Sunday, August 31, 2014


Made some progress on the pantry. Needed two more trips to Home Depot for three total so far, must mean I'm closing in on half way to finishing the job. I would have finished the trim but the shelf has to go in before the last couple of side trim pieces and I ran out of good light for cutting the shelf.

I'll take care of the shelf first thing in AM, finish the trim and then start on the drawers. I figure five will do the job. It should be quick and easy, all through dovetails with an attached face and full extension slides. The only worry is the width, I'll go with 3/8" ply for the bottom and may add a center brace, or make it easy and use 1/2' ply for the bottom. I need to do a little butt scratching on that one.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My Favorite Things

Yesterday morning as MsOK and I were having our tea and coffee in the back garden, playing with the critters, and watching the Quail feed she asked me to make a "rustic" Side Board. Of course I asked how "rustic" and she said "like those from Mexico".  After a little back and forth she settled for something with red milk paint.....dodged that bullet.

Anyway. I went to the wood store that afternoon, picked up some Poplar and dimensioned the leg blanks. This morning same setting as yesterday morning I asked for some executive decisions on number of shelfs and doors. The reply.....wait for it...."Oh no, that's not first, I want the pantry and the bathroom done first."  Sometimes that woman gives me whiplash.

OK, pantry it is. Of course any remodel starts with a Home Depot run. Got that out of the way early but forgot I was out of 3" screws so off to Ace for screws. Two of the required six trips to the Home Center done and I hadn't marked the first board. I'm sure you'll are aware no project is finished in less than six trips, I'm off to a good start.

I was going to try to build the pantry with no face frame, just a wall of flush drawers. Forget it, there ain't no way, nothing is square. I finally gave up, framed it out and will come back in with trim and pooky to make it look OK. I'm sticking with the flush drawers for now but now they will be flush with the trim and face frame.

Here is a photo of the wonderful, dry, construction grade wood available at your local Big Box. No wonder nothing is square,


Sunday, August 24, 2014

EZE-LAP or I Have Sharpening Round Heals

Bet you didn't know Amazon delivered on Sunday. I didn't but I guess they do now. I ordered a set of EZE-LAP diamond stones Friday the confirmation said delivery Sunday 08/24/14 and I thought yeah....sure, I'll see 'em Monday. When I came home from work around 1100 there was a box by the door, oh you of little faith, say a dozen Omni, Omni, VORs.....Sorry back on my meds.

I guess you could say I have sharpening round heals. On, above, around, and attached to my sharpening bench is an example of almost every sharpening system know to woodworkers. Jigs, I have 'em. Machines, which one do you want to try, PC, WorkSharp, Tormek, come on down big boy. Sandpaper, most every grit known along with granite plates, lapping plates, diamond spray, paste, and film. Stones, what kind would you like to try, Arkansas oil, Japanese water, Diamond, Ceramic water, and while I don't have every brand there is a damn good selection stuck in different areas of the sharpening cabinet. Strops by the dozen, MDF, Maple, Horse's Butt, Green, Yellowstone, or Diamond.

While all work and will give a "working edge", most have some drawback like Water Stones are high maintenance and messy, Oil I love the feel and the scratch pattern but can be a little slow with some irons and to get a polish you need to strop. Ceramic Water stones while not as messy still are high maintenance. Whatever the system it will work but.....

For the last couple of years for the most part I settled into using DMT Diamond stones. They do a good job, are low maintenance, but I do not like the feel, the feedback and they do not leave a smooth, polished edge. You still need to strop.

I really will get to the point, here is the chase: On one of the forums someone mentioned the difference in "feel" of Mono vs. Poly diamond stones....Damn I have to spend some more money. EZE-LAP come to Papa.

Sure enough, the EZE-LAP have an almost natural stone feel, leave a better scratch pattern than the DMT's but do not come in as fine a grit as available from DMT. Enter one other new addition, the Spyderco Fine Ceramic Stone. After all these years, all the bars and one night stands, I may have found my soul mate. A set of stones with no mess, low maintenance, good feel, will sharpen any iron I will use, and no need to strop. We went looking for a ring this afternoon.  

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Few Days In A Row Off

I finished a weekend from Hell early last Monday morning. I didn't get a lot done Monday but for me the other four days off were pretty productive.

First up I finished a couple of frames/mounting boards for two of MsOK's ceramic pieces. Now doing that made me modify my shooting board so I could shoot 45's. After a bit of butt scratching and a visit to the wood store I came up with this:

BTW here are the ceramic pieces with the simple frames. Both are painted with a Ash Black milk paint overcoat and waxed. One has a red undercoat and the other has a blue undercoat.

While doing the frames I realized I still needed a sticking board and I had time to make one. Of course it required some more butt scratching, a little time on the intertubes, and another trip to the wood store.
I've added a row of screws for stops.

Also Monday a co-worker that helped move some of the beech and with some of the early glue up of the slabs called and reminded me that I said I would help him with his bench build and was I ready to start. Of course the answer was yes. 

Here are the legs glued up but not cut to length.

One last item: I received a Spyderco Extra Fine Ceramic stone Friday morning. They have been around for years but I had never tried one. It may become my goto polishing stone, the only question is do I loose the strop.

Not a bad few days, less than half of what I planned to do but more than I normally do. back to work today, a mid afternoon Type Ride for a crew so home around midnight. Off Sunday, then back at it Monday starting at 2100. What can I keeps me out of the bars.

Friday, August 15, 2014

What a Waste

Not much will happen in the shop today although I did make a new arm for my 12" bow saw this morning. I guess I'm pretty ham handed, I keep splitting the arms. Before the arms have been made of Hickory, this time I'm trying some Beech. I doubt it will change anything but......

I've spent several thousand USDs over the last couple of months trying to save one of my back molars with no joy, I'm booked to have it yanked out at 1000. I expect the rest of the day will be spent sleeping off the sedative. BTW, the reason for the sedative is back in the early 90s a wisdom tooth procedure went South and I ended up staying several weeks in the hospital and a metal plate holding my jaw together. Can you say dentists suck pond water?

What a waste of a day off.

On another note, I picked up my little Honda VTX 1300 from the shop and got it off the bike trailer yesterday. While it was there they replaced the HK Sideburners with the OEM exhaust, much better and i'll bet the neighbors will be happier.

Here's MsOK and I posing on it a few years ago. I still haven't decided what to do with it, It is a great little bike but the boy child no longer wants it, which is the reason it is back in Tucson and the Sideburners are off.  I did my first Iron Butt ride on it, but I don't really ride enough any more to justify one bike much less three. My guess is I will end up selling the VTX and the Kawasaki and keep the Goldwing.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Holding Boards Flat to Plane

I guess I should post that this is one way to hold a board with stops, battens and holdfast as on a different forum I was taken to task because someone thought I was advocating how I had secured the box side for grooving as the only way and he felt he had a better way, I think it included a wagon vise and/or different use of the holdfasts.....Or maybe to quote Frank Zappa from Joe's Garage "With Leather"....Go figure.

I have a stop curing so for this photo I used a dog as a stop, either will work well. Anyway this is my goto set up for planing the face of boards that are too long to use the face vise. It is quick and easy and if the boards are the same length or you are working both faces when finished with one you can just pick the board up and replace it.

A overview with out the plane:


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Why I Don't Need No Stinking Tail Vise :-)

You folks please correct me if I'm wrong. The major function a tail vise, wagon vise or what ever serves is to hold long boards flat on the bench between dogs for face planing, cutting rebates, or grooves. Here is how I hold boards for two of the big three:

Here it is with the groove for the bottom partially cut:

Once I finish with thse bottom grooves I will drill the holdfast holes for the "bird's mouth" batten I use with a stop and a holdfast to secure boards for face planing, taking care of the rest of the big three jobs for a tail vise.

I think for each of these jobs, holdfasts, battens, and stops will do the job as fast or maybe faster than using a tail vise and with little chance of bowing thin stock.

BTW, notice my row of dog holes are slightly more "inboard" than they would be if the bench had a tail vise.

Photos of a face planing set up to follow.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

A2 vs. PM-11

Let me state up front this is not a A-2 bashing thread, my experience with working a well sharpened A-2 iron in a plane vs. either an O-1 or a PM-11 if it were a "blind" test I doubt I could tell the difference. Sharpening is another story and that is the reason I prefer either O-1 or PM-11 irons.

As I posted awhile back LN no longer offers O-1 in their planes. Which is a shame because LN made a good O-1 iron for their line of planes and I prefer the Bailey style adjuster to the Norris style of the LV planes. More than likely that preference is just "because" but whatever it is what I prefer. BTW. I have a LV #4 and use it, it is a very nice plane with good features but....I ordered a LN #4 the other day with the A-2 iron.

Last night I finally got around to prepping the LN #4 for use. After an hour of working on the back of the A-2 iron I remembered I had a new in the box with chip breaker LV 2" PM-11 iron on the shelf. Out it came and on to the 3mu diamond "stone". BTW, I knew that starting on the 3mu stone would work because I've used several of the new LV irons and they are all perfectly flat and only need polishing. After no more than 30 seconds on the 3mu stone and a few strokes on the 0.5mu "strop" I had a good back.

Like I said earlier I had already spent over an hour on the back of the A-2 running through my diamond stones going so far as to dig out the Extra-Extra Course one and all the A-2 did was laugh at the effort by skittering across the stones. I guess the bottom line of why I don't like A-2 is not just the time it takes to get a good edge it is also the "feel" on the stones. I just do not get good feed back while sharpening A-2 and much of my sharpening depends on how the iron feels on the stone. Maybe if I worked more with A-2 I could develop that feel but the question is why......What does A-2 bring to the table that would make the effort worth while?

One other thing I found interesting: The LV chip breaker doesn't seem to work with LN planes. Not a biggie, my new LN #4 now has a LV PM-11 iron and a LN chip breaker with the LV chip breaker screw (I like the LV chip breaker screw, it is knurled and has a shoulder) and is a really sweet working plane. Damn I can be picky :-).

The iron on the left is the A-2 LN after more than an hour of work. The one on the right is the LV PM-11 after maybe 1 minute of work.

A better image:

I expect it will just be SOP, order a LV PM-11 or O-1 iron when I order a new LN plane. Adds to the cost but I'm too old to spend time flatting backs on irons. That's the bad news, the good is I don't need any new planes, of course need and want are two different things.

Friday, August 01, 2014

I Lied,One More Bench Photo

I just realized I didn't post a photo of the completed bench. I've seen freshly planed Poplar go green with a oil finish but never as bright or as neon green as this did, oh well it will tone down. Of course MsOK loved it.

In the last post I alluded to glueing my dovetails during the first fitting....Part of the reason was I knew the last set were a little tight and at least half my dovetail "splits" are when pulling slightly tight dovetails apart to add glue.  Now they might have split in time anyway but.....

Needless to say, I've a destined for firewood box. Shame, it was a nice box but it will give me an excuse to make another and I am going to glue the next one direct from the saw and chisel.

Back To Woodworking

I used the bench to destroy some wood last night and this AM. It is for sure a workbench now,  I've a couple of chisel marks on it from chopping waste from dovetails and a hammer mark from earlier. I thought about using a backing board but discarded it, I know me....using a backing board would have drove me barking mad and lasted a few weeks at most. I might as well get over the new bench and let the top be marked up, it's a workbench not a piece of furniture.

It was good to have a small saw in hand and work on a small project. I discovered something I've suspected, I'm blind as a bat up close and my glasses are useless. It is damn hard to saw to a line if the line is a fuzzy, blurry, kinda I think it is there, mark on a hunk of wood. I put on my "reading glasses" and suddenly the blue birds are singing, the sun is out and there are white fluffy clouds in the bright blue sky. Mein Fuhrer, I can see, I can see. Ok maybe a little overboard but that was how it felt.

Anyway, in a sec I'm back out to the shop, to knock the box apart and then glue it up...I need to start doing the Cosman thing and just glue. This will be a painted box, I think it will have a black milk paint base coat with a red milk paint over coat and then maybe wax. Then again it is meant to be a gift box and one of the oil finishes with wax is a lot quicker.

One other bit of kinda bench info. I ordered a LN #8 the other day, my excuse was I expected the bench to need flatting and my old Stanley type 9 #8 might not be up to the job, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Two things: the LN #8 is a beauty, and the bench is as flat as the Texas panhandle with no wind straight off the build. If the slabs do not start doing stupid wood tricks it may be awhile before the LN #8 sees duty.