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 🙂

(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 😀

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…

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 😀

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… 😀

Ending, restocking, brexit and black friday

Looooong day. I had a callout over the weekend at midnight on Saturday so I had a few hours off in lieu that I took this morning to go to the timber yard. One of the next projects coming up could use some 8/4 oak so my shopping list was a 6-8″ board of 8/4 oak between 8′ and 12′, an 8-9″ board of 4/4 oak around the 12′ mark, and possibly the same two boards again in walnut. And I thought I’d take a look at the beech and get a small board of that to try working in it.

You know how plans rarely survive contact with reality?

So, Brexit. And now any timberyard here in Ireland has a choice – either get hardwoods direct from the continent via ship which is more expensive than road haulage; or buy it from the continent and drive it back home through the UK with all the customs hassle on both coasts which is expensive; or do what they’ve done till now and buy smaller quantities from UK timberyards and ship it back on the ferry to here, but now paying higher prices because the pound has collapsed, and next year, paying higher prices again because the UK is having to pay customs duties of 20% or more on their imports from the EU (because the UK does not grow enough timber for itself and hasn’t since the 18th century), and then paying higher prices again because of customs duties re-importing that timber back here.

The shorter version of that is, Because Brexit, hardwood now costs 150% or so of what it cost this time last year. Except maybe for that german beech, which I think was roughly the same.

(Oh, and forget about looking to the US, they’ve finished one round of 20% tarrifs on canadian softwood and the entire softwood and hardwood market rising to match that, and they’re now looking at another 20% round Real Soon Now).

So, 8/4 oak board? No worries, Paul had an 8′ board from the end of a pack. Grand for me, no knots, no damage, slight cup but the parts I’ll be making are 1′ or shorter so that’s no worry. But it’s €60/cb.ft. The 4/4 oak is around €45/cb.ft, up from €30. The 4/4 walnut is closing on €90/cb.ft and the 8/4 walnut… well, the one board I’d picked out (8/4 6″x10′) was €140. Alas, it remains in the warehouse 😀

The beech on the other hand, was beautiful stuff, I had the first pick from a freshly opened pack and it had lovely clear grain, so I wound up buying two cubic feet in four boards, way more than I intended to but it was just so damn nice looking and so cheap compared to the rest (at around €24/cb.ft) that I thought it would have been a mistake to leave it behind.

A few minutes with the circular saw to break it down enough to fit in both my car and the shed, and then it was time to test the new car’s timber carrying capacity (the old car gave up the ghost earlier this year and we had to change).

Huzzah! It took all of three minutes to pull those seats last night (they’re built to lift right out, it’s quite neat and tidy) and once loaded I could close the boot and drive home without any fuss. Score one for the Yeti.

Once I got it home, I had to clean up the shed slightly – the floor had about 3″ of shavings and crud built up on it because of the rush on the boxes, so that had to go and the timber store had to be quickly shuffled to make some room, and then it was the haul-it-through-the-house routine:

Nice piece of 8/4 oak there.

And there’s that lovely beech’s grain and the other half of the 8/4 oak board. But all of that has to go in here somehow:

There was considerable shuffling 😀 But…

Done! 😀 Just don’t ask me to get anything out of there in less than half an hour…

And cleaned down and ready for the next project (or more accurately to go back to the one I was in the middle of when I stopped to do the boxes).

Speaking of the boxes…

The oak was a disaster:

Just tore themselves apart along the glue lines after the ebonising (and the ebonising didn’t go well, I think some of the tannic acid got into the iron solution and nullified it, I’ll have to make some more). So those got ditched. But the rest were okay.

Dropped those off at the school in the afternoon for the bazaar and they hadn’t a clue what to do with them so they’re lumped in with the bric-a-brac. Oh well, might get them a bit more notice next year. This year though, someone’s getting handmade boxes rather cheaply 😀

It’ll be interesting to see if they actually do sell, if they do I might make a piece explicitly to sell next year, just to see if it would.

 

Oh, and today’s Black Friday, so I bought a sander 😀

(along with a few belts and spindles for medium and fine grades to go with the coarse set it comes with). I know it *looks* like a fancy version of a belt sander turned on its side, but it’s a bit better than that. For a start, better dust collection and about 26dBA quieter 😀 Plus, you can swap out the belt for a spindle to do curved surfaces:

And of course, it has built-in storage all over the place which is nice (but doubtless not enough if you have more than one grade of sandpaper). So I’ll build a plywood platform for it and a 2×4 framework to let me store it below the bandsaw. Getting cramped in the shed now though…

And Rutlands were also doing a sale so I got some more titebond (I’m down to my last bottle), a spare silicone glue brush set (because I’m always waiting for the two brushes I have to finish drying before I can use them again), and some other small doodads and gimmicks like plastic razor blades. But hey, if amateurs don’t buy this stuff, who will? 😀

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