19
Nov 17

Masochism…

…is deciding to make a batch of bandsaw boxes for your son’s school’s xmas bazaar thingy, while in a shed that’s too small, with a bandsaw that’s not really up to the task, and a sanding arrangement that… well, more on that in a moment.

I mean, I don’t even keep anything other than 4/4 material on hand, thicknessing anything else down to the normal 3/4 width you see in furniture is just too much work by hand (though I do need to get some 8/4 stuff soon for a piece’s legs). So it’s lamination city…

Something is missing….

Ah, there they are. Literally every clamp I have (bar the 5′ cast iron ones that are slowly rusting away outside, accusingly. I’ll get to them this xmas and sort them out, honest).

I even ran out of space to put clamped pieces. Yikes. And then overnight curing, and in the meantime it was off to the sister’s for a not-a-toddler-any-more’s birthday party, and I took along the oak test piece to give away as well, after having given it another coat of poly, a light sanding, a coat of renaissance wax and a buff, and a felt base:

It didn’t turn out too bad in the end, so I’ll make three more for the batch of boxes.

Sunday morning started with planning the boxes, starting with trimming cuts (on the 3/8ths blade) and then on to the curved cuts on the 1/8ths blade:

Errands interrupted for a while (but let me restock on 240grit sandpaper and danish oil) and then it was two straight hours on the bandsaw. My spine felt like I’d cut it into funny shapes by the end. But…

15 on the bench with all the cuts done (though some need some heavy shaping sanding and one needs shaping by hand). Excuse the blue tape, it’s just keeping all the pieces for each box together because it’s a pain to mix them up…

The oak ones are a pain to tape together 😀

Mind you, they were a lot more of a faff to glue together…

And I ran out of clamps before I ran out of work 🙁

Tomorrow will see more sanding, some shaping, more gluing, hand sanding and then on to finishing. The oak gets ebonised, the ash gets blonde shellac, the poplar will get milk paint, and I have no idea what the sapele will get. Danish oil maybe. And then probably a spray coat of poly over everything just for hard-wearing-ness.

About that sanding…

This will do its absolute damnedest to remove your fingers and/or burn your bench. It’s a pain to use. But it’s the only thing I have that will do the job… for now. The Black Friday Sales approach and soon, there will be an addition to the stable…

Because I’m sick of a piece embedding itself into the wall of the shed and having to go search for it after a quick count of my fingers.

On the hand tool front, I finally got to test my new scratch stock…

It’s very comfortable to use and I’ll definitely be using it to put a few details into an upcoming project.

But for the immediate future… it’s all power tools and sand and dust and unpleasantness.

/sigh


12
Nov 17

Open box

The ash bandsaw box is still being finished and this one hasn’t even started the finishing process (I’m going to try ebonising the outside using Richard Maguire’s method and painting the inside with milk paint), but I thought it looked reasonable for a second try:

Finish, fill with jelly beans, give as gift. Sorted.


11
Nov 17

Guides and tests

Well, made a dog’s breakfast of the bandsaw boxes I was playing at. Couldn’t make the turn needed and the blade came out the side of the blank. Oh well. Now I have two paperweights (and one successful box, out of four blanks). I’ve ordered a one-eighth inch blade off Tuffsaws, that should get here next week and I can try again. I’ll prep new blanks tomorrow for that.

Bit of a waste, those 🙁

Meanwhile the older replacement y-lever for the #5½ arrived and I replaced the existing y-lever with it and it’s been a lot nicer to work with since. And no surprise. This is what the more modern y-lever looks like, two pressed steel parts riveted together:

Unfortunately, the rivet on mine isn’t as tight as it should be and even glue didn’t stop the inevitable end result (and if you’re thinking this would interfere with setting the plane you’d be right):

Meanwhile, back on the main project…

The bridle joints involved are a bit of an oddity; nobody really cuts them often enough to get good at them, at least not off the saw, so these are Richard McGuire’s basic jigs for helping to cut them (and the test sticks in the backgrounds, just a spare bit of poplar that I’m using up).

Four cuts, four jigs and the japanese saw reappears.

Okay, doesn’t look too awful…

Ah. Right. Hm. Odd. No gaps but also torqued right the way over. So check the guides again and yup, the shoulder of the cut was just not tidy enough so out with the chisel and a bit of tweaking and another test joint gets cut…

Ah. Bother. Okay, one guide still needs a wee bit of tweaking and we cut another test joint…

and…

Right. That’ll do I think.

Next step, a 12 degree guide and then on to cut the actual leg&apron joints.

 


03
Nov 17

Flattening and boxes

So, started off flattening the apron. This went pretty well after I switched over to the #5 and sharpened it up a bit. The narrower blade means less pushing effort and that seemed to help a lot. And then it was time to thickness down from an inch to 3/4 of an inch.

This is not my favourite activity. And honestly, if they made an induction motor benchtop thicknesser I’d have bought one already, but unfortunately they’re all universal motor things — and lunchbox thicknessers, even if you fit them with helical blades and all the fancy doo-dads, are just too damn noisy to run in a housing estate. You’ll wind up triggering a torch-and-pitchfork party of your very own if you do that round here once too often. So until I have a larger shed and room for a larger, possibly older, floorstanding planer/thicknesser, I have to do this part by hand. At least Sid makes the task easier with his ridiculous level of camber…

Anyway, the board was a manageable size, so push hard and on we go. And switching over to the #5 for the last mm or so to arrive in a controlled manner and…

Flat and at thickness. I gauged out for the two aprons and set it aside and ripped down the middle a little later on with the bandsaw (using the new tuffsaws blade – makes a rather surprising difference, those things, much cleaner cut and less drift).

Then on to mucking about…

So the glue-up was messy and there are steps all over, but apparently that’s to be expected. Next step, sand the badgers off everything with my handy dandy disk sander. Which I don’t have one of. Bugger. Well…

Sod it, I started this thing on a bandsaw, might as well keep up the machine operator vibe…

Didn’t want to keep all of your fingers, did you?

Hm. Not terrible for a first try. Slap some shellac on it…

And some felt for the inside lining and call it done:

Well, not absolutely awful. Okay, so it is if you look close – there’s no room in there, the edges aren’t parallel, the drawer’s a bit gappy, and so on. But it was fun to try it and I have some ideas for a nicer one. Need more practice though, I keep getting lost in the sequence of cuts on these things. Well, in that vein…

This one might be interesting, I used the new tuffsaws fine-tooth blade. Much smoother cut, but I don’t think the bandsaw will ever be a precision tool. Hell of a lot friendlier to the nose when you plug it into the dust collection though…


02
Nov 17

Progress and mucking about

So I figured I’d start by playing with the new toy and taking some test cuts.

The blade runs sort-of true. Well, I wasn’t expecting laser levels of perfection here, but the guides really are letting things down. The lower thrust bearing can’t be backed off readily to adjust it so it’s not poking the blade out of true, which is disappointing. And I really can’t run this thing without dust extraction or the whole lower case clogs up and the bearing itself locks up. Well, I knew machinery would counter its speed by increasing the amount of faffing about needed to support it. This is why you usually mount this stuff permanently where you have room to manoeuvre around it. But again, 8’x6′ shed, no room to think, let alone manoeuvre, so we need to make do.

It can’t cut very tight corners, a 2cm radius seems about the most it’s comfortable with. But that could still work. I was playing about making a bandsaw box. They’re not too terrible to do.

Gluing up for these boxes is a bit of a faff mind you.

Well, quite a lot of a faff depending on how badly you design the sodding things. Oh well.

And the three blades I ordered from tuffsaws arrived.

One for very rough work or even small resawing work (but really, you’re talking about resawing stuff that’s at most 70-80mm wide so I’m guessing that’s going to be underused). One slightly more sturdy blade than the one that came with the bandsaw to use for general-purpose stuff, and a very fine-toothed narrow blade to do curving work.

Tuffsaws do have a one-eighth inch blade as well, might try that if the quarter-inch one doesn’t do the job.

Then I carried on with the new project, laying out the rough rips for legs and aprons:

Finally getting to use my new panel gauge in anger. Works quite well for rough layout, but I need to sharpen that pin, it’s not the finest gauge line in the world.

Then I used the new toy to make the rough cuts.

Definitely not up to finished work levels of cleanness, but it cut through inch-thick oak like it was foam, so it saves a bit of work (though the faffing about setting up and cleaning down after using the bandsaw is just a pain in the fundament so handsaws definitely aren’t out of a job yet). I’ll flatten these tomorrow and thickness them, then rip out the individual legs and aprons (there’s two in each board).


01
Nov 17

Interloper

So it’s pretty obvious that all my woodworking stuff is done with hand tools, right?

It’s not because of an ideology, it’s because 8’x6′ sheds don’t give you a lot of room for power tools or machinery. I do find the power tools really obnoxiously loud, but that’s a secondary point and it’s mainly because the cheap modern power tools tend to use lightweight construction and universal motors in order to hit a price point and so make a lot of high-pitched noise — older stuff with induction motors and a lot of cast iron are a lot less screechy (you definitely do need hearing protection anyway, but for the neighbours it’s a significant qualitative difference).

And for some things – joinery, shaping, finishing and so on – it’s more of a challenge to use hand tools and so more satisfying to do. But there are some tasks that just don’t have that challenge. I should say for the non-woodworkers here that the whole “what really counts as hand tool woodworking?” question is a long-running one. My answer is that if it’s a task that in the 18th century was handed off to apprentices to go do unsupervised, well, handing it off to a machine isn’t really showing a lack of ability, just a lack of time.

All of which prevarication is a run-up to saying I’ve bought a new power tool for the first time in a long while.

Well, what else is a husband supposed to do on a day off while the wife is off visiting her sister? Exactly, bandsaws.

This is one of those rebadged clones of the Record Power BS9, there are a few dozen manufacturers selling them – Craftsman have the BAS230, Ryobi have the BS903, Scheppach the HBS20, Einhell the TC-SB200, Charnwood the W711, Titan does the TTB705BDS and Aldi sell a WorkZone variant as well. The Aldi one was the one that caught my eye initially as it seemed it would fit in the shed based on Peter Millard’s video about using it in the shop; and he also pointed out that for the money and the size (and within its design parameter), it was a nice little design that was worth having around:

So I was waiting for the Aldi version to show up again, but that didn’t look like it was happening this year so I trotted off to Screwfix to order the Titan (ordering or buying off the shelf in any Dublin shop would have doubled the pricetag).

The nice delivery man showed up this morning with the box so off I trotted to the shed with and unpacked it.

Then, a quick check of the alignment of the blade — see the quick setup guide by Alex Snodgrass here:

I was pleasantly surprised by the guides in the Titan; rather than the thrust bearing’s face being the point of contact with the blade, it’s the bearing’s edge that makes contact. That’s a better solution but slightly more expensive to make. One of the myriad small differences between the variants of this design I suppose, along with nice touches like the little window to check blade tracking without opening the case:

There are less fun bits – the screw latches of the case aren’t captive nuts opened by a single half-twist, but full-on ten-turns-to-latch bolts. And the bottom door isn’t fully closed at the top when the bolt is fully seated. But the blade seems to run quite true and the supplied blade is quite clean-cutting. I do have three others coming from Tuffsaws – a fine quarter-inch blade for curves, a three-eights inch blade for general work and a half-inch blade for heavier work, though “heavier work” here is quite relative – this is never going to resaw anything wider than 70mm.

I didn’t abandon the hand tools when building the base at least 😀 The base gets holdfast-ed down to the bench for work.

Of course, it can’t live on the bench, the only place for it is down on the floor (with the blade guide dropped right down to protect the blade of course). Just … right… down… there.

Ah. Right. I have been putting off the tidy up and clamp storage job for a while, haven’t I? Oh well.

One afternoon later…

Clear floor space and as to the clamps…

Much tidier. So from now on, the bandsaw lives here:

So this should help with some rough work, and I wouldn’t mind trying to make a bandsaw box or two. I have a bunch of tiny scraps of walnut left over from the cot that I have been trying to find a use for.

The glue should be dry by tomorrow, and then I can give it a go…


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