11
Dec 17

Time to finish

Small delay getting to the shed on Sunday.

Well. It’s a kind of woodwork.

Anyway, that evening, at around -3C in the evening. off to the shed. There were feet to shape.

I know, I know, Richard Maguire does it with a chisel. He also has enough room in his workshop to stand at either end of this bench. Anyway, the fretsaw was in need of exercise. So once the curve was cut, I used the spokeshave and a paring chisel to clean it up and cut a chamfer around the feet.

Dainty.

And they don’t rock, happily. And I’d put in a bullnose profile on the front sides using then #5 and #4 and a cabinet scraper.

Unfortunately, that meant it was time for the job I was putting off. Out with sid…

Before:

After:

Also after:

If anyone ever asks if it hurts to cut yourself with a chisel, the honest answer is no, they’re so sharp you don’t notice you’ve done it till later. Slipping with the scrub plane and slamming your hand full force into the dull edge of a planed-square board with a metal plane behind it, now that hurts.

Still though. Pretty.

Okay, time to set it on fire.

No, seriously.

There. Nice and discreet.

Then back upright for the last time.

And one good stare later (and a few minutes cleaning up the stuff I spotted with the cabinet scraper), it was time for disassembly for the finish.

For the top, it’s pretty simple. I chose the grain for the top and planed it to look nice, so that just has to get shown off. It’s getting a few coats (probably three) of osmo:

Just ragging on and sanding back when dry with 600 grit paper (it’s resting on the four bolts in the inserts there, I haven’t figured out how to levitate wood yet).

Nice rich colour when it’s wet, we’ll see how it holds up when dry. Then flip over and apply the first coat to the top nice and carefully.

The legs are getting a slightly different treatment – they got sanded down with 240 grit to open the pores from the plane finish they had, and then painted with oak shaving tea (collect two handfuls of oak shavings off the floor, boil with some water in a saucepan and then simmer for ten-twenty minutes, put water and shavings in a jar when cool):

The idea is that the liquid is now very high in tannic acid without having to go on ebay and buy tannic acid crystals. Paint that on the oak and you raise the tannic acid levels and raise the grain at the same time. So on monday night, I sanded down the legs with 240 again as they had dried (not bad going given that the shed hit -5C overnight) until they felt dry and smooth again and then repeated the oak shaving tree routine. I’ll sand them down again tomorrow and reapply the oak tea for the third time but this time I’ll just let them dry for a half-hour or so until the wood is damp but not wet; and then I’ll apply the other half of the magic, a solution of vinegar that has dissolved steel wool over the last week. The iron and the tannic acid will react and ebonise the oak. The end result should look like this if it all works:

In the meantime, something arrived in the post…

New bearings to use as thrust bearings in the bandsaw with a larger blade size. Gotta love the lego-parts aspect of mechanical engineering…

 


10
Dec 17

Standing upright

Last few days have been the first really cold ones of the year. -2C to -3C in the shed. And work was… somewhat excessive in the last few days so tonight was the first time in the shed in a few days and a to-do list was waiting. So…

Ran a slightly larger drillbit through the aprons to give some flex room for the bolts, and flattened the top of the aprons (I also spent a half-hour before this with the scrub plane and #5 flattening the underneath of the tabletop and hand-cutting the panel to width to trim out the worst of the bandsaw wobble).

The stainless steel inserts arrived on Thursday in the post, thankfully. Seems everyone makes these in zinc-plated steel, but actual stainless is a bit hard to find.

Bit of faffing about getting the legs centered on the tabletop, then putting in the drill bit and thwacking it to mark the drilling point with the drill bit (it’s a brad boint bit).

And now it’s time to drill the holes for the inserts. Look closely enough and you can see the marked point.

El cheapo drill bit depth stop so I don’t drill through the table. I have a fancy one for auger bits, but for drill bits, it’s blue tape time. What could possibly go wrong?

Oh. Right. Well, at least I noticed the shavings were shoving the tape backwards before I chased it right through the table.

Who says calipers aren’t good for woodworking? Check length of insert with calipers, get automatic depth gauge setting on the other, stabby end of the calipers. So I drilled the rest of the insert holes, stopping to poke the stabby bit in the hole until I had my depth.

Then it was time to realise that Richard Maguire had gotten inserts that you put a hex key directly into in order to drive home, but these sodding things need a bolt put into them and you drive them home with that. And since they’re going into a blind hole, the bolt has to be shorter than the insert. I managed to find some short M6 bolts (they came with the Triton sander as the bolts to bolt it down to the table with but I had my own), but they were too long. So. Time to break out my metalworking setup 😀

This is my metalworking setup. It’s a Record Imp, which I got back in February. It’s a nice lightweight metalworking vice designed to be clamped to a bench by people who didn’t need a full-size machinist’s vice. And it has nice features – you can bend pipe with it, you have a small anvil at the back and a striking surface (that small round thing just behind the jaws) and so on. Plus, it’s old – it’s a later model so this wasn’t made in the 1930s but it would have been somewhere between the 1960s and early 1980s, before Record went downhill. This is a small vice, but it is not a toy vice. I’ve screwed and clamped it down to a scrap piece of inch-thick oak, which then gets holdfasted to the bench.

So I clamp the bolt in the vice, mark off the length I want, remove the insert from the bolt, then fire up the dremel with a cutting disk (it’s a 6mm bolt lads, if I fired up the angle grinder it’d be like firing a sandblaster at sponge cake) and nip it off.

And now, just because we can, out comes the file and the tap-and-die set…

File off the sharp bits left by the dremel, recut the start of the thread after the file’s mangled it. Then thread the bolt into the insert and get out the socket driver.

Now, pick up that 14mm long insert, in a shed where it’s around 6-7C, slip with your fingers and drop it down behind the bench into the sawdust and shavings.

Swear profusely.

Get out the magnetic-head telescopic torch thing…

Right. Enough faffing. Paste wax to the threads and drive it on home.

Nice. Now we just do that with the other three…

Why is it spinning so easily on insert #2?

Ah, shite.

Apparently my bolts are made of particularly firm cheddar.

Mole grips to unscrew the insert, pointy thing to screw the bit of the bolt still stuck in there out the back of the insert (glad I didn’t get the blind inserts now).

Okay. Prep another bolt. Repeat all the steps above. Keep going, but be more careful this time.

Shite! At least I felt it go this time and stopped fast enough to be able to unscrew it in one part. Prep another bolt…

Felt this one going before it snapped. Definitely cheddar.

At least all four are in now. I might come back if I can find a non-cheese bolt and drive them below the surface later. For tonight, that’ll do.

Bolts in, and they fit (they’re a bit less than drop-in, but wood moves, blah, blah, blah, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.

That’s a pleasant sight 🙂

Out with the MDF board at this point for a flat surface and check the rock – the front left leg there is about a millimetre out. Plus the feet are all at 12 degrees to the ground because geometry, so I mark off a flat on each leg, disassemble the table and even the legs up. And I leave it there for the evening. I’ve been up since… well, I was in work till around 0400 this morning after getting called around 2330 on friday, and I was back at work just before 0900 until 1730. On-call sucks sometimes. Oh well. There are worse complaints.

I have to shape the feet and thin the table edge and do the final smoothing of the tabletop and legs (cabinet scraper time!), all of which are finesse tasks so I’ll leave them for tomorrow, and I can be starting the finishing by tomorrow evening which is a good timetable for this.

Oh, and I also have a custom scratch stock profile to file. I’d rather do this with a hollow plane, but I don’t have hollows and rounds and I know (a) how much a set costs and (b) how much space one takes up 😀 So that’s not happening for a while. Hell, that was why I got the #050C combo plane, but alas I didn’t get the special doo-dads to let it act as a hollow or round 🙁  I’ve got an eye open, but the problem with the combiplanes is that they came with a lot of bits and doodads, and that was in 1930. You can’t keep both socks together for more than six months before you’re suddenly looking at lefty pining for righty who is has returned to the fjords; what odds that someone will have all 53 pieces from the original combiplane box that they bought in 1933?

So obviously, I just need to get a set of hollows and rounds.

looks up prices

passes out

Holy crap. I could buy two cars (second-hand) for the price of a set. Sod that. I wouldn’t have the room to put them anywhere anyway and the larger ones are all for things I don’t have the physical space in the shed to build.

But on ebay, unmatched planes (“harlequins” apparently, in a rare example of nice naming) are way less expensive – you can pick them up for a pound apiece in some cases. So I’ll probably wind up buying one or six hollows/rounds/beading wooden planes over the next year. You don’t need all that many for the kind of stuff I do. I might start with one that matches the profile above, which is drawn to match one of my gouges to do some decorative carving work.

I guess I’ll just have to try my “build something and sell it to pay for the wood” plan this year to let me do that 😀

 


06
Dec 17

Resawing sucks.

Honestly, if there is a better argument out there for buying a large bandsaw I haven’t heard it yet.

Yes, I’ve heard of roubo frame saws. My shed hasn’t enough room between the face vice and the wall to use one.

Yes, I have western hand saws. I either need to resharpen them or recut their teeth because the best one I have didn’t want to cut.

Yes I have a bandsaw already – it can’t resaw anything over 75mm. That there is 115mm.

So, wax blade, yank handle, shove handle, repeat till ticked off enough to pull board halves apart by brute force, plane off worst of the gack in the middle with scrub plane, give outside a few passes to mitigate uneven drying, repeat.

What, you thought there was an art to this? No, it’s just donkey work. And if you get too ticked off and pull the board apart too early…

It rewards you with a great big divot out of one end. Well, at least I don’t need the full length of any of these boards.

Left them standing upright to dry and warp overnight.

At least I got both boards resawn. That was more than I had expected to do.

So I had a play with my Lee Valley scratch stock and a gouge. I was watching some old Peter Follansbee videos and saw what I thought would make a nice decorative element on the rails of the chest. This kind of stuff shows up on the 17th century oak furniture he specialises in and was very common in the period, and since this is basically a 17th century design tarted up a bit, it seems appropriate.

Plus it’s pretty fast and simple to do, though I do need to experiment a bit more – I really need a round or beading plane or a custom scratch stock to form the surface in the middle before cutting the segments out. This took all of five minutes or so to do by the way – it really is fast when you know how (scratch stock bead line with a fence, chop at right angles with a gouge at regular intervals on that bead line, scratch stock bead line on the other side of the chops, then carve one scoop from gouge chop to gouge chop with the same gouge). How to actually end it when the rails hit the stiles is the main problem. I’m not sure how to continue it around the stiles/posts you see. I mean, I could try freehanding it but that seems wrong somehow unless I can get the rails and stiles utterly flush.

And the threaded inserts didn’t arrive today. Bother.

Tomorrow I’ll square up the stock and try to get the panels cleaned up a bit more and do something about that lid. I’d like it to have a small curve to it if I could, but the only way I can think to do that involves taking an inch-thick board and carving it with planes. And I don’t know about that – it’d be heavy and I’d have no way to prevent it warping with movement, which a frame-and-panel lid would address. I mean, according to the bible, it’ll move by 2.8% tangentially over the 30% humidity change between a summer and winter indoors around here (gotta love central heating), that’s almost a full centimeter of movement across the width of the lid. Make that from a solid block of wood and you won’t have a lid for half the year.

What’s the bible? Fresh from abebooks.co.uk:

Basically, a few hundred species of tree, with notes on things like general working properties and data like how much it moves when seasoning and when doing a 30% humidity swing and what its density and tensile strength is and so on, all done by a UK government office back in the days when this was what governments did. Yeah, it’s 1956/7, but tree species don’t change that much that fast (other than going extinct).

Bloody useful books.


05
Dec 17

Toothy prep

Well, that decided where to start for the evening I guess. I ripped the panels first, and then changed the blade because it was just wandering too much, and then cut the rails to approximate thickness and the stiles to rough thickness and straightened.

Before:

After:

Bunch of small thin stock gathered as well. I’ll leave that dry on its own, see if it stays unwarped.

Then on to cleaning up edges on the panels.

And then checking to see if I have enough width on the panels…

Yup, all good. Just resaw those and it’ll be grand.

Then on to cleaning up the faces of the rails and stiles. Started on the stiles and on the first pass it became obvious there was a problem.

Even a close-set #5 left huge tearout, really nasty stuff. So, time for the secret weapon.

Meet my new #6 toothing iron 🙂

Thing about these is, they leave a shitty-looking ridged surface, you’re never getting a clean finish with these things – but you also never get tearout.

So you can get the board flat with this, then come back with a tight-set smoothing plane and scrapers later and clean the surface up.

So got all the rails and stiles processed that way.

All set. Just resawing to do, but now it’s 2130h so I just marked up the resawing with a cutting gauge and called it a night.

Not sure if I’ll use the ryoba or the rip handsaw. Might try the handsaw first.

I still have to sort out what I want to do for a lid, I need to check my stock and have a think. The floor will be cedar for the nice smell, I have some set aside for just that purpose for the last year or so.

Oh, almost forgot, dove into Lenehan’s pick-n-mix…

Score. I’ll have to trim off 25mm or so with the dremel and tidy it up with a file, but that beats a bolt that doesn’t reach the tabletop fully. Now if the inserts would just arrive I could get on with the table build. At this rate, if I can resaw one panel board per evening, I might be ready for joinery on the chest by the weekend and if the inserts get here, I might be ready to start finishing the tabletop by then as well. That’d mean both would be ready by the time I want them ready.

And I’ve a bandsaw box I want cut over the weekend as well, but that should be much faster than before now that I have the bench sander.


04
Dec 17

Not progress…

Hm. Well, I guess not every day is going to be a great shed day. Stupid “job” and stupid “mortgage payments”…

At least the walnut blank for the bandsaw box came out allright.(That white glue streak is from where the bad saw cut was. The design will have to cut around that).

But I couldn’t drill the tabletop for the threaded inserts because they’re not here yet, so I just cleaned up the glue squeezeout from the table legs.

The new plastic razor blades were actually really useful here.

I guess you could just have a thin plastic knife for this (or a scraper if you didn’t mind then scraping out any scratches from the surface finish). But they were on sale and try anything once.

I got out the feeler gauge as well. There were places here and there where I could get a 0.2mm gauge in, but only on one shoulder was that consistent. And the ends didn’t look too bad.

Mind you, the bolts that are to hold the tabletop on… they were 70mm. They really should have been 75mm (but I couldn’t find those. Time to go hunt round the pick-n-mix hardware section in Lenehans and Woodies I suppose).

I mean… they’re nice and all but… I don’t think 5mm of thread is going to have much strength, y’know?

So, suitably annoyed I turned to the new project. Now it was 2100h by this point, so anything noisy was right out, but there was still some marking up to do. And I had to hunt up some timber for panels.

This should do it, but there’s a catch… that has to get resawn.
I’ll rip it down the centerline (well, not the centerline but the center line of the grain pattern, for symmetry) and trim off the edge waste with the bandsaw, but the resawing has to be done by hand because the panels are too wide (they’ll be 4 and five-eighths wide and who invented this stupid system of measurement and I’ll be converting this to mm as soon as I finish converting the rules-of-thumb on panel sizes and groove depths).

I remember the resawing from the cot. I’m not looking forward to this. I’m just hoping that it’s easier to resaw a 4 and 5/8″ board than an 8″ one. And maybe I’ve gotten better at this in the last year. Maybe.

So the posts are cut long to leave horns (yes, that’s the term) above and below the mortices (and leave space for legs as well). Once the mortices are chopped and the tenons fitted those horns can get trimmed off but during the mortice chopping they give some extra strength to the piece. I forgot this when making the front legs in the sidecar cot and chopping those out was a bit of a faff as a result to avoid accidentally splitting them out.

Then looking at the rails and stiles. The rails are straight enough, so I have face and edges nominated, and I marked them off for a 3/4″ thickness.

The stiles on the other hand, all have a kink that I’ll have to cut out.

Lovely rays though.

I’ll just mark off the straight portion and roughcut that on the bandsaw and then plane the faces (I’ll do something similar on the rails – roughcut outside the line and plane the faces – I’d like to save a chunk of the waste though, quarter-inch stock is handy for boxes).

Prepped for tomorrow. I’ll run a scrap through it to see if those guides are behaving themselves first, but I may need to swap them out and maybe the blade as well.


03
Dec 17

Progress…

I actually managed to tick off almost every line on the to-do list for the week by Sunday night for a change. Before doing any “real” work though, I had to get the new interlopers off the bench. It’s been a while since I did framing-level work with 2x4s, but it’s like riding a bicycle…

…downhill on a wet slope towards a brick wall while blindfolded.

But since I didn’t care what the end product looked like, it was fast enough work…

Rough as 10-grit sandpaper, but it got them off the bench and me back to it. I might make something less… industrial at some point, but for now…

That’s the table legs profiled and rounded on the back (the front has to wait until the frames are glued up). Next to drill the holes for the tabletop attachment screws and that needed my big cordless drill…

I quite like that drill, it’s in magnificent condition for something that’s getting on for 70.

It is, by the way, a nice luxury to have a brace that’s dedicated to countersinking holes. You wouldn’t think it, but you tend to use it a lot…

And glueup. Hide glue again, hence the hot water bucket (hide glue and Irish winters don’t mix well). And that’s where I left it on Saturday evening.

On Sunday morning, I took off the clamps and things looked okay, so I got the tabletop up onto the bench and marked off the final sizes. Not much trimming needed in width, really just straightening up the edge there, but a good three inches came off the length because otherwise the table would be tippy.

I did try using the bandsaw to do the rough-cut there but it *really* didn’t like my new experimental bandsaw guides…

Teflon rod instead of the steel rod that had been there. Oh well. I might just have been overloading it with torque in the piece because it was so large it was almost unmanageable, so I’ll test it on some smaller pieces later and either leave or replace the teflon guides with the originals.

With it trimmed to size (at least roughly, the end grain is going to need a final session on the shooting board), it was on to smoothing the tabletop. Oddly the #4½ wasn’t getting it done even after touching up the blade on the diamond stones; I had it set to a really high cutting angle last time I was working with it, on some sapele; I guess it’s just not biting on the oak as a result, though I’m not sure why not. Oh well, out with the #4 instead and that got it done quite nicely. It’s not fully done; I want to use the #5 to smooth the underneath a bit, and attach the top and then I’ll come back and finish up the smoothing work on the top.

Then on to the next project and picking out the wood from the board to match the plans. This will be a blanket chest – if you know what that is, the scale might seem strange, but there’s a reason for it (just run with it being a very small chest for now). I had a 9×30″ oak board that I could get all the rails and stiles from, even if it has a nasty bow a few inches from one end; but I want a final thickness of three-quarters of an inch and it’s just over an inch now so I can get that bow out. The posts I already had gotten from some 8/4 oak at the end of last week.

The bandsaw might be fussy but it does let you get rips done fast… even if you then have to spend a while with the #5 to get the edges back to being clean again.

Just trying to get a feel for the overall size there (it will be smaller than this – the joints aren’t cut and the oak’s not thicknessed yet). There will also have to be panels, this is just the frame, but one thing at a time. And I have an idea for the floorboards as well.

Finally going to get to use the pigsticker on this one 🙂

All the grooves cut in the posts. I’m wondering whether to thickness the rails and stiles before or after grooving. I’m leaning towards after. I didn’t dive into the morticing either, it’s too late in the day at this point for that, I’d wind up morticing the wrong groove somehow.

So, last job of the day, glueing up a blank for another bandsaw box.

An offcut of walnut from a long rip that went badly (you can just see where the saw wandered there). It’s a bit small for anything else really, but for a bandsaw box it’s grand. Also, walnut. It’s basically cheating using this stuff (and at nearly €90 per cubic foot, it’s definitely pay-to-win cheating).

And I’ll leave things there for the evening. The last piece of hardware I need for the table should arrive on Monday, and I might be into the finishing before the end of the week if I’m lucky, as well as making progress on the chest and the bandsaw box.


29
Nov 17

Another interloper

No work in the shed last night, on account of aches, pains, freezing despite sitting beside the fire, and the usual pre-cold fun stuff. I crashed, went to bed, worked from home today (yes, you can type while under a duvet), and by afternoon was feeling somewhat more human.

So this evening when junior and mommy got back home, junior and I opened the large boxes from FFX and Rutlands that arrived over the last day or two and dragged the latest interloper to the shed…

It’s… slightly larger than anticipated. But not by too much. What it was was loud. The specs said under 85dbA, the meter says 96dbA. And when you start sanding, it peaks somewhere around 106dbA – 3dBA louder than the dang bandsaw. Hmmm. Maybe when it’s on the base and everything’s nailed down… yeah, who am I kidding. Not sure what to do about this. At least it doesn’t have a lot to do in the shed, it’s mainly for bandsaw boxes and the like.

Well, at least I’m all stocked up on glue for a while. I’m looking forward to trying the plastic razor blades as well to see how they cope with glue cleanup. The angle box may be useful for the bandsaw and the sanding table, all the dremel sanding paper should be useful for small parts, and the black-and-white tube there on the right up against the triton are some teflon rods that I’m going to use to replace the steel rods that are the bandsaw guides on the bandsaw. This way I figure I can tighten the guides up against the blade itself, turn it on for a minute or so and it’ll wear away the teflon to get the perfect spacing without damaging the blade. We’ll see. There are some smaller ball bearings in the post as well to try to replace the thrust bearings with so the larger blades don’t contact them when running without load, which is how every guide out there says to set them up (the bandsaw guide holder I have just won’t let me adjust that, because Cheap Tool 😀 ).

Also got a few grades of sandpaper for the sander. Now I have to figure out where to put all this stuff. I had a plan to put together a very, very rough platform from some 2x4s that were left over from making the bench…

The key here is to do this fast. Other projects are a-waiting, but until this is done I literally can’t get my bench back, there’s nowhere to put the Triton. So it’s all butt joints and glue and screws and forget face planing or anything we don’t have to do…

That’s the twp sides done. Next up, five crossbars (two up top, two undeneath which get castors later, and one at the back for cross-bracing), all of which will be lap-jointed to the sides along with glue and screws. And if I can find metal bracing brackets tomorrow I’ll use those too. This thing is going to be ugly and I don’t care, I’ll do a nicer one later on. Like, after this one breaks.

BTW, on the right, a Bosch power drill. On the left (well, in the middle really), a brace with a hex key screwdriver bit that doesn’t really fit the jaws. Three guesses which one crapped out on me after the second screw?

Hint: it wasn’t the seventy-year-old tool that has so much torque it could twist the screw into a pretzel if you wanted to.

Stupid batteries. If I wanted to replace them, I’d just buy a new drill – it’s almost cheaper that way (do you want one battery for 50 euro or two batteries and a new drill for 80?). Gah.


27
Nov 17

Sounds okay

Couple of bits and bobs arrived in the post today:

Some brass-plated hinges for the next project, a silicone hose adapter to try to improve dust extraction from the bandsaw:

Beats a spring clamp and a bungee cord.
And this little doodad as well:

I’ve been wondering how bad the noise from the shed actually is for the neighbours you see. Enter the Uni-T UT353, a cheap little noise meter from Shenzen. And after a wee bit of experimentation, some pleasant results – the loudest thing with the bandsaw running is the vacuum cleaner that does dust extraction. It’s 87dbA in the shed itself with the door shut; 65dbA just outside on the decking; and it’s 55dbA back on the patio by the back door (for reference, it’s 65dbA inside the kitchen with junior watching Rescue Bots and the other usual sounds of life).

Now, start cutting wood and that does change a bit – 102dbA inside the shed, 83dbA on the decking and 74dbA back by the house. But that’s still only up there with a car driving past, not the you-definitely-need-hearing-protection levels that were my only experience of it so far (because I’m in the shed you see).

So that’s nice to know. I don’t think I’ll be getting anything noisier (the sander is rated at 76dBA) and frankly I don’t want to; and I limit the hours I use the bandsaw to anyway because people have to work (and anyway, apart from the boxes, I don’t use it for much beyond rough cuts).

Tonight for example, I took some of that 8/4 oak which I’d rough-sawn (by hand because it wouldn’t fit in the bandsaw) to about 1′ lengths, and I trimmed off the damaged edges (pack straps tend to mangle those) using the bandsaw.

I should get the four pieces I need from that for the next project without much trouble. I just planed the sides flat and marked a centerline; I’ll cut that in half tomorrow and then in halves again, and then trim the depth on the bandsaw (because thicknessing from 8/4 to 6/4 is a bit much even for a scrub plane like Sid). I’m taking this slow in the (probably vain) hope that’ll minimise the wood suddenly jumping into twist or warp or cup or bow…

Then some mucking about with the legs and checking faces&edges and planning the profiling of the legs and whipping up a quick check-piece from a poplar scrap to see if the thing in my head looked the way I thought it would when I see it in real life:

I like the tapering off towards the back of the leg, not quite like an aerofoil shape but the same kind of idea. I think it’ll give it an interesting look (it won’t be quite so asymmetrical, but the size of that piece made it hard to hold which made it more awkward than it will be for a full-size leg).

And then I just laid out the tools for tomorrow and closed up the shed.

Quiet night tonight, I guess I’m just tired from the sudden arrival of winter…


26
Nov 17

Legs

Okay, winter’s here.

And of course that leaves us with the eternal question, why is it always the show face that chips out?

But at least the CA glue did the trick. And on with cutting more leg joints and then apron joints and then test fittings…

Chop, chop, chop…

Swear, swear, swear…
And then recut the mortice so the leg comes up above the apron to be trimmed.

At least the joints are tight enough. I can just about get a 0.10mm feeler gauge into parts of the joints when they’re set; I can’t get the 0.20mm one in.

So that’s all the leg joints cut, now, time for the halving joint for the aprons.

Looks okay, it’s the right way round at least (don’t have legs going up on one side and down on the other…)

But it’s a bit gappier than I’d like. Still, it won’t be structural, there are bolts going through each apron to anchor the tabletop, and there won’t be stress on the joint as a result.

Ha! It doesn’t collapse!

Then a half-hour or so flattening the tabletop with a scrub plane across the grain. That’s such a fun job, it really is…

And then I discovered I don’t have the stainless steel inserts I thought I had and I’ve had to order more because apparently nobody has them in Dublin. Gah. I’ll try the local shops tomorrow but I don’t think walking in will lead to better results. But you have to try. Worst case scenario, I have to wait a week or so and work on another project in the meantime, which is doable. Best case, I find them and the ones on order will do the next one of these (I have the rough-cut bits for more than one of these tables).


24
Nov 17

Ending, restocking, brexit and black friday

Looooong day. I had a callout over the weekend at midnight on Saturday so I had a few hours off in lieu that I took this morning to go to the timber yard. One of the next projects coming up could use some 8/4 oak so my shopping list was a 6-8″ board of 8/4 oak between 8′ and 12′, an 8-9″ board of 4/4 oak around the 12′ mark, and possibly the same two boards again in walnut. And I thought I’d take a look at the beech and get a small board of that to try working in it.

You know how plans rarely survive contact with reality?

So, Brexit. And now any timberyard here in Ireland has a choice – either get hardwoods direct from the continent via ship which is more expensive than road haulage; or buy it from the continent and drive it back home through the UK with all the customs hassle on both coasts which is expensive; or do what they’ve done till now and buy smaller quantities from UK timberyards and ship it back on the ferry to here, but now paying higher prices because the pound has collapsed, and next year, paying higher prices again because the UK is having to pay customs duties of 20% or more on their imports from the EU (because the UK does not grow enough timber for itself and hasn’t since the 18th century), and then paying higher prices again because of customs duties re-importing that timber back here.

The shorter version of that is, Because Brexit, hardwood now costs 150% or so of what it cost this time last year. Except maybe for that german beech, which I think was roughly the same.

(Oh, and forget about looking to the US, they’ve finished one round of 20% tarrifs on canadian softwood and the entire softwood and hardwood market rising to match that, and they’re now looking at another 20% round Real Soon Now).

So, 8/4 oak board? No worries, Paul had an 8′ board from the end of a pack. Grand for me, no knots, no damage, slight cup but the parts I’ll be making are 1′ or shorter so that’s no worry. But it’s €60/cb.ft. The 4/4 oak is around €45/cb.ft, up from €30. The 4/4 walnut is closing on €90/cb.ft and the 8/4 walnut… well, the one board I’d picked out (8/4 6″x10′) was €140. Alas, it remains in the warehouse 😀

The beech on the other hand, was beautiful stuff, I had the first pick from a freshly opened pack and it had lovely clear grain, so I wound up buying two cubic feet in four boards, way more than I intended to but it was just so damn nice looking and so cheap compared to the rest (at around €24/cb.ft) that I thought it would have been a mistake to leave it behind.

A few minutes with the circular saw to break it down enough to fit in both my car and the shed, and then it was time to test the new car’s timber carrying capacity (the old car gave up the ghost earlier this year and we had to change).

Huzzah! It took all of three minutes to pull those seats last night (they’re built to lift right out, it’s quite neat and tidy) and once loaded I could close the boot and drive home without any fuss. Score one for the Yeti.

Once I got it home, I had to clean up the shed slightly – the floor had about 3″ of shavings and crud built up on it because of the rush on the boxes, so that had to go and the timber store had to be quickly shuffled to make some room, and then it was the haul-it-through-the-house routine:

Nice piece of 8/4 oak there.

And there’s that lovely beech’s grain and the other half of the 8/4 oak board. But all of that has to go in here somehow:

There was considerable shuffling 😀 But…

Done! 😀 Just don’t ask me to get anything out of there in less than half an hour…

And cleaned down and ready for the next project (or more accurately to go back to the one I was in the middle of when I stopped to do the boxes).

Speaking of the boxes…

The oak was a disaster:

Just tore themselves apart along the glue lines after the ebonising (and the ebonising didn’t go well, I think some of the tannic acid got into the iron solution and nullified it, I’ll have to make some more). So those got ditched. But the rest were okay.

Dropped those off at the school in the afternoon for the bazaar and they hadn’t a clue what to do with them so they’re lumped in with the bric-a-brac. Oh well, might get them a bit more notice next year. This year though, someone’s getting handmade boxes rather cheaply 😀

It’ll be interesting to see if they actually do sell, if they do I might make a piece explicitly to sell next year, just to see if it would.

 

Oh, and today’s Black Friday, so I bought a sander 😀

(along with a few belts and spindles for medium and fine grades to go with the coarse set it comes with). I know it *looks* like a fancy version of a belt sander turned on its side, but it’s a bit better than that. For a start, better dust collection and about 26dBA quieter 😀 Plus, you can swap out the belt for a spindle to do curved surfaces:

And of course, it has built-in storage all over the place which is nice (but doubtless not enough if you have more than one grade of sandpaper). So I’ll build a plywood platform for it and a 2×4 framework to let me store it below the bandsaw. Getting cramped in the shed now though…

And Rutlands were also doing a sale so I got some more titebond (I’m down to my last bottle), a spare silicone glue brush set (because I’m always waiting for the two brushes I have to finish drying before I can use them again), and some other small doodads and gimmicks like plastic razor blades. But hey, if amateurs don’t buy this stuff, who will? 😀


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