A place for me to display some of the varied projects that come out of my shop, as well as to "talk" about some of my experiences working with wood.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Searching for retirement groove

Since I retired in June I have been working on developing a routine for my days to get stuff done. Yes I have been golfing, and yes I have been biking a lot; but I have shop commitments which need to be honored.

We are working hard to get the house organized and complete outstanding outdoor projects; lets just say the shingles on the shed still need to go on - lots of summer left though.

The major undertaking in the shop is the design and construction of a dining room set for the eldest's new home; not a trivial challenge getting concesus on a project with a myriad of options and a blank palette. We have concensus and the build is underway. The project involves a new table with a trestle base (my previous design) and a breadboard top with 4 bowback Windsor chairs and a matching bench - simple eh?

If you have read my blog before, you know where this goes...build a model - so I did.  We have a table the same style in our dining room, so the table design was easy - not the chair. After many drawings and emailed pictures and discussions, the design at right was developed.


Some of the parts will be painted black milk paint with a poly overcoat and the rest stained a walnut colour for contrast. The bowback Windsor chair is an amalgam of many traditional designs and the legs will be turned more ornately than the 1/8" dowels the model has.



The next step was to confirm the design in a full-size piece so everyone knew what they were dealing with, so I made a side table using the same design/scheme which could be used as a sideboard in a dining room. This would confirm the turned design, test out the staining and finishing process for me on a smaller piece.

What's a table without some legs, 2.5" sq. blanks and "identical" matching legs

Fitting the breadboard ends for the table top ensure a solid end product!

I do not paint a lot of pieces, and I have heard it said that paint hides a multitude of sins - BS!
To me a painted finish actually magnifies defects (black more-so), and getting this perfect took a couple of coats!!

The finished table outside today for its beauty shot, just need to deliver it!

Now onto building that dining table...



Monday, 19 May 2014

Putting Oneway 1640 through its paces

My new lathe has been a round for a few weeks and it is a dream to use. I have been turning a few small projects just to get used to the controls and also to get it properly positioned in the space I have. I have also upgraded my sharpening setup to an 8" slow-speed grinder with a 180 grit CBN wheel from D-way. I wish I had done this a long time ago, these high tech (and expensive) wheels are optimized for HSS and one pass over the wheel and back to the lathe. I have an 8" white wheel from LV which is for re-shaping on the other side of the grinder.

Here's a few of the things I have spun out on the new lathe, which is just such an amazing piece of machinery:

I wanted a Longworth chuck for my last lathe and just never got around to making one; I had the Oneway jumbo jaws which did the trick when I needed to reverse a piece for finishing. This one is 16" in diameter and epoxied to one of the 3" faceplates my buddy Joey made for me.




The longworth came in handy for the first bowl I turned on the new baby - Apple about 9" diameter.

The first bowl from the new machine, this is a piece of Apple Dad picked up for me 15 years ago.
This was actually the first project turned, it will be a lamp once the hardware arrives.
The base is some of the same apple as above and the shade is pine.

My Walnut and maple handwheel
Oneway Handwheel hub.
The reverse side.
 One of the few things I did not like about the Oneway was the exposed thread on the outboard side of the headstock. I put a faceplate on the end to give me something to turn the spindle manually, but I did not want to tie up a faceplate for this. Obviously Oneway knows this is an issue so they make an aluminum handwheel hub so the owner can turn their own handwheel for their lathe. I have been using the new handwheel for a few days and its is the perfect size for my hand and is much safer than the faceplate.



Bacote
 I had picked up a few wine stopper kits at WIA last year from Craft Supplies and was looking for a quick project for the lathe and pulled these down. Yes I know that using this lathe to turn these small projects is like using a 12 gauge to kill a squirrel (yes I have); but I was on a roll - if I make them again I will use my bench top lathe - I promise!

 I have a few offcuts from tool handles that are on the shelf next to the lathe for small projects. I used the first two pieces I grabbed - bacote and cocobolo.

Cocobolo

The shapes for these things are everything under the sun, I did a few image searches and headed downstairs to make my own interpretation. These are apparently for re-capping a bottle of leftover wine; but I have never heard of that phenomenon - leftover wine? huh.







Back to the shop!!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Dressing Mirror holds a secret

After finishing the bedroom set for my oldest son I wanted to do something special for his girlfriend. We have known her since she was born and has always been a part of our family. Now that she is graduating from university and they are making a home together, we could not be more happy for them.

I wanted to make something personal that was just for her; they did not want a mirror for the dresser so we decided I would build a dressing mirror. Now everyone knows what this is, but I had a very difficult time finding examples online, let alone plans to build one – so a design from scratch was in order. Of course this started with a model to make sure the scale worked with the dresser:
The overall dimensions were designed around the mirror as I found a sample mirror from a local retailer that’s 12”x12” and nicely bevelled so the size was set.
Now as most woodworkers know, making something small does not mean it is less work; in fact, I have found the opposite to be the case. While this is just a box, mistakes are magnified as you scale the size down. here's a few pics documenting the build process.
It is important that the top and bottom panels be exactly the same size, here I am using my
Bill Carter tenon saw plane to clean up to the saw marks on the end grain.

The 3 vertical panels in the piece have 3/16" high tenons to fit into stopped grooves
in the top and bottom. This is the router jig I built to cut these grooves in the top and bottom.
 The mirror is supported by LV Mirror clips, which work nicely however they are not much to look at. To semi-hide them I put a lip on the front of the vertical supports to hide part of the hardware, to reduce the ugly factor. Once the exact spacing of the vertical members was determined it was time to fasten them to the top.

Lots a layout for a very tense cut. The vertical supports have a 1/4" deep tenon that is
let into a mortise in the top and screwed from below. This needed to be done before
the box could be glued up.

Can never have too many clamps...

Gluing some custom feet on the box and this part is complete.
I wanted to incorporate something unique and cool into this, and what’s cooler than a secret compartment. This was to be a simple unfinished box that fit behind the drawers and concealed as well as possible. These boxes slide into the drawer opening and a rare earth magnet holds them in place in the back. These are a piston fit for the voids so they look like they belong if one goes looking for them. Here’s a look inside:

A peek inside the box "showing" the hidden compartments. The piece you see at the bottom
is a "tongue" to pull out the hidden drawer and the drawer sides slide alongside this piece.

Time to cut the dovetails for the drawers, using my trusty David Barron guide on
my Moxon vise.

The mirror frame is to be a bridle joint and the table saw sled is the perfect way to cut these
accurately. My blade is a flat tooth rip which makes perfect grooves every-time.

The mirror frame in glue-up, the beveled glass is quite heavy, so I wanted a joint that
 would carry the weight and last forever.


The drawers are to hold jewelry and the drawer itself has walnut dividers and yellow leather base. Each drawer has a removable tray made from purpleheart and lined with black leather for rings and other bobbles. The overall width of the base is 22” which provides an incredible amount of storage in this amount of space.


Monday, 21 April 2014

Project Cleanup (spoiler alert: includes tool porn)

For me, as major projects come to a close, I spend time in the shop doing those small jobs that occur to me when in the middle of something big. Gives me a chance to clean things up and recharge before diving into something new.

First off though, the bedroom furniture is ready for delivery, my son is moving from an apartment to a house in a month or so, so its being stored here getting a bit of sun to tan the cherry a bit more. I must say they are aging nicely.

The side panels are the same on all pieces,
cherry from my hometown, should have been firewood!

Lots of storage here

The dresser provides lots more storage options.

In addition to the Chest and Dresser I made a special surprise to go with them, more will be revealed in time once the surprise is gifted to its unsuspecting recipient...

Organization to feed the OCD soul...


Tool Chest Willy Nilly
When I made my bench-top tool chest I lined the drawers with leather and placed the tools inside loosely until  I decided how I wanted them to be organized. This became an annoyance after a while as things slid around and hit one another as the drawer was opened and closed. So I decided to fix this; I bought some of the 30mm layered foam from LV  and prepared to work the drawer layout. Before making a cut I decided I wanted to deal with my plane storage area as well, as it was becoming overcrowded with a few new additions. :-) This meant moving to a bigger drawer and thus it became a bench drawer re-org project.

The foam is quite easy to use, but I did not follow their directions where it showed scooping out what you don't need which was very tedious. Instead I drew around the item, cut all the way through with the knife and then shaved the cutout piece to the thickness I wanted to raise the item to the proper height. This let me cut sections of the piece to completely support the tool that had a staggered profile, like the marking gauge. This is the top drawer of my workbench so these are all right at hand and are always where they need to be - wish I had done this years ago.
Time for some layout

These guys are going no where!!

Much better organized plane rack with everything within reach.

No back to figuring out what to do about tool chest since this project transferred some stuff from the chest and some stuff from the wall.


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

I have turned it up a notch!

Mills anyone?
While I do not consider myself a turner like the pros in the videos; guys who can turn a bowl with one continuous shaving and one arm tied behind their back. I have become pretty accomplished at it mostly for decorative art, functional and furniture components. The house (and relatives' houses) are full of bowls of different shapes from the past 20 years. Most of my turning tools have new shiny handles and have made many handles for hammers and chisels alike.



I was getting a little fed up with my Delta 14" lathe which is 6 years old and it was time to upgrade.

The old setup - lots of work came out of this rig.
The 14" size limit was becoming an issue when I wanted to turn some stool seats as well as larger size bowls. I did not want to go overboard but wanted to buy a pro-level lathe but one that was not too large. I settled on the Oneway 1640 for a few reasons, it is acknowledged to be one of the best made out there, and they are made in Canada, which meant less hassles getting it here. Last weekend my buddy Jason was by and got a turning lesson and carted off the old Delta - this was to be payment for helping me mule the new one into the shop.

This morning we made the trek to Busy Bee, disassembled the beast (all 650 lbs. of it), threw it into the "man-van" and lugged it here. After some struggling we had it assembled in the shop and ready to plug it in. Man does it ever run smooth, looking forward to turning a project to christen it later. Here she be in all her glory...

The cleanest she will ever be...



Thursday, 27 February 2014

Progress report - dresser complete

The completed dresser, with one coat of finish.
Lots of progress...


I have been spending considerable time in the shop working on the bedroom dresser and chest of drawers for my son. Many hours of milling and cutting the many parts in these projects. I decided to complete all the finicky parts for each piece together so I did not waste time setting up the machinery twice. There was much consternation on the joinery on the drawers and I elected to go with a drawer lock joint instead of the dovetails I was planning (sorry Jason) - I figured this would be the only way I would complete this in this decade.



Here's a picture diary of the work to date. BTW, this project involved 84 mortise and tenon joints for the webframes and outside frames... (click to make the picture bigger)

All the interior and exterior pieces milled to finished dimensions,
time for some joinery.

84 tenons cut on all the parts, these are 1.5" long and 1/4" thick.
The cherry haunched ones are for the exterior frame.

Marking out all the mortises to double check the layout for everything.

Mortising out the parts on the benchtop mortiser - talk about tedious!

The side panels for the chest are complete with cherry ship-lap boards in the field.

Cleaning up the rabbet for the top webframe
and getting ready to hand cut dadoes for the interior webframes.

The dresser framing and assembly complete - time for some drawers

With so many parts to keep track of, I used this
handy filing system to keep everything straight.
The parts included all drawer sides, backs and front,
as well as the LV wooden drawer glides

Stealth Tool Gloat, this lovely 3/4" Brazilian Rosewood
Shoulder Plane arrived from Konrad Sauer last week, just in time to
help with the project. This completes my set (I think).

A first coat of finish on the carcase to keep shop grime from marking
the lovely cherry, also could not wait for the pop you get when that first finish goes on.
Starting the drawer assembly exercise, with all the parts milled this
went pretty quickly. Once each drawer was assembled,
the wooden drawer glide was glued to the bottom and the guide rail installed.
All the drawers installed with glides in their final position,
next the gaps between all the drawers and outside edges were trimmed.
Once I was comfortable with the fit, a chamfer on the outside edges and VOILA!

One complete dresser, ready for some finish and hardware.
Now to finish the chest...

Thanks for following along,

Richard

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Next Major Project Underway - More Bedroom Furniture

Now that things have settled down and I have more time to focus on the shop and the weather is too shitty to get out and ride, I am spending lots more time in the shop.

I spent a little time cleaning small projects up after Christmas, as well as completing my Maloof chairs, which we are liking very much. I am replacing my old Delta lathe with a new Oneway 1640 and have some work to do to prep the area for the new occupant - this means no large turning for a couple of months until the new lathe is installed. I will use some downtime, (or glue-up waiting time) to re-organize that area.

Current lathe setup - time for renewal
The next big undertaking is to make a dresser for son #1's bedroom to match the bed, nightstands and lamps I made in the past. This project started out as a dresser and as I worked through the design and layout, it occurred that it is not much extra effort to make a chest of drawers at the same time. In fact the millwork and joinery for the outside frames and interior web frames require all the same equipment setups so this would be a very efficient approach.

Mini dresser and Chest (1" scale)
I have often thought about building mini prototypes of my new projects and had
been doing some reading on it as well. These pieces would be odd sizes to fit into smaller bedrooms so building a model was the ideal way to test out my design. I also wanted to model the various drawer front options to see what looked the best. I dug out some thin (3/32") cherry and the hot glue gun and in about 30 minutes had my models made. This approach was very revealing and confirmed my dimensions were okay and also the optimal drawer layout.
Only the beginning...

Time to finalize the layout, cut list and start milling some wood.

All ready to build, models, drawing and story stick with dado cuts for each (two sided)

And Heather could not resist having some fun with mini furniture...

The Crocodile Hunter returns!!