Thursday, July 30, 2009

Big Leaf Tails

As promised, dovetails have come. Sometimes I like to do a practice set before getting to the pieces that count. It feels like a while since I last made dovetails so I was making sure I can still do it ha. Also taking a real look at the spacing I had planed... nothing like going to town only to see that the plan on paper doesn't quite make it in wood!
For this spacing I didn't really use any measurements (except the box dimensions) I just plotted a few options on paper, picked the "best" and copied them. The tails are a bit off from mirror images but I am not a machine nor do I want to be. A little wabi in your sabi wont hurt.

Surface prep! One of my favorite activities. It can get a bit stressful at times, especially dealing around joinery. Also one can exhaust oneself in chasing the slightest humps, dips, or other such-what, things so small that normal people think you're crazy. But you get in a zone and you can't think of anything else. All that exists is the work piece, your bench, your plane, yourself, and your quest for the ever elusive... and maybe a hankering for a nice cup of coffee. Ok so call me crazy but I think it is a nice (maybe not the right word) to be in.
This project is too small to REALLY get in the groove but I hope to find it again. At least it seems I still have a touch for a hand plane!

Cut those pins!

I have found this cut of Maple to be pretty brittle for the species. This tree was attacked by fungus and had spalting starting in some areas. My guess is that it has someting to do with it's brittleness.

There's one set of pins cleaned up. Oh yes, if you haven't seen that block apparatus before it is known (to me at least) as a "chopping block". It comes in very handy when you want to cut something at a certain angle and straight... well if you're really crazy you can do some curved ones too... but who would do that? Right? Double curve???

Fast forward all the tails and paring and POOF box... almost. As it will have a sliding lid the back corners get five tails and the front four and a half tails.
I am moving on but I might get stuck a bit because I do not yet have some router bit modifications done yet. AKA I need to hear back from the custom tooling guy!
Ok well I think I'm going to email him right now.
Till later, happy chopping?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Big Leaf Box

Here we go, the start of my first project outside of school. This is a chunk of Big Leaf Maple left over &/or discarded ;) from my classmate of the twin cities, Craig. It's hard to get a sense of size from the photo but it's only about 8" wide by 22" long. This is to be a small simple box with a sliding lid. Something to kind of ease into work in a much different environment. I will also be needing to kind of stop and go with other things that still need to be brought up to "speed" about the shop.

The first major cuts. Re-sawing two lengths for the box sides. This kind of thing is about maxing out the little band saw. It doesn't cut as quick or clean as I have been used to but it will just take a bit more time and effort than before. I am a bit worried about doing little bridle joints with it though. With some lid/door frame joints so small that you can't get any tools in them to clean them up you need a very clean cut off the saw... It was suggested to me by the local sharpening service and blade supply that I try a steel cutting blade. Supposedly they say people are making the switch from carbide blades due to the price of the carbide blades. I haven't used it yet but I should soon and will report my findings.

The re-sawn pieces were set aside for a few days while I was working on a scraper plane and had to go to work. I took them down to just about final thickness and was almost ready to pour over the grain graphics and colors looking for the pieces that would come out.

But first a little mock-up. I hadn't really planed on doing one for this piece, but I was feeling a bit apprehensive about the size or making those "no turning back" cross-cuts. I just cut up some undesirable maple I had laying around, got them to thickness a only spent about a 1/2 hour playing with the length and height till I was satisfied.

The pieces have been cut still long and roughly "assembled" for reflection. I often "pause for reflection" in this work... don't know if it's a waste of time, a good way of working out problems in my head, a way to clear out the last process and focus on the next, or a way to let possibilities show themselves to me. Whatever the case it is part of how I have come to work.

Getting some use out of my 1" jointer plane, Xavier. Made of a Wenge cut-off from Robert's Vidar's Chair. Here I'm "shooting" the length to flaten the edge and bring the pieces to proper height.
Welp that is about all for now. Dovetails are to come!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Shop Shots

Yay... Though not quite everything is in order I figure it's about time for the tour.
First off of course is the bench and "tool wall". The wall has some open spaces in it for later additions.

The sharpening station is not quite ready yet... and the space above it I'm thinking either a book shelf or chalk/white board of sorts. Then off in the nook is storage for all sorts of whatnot including cut-off up to 39" long on the bottom and smaller ones up top.

Bar clamp rack next to the assembly table... space for more clamps...

My drum set in the corner which I built a while back. Storage above for templates, mock-ups, whatever I wont use a whole lot but don't want to get rid of just yet. Then the empty wall for more wood storage. As I collect more wood I plan for the more special pieces to keep me company in here (at least the ones that aren't over 8' long). There is more room for wood elsewhere too.

Here peeking in the "machine room". The was the original shop space of my father's. If I had reign to this space it would be different but I'm lucky to have it available. For now I have access to a small drill press, 13" portable planer, and ... p.o.s. table saw in this pic.

To the right of the last shot. 14" band saw (8" re-saw) and 8" jointer.

And here is the "over-flow" sharing a wall with the bench room. Router table that isn't quite ready yet, Davis and Wells boring machine! and 15" lathe which I had got a while back for drum building.
So there is a quick tour of the work space in progress. It's not a dream shop but I'm glad I have a space that I can do some work in.
On that note, back to woodworking coming soon!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I have a bench!

And here it is! I put a hold on making this post until I had everything for the bench done. It has been only awaiting vise liners for about a week but I finally got them. It measures 80" long, 31" deep and with current feet 35" high. Ash base and hard maple top.

The main difference between this bench and others is the massive dog strip. It's 4" tall which is actually shorter than others out there but as Steve, one of my classmates had suggested, it's as deep as the tail vise. Meaning it's about 6" deep as compared to the "normal" 2 1/2 - 3" deep. This is the most used area of a bench so why not? The nice thing about it is wider use of clams on the edge.

I also got a little "fancy" with the vise liners... Leather heh. I found a small leather supply around the area to get it from. I think it's nice and interesting to get to know what other kinds of craftspeople and supply are around you. Get a feeling for the area/craft community, maybe make some friends, and maybe they will reffur some one to you or you can reffur people to them. I'm not saying one needs a lot of time working on this kind of networking it can just be casual. Just doing a neighborly deed... karma?

Anywho I am well on the way one the rest of the benchroom "furnishings" and am hopeing to start something a little more refined than wafferboard shelves soon!