Saturday, March 11, 2017

More on Shop Changes

I worked on the new bench for several months until I found the perfect slab of Beech for a apron. Here is a photo of the newly added apron turning my bench into what I like to call "my cross Chanel" bench or English/French bench. It works so well when I turned the older bench into a planning bench I added an apron to it as well.

The shop stayed reasonably stable after building the current work bench until I decided to turn the second bench into a planning bench and moved it off the wall to a central location. Here is a photo of the current arrangement. 

Looking South with current bench in foreground and planning bench in background. South of the planning bench arranged close to the door are the machines with the exception of the jointer to the right of the bench and a small lathe in the "tool room" aka Fibber McGee's closet. 

BTW, a sure sign you are too old to live is when folks no longer understand your cultural references. The other day one of the crews I was working with did a near perfect 45 degree bank steep turn, never losing or gaining a foot of altitude. In the old days before "glass" as a sign of respect and acknowledgement of the pilot's skill you would ask the co-pilot to tap the altimeter to see if it was stuck or broken.  I let it slip out and both pilots looked at me like I had two heads, as if to say "what is this old coot talking about, why would we do that".

Damn that was a tasty rabbit....back to the shop. The jointer is to my right and the sharpening bench is to the left, just off the working end of the primary bench. behind the primary bench is the tool chest and on the wall the open tool cabinet, saw and plane tills, and chisel racks. 

Notice the martini centered on the bench, work was over for the day. You can see through the door part of the tool room.

Next job is to cull the herd, of course I've been saying that for several years and it ain't happening. Anytime one tool leaves it is replaced by three. 


Friday, March 10, 2017

Shop Changes

James  over at The Apartment Woodworker started me thinking....I know dangerous when the few remaining brain cells start churning but it is what it is....about how my shop has changed over the years since settling in Tucson. For too many years everything was storied in a friends barn just south of DFW. Once we settled in Tucson and bought a house, I moved what was left of the earlier shop and added the power tools that did not survive the storage years.

Anyway here is an early photo while I was still using my old small work bench:

Even then it was 10 lbs in a 5 lbs bag. Stuff expands to fill available space. 

Next up was building a larger work bench to replace the one that had lived in storage for all those years. BTW, the old bench became my sharpening bench.

This was at the height of the Roubo craze and I fell for the hype. It made a good bench but over the years most of the Roubo things disappeared and I added an apron and lowered it to make a very good and solid planning bench. 

The tool cabinet, saw till, and chisel storage has changed a little over the years but all the original ones are still in use. 

The first appearance of the tool cabinet with Ugly Dude sawing in the foreground:

First appearance of the old work bench as a sharpening bench:

Starting to build the current bench, legs in glue up on the old/current planning bench and part of the slab on saw benches in the foreground:

Enough for one post, more later.


Thursday, March 09, 2017

Knew Concepts Saws vs. TFWW 12" Bow Saw

The Knew Concepts' saws are interesting and maybe a slight improvement over traditional fret and coping saws. Being able to turn the blade in the fret saw without using a pair of "dikes" to twist it is a great improvement but in use I find there is little difference between the two. Both use the same blades, both are slow cutting with a short throw. Breaking blades in either isn't a problem with good technique. Of the two, Knew Concepts fret or traditional fret saws, I will pick up the traditional about as often as the Knew Concepts, usually the one first on the turning saw rack is the one that gets the love.  

I do not have a Knew Concepts coping saw so I can't address if it is an improvement over a Olsen coping saw but with a few mods to the Olsen I can get all the tension needed and the blade will not turn unless I make it. With a coping saw the blades are too thick to fit in my dovetail saw kerf, it limits the saws use for removing waste from dovetails and as with the fret saw the throw is too short for efficient sawing. Whatever, the cost difference between the saws (Olsen $13 USD, Knew Concepts $149 USD) would make it difficult to justify the Knew Concepts for so little potential gain.

The jewel of my turning saws is the TFWW 12" Bow Saw. Its blade is almost as thin as a fret saw blade, it has a 12" throw vs. a 5" throw with either a coping or fret saw. The bow saw makes very quick work of sawing dovetail waste, much faster than either a fret or coping saw. Because of its narrow blade it is almost as easy to turn as a fret saw and much easier than a coping saw. At $169 USD vs. $95 USD for the Knew Concepts coping saw or $149 USD for the Aluminum fret saw the 12" bow saw is a better saw for little more money and is a bargain compared to the Titanium ones.

As always with anything wood....YMMV.

Much thanks to   Ralph over at The Accidental Woodworker for a very nice surprise package in today's delivery. I'm still speechless, once I recover I will post photos. Thanks Ralph, you shouldn't have but I thank you. BTW, the box is beautiful.


Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Houston, TX

I've some PTO to burn before August, I figure at least one long weekend a month is the best use. This last weekend I used four of 'em. We had planned to go to Mexico, as we were loading the critters MsBubba said "let's go to Houston instead, you have been talking about seeing the Grandpeanut". Worked for me.

It was a good trip, I've always maintained with a large enough fuel tank I could solve the Grand Unification Problem. The motorhome only holds ninety gallons of diesel so the GUP will have to wait but some others were thought through, mostly what I'm going to do once I grow up.

BTW, a motorhome is the only way to travel, only one needed fuel stop from Tucson to Houston but many quick "rest stops" and not once in a public head. Food delivered when needed, coffee on demand, and once night fell pop into a parking area for a couple of drinks, a good dinner, and a night's rest in your own bed. It doesn't get better.

MsBubba walking the Galveston beach:

I'm working with some White Pine building a couple of large boxes, one I expect will end up being a traveling tool box. The other I haven't a clue because I think it will end up a silly little mm too short for its intended use. The older I get the more brain farts I have. This time I didn't allow for the thickness of the pin board. About as dumb as it gets and of course I've never done that before...anyone want to buy a bridge?

I haven't worked a softwood in ages, I must say it is interesting with the difference in feel and ease of working. Maybe some photos later.

Video five of The English Woodworker's sharpening series is up. Even if you think you know everything there is to know about sharpening iron I'll bet you could pick up some new tidbit from Richard's presentation....He is that good.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Texas Land

Back in the day to finance the railroad the U.S. government gave the railroads government land (land taken from the Native Americans) on either side of the railroad right of way to sell as a means of raising money to build the road ways. My Grandparents purchased the family farm from the T&P Railroad around the turn of the Century.  They raised 6 kids sending all to college while farming a West Texas dirt farm. My guess it was tough. My Grandmother also raised me until I was old enough to go off to boarding school in San Antonio. Over the years I lost touch with the family for reasons. BTW, I will get to the chase.

A couple of days ago I received a phone call from an investor who offered me a sum of money to buy my share of the farm that I did not know I owned. Of course he was trying to "steal" it. After a couple of days on the phone trying to pin down ownership, it is looking like I may own 90 acres of West Texas. It gets even stranger: My clients this week were present when I received the call about the farm. One of the client's son is a "Land Man". For those of you not from the oil patch, a Land Man is an employee of drilling/oil companies whose job is to buy mineral rights and drilling permits from land owners.

Bottom line: He, the Land Man, is nailing down ownership and will buy the mineral rights if I still own them. He said there is good activity in the area and the property may have some value. That could be the best of all worlds, mineral rights go for about the same per acre as the land price. If everything works out I will keep the land and lease it to one of the local farmers and sell the mineral rights. Could be a nice unexpected chunk of change in my pocket and a good monthly income to help with retirement.

I'm not headed to the Chevy dealer to order my new diesel truck yet but it will be a nice surprise if it does work out.

On a totally unrelated note. MsBubba called me this morning in a panic, one of her friends said there were many house break-ins happening in our part of town and she is worried we do not have enough insurance to cover my shop and the contents of the house. The only answer is "yes Dear I will call State Farm about the house coverage". In line with the call she wanted an inventory of the shop, as she put it "what it really cost, not what you tell me it cost". The old gal is pretty sharp :-). The good news, we have $250,000 USD house hold goods coverage and a very generous accounting of replacement cost for everything in the shop is only around $60,000 USD and I want to see the thief that can pick up almost 2 tons of pig iron and run with it.  BTW, I've got to go out and buy more tools because MsBubba guessed there were more than $100,000 USD of tools in the shop, I've $40,000 to go because I sure do not want to disappoint the boss.

See you guys on down the road,


Monday, February 20, 2017

Texas Red

For every Texan worth his salt there are two truths: The only "real" BBQ comes from Texas and the best is __________ (fill in the blank) and they personally make the best Chili to be found anywhere.

What started me down this road today was making a pot of Chili this morning. BTW, Chili does not have beans or tomatoes in it, if it does it is bean or tomato soup. A proper bowel of red will have sliced and cubed beef not ground beef and never pork, turkey, or whatever other abomination non Texan and, I have to admit, even some so called Texans call Chili. In addition to beef, a mix of dried chili peppers. I like to use 3/4 Ancho, 1/4 Hatch, and 1/4 Chipotle peppers, a little Cumin and garlic with just enough water to process the peppers for the sauce. Add salt to taste, cook until the meat starts to "tender" stir in a small hand full of Masa de Maiz to thicken and simmer another 5 or 10 minutes. Serve with Saltine crackers, a big slice of onion, and some cheese on the the side. Close to heaven if there is one. Only beans and cornbread or BBQ from Luling City Market (I filled in the blank) come close to being as good.

One more thing to add, buy the toughest, cheapest meat in the market. The good stuff just falls apart and has no flavor. If done correctly the only water you need will come from the chili sauce. The reason for the chili selection is the Ancho are the major flavor, Hatch adds the heat, and the Chipotle peppers bring a wonderful smoky note. You can use nothing but Anchos and your Chili will be very good.

Paid off the mortgage today, Truck will follow in a few months. If anyone other than Trump, even another Republican, was in the White House I would retire....for now it ain't going to happen. Up until Shrub I alway maintained the President really couldn't do too much damage, the checks and balances were such they could constrain even the worst actors. Shrub proved that wrong, Trump scares me.

See you on down the road,


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The English Woodworker

Richard Maguire has started an new video series on sharpening. Richard is a good teacher and is very entertaining to watch. In addition the first two videos validate my way of sharpening :-), so they must be good.

You can find the the videos on Richard's blog.