Friday, December 09, 2016

One More Atkins

I got around to sharpening another of the Atkins panel saws last night. I've been on what some call a graveyard shift this week with a 0100 show and a 0800 finish. While in many ways it is my favorite line, no suits to put up with, time off during business hours so things can be taken care of, but it can be hell on your sleep pattern and motivation for shop projects.

As usual, when working the early AM line, about all that gets done is tool and shop maintenance.  My chisels lose a few years of life, saws get sharpened, planes get worked over and I "test" them. There is just something very enjoyable about making a piece of wood smaller with a hand plane, hearing the snick and seeing the shavings eject from the mouth of the plane with no goal other than hearing the snick and seeing the shavings eject.

Last night as I stumbled around the shop doing random clean up and placing tools back into their assigned storage spot I noticed a couple of Atkins panel saws that needed rehab. One was 16 TPI with "0" set and so dull it would cut soft butter, the other was 7 TPI crosscut with just enough set left you could, with help, figure out where to mark the teeth for setting and sharpening. You can guess which one I picked to sharpen.

It had a small "wave" in the tooth line which I for the most part worked out followed by setting, topping and shaping, there were a few cows and calfs. After a final sharpening pass and stoning the tooth line I took it to the wood. It did not disappoint, it sawed true and fast. I've gone from having only a "hard point" panel saw to now having two very good panel saws, one cross cut and one rip both with comfortable totes in addition to the hard point.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Atkins Panel Saw

Several years ago a guy came through town with a trunk load of tools and a story. The story was he needed gas money to drive home to Montana. I'm a sucker for both old tools and a good story, either would have worked for gas money. I ended up with close to 100 saws, a tool tote, and a suitcase full of saw totes and parts.

For the most part the saws spent the next couple of years in the way and being moved from place to place in the shop. Several months ago I started digging through the pile and separating out the keepers from the junk and parts saws. Among the keepers I found a couple of Atkins panel saws, one filed 16 TPI and one worth the cost of the whole lot of saws filed 11 TPI.

The 11 TPI saw has been in the saw vise for several weeks waiting for me to clean up the tool room enough to get to the saw vise. Today miracle of miracles I finished a path and found time to sharpen that sucker.

What a sweet saw. The tote is still rough but that is minor. I cuts fast and true.


And one of the cut line, you can't saw truer:

I wash I had sharpened it before I sawed the notch in the dovetail jig in the background. I've never learned to saw with a Japanese saw and as always the notch cut went off line. It's a shop appliance so not a big deal but.....  


The Woodworkers

A while back Lost Art Press published a two volume set of Woodworker Magazine's articles during the Charles H. Hayward years with the surprising title; "THE WOODWORKER: The Charles H. Hayward Years".  The contrast between the re-published articles and those of woodworking mags of today is chalk and cheese.

The books have been my bathroom reading for most of the last year. It is like having the best woodworking magazine always available and with no ads for the latest and greatest dovetail jig. A third volume should be shipping this month. The first two are on tools and techniques and the third will be about joints.

You can't go wrong putting any or all the books on your Winter Solstice gift list.

BTW, I made a new dovetail marking jig last night. The old one worked ok but was just a thin red one out of square. I will not know for sure if the new jig is dead nuts square until I use it but by every measure it is dead on.


Friday, December 02, 2016

Too Much Stuff

A week or so ago Andy over at Oregon Woodworker posted about culling his herd of bench planes. Ralph at the Accidental Woodworker wondered if Andy was coming down with something and I tried to sell him on buying another plane, the old one out one in thingy. Andy had a point, too much stuff just gets in the way of making things.

I'm lucky here in the desert there isn't much of a rust problem, if I had to do rust patrol my tool collection would be much smaller.

For sometime I've been trying to get rid of the truly unused tools with out a lot of progress although this week I did get rid of the last of the router bits and jigs. Problem is most of the stuff is very useable but not for the way I work. BTW, I will get to the point of this post.

Even tools for the way I work there are too many of 'em in the shop. There are planes out the kazoo, stuffed in every corner of the shop, in the plane till, the storage cabinet behind the joinery bench, and under every bench in the shop. I know some folks have it worse than I but..... and BTW, the chisels are another post.

The crazy part is eighty percent of the time I'm using one of four metal planes and/or one of the wood stock jack planes. The four are all type 13 or older Stanleys, I do have after market irons in them not because the thicker irons improve the plane but because it is hard to find good stock irons. The reason I reach for the old Stanleys is because the are light, it is the same reason I use the wood stock jacks. Light is good, with a light plane I can work most of the day. With a modern heavy plane I tire very quickly.

A photo of the four users, from left to right a #3, #4, #4 1/2, and a #5 sharpened as a jack:

The #3 and #4 are freshly sharpened and planed the White Oak like it was butter, the #4 1/2 and the #5 not so much. Gives me something to do tomorrow.

The plane till with mostly LN's:

We have truly been sold a bill of goods that heavy is better. That said, the new LN and LV planes are works of art and I like using them for quick jobs. I wish someone i.e. LN would make a modern Bailey pattern plane. Sigh, my guess it is not to be.

I guess the point of all this rambling is I admire folks like Andy that can keep their tool collection genes in check and even more someone that can sell off unneeded planes or chisels. To steal a line from David Bromberg when it comes to selling off tools I have one green eye and one red. It's "stop", "go", "stop", "go" with stop usually wining.


The National Hamburger of Texas

One of the advantages of living past your sell by date is the smallest thing can send you back in time and mostly, except for MsBubba, no one wants to lock you in the looney bin. Week tea I know but that's part of being older than dirt along with senior discounts and the Golden Eagle National Park pass.

Last night I needed to grab something to eat before show time. There is a Whataburger on the way and close to the Center. Most of the time it is just a quick in, eat a hamburger, and out in less than 15 minutes. Last night the time table held but soon I was back in, I believe, 1957 and remembering the first time I had a Whataburger. At that time I was a student in a San Antonio, TX boarding school, one of my fellow students, Bob Shoop, invited me to spend a long weekend at his home in Corpus Christi, TX. Bob's dad owned a large restaurant in Corpus but all Bob could talk about was having a Whataburger once we were in Corpus.

I was not disappointed, with the first bite it was like a Disney movie with blue birds singing and angels descending from on high. It doesn't happen often, in fact the only other time I can remember was my first visit to Mama Ninfa's on Navigation in Houston, TX.

A true quote from their web site "This is where it all started, where Mama Ninfa first stuffed chargrilled sliced beef into a handmade flour tortilla and launched the national fajita craze...". It wasn't just her Tacos Al Carbon but everything I had that night, the refried beans, the rice, it all had me licking the plate and wanting more. Shortly after that first visit Ninfa's was discovered and lines out the door stretched around the block. All good things, except Whataburger, end or are loved to death and Ninfa's is not the place it once was but for a few short years it was the best not just Mexican food but food you could find at any price. It was even better than K-Paul's in New Orleans.

Unlike many shops that expand, while today's Whataburger will no longer call down the angels or blue birds it has remained very true to the original.

Enough old farting. MsBubba's Mahjong box ain't the best....The Ebonizing of the White Oak lid and base is very pretty but it didn't play well with the glue and the Cherry box. Also I'm not sure the iron/acid will not stain the Mahjong tiles. It is back to the drawing board for the Mahjong box.

As it to big it,


Thursday, December 01, 2016

New Small Box

The rust it shows. The box parts shown in the T-Day post are history due to a mistake almost too dumb to admit. But what the hey, I can blame it on the three months spent in recovery....That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I'm sure none of you have marked and cut the pins on the the wrong side, like I said too dumb to admit.

The replacement box is almost finished (photos when done). This one is Cherry with a Ebonized White Oak slider top and base. Cherry is nice to work and beautiful when finished but, there's that damn but, at least for me it is hard to get perfect dovetails. I can almost never fit right off the saw, if I do they are either too loose or one or more will split. Even when I saw them tight and pare to fit, during the fitting process I tend to spilt at least one....This box was no different, I got a split, stop drilled it and used cyanoacrylate in the crack. I thought about making a new pin board and about painting to hide and rejected both. It is a utility box, MsBubba will not care if there is a crack, I'll bet she will never see it if I can keep my mouth shut, and it will have no effect on the strength of the box. That's also my story and I'm.....

Last Saturday we took the critters and the motorhome to Bisbee, AZ for the night. Bisbee is an old mining town 90 or so miles southeast of Tucson. On the way, about 20 miles west of Bisbee, you pass through Tombstone, AZ. Tombstone is more famous but Bisbee is a heck of a lot more fun.

The Bisbee RV park is on a hill overlooking the Copper Queen mine and a block or two from downtown Bisbee. Being a old mining town, set in a picturesque valley, Bisbee is a tourist magnet and full of "stuff to buy," ok cafes, and great bars, many with live music. Bottom line it was a great use of the motorhome and a wonderful way to spend a Saturday and Sunday.

Photos to follow....see you on down the road,


Thursday, November 24, 2016


Happy T-Day y'all. There are only four days each year I notice in their passing. Starting with the first of each year the four are: Juneteenth (19th of June), Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and MsBubba's B-Day (December 22, the most important day of the year). Of the four Thanksgiving is the most enjoyable.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great Turkey Day.

This morning I found a little time for the shop in-between making dinner rolls for our contribution to the feast. MsBubba asked for a small box to hold her Mahjong tiles. How could I say no, besides it will be the perfect project after the long layoff.

After much laying out of tiles, butt scratching and, "whatever" from the boss I settled on dimensions and sawed the sides and ends to final size along with truing the boards.

You can't see much, they are stacked to the right of the #4. That may be all the shop work for the day. 

It is almost time to start getting ready for the turkey. I'll be social, may even put on a stain free and clean t-shirt for the big event.

See you guys on down the road,


Monday, November 21, 2016

Front Garden and Parking Finished

As with most things at Casa Chaos work expands. What was planed as a two day job took six. Whatever, the front garden and parking are finished and I have new rocks to yell at the kids to "get off'".

We removed a row of prickly pear along the curb and moved several other plants to make room for parking and graveled both the motorhome's parking place and the new parking area. As I posted the other day we had10 tons of gravel delivered. I had figured 8 tons were needed but the delivery was free for 10 tons. I figured I'd find some use for the extra 2 tons. Turns out I needed all ten to finish up the front garden and motorhome area.

Anyway photos of the new rocks:


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Odds and Ends

I'm back working....The suits are crazy. So what else is new.

MsBubba wanted to add parking space in front of the house. As always the answer is "Yes dear".

I had 10 tons of rock delivered yesterday. Of course everything had to be moved to make room. Here is almost 10 tons of rock, some of it has already been moved to the area beside the house.

Exciting isn't it. 

Here is some of the rock spread beside the house.

And Mark from the backside removing an Agave for transplant out of the expanded driveway.

And finally something almost woodworking. Several years ago MsBubba carried home a metal chair  from one of her dumpster diving adventures. The frame has taken up room in the shop for all that time while I occasionally tried to figure out how to make a seat. Anyway I got around to doing it a couple of weeks ago,  Cypress slats with screws through the metal rails. Looks better than I expected and is surprisingly comfortable. 

Sam the Wonder Dog is on his favorite patio chair and the motorcycle trailer is there until I finish spreading gravel. BTW, if anyone wants/needs a good motorcycle trailer this one is for sale as I no longer have a motorcycle or ride.