10
Dec 17

Standing upright

Last few days have been the first really cold ones of the year. -2C to -3C in the shed. And work was… somewhat excessive in the last few days so tonight was the first time in the shed in a few days and a to-do list was waiting. So…

Ran a slightly larger drillbit through the aprons to give some flex room for the bolts, and flattened the top of the aprons (I also spent a half-hour before this with the scrub plane and #5 flattening the underneath of the tabletop and hand-cutting the panel to width to trim out the worst of the bandsaw wobble).

The stainless steel inserts arrived on Thursday in the post, thankfully. Seems everyone makes these in zinc-plated steel, but actual stainless is a bit hard to find.

Bit of faffing about getting the legs centered on the tabletop, then putting in the drill bit and thwacking it to mark the drilling point with the drill bit (it’s a brad boint bit).

And now it’s time to drill the holes for the inserts. Look closely enough and you can see the marked point.

El cheapo drill bit depth stop so I don’t drill through the table. I have a fancy one for auger bits, but for drill bits, it’s blue tape time. What could possibly go wrong?

Oh. Right. Well, at least I noticed the shavings were shoving the tape backwards before I chased it right through the table.

Who says calipers aren’t good for woodworking? Check length of insert with calipers, get automatic depth gauge setting on the other, stabby end of the calipers. So I drilled the rest of the insert holes, stopping to poke the stabby bit in the hole until I had my depth.

Then it was time to realise that Richard Maguire had gotten inserts that you put a hex key directly into in order to drive home, but these sodding things need a bolt put into them and you drive them home with that. And since they’re going into a blind hole, the bolt has to be shorter than the insert. I managed to find some short M6 bolts (they came with the Triton sander as the bolts to bolt it down to the table with but I had my own), but they were too long. So. Time to break out my metalworking setup 😀

This is my metalworking setup. It’s a Record Imp, which I got back in February. It’s a nice lightweight metalworking vice designed to be clamped to a bench by people who didn’t need a full-size machinist’s vice. And it has nice features – you can bend pipe with it, you have a small anvil at the back and a striking surface (that small round thing just behind the jaws) and so on. Plus, it’s old – it’s a later model so this wasn’t made in the 1930s but it would have been somewhere between the 1960s and early 1980s, before Record went downhill. This is a small vice, but it is not a toy vice. I’ve screwed and clamped it down to a scrap piece of inch-thick oak, which then gets holdfasted to the bench.

So I clamp the bolt in the vice, mark off the length I want, remove the insert from the bolt, then fire up the dremel with a cutting disk (it’s a 6mm bolt lads, if I fired up the angle grinder it’d be like firing a sandblaster at sponge cake) and nip it off.

And now, just because we can, out comes the file and the tap-and-die set…

File off the sharp bits left by the dremel, recut the start of the thread after the file’s mangled it. Then thread the bolt into the insert and get out the socket driver.

Now, pick up that 14mm long insert, in a shed where it’s around 6-7C, slip with your fingers and drop it down behind the bench into the sawdust and shavings.

Swear profusely.

Get out the magnetic-head telescopic torch thing…

Right. Enough faffing. Paste wax to the threads and drive it on home.

Nice. Now we just do that with the other three…

Why is it spinning so easily on insert #2?

Ah, shite.

Apparently my bolts are made of particularly firm cheddar.

Mole grips to unscrew the insert, pointy thing to screw the bit of the bolt still stuck in there out the back of the insert (glad I didn’t get the blind inserts now).

Okay. Prep another bolt. Repeat all the steps above. Keep going, but be more careful this time.

Shite! At least I felt it go this time and stopped fast enough to be able to unscrew it in one part. Prep another bolt…

Felt this one going before it snapped. Definitely cheddar.

At least all four are in now. I might come back if I can find a non-cheese bolt and drive them below the surface later. For tonight, that’ll do.

Bolts in, and they fit (they’re a bit less than drop-in, but wood moves, blah, blah, blah, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.

That’s a pleasant sight 🙂

Out with the MDF board at this point for a flat surface and check the rock – the front left leg there is about a millimetre out. Plus the feet are all at 12 degrees to the ground because geometry, so I mark off a flat on each leg, disassemble the table and even the legs up. And I leave it there for the evening. I’ve been up since… well, I was in work till around 0400 this morning after getting called around 2330 on friday, and I was back at work just before 0900 until 1730. On-call sucks sometimes. Oh well. There are worse complaints.

I have to shape the feet and thin the table edge and do the final smoothing of the tabletop and legs (cabinet scraper time!), all of which are finesse tasks so I’ll leave them for tomorrow, and I can be starting the finishing by tomorrow evening which is a good timetable for this.

Oh, and I also have a custom scratch stock profile to file. I’d rather do this with a hollow plane, but I don’t have hollows and rounds and I know (a) how much a set costs and (b) how much space one takes up 😀 So that’s not happening for a while. Hell, that was why I got the #050C combo plane, but alas I didn’t get the special doo-dads to let it act as a hollow or round 🙁  I’ve got an eye open, but the problem with the combiplanes is that they came with a lot of bits and doodads, and that was in 1930. You can’t keep both socks together for more than six months before you’re suddenly looking at lefty pining for righty who is has returned to the fjords; what odds that someone will have all 53 pieces from the original combiplane box that they bought in 1933?

So obviously, I just need to get a set of hollows and rounds.

looks up prices

passes out

Holy crap. I could buy two cars (second-hand) for the price of a set. Sod that. I wouldn’t have the room to put them anywhere anyway and the larger ones are all for things I don’t have the physical space in the shed to build.

But on ebay, unmatched planes (“harlequins” apparently, in a rare example of nice naming) are way less expensive – you can pick them up for a pound apiece in some cases. So I’ll probably wind up buying one or six hollows/rounds/beading wooden planes over the next year. You don’t need all that many for the kind of stuff I do. I might start with one that matches the profile above, which is drawn to match one of my gouges to do some decorative carving work.

I guess I’ll just have to try my “build something and sell it to pay for the wood” plan this year to let me do that 😀

 


09
Sep 17

French cleats and bench grinders

So I’ve said once or twelve times that I needed to do something about this stuff in the shed:

The little air compressor proved useless for shellac and stuff so it’s moved indoors to the lab for future mucking about with airfix models with junior and the like. The dremel, well, that’s handy for stuff so it still lives there, but the grinder was just a pain in the fundament. It’s on an MDF base with a small cleat on the bottom for the Black&Decker Workmate to grab onto (or the vice on the bench these days). So I finally got round to fixing that up and getting it out from underfoot.

Smaller base, cleat at the front end to act like a bench hook and a holdfast at the back keeps it nice and stable (the base tends to cup a bit, I don’t think it’ll last forever). Pulled the stone on one side (the finer grit stone because if I need that grit, I just use sandpaper for the scary sharp method or I use the diamond stones – I’ve never used that fine grinder stone since I got it) and put a wire wheel on there to help clean up rust off some older tools. The wire wheel wouldn’t fit in the guard, so I lost it.

If that cleat looks familiar, it’s because you’ve watched woodworking videos on youtube in the last decade. It’s a french cleat with a matching cleat on the wall.

So now it’s out from underfoot and positioned perfectly to remove an eyeball as you enter the shed. Who really needs to look to the left though?


06
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.

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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).

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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).

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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 😀

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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).

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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….


30
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:

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being under my feet to this:

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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…

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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):

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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…

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(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.

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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:

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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…


20
Sep 16

Veritas

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So. I was kindof impressed with the veritas end vice for surviving the wallop the way it did. I mean, “Must survive having 500lb of bench and idiot dropped on the handle by the idiot” can’t have been on the design specs after all, and yet it managed it. So I wrote off to Veritas just to say nicely done lads, that’s a nice bit of kit. Because that sort of thing ought to happen to engineers a bit more often.

Hi Mark,

Ouch! We hope you are OK? Definitely a good test for the vise!!

Please let us have your full postal address and we will be very happy to send a replacement main shaft and handle at no charge. It will be our contribution to  finishing off your bench as intended and having everything working and looking good. The shaft should be an easy switch by removing the spring pin in the handle and the two screws holding the end cap in place.

Regards,

 

They’re posting – unasked for and free of charge – a replacement screw shaft for the vice, so it’d look its best.

I mean, I know, cheap marketing and so on, but still. Deserves a bit of a thumbs-up I thought. Can’t see Bosch doing that because I dropped a drill and the casing survived the impact. And it’s kindof — not to be too much of a leftie pinko commie hippie about it — but it’s kindof nice when a manufacturer does that sort of thing, especially these days.

So there it is. A nice little postscript to the build.


18
Sep 16

Finished!

Forecast says dry till the afternoon, the TDL is short and Herself and Junior are off for a skite in the big schmoke, so time for the last push… Continue reading “Finished!” »


17
Sep 16

Almost there…

Nice dry day today, and only had to work for an hour, so it’s benchtime again!

You might have noticed that the benchtop’s lamination didn’t go as smoothly as it could have and the surface was a tad irregular as a result:

And indeed, you’d be right. I was not expecting a fun time flattening that out. And I was not wrong. Continue reading “Almost there…” »


13
Sep 16

Off the horses

Rather high winds over the last day or so, so I pulled off the tarp and clamps today.

No leaks in the tarp, glue seems to be gluing. Cool. Continue reading “Off the horses” »


11
Sep 16

Fit vice, glue aprons

Not quite a sunny day, but at least bright and reasonably dry. So got started after breakfast and flipped the bench back up onto the sawhorses. Holy pineapple but that thing’s getting heavy. Took the flush-cut saw to the pegs and a few of the more excessive tenon ends.

I do like the look of drawbored tenons. I’m not as fond of the surface after my flush-cut saw proved its manufacturers didn’t quite understand the concept of a flush-cut saw…

Time to mount the vice now. Continue reading “Fit vice, glue aprons” »


10
Sep 16

Drawboring, vice holes and stress testing

Right. Sunny morning, most of the last few days torrential rain dried up by the time breakfast was done, so out with the bench parts from the shed and onto the sawhorses and away we go. First thing to do is the finish making drawbore pegs, and then on we go with finally putting this thing together.

Hm. Help required here… Continue reading “Drawboring, vice holes and stress testing” »


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