Friday, December 27, 2013

I'll Never Learn

I'm still making Winter Solstice boxes and expect to for another month or so. The one I was working on last night was maple and cherry, a couple of very nice cutoffs, they would have made a nice box if I would just not push as hard when the pins and tails are tight. I know better but all it needed was a little tap, wrong Bubba, just when I thought I was home free one of the maple tail boards cracked. Back to the cutoff pile to see if I can find a piece of maple to match.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Any Excuse

I'm a little time constrained today. MsOK will arrive around 1515 MST and I'm expected to be there for the drive home. She's been gone so long I may need a cardboard sign with MsOK written on it.  It's not bad duty but it interrupts the day I had planned in the shop finishing up a couple of small projects and making a saw bench.

I dimensioned some cherry and maple last night for a small box and even cut the tails with plans to pick it up and finish this AM along with the saw bench. When I awoke this morning I looked around the house and thought "self, you and the critters have been home alone for more than a week. It ain't pretty, and if you want to live to see another day maybe you need to get the vacuum out and do a dish or two." There went the morning in the shop. The house will not pass a white glove inspection but if you squint it looks OK. I even did poop patrol in the back garden and in front of MsOK's studio, that should be good for a couple of Attaboy's, though I doubt it.  

Once I made it to the shop I remembered the #4 Woodriver that I use almost ever day still has the OEM iron, that just can not stand. I dug around in my pile of Stanley #4s and found a couple or three with Hock irons. I exchanged Woodriver for a Hock and set up my back flatting kit. BTW, did I ever mention I suffer from OFD and I'm easily distracted.

With one eye on FlightAware, I'm almost finished flatting the back. There is just one pesky scratch in the left corner to go and then it can be polished. I wish I could find a short cut to a flat back, I've tried most stones, grinders, you name it, but nothing works other than time, patience and being careful on a known flat surface.

My flatting kit is a granite cutoff, PSA wet/dry sandpaper, a iron holder with two rare earth magnets, a 20X  loupe, and time and patience. As I said earlier I wish there were a shortcut and if anyone knows of one I hope you will share.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Making a LN 4 1/2 work

While totally unscientific I did an interesting, at least to me, test today. I've always liked O1 better than A2. Most of the reasons are subjective and based more on "feel" when sharpening than anything else. O1 on a good translucent or hard black Arkansas is about as sinuous as is allowed in a work shop. It's a shame I use mostly diamond stones now, there is not the same feel with either diamonds or waterstones. The other reason is O1 matches my work habits better than A2, I like sharp iron, my sharpening bench is a step from my primary work bench and I do not mind honing often as long as it is fast.

Let's forget the above rabbit trail and set up the test. A couple of years ago, late one night, bored, surfing the Lie-Nielsen web site, I ordered a 4 1/2 bench plane with out thinking about the iron that would come with it. Lie-Nielsen, being the company they are, offered to replace it with an O1 iron free of charge but I got busy and time passed without my exchanging irons. Over the years I haven't used the Lie-Nielsen 4 1/2 much, it always felt too heavy and was hard to push no matter how much I waxed the sole. I would use my old Stanley 4 1/2 with a Hock iron or lately the LV #4 with the PM iron. Ah... hell that was a tasty looking rabbit....

Anyway, I was checking my planes for sharpness this morning and the LN 4 1/2 felt like it needed sharpening, I did and it still felt like it needed sharpening. Hummm, that's not good, what to do. I thought about finally ordering an O1 LN iron for it but that would take nearly a week this time of year. Then one of the Stanley #7s caught my eye, it had a Hock O1 iron and chipbreaker, I never use it, why not try it in the LN. Give you an ideal as to why I'm thinking about selling off some tools, the Hock iron had never been sharpened. The back and bevel were just as they were shipped from Hock and I'll bet that #7 had been on the shelf for at least 2 or 3 years.

I'll finally get to the chase, I sharpened up the Hock, resharpened the LN A2 just to be sure both irons were sharpened the same. BTW, my setting jig sets the iron at about 33 degrees, so it should be good for A2 as well as O1. Waxed the sole of the 4 1/2 and installed the A2. No difference, it still didn't sing. Removed the A2, installed the Hock O1, re-waxed the sole and Bob Wills lives in a LN 4 1/2.

Now the question is do I order an O1 iron from LN or just stay with the Hock. Whichever I finally have a useable LN 4 1/2.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Roubo Bench

I build my Roubo Bench out of imported (from Texas :-)) SYP a couple of years ago. It has been a great bench, if I ever build another it will be just a copy of this one. I might leave off the wagon vise, not because it doesn't work well but because I just don't use it much. Although it's not a hard install and I use it occasionally it would probably be included in the new build.

Must be a sign of OFD, I can't seem to get to the point. Gotta ramble around in my feeble brain first to get the process kickstarted.

Any way, the SYP was construction grade and still pretty wet when I started the build. I have expected it to move a bit and because I cleaned it off last night (first time in months you could see bench) I got the Winding Sticks, straight edge, and large square out this AM.  The big sucker is still dead nuts flat and square with no wind. Just a few nicks and some stains to show for a couple of years hard use.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What a Couple of Weeks

I had 8 days off Thanksgiving week which was great but I sure paid the price the first 3 weeks of December. Long kvetch short, after three weeks of working the back side of the clock, some of the days pulling doubles, and with only one day off over the 3 weeks, I finally finished for the year Saturday.  And what a finishing day. We went "live" with the new Stall training protocol, as required by the FAA last week and I had the pleasure of doing our Centers first Fight Check using the new procedures with a "Fed" looking over my shoulder. No real problem there but things slowed to a crawl as the day went on, ended up being an almost 11 hour day before everything was finished.

Today I caught up on sleep and rest, went out and found a bicycle rack for MsOK's B-Day and piddled in the shop. Mostly cleaning and making a couple of bench appliances.  Looking around the shop as I cleaned I've almost decided to have a tool sell off. I've planes, saws, and chisels stuck in every nook and cubby hole in the shop, most I never use. An example I have a near full set of Bailey pattern planes Type 11 or older. They are beautiful but I don't use them, especially the #6, #7, and #8 no need with the machines to four square stock. BTW, about once a year I'll take a raw board and four square it just to remind me why I have the machines.

Here's an old photo of 'em lined up.

There are dozens more including a near mint "45", what a useless hunk of metal but it sure is pretty. Then the 100 or so saws and that many or more chisels on top of all the planes. None of the planes are collector items but most are good solid users with Hock irons. A good number of the chisels have been re-handled and all have flat backs. The saws, about the best you can say, once pass my users, is that there are lots of 'em.

If I'm honest with myself I only use about a 1/2 dozen planes on a regular basis and in addition about the same number occasionally and it's the same with the saws. Chisels I use more but still I would never miss about half of the ones I keep sharp. I need to to do a serious sell off.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

LV Saws

Received an email this morning announcing the new LV Tenon Saws. I admit, I have a saw jones. I'm afraid to count how many are stuck in various cubby holes around the shop, in all conditions from good for parts to many perfect top-end back saws. The LV saws are as good as any, even not taking price into consideration. They tend to be a little harder to start than some such as the Gramercy dovetail saw but once started they cut true and clean. If you consider price they are an absolute steal. All that is a long way around to: With the introductory price they are a real bargain, I'll need to find room for two more saws in the till.

Posting about saws reminded me, I'm booked for the Bad Ax Tools' saw sharpening workshop March 28th and 29th. I'm not looking forward to the ride in steerage up to KMSP and back to KTUS but the the workshop should make up for the hassle.

This is the time of year for making small Shaker Candle Boxes out of bits of shop scrap. This one has a Sycamore box with Sapele lid and a Teak base. They are nothing special, usually with small mistakes, but they seem to walk out of the shop about as fast as I make them.

Sunday, December 01, 2013


A friend posted this photo of a bike's saddle. I found it very humorous, being a Long Distance rider with several Iron Butt Association Certified rides done, my first thought was after 1000 miles in less than 24 hours on that saddle you really would be Saddle Sore.


Vesper Tools Square

I posted several days ago about a small square from Vesper Tools. In it I posted I didn't know if I would find a use for it, well I think I've found its niche, it is really nice for marking the verticals on the pin board. Its small size and the adjustable blade make it very easy to use with no need to adjust the board in the vice to fit the square and then back again for the saw.  

Home Work

Eight straight days off from the Salt Mine will come to an end Monday. As much as I like my work, it is still good to get away for a few days in a row. We talked about going to Texas and seeing the kids, or going to Mexico so Sam the Wonder Dog and Sweet Maggie Dog could spend a couple of days swimming in the Ocean while we enjoyed beer and tacos, but we ended up staying home and working on Casa Chaos. It was a good move....expensive but a good move.

I'm getting too old to do the work myself but I can still sign the checks and there were a few signed. We had a good part of the back garden covered in "pavers", a cover erected behind MsOK's studio, 220 power ran back to the covered area for her kiln, and a deck built off the bedroom. It doesn't count as work but should count in my part of the deal, signing checks, ordered a new fridge and dish washer.

We also emptied the "guest" bedroom, pulled up the carpet, knocked down the "popcorn" ceiling and I pulled wires for a ceiling fan install. Paint and MsOK will lay new tile, once finished all that will be left on the house refurbish is my bathroom and then we can start all over. Photos to follow.

In my spare time I worked on the Sapele display case and made a Shaker style candle box out of Sycamore. I remember seeing a nice board of spalted Sycamore at the wood store, I almost picked it up and should have. I'll go when they open and if it is still there the box will have a nice spalted Sycamore top, if not, then I will use some spalted Maple. Also I finished re-toothing a old Freud 12" backsaw I'd been working on intermittently for several months, that and a bunch of trips to Home Depot (no project is finished until the sixth trip to Home Depot) made the eight days fly.