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, 11 April 2012

Man emerges from depths of Workshop after being missing for weeks!

It’s been a few weeks since my last update, while it has been a busy time at work, I have found lots of time to spend in the shop so thought I would post an update on progress on a few things. (click on pics for larger versions)

A dozen legs with brackets installed ready for the final 3 chairs.
With many more hours of wrist-slitting lathe work behind me, the last 32 spindles and 16 chair legs have been turned and my Leminster chair project is complete. The walnut special edition chair is completely finished and the 3 remaining cherry/ash chairs are getting their final coats of finish, so the dining set is compete. This has been a very rewarding project that the family has already been enjoying, albeit with only 3 new chairs. Heather has claimed the walnut one as the Queen’s chair, so my vision of selling it or giving it away has gone poof.  This was a project on my list of must-dos for several years, I am very happy that it is behind me, but also very satisfied with the final result.
Final group of Leminster chairs getting their "finish",
 just 3 more coats to go!

This being my first foray into the dark world of chair construction has been a rewarding one; my approach of building the prototype paid off in spades, and he project was completed with minimal swearing involved – I said minimal!

In addition to the chair project I have been cleaning up a few things on the shop side which I have been working on for a bit. My dust collector has always been a PITA to empty wi the plastic bags, and the dust, cleaning the filter and carrying the plastic bag out to the woods for dumping. Of course, knowing it was painful I always delayed until it was almost too full to carry.  Since I use my Busy Bee unit for dust as well as shavings, the filter would often get clogged and the rotary beater rarely did the job of cleaning it. So the suction gradually decreased to the point where it was close to useless. Enter the cyclone...
Original unadulterated Busy Bee unit
single 5" intake. Filter unit on top with rotary beater
to clean filter (black handle thingy).

I bought the Oneida add-on cyclone not knowing how I would integrate into my setup, but ordered and bought from Busy Bee. When it arrived I unpacked it and set it on the floor to stare at it for a few weeks until a design came to me. This is how I work, I need to build it in my mind first beforehand – I guess this is why I failed miserably on the Canada’s Handyman TV show when I only had 2 hours to build a chair!
The added shelf on DC unit to hold can.
Building a cover for the trashcan

The greatest challenge was figuring out a way to easily empty the dust bucket and to purchase something that would make it easy to do, without a complete disassembly every time. I wandered around Princess Auto looking for inspiration and settled on the galvanized garbage can you see in the picture. This would be my chip collector, I built a removable top for it that allowed me the bolt on the metal cyclone and attached it the can with bungees. In order to minimize the footprint in my little cubbie I added a platform for the can to sit on and also align the piping for the most efficient setup. The outlet pipe from the cyclone (which goes into the DC unit) is attached to the ceiling with more bungees; this allows me to remove the lid from the can and empty it and it stays suspended in mid-air. This has worked out well, since the cyclone itself weight 30-40 pounds.

The finished unit. single 5" input into cyclone on side
with 6" feed from cyclone outlet (top) to intake
on Dust Collection unit - money well spent!

So how does it work? I have become hooked on using cyclones after I bought the Oneida Dust Deputy for my Festool Dust Extractor (vacuum), I use this for connection to my thickness sander, as well as my arsenal of Festool sanders. The box on top collects the very very fine dust and keeps it away from the filter bag and the HEPA filter, extending their life. I was however floored when I went to clean out the unit the first time; the collection box was pretty much full of fines that would have clogged anything else before, but when I went to check/empty the bag it was 100% clean, not even dusty!! And the HEAP filter like new, meaning the cyclone was removing pretty much 100% of the dust from the airstream – wow!

Close shot cyclone showing ceiling
support and green trashcan cover.
Going back to the big DC I had high hopes for something similar and I was not disappointed. The new unit has seen lots of work, both with planing, chip collection at the lathe, as well as spindle (ugh) sanding at the lathe (lots of dust). I have had to empty the galvanized bucket 3 or 4 times so far and a quick check inside the main DC unit shows the same as the vacuum – nothing. The filter is clean, the bag is completely empty, it may be years before I have to empty it, if ever; and the filter is not getting any dust so suction remains pretty constant which is a nice aspect as well. I am very pleased and wish I had done this years ago.

Now that my wall benches are no longer crowded with chair parts it’s time to get back to some other projects which I have been deferring. I have been asked to do a Festool video on the RO 125 for carving, I want to review a couple of David Barron tools, finish my smoother plane kit, do some “real” turning – well you get the idea.

Back to the basement...