Tuesday, December 1, 2015

it's elf time......

It's hard for me to believe, but tomorrow (today when you read this) is December 1st. In 24 short days the jolly fat man in the red suit will being paying a visit. This also is the only time I have before my wife gets home to wrap what I got her. I also have the girls to contend with and I never know when they will pop in.  It was hard not to spend more time in the shop tonight. But it's best I get the gifts wrapped so no one stumbles upon them.

I still had to do some decompression time even though it was way short. On sunday I sharpened all the irons in my planes, from the #7 on down to my LV edge plane. I still have my chisels to do along with deglazing my arkansas stones. I got these in the late 70's and now that I am getting satisfactory results sharpening I want to give these another try. Ken Hatch says the natural stones leave a finer scratch pattern which I know makes for a sharper edge. That may happen maybe tomorrow.

another glamourless shot
 Sylvain made a comment on my photos and I agree with him. I know that all the crap in the immediate area of the 'piece' is a distraction.  This is an old sheet as I'm too much of a coward to use one of my wife's good ones. I'm going to see if I can find a painter drop cloth. I haven't seen any made of light canvas (mostly plastic now) but I'll check around. If I can find one of them I should be able to blot out everything except the 'piece' being snapped.

my eye is still drawn to the bottom right
side shot
Chris S wrote a few posts on taking pics and Joshua Klein did a few also. There is only so much info you can get from these on your own. I really don't want to invest any dollars in photo stuff that I could use to buy tools. However, that may change because I would like to present better pics of what I make.

I'm making another one
This next one will be very similar to the one I just got done with. Except this one will have a different shelf design. I have been thinking off and on today about how to lay it out. I want through tenons on it which means I will have get the same layout on both sides of the board.

Arts and Craft book shelf pattern
I made 4 of these - 3 like this and another one that had a round top vice the 'D' handle detail at the top. The cradle formed by the 45's coming in from the edges is perfect. It holds all sizes of books well and even the smallest ones were secure. (My oldest daughter has two of them.)

it's 10" wide
The sides on this are tapered but the area where I want to copy the cradle is 10" just like the width of the upcoming sides will be. I have a centerline at the top and bottom I can use to center this on this practice board.

it's 90°
The two adjacent faces must be 90° for this to work. The first pattern I made was off a few degrees and the books weren't fully supported on the bottom and the front edges.

playing with the shelf parts
I have the top edge of both of the shelf pieces aligned on the bottom of the line. This doesn't look good to my eye. The free space between the two isn't giving me a warm and fuzzy.

this looks better
I moved the back shelf to the front of the layout line. That opened the space between them and this looks ok to me now. The shelf pieces are 3 1/2" wide and I have them set in from the front and back edge 1". I am going to try a 4" shelf and see what that looks like. A 4" shelf will make the through mortise easier to layout with a 1-2-3 machinist set up block.

This is all the play time I got. I can't do much more than this because I don't have any stock to make this. I do want to practice making this dado and through mortise on two pieces of scrap before starting on #2.. I will have to reproduce the same layout 8 times. It'll be interesting to see how well I do making this with hand tools compared to electric pattern routing.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Of the five New York City boroughs, which is the smallest?
answer - Manhattan

Monday, November 30, 2015

book stand evolution......

I got a comment from Mariano and that made me write this blog post. I may have been short changed in some areas but I do have the ability to make things without plans. I have friends that are much better woodworkers than I am or will probably ever be. A couple of them couldn't nail two boards together without a 10 page multi fold plan. I consider this a gift and since I usually only make one of what I do, I haven't needed detailed plans. Even then, I rarely make exact copies of a previous project.

I do have a project journal that I started to record what I've made but that has been hit and miss. I will try to get this one drawn in there. However, as you can see from my drawings, I have quite ways to go to challenge Greg Merritt.

In all the years that I have been butchering wood, I have only made one thing from plans. It was a cherry clock that had a pendulum with a bim bam mechanical movement. I remember struggling to get the measurements to what the plan specified. I can see now that this was an ambitious project that was one step beyond my capabilities at that time. Today, I wouldn't have any problems with making it except for the turned spindles. I don't have a lathe so I would have to source them somehow.

my first thoughts
I do usually make a rudimentary drawing like this to gather my thoughts and to sort things out. My spatial thinking is terrible but things like this I can see in my mind's eye. After I make a drawing (if I even do that) I proceed with making it. The drawing(s) don't get a second glance once I start working the wood. I make new decisions and change things as I build. What's on the paper doesn't always translate into how the joinery should be done.

drawing #2
This was a bookstand meant for a 12 year girl to put beside her bed. My daughter told me that space was at a premium so I couldn't spread out too far in any direction.  I changed a few things on this mostly to speed up construction. Even though this was for a little girl, I still didn't want to build it with butt joints and rabbet joinery.

I like to try out different variations of joinery with successive projects. There are only 3 basic woodworking joints so you have to spice things up. One change from dwg #1 to #2 was the changing  two drawers to one. I still planned on making a double through mortise on each shelf because I think this joint works best keeping shelves flat. I went with a single through tenon because I set the shelves back from the front edge by an inch. That threw off my symmetry for two through tenons.

From dwg #1 to dwg #2 I changed the base detail from a cutout to a add on base. This didn't survive due to the added width at the bottom. The cutouts are a better choice here. With it there are 4 smaller contact points over one long broad one. The dovetailed top would have been stronger than the stopped dado joinery I used. I would like to try a sliding dovetail joint but since it would have been a first time for me I nixed it. I didn't want to chance having it come out looking like crap.

When I am making a project another thing I seldom do is measure with a tape measure or a ruler.  99.99% of my measurements I do in place or directly off another piece. This greatly reduces errors for me and speeds things up because I'm not searching for a tape measure. I do use one to get rough measurements and I have used story poles when I was making multiples.

roughly what I made -3 drawings for one project is an anomaly for me
These measurements are not carved in stone. Nor are the construction methods and look of it. This could be made without the drawer and adding another shelf. The drawer could be put at the bottom or you can do two drawers like my first drawing. This could also be easily scaled up/down and R/L. The backer rail thing I put on the top could be history too. I would still like to try to make one with the ends at a compound angle.

These measurements in the drawing are rough. I didn't shift into anal mode or break out my calipers when I measured this. There are only three critical measurements that have to be the same in length and width. And those are the sides, the two shelves, and the drawer parts. Everything else can be made by marking directly off it's mating piece.

I used 1x12 pine for this that I got from a family owned lumber yard. In my part of the universe a 1x12 is anywhere from 11/16" to 13/16" thick. I rarely find the thicker one anymore and I have bought it as thin as 5/8". The width is usually 11 1/8" to 11 1/2". But again, the wider width is harder to find. My 1x12 measured out at 11 3/16" by just shy of 3/4". 1x12 is a good choice for books as a 10" shelf is more than adequate for most books.

Most of what I make is simple and plain. I especially like shaker pieces followed by Arts and Craft themed projects. I see nothing wrong with sticking with making projects based on neither of these. I don't feel any need to incorporate flowing or circular lines into what I make. I have read several famous authors who have said that they out grew shaker and A/C stuff and making things that aren't so rectilinear. And that I should do the same in order to grow as woodworker. I feel I'm growing fine learning the hand tool thing making shaker.

That's not to say that I haven't made anything that isn't contemporary. I made a live edge cherry shelf a few months ago and I have made a few things for my oldest daughter in this theme. Unlike me, she prefers a modern look but not necessarily one with no straight lines to it.

I didn't put any joinery how to in this because you may not like my choices. I feel that is something only you can decide for yourself. As with the design, there are a lot of ways to make this. You can go simple or outright anal. Another road traveled can be all machine work or with hand tools like I did.

I say there is no sweeter feeling than to take three 6 foot 1x12 boards and make something like the bookstand out of them. Not matter how you get there.  Now is it the means justifies the end or the end is justified by the means?

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is the world's largest herb?
answer - the banana  (the banana is not a tree)