Monday, July 31, 2017

Chopping Mortises

The Moravian Work bench requires a number of large (wide) mortises. In the video Will Myers uses the drill and pare technique for all but the four small (common size) mortises. While I've never been a fan of drill and pare I decided to use it on the cross leg mortise. Four of those suckers are enough to convince me I'm still not a fan.  Even the last one was not easier or better than the first. For the long stretcher mortises I've gone back to my standard chop the sucker out with a pig sticker. For these because they are so wide I'm using my widest mortise chisel and chopping a mortise on each side of the mortise then chopping out the waste left in the middle. In effect because it is a through mortise chopping four mortises and then cleaning up the middle. The first one took a little over thirty minutes to chop and fit, including time spent wiping sweat off my face and glasses. It was over 105F at the time.  Much faster with less set up time and cleaner better fitting mortises.

Some day I will learn to stick with what works. BTW, the late great Guy Clark had a song about what works. I'm not sure of the reason but that part of West Texas over a few years period produced some great singer song writers, from Guy Clark, to Roy Orbison, to Buddy Holly.

Damn, I almost caught that squirrel....Anyway, morning should be cool enough to get the other three mortises done. Except for some clean up and making the tusks the base of the bench will be finished. Then it's waiting on the vise screw I ordered a couple of weeks ago, come on UPS girl you are holding up progress.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sharpening Bench

I've posted about my sharpening bench before but because it is so important to efficient work I'm adding a update. Of all the tools and appliances in the shop the sharpening bench is second only to the main work bench and is located just off the left end of the main bench, just a step or two away.

The sharpening bench was the first work bench I built. At the time I hadn't a clue, I had started reading Fine Woodworking and knew I needed a wood working bench but couldn't afford a ready made. I don't know if you have seen very many Russian airplanes, if not you may not understand the reference, The bench is like a Russian airplane, if you didn't look too hard it looked somewhat like a wood working bench. I made it out of SYP because that was all I could find, not knowing that CS would many years later make a SYP bench fashionable. Bottom line over the years it has worked well in several different shop roles, the last being as a sharpening bench.

I've tried many configurations for the sharpening bench, just the primary stones on top of the bench, both oil and water stones on either end, even at one time having a Tormek on the bench. What I've settled on is just the primary use stones along with the primary strop, horse butt leather with green stuff, on the bench and all other stones stored in cabinets above the bench.

In the stone pond are my goto stones a med India and a Translucent Arkansas oil stone, Sometimes I will change from the Translucent to a Hard Black Arkansas. The Translucent has a better "feel" than the Hard Black, it has a little "tooth" where the Hard Black is slicker than snot. Scratch pattern and speed between the two are about the same. Go figure. Right now there are a couple of Spyderco stones sitting between the Arkansas stones because yesterday I had to sharpen one of the few A2 irons in the shop. The Spyderco's will return to the oil stone cabinet soon. On the far right you may be able to see a diamond lapping plate, I used it the other day to lap and re-fresh some oil stones Ralph at the accidental woodworker blog was kind enough to send me. The lapping plate will also return to its place in the oil stone storage cabinet above the bench.

The oil stone storage cabinet also stores misc junk and several (way too many) honing guides.

In a separate cabinet to the right are my water stones, man made stones on the bottom shelf and natural Japanese water stones on the top shelf.

It has taken time to get to this point, the old story of kissing frogs, but for now unless I get another bright idea to try this is my basic sharpening set up.

If interested click 'em to big 'em.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

More Travel Bench

Progress is slow on the travel bench. The back is acting up most days now and add Tucson in July to the mix, work slows to a crawl. That's the bad news, the good is for now there is no hurry, there are still a couple of weeks before the vise screw arrives and I will not need the bench before Labor Day.

I've almost finished the base. All that is needed is a couple of dovetails for the small lower stretchers and the Mortises for the long stretchers. The slab is ready to cut to length and I still need to make the tool tray. At the current pace three or four days in the shop will finish the build.

Here are a couple of photos of the base on its side so I can mark out the long stretcher mortises.

I go for a MRI next Friday to try and figure out what is happening with the back. For awhile last week I thought about putting it off but the back had other plans.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Progress On Travel Bench

The travel bench is coming along. The legs are dimensioned, the top bridle joints are done. Next is to finish chopping out the through mortise and the dove tail socket. Because the legs are at a 15 degree angle the stretcher mortise will have to wait for the stretcher glue up and tenon. The top is a slab so all it needs is to be cut off to final length.

I've a wood screw and nut on order. The screw and nut may take 2 to 3 weeks for delivery. I hope I'm waiting on the vise screw to finish the build.

Here are a couple of photos of the legs:

There are not many days off over the next couple of weeks which will slow the build as will the mid-afternoon heat. Still this is such a simple bench it should be ready well before the Oregon trip.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Back From Several Days In The Motorhome

We, MsBubba, Sam the Wonder Dog, Sweet Maggie Dog, me Ugly Dude, returned from several days visiting one of Southern Arizona's State Parks in the motorhome. It was a nice place with a small lake and good views of the mountains. Waiting back home was a package from Ralph of the Accidental Woodworker blog.

In it were two Smith's Arkansas oil stones, a hard white and a soft. I refreshed and flattened both on a diamond lapping plate before taking steel to stone. The soft stone raised a burr quickly as did the hard white. A few strokes on the strop and I had a very sharp chisel.

Thanks Ralph, as you know, I loves me some Arkansas oil stones and these two have a very good feel and did a great job on the chisel.

As some of you may know I've been trying to figure out a portable workbench for the motorhome after watching Will Myers' video building a Moravian work bench it is the one. Most benches I've looked at or designed in my head always had a "yes but".  If this bench has a "yes but" I haven't found it.

Anyway on to the chase....I've started the build. I found a 8/4 European Beech slab that is just under 280mm wide and will end up 1800mm long. The legs are DF as are the long stretchers. I found scraps of Cherry and Sapele in the wood pile for the short stretchers. The legs and stretchers, except for the long stretchers, are dimensioned and marked up. I would have started chopping mortises and sawing tenons except this is Arizona in Aug. Monsoon is here so not only is it well over 100F the RH's are also high.  By 10:00 AM shop time was over.

Photos to follow,


Sunday, July 09, 2017

Outdoor Kitchen

My part of the outdoor kitchen build is close to finished. All I have left is to install the drain and pull wires, all the idiot says...what a wanker. I must say pulling wires is one of my least favorite things to do, for one reason among many after finishing you think..."damn I could've had a V-8". There is always another outlet you wish you had installed or something could have been done different. By that time it is what it is.

Anyway here is the bar. It is waiting for MsBubba to finish the tiles for the counter top and a foot rail.

In the right background is the sink, here is a closer look.

The finishing may take awhile, we both go back to work Monday and the following weekend is a long one. I'm burning the last of my PTO before I lose it on 08/03/2017. It is hard to believe I've been with the company going into my eleventh year.  Time flies when you are having fun...or maybe it is just the toilet roll effect, it goes much faster when you get near the end.


Friday, July 07, 2017

Monsoon Is Here and Other Random Thoughts

Monsoon has been teasing us for awhile, yes, no, yes, no but tonight it is here. No Thunderbumpers at my house but outside, several hours after sunset, it is still hot and feels like we are in Houston.

MsBubba was on the roof last night for who knows why and found a couple of the pool's solar heater mounting pads had pulled lose. Long story short, a early morning trip to HD for a gallon of Henry Tropi-Kool to patch the roof. Before I finished the repairs it was boiling hot, I ain't as young and bullet proof as I once was.  My butt was well kicked.

I did manage to get one coat of spar varnish on the outdoor sink counter (Bridger had just finished building for us) after the roof work but that was it. The rest of the day was spent watching videos, reading about the sky falling, and nursing my bad back while the AC worked hard, even the dogs looked at me like "fool, there ain't no way no how we are going outside...chill".

Over the next couple of days I will put on another coat or two of varnish on the sink counter, finish hooking up the sink, pull a few wires and my part of the back garden kitchen build will be done. MsBubba should fire the tiles for the bar counter top next week. In a week or so we should have a functioning back garden kitchen and bar.... Now if we just had friends that were not as old, cranky, and broke down as we are :-).

For some time I've been trying to figure out a useable portable work bench to carry in the motorhome. everything I've thought of or looked at was always "yes but" until today's heat forced browsing.  Will Myers has a video of building a knock down Moravian work bench. I haven't built a bench in a year or so so it is time to build a bench anyway and this one looks to be perfect. Now I just have to find time to finish it before the September trip to Oregon.

As bad as the Japanese tool box is I expect it will be finished and used for the Oregon trip with, I hope, the knock down Moravian bench. The fun part will be figuring out what goes in the tool box and what stays home.

After a day of "fuck" every time I moved a little wrong I gave in and took a couple of pain pills. Thirty minutes and a little single malt later I was in the shop doing the most enjoyable shop thing there is....sharpening irons and chisels and then turning a nice sized hunk of Walnut into a very small hunk of Walnut mostly with my wood stock planes. It just doesn't get better than a well built, well tuned woodie with a sharp iron on a beautiful wood like Walnut or Cherry, I even took a couple of swipes at some White Oak. Life is good.

See you guys on down the road,


Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Shop Made Chamfer and Round Over Plane

Long ago I made a series of shop made planes like those made by James Krenov. After trying shaping on several I found the best shape was just a block of wood much like a Japanese plane with the cutter pretty much centered in the stock. With the block of wood shape the plane is comfortable to use with either hand in any direction, pushing or pulling. In addition the planes are very light weight for their size. It makes the plane very handy for final shaping.

Chamfering and round-overs are about the only things I use the planes for but for those uses I haven't found anything better.

Here are a couple of photos of the most used ones. First is the small near block plane sized one:

Next is two together, the block plane sized and one about the size of a #3 Stanley:

Both work about the same, which one I use depends more on which I see first than the size.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Wood Stock Plane Setting Jig

Andy asked how the setting jig worked.....Dangerous thing to do unless you want to roll your eyes to the back of your head and/or get some sleep.

Calling it a jig is a stretch but because it has a hanging hole I'm going to. The jig is a long piece of float glass glued to a board with a hanging hole for storage. Here is the jig's home when not in use:

Most of the time I only use it after removing the iron for sharpening. Even then it is not used all the time but it makes the first set very quick and easy. Place the stock on the jig making sure both the stock and the glass plate are clean.

Set the cutter on the bed with light finger pressure holding it against the bed and glass while replacing the wedge. Once the wedge is in place give the wedge a tap to set and start planing.

Most of the time the plane will cut slightly thicker than the finest smoothing cut, about where you want it for most uses.

After several passes with the Joiner:

It works with any Western style wood stock plane I've tried. Here are some more photos with different style planes. All with no other adjustment other than first setting of the cutter on the float glass.

Andy, for a thicker shaving tap the iron, for a thiner shaving tap the top of the stock in front of the cutter (on the strike button if it has one), to remove the cutter and wedge tap the back of the stock. I hope this helps and wasn't too painful. Remember click 'em to big 'em.

The long plane and the coffin smoother were made by Steve Voigt, a young guy, and as far as I can tell the only maker of double iron planes in America. They are works of art and with both a reasonable price and wait time. At least that was the case when I ordered mine. BTW I also have one of Steve's Jack planes and if he decides to make any other type of plane I will be waiting with AmEx in hand, his planes are that good.



Japanese Tool Box and Setting Woodie Irons

As I have posted before I want a traveling tool box to carry in the motorhome while I'm driving Ms Daisy around the country. I built a classic western tool chest a year or so ago but it turned out to be too big....even if it would fit in the motorhome bins it would take at least two twenty somethings with strong backs to get it in and out. I tried to talk MsBubba into finding a couple of boytoys but she said no way. Oh well back to the drawing board.

The woodstore had some kind of Pine, not cheap, close to $5 USD a board foot but was in 12" width by 8' or so. I made Levi's toy box out of it and it worked pretty good because I used dovetails for the joinery and the boards I used were OK, a little wind and some cupping but not bad enough to keep the dovetails from pulling everything together. Which was good because the boards were too thin to take much off truing them up.

Cut to the Japanese tool box. The board that was left developed a bit of wind setting in the shop. So much there was no way to true it and have any board left. I decided to press on hoping I could pull the wind out while joining the box. I did is a big but...the cut nails busted out on the last joint. I put a couple of screws at each corner, which is what I should have done in the first place or even better have chunked the board and used another straighter one for the build.

Here is a photo of the busted out nails. I will finish the box and use it in the shop, with the screws in the corners it is strong, just ugly, and will make good shop storage. The next Japanese tool box will be made of Poplar so I will have some wood to work with. It will be a little heaver and I'm not sure if I will use cut nails and butt joints or M/T joints. I'm leaning towards M/T, the cut nails I'm not sure of.

Over on SMC there was a question on setting the iron in wood stock planes. Derek Cohen answered that one way he does it is to use a float glass setting jig. He was getting the usual forum scrum when someone posts something different. Problem with the scrum was I often use the same technique and it works very easily and quickly. While I do not use the glass jig for all setting it is very handy for initial settings after removal and replacement of the iron. Because of the pile on I dug out several of my woodies and the jig. After removing the irons and reseting them using the jig I made a photo of the planes and shavings after setting the iron with no other adjustment. Works well, doesn't coat much and can sure cut down on the setting learning curve.

Happy 4th


PS: I'm getting so forgetful someone just needs to shoot me. I send a box out yesterday with several goodies, one of which should have been a extra #3 Stanley. Bridger was over today and I had a #4 Stanley out to follow him home. When we went to the shop setting next to Bridger's #4 was the #3 base that should have been in the box along with the iron, chip breaker, and lever cap that are in the box. 

Just shoot me.


Saturday, July 01, 2017

Photobucket Sucks Pond water

I've used Photobucket to host my blog photos from the get go back in 2005. Yesterday Photobucket issued new terms of service which does not allow third site publishing of my images. They, Photobucket, only want $399 USD per year for that privilege.

Long story short I've used Photobucket because when I started this blog Blogger would not allow uploads directly from my computer. Blogger does now and Photobucket can go suck pond water. It was a PITA to deal with anyway.

I can't tell if Photobucket wiped 12 years of photos off the blog, when I checked some of the early posts the photos are still available. I doubt I will republish all the blog's photos but there will be some going back and updating. What a PITA.