Nov 16

Okay then…

…let’s see if he was right.


Nov 16

Small jobs again…

Just not a very productive Sunday really. Checked my squares, found one is so not square that I threw away the crosspiece and I’ll use it as a straightedge from now on.


Then got on with building the jig. Laid out the geometry (a 10.3″ radius curve gives a 12″ radius curve and 15 degrees of springback).


Shop cat is somewhat critical of the layout…img_9829a img_9831a

Laminating MDF to make a drying form (which will have the 12″ radius and the walnut gets clamped to this for a week after it’s had a day or so on the bending jig to cool).


Lots of laminated MDF and 2×4 chunks. This is when you not only have insufficient clamps but also insufficient space to put the drying bits 😀


I thought it was a bit of a gimmicky thing when I bought it, but those silicone glue brushes work damn well. Worth every cent (especially when buying them from Rutlands in the UK instead of buying the Rockler ones from the US).


And last job, fixing and reattaching the vice jaws (finally – shop jobs seem to be cobbler’s children really). img_9843a

Simple enough job, just counterboring for nuts and ensuring they were below the surface of the face. Complicated only by not having a drill press or fostner bits, but an auger bit and brace and a little fustering sufficed.

Then went through the stock in the woodpile matching pieces to cutlists and finding that for the largest panel in the crib, I don’t have long enough boards to do lengthwise glue-ups in the panel. Hmmm. Is it okay to run the glue-ups crosswise I wonder….

Nov 16

Lost focus…

Problem with knowing you have N slats to get prepped is that that’s a nice countdown type task, just doing the same thing over and over with a nice number ticking away. Then it hits zero and unless you’re prepped, you have no idea what you’re doing next. Which is where last night’s shed time went. I tried out the new arno burnisher I got for the card scraper (Chris Schwartz was right, get one) and put away some new small c-clamps at least temporarily, I played with the new lens for the camera (just a basic kit lens doing 18-55mm because if you’re in a six foot deep shed taking photos of a five foot wide bench, a 40mm prime lens is just not helpful).

But all I did on the crib was prep one board I had set aside for the frame, plane it to smooth (not square) and rip it in half to give me two 2-and-a-bit inch wide rough blanks. 

The ryoba shot through this stuff like it was on rails. Walnut’s expensive, but it just does everything so cleanly compared to something like pine. And now I have three blanks to make two steambent frame pieces. But after that I ran out of to-do list, which is one of the more irritating and weird annoyances. So I took stock of all the walnut I have left to prep a cutlist, and I played some more with the camera.

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Same lens, varying from 55mm (the close-up) to 18mm (the wideangle shot). That bench still needs a lot more tidying and that wall needs a lot more holders.


Could stand a box or two for storage of finishes and the like too. Hmmm.


And the clamps and the grinder need homes. Lots of shed-related tasks that need a little thought and sketching and a bit of work.

I did get an hour or so to play with Sketchup and take my notes from my notebook and put them into that to get a more formal picture of what the design should look like (I find this is handy because it’s sort of like a rehersal build – you spot small things like off-by-an-inch measurements that cause things to get in the way of other things, you can visualise the finer details more easily when you have an accurate structure to put them in and it gives a fast way to see the design from several angles just by right-clicking and dragging the mouse about.

sidecarcrib2 sidecarcrib1


Nov 16

Slats done…


Amazing how a deadline focuses the mind, eh Sammy?

Got through the last few slats this evening, planed them to thickness and then gauged a line and planed them to width. So now I have 18 30″ long slats and 8 31″ long slats (the extra inch is just how the board came out in the rough cut, I’ll trim them all to length when fitting them). And I spent a little while last night going over cutlist plans for the frame – I want to try using Sketchup to block out the design a bit more formally, it helped quite a bit with the bench. But the next few tasks are to get more frame stock cut and planed and sized. The panels around the drawer and the drawer itself should be relatively fast compared to the slats (I hope) and the drawer base faster still as it’s repurposed T&G stock so it’ll just be cutting the boards to length, planing away the existing T&G, rethicknessing it and then recutting a new T&G (I won’t glue up the base so that the wood can move more readily, the drawer will keep it corralled).

And then this weekend, building the steaming jig and if the 2″ wide strapping arrives, I might even try using the jig (if it doesn’t, I’ll wait till next weekend and spend the time on other jobs).


Nov 16

Six weeks and counting…

Realised in the last few days that the delivery date for the cot (hehe, see what I did there?) is six weeks away. Yikes. Need to finish off the stock prepping more quickly. So tonight I got the last three laths and resawed them down to slats using the Tyzack saw to start the cut and taking over with the ryoba after the first six inches or so. This seemed to work quite well and a lot faster than the last few resawing jobs.


I am wondering how I’m going to do the panels in the drawer box at the bottom though. I don’t mind thicknessing them down by a quarter-inch or so (with a scrub plane that’s about three minutes of work), and I suppose the weight at the base will add to stability which is a plus. Some thought required. Meanwhile, on with prepping the slat blanks. Out with the thicknessing jig and got one down to thickness after a quick stropping of the jack and smoother plane blades (the new higher angle on the smoother plane works brilliantly on the ash, I’m seriously thinking about adding a back bevel to it just to increase the angle even more now).

img_9797aOnly got through one slat though, and had to plane a good three mm off the edge so there’s ample room on all of these to get them down to size. I think I’ll get all 8 readily from these (I’m counting that as improving 😀 ). That gives me a total of 27 slats, so I’ll do 13 to a side and have one spare. I should have these all finished by Friday, and I plan to get the steaming jig built over the weekend as well as run the power cable out to the shed, and then next week it’ll be prepping frame and panel pieces and the following weekend I can do some steambending. That gives me four more weeks and a few days to get the joinery, assembly, fitting and finishing all done. It’s doable, but I’m going to have to start mucking about with finish testing soon as well or I’ll wind up messing up at the far end.

Nothing like a nice relaxing hobby to take your mind off work deadlines 😀

Oct 16

One of those days

Feels like lots of work for not much progress really.

Started the day driving to woodies and buying a plank of pine to put a shelf in the new garden box to get the lawn seeds and chemicals and stuff off the floor so it’d be less cluttered, and buying a padlock so the newly organised chemicals were out of junior’s reach.

Then finished off the hammer holder.


And then immediately remembered the other two hammers sitting in a box in the kitchen waiting to come out to the shed. Feck’s sakes…

Then took the frame and the door off the shed, and fitted better hinges than the ones that were on it, learning as I went just how much expense was spared when building this shed. Honestly, I’m rather surprised it’s still standing, it was so shoddily assembled. But I got it re-hung on the new hinges after a lot of faffing about to get it to swing cleanly, and then I moved on to changing the hasp from a simple bolt to a van lock type of thing.

Which wouldn’t fit. At all. I’d have to hack a four-inch section out of the door frame altogether and even then I’d have to take down the interior wall to fix it properly. By the time I found that out though, I had three new 8mm holes drilled in the door. Ugh.

So I reassembled the old crappy hasp, putting screws in all of the screwholes this time just to be wild and carefree about it, and I’ll have to go order another one off ebay tonight. There have been some burglaries around here over the last year or so, no point tempting fate.

So after having wasted half a day on that, we then had the trick-or-treaters round for a few hours, and took junior to see his first fireworks, which was fun.

By now I’m starting to realise I’ve spent a four-day weekend working on the shed and the crib hasn’t seen much progress. So feck, it’s dark and I can’t get the jig built. I can at least resaw a slat. My new Tyzack 1900s era saw arrived in the post on friday, with a set of teeth on it like it hadn’t been sharpened since it was made. But here’s my new Bahco saw file, one of the best saw files available today according to everyone from Paul Sellers to all the youtubers who copy his stuff ad nauseum (with their own added errors just for fun).


If this is the best saw file available today, I think we’d better get used to disposable hardpoint saws.

Despite the thing snapping within the handle not just once, but twice, I eventually managed to get some sort of sharpened teeth on the saw (but honestly, I’m going to have to file them all off and recut them from scratch sooner or later, they were in brutal shape), and I resawed one slat with the new saw.

Or rather, I did half of the resawing with the new saw. It does cut, and it’s more steerable than the ryoba if it drifts, but it’s horribly slow by comparison to the ryoba so in the end I just gave up and used the ryoba on it. I don’t know if it’s the teeth on the tyzack or the kerf or what, but it was dog slow getting through that ash. And it splintered the corners on the exit quite a bit, it was not a clean cut. I should be able to use both slats but only because I already finished one face; there’s only enough margin to clean up one face from the cut, it was that bad.

And that’s it. Four days off, one lath resawn to give two unfinished slats. This was not the kind of day that leaves you feeling like you’re making progress…

Oct 16

Tidying up and small jobs

Didn’t get the jig built. But did get the lawnmower and a lot of other annoying floorspace eaters cleared out to the garden storage box, so I’ve now gone from this:


being under my feet to this:


It’s a remarkable change 😀

Mind you, while getting that done other stuff had to be moved about so for a while, this was my bench…


So not ideal. I finished breaking down almost all of the boards from friday (there’s still one 6’x6″ walnut board I haven’t cut yet) and stacking them and generally doing small bits of tidying away (like putting some mdf on the floor under the timber because that floor looks manky):


So a little crowded again, but the dremel, the bench grinder and air compressor are all going up on french cleats on the wall or elsewhere in the shed, along with those clamps; and as to the wood, well, that’s three or four projects on the go so it’s not just sitting around taking up space, it’s raw materials. I can live with that.

Still way too small a shed though.

And then I started trying to get some more things off the bench to free up more space. So the holdfasts finally got storage holes in the legs…

img_9769a img_9770a

(I couldn’t drill a second in the right leg because there’s a tumbledrier in the way. Don’t ask).

And the scrapers finally get a small holder to get them out of the way and kept together.


And last small job was to get the hammers off the bench and onto the wall. So a small lath of 2×1 and some holes drilled at a 15° angle and some 18mm dowel and glue gives this work in progress:


I’ll let that cure overnight, then drill some pilot holes down from the top of the lath through the dowel centers, and drop a screw down the middle to add some strength, then chisel and plane the back flat and screw it to the wall. Then I’ll hang the hammers on it and hold my breath…

Oct 16

Shop till you drop

It’s been one of those consumer weekends so far. Friday was the trip to the timber yard (and would have been another trip to go buy a plastic drum for dust collection, but they weren’t open); and today was a trip to B&Q to buy one of these:


Yeah, I know, it’s plastic, but it’s cheaper than you could build one for. Tomorrow the lawnmower and garden tools and a lot of this muck are going in there:


After that, I might be able to actually stand in front of the vice for rip cuts…

And then there was the testing of the mattress for the cot, for which we roped in a volunteer…


It was deemed to have passed inspection.

And lastly, I solved yesterday’s storage problem with the vigorous application of a circular saw (yeah, yeah, power tools, I’m unclean), and now I have a stack of rough-cut parts for two or three projects.

img_9740a img_9745a

There are still a few 5′ and 6′ boards to stack, but I can manage those, just about.

And with any luck, I might get back to project work tomorrow sometime, and get the steaming jig rebuilt, a drying jig built, and if I’m fast, get one of the walnut frame pieces steamed and bent.

Oct 16

Back to the yard…

So I have a few other projects I wanted to try on this year, and I needed the material for them and I figured it’d be no harm to have some extra on hand in case I make a total dog’s breakfast of the cot’s steambending, so it was back to Quinns today…

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So much fun stuff in this place 😀 And apparently they’d seen the photos from the last day and liked them, so Hi John and Paul if you’re reading.

Paul did his usual grand job of making everything very easy on me, and I wandered away with almost too much wood for the car this time. Oak, ash, poplar and walnut, almost eight cubic feet of the stuff in total (which is a lot more than it sounds when it’s in the form of 16′ long 1″ thick boards).

Transport was a bit of fun 😀 I am slowly learning the limits of what the car can hold…


And storage is also posing challenges. I think I’m going to have to break a lot of this stuff down today for the rough cuts (handily, I know what it’s all for so I have cutlists).


Got talking to John while I was there, and apparently they’re putting in for FSC recognition at the moment (basically, think fair trade but for timber) and we were talking away for a bit about the trade which was educational. And John also mentioned that they’d had some sapele come back in which the customer had had a problem with, but which they were now treating as offcuts and selling at €10 per cubic foot.

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It’s all 2″ thick stock or more though so I didn’t take his hand off at the wrist. If I had a bandsaw, that would all have landed in my car boot though. As it was, I took the only bit of 1″ stock that was left, and it has some really nice grain in it.


I can see why people like this stuff. I’ve not had a chance to play with some before, so this should be interesting…

Oct 16

More resawing prep…

Spent this evening’s hour in the shed getting the next four laths ready for the resawing by ripping them out of the prepped plank from yesterday.


It’s a tad finicky making a long rip in a board with a ryoba saw, at least on the initial setup. I mean, once the saw is established in the groove and the board is upright, it can tend to track like a laser down the board (unless it hits a knot at a glancing angle); but if that initial inch or so is off-line, then the saw wants to keep going in that initial incorrect direction and it can be a pain to correct because the teeth at the other side of the ryoba will dig in if you turn the blade even a little and the lack of any set means the kerf is nice and thin but it also means you have no room to turn the blade. So that initial setup gets very finicky…




Richard Maguire’s got a slightly different way of doing this, but if your shed is all of eight feet tall at the absolute highest point (and five feet at the lowest), his approach is not really all that possible…

Maybe if I ever get round to building a sawbench I could manage this, but that won’t be for a short while yet (I have the material and an idea for a design but I need to rework that if I’m going to allow for standing on the thing while ripping)

Mind you, when it tracks right, it leaves a lovely clean cut that needs at most three or four strokes with a plane to clean up. And now I have four clean laths ready to be resawn down to slats, which will give me a total of 27 to use in the crib (I’ll probably drop one for symmetry, which will leave me with six unused slats to test finishes on and practice joinery with, or to reuse in other small projects around the place).

Even the end grain is pretty


Yeah, I know, an edge or two needs squaring up. I’ll do that before the marking up for the resawing. But you have to admit, that ash has some lovely grain to it.

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