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.