Bases and colours

So the camera battery complained about being empty on Sunday and it got a few hours in the charger, but then come Monday, it said it was flat again. Hmmm. A replacement knockoff has been ebay’d. However, the fabrication of the handles and the glueup got missed. It wasn’t that hard, cut a piece of beech to width so it fits in the end of the box, then make a 1cm deep cross cut in the middle of the piece and chisel out a curve in it, then give up because the piece is too small to work on with the vices I have (I really need a sculptor’s vice sort of thing for a job like that) and cut the curve with the bandsaw and clean up by hand with chisels, small wooden spokeshave and sandpaper, then glue it in place. The following day (ie. today)…

Oh, and I cut the pegs flush and planed down a bit as well. They came out nice. Now to check the handles.

In need of a swipe with the #04…

And some squinting. Yikes that looks grotty. It’s nowhere near that bad in real life, but the handle is proud of the ends and top so it’ll be planed back flush.

All nice and neat again. I also glued up a panel for the base when I added the handles, so I planed that clean as well…

I spent a few minutes planing the lid to width and picking out wood for the end caps and the locking parts. I’m leaning towards all beech for those parts, with maybe just the key being something distinctive. We’ll see. First, the base…

And back to waiting on glue again. There’s a lot of that in this build I’m noticing. These boxes aren’t so much difficult as they are slow because stuff has to be done step by step and you can’t really do stuff ahead of assembly or in parallel – or at least, I haven’t figured out how to. If you were making them in batches you could crank them out I imagine, but one-offs seem to just be a slow thing by their nature.

Tomorrow, one end cap gets glued on and the lid gets its non-locking support bit. I don’t know the name for the part, but you’ll know what I mean when you see it.

Oh, and boss lady chimed in and she wants her locker purple. Good thing I have some stuff from crimson guitars…

The idea is you use the eyedropper to add the stain drop by drop to water to build up the colour, right?

Looks okay…

Hm. That looks thin as skim milk. Ugh. Added a drop more, still quite thin. Mixed with the blue stain underneath it’s too dark.

Rubbed on directly, the stain’s too dark as well, it definitely needs some dilution.

There might be a stain level in there somewhere that works, but it’s as messy as all get-out. But the purple *does* work if you add it to the cloth and then add water by spray can to the cloth before you rub it in, you get results like this:

I think that hue on the far left is what we want here, and to avoid going too dark. Might need to practice more, the planed beech surface doesn’t absorb water too readily.

Of course I may need to do some brazing first, my water can fell prey to the cold spell and an accidental knock. But I have brazing rod and a propane torch…

Belting up

A few hours in the shed today that felt productive (it’s a false positive; it was just that a few end stages happened at the same time). Started off with the final fettling of the carcass for the locker and then smoothed all the interior surfaces and rounded the corners I won’t be able to readily reach after glueup.

20 minutes with #04 and card scraper and we’re ready to glue up.

Prepped an mdf surface to assemble on…

Final dry run…

Okay, looks good, knock it apart and start the glue-up.

Mise en place is as important in woodworking as it is in the kitchen…

And that’s the carcass glued up and left to cure (the back’s not glued on yet).

Then it was time to fix the bandsaw. I got some 120XL037 belts from RS (they didn’t have 124XL037, but the motor’s on an adjustable mount so I should be able to get away with it…)

Found there’s a tool I could use…

Circlips are a bit of a pain without the appropriate pliers. Bit fiddly. But managed not to break it which was good.

Then found these on the floor with all the sawdust and the teeth from the last belt. Took me a minute to recognise the lower thrust bearing from the bandsaw…

Must have come off during the resawing. That’s not exactly reassuring. Remounted them, and added it to the list of things to check.

Fitted the belt, put the wheel back on and tensioned the belt and locked the motor in place, put the blade back on and tensioned that and got everything all set up, then ripped down about five feet of beech from 150mm wide to half that (I’m planning on making a few small boxes and things with that), planed edges on all of the ripped sections (1×1′, 2×2′) so I could resaw them (hence the 73mm width, it’s the max for the saw), set up the fence for one board to resaw it to 1/4″ and 3/4″ pieces and resawed that down to size. The japanese toolbox idea I was playing with needed to have new edge pieces cut. I had tried to cut housing joints by saw and, well…

Yeah, don’t do that. Left a massive gap I couldn’t have hidden. I’ll probably slice off the bits with the joints and use the center section for the lid components or the handles.

First, cut new housing joints on the new pieces (after planing, of course). Usual procedure – knifewall, chop down, pare to wall, chop, pare, chop, pare until we’re to depth, then mark off the other side off the piece to fit, and repeat.

Went faster than before; I’m getting used to working in beech (and enjoying it). And I might have figured out how to do a reasonable housing joint.

And it wasn’t too late, so I cut the joints on the far side as well.

Right. I’ll fettle it tomorrow (just to get the reference faces all coplanar) and glue it up, then maybe drill for the dowel pins (won’t use nails on this one), and make some pegs for them from some walnut scraps I have handy that are too short for any other use.

Definitely enough material there for the lid and handle pieces.

Last job for the evening, glue on the back panel for the locker.

Fiddly but not too bad, it was so fettled that I really could have let the glue hold it in place. But if you have the clamps, might as well cinch it up (the C-clamps aren’t actually tightened down very much at all here, just snugged up to hold the back panel in while the f-clamps get tightened to get the edges in contact).

It’s not looking terrible, even if I’m saying so myself. Still need to level the legs, but that’ll do for later on. And I still haven’t the door sorted out yet, I’m thinking about how to decorate the piece of beech I have planed and set aside for the job.


I mean, what’s the point of practicing stringing if you don’t do any? 😀


Also, how the hell do you finish beech so it looks good?
To the forums!



So the repair job from yesterday went reasonably well. There’s a lot of excess CA to clean up, that took a few minutes for the face side, and a bit longer for inside the rebate itself. Lots of chisel work, some scraping, and dug out the Record 311 with the nose off and the 077 to fettle things and clean up the rabbet to get a square inside corner. Then cut the rabbet on the other side wall, which took far less time and had no drama to it, then cut the rebate in the top piece and then test fitted it and realised my mistake – by cutting the rebate in the top, I’d introduced a gap where I thought there wouldn’t be one. How I didn’t see that coming I don’t know. So I fudged, and sawed off the rebated part, right through the dovetail joint, and the back panel will do the filling.

And then, fettling. Assemble everything, stare at it, notice one wall is not parallel to the other, figure out which of the three cross-pieces is at fault, knock it all apart, shorten the offending piece (of course it’s the one with the dovetails, so cut them 2mm deeper), reassemble everything and repeat seven or eight times, sneaking up on square gradually.

Once I was finally happy with that, I took the panel for the back, squared an edge and an end (didn’t matter if it spelched out on the far side from the squared edge because that’s coming off anyway), and fitted it in place and mark off the far side against the other side wall, and then saw outside that line and plane down to it, and test fit.

And then do the fettling cycle two or three more times, taking a shaving here and a shaving there. And eventually…

Not terrible. Some gaps here and there, so it’s not perfect, but could be a lot worse. Still have to cut the panel to length, that’s marked out for, but first check it over.

Dovetails close up (mostly). Might need to plane that top piece a bit more yet at the back to let the panel sit better on the left there. And then check for square…

That’s all grand to within 0.2mm or so, which I’m okayish with for now (hey, I’ve never worked in beech before, I’m getting used to it, okay? Plus, that’s rather thin stock, it’s just under a half-inch there).

One last joint that I’m not happy with…

Need to knock that apart and give that marked spot a swipe with the block plane, let the front of the side panel close up there. Hm. But that wouldn’t explain those gaps in the middle and rear dovetails on that side and the front dovetail is tight up – maybe I need to pare that dovetail just a hair deeper instead. Or it could be both. The joy of fettling…








…oh, and I need to fit the door as well at some point. And I got two bandsaw belts in the post today that I need to check – they were 120XL037s instead of 124XL037s but they might be close enough to do for a few days until the proper size ones arrive…


So it’s a bank holiday weekend and I was looking forward to lots of time in the shed, but on friday a nice lady held me down and shoved a screwdriver and a pair of pliers in my mouth so I wasn’t really up to much woodworking on the Saturday, but at least the extraction didn’t cause too much pain after the fact so today I decided to hit the shed and get on with some stuff, and I thought I’d start with some resawing.

The fence they ship the Titan bandsaw with is ridiculously awful, so this is what I normally use – just a length of extruded aluminum that normally serves as a straightedge when planing. I must see about getting a wider box section for this job though, the underside of the table has ribs so it’s not so easy to find a flat spot to get the clamps on without tipping the fence over when you clamp. But after some faffing about I got it all set and started to feed in the beech, and getting pretty good results (This is 75mm wide material, the upper limit for the machine).

Nice straight clean cuts, minimal saw fuzz, no wandering or blade drift, I was happy with that. Then on the last board…

Just literally ground to a halt mid-cut. Motor’s still spinning, but the blade’s not moving. I was sure I’d overheated the little motor or something so I turned everything off and let it sit for a half-hour and then tried again, but to the same result – the blade would move allright, but the minute it hit the wood, it stalled out and stopped while the motor kept spinning. So I opened up the lower box and sure enough…

Note, the belt hadn’t snapped, I cut it out of the bandsaw to save time, the problem is that the teeth are all stripped off the inside of the belt (note the melted fuzz on the remaining third of the teeth, and there were a lot of completely stripped off teeth on the bottom of the lower bandsaw cabinet). It’s a 124XL037 belt in case this ever happens to you, and like the bearings, these belts are industrial lego. If you don’t need them fast, you can get a box of ten from aliexpress for $16; if you need them tomorrow, Radionics will ship you two for the same price in a day or so. So I’ll be sorted before the end of the week, but it’s still a bit of a pain in the fundament.

Still though, got most of the boards done.

That bottom one is 100mm wide, it wasn’t getting resawn, it’s to be thicknessed. And the remaining board I was mostly through so I finished resawing it by hand.

Yeah, still not my favorite part of this hobby. But beech turns out to be nice to saw.

Then laid out the parts for the next project…

Bit of a glue-up panel for the back…

That’ll be ready tomorrow and then I can continue planing the parts. Then the outside frame gets dovetailed, the inner shelf and bottom get housing joints, I’ll rebate the panel into the frame at the back and thickness the door and that’ll be that.

Yeah, so only another six months 😀

And then maybe some stringing for decoration… or some carving… 😀

I also got some walnut pieces rough-cut from an offcut from the sidecar cot to be used in the experimental box. I’m just not looking forward to resawing that to a usable thickness and I hate thicknessing walnut by scrub plane, it feels like such a waste. Oh well. Frame saw time maybe.

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 😀

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… 😀

Offset shoulders

Started off with a quick check of something for Ralph who’d had a minor mishap over on Accidental Woodworker with his #044.

Ouch. Cast part weakness strikes again 🙁

For Ralph, my #044’s rods are square to the fence to within 0.05mm (my thinnest feeler gauge):

And square to the skate to the same tolerance:

And there are gaps around the rod in the fence holes. It’s hard to gauge how much by because my feeler gauges are flat and don’t cope with tight radii well, but it looks somewhere around 0.1mm.

There is a discernible line around the rod in the plane body, but no discernible gap and I can’t get even the tip of the 0.05mm feeler gauge in there.

Incidentally, I normally have the fence rods a few inches proud of the body of the plane like that because its spot on the wall sees it stay in place using both the rods and the secondary fence on the plane:

Hope that helps Ralph.

That done, I set out and marked off the lid frame parts and ripped them out with the bandsaw. It’s not that I don’t like ripsawing, it’s that it’s awkward in a confined space and for rough cuts there’s no great advantage to it. When I have floorspace enough for a sawbench, that may change. For now, a few awkward noisy moments at the bandsaw — and I do mean awkward because it means standing in an 8″x8″ square in the corner between the sander behind me, the vice to the left of me and the dust collection and power cord in front of me, feeding the work through the blade. It’s not quite dangerous, but it’s not my idea of fun either.

That done, out with the plane and clean up and true up the edges and that’s the frame parts set – I’ll crosscut to size later.

First, a quick check of my lid idea; sit the lid on a quarter-inch spacer, butt a frame part against it and take a peek at what will be the cross-section of the lid (sortof) to be sure it’s not horrible.

Eh, it’ll do I think. On to the tenons…

…with just a quick stop to go to the post office and pick up a few new toys 🙂

Some new punches for the whole 17th Century New England carving idea, and a pair of gouges that were going cheap for the same plan; and some brusso hardware that was going for a bit under quarter price. Shame Rutlands didn’t have more of those to be honest, I tried to get more but that was the last one in stock.

Mental note – when knocking punches into a thin piece of material for your reference block, don’t hit the damn thing too hard…

Oh well. On to the tenons…

Started with the long rails at the back and with the shoulder lines. Nothing special here, just come in by an inch, nick it, then use the square to mark off the shoulder line all around the piece. Then the cheek lines get set by taking the chisel I chopped the mortice with and setting the mortice gauge width with it:

Pretty standard stuff, and you’d think that you’d just line the gauge up with the inside of the groove and away you’d go…

Problem is, that doesn’t work because my mortice isn’t the same width as the groove, which is my fault; I assumed that if you have a three-eighths iron and a three-eighths chisel, they’d be the same size. Welcome to one of the quirky features of old imperial-measurements tools – there’s no guarantee that an inch chisel is an inch wide because with old chisels widths were kindof a best-effort sort of thing. When people in the last three countries in the world to not use metric (and the few others who are officially metric but use imperial overwhelmingly in common usage, like the UK) start saying stuff like “who can remember 25.4mm? 1 inch is so much easier to remember! Who makes a 25.4mm chisel?” they’re sortof forgetting that nobody ever used to make a 1 inch chisel either. They’d make almost-an-inch chisels and nobody cared (or cares now) because you set the gauges with the chisel and most of the time nobody cared if the chisel was 1 inch or 1.032 inches because you cut pieces to fit other pieces and so long as they did, the exact size of the groove or mortice didn’t matter. The only time it really causes a problem is things like this where you build things assuming that something called a 1-inch chisel is the same width as something else called a 1-inch iron and it isn’t.

So when I found my morticing chisel wasn’t the same width as the groove, I nudged the mortice up against the wall of the groove away from the face to reduce the chance of something blowing out while chopping the mortice. So now that I’m cutting the tenon, I need to shove the tenon over a bit so that the groove on the rail lines up with the groove on the stile so the panel can fit, like so:

This is obviously not ideal. Next time I build one of these, I’ll pick an iron that matches the chisel and I’ll position the groove a bit more conservatively even if that means cutting the joints and then planing the stiles and rails down to final size after the stressful bits of grooving and morticing are done. But that’s next time. This time, I marked off the cheeks and then sawed them in the vice as normal and moved on to cutting the shoulders.

First use of the japanese saw bench hook in anger (and it works well). The shoulders are cut using something Richard Maguire was talking about in his latest video series and on his blog; the face shoulder is cut right on the line, but the non-face shoulder is cut on the wrong side of the line deliberately:

This is a bit cack-handed and it’s offset too much at the back (but that doesn’t matter hugely). If done right, you’d saw the face shoulder on one side of the line and the back shoulder on the other side of the line with maybe a kerf or two of a difference between the shoulders. You get an asymmetric tenon as a result:

And now when you drive the joint home, the back side does not close up at all:

But the face side – and this is the point of this – is very tight and clean:

And because there are four of these joints in a square, when it’s all assembled and drawbored, all the joints are in tension and so they resist racking as a whole as well. Now I’ve not done a great job here (though all but one of my joints tonight fitted off the saw, which was nice), but even so I’ve got nice lines on the face sides with less effort than normal, so this technique’s a pretty useful one.

Back frame done…

And front frame done and by this point it’s 2300h so I knock off for the evening. Looking at the frames together to get an idea of what the final size will be was encouraging.

They match up well enough.

You can tell that the original sizes for rails have changed quite a bit because I had to remake them. I am wondering if that will affect the sides…

Some fettling may be required. Hm. I do have some room for that but not a huge amount. Also, I know it looks too tall and spindly but that’s because the horns (those bits marked X) haven’t been removed yet and won’t be till near the end (they strengthen the piece during construction).

Even after removing the horns on the legs, I’ll still have quite a bit of material to play with to get the overall proportions fettled.

Some of those joints are pretty decent – even the back shoulder gap is quite small if you don’t go overboard on the offset and you still get the tight face joint as a result.

However, if you do go a bit cack-handed…

Yeah, not so good. Structurally fine, but messy as a messy thing. Not entirely sure how to handle this. I might have to make a frame to go on top of the box itself to mask that off (and the lid would then hinge off that frame). Kindof like edge banding does for plywood. Not sure. I’ll see later.

First though, I have to finish the tenons tomorrow by doing the side rails.

And then there are a few more jobs…


  • Rip out lid frame parts
  • Groove lid frame parts
  • Cut lid frame M&T joints and drill for drawboring
  • Measure out lid panel size
  • Groove lid panel
  • Shape lid panel
  • Cut box tenons and drill M&T joints for drawboring
  • Groove bottom box rails for floorboards
  • Crosscut floorboards to width
  • Plane away inside corner on stiles
  • Cut edge floorboards to fit around stiles
  • Possibly build face frame for the top of the chest
  • Assembly
  • Hinges
  • Finishing



Still hobbling round the place today with the sartorious, so working from home (the joys of IT – you can work anywhere, meaning you can work when sick). Over lunch, I tottered to the shed and flattened the board I was going to pull the rails from, and shot a reference edge with the #08.

The stain’s from accidental contact with the ebonising potion from the table build, but it’s surface only so it’ll plane out. Out with the panel gauge and mark off 2-and-a-quarter inch laths (we want two-inch-ish wide rails when it’s all done and squared so I’m leaving room for cack-handedness).

Back to work at this point until around about fourish, at which point I get stuck waiting on system tests, or in XKCD terms,

So to the bandsaw (rather than the ryoba because time). Ripped all four parts, then out with a medium-set #05 and a fine-set #08 and a straight edge and a square and a marking gauge and we get reference faces and edges on all four of these and mark off the reference faces for thickness.

This doesn’t take long and I leave the four parts marked up for resawing on the bandsaw and head inside for dinner. The light was fading and it was gray overcast when I went into the shed, then I open the door and…

Sneachta! And someone’s not seen this before…

Later, after dinner, back out to the shed and onto the bandsaw, resaw the pieces down to thickness (we want about three-quarters of an inch so the gauge was set to seven eighths (the pieces are about nine eighths thick)) and then it was back to the #05 and #08 to get the bandsaw marks off and the faces clean, and then taking them to S4S which didn’t take very long.

Ready for joinery. That was all I wanted done in the shed today (pick small goals, you’ll feel better), so I opened the door to go back inside and again, more sneachta!

Doubt it’ll last though. Oh well. We have driving wind and freezing rain on the way to replace it apparently…

Starting again…

I figure, with six projects sitting in component form in the staging area of the shed, best get to work making even more components for a seventh project. Because Reasons.

Anyway, the first video I ever saw by Richard Maguire was about building a small wall cupboard (in a sort-of, kind-of, if-you-squint shaker style probably best described as “`English colloquial” 😀 ):

I’ve wanted to build this for a while. But I don’t have the ten feet of pre-planed three-quarter inch thick pine his plans call for. What I do have is a pair of boards of inch-and-a-quarter rough-sawn poplar, mostly free from green stains…

That should work. And sod feeling bad about doing the rough-cuts with a power circular saw. Do you see room in there for me to swing a full-size handsaw? Or have a sawbench? Besides, do you know how they did this back in the 17th century? Apprentices!!! (And there isn’t room for one in there either, even if you can find smaller rooms being rented for the price of a car a month on So.

Woodwork al fresco. Yes, the deck’s a mess. I’ll tidy after the solstice when there’s time.

Right, that’s the rough-cut chunks for the cupboard on the left, a chunk intended for another project (yes, that’s eight, I know, hush), and offcuts that will probably become bandsaw boxes or the like.

Now, time to figure out layout a bit better.

Design, meet wood. Wood, meet design. This is the humming and hawing stage when I try to think through the size in the design and how to break down the parts best, and whether stuff is getting thicknessed by scrub plane or resawn or whatever.

Resawing is a pain to do, thicknessing is only slightly better, but a lot of parts in this can be under three inches wide and those I can resaw with the bandsaw reasonably easily. I do have a frame saw on the way for wider stuff to see if it helps (lots of people say it does), but the thing’s in Cologne with no sign of moving for the last week. Sodding DHL.

Round one with the bandsaw. I’ve planed a reference edge with the #05 and #08 and marked off the far edge with the panel gauge after sharpening the pin a little with the diamond paddles. I’ll rip those on the bandsaw and get widths (there’s some damage on the edges – the boards must have been near the edge of the pack in the timber yard I guess).

And I’m trimming up the bandsaw blanks while I’m at it.

Right, that’s the edges sorted. Plus I get a few pieces to test finish on.

Then I start marking off various parts. By the time I’m done, I’ve used almost all my gauges (you don’t unset the gauge until you’re sure you’re done with that measurement; that ensures you’ll only have to reset the gauge for the one cut you’ve forgotten instead of five or six times).

And time for round two with the bandsaw (after lunch):

Right. Now I plane a reference edge and face on each part and mark the relevant parts for resawing or thicknessing. And then change my mind about thicknesses – I’ll leave the front of the cupboard three-quarters of an inch thick (which is a standardish sort of thickness for these things) rather than a half-inch. The back panel will still be a half-inch, and I’ll make the sides three-quarters and the top and bottom of the carcass and the shelf will be half-inch and so will the top and bottom cap pieces (so top and bottom overall will be an inch thick and the sides a quarter-inch less).

This is about the point where I discover that my favorite small proops brothers engineers square is… not. Square that is, it’s out by almost a full mm across its arm, I must have whacked it off something without noticing. I know I didn’t drop it. I don’t know if you can true one of these back up with the kit I have available. I may just need to buy a new one (for all of a tenner or so). In the meantime, I have another engineer’s square and the new Moore&Wright sliding square so that’s fine. Except that I had to reshoot a bunch of edges to get them back to square. And then marking them out for resawing.

And back to the bandsaw for round three…

Right. That’s the rails and stiles for the front door, the boards for the back, and the sides and top and bottom will have to be resawn by hand.

Just clamping and stickering them for now to let them dry overnight without too much warp.

Yeesh. Really do need to start joinery on something soon, if only to clear space. I only just finished tidying this up on Saturday…

Also finished up the bandsaw box. Two coats of garnet shellac on top of two coats of danish oil, and then some hardware, and then some felt for the base and the drawer gap. More photos tomorrow.

And then there was this idea from Paul Sellers:

And it looked simple enough that I could do it with Calum, so I prepped a piece of pine and this evening we drew lines on it, sawed it with a small ryoba rather than using the chisel Sellers used which would be a little dangerous for a five-year-old (or for me in close quarters with a small child holding a surgically sharp pointy lump of metal for that matter), and cleaned it up using “his” number #03 plane (because it has two places to hold that keep small fingers away from sharp edges). And then split it with a hammer and enough glee to convince me it’s a good thing we don’t have a cat.

Then break out the green spraypaint and masking tape and do the next bit outdoors 😀

Came back a bit later with spray-on snow and drilled a hanging hole…

Not bad for a five-year-old.

Post partum prepping

So, table delivered (yes, the recipient liked it). BTW, if you were wondering, it was a build-along to Richard Maguire’s video series:
In case you were thinking of buying that series, it’s well worth the money.

Today though (and yesterday) was all about cleaning down from the build (and carting away two rubbish bags full of shavings – not being able to burn wood here is a pain) and doing the dozen little jobs that needed doing like sharpening the wooden skew rebate plane I have here; going to use that in a build soon. And every plane had to get a light sanding with fine paper on the tops of the cheeks of their sides for surface rust (the -3C nights came with water vapour condensing on the cast iron) and then a fresh coat of wax. And other small jobs like that which had been backing up. I still have one more of those – building a japanese saw bench hook. I’m using a normal bench hook at the moment but for pull work, it can be a tad awkward because you have to hold the work to the fence. You can use a normal european bench hook if you hook it to the far side of the bench; but I think it’s a bit nicer if you attach the fence to the baseboard and drill through both and glue a dowel through both and down a few inches below the baseboard. The dowels then go in the bench dog holes and that’s your bench hook. Parts are set for that (I’m not sure I have enough dowel stock though) and I’ll get to it probably tomorrow.

The rest of my time has been spent on stock prep. Bit of resawing and flattening and ripping yesterday and prepping some blanks for bandsaw boxes. So walking into the shed today it all looks fine…

…and then you turn to the right to look at the staging area…

Ah. Right. So that’s four more side tables (or at least the raw material rough-cut for them) and then on top of that all the finishing jars and glues and screws and my plastic box of off-cuts. Those are only the bits I could use for things by the way (I’m resisting the packrat urge to keep every scrap of wood I cut off a larger piece on the grounds that There. Is. No. Room. In. Here), so resawn pieces that could be used to make small boxes or chunks that could become bandsaw blanks (not many of those left, I picked through the box on Friday to make up some blanks), or the cores from bandsaw boxes (which can get used for things like feet or drawer pulls or whatever).

Tucked behind the plastic box are the panel gauge and the dovetail alignment board, and on top of the box is where I stash all the component parts of builds in progress (and a lot of sandpaper at the moment because I haven’t found a place for it). So there’s five glued-up blanks, and the component parts for six other projects in the pre-joinery stage.

Blanks drying outside along with a bandsaw box that’s almost ready.

Two coats of danish oil in; going to do a coat or two of shellac yet and attach the hardware (it stands vertically and you use it to hang necklaces) and some felt in various spots. First box made using the new sander. It’s not that it makes it better so much as it makes it easier to do some things because you’re not worried that trying them will immediately remove a finger. More photos later.

And this is a quick test of a Paul Sellers idea for a project to do with the kids:

He made his using a razor-sharp chisel; I won’t be doing that with Calum 😀 The project works just fine with saw and bench plane 😀 With a bit of luck, that’ll keep him occupied for the guts of an hour and he can make one for his teacher.

And then I have two more projects to prep for, one in beech and one in poplar. This phase always seems to make me long for a powered planer thicknesser, can’t think why…

Can you tell what it is yet?

A day in the shed

So because I spent 2300 to 0400 on Friday night and 0900 to 1830 on Saturday working, I get a TOIL (Time Off In Lieu) day. Which I took today for reasons like waiting on The Plumber Who Never Showed Up. The plan was to spend all day in the shed. But since it hit -3C overnight, first things first.

Earl Gray, hot. With milk just to tick off the purists. And aren’t cast iron Japanese teapots nice? It’s the little things…

So with the shed at a balmy 3.5C, time to get to work, First, put the last coat of osmo on the tabletop and now I have to make some room and get the tabletop off the bench so I can get to it.

It’s not ideal, but needs must. And yes, I do need to clear away that rubbish in the wood bin, but this isn’t the countryside and neighbours wouldn’t take well to a small bonfire. Or for that matter, any fire involving wet MDF. I can’t blame them for that, I’d be miffed at needing a respirator in my own back yard as well. But I digress.

So the legs have been sanded down, given a last coat of the oak tea, let dry for five minutes so that right now the surface is damp to the touch but not actually wet. Time to apply the vinegar&iron solution…

That never gets old. It’s so dark it’s messing a bit with the camera’s auto-white-balance thingy, but it does that to the Mk1 eyeball too.

It’s a little… grubby looking close up. No worries. This is just the first stage, and I’m a bit oddball in that I like that pin-stripe-trousers thing the grain’s doing there. Dunno why, it just looks nice to me. However; now we give it about ten minutes to keep reacting (those were taken about 4-5 minutes in).

And after that time, we paint it in more oak tea, let it dry for five minutes, then more vinegar and iron solution, dry for five minutes, and then a last coat of the oak tea. At this point, it’s about as dark as it’s going to get in the time I have available (it will continue to react for the next 10-12 hours anyway and get darker as it does).

Wake up, time to dry.

They’ll go a kind of dusty purple in the next hour or three; that’s expected.

And now I have some time and a shed with a free bench….

I have an idea here. Trust me.

…or maybe not. I gave up on this idea here; I’ll come back to it over the holidays, but I can’t get it done today and I’ll just mess up the other things I’m working on. I guess recognising this kind of thing and giving up early is a good skill, but it still irks me.

Anyway, I do have something else on my to-do list for today:

Ug. Machines. And they’re ganging up on me now. Yes, it’s bandsaw box time. First though, I have a plan for that bandsaw…

Remember these? Going to fit the smaller ones.

Remove the older, larger thrust bearing.

Gunky! Now replace with the new smaller bearing.

The washer makes it look off-center, but it’s fine. The whole lego-part thing is great with these. Now for the lower thrust bearing, which is more awkward because of course it is. It’s not like being underneath the table would make it awkward enough, you also have to remove the entire assembly to replace the bearing.

Why is the lower post adjustable when you can’t reach it but the upper one isn’t? Le sigh.

Well. That explains a few noises. So much for sealed bearings.

And done. Modified thrust bearings, replacement teflon blade guides. And why go to all this effort? Three-eighths inch blades. Stronger than the normal quarter-inch blade, so you get better straight cuts on long rips (the main reason for having this bandsaw in the first place). But you can’t install them on this bandsaw properly with the normal thrust bearing – the normal bearing shoves the blade forward if you put the teeth gullets in the middle of the bandsaw wheel like you’re supposed to:

Put the leading edge of the bandsaw on the crown of the wheel like that and it has the most tension and thus is the most resistant to buckling when you shove wood into it; but you don’t want the thrust bearing rubbing on the back of the blade when you’re set up like this or the blade will behave oddly. With the new bearings, there’s just enough clearance (maybe 0.2mm but that’s sufficient).

And yes indeed, it does now cut much better than before with this blade, tracking straight down the pencil line instead of doing a drunken walk from one side of the line to the other and leaving you jockeying around the piece to try to minimise the amount of planing you’ll need to get it set afterwards.

And so, on with installing my redneck fence and starting into the bandsaw box by cutting off the back.

BTW, sanding with the triton sander is waaaaay less scary than sanding with a belt sander under a holdfast on the bench, so +1 for that, but they are out and out liars of the most bare-arsed kind when it comes to noise level ratings. If I turn this thing on and shove my fingers into the spinning belt, sanding off all my fingernails, nobody outside the shed would know because they’d never hear me over the noise of the sander. Hrmph.

Still, works. Going for a vertical format box here.

Glue-up tonight, more sanding tomorrow, some oil and a coat of shellac and done.

One box, all the clamps. How many clamps should I bring to the glueup?

And I’ll leave it there. I’ll try to get another coat of osmo on the legs tomorrow morning before work and another in the evening and if I can, that should be the table complete. I’ll assemble it, take a few photos, and then pass it on to its intended recipient.

Honestly, I’m not screwing around with the photo here, it actually is black enough that it’s confusing the camera’s not-so-clever white-balancing.

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