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.  


Saturday, November 23, 2013

New Square

Several months ago Christopher Schwarz posted about a small sq. sold by Vesper Tools. I looked it up and ordered one because I'm a sucker for squares and marking gauges. It was back ordered and I forgot about it, figured it would get here whenever. Well, whenever was today.

We will see if it was worth the looks good and feels good, small with a 70mm blade and a locking nut, not sure if it will replace the Starrett 6" Double Square as my "go to" Square but I expect it will see some use.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Late to the Party.....

....Not the sharpest crayon, rides the short bus of life, you get the drift., sometimes I think my forehead should be flat from hand meets head.

Anyway, cut to the chase, I've been using a leg vise for about a year, it works great for most things but isn't perfect for rip cuts on wide boards such as when sawing tails and pins on case sides. I can only get about 100-150mm under the chop. Not optimal, so I've been thinking of adding a Moxon type appliance either the one from BenchCrafter or Lie Nielsen. Either would work but.....there is always a but....I don't need more "stuff" in my shop and knowing the way I work I would find digging it out, attaching it to the bench top, and then putting it back under the bench when finished a major PITA.

Here is where the hand meets the head, I've had a sliding deadman with a Veritas Hold Down on the bench almost from the get go. All I needed to do was to slide the deadman next to the board in the leg vise apply the hold down and screw it tight.

In other words; the deadman isn't just for holding long boards. While it may not work as well as a Moxon it has to be damn close. And the best part it does not take up more room (already on the bench) and I will use it because it is not a PITA to use.

I'm only a year late to the party but at least I did get there.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sometimes it is Best to Start Over

I've been working on the back side of the clock this week, standard schedule is a couple or three hours sleep, go to work, finish and come home early AM. putz around for a few hours, nap, back up and putz a little more before going back to work. It works OK until about the 3rd or 4th day then the lack of deep sleep catches up and performance goes south.

Long way around to I was joining a small display cabinet on my putz time and I know better. Normally about all I do is tool maintenance, nice mindless work that can be picked up and dropped with no problems. Anyway, yesterday I cut the dovetails and pins for the third side and they looked as if I had never seen a back saw or chisel before. I tried to talk myself into fixing 'em but the second side while acceptable wasn't as good as it should be so bottom line; The display cabinet is going to be a little smaller than planned.

I cut all the tails and sockets off, re-squared the boards, and started got to know when to quit.

The offending set of tails and sockets.

A new set of tails, I'm stopping here for today. Tonight is the last night on this schedule and I'm off until the first week in Dec. I should get the cabinet finished and started on the stand unless MsOK has other plans.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Display Case

Finally found a couple of minutes to spend on the small display case. I looked at most of the options for joining and settled on half lap dovetails. Chopping the pin board in the sapele is tough on chisels but it is going well if slowly. BTW, even though Japanese chisels are in the photo I'm not using them to chop, just to pare. For chopping I'm using the new Veritas PM-V11 chisels, they are hanging in pretty good.

I picked up some very nice quarter sawn sycamore yesterday. I think the sycamore will look good as a lapped back for the case. I'm looking for a spalted maple board to make the door panels, if I'm unable to find what I'm looking for there are a couple sycamore boards that would make attractive door panels.

I still haven't worked out the interior, how many shelfs, where, and/or drawer or no drawer, or even several, 

I guess after three years there is no need to rush.

Be Carefull

Even the "safe" machines can bite.

Having two big hairy dogs, Sam the Wonder Dog and Sweet Maggie Dog, that love rawhide "bones" means I go through a lot bones. To save a few pennies I buy in bulk and cut them into smaller chunks with the bandsaw. Most of the time out of a big bag of rawhide one or two will grab a little but no big deal. Not so last night, about half way through the bag the bandsaw caught something and the bone I was cutting kicked back almost as hard as a table saw kickback. Caught me between the eyes and on the nose, Ms OK almost peed her pants laughing when I walked into the house dripping blood and telling my story. Being a nurse she made sure the repair work caused max discomfort, gotta love nurses.

Bottom line I was at the wood store when they opened this morning to buy a face shield before finishing cutting the bag of rawhide.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Day of Remembrance

I was born mid WWII so I have no actual memory of the War, my first memories are of my father returning from the occupation of Japan but my formative years were all War related. My stepfather served in Italy and was active in VFW and The American Legion. I grew up playing around the bar stools of the Odessa American Legion Post. As a teenager I would go to shoot pool and play ping-pong and of course all the adults I knew were veterans. That generation is now almost gone. My folks were among the last and had the misfortune to have out lived all their friends.

What brings back the memories is a small book I tend to pick up and read around November 11, not every year but most. The book is "Up Front" by Bill Mauldin. I've had it for years, it has lasted through several wife's, and many moves. If the notes I have written on the inside cover are to be believed I bought it used in 1968 for $45 USD. The $45 figure is hard to believe because in real 2013 dollars it was close to $300 and in 1968 I was a poor student trying to dodge Vietnam and make a living on the airport.

Bottom line, even though it is just a small book of cartoons with Mr. Mauldin's comments it captures the realness of WWII better than any of the histories or novels I've read.  

Friday, November 08, 2013

Sapele Display Case

I'm working on the Sapele display case that is intended as a wedding gift for the girl child and her new hubby. I'm a touch late as the wedding was almost 3 years ago. Any way the wood has been in the shop for a couple of years, I rough cut it a month or so ago, dimensioned the pieces yesterday and tonight I've started the dados to hold the back.  No one could ever mistake me for fast.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Cha,Cha,Changes.....A Life with a Machine Strapped to Your Ass

I've reached one of those life moments that occur as we age where the aging process requires changes in activity. As stated in the title I've spent my life with a machine strapped to my ass. Growing up on a West Texas dirt farm in the 40s and 50s if you were big enough to push the clutch in you were big enough to drive the farm tractors to the fields and gin. Folks didn't pay a lot of attention to things like driver license and liability insurance either. By my early teens had I run through a secession of scooters, motorcycles, and trucks, some pretty ragged out, but whatever I always had something to ride or drive. About the time I entered High School a couple of life changing events happened, I discovered Road & Track Magazine and I took an after school job. I was driving a beautifully restored '34 Ford pickup but I lusted after a British or German sports car and I met a guy at the part time job who was a few years older and into airplanes.

After flying with Sherman a couple of times I started using the money from the part time job to take flying lessons. My mother found out, freaked but being a reader of Dr. Spock used the offer of a new '59 MG A to bribe me into quitting flying. It worked until I left home for College. It took several years to finish my degree (which has never been used) and pay for enough flying time to began work as a CFI.

In the early years I almost never flew less than 1000 hours a year, as my flying time increased and I followed the typical career path of instructing, FAR 135 Charter pilot, and then Corporate Pilot, my hours flown each year decreased to 300 to 600 hours per year but whatever the job I always had something strapped to my ass, if not an airplane, a sports car or motorcycle. I lived to see what was around the next bend, hill, or over the far horizon.

Because of aviation this dumb West Texas farm boy has seen most of the world with the exception of Australia and Antarctica, I might still see Australia but I will pass on Antarctica. A little over 6 years ago I could see my skills eroding mostly because of vision changes but also some because of slowing reaction time due to aging. I've recently said someone has snuck in and changed my dual core pentium processor to an old x86. Anyway I had an opportunity to semi-retire, instructing other pilots in Simulators, it required a move to Arizona but it has been a good move, I still strap a machine to my ass almost daily, I still get to talk Airplanes, and I still get paid to do it. If I wasn't doing this I would be hanging out at the airport, boring the hell out whoever with 'there I waz stories', for free.

The Sim is great for having a machine strapped to your ass but it lacks in seeing what is around the next bend, over the hill, or the far horizon so shortly after moving to Arizona I returned to motorcycling. Being someone who can't do anything in moderation I found out about the Iron Butt Association and was soon doing a Saddle Sore 1000, followed by a Coast to Coast in 50 and Bum Burner Gold (1500 miles in less than 24 hours). I fell in love with LD riding, it was much like the last years of my flying, strap a machine to my ass and go for long hours. The only difference, in the airplane I might cover 10-12 time zones or more, on the bike 4 at the most.

As this post is about changes I will cut to the chase: About a year ago my night vision had deteriorated to the point I no longer felt comfortable with long rides at night on any road other than maybe I-10. That cut out most IBA rides and Rallies. About the same time work changed requiring more time and fewer days off which also cut into my riding. Bottom line it is time to change, I expect to sell the GoldWing, I will keep the VTX for now and I will return to my early years of seeing what is around the next bend, over the next hill, or horizon by sports car.  I'm not sure what it will be just yet, I've found a beautiful '54 MG TD, I would love a Lotus 7, a MG A, or even one of the late 50s early 60s Triumphs but I expect I will be practical, if buying a sports car can be practical, and will replace the Wing with a Mazda Miata.

Sorry for the long post but it is for my record as much as anything.

I hope to see you folks on down the road.


Saturday, November 02, 2013

Plane Adjustment Hammer

The tap, tap, tap of adjusting my wood stock planes has just been made easier. I noticed some small wooden hammers while looking through one of the Japanese tool catalogs. I ordered a couple of sizes thinking they might be good to use with some of my un-hooped western bench chisels. As it turned out the largest mallet is nice for chopping dove tails with western chisels but the surprise was how good the smallest hammer works adjusting the iron in my wooden planes. The smallest one, 36mm and I think 4 oz, is perfect for adjusting plane irons. They are cheap, $6 to $9 USD for the 36mm one depending on which importer you buy from. It has really cut down on the over shoots and it allows me to sneak up very quickly on the perfect cut. I've spent a lot more and got less.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Day Job

In my case maybe the title should be "Night Job". I've had a run of "Initial" clients and Initials get the left over time slots. That normally means working the back side of the clock. No complaints. it is what it is, besides most of my life has been spent working different hours and days from what most folks think of as working hours.

Damn that was a tasty looking rabbit I chased down the trail, happens often...What I set down to post about was how easy the newer airplanes are to fly. As an example: The company I work for will sometimes donate an hour of Simulator time to charities for their fund raisers. Last Saturday the winner of the latest donation and his son showed up to claim his prize. Neither had ever flown in an airplane other that a few rides in steerage on an air carrier. I showed them how to adjust their seat, where the controls were and what they did and how to marry the aircraft symbol with the Flight Director. I explained the Auto-Throttles and gave a short explanation of what would happen on takeoff and what they needed to do.

We lined up, he pushed the Auto-Throttle engage button and away we went. We made a low pass over NYC, around the Statute of Liberty and back to KJFK for a landing. The son did about the same flight profile. Other than pushing a few mode select buttons I never touched the aircraft and they flew on both autopilot and by hand. If someone had been in the back they would have noticed nothing other than maybe a little more aircraft movement than normal while they were hand flying.

The newer aircraft are that easy to fly if everything is working,  It's a big change from my early days in a J-3 with no instruments or radios or even from my first LearJet 23.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Marking Gauges

I'm a sucker for marking gauges, mostly because it is hard to find one that works. Here is a family portrait of the ones I have near the work bench, probably another dozen or so stuck in nooks back in the tool room. I know....I'm a sick puppy with a major tool jones.

The ones I use the most are the first three on the left. What started this post is I just ordered three more of the one on the far left from Tools from Japan. It is not perfect, I guess I will have to make a shop made one to find the perfect marking gauge but it comes the closest to being right of any of the gauges I own. BTW, the Hamilton gauge in Osage Orange next to the Japanese screw locking gauge comes very close, for me it;s only down sides are the marking knife is very hard to sharpen because of its small size and shape and I can buy almost a half dozen of the Japanese oak gauges for the price of one Hamilton.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lapping Iron

I've tried most sharpening "systems" at one time or another and still have most of 'em stored someplace in the shop.  All will get you to what I call "working sharp", some make a bigger mess, some cost more, some less, some are more hassle than others. I love the feel of good steel on a hard black or translucent Arkansas oil stone, diamond stones not so much, but my system of today is diamond stones.

The biggest problem with diamond stones is getting a final polish, like Arkansas oil stones the iron comes off the final stone sharp but not polished and requires either stropping or lapping to finish. For years I've used a hard leather strop charged with Herb's Yellowstone to finish the edge and backs of plane irons and chisels.

I'm beginning to change my mind on the value of the stropping step, while the iron still needs a polishing step I can't escape the feeling that stropping on leather no matter how careful you strop is more likely to dub the edge than not.

Currently I'm trying lapping on MDF charged with diamond paste, the first results are encouraging. I also have a Mike Stein style MDF lapping plate cooking* but it is still almost a month before it will be
usable. More to follow.

*Soak MDF in Danish oil for 24 hours then let it dry for a month before sanding flat and smooth.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Work Bench

Right next to the sharpening bench is my work bench. It's made of SYP imported from Texas, I used just under 400 BF of construction grade 2X12s. My guess is when completed it weighted about 400 lbs, having been in Arizona for over a year I'm sure it is under 400 now. Whatever, it does not move. The hardware is Benchcrafted with a leg vise on the left and a wagon vise on the right. I looked for wind and hollows or bellies the other day and it is still very flat.

There is not much I would change if I were building today. I have a 10.5" Paramo quick release vise made back in the 70s that I might use instead of the leg vise, it holds a little better than the leg vise but not enough to retrofit, or I might just stick with the leg vise. I would use round dogs instead of square, nothing wrong with the square ones, just no real advantage for the square dogs vs. 3/4 round ones and round make an easier build. I doubt I would install any end vise, wagon or otherwise. I knew going in on this build I seldom used an end vise but I thought maybe if it was a wagon vise I might use it more. It doesn't happen, nothing wrong with the wagon vise I just have work habits where I use other ways to hold my work that work for me. The Benchcrafted wagon vise is a fairly easy install compared to other end vises but nothing is a lot easier and I don't think I would miss having an end vise.

Odds are I would use SYP, this is my fourth SYP work bench build and they have all worked well. Having said that, maple would sure make a pretty bench and if I were to build another it would be because I just wanted to build a bench not because I needed one. This bench does every thing I need it to do and does it without compromise. If I did build another, one would have to go.  There is not room for two just under 3 meter benches in my small shop and I'm not sure I could work on a maple bench like I do on the SYP one. When I spill something or nick it I know it is just a work bench, a maple one maybe not.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sharpening Bench

Several months ago I moved the sharpening station out of the tool room (aka Fibber Mcgee's Closet) out to a old work bench next to my current work bench. It was a good move, it is at a better working height and is just a step away from the working end of my main bench. As always I could use a little more room but what's new. I still have the wet and the dry grinders in the tool room if needed, most of the time I will just use the DMT extra extra course and one of the honing jigs to reestablish the bevel so the grinders do not get much use.

I would guess 70% of my sharpening is free hand, when I feel a iron getting too dull for the job a quick step over to the diamond stones and I'm back to work. The other 30% is like I've been doing for the last couple of days where I'm reestablishing the primary bevel, for that I will use either an Eclipse or Mark II honing guide depending on the iron.

BTW, that is the new shop paper towel holder over the bench. On the left is a Shapton glass pond and stone holder, it makes a really nice stone holder even for the DMT diamond stones. On the right is Tools for Working Wood saw vise and in the center is a strop with Herb's Yellowstone dressing. I've used a leather strop for years but I may be changing methods soon. I'm testing oiled MDF with diamond paste, more info as I see what works the best. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Table Saw

As I have posted before, when I semi-retired and gathered my tools my plans were to have a mostly hand tool shop, still have a jointer, planer, and band saw to do the grunt work but no table saw, no electric router or other joint making machines. Shortly after retrieving the saws, planes, chisels and other tools from storage MsOK wanted to redo the kitchen and in a moment of insanity I volunteered. That allowing myself to speak before thinking through what I was saying meant ending up with a table saw, routers, router table and other noise and dust makers.

The router table and some of the routers are gone as are some of the jigs and other appliances needed to complete the kitchen in this life time. Over the last year the table saw keeps losing space, it has gone from the center of the shop to off to one side to now stuck in a corner. It is still usable for small rips or crosscuts but it is not getting much use and even in the corner it takes up space that could be put to better use. Kinda a long way around to I have a, can't say love because I've never loved a table saw but maybe a like/hate relationship with it. I go back and forth, sell, keep, sell, keep. I expect I will keep it for no other reason than it isn't worth much and it would take a chunk of change to buy another if I needed one for a project. Sure would like that space though.

BTW, about once a year I take a rough board and four square it with hand tools just to remind myself the band saw, jointer and planer earn their floor space. Wish I could say the same for the table saw.

Osage Orange

Picked up a nice chunk of Osage Orange this AM, from the looks of it I may be able to get 3 or 4 planes out of the mostly quarter sawn area. I'll cut the blanks once I'm back from running the streets.

Here's the final paper towel holder. Three hour job, three days to finish :-).

Paper Towel Rack Part II

Just because the first paper towel rack is now a shop appliance doesn't mean MsOK has given up on a under counter paper towel holder. So back to the shop. Digging around in the scrap pile I found a cherry cutoff with beautiful figure and just long enough...Not a mm to spare, if I changed from housed dados to dovetails.

Not a problem, chopping housed dados in oak vs. cutting dovetails in cherry, a really hard decision. I thought about doing half blind for about two seconds because the next project will have four sets of half blind and it has been a month or so from the last set of half blind I did for the bathroom wall cabinet. Sanity prevailed. Bottom line, MsOK has a smallish paper towel holder made from a beautiful piece of figured cherry, through dovetailed with a walnut rod to hold the paper towels. Photo to follow once the finish is done.

As with most projects around Casa Chaos, what should have been 3 to 4 hours tops, took the better part of three days and I still do not have it signed off by the Chief Inspector.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bad Ducts

My biggest chip producer is at the end of the dust collection duct work, wasn't planned that way because it wasn't planned. It just grew topsie turvey as machines were added or changed and the shop is so small there is not much chance to make it right. Long way around to; as I dimensioned the Sapele for the little display case this morning the planer started spitting chips back at me. It's a pretty good sign the dust collection system isn't working and sure enough it was totally plugged. I started removing duct work until I could find some suction, the good news is there was pretty good suction just before the jointer "Y" which is the next machine over from the planer. As expected there was a hole in the jointer's duct. While I'm working on the system I'm going to reinstall the blast gates at each machine....A PITA to keep up with opening and closing but I expect it will be worthwhile with the planer now at the end of the line.

New "Shop" Paper Towel Rack

As expected I have a new paper towel rack for the shop.

Used the New Plane

Used the new 230mm plane for the first time in anger this AM on MsOK's paper towel rack to fit, chamfer, and smooth the rack before putting on the finish. Damn nice, could work both pull and push, one hand or two, all that and there is nothing that sounds as good or feels as good as a wood plane on wood.

This is one sweet plane, it's so nice I may have to make another one, or two, or three.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Paper Towel Rack

Last night as we were finishing dinner MsOK said: "I want an under counter towel holder". My first question was why? The one we have has served us well for at least 10 years and besides I like it. Piddle, it takes up too much room, so once SWMBO speaks the world moves. I found a small piece of red oak that would work, chopped a couple of housed dados, cut some steps and drilled a couple of holes. The new paper towel rack is in the clamps, I'll rub a couple or three coats of Tried&True on it tomorrow, hold it up so MsOK can see how it will fit and I will bet I'll have a new paper towel rack for the shop.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tails Man

Not a clue why other than the folks I've watched cut dovetails have all cut the tails first so I've almost always cut the tails first. Tonight I was cutting some warm up dovetails and decided to cut a set pins first. In some ways marking is easier and I like being able to use a pencil to mark the second cut, gives an easier line to follow. Not saying I will change but I will play with 'em for awhile....It is good to reevaluate how you do things occasionally instead of just "because".

Tool Porn

I finished the wooden plane this AM. Took it out of the clamps, dressed the glue runout, cut the ends off to get rid of the register dowels, made and fitted the wedge, drilled and fitted the cross pin, opened the mouth, trued the sole, and tried a couple of shaving on some scrap cherry....Sweet!

I opened the mouth just a hair more and rubbed it and the wedge with Tried&True and let it sit for a couple of hours. Wiped it down with a dry rag and went back to the scrap cherry, This is a good one.

The stock is Babinga 230mmX60mmX45mm with a 44mm Hock iron and chip breaker.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Shop Made Planes

My guess is I've made twenty or so Krenov style wooden planes over the last year....most didn't work as well as I would like. I guess I'm a slow learner but I do not give up easily, over the last month each planes has been better than the last. My last one is about 220mm with a 31mm iron and is sweet. It is the second from the left, the others were made last month and are also very good planes.

They, the planes, are easy to make. A couple or three hours plus the time for the glue to set and you have a very nice plane. I do the rough dimensioning with power tools, the finishing including cutting the mortice for the chip breaker screw by hand.

I think I've figured it out, I've one cooking as I type. It will be in the 230mm range with a 44mm iron and made of Bubinga like the four in the photo....more tomorrow once the metal hits the wood.

Cut Lumber for Small Display Case.

I cut some Sapele to rough length and thickness today for a small display box. It needs to sit for a couple of days to get its stupid wood tricks done and finished. I've had it in the shop for most of a year so a couple of days should be enough.

I noticed my push sticks needed replacement so I laid out a couple on some wide poplar.

Rough cut 'em and drilled some holes for the jig saw.

Used the jig saw to rough in the tote and then filed and sanded.

A rub with "Tried & True" and they are ready for use.

New Bench

I've been working on the new SYP workbench for awhile now, making small mods as needed but the basic bench is near perfect.