Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Workbench Height

To determine the height of my workbench, I put the beams on saw horses, and nailed in a stop. I then propped up the pieces until the planing felt right.(I also did some other things, chopping, etc...) I came up with a height of 33". The small fact that I could be alongside the work helped so much, and has made me really pumped for this thing to be done.

Update on surfacing, I did the other beam today, it only took me an hour.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Planing Rough Lumber

The beams have been resting for a while, and I figured it would be good to flatten out 2 sides, so they could be on the bed of whatever cutting machine I decide to use. I will then use the sawn portions facing up, and the rough planed sides will be next to each other. Since I have two 7' pieces, that's 4 sides I need to do. Furthermore, to ensure the top is at the maximum thickness, the side I have to plane is really rough(the beams aren't square). In the end, this will give me a top 20" wide by 3" thick by around 78" long. I've done two sides, and it takes about 45 minutes for each side. There's probably an easier way, but this is all I could come up with.

For photographic purpuses, I will start on a new side, and only work on the first 2'.

To plane, I set the beams on saw horses. I nailed two small nails into the horses, and clipped their heads off. These grab the work.First, I begin with my block plane and take off the extreme high spots.Then when I can, I move to my jack plane. At first I had a blade ground straight, but it became horribly chipped after a while. I took this opportunity to give the blade a large camber.More work.
And finish with a jointer plane. I know that there will be some low spots, but I can live with that, since this won't be the top.

Prior to planing, I made sure to remove all the nails, and unsurprisingly, I found cut nails, which was kinda cool.

My advice to someone making a bench, is that it's worth the extra money to get lumber in better shape, even if it's just construction lumber. Also if you don't already know it, Shannon Rogers is building a roubo bench as well(a lot nicer than mine), over at his podcast The Renaissance Woodworker and Jameel Abraham has built an excellent bench, and documented it all at his blog. (And of course I can't leave out the author a great book on workbenches, Chris Schwarz at his many blogs, Lost Art Press, and Woodworking Magazine. His blogs provide an abundance of links, and information on benches.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bevel Up Plane-Finished!

Finally, it's finished!

But now, where I left off.

For the lever cap, I decided against a keyhole, instead I just drilled a clearance hole.(This is why it took me so long to finish, my 3/16" bit stopped working, and I got a new one today.) The threaded rod was epoxied into the sole, and the bottom is lapped, though the flatness is not quite what I want it to be, but I'll do some more later. The blade was sharpened, and the board was planed.

An interesting project, I'll post more later on about its performance, and how I like it, and how I would improve on it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Making Thumbscrews

For toolmaking, thumbscrews are often needed. Unfortunately, they are often not readily available. So I make my own.

My procedure is as follows:
Obtain thumb nuts and matching screw(brass, flat head).
Countersink nut slightly, this is because the top of the nut is already countersunk, but not at the correct angle, see photo #2.
Epoxy nut to screw, so that the screw head is firmly jammed up against the nut(the head is on the top of the nut, the screw extends towards the bottom).
After the glue is done, clamp assembly in machinist's vise, so the top of the nut is flush with the jaws, but the head protrudes.
File or cut away the head until it is flush.
Sand away burrs and make sure head is flush.

Now, you could either leave it at that, or the shoulder can be removed.
To remove the shoulder, saw on four sides the part where the desired knurling meets the offending shoulder.
Cut down on all sides and break away shoulder.

The screw right below the knurled head is not square, and messy.
Clamp down drill, chuck assembly in, and, using a file, remove the square portion.
Also, sand screw while it rotates, this makes it much better looking.
Also the thumb nuts I buy have a straight knurling(only up and down), but I prefer a square or a diamond knurling(diamond is really the best, but I can't make it), so while the screw is spinning, I make small grooves using the edge of a triangular file. Make one end of the file rest on something, this helps to steady it.

Here you see, from left to right, a shouldered screw, and two un-shouldered screwsLeft to right; screw without a correctly countersunk nut, screw with countersunk nut, and a total mess-up.
This way is definitely not the only way to go:

-Use this other tutorial

-If you know anyone who has a metal lathe, get them to do it for you.

-Buy them:
McMaster Carr
Philp Edwards
I think also St. James Bay Tool Co. sells them

Friday, February 6, 2009

Marking Knife

This knife is made from a jigsaw blade. It is loosely based on this design. since I didn't have anything suitable for a ferule, so I cut a slot in a 1" long piece of stainless steel rod, and glued in the blade. That worked fine except the rod was wider than the blade, and there were ugly gaps on either side of the rod. So I glued in 2 pieces of brass, and flushed them up. I then drilled and tapped a hole in the opposite side and glued in a screw. I chucked the screw and knife blank into my drill, which was champed down, and turned it slowly, so I could sand and polish it while it spun.
The handle is not so pretty, but it works.And now for another teaser...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Bookmark of the Week

This is Wayne Anderson's site of amazing planes he makes and sells.

As you might have noticed(or not), I forgot to post a link last week. I am now making it official, that the "Bookmark of the Week", may not be every week.