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.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

This and That

As sweet as the Japanese saws cut there is a deal killer to their use, the kerf is too damn narrow. I didn't realize how narrow it is until I tried to saw some dovetails. I've several "turning" saws, bow, coping, and fret, I use to saw out the bulk of waste on both the tail board and the pin board. None will fit in the Japanese saw's kerf.

My deep thought for the day: Why do we spend so little time talking and/or writing about sawing? I know planes are sexy and chisels are macho but saw skill is the base skill of woodworking, if you can saw, everything else falls into place. What the heck, I guess it is more fun to debate oil vs. water or Stanley vs. LN vs. LV.

Speaking of Stanley vs. everything else: I finally got around to changing all my user Stanley planes back to OEM irons and cap irons. Of course the biggest problem is finding usable OEM irons and chip breakers. The OEM irons and chip breakers make for a much nicer plane. The weight difference is very noticeable and the irons are easier to sharpen. It could be my imagination but I also think the OEM cap iron does a better job of chip breaking and ejecting than the aftermarket ones. The only downside to the Stanley cap iron is it does take a little fiddling to get it to work well.

Other things you don't learn in school, Last week I had the motorhome in the shop for some minor work. While there the shop allowed the "house" batteries to run down. That's a long pointless story as well, someone stole my surge protector through the fence of the maintenance shop and left the shore power disconnected which in turn allowed the house batteries to discharge. Anyway on to the original story, we do not have TV in the house, only in the motorhome and there was a program I wanted to watch last night. When I went to watch, the satellite was tits up, all I could get was the set up screen. After a call to tech support and 30 minutes or so of fiddling all returned to normal. I don't know this for sure but I'll bet the satellite box draws a small current to keep the box's memory chip working.

It was over 90F day before yesterday, there may be another cold front or two before Summer but Winter is over. Every Winter I keep threatening to move farther south but I'm just about as far south as you can go without moving back to Texas or to Mexico. Whatever the "sweats" are off and it is shorts and T's for another 9 months.

What is it with people, I have a box of motorcycle gear to get rid of. It is a great mystery box with lots of high end stuff.  My best guess is close to $5000 USD of motorcycle boots, electric heated pants, gloves, and jackets, helmets, motorcycle covers, and so on. Almost any one item, even used, is worth the $200 USD I'm asking for the whole box and I'm very clearly stating that, "I'll sell you anything in the box for $200 but you must take the whole box". I haven't put it on Craig's list yet but have told a few "friends" about it. The response: "I don't want the helmets, could you give me a list of the heated gear" or "I just want the Sidi "On Roads" how much for them".  My answer to both is the box will go to Goodwill first.

See you guys on down the road,

ken

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Japanese Saws....Western Saws

Unlike Ralph over at Accidental Woodworker, I'm not much of a woodworking animal. On days I go to the day job about the most I can hope for is an hour or two farting around in the shop sharpening tools, cleaning, or sometimes making practicing/warm up saw cuts or just shavings with the planes. Not much gets done on work days.

The last week has held to standard, I worked with an Initial Crew all week and a few days the week before. BTW what a great flight crew, both young, both sharp with great flying skills and very good SOPs and CRM. The time spent was a joy but as with all Initial training at the end of each day I'm ragged out as will be the flight crew.

There is a lot to pack into eight days of Simulator time. Many times the pilots will have never flown the aircraft and maybe have never seen this make and model close up. In just over a week of Sim training in addition to a couple of weeks of Ground School we may take a pilot who has never seen the aircraft to their legally sitting in the left front seat with a "green" First Officer and a butt strapped to every seat in back for his/her first takeoff in the real aircraft. Bottom line there is a hell of a lot to master in 32 hours of Simulator time. No matter how good the crew, everybody is drained out by the end.

Damn Bubba that was a long ways around to: The last couple of days I've been playing with some of my saws. With Western saws I have a tendency to drift right if I do not pay attention and have not sawn for awhile. Knowing that I will usually take a couple of practice cuts before doing any sawing where I want a first class cut if I haven't worked for awhile. I also know that I have a couple of saws in the till that will always drift right no matter how much attention or how current I am sawing. With my short attention span this last week I figured I could do a couple of things, sort out the "bad actors" and see if I could tune 'em up so the right drift isn't from the saw and get some practice in as it has been several weeks since I've sawed on a project. BTW I did get the drifting saws straightened out.

While farting around with the Western saws I remembered I had a new Japanese saw that had never been used. I thought "self, this would be a good time to give it a go". I've never really been comfortable using Japanese saws but I keep a couple around for the occasional time they are needed.

That may be changing.

This new "Z" saw cuts very straight, fast, and clean. I'm impressed. At this time I will not say I'm changing to using Japanese saws, I've spent too many years learning to use and maintain Western saws to change but....I expect I will add more and more use of Japanese saws to the mix.

Here is a photo of a mixture of saw kerfs, both Japanese and Western.



 I know....Really exciting. Here is a photo of the back side.


Click 'em to big 'em.

In the photo you can tell which kerf was from a Western saw and which was made by a Japanese saw. All the Western saw kerfs are "fuzzy", the Japanese kerfs are clean.

I've the weekend off, if I can keep out of MsBubba's line of sight I may make something even if it is just a cutting board or small box.

See you guys on down the road,

ken

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:


ken
 

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,

ken  


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.


Remember...click 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,

ken