and needs to be trimmed. Whatever I ran out of gas at about that time, tomorrow I will pull it apart, fix what is binding and mark and drill the draw bore holes. It's good to be in the short rows, I'm ready to move on to a different project.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Odds and Ends

I was at the local Woodcraft store a couple of days ago and they had a Woodpecker 1281 square, one of the guys there said he had one and really liked it. What the hey, it's only money and I need a good square so it followed me home. All I can say is a damn good square. Normally I like a square that is smaller but its size is not a problem. I'm really pleased with how easy it is to use, the only problem it is marked in inches and I work in metric. Not that I use the markings on my squares but I may get a metric one to go with the fractional one. I just wish they made a 6"/150mm version as well.

I'm in the short rows on the third side table build, the tenons are slipping in with minimum work, shaping of legs and aprons to follow along with the drawer. I may finish it over the weekend but most likely it will be sometime next week.

I'm ready to get the side table off of the bench, it's that time to do the once a year rough lumber to 4 square exercise. Some day I will finish and decide to sell all the machines, I doubt this is the year, could happen.

I've the new work bench designed in mind, Beach top about 610mmX2450mmX115mm (24'X8'X4.5" for the folks still stuck in the inch, stone, foot world). made of Beech with a Douglas Fir base. A Veritas end vise, my old English #52 face vise and round dog holes. Things it will not have, a sliding dead man, square dog holes, and split top.

I had oral surgery last Friday, it has kicked my ass. The last time I had oral surgery back in 1993 I ended up with a metal plate to hold my jaw together. This time feels much the same, I hope I can grab someone by the short hairs and make them understand the problem before it gets to the metal plate solution.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Single IronPlane

Lee Valley has offered tapered plane irons for awhile. I finely got around to ordering a couple and yesterday I made a Krenov pattern plane with a Beech stock using one.

They're pretty slick. If you are like me and hate powered routers the cutting of the mortise for the double iron screw is the most time consuming step in making a Krenov plane. A single iron doesn't need one so there is one less step to screw up.

Anyway, the first is out of the clamps. I tried it on some Cherry scrap, works beautifully, easy to set and holds the set. About the only down side is the iron is a little longer than the Hock Krenov irons. I can live with that.

It's not the best stock I've made, the mouth is a little loose but it works so I'll add it to my user shelf.

Sunday Morning

I had a root canal type procedure done Friday, it was warranty work on a root canal done several months ago. The first was bad enough, a second is a PITA. Anyway the side of my face is swollen, my jaw hurts and I've very little sleep for the last couple of nights. That's the bad news, the good is sleepless nights are usually spent in the shop and the last couple held true to form.

I ordered a couple of tapered irons from LV and they arrived just in time to make a plane last night. It is in the clamps as I type, once out of the clamps I'll drill for the cross pin and finish the wedge. It will be interesting to see how it works vs. a double iron plane made the same way and of the same wood.

I'm also sawing the tenons for the third side table. I had hoped to finish it this weekend but no joy, Friday was lost because of the root canal and Saturday wasn't a lot better and today I will lose some time taking the critters for a ride in the truck.

One thing I did accomplish this weekend was ordering the Beech for a new work bench build but most of all sleepless nights afford time to think (sometimes thinking is the reason for the sleepless night, yeah I know it gets a little circular), The thoughts de jour were how can anyone live with out making things, it doesn't have to be furniture, it could be anything but I would be lost without tools and work. A life of TV, booze, and whatever would be one not worth living.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mortise Chopping and the Third Side Table

I'm almost finished chopping the mortises for the third side table. Unless I change my mind today, this table will have a small drawer in a Cherry base. Top TBD.

I read about all the "quick and/or easy" ways of making mortises and it's something I don't get. While I can understand a production shop using a hollow chisel mortiser, for a one off guy like myself it is quicker and easier to mark, take chisel and mallet in hand, and just start.....tap, tap, tap, and push. Do it until you reach the end, come back and take the starting section to depth, go to the next one. Takes very little time to do the eight for a table plus it is one of the most enjoyable operations in the process of making furniture. Once in the rhythm, smelling the wood, feeling and controlling the chisel as it breaks the divot free is a great pleasures that is lost using other methods.

Forgive, it is early morning, I'm minutes away from putting on the monkey suit and heading to work, and too much morning coffee.....but I sure enjoyed the 15-30 minutes I spent chopping mortises this morning, two more this afternoon and the legs will be ready to fit the tenons.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sharpening Old Iron

Most of the time if I can figure out how things were done 100 years or more ago that is the best way to do it now. There is always a but....Flattening the back of irons may be one of the buts. One of the reasons I will replace old irons with new ones from Hock or LV, if they are available, is the vast majority of old irons will have evidence of a previous sharpening where that day's "ruler trick" was used, whatever they called it then.

What brings this to mind is for the last couple of days I've worked, as long at a time as I could stand, to sharpen the irons of a 1/2 set of hollows and rounds. All of the backs are bellied back from the edge as if the ruler trick was used and of course there is no way to buy new replacement irons. I have a choice, use the ruler trick myself which I have an aversion to and would condemn to hell (if there were one) anyone that does that to an iron or beaver away at getting the back flat.  So far beavering is winning but as the FSM knows I've looked with lust at my small metal ruler.  May she strike me dead.