Thursday, July 16, 2009

We are making progress!!!! More pictures of the entire time line are located here

Monday, June 1, 2009

New Workshop Coming Soon has been awhile since I posted on Story Sticks and thought I would start using this blog again. I am in the midst of designing and starting to build my own little shop and would like to document the process for both myself and others to benefit. I am the type to research something to death before I buy and geez, I have certainly done that with this project. I am by no meens an expert in construction, or any of these topics, as I deal with finance for a living. But I am very good at googling and searching blogs, woodworking forums, magazines, etc. on these various topics. I also know how I want the building to function for myself for the type of projects I like to do.

As I mentioned, this has been thought about for a few years and we finally found a spot to build it in our back yard. Originally, there was a great location in the front yard where I wanted to build but no can do with our township. Outbuildings have to be to the side or behind the home. So here is the location before any clearing.....There is a lot to be cleared.

The front corner of the building will be just to the left of the dead tree in the center of the back yard with a bush growing out of it. There will also be a small road coming in the side were I can load and unload wood, new tool purchases, etc. You know the drift.

As far as design and what I want that will be for another post. Generally speaking, the building will be 24x34.66'. Don't ask about the 34.66' in length.....that is due to a square footage rule with our township that any building less than 30' from a side property line has to be less than 832 square feet. Hence, we are 20' from the property line and we have a 34.66' building.

Also, I originally wanted 25x35 until I realized that 24x36 is common sizing for 4x8 sheets. How strange that 16" on center also goes nicely into these numbers.....what a coincidence.

So here are a couple general sketchup photos...Note that these were done with my original 25x35 size:

This is a good gerneral idea of what it will look like. The original thought was to run theDC piping under the slab. That may have changed slightly since these pictures and I am now, 95% sure, that there will be a crawl space under a wood sub-floor. This will make it much easier to run electrical and DC piping under the floor and be able to make changes.

If there is anyone actually reading this blog and have suggestions/input please do not be shy to comment. Next post will be clearing the back yard and digging a big old trench for the power lines.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Adirondack Chairs

Over the 4th of July I built us some Adirondack Chairs out of Cedar. I found the plans in a recent Fine Woodworking magazine that I used as a guide. Here are some pictures.

A picture of me test driving the chairs after a long day of making sawdust.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Flea Market Scores

This has been a full woodworking weekend as my wife is in Florida visiting her parents. Last week I heard from some fellow galoots that there was a flea market at Flat Rock Speedway this weekend. I have never actually gone to a flea market....I always read about amazing tool scores that individuals find so figured I would give it a try.

Check out the items I purchased above. Some of the items are a Miller Falls Yankee Screwdriver, a couple nice Stanley try squares, a Brown & Sharpe combination square and a nice Disston 77 marking gauge. The brace is a really nice one but I am not sure what kind it is. The two little hammers were virtually free and will be useful. I think I spent a total of $30 for all of the above items.

I also saw a real nice Bed Rock 4 1/2 plane for $65......I was shocked! I almost purchased it just to resell it. Then on the other spectrum I saw a rusted to hell Stanley 71 router plane. The guy said it was 75. I asked if that was 75 cents..... I don't think he appreciated it but the thing was in horrible shape.

Overall, it was a great experience and I can see how old tool hunting can be addictive. There were also many things I think my wife would of liked. Next time we both will have to make a trip of it and see what we can find.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Handcut Dovetail Success....Sorta

I am currently making a G&G table with the SEMIWW group and decided to deviate from the traditional G&G box joint drawer and attempt handcut dovetails. This is the first time that I will have actually used this in a real furniture project. I have been getting close to having them look somewhat respectable but have been missing a few things. I practiced prior to doing these and finally figured out a few tricks including making a mess.

First, being able to saw a straight line is critical. I do tails first and I just worry about cutting straight and square for the tails since they will be used to mark my pins. Once you have the saw kerf started, I found it best to keep the saw very loose in my hand so the kerf ends up acting like a guide for the saw. This worked great for cutting a straight line.

Next, I used to use a coping saw to cut out the waste but I find that I am always cutting into the side of a tail or pin. I decided to chop out instead and found that it did not take too much longer but left the tails and pins much nicer with fewer nicks left in the wood. I chopped in about half way on both sides until the waste popped out as follows.

I also used to cut the end waste for the tails. However, it seemed that I would never be square on the ends of the tail board. Instead, I decided to cut the end off but left some waste that I pared with the chisel. This worked much better at keeping the ends square.

Once the tails are chopped out and cleaned up comes the difficult part of marking the pins. This is one of the most critical steps in order to get tight fitting joints. I carefully lay the tail board over the pin board to mark the pins. Once lined up and both boards clamped down, I used a retractable razer blade to carefully cut a line tight to the tale. I did not mark the knife line with a pencil as I find it to be a great guide to saw tight to the knife line. I did mark pencil lines on the side of the board to use as a guide to cut straight.

Cutting the pins is where I had difficulties in the past. You hear from others that you should split the line or cut to the waste side or leave some waste and pare down......enough to get very confused. I have tried all and finally found that by marking the line from the tail with a knife (no pencil) and carefully starting the saw cut by cutting just to the waste side of the line so that the saw shaves through the line. This will remove the line but the saw kerf is thicker than the line so you want to be careful starting the cut to the waste side. Once the saw cut is started it is then easy to cut the rest.

Overall, I think the drawer came out good with a few mistakes that will give it character. It is by far the best set of dovetails I have done yet. It is also the first set of half blind dovetails for me. I actually found the half blind dovetails slightly easier than thru dovetails as you can pare back slightly in the "blind spots" to make them fit nicely. Here is a picture of the completed drawer.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Chris Schwarz Handplane Class

This weekend I was able to take a class on Handplaning with Chris Schwarz which was the best $100 I have spent in a long time. We covered the basics from sharpening to squaring and flattening lumber with a plane. In addition, he brought some amazing planes that we were able to put our hands on. Many of the items I have taught myself through reading books, magazines and forums but have not been able to perfect or get over the hump. The class was really beneficial to have an expert like Chris show the little tricks or items I was not seeing prior to the class. Not to mention that he is a great person and teacher.

We spent most of the day flattening and squaring a piece of lumber after we learned to sharpen and set up the plane. This was helpful as I have done this in the past but needed some clarification on the approach and what to look for. However, the one item I gained the most from was in the morning when we covered sharpening.

I have struggled with sharpening since I started woodworking and acquiring hand tools. I have read numerous articles on this topic and tried just about every method. I have come a long way with my sharpening skills but he gave me the final polish I have needed to be able to do it quickly and effectively.

The first item that was a huge help was using David Charlsworth ruler trick to flatten the back of the blade. Of course, I have read about this method but never gave it a try. Using your sharpening method, i.e. waterstones, you place a small thin metal ruler on the long edge of the stone to lift the blade a very small amount when you sharpen. You then place the blade onto the ruler with the sharpening edge at the opposite edge that the ruler is on. This will give a very small back bevel and focus on the end of the blade where you want to flatten. It only takes 6 to 12 passes on each stone to get a 1/8" to 1/4" flattened spot at the blade tip. Works great.

The second item that I have had a challenge with is putting a camber on my blades. I am not sure why I have had this problem after Chris explained it as it is a very methodical approach...and that is my entire brain. He uses a simple $10 honing guide and breaks down his blade into 5 different pressure zones as shown below on my personalized Sketchup software.

He will sharpen with pressure on each zone and form the camber by the number of strokes. He uses six strokes on zones 1 and 5, three strokes on zones 2 and 4, and finally one stroke on zone 3. If you want more of a camber then do more strokes on the outside zones. He will do this through all of the stone grits. Pretty simple....not sure why the camber scared me so much.

The final touch is to go back to the ruler trick and give the back of the blade one or two good strokes on the stone to remove the burr. I was amazed as I was able to fully tune up three blades in about 30 minutes. It greatly improved and quickened the process so I can be doing more woodworking and less sharpening...which I hate.

At the end of the day we ended up learning many great skills and went home with a shooting board. He is also doing a handsawing class which sounds like it is going to be a great class. I really wish I had signed up for both. Next time I will certainly sign up for that class as I would like to learn more about handsawing.