Tweaking…

Just minor tweaking to the dimensions of the small box tonight, and the housing joints (but I think I’ll be fettling those).

And I cut the length of rippled sycamore for the lid, with a few mm spare on all sides so it’ll get planed to fit the box when it’s assembled. There’s enough here to do the lid and have about an inch of waste at most (I hope).

I’ll say this, beech is no walnut when it comes to cutting joints, but it’s not bad. I do need to fettle those a little, but it’s not horrible for a first pass. And I like the way the two species work together. This might actually be pretty…

A busy weekend…

…and almost none of it spent in the shed, but for once that wasn’t a bad thing ๐Ÿ™‚

(I know this might be confusing if you’re reading this outside Ireland, but check the international news, we wound up in it almost everywhere). Herself was canvassing and leafletting and doing her part for this for the last few weeks, and we were all a bit on edge throughout because the No campaign were being violent and abusive and just plain nasty in an attempt to drive down turnout for the vote, but in the end people remembered thirty-five years of suffering and overwhelmingly voted yes. After which, to be frank, we were all a bit weepy and wiped out. Herself went in to Dublin Castle for the official announcement, and I went off with Junior to the grandparents to decompress and grill some hamburgers, and we all went home and crashed that evening with a plan to not even move the next day if we didn’t have to.

But I figured the shed might help me unwind a little so…

First things first, grind a camber onto the new scrub plane…

I’m always convinced this stage is going to ignite six litres of shellac and finishes so I’m not hugely fond of it but needs must…

Then on to the stones to fine tune the bevel and hone it.

Well, that worked…

And a slightly less aggressive camber than Sid’s. So, Sid gets relegated to the toolbox for the foreseeable; he may be dug out again if I ever need to thickness a lot of pine or something like that, but he tended to bite me as much as he’d bite the wood, so I’d rather stick with the new plane, it lets me bleed less on the work which will hopefully improve the final finish of pieces. Happily, I didn’t have to do anything to the mouth, so the guilt of mangling an old but perfectly fine Record #04 wasn’t triggered.

In its new home.

And now my wall is almost 100% record (bar the two stanley block planes and the preston spokeshaves). Which is odd because I didn’t start out looking to make a collection, but I seem to have wound up with one anyway.

Oh well. Time to actually use the sodding things now. I have some rough cut pieces still ready to start in on…

But I’m not actually touching those today, I wanted to get a feel for what beech is like to work so I’m prepping some pieces for a simple box first from the offcut left over from doing those rough cuts.

Ripped the offcut in half and planed to matching width.

Then flattened one side and thicknessed with the new scrub plane. Honestly, this is not my favourite part of this hobby.

And it generates a lot of mess…

But I got the pieces thicknessed and flattened on both sides, and shot the ends square and then cut out 8″ and 5″ lengths for the sides of the box.

…and I don’t like the proportions. Hm. I wanted to use the rippled sycamore for the lid here, so I think I’ll let it dictate the proportions; that should shrink the width by a solid inch here which I think might work. It’ll be a japanese style tool box thing when its done, if a little bit fancier than those normally get made because I want to use pegs instead of nails and try to make it pretty. We’ll see if it works ๐Ÿ˜€

I’ll probably just futz with the proportions stuff and maybe cut the housing joints here tomorrow, and then I want to get on with the resawing and prep work on the pile of rough cuts for the box, it’s for a present and I’d like to get a start on it. And I’m seriously thinking about taking this Friday off as it’s the June bank holiday weekend and a four day weekend right now sounds almost scandalously luxurious…

Pottering about

Last project finished, next one not properly started yet (just have the rough cuts done) and another in mind but not off the notepad yet. So now’s the time to work on the shed itself…

That’s the dust collection for the shed (it’s collapsed because the vacuum hose got clogged with shavings and the shop vac managed to pull enough air out of the barrel for atmospheric pressure to crush it). It’s a bit… big. For the shed at least. So a while back, I got a smaller drum.

And it’s been sitting there since I bought it, getting in the way, because I was trying to get other stuff done. So…

Out with the old…

And mark out and measure for the minicyclone seperator in the lid of the new drum, cut out the large hole with, of all things, the lie-nielsen radius cutter I was using for stringing on the last project, and then drill the holes for the attachment screw and fit it. In the end I didn’t use the sealer though, I’m not sure if it’s needed just yet.

It’s a wee bit smaller ๐Ÿ˜€
May need to re-jig how it’s held upright because unlike the older drum, this one has no side handles to thread with bungees.

Much smaller and neater. I didn’t use the sealer yet – I was mucking about with a safety valve to stop it getting crushed like its predecessor, but discovered that even with the 10mm hole in the lid wide open I was still getting suction on the main hose, and if I blocked that main hose, the 10mm hole wasn’t enough to stop the vacuum trying to collapse the drum. May need to rethink that a bit – it could just be that the smaller size results in far more rigidity and I don’t need it. Or I may need it later due to wear and tear. We’ll see.

Either way, more room!

And more clamps! There were a few 3″ clamps going for a fiver per pair on ebay so I grabbed them. They’re getting some PTFE lubricant here. At some point I really ought to take off the old paint and repaint all of these but I like the old record blue and I’m not sure I want to go into learning how to stove enamel stuff in the same oven we cook dinner in…

(Oh and the calculator is because I can’t multiply by 1.618 in my head)

And this is the next project after the next one; it’s not off the notepad yet but I was looking at how beech and walnut look beside the rippled sycamore that I want to use in it, trying to figure out colour contrasts so things look matched rather than looking garish, but also letting me keep mucking about with stringing.

I do have one shed task left though, and that’s to grind a camber in the new scrub plane blade. It won’t be anywhere near as severe as Sid’s camber, that was something like a 4″ camber, this will be about 7″ or so. I’ll get to that next, and then I’ll get back to the locker.

Starting to finish

So time to take the shelf out of the clamps and see if it’s okay…

holds breath…

That’s not too bad from the front ๐Ÿ™‚
Different story from the back mind…

Urgh those dovetails. There will have to be some remediation work there. At least the white inlay bits worked reasonably well (you just can’t do dovetails from end to edge like that if there’s more than one tail, the short grain on the pin means it always breaks off, so I deliberately broke off the pins and replaced them with some sycamore chunks).

Okay. Time to start finishing. I could keep trying to touch this up for ages and never finish ๐Ÿ™

Going for a simple finish this time, just some thin coats of osmo and buffing it out.

Magic time ๐Ÿ™‚

Little better at the back after some touching up.

That might be nice once the rest of the coats go on…

 

And then the surprise for the day – Custard over at the UK workshop forums offered to send me some thick sycamore veneer while I was trying to sort out a commercial vendor here for the stuff (the laminated 0.6mm stuff is workable but fiddly as feck and occasionally bits delaminate and you don’t know it till you expose the delamination while trimming off the excess and you now have a double thin white line instead of one slightly thicker line; and it’s hard to thickness properly as well). And the box arrived today.ย “I’ve thrown in one or two other bits” he said…

2.6kg. In veneer. What the hell is in that box?

Holy shit.

So that small sheaf at the front left over the vice? That’s all I was hoping for. Look at the rest!

Thick ebony and boxwood veneers – boxwood is bloody lovely stuff and with an interesting history and source. And rippled sycamore. Wow. That stuff is stunningly pretty. (If you’ve not seen it before, that plank is perfectly smooth – the lines are figuring, cellular anomalies in that particular part of that particular tree, we don’tย quite know what causes it and it’s become very fashionable these days (in the 17th to 18th century it wasn’t so much because it’s not as strong as straight-grained wood, but when veneering was invented you could use stronger wood for the substrate and let the veneer of a figured wood be the final decorative layer).

And the walnut is even prettier when it’s figured like that. And the cherry is figured as well – I’ve not even seen cherry in the flesh before now, I can understand now why it’s so popular for furniture making. It doesn’t come across well in photos (well, in mine anyway) but it’s very very pretty up close.

Custard, the stuff is incredible, you’re a maniac. Thank you!

 

 

 

Oh, and the resawn beech still hasn’t pretzel’d on me…

Glue-up part two

The resawn beech from yesterday is holding up well…

But never mind that, time to focus on the glueup from yesterday. It went reasonably well despite the fiddliness of the clamping.

They don’t look even from that angle, but they are:

There’s some squeeze-out and the join needed some fettling to get it properly smooth, and I suspect I’ll be running round the piece with a chisel checking arises before finishing, but it’s not too bad.

It’ll be interesting to see it with finish on. But today’s task is the final glue-up so I did a dry-fit and some inevitable tweaking and then did a dry rehearsal and then prepped to glue up:

The final glue-up was almost calm right up until the end when I realised I needed to clamp the dovetails as well and I had nothing on the front to clamp against and had to rig something using a third sash clamp and some heath robinson nonsense…

We’ll see how that went tomorrow…

Can you tell what it is yet?

While wrapping up the stringing and preparing to glue and finish the latest project, I got some time to do the initial rough-cut of the pieces for the next project; which is to take the roughest thing that’s ever come out of the shed and remake it with a bit of refinement ๐Ÿ˜€

A quick hacking with the large ryoba broke these down to approximate length, and then some quick ripping with the bandsaw…

And that’s the rough stock almost ready. I want to see if I can resaw this (it’s some nice beech bought a while back in the timber yard, but I’ve not worked with this before and beech apparently has a reputation for movement). So I resawed one of the off-cuts and I’ll see how that moves over the next few days while I finish the stringing project.

I also have to get some brazing rods; the recent subzero temps appear to have made the water in my spray mister expand in just the wrong way:

Poop. And that’s thin-walled stuff; I’m not sure it’ll braze readily.

Oh well. Might as well try; worst that happens is it destroys it. And given that it’s not working now anyway… ๐Ÿ˜€

Wrapping up the stringing…

Finally some decent weather combined with a bank holiday this weekend and I wound up spending some time in the shed (and got the weber out so yay!).

Started off trimming and cleaning the lines put in on Thursday (Friday was a work do and I was done in by the time I got home so I just crashed, so this was all done Saturday evening).

Then I checked the feet to be sure I liked how my idea for how to do these looked. I quite like the idea, but we’ll see. And I took the new laminated stringing out of the clamps:

The – I don’t think it’s ebony, maybe dyed pearwood? – darker stringing is stunningly dark, but I cut a test bit and compared it with a test bit of the walnut and it was just too dark; jarring, in the piece. So I went with the walnut instead.

The front curve is almost vertical, but no, really, it’s a curve ๐Ÿ˜€

And that’s the feet done, the second circles on the bars done, the last of the string on that face of the sides done, and that got to dry overnight.

BTW, so much for credit card thickness plastic being a perfect pivot point ๐Ÿ™

The next day, cleaning up and trimming the excess…

And laid in the last stringing line on that face of the sides…

And then after running a smoothing plane over the bars a bit and rounding over the arises, it was branding time.

Bit hot on the iron there; another pass with the smoothing plane needed to fix that.

Grand. And then on monday…

The last decorative element. I wanted to do these in different colours, but my plug cutters didn’t arrive on time (bet you they show up on Tuesday) and tempus fugit, so I cheated and used a dowel. An hour of curing time, then in with a flush-cut saw and some chisel cleanup…

Then a few passes with the smoothing plane and some scraping to get the surface smooth and the pencil marks gone, and then I started in on the glue-ups by putting on the feet first. At this point clamping got… complex because the feet are wider than the sides and that creates a twisting moment when you apply the clamps (and I need the bench to keep the feet and sides in the same plane so I can’t flip it over or anything).

Complex clamping arrangements are a bit suboptimal – they’re fiddly and prone to slipping and so on, but shikata ga nai. We’ll see how it turns out tomorrow. If all goes well, I’ll cleanup the squeeze-out and then do the final glue-up step. And after that, it’s osmo time…

Stringing continues…

Bit fiddly in one place this evening where the groove was slightly thinner than the stringing. A bit of work on the stringing with a scraper sorted that out. I’ll leave this dry overnight and clean it up tomorrow, and then add the remaining pieces. I still have other elements beyond the border stringing that I want to add though, but my plug cutters haven’t arrived yet…

The feet are a different wood to the shelf, so I wanted some contrasting stringing there; the “variety pack” of veneers I bought an age back had some possibilities, but again, 0.6mm so I’ve laminated two sheets together and they’re gluing up between two sheets of MDF there. Not sure about my cauls mind you. But it shouldn’t require *that* much pressure… we’ll see how it turns out tomorrow.

I do need a better way to stash the syringe when there’s still glue in it. It’s a pain if it hardens into the needle itself. I’ve buried it in a small puddle here to try to keep the air from it, but there has to be a better way. I’ve seen how Steve Latta does it, but I don’t have the same glue bottle design he has, I’ve got the normal titebond ones while his is more of a traditional nozzle design and he just sticks the syringe into the nozzle like it was the cork:

More thought required…

Cleaned up

Trimmed off the excess from the weekend’s work, and it doesn’t look too terrible:

 

There’s some more outline left to do (for which I will need to bring the heatgun out to the shed from the electronics bench) and there are some more decorative elements I want to add, but not bad so far.

I also need to think about decoration for the rest of the piece:

I have some ideas, but they’re not settled yet…

Back to the shed

First day in a few weeks where it’s not beenย I-don’t-wanna-go-out-there weather and my teeth haven’t been broken, so I wandered out to the shed to continue the current stringing project and try to make some progress on it. I got the joinery for the desk shelf mostly finished yesterday evening, though I borked the dovetails and I’ll have to do something decorative to cover that up (one of these days I’ll learn you can’t do fine dovetails as an end-grain-to-edge joint) but other than that it’s not terrible. So I skimmed it up to get ready for stringing and started cutting a nice basic outline with the shed-made cutter and occasional use of the lie-neilsen radius cutter.

The card’s not an advertisement btw, it’s just that you need somewhere for the pivot point of the radius cutter and if you don’t want to dig a hole in the middle of your project, double-sided tape holding down a plastic card like that makes a good surface to anchor to. In other cases though, you can put the pivot point in a groove and so it gets hidden when you put the stringing in:

Those pivot points will just go away when I put in the bottom line’s stringing. So, time to cut some:

I still haven’t found a good supplier of thick (~1mm) veneer so this is the lamination of two 0.6mm thick sheets of horse chestnut. And the glorified pizza cutter makes short work of it with no tracking off the line following the grain, it’s neat that way. Just don’t leave your finger hang over the edge of the ruler because it’ll take that off too. Tungsten carbide blade. Next, put glue in the slot…

Handy things these, but you don’t half get a few odd looks when a box of them arrives for you at the office…

And the pivot points are hidden. I was able to coax the stringing round those corners by rubbing it a few times to heat it through friction but I really must get a bending iron off ebay.

Now let the glue set a while and then trim back with a chisel (I’ll take a smoothing plane or a scraper to the whole surface when it’s all done, but cutting off the excess now makes it a bit easier to work with).

Not a fantastic job on the endpoints, but okay for a first try I guess. Now to cut the line that cuts through that curve (funny thing, I’d have thought you’d cut all the lines first then glue in all the stringing, but no, if they overlap like this you cut through the stringing as well for a cleaner result).

And now glue in the other curve and the other straight line, covering that pivot point again…

And leave that set a bit, trim back the excess and then glue up the last long straight-ish bit:

I knocked off there, I’ll come back to it tomorrow evening for a while and clean it up, but for now that’ll do. I really want to find a way to heat the stringing for that last remaining segment and I need a plug cutter set (which is on its way) for the last decorative bit I had planned for that corner.

Not too bad so far I think. Mind you, so far this has been rather simple…

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