Sunday, October 14, 2018

Shaping Legs and Seat Blank

I've been supervising a new instructor for the last few days. Before that, for the last two weeks I was on the late PM to early AM shift. I actually like the shift for about a week. No suits in the building, just do your thing and go home, but after a week the lack of good sleep starts to affect me and by the end of the second week I'm just bone weary. To jump from two weeks of the night shift to a week of supervising is cruel and unusual punishment. Woe is me, enough kvetching for now but if you read about an old fart Tucsonian eating a pistol next week there could be a good stash of tools for sale.

I've been in and out of the shop today between taking care of Casa Chaos and MsBubba.

The new chair's seat blank is mostly ready for the legs.

And I'm shaping the leg blanks before cutting the tenons.

The jig does a good job of holding the legs for shaping and with a sharp iron in the #5 it is pretty quick work. I've thought about making a similar jig to hold the leg blanks for running through the planer and may yet. Of course I'm always in the middle of shaping the legs when I think about making the jig and by that time it is easier to just continue doing it by hand.

The seat blank is Honey Locust and it was a pretty gnarly board but it was close to the right size and had been hanging around the shop for a few years. I haven't a clue what will happen when I knock the legs home. There is a good chance it will split, oh well shit happens. If it does I'll go find a nice hunk of Poplar or maybe Red Oak, clean the hide glue off the leg tenons, and start over.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Making Crossgrain "v"

Ralph over at Accidentalwoodworker posted about making a "v" for sawing cross grain. I've found the best way to make the v-cut is to use a long paring chisel and cut cross grain vs. with the grain, Here are some photos of the process:



It makes a much cleaner "v" than doing it with the grain.


Monday, October 08, 2018

Seat Blank

The Honey Locust seat blank is out of the clamps and I marked it off using the seat template I made Saturday. After marking I trimmed the blank close to the line with the bandsaw. Now it is drawknife, spokeshave, and #5 to smooth the edge. I expect I will put a heavy chamfer on the front and side edges, undecided on the back edge, before moving on to drilling and reaming the leg mortises.

The seat edges being trued and smoothed:

I need to go through the wood pile to decide on the leg blanks. Right now I'm thinking either Beech, Red Oak or even White Oak. The Honey Locust in the wood pile's grain is too swirly to make good legs. Once the leg wood is picked then the next decisions are the shape, round, octagon, or tapered and which way, and done with the lathe, plane, drawknife, spokeshave, or some combination of one or more.

All the options are half the fun because there really isn't a correct one. 

BTW, have I ever told you how much I love the portable Moravian bench with the Lake Erie wood screw vise? For as light as it is and portable, it is almost as stable as the main bench. The only time the main bench is better is when sawing crosswise across the bench. Then you can feel the weight difference.

I sure will be glad when the woodstore comes through with my 12/4 Ash so I can make the base for a shop sized Moravian bench. The wood screw is here, the Beech slab is finished. All I need is 30 or so board feet of Ash to finish that sucker off. A couple of weeks max if I can get my hands on the wood.


Sunday, October 07, 2018

Chair Stuff

Levi's chair is out of the shop. For what it is I'm happy with it, I think it meets most of my design criteria. One last photo:

Last night I glued up a seat blank using some 8/4 Honey Locust. I've not a clue if it will be a good seat or not but....

Ipad and Messenger are not playing nice with the glue up photo. Whatever, once the seat blank is out of the clamps I'll use this template to size and mark the seat.

While waiting for the seat blank to come out of the clamps it is "shop clean up" time. The tool room is a total mess and will take most of the day. The main shop mostly needs dust and shavings pick up with some organization.

The local Woodcraft should have a parking lot "Boot Sale" soon so I expect a good part of today's clean up will be spent loading boxes for the sale. 


Friday, October 05, 2018


I've built a few and worked on more.

As I wander around the net I often come across posts of new builders fretting about their build. What kind of bench, what wood, which vise and where to place 'em, and so on. All understandable but also a waste of time for the new builder. Just build something that is strong, cheap and fast to build, then go to work making things. After working on the bench for awhile things about it will drive you to barking at the moon and then it is time to build another. If you are lucky and pay attention to your needs and not to bench building posts and books, after a couple of cycles you will end up with a bench that works.

The posts from new builders are what they are. The posts that bring out my inter curmudgeon are the ones with photos of the new completed bench that has a different type vise on each corner, is wide as an aircraft carrier, has rows of both round and square dog holes, has a sliding deadman on each side and a bench jack standing by, and is finished so slick you can see your face like in a mirror. And even better only took two or three years to complete.  BTW, almost every single "feature" of the bench combined with all the other "features" would have me barking at the moon faster than the first build it "strong, cheap, and fast" bench.

OK rant over, it will soon be time for my afternoon meds.


Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Levi's Chair

I finished up Levi's chair last night and just put on the first coat of Danish Oil. There was a moment or two thinking about using Milk Paint to finish, maybe the next one.

The next question is how to get the chair to Houston before he is too big to use it.


A Couple of Photos From The PNW

One more photo of the portable workbench in the wild. This one just outside Trinidad CA. I've removed the vise and vise backer board and I'm making an adjustment to the backer board. The vise screw backer board parallel guide mortise (whew that was long) was a perfect fit in the desert of Tucson, on the coast of California not so much. I had to take a couple or three shavings off both sides to get it to function. After the adjustment it was smooth as silk.

This one is Ugly Dude sitting on a log near Cape Lookout OR with Sam the Wonder Dog and Sweet Maggie Dog is digging for rocks in the background. BTW, this may be Sam's last trip. The harness is there so I can help him up the RV's stairs. I wish I had a video of the whole process, sad but at the same time funny and shows just how much heart dogs have.

Click 'em to big 'em.

It was a great month but it is also good to be home. I finished Levi's chair last night and will put some finish on it today. Photos after the first coat of finish.


Monday, October 01, 2018

Back From PNW

We made it back to Tucson midday Sunday. It was a good trip with few problems other than the usual tech problems with cell phone coverage, internet, and Satellite TV (tall trees).   Two small glitches with the motorhome, the outside door handle stopped working at the second fuel stop in Needles CA. and on the way back between Barstow CA. and Needles CA., it was a very gusty and windy day, a gust hit the motorhome from the side and blew off the over door retractable awning. My guess it was 50 to 70 knots strong. It was a good thing no one was following closely or near the motorhome when it hit.  BTW, ain't nothing as fun as a 400 mile day keeping a motorhome between the bar ditches on a gusty/windy day.

The door problem was fixed by getting the ladder out of one of the bins and going through the drivers side window, opening the door from the inside and then removing the latch system. For the rest of the trip we had to use the deadbolt to hold the door shut, no real problem just a PITA.

I didn't have much use of the portable workbench this trip, while it didn't rain a lot there was mist and fog most days. I did set the bench up in the Fort Bragg CA. site for a couple of days and did a little work on a small box (didn't finish it). Anyway here is one of the few photos of this years portable bench in the wild. Notice the whisky glass on the tool chest. It was a very good day.

Because of WX and fire we didn't stick to plan but were pretty loosey goosey and in the process found a new favorite place to go and one not so favorite place. Grants Pass OR while not too bad is not one we are likely to re-visit. Trinidad CA. is great. we stayed there instead of Brookings OR. because of smoke and liked it so much we spent a couple of days there on the return trip down the coast. It is a beautiful place with a great bay for kayaking and even has a nude beach. We didn't go to the beach, no need to cause the locals to need eye bleach.

We made it as far North as Cape Lookout OR. kinda cold and misty the whole time, MsBubba loved the WX and the hiking, the dogs and I spent our time walking the beach, chasing tennis balls, and Maggie finding rocks to throw at my feet. The Cape Lookout area is a beautiful part of the Oregon coast.

If you know anything about RVs you know Quartzsite AZ. Quartzsite is the winter boondocking capital of the world, at least according to Google. I finally got to spend a night in Quartzsite on the way home. It was a little early for all the snowbirds so a place for the night was easy to find, maybe  someday we will show up mid Winter.