Monday, February 23, 2015

Still a busy year.

I was not sure I would write this part.

You can't pick your neighbours or your family.  We had put up with the neighbours from hell for about 3 years.  Someone that defines the expression "trailer trash".  Now this hillbilly had his electric cut off and set up a small generator IN (yes, in) an OSB sheathed shed with the exhaust exiting a small hole in the OSB.  He then hooked it up to the panel in his house with an extension cord and powered his whole house with this small generator.  You could hear it bearing down trying to keep up with demand.  Eventually the inevitable happened and that was the last we heard from that idiot.

Now, this bone heads daughter was in the bedroom right next to the shed and they were quite content on leaving her there until another neighbour came and got her.  Several hours and explosions from stored fuel and having the fire dept. have to return 3 times for smouldering remains and we finally saw the last of them.  We had some siding warp from the heat and the rest of the neighbourhood stood around drinking beer and cheering that at last they were the instrument of their own leaving.  Luckily no one was hurt. 

There are more enjoyable things on the other side of the house going on.

Nature is being nature and puts on entertainment every spring.

June comes around and I decide to try my hand at a box joint jig for the table saw.  It was a plan in Shop Notes I believe, and the tightness of the joint can be adjusted.

The build pics I took were rather blurry, but the instructions were clear.

I was going to make a bunch of cabinets to hold tube guitar amp heads that a group were thinking of putting together.  Alas, that plan fell through.  I did get one of them made though.  I started with 1 x 12 rough cut pine barn board and rough cut it with the circular saw.

Through the Makita to get it to thickness.

Then the first trial of the box joint jig.

Which turned out pretty good.  So I glued it up and clamped it.  I put a piece of ply in it to keep it nice and square.  It is actually the routing jig for the pick ups in the guitar working double duty.

The cauls were set up pieces.  I then set up the router in the table and rounded all the edges.

The joints turned out very nice.  So I put on a few coats of wipe on poly.

Then I messed around a bit and made a vented panel and came up with a bit of an art deco look.

Not bad for barn board, if I do say so myself.  Like I said, the group project fell through so now the box, without the art deco panel, sits on its end as a plant stand.  The pick up jig on the other hand.......

It got attached to the guitar and first guided one of those new forstner bits to hog out the majority of the waste.

Then guided the router around to clean it up in several passes.

I bought a set of single coil pick up rings from Stewart MacDonald and put in some Texas Specials that I traded an original Ibanez TS-9 distortion box for.

Yes, it is coming along nicely.  I opted for all black hardware.  I think I picked right.

About this time I got myself a mini splitter for the saw.  There is a lack of safety equipment on the saw and I wanted a bit of protection against kick back.  Be aware that I am not an instructor or pro, just a novice learning new skills, so when you do your thing, take care, you are responsible for your own safety.

Now we are into August of 2010 and this is when I built the desk that I wrote about previously.  That was a big project along with everything else.  The guitar got closer to being done and by mid September I had the control knobs come in the mail.  They matched beautifully.

So now I have a fully functioning hard tail, semi hollow strat.  One volume and one tone control.  The tone control has a push/pull switch built in to activate the bridge pick up regardless of the position of the selector switch.  So now I have the neck/bridge combination available as well as being able to have all 3 on at once for a wider variation of tones.

In October I took a 10 minute drive out to a farm of guy I met at a local event.  He has a barn full of hand tools and as my curiosity and confidence were growing, I felt it was time to get some bench planes.  I spent a few hours going through racks of planes and finally picked out a few for myself.  In all I got a Great Neck block plane, a #3, 4, 5, 6, and a 7, along with a marking gage.  In all I spent $115 for planes that were ideal to fix up as users.  I think the newest Stanley was made about 1938 according to which is a great resource for Stanley planes.

The #5 is a Record, the #7 and the marking gage both are marked as Stanley Sweetheart models.  The #7 was the first I tackled to bring back and I would recommend to anyone trying this for the first time to start on a smaller plane.  A #7 has a lot of sole to flatten and there were times I thought my arms were going to fall off.  But I continued on with sand paper attached to a flat surface and got it looking pretty good.

Again, in hindsight, I find I rarely use the #3 and the #6.  The 5 and 7 I use for flattening (with the 7 doing jointer duty also) and I have the #4 tuned up the best as my smoother.  Much like a set of wooden planes would consist of a fore plane (5), a try plane (6,7, or 8), and a smoother (3 or 4).  A worn smoother with the mouth enlarged from the sole being worn away would often get a heavy camber (arc) on the blade and become a scrub plane.

 I may, in the future, make some shooting boards and dedicate the #6 to it, but I also have my eye on a Veritas shooting board plane, which is a lot of money, but oh so nice.

I would have to admit that Paul Sellers influenced my fondness for the #4.  It fits my hand nice (the #3 being a bit small), and I find it suitable for all manner of tasks.  Of course, one could do a lot worse than Paul as an influence.  His manner and style and genuine love of his craft shows in his writing and his videos.  Highly recommended in my books.

So, that brings on winter and closing the shop for the season.  A routine of cleaning the tools and waxing surfaces.  Packing things up and bringing glues and finishes inside.  The little garden shed is poor refuge from the elements and by December this year we are into this again.

Well, that was busy.  2010 put some ideas in my head and got me a little further along the road.  Getting myself lost in a project is something I enjoy.  It took 2 pages to get it all in, but there it is.

Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

I saw a saw saw, but not until I fixed it up

Table saws.  You could argue the point that it is the centre of most wood working shops.

I brought mine home in 2009.  It was bought new in 1972 from Sears by my dad and he handed it down to me.  It is a direct drive where the blade attaches directly to the motor shaft.  As I have shown, after 37 years the top has a bit of a bow in it.  Most likely from having the weight of the motor hanging off the top.  Since it is winter and I cannot use it, I decided to take it apart and see what I could do to it.  So, let's take a trip out to the shop, shall we.

Yeah, kind of difficult to pull the saw out on the lawn to use it.  Even though I am south of a good portion of the USA, it is still Canada, and we still get a bit of snow in the winter.

Some of the family don't seem to mind the snow.  

Being 120 pounds of Malemute/Shepherd with a double coat of fur gave Aggie a bit of an advantage.  Good for making the house look like tumble weeds were going across the floor too.  A total suck and never got over thinking she was a lap dog.  But, we have a saw to take apart.  So we start stripping off the fence and the wings.

You can make out the machine screws that hold the motor/trunion in place on the top.  Over the machine goes, and disassembly continues.

Until we get the top free.

After we get that done, we clamp it up and start the long process of flattening it.  Not a complicated process.  Just start applying pressure in the opposite direction.  Eventually the middle clamp was replaced with a big C clamp to apply better pressure.

I kept this process up for the rest of the winter.  Slowly flattening it back where it should be.

I also wanted to make sure it would not sag again.  I also wanted to make a few modifications, like a T-square fence.  The square tube that I used for flattening the top is part of the new fence.  Along with some angle iron, attached together with aircraft grade bolts.

This will become the front rail of the fence.  I tapped holes right into the top of the saw and made sure that the middle one was off set just a bit to keep pressure opposite of the sag.  Later, few washers to space the square tube from the angle iron were put in.

For the fence itself, I found a scrap piece of extruded aluminium and had a machinist mill up a piece that keys into the slots of the extrusion on one side, and over hangs another piece of angle to make the T part.

I also tried my hand at making a dove tail guide at this time, which looked OK but was not as accurate as I had hoped.  Oh well, it was just little bits of scrap anyway. 

I had better luck with a trip to the Habitat ReStore where for $25 I found:

The box by itself is worth that.  The kind of deal you can't beat with a stick!  Auger bits, centre bits, and spoon bits all included.  All this made a busy January!  I think this may be a long post. 

February brought the wood show.  I went with my son and bought a set of forstner bits for 1/2 price.

March brought a bit more work on the table saw.  It is always nice when a project starts coming together.  I am not sure why, but developing ideas and creating things gives me a lot of satisfaction.  I spent a whopping $50 for all the steel I used and it was time to attach it to the top.  Again, both sides are attached in a manner that keeps the top in tension, resisting the urge for it to sag.

A bit of paint makes it look better too.

Meanwhile, some cabinets at 80% off came available at the Restore.  Sally and I spent 3 days sorting through them and did all our base cabinets for under $500.  A sink that we bought 2 years previous at a yard sale, and some tile we got about that time too were finally put to use.

Yes, a very busy year indeed.

Getting on to April, it was time to get back to the saw.  Since I was making modifications to the saw, I decided to go all out and build the saw on a cart to make everything more functional.  I was inspired by an amazing wood worker, Nabil Abdo ,I met on the live chat at The Wood Whisperer.  There are some fantastic wood workers there, some cast live feeds from their shops.  Nabil does work that is simply beautiful and I don't mind listing him as a wood working influence at all. 

The first part was to laminate a larger wing for the table saw out of the old counter top of the kitchen (see how the kitchen reno tied in here?)

Then I bolted it between the angle iron pieces that were attached to the TS top.

Take the short piece for the fence itself and make it adjustable for square and level.

some "slippery tape" to make it move nice

assemble the fence

and a check for fit.

a bit of shimming needed

Then it was time to make a base for the cart.  Some 2 x 4's and plywood here.

At this point I had a top and a bottom but no middle.

I got a surface clamp for a method to hold the fence and put all of that together.

Into the scrap pile we go again.  Not all the same thickness of wood throughout, but at least I have a middle now.

That makes the working height much better for me.  I am 6' 3", so I like my machines a bit taller than most.  This table saw cart is far from over, a few mods come in the future.  But for now, it is mobile and functional.

Wow, all this and only April.  I think I am going to cut short here and continue on with 2010 next time.  I will try not to wait a full week for the next issue though.  Before I go, I must say that my favourite time of year here is spring.  Things start to return from the south and other things start to bloom and grow.

So, until next time, thank you so much for dropping by.  We will get into May on the next one!