20
Jan 20

Every day’s a schoolday

So if you watch too much youtube, you can think you know what you’re doing and with power tools, that can end suddenly and with fewer attached bodyparts, so instead of just opening up the new lathe and diving in, I’m doing an adult education course on woodturning in a local secondary school. I’m also cracking up at the school’s name – I’ve gone from spending all my life in Tiernans chasing 10.9s to spending ten weeks in St.Tiernans trying to learn not to stab myself with a gouge…

Never did get to see the woodworking courses when I was in school. It’s interesting to see it now. A lot of the comments from the older posters in various forums do rather snap into focus when looking around there.

There’s only a few doing the course (six in total, including me). Novices for the most part. A nice relaxed atmosphere to the course, a gentle intro to terminology and some basic tools and a demo and then off to do a little spindle turning with some white deal (no sense wasting decent wood on us yet ๐Ÿ˜€ ).

Okay, so noticing the many, many, many impact gouges on the masks was a bit of a moment ๐Ÿ˜€ I must bring my own next time, as well as some earplugs. In fact, I must see if I can even get my ear defenders under my mask at all. I don’t mind wearing earplugs instead of defenders, but they’re a little fiddly. Maybe I’ll get some isotunes at some point but for now, something less flashy ๐Ÿ˜€

Speaking of flashy, the lathes aren’t. They’re a mix of two varieties of old Record Power machines – half of them from before they were Record Power and were just Record ๐Ÿ˜€ But they’re all the good kind of old machine, build solidly. These things have taken about thirty or forty years of daily abuse by schoolkids and are still running well. That’s rather reassuring. They’re also a bit longer than my lathe and while they look like they’re not as tall, the headstock can rotate on about half of them (like the one I was using here) so they can probaby do larger bowls than mine can.

Straightforward spindle practice. Just roughing gouge to round, then play about making beads and coves. And since I had shown up in my shed jacket (they said wear something you didn’t mind getting covered in sawdust and shavings), I had my pencil and tape measure so why not use them? ๐Ÿ˜€

Doesn’t look as good when it stops ๐Ÿ˜€

The two hours of the first day flew past. And I didn’t kill myself with a gouge, so I achieved all my goals for the day. We’ll see if I can keep that up for another nine weeks.

And in the meantime, I have a lathe stand to complete, and a lathe to mount on it, and a shed to tidy and then I need to start looking into places to source beginners tools and materials from (I mean, if I wanted cryogenically treated M2 HSS steel tools that professionals can use, I’m sorted, but the “This one’s okay and we won’t cry when you mangle it with the grinder trying to sharpen it” grade of tools is a bit less well advertised for some reason. And the vast majority of my tools to this point have been vintage stuff from last century bought off ebay; not sure if I can do that for this as well.


19
Jan 20

Lathe stand

Slow week for the shed, not much time spent there. The lathe stand is the thing at the moment, have to get that built so I can get the lathe out of the hallway, and start to tidy the shed back up again. So the plan is to make something that is a bit minimalist instead of overbuilding the carp out of it. Most of the designs I came across were basically an inverted T with the lathe mounted on top and all the weight available piled on the bottom in the form of sandbags, bricks, concrete and so on, which is okay, but if I do that I won’t have room to get into the shed afterwards and it’d still be tippy even if I bolted the thing to the floor because I’m a bit taller than the average 1930s person and so the centers of the lathe should be 47″ above the floor.

So instead I’m going to build what will effectively be a tall sawhorse following Paul Seller’s plans:

Since the tops of the legs get a birdsmouth cut in them, the weight of the lathe goes down via compression into the legs and since they’re both spayed and raked, they resist vibration via geometry. I’ll also have the legs standing on some 19mm thick boards that will tie the front legs to the back legs and the two back legs together (the two front legs won’t be so I can stand closer to the lathe), and there will be an inch-thick board on top of the whole affair that the lathe bolts to and I’ll try to let the legs come up above the crossbar to mortice-and-tenon into that board to lock it all together.

Since I’m trying to get space in the shed, I’m using whatever material I have to hand, which means laminating inch-thick beech for the legs…

New toy idea here, that’s a #4 artist’s pallette knife, the blade is a bit flexible. Trying it as a glue spreader. It’s quite good, though this entire face was a big large for it really. Also, drill small hole in the handle, fill with superglue and a neodymium magnet and you can stick it on any old surface…

Works for paintbrushes too. Handy for places where you can’t screw a magnet bar to the wall.
Anyway, on with the glue-up and out with all of the clamps.

Getting good squeezeout here.

The purple hockeystick grip tape on the handles of those F-clamps was a good idea it turns out, it helps quite a bit. I’d done the glue-up for the crossbar earlier in the week from some 38″x6″ poplar boards that were about 5/4″ thick.

Once they’d all cured, the new record scrub plane (sid would have been overkill) got the sides into some sort of level affair and the #05 flattened one face on all the laminated parts. Did the same for the beech offcuts for the webs (I used 5″x61″ boards for the legs, but cut down to 40″ so I had some offcuts to hand) and the oak board for the top (I wanted something very rigid for that and that board was the closest thing available – it’s probably overkill but the idea was to free up space as well).

That laminated poplar crossbar is the one part I’m not so happy about, poplar being a little soft, but it was the only thing I had that was the right size unless I cut down a 16″ wide sapele board and I just couldn’t bring myself to do that. That sapele is just screaming out to be made into a desk or a table or something nice.

With one face flattened by hand on all the parts, I’m letting the donkey do the other side because I’m being lazy (I’ll do the edges by hand later).

Not happy about that hose run, I need to buy some more 100mm hose I think and maybe 3D print off some quick-couplers for them, but I tested this with a single board this evening (all I had time for) and it worked. No massive amounts of dust and shavings everywhere, so that was a massive improvement.

Not sure how I’ll do the longer leg, top and crossbar boards though, I might need to do that outside, which would be rather antisocial after I get home during the week (when it’s usually after seven) so it may have to wait for the weekend. Or maybe I can get 40″ infeed and outfeed if I line it all up carefully. I mean, 40″ infeed, 40″ outfeed, 8′ wide shed, that’s a whole 16″ to play with there, right? Yeesh.

Oh, and also finally drilled that second holdfast hole in the leg of the vice now that the tumbledrier is out of the way…

I’ve only been wanting to do that job since, oh, 2016? Progress…


07
Jan 20

Lots of stuff. Like, lots.

Long gaps between posts are a sure sign of either nothing getting done or a whole lot of stuff happening. In this case something of the latter. Since the last post, I extracted the shop vac, which is now living happily in the attic with Bob, our friendly funnely spider who lives right by where your face emerges from the stairs to the attic and who we met while taking down the xmas decorations this year.

So Bob’s new companion shop vac joined the mitre saw which I have no room for in the shed, and I kicked and prodded the new cart until it fitted into where the vac used to be.

It almost looks tidy if you don’t look too close or turn around…

Yeah, that’s why you don’t want to look too close. Even with the dust barrel tilted right over, that’s a real tight fit for a 4″ pipe to get into that 2″ opening because of all the adapters we’ll need.

And that’s why you don’t want to turn round. The problem with tidying up any one corner in the shed is that you have to dump all the rubbish in the other three corners. Ideally, a shed needs to be pentagon shaped so you can have tools in four corners and all the rubbish in the fifth. I was hoping to get more storage into that cart, but I need to build something that can hang off the front and also not foul the 4″ hose first. Still working on that idea.

Also, have I mentioned that I share the shed with a tumble drier? And of course it’s collected a huge amount of crud as it’s a flat surface.

And since the floor is also technically a flat surface…. well, you get the idea. Time to tidy up a bit. Thing is, the eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed a large green box on the end of the bench hiding behind chunks of 2×4 that I’m hanging on to for use in jigs and the like, and yes, that is a new interloper in the shed.

I honestly couldn’t point to a single thing and say “this is why I bought that” this time round. It came up in a black friday sale at the lowest price I’d ever seen this for, it has good reviews from everyone who used it for the kind of light duty hobbyists put these things through, and it doesn’t involve faffing about with belts and it has a tiny footprint for a pillar drill at 13″ by 13″ by 24″ tall. And yes, I have an idea where it’ll go, but more on that later, for now it’s just taking up a chunk of the bench and I’ve only used it for a few quick holes for putting away some sandpaper I bought off rutlands in the sales…

Yes, I’m very clever, I made a toilet roll holder. And yes, that is a faceshield and some custom artwork by the house’s resident Young Artist. It’s titled “the red car Daddy should have bought instead of our one”.

Around this time the annual winter solstice enforced holiday came up. The pillar drill was brought home on one of the last days before my vacation time kicked in. So there was some tree work instead of woodwork, and all of the lights had to be put up (this is what happens when you keep picking up sets of LED lights in the sales every year, your tree emits more light than your house lights). That glass of anejo was well earned, because along with the tree was the cooking…

Beef wellington only looks like a faff when you do it right. So here we have the beef which was sous vide’d to just under medium rare, then chilled overnight in the fridge, then seared in the pan and left to cool again and then coated in mustard. Under that is the duxelle mix of mushrooms and shallots, with the mushrooms not blitzed but chopped by hand so it’d be lumpy instead of paste and then cooked for ages until all the water was driven off. You don’t want liquid leaching out of the middle, it makes the dough soggy, so the duxelle has to be dry and still slightly chunky to act as a sponge as the beef will express juices in the final cooking. Then some parma ham to seal in the juice even more and finally two layers of filo dough instead of the traditional crepe to seal it in even more. Then just simply wrap in puff pastry…

…or do some lattice work and put rosemary leaves in the spaces by hand with tweezers.

Yeah, not kidding. I must need my head examined. It was nice though. And of course you need potatoes, but what happens if you mix 50% mashed potato (sans milk or cream please) with 50% savoury choux pastry (like the stuff you make eclairs with but with no sugar and a good pinch of salt) and then deep fry the mix in small dollops from a piping bag?

Pommes dauphine that’s what.

And there were desserts and starters as well. Gravlax and smoked salmon with pickled mustard seeds on guinness bread to start, and pecan pie, gingerbread cake and the above lemon meringue soup as desserts. Yes, soup. What do you mean, your curd sets up?

ANYWAY. After a day or two lying on the couch, floor and bed trying to digest several different animals and half a field of vegetables, I got back out to the shed and did a bit of tidying up and assembled the dust collection using all of the adapters in the plumbing section of woodies. You’ll note the dust barrel is over at a 15-20 degree angle and is held there with a tie-down ratchet and a slightly cut down strap (this ratchet now belongs to this cart, but it was a cheap lidl job so no worries). And I tested the dust extractor and holy crap. It lifted the dust off the floorboards, had a go at the dirt under the shed and damn near ate the floorboard as well. This thing is industrial. I think it might actually cope with the thicknesser. It damn near cleaned all the dust off the outside of the bandsaw from the inside when I used that for the next odd job to do in the shed which I thought would tidy stuff up.

So a lot of the little metre lengths of 19mmx40mm whitewood that’s been laying about the place since I built the workbench have found their ways into jigs, but the last few I actually have had a plan for since building the bench and that was to put them into the lightweight aluminium sash clamps I have to beef them up, an idea I first saw in a Paul Sellers video (and then in about six other youtube channels over the subsequent week or two as everyone independently thought up the idea. The gig economy at work, sadly. Hard to blame them really).

Ripped down on the bandsaw, then planed to the right thickness and depth, and tapped home.

Took a bit of fiddling so I got it right with one, then used that as a rough template for the other seven. Offcuts went into the sack for transport to the parent’s house – I’ve finally found a way to get rid of waste wood, it goes in the fire and the recycling center can stick that in their “we charge you for a full carload even if you have just one bag of shavings that could go straight into the compost heap” policy and smoke it in front of Greta Thunberg. Sometime you’d think this country is run by incompetent jobsworths who never think policies through and the rest of the time you wouldn’t be that naively optimistic.

One down, seven more lined up behind it (and now done). But now I’ve cleared some room, so of course what I should do is take the birthday and xmas gift vouchers I keep getting for The Carpentry Store and which have been building up over the last three or four years and drive out to Naas, just to have a look…

Sooo many toys and so much fun material to play with, it’s a good thing I was just lookin…

Now, to be fair, I’ve been trying to find this stuff here for ages for the masking tape trick and nobody wants to ship aerosol cans or any other pressurised container anymore so it’s not that bad…

And in my defence here, I have some western saws but they’re all quite old and not sharp and while I finally have the kit to sharpen them, unless I have a decent one already how will I know what they should be like?

Also, it’s very nice and it was a gift voucher and also, I’ve had things fit my hand this well before but I had to have a licence to own them and they came with sights and ammunition…

And it’s small and it’ll go on a magnet rack on the wall and it’ll be grand, it’s not like I got anything too larg…

I mean, okay, yeah, but they’re small and come on, they’re pretty and you want to know what that lidl lathe can do with real hardwood or resin, don’t you?

See? Small. And useful, and it’ll hang up on the wall (on a magnet, for this is magnetic brass, none of that nonmagnetic muck for me). Just little small things, that’s all.

Look, technically they’re still small things…

Um. Okay. So I know what you’re thinking and you’re probably right.

….yeah. So maybe I shouldn’t walk round a tool shop with a lot of gift vouchers. Herself got me a woodturning course for xmas that starts in a few weeks, so it’ll live in the box for a while yet because this one really could do you some mischief, but it’s a decent solid beginner’s lathe and yes, yes, I know, there’s no room, but I Have A Plan dammit…

So about that tumble drier I was sharing space with. Well, it was long dead, and nobody wanted it anymore, so it went to the recycling center, who took AN ENTIRE TUMBLEDRIER FOR FREE but oh no, a bag of wood shavings is far too much to cope with…

Ah, right, yeah, the stuff that was on top of the tumble drier. Okay, let’s put it in the precious empty floor space for now…

Don’t you be making faces at me, you’re not there for long, I’m using up a chunk of the beech and poplar that’s taking up room in the far corner in order to make a lathe stand that won’t take up all of the space the tumble drier is no longer using up, and then I can put the lathe there and all this stuff can go in the far corner where there’s some room and under the lathe stand along with the pillar drill to make more space and weigh down the stand, and all will be right with the world.

Er. Yeah. Well. Er.
Look — good tequila, 3am on new year’s day and a 30% off sale on banggood.com aren’t the wisest mix, okay? Besides, look, it has actual uses for the shed. I mean, look at this nonsense:

I mean, come on, that’s daft. How many fittings? I damn near had to drill into the ceiling for this for pete’s sake. With the 3D printer I could just print off a cyclone that had a 4″ port right there. Or an adapter that fitted both the 4″ hose and the 2″ port perfectly and had a 180 degree bend as the hose is coming up from below. And there are lots of things like that you could do with one.

See? Now all I have to do is… oh, crap, I have to tidy up the lab to make space for the printer first.


…sigh…


Right. I guess I get to go visit Bob again so. Good think I bought that faceshield I guess…