Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bench Work

I did a lot more work on my bench, I crosscut the beams to length, and chopped sixteen 7/8" wide, by 1 1/2" deep, by 2" long mortises. It was fairly easy, I just drilled two 3/4" holes, and chopped out the rest. The pine was pretty soft, so this went along quickly, and I didn't worry about bruising the sides, as they won't be seen. I then fitted the 8 loose tenons, they are white oak left over from the footstool project. I then turned to the dog holes, 3" from edge to edge of each other. They are 1" square, and angled slightly towards the wagon vise. Here's how I make their doghouses.
Two sawcuts, another saw cut, another sawcut, chiseling out waste, then cleaning up with router plane.Since it is cross-grain, it is best to use a V-blade, but mine isn't very sharp yet (more about that in another post), so I used the 1/2" straight blade, and scored the corners of this dado with a knife.
More distractions-Gramercy Handlemaker's rasp with hand cut teeth,
-1/4", 3/8", 1/2", and 5/8" #50 cutters that I got from ebay for very cheap, and they were practically like new. I highly recommend their seller-gandmtoolsales.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Today Was a Good Day

Alternate titles:
Power Tools Are Fast
On the First Week of Christmas( I made up lyrics, but they didn't make the cut)

Today was a very good day. I got my top milled, (thanks to Chris) and my package from Lee Valley arrived. I also got my hair cut, but I don't think anyone really cares. The beams turned out even nicer than I thought, Chris was kind enough to mill all the boards really well. They turned out to be about 3" thick, and about 5" wide. Perfect!
Just as we were coming home, my fedex package arrived. (Side note, free shipping until the 19th from Lee Valley.) I got rulers, router plane blades, a dial caliper, a book, letter+number stamps, protractor, plane blades, countersunk washers, and some dehumidifiers.
I took the beams to the shop, and figured out an orientation for the boards. Check out the streaking on this one piece-

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stanley # 50 and Drawer

At an antique mall, I recently spotted a Stanley # 50 beading/plow plane. I expected it to be way out of my price range, but it was marked at $26, which is an okay deal, only that it was missing its beading depth stop, normal depth stop, one nicker, and all of its blades. When I disassembled it I lost the other nicker. Damn. The only parts I really need however are the depth stop and the blades (duh). I've ordered some off ebay, and they should be coming soon.

Since I haven't really been doing much woodworking recently, I decided to make a drawer for practice. It's all made of pine that I re-sawed from scrap from my workbench, and about 1/2" thick. I think it turned out well, except for a couple of things. First, I glued the drawer front on upside down. The other goof-up was less controllable: there were some gaps in my dovetails. I made the drawer-bottom grooves with a chisel, but this turned out kind of raggedy, but not too bad. Now I have to think of something to put in it...

One more piece of news, with all the dovetail chopping, I managed to bend my chisel, which is my favorite chopping chisel- it has great balance and sharp side corners. I don't know why this would happen.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Half-Back Saw Blade

I had a old saw blade kicking around for a while, and I decided to use it. I've always wanted to make a backsaw, but I hate cutting teeth. Also I didn't know if what I had in mind for a spline would work. I decided to make a prototype. It actually worked! There was only one problem, the saw blade was funckily shaped, too thin and short for a panel saw, too thin for a tenon saw. So I made my own saw: a cross between a table and a halfback saw. To begin I had to take off about 2" from the top of the first part of the saw. I did this with a thin cutoff disk in a drill, guided by scrap wood, all in a vise. Then I cleaned up the edges with a small grinding wheel, and roughly cut the transitional curve with a hacksaw, refining with the wheel. Then I cut the profile at the end, refining with files. I then moved onto the spline. It is cut out of a brass door plate. Leif Hansen has a very good write up on bending splines, and an alternative way(by lamination), is shown by Tim Hoff. The final way, that many modern companies use, it to mill a slot in solid brass, but that is impossible to do without proper tooling. My method is very simple, and requires little tooling, or jigs. I first cut out the brass approximately 1 1/4" by 5", and scored a line down the middle (the tip of a spade bit works very well for this). This is not to make a place where the back will start to bend, it is just a guide for bending. Do this on what will be the INSIDE of the back. To start the bend, use a brake, a nifty metal bender, or simply put the brass in a vise, the top of the jaws lining up with the scribed bending line, and bend it slowly using pliers, working from one side to the other. With a slight bend established, I moved to the metal working vise, using the clamping pressure to bend. The next few shots are what it looks like after a while. Now the brass is ready for hammering, an anvil is handy, but not essential, I used the flat area behind the jaws of my metalworking vise. Medium hammer blows focused at the top do the trick. With the back bent, I tapped the spline off so I could work on it, beginning with the end detail, and flushing up the bottom. I then moved on to cleaning off dents and scratches, this took a long time. With the back polished to 220 grit, I cleaned off rust from the saw blade, unfortunately it was pitted, and did not all come out. Some advise: use a rust-free blade to save yourself much trouble. I then hammered the spline back onto the blade, starting at the handle end, making sure not to make anymore scratches or dents, and then polishing to 600 grit. Now all that's left is the handle.

As always a great saw resource-Old Ladies