Sunday, December 13, 2009

kickback blues

i lost the tip of my middle finger, left hand, on my uncles table saw yesterday. i've got the kickback blues.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

blue skies and bondo

well it's been a while... i've been busy with lots of things not made of wood. we got the house insulated, worked on some drainage around the foundation, taking a tax preparation course, moved some machines into the basement...

ahh, machines. the first one to come in was the poitras 4800. i took most of it apart to move it, and it went pretty well. the tables came off of the main casting, the main casting came off of the base, and then two people can move it. not too bad. spent a couple of days putting it back together, i put the five horse motor that i got with the bandsaw into this guy. i still need to mount the electrical guts to it, and wire the shop for 220V. this thing is heavy, about a 1000 pounds. got the knives sharpened, but i'm holding off putting them back in until it's not going to move anymore.

next was the rest of the gear. i went to my folks place for a weekend and spent it packing. it's amazing how much stuff i've accumulated over the years. it's all in the basement now, thanks in large part to kevin, claire's brother, who cringes every time i ask him if he's busy.

thankfully there's a door leading to the top of the basement stairs from outside. we hauled the saw out of the van and then walked it down the stairs. it went surprisingly smoothly. one step at a time.

then i decided to paint it. it got scuffed during it's voyage, and the green with red wheels had kind of a christmas thing going on, so paint and bondo and more bondo. i decided to paint it blue, with dark blue wheels. i put the first coat of paint on the small parts, and just put the last layer of bondo on the main casting. the bearing still needs to be poured, but i've got all the necessary bits together, thanks to mr. keeble, who is sending me a babbitt scraper in the mail.

using the poitras as a temporary bench for cleaning and painting. i'm getting anxious to start woodworking, but i'm a ways off. i want to get new windows and giprock the walls and paint and fix the water problem and wire it and get lights and ...

Monday, August 3, 2009

flat curves

got some pictures of the showcase cabinet i finished in may. i think it went well, and i really enjoy the interplay between glass and wood. so much so, that my next project may have something to do with that very thing. unfortunately, my next project is a little ways off right now. claire and i just bought a house and it needs immediate attention and money. so august is looking like renovations, and then six weeks of work away from home, and then setting up a shop in the basement. not an ideal basement, but it appears that i must work with what i got.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

sometimes i feel like an addict

sometimes i buy wood without necessarily being in a position to do so. but i can't help myself. behold, two green flitches of 8/4 maple with great heart colour and curl. starett square for comparison.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

bench work

i've been back home for a couple of weeks now, after spending the month of may out in british columbia. i had a great time out there, but now it's back to reality. the first order of business was to get moving on my bandsaw. i spent a bit of time and money in a machine shop one morning and walked out with a new bottom shaft, a new brass bushing for the top wheel, and the top shaft cleaned up. i'm pretty happy with the work they did. now all i need is babbitt for the bottom bearing. that stuff is a little tricky to find, but i've got a couple of leads.

after that was all said and done, i got down to the task of flattening the top of our bench. i was inspired to get my ass in gear on this after seeing people do there's at inside passage. i figured it was time to do this one. so, like most jobs, there was something to do before getting started. i had to tune up my great grand-father's no. 8 jointer. didn't take much but grinding out a nick in the blade. it runs like a champ.

the bench had a pretty serious dip in the middle, and i had to make an awful pile of shavings, but i pretty much got it pretty flat. it's hard to get too accurate without a long straight edge to check with, but, close enough.

after that was all done, i started on a bench for myself. the other one is something that my father and i built six years ago. it stays in his shop. but every bird needs to leave the nest at some point, and i'm pretty sure my number got called. so a bench is needed. i'm basing this one off of some photos of seth janofsky's bench in woodwork #55. it uses a veneer press screw and a trapped block as a tail vise. this most definitely will have some shortcomings, but the price was right. the bench is going to be about six feet long and two feet wide with some three inches of depth. i went with round dog to simplify my life. all the other holes are for plugs that will replace the knots that were there. this thing is being built out of common 2" x 12". now i just need to find a wide thickness sander to flatten this puppy out. once that is done, off to the base.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

no show case

i'm getting to the point where the list of jobs i've got left to do has gotten pretty small. so small, that i need to do what i've been putting off. glass and pulls. since last time, i got the hinges installed in the doors and the pressure buttons and levelers done. these are the things that hold the door in the closed position. a little  button in the bottom and a spring loaded button in the top which acts as both a catch and a stop. after that i started working on the glass portion of the cabinet. the posts were planed to have the appropriate angle on either side of them, and then they were grooved on the shaper. after the grooves were run, the post needed to be fit into the glass rabbet height wise. this was achieved by scribing with a knife and then a little chopping to get the shoulder cut. they still need to be shaped and finished. after that, i guess i'll have to cut the glass and fit and shape the holders that keep everything in there.

i'm still undecided as to what to do for pulls. i've only got about 3/16" worth of space in between the doors and the drawers front. i mocked a little block up, and it was a little shallow for someone with larger fingers. the solutions appears to lie within the drawer fronts themselves. i think that i may opt for the 'hole through the front' kind of pull on this cabinet. the door has got me thinking of doing a little lip that would protrude from the bottom of the door past the edge of the cabinet. just a small little pull that does not detract too much from the lines of the cabinet. i'm thinking of using dark imbuya for this.

i also got the wall hangers done and installed. i had to make them so that they would get screwed into the top and bottom of the carcass as opposed to the typical side mounting. the side post had a little too much going on in them to have the hangers as well. i used machine screws for this application, and i must say that i'm very impressed with their holding power. in the above photo, the two top screws are full length, but the bottom ones are directly into the back panel, which is only 3/8" thick. as such, the screws only have about 3/16" worth of thread in the wood. it's surprising how much hold so little thread will give you. i opted for four hangers, because this cabinet is getting pretty heavy. i think that it will be sturdy enough on the wall.

on a different subject... has anyone ever used a bandsaw with only one thrust bearing? my 26" silver just really has a top guide. the bottom is simply two angled pieces of wood for lateral support of the blade. i guess i'm just looking for thoughts on running a saw with this setup. it can't be all that bad if that's how they were doing it back then, but i guess i'll have to try it out and see what happens.

i started having a more serious look at the saw, and now i can see why i got it so cheap. ha. both wheel bearings need some work. the bottom wheel runs on a babbit bearing, and the top on a bronze bushing. both show significant wear. whoever was running the saw for the last little while, didn't have oilers to lubricate the bearings, but instead had grease fittings. the problem with grease is that it's not thin enough to make it's way into the bearing. the bottom wheel shaft developed some significant wear. the solution for this, i imagine is either to get the shaft built up again, or to turn it down and repour the bearing. the bearing still has some shim left, so i think i would rather get the shaft back up to it's original diameter and refit it to the bearing, add some oilers and that one should be good to go.

the top wheel is the one that runs on a bushing. the wheel was so loose that it came off quite easily by hand. both the inside bore of the wheel and the bushing show some wear. i think what needs to happen here is for the wheel hub to get bored to a bigger diameter and a replacement bushing made up for the shaft. i'm uncertain whether the wheel spins on the bushing or if the bushing spins on the shaft.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

back drawer

got the joints for the drawers down. i'm glad to have them done. the drawers themselves are pretty close, i just need to secure the bottom to the back, and round some edges. i think i'll have room for some pulls, otherwise i might think about the 'hole in the drawer' kind of pull.

the bottoms are out of a piece of western maple. half of it is pink, and the back half is kinda greyish. it's a nice little piece of wood.

the back panel got glued in once the drawers were fit. i find that this glue up is the most demanding. having to pull the joint tight in three directions all at once makes for nimble hands and lots of clamps.
the cabinet is moving along well. i'll be fitting the doors next week, and then working on the wall hangers and the glass. i'm going to try cutting my own glass for this one.  

Thursday, March 26, 2009

drawers and boxes for them

i'm using imbuya for the drawer front. it smelled good at first, but now it's starting to give me a bit of a headache. 

i've got some quarter sawn eastern maple for the sides and backs, and some colorful western maple for the bottoms. it dawned on me the other day that flat sawn stock might be better for drawers that are fit with let go. too late now. it's amazing how much wood moves out here in the maritimes. there's such a big humidity differential with the cold winters and humid summers. it can really cause some serious havoc.

the drawer box got glued in the other day and i got the rest of my hinges in the mail too. i could have sworn that i ordered enough for both doors, and the lady at sanderson even confirmed this, but i could not for the life of me find the other set. oh well, maybe i'll find them in the car or some non-wood related place in the future.
i started cutting the dovetails in the drawer fronts this week. i can now see why krenov seems to have avoided them to all cost during his career. and all the info that i find is for concave front, as opposed to convex. it's supposed to be the same procedure, but i think there may be some little differences. at least, that's what i'm going to keep on telling myself.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


i got the doweling done yesterday, it went well. i decided to drill the above holes on the drillpress cause of runout on the mortiser. sorry about the bad photo. the mdf t thing just hold the side up square. i had to clamp the jig to the side because of brad shortages. after i drill out the big holes, i just popped some dowels in the holes to solidify the whole thing and then drilled that smaller holes. i had to take the clamps off for those, hence the dowels.

then i just laid the jig onto a full size plywood jig that i made to the same size as the top and bottom. i just shaped the top and jig off of the bottom, which was shaped off of a template. i packed out the jig to get something to flush up at the back and so the sides would be over the applied edge joint as well. i flipped and did the other side.

then i laid the real size plywood jig down onto the top and bottom and drilled those holes out. i had some stops glued onto the back to register it.

i routed out the back panel rabbet today. it was fun.

Monday, March 2, 2009

guards and progress

so here's the general idea. there'll be a partition with some drawers behind the panels in the doors. i got some imbuya that i'm going to use for the drawer fronts with some eastern maple sides and western maple bottoms. these will be my first curved dovetails, should be exciting.

i'm going to be doweling tomorrow, i think. i'm going to have to do this on the drill press. our mortiser has too much runout. it's mucho visible to the naked eye, so i'm going to have to go vertical. i kinda wish i had my table set up on the lathe. the machinist i got to mount the chuck did a bang up job with it. oh well, i'll have to concoct something to hold it upright. after i dowel i'll have the applied edges to do, and then all the hardware holes and door fittings, and the rabbet for the back. it's nice to be working on a small cabinet again.

here's the david ellsworth saw. he turned some huge segmented donuts and hinged them somehow. i just got the thought that maybe they lift off instead of hinge. anyhow, that's what i'll try to do. i don't think i'll turn them, that's just a sure way to have something explode. so i'll have to rout, carve, file, sand, chainsaw some kind of big glue up. any ideas? those are some pretty good colors too... my saw is green with red wheels, don't know what i'll paint the guards.

Friday, February 27, 2009

electrolysis makes things pretty

i picked up a tiny bench vise the other day for 6$ at a local antique place. it was a bit rusty, and i've been curious about electrolysis for a little while now, so i gave it a shot. well, it worked, and it's the easiest thing in the world. all you need is baking soda, water, rebar, a bucket, and a battery charger. plug it in and wait. it actually took longer then i thought it would, but i had it outside, so maybe the temperature slowed down the chemical reaction. anyhow, if you have something that's rusty, it's kinda fun to see the rust magically come off the thing.

this is my sketch and list for the cabinet i started up in prince george. i worked on it a bit during the summer, i had some parts to redo, and then it sat for quite a while. i've got the shop to myself for a few weeks, so i decided to pull it down from the self. i'm going to try to have it done for the end of year show at IP, but i know my dad wants in the shop, so i'll have to see what kind of shop time i can get between now and then. my plan is to have a carcass by the time they get home.

oh yeah, i bought a bandsaw. it's a silver 26" from the turn of the century, or there abouts. it comes with a five horse motor and all the trimmings. it's in northern new york state, and my folks just happened to be out there next week, so they're are going to bring it back for me. i'll have to make guards for it, but i saw some really neat ones that david ellsworth made. he essentially made two big donuts that only cover the outside of the wheels, it looks pretty.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

two things down, ten million to go...

i finished the sofa last night, and it feels pretty good. the glue ups went together very well with no obvious problem, except for one. i don't know how i'm going to take pictures of this beast. i usually just hang a king sized sheet up in the shop, but i fear that this is slightly larger then a king. it's going to be photoshop madness to get this thing onto a grey background. and then i'll need some more photos once the cushions are all done. i'll be hitting the road this week to deliver both this and the stereo cabinet. and while the glue was drying, i dug out my drill press.

i picked this up in gibsons while i was at IP, i paid 85$ for it with no motor. i spent my spare time from school fixing it up. a fresh coat of paint and some bearings, and all i needed was a motor. well, time ran out in roberts creek, and still no motor. so i drug it home and there it sat for a while. when i got it, it had a weird chain drive setup, so i hunted down a pulley for it. the chain drive was setup for a really slow speed, and i wanted to be able to choose different speeds. i got the pulley in the mail, and it didn't quite work. it had the correct splines for the quill setup, but it was for a bigger walker-turner machine, so i had to cut off the bigger part of the pulley. oh well. so now i have a three step pulley, but i can only get the belt on the upper two. two speeds are better then one. my pops had a motor for me, so i slapped that on and gave it a try. to my surprise, it had next to no runout. that made me a happy camper. so now, i just got to find a pulley for the motor and i'm off to the races.

and if i really want to add more speed options, i can always add a third pulley in between. i got all the parts for that with the chain drive setup. it's a pretty nice press. it's got a quill lock, no runout, and it weights a ton. now all i need is a shop.

next up is getting the arbor flange on the table saw trued up, and finishing the cabinet i started at klager's house.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

almost there

so here's the compete structure, almost. there is a second front rail with a panel in between the two that is missing from the photo. that panel has the cutouts as well. since this picture i've done the shaping and i started sanding today. it's moving along at a good rate, thanks in part to a 1/8" roundover bit. i feel like skywaker, slowly being pulled over to the dark side. i must say, it's nice on that side of things, but sometimes it's a little dusty. 

i found some brass machine screws at the local hardware store, and bought them all. those buggers are pricey. i was looking for some steel slotted head screws, but those are probably impossible to find nowadays, so i bought these instead. i'm going to use them to attach the slats to the frame work. the slats have some bow in them that i intentionally left there to add some give to the seat. i drilled some oversized holes through the slats, and i'll have to tap the adjoining hole. i just happened to have the right tap for the screw as well, must be a common size.

i wasn't crazy about the yellow brass with the oak, which is going to get some water based stain, so i did a quick search about patination. i found a pretty good blog conversation in a sword makers forum, and the guy suggested gun blueing as an option. we had some, i gave it a try, and it worked great. it gave a nice dark brown which will go quite nicely with the stained oak.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

moving along, one conundrum at a time

after a good holiday break, i got back to work on monday. the side assemblies are all done as of today. i saw the pattern for the cutouts in kitchen cabinets in the fisher household from hbo's six feet under. i liked the pattern, so i thought i would use it here. i checked out other options, but this one still came out on top. it was a fun little detail to do. didn't take long, but it adds a lot of character to the sides. i'm going to have a panel in between the front rails, and i'm going to have the same detail on the horizontal up front. i've yet to decide if it's going to be a whole piece or if i'm going to break it up into three, to further echo the sides.

now here's the conundrum, how do i support the back... i'm going to have four vertical supports topped off with a long horizontal rail running along the top of all four verticals. the two verticals on the ends are no problem, i'm going to have a bird's mouth style joint at the bottom with a dowel running into the top of the rail, and a horizontal pin through the bird's mouth. i'm not worried about the end ones because i'm going to notch the arm rest to accept the back support, and i can also pin into the leg. those two won't move, but i'm worried about the other two. most members of my family are of the large sort (this is going to an uncle's house), and i'm thinking that this is not going to be enough to support three of me. so, what's the solution? i was thinking of adding a metal plate on the front of the vertical that would go from that piece into the rail. a kind of strap. i think this would hold even me. what do you folks think?