Mar 20

World’s Fastest Shop Tour

I mean, it’s a shed tour to me, but…

Been meaning to do this for a while. All those shop tours on Youtube, taking an hour to walk round a palacial shop with enough room to store between four and forty of my little shed and still get work done…. meh. I can do that in under two minutes 😀
And since we’re all locked down in Ireland thanks to COVID19 right now…

Nov 19


After every long project, the shed is usually a mess – stuff I can’t reach around the piece of work physically to grab and put back in its place, finishing supplies out of their usual storage boxes, sawdust and shavings everywhere, and so on. Stuff you’ll get to when you have a minute. So today was cleandown day after the desk. On with the kneepads, pop out the collapsable garden waste bin (useful little thing that) and I wheeled the bandsaw and sander outside to give room to get all the detritus out, stuff that had built up over the last year or so, including behind and under the workbench and in between the stored wood planks. Long projects are the worst for this sort of thing.

Two hours in, I came to a decision to go through all the scraps and offcuts and get merciless. Anything that was being held onto for bandsaw box material or cutting board material got a careful looking over and if it warped, if it wasn’t large enough realistically, if there was any wane, it all went in the bin. Which is doubly painful for me because thanks to our local government rules, you can’t burn wood in a fire pit outdoors, and we don’t have a woodburning stove indoors, and the local recycling center will take wood but it has a minimum charge for a full carload and one binbag of offcuts costs as much to recycle as a full van stacked floor to ceiling until its suspension cracks. The local bin collection company, Panda, will not accept shavings or sawdust or solid wood in the compost bin or the recycling bin, all of which taken together means that I can pay 80 quid for a cubic foot of walnut, then pay another tenner or so to dispose of the sawdust, shavings and offcuts after the project is done.

This is not an environmentally sound set of policies.

Anyway, after clearing out as much detritus as I could, I started to reorganise things. Small offcuts go in a largish storage box, I returned the paints I’d borrowed as resin dyes to the arts&crafts box for junior, and finally hung my panel gauge and grasshopper gauge up on the wall to try to dissuade myself from letting stuff build up there again.

There are about four small shed jobs lying on top of there already though, an unfinished bandsaw box, a new-to-me saw vice that needs a mounting solution so I can try to finally sharpen and get to grips with my western saws (before I finally call it quits and get a new veritas saw or something), my new-to-me moving fillister plane that needs a better mounting place, and I really need to replace the hasp on the door with that new one. I did at least manage to hang up the heat gun (I know, I know, it has a plug, but do you know how they heated stuff in the 17th century? They set it on fire. That won’t fly here 😀 )

I can actually see the floorboards. I mean, there’s still a mess of finishing stuff round the end of the table, but I could actually stand there. Luxury!

And on the other side, I rearranged all the larger boards I have left, and the smaller ones, leaving stuff I know I’ll want to get to soon towards the front, and generally tidied stuff up.

I think I want to take the dust collection vac and dust deputy solution I have there and build a proper cart for it. It’s all kindof piled up in the corner (along with that box of finishing stuff) and that’s just so damn messy. A cart might actually save me a few inches of room.

And those few inches are pretty critical. If I rebuild the cart for the bandsaw using something other than the 2x4s I knocked this one up out of, I might regain just enough space that using the vice is no longer very awkward…

Even getting those storage boxes out from under the vice is a pain because of two inches of protrusion by the cart. Make it over, make it a bit tighter, might get that space back.

Of course, first I want to finish the tidying up…

…and then there are just a few projects to dive into, like hooking the thicknesser up to the dust collection…

…and I have a few projects in mind after that as well…
…so yeah, I might get to the cart sometime next year. Or after that. Such is the way these things go 🙁

Aug 18

Milling time

So, been sick. Children, they’re basically walking petri dishes that deposit germs on you. Anyway, back to it today. And nothing fancy, nothing terribly skillful, just milling timber to rough thickness.

Retrieved the mitre saw stand I bought from lidl a few weeks ago out of the attic, set it up, and mounted the Dewalt to it, spent a while faffing about with the mounting screws discovering that I’d fastened it down using the screws that are for adjusting the infeed and outfeed tables that are built into the thicknesser and had to re-mount it (turns out the thing won’t mount to the lidl stand quite perfectly because it’s too wide, but it’s stable enough to work).

I was going to mill up the two sides as well as the two remaining shelves, and the sides are just too long to do this in the shed, so I waited for a Saturday afternoon and did it all on the little decking area outside the shed. Which, noise-wise is a bit obnoxious, but this is a one-off (normally milling only happens for a short period at the start of the project, and on top of that, normally I’d mill up in a soundproofed shed so it’s as noisy to the neighbours as someone mowing a lawn, but with an annoyingly higher pitch). Anyway, the plan is to not do this in an evening and to try to time it all for Saturday afternoons if needed, and mainly not to need it by not picking projects which are physically too big to fit in the shed readily.

That needs to be a bit more of a cast-iron rule really.

On top of which, while I love what that machine can do and having that capability now, I don’t much like actually using it…

Anyway. Rigged the machine, faffed about with setup, then took the boards (which I’d checked were flat on one side and had flattened by hand if they weren’t) and ran them through the thicknesser taking off a mm or so at a time until I was down to an inch for the sides and just under for the shelves (it’s kid’s furniture, I’m aiming less towards elegance and more towards brick shithouse). It took under 30 minutes to do all four boards from inch-and-a-quarter down to planed, flat inch thick boards. Previously, that would have been most of a week’s evenings doing donkey work that was boring and sweaty and which tore up my hands.

Like I said, I don’t like using the machine, but I love what it does. Now I get to do fun stuff for the rest of the time, like shaping and joinery and finishing work and inlay and so on.

Now they’re not perfect. This is rough thicknessing only, I’m not good enough with the machine to do anything else yet and don’t plan to be for some time. But those shelves are grand and so is one side – the other has a little twist in it that I need to correct still, annoyingly. And the other has what must have been a bark incursion or something that I’ll have to arrange to be in the part that gets cut away when shaping the curves:

But I can do all that by hand readily enough. At most, a cut or two with the bandsaw. And of course some router work for the sliding dovetails. But nothing as obscenely loud as the thicknesser.

The amount of cleanup that machine generates is something else by the way. Wow. I mean, setup took a good half-hour, and tear-down took fifteen minutes, but cleaning took all that again, and even after that…

Still messy and needing a proper clean. Might do that tomorrow so I can start into the fun stuff without wading through shavings.

In other news, Boss Lady got her locker and loved it, especially the colour.

And promptly gave me another commission, this time for building a pair of bunk beds for the same dolls that will be using the locker. I do have to get Calum’s desk finished first, but there’s the next project lined up I guess 😀

Actually, little projects like that can be a bit fun and a nice way to practice things like inlays or kumiko or making shoji (no idea how that’d get worked into bunk beds, but you know what I mean).

And lidl had a nice sale of F-clamps, so I filled out the third rail:

And then to top it all off, I finally bit the bullet and bought myself a proper combination square. A Starrett, no less.
I mean, I know they say “buy once, cry once”, but I think they omit the bit where, yeah, you’re only crying once, but you’re crying for so much longer. Seriously, I think this will be the most expensive tool I’ve bought yet (not counting the machines). But that’s precision marking-out kit for you I guess. Anyway, everyone who has one say they last a lifetime, so I can amortise the cost and then have another cry at how little difference that makes 😀