Friday, September 4, 2015

miniature bureau 99.9% done.......

I'll be changing the blog picture on my home page sometime this up coming weekend. One aspect of the picture change I don't like is how google does it.  Once I upload the new pic the old one is gone forever. All the previous posts with the last 'home page picture' will now display the new one. It's a bit annoying to me but I don't know of any work around for it.

Now that I've got the big news out of the way......I can first mop up on few items I forgot from yesterday's post.

Lee Valley Veritas Square Fence    P/N 05N54.01
This got a lot of use before I got my red woodpecker squares. It still gets occasional use.

not much too it
This is a well machined piece of what appears to be aluminum. It has two brass screws that you can tighten with a screwdriver but I have yet to use a screwdriver on them.  I never experienced any problems with it being just finger tight.

it can be put on the blade or the tongue

this is why I bought it (upside down in this pic)
The only thing you have to ensure is that the back of the fence is up tight on the framing square. If it isn't, you won't be square. I did catch a few times I was off and it was due to the screws moving the fence as I tightened them down. Very easy to have a peek and check the edge of the fence and the framing square. That flange sticking up in the pic should be down and against the edge of the stock.

Another good point for this fence is that it isn't permanent. You can remove it and use the square to do an outside or an inside square check. It does the same thing I like so much with the Woodpecker squares.

I won a dollar here
Frank said that the Starrett combo square could read/span 1x12 stock. He bet me a dollar; he lost and I won. I've been thinking about what to spend it on all afternoon. A bag of peanut M&M's are the leading contender.

it'll span a 1x10
I have the blade pushed out almost as far as it'll go and still being held captive in the head. Both the inside and the outside of the blade reads only about 10 /12". Stock 1x12 is anywhere from 11 1/8" up to 11 1/2".

littlest red
can't be beat for checking this
The blade and the tongue are a 1/2" wide.  Plenty of width for the thin edges of chisels and plane irons.

one handed for the taking of the pic
I do the checking with two hands - one to hold the square and the other to bring the tool to the square.

beats the snot out of this way
Doing it this way is/was very frustrating for me. Trying to get the edge of the tool centered on the thin blade edge of the square led to a lot of colorful language. The littlest red square is worth every penny I spent to get it.

brown knot
This is the back of the bureau and won't be seen...yada, yada,yada......If this had been for something else I wouldn't have done this. Does it mean that this is crap and cheapened? I think it's a matter of balance, where I weighed the pros and cons and made decision.  Again, if this wasn't a shop project and the back would have been visible, even partially, I would have replaced this.

I have three coats of shellac on the bureau
I made a change to the screw arrangement. I put 3 in the front and back bearers and only one in the sides in the middle.

Chapman  ratcheting driver
This is a General driver but I have always called these Chapman drivers. My first exposure to these was in the Navy almost 40 years ago and it was with a set made by Chapman. I have a nice Chapman set that I used to repair medical equipment but that is in the boneyard somewhere. I keep this in the cabinet with my cordless screwdriver bits and pieces.

This is all I had to install the screws in the interior of the bureau. I could use a cordless drill to drive only one out of the 8 screws I drove. I drilled the pilot holes for the screws with my yankee pump drill from the top. I also drilled 3 holes on the sides just in case I needed more than the middle one.

tight on the right
tight on the left
I'm running low on shellac and I am not sure I can get another coat on the bureau before I run completely dry. The last time I tried to buy clear shellac at Lowes, I found out that they don't carry it anymore in the quart cans. I got this can at a paint store but I'll check Lowes again this weekend. I have to get the stock for making the drawers on the sharpening bench.

It's a long weekend upcoming and I'm going to try and finish the kitchen/back hallway job from hell.  There isn't much left to do and the weather is supposed to be dry for saturday. We'll see.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What are Whirly Girls?
answer - members of the International Women Helicopter Pilots organization

Thursday, September 3, 2015

woodworking squares........

For the past few months I've been thinking about woodworking squares.  I've been trying to figure out when and how a machinist's square became the de facto be all and do all woodworking square. When did this change come about? There are a plethora of squares in the old woodworking catalogs but no machinist's squares are in the 'woodworking' sections.  I can't find out when this happened. Did the manufacturers stop making them? Or did the skill and knowledge of making your own wooden ones just die out too?

As I am doing more and more handwork in my woodworking, I am using my machinist square less and less. When I started out in woodworking, I didn't even know that  wooden woodworking squares existed. I assumed that the machinist square was a woodworking tool that also was used for machine work.

I have seen a lot of wooden squares and read countless blogs on hand tool woodworking that say you have to use a wooden one to do hand woodworking. I have tried to use wooden squares and I do and I don't like them. I like the light weight of them but not much else. Wood moves with the seasons and a wooden square is no exception.

With a metal square I don't have to constantly pre check it or make adjustments to it with a plane to bring it back into square. Metal squares are heavier but I am willing to accept that over not having to play and check it before using.

Another problem that I had with wooden squares is using my marking knife with them. When marking with them I tended to dig into the blade of the square. Getting a knife line with them wasn't working so well for me. I think most of it is because of the style marking knife I use. The old striking knives had a large registration face and a single beveled cutting edge. My knife is a spear point with a very small face to run against the edge of the wooden square's blade. It tended to cock on the edge easily and dig into the blade.

door of squares
I only have one woodworking square on this door. It's a 4" one that I hardly ever use. All the other squares are Starrett models except for the precision 3" square at the lower right. That one I use mostly for checking edges square to the face.

I used to use the 12" combo square for 99.9% of my work. I got frustrated with it a few times trying to knife lines with it. The combo square isn't good close to the very edge nor does it allow you to knife past the blade and head. It also will not span a 1x12 piece of stock. It was because of these shortcomings that I bought my first Woodpecker 'red' square.

I own 4 of them now
I got the big framing square sized square because with the 12" one that is my limit. There have been several times I wanted to go to 14" or longer. I could reposition the square on the opposite side but that could introduce errors. Big Red will reach out to 26" which is a length I haven't had to knife yet.

Missing from the pic is my small Woodpecker square that I use for checking my sharpening with. It's a 1/2" thick, has a relief on the inside corner, and it is a joy to use. The large faces on it allow you to accurately check plane irons and especially chisels for square, without it falling off the thin edges of the tool.

For most of what I was doing I was using the 12" square but it felt a bit awkward to use at times on smaller stock. When Woodpecker offered up the 6" square I bought it. This one is becoming my all around do it all square. I like the size, the weight, and that it is a fixed square. No more running a blade up and down.

before I bought Big Red
I finally realized that the 3 framing squares I owned were all OTL. Not one of them were square on the outside or the inside. I bought this Chapell square from LN last year. Rather then get a 24" model, I opted for the 18" one. This one is guaranteed square I think 0.003 over the length. I don't think that needs to be any better for working wood.  I have a Lee Valley jig for this that allows it be set on the edge of a board and stay there. Forgot to get a pic of that.

little red
This notch is an awesome feature. It allows you to draw or knife a line from one side of the board to the other. One continuous line - no breaks - no having to guess where it ends - and no re-positioning the square to finish the line.

awesome feature #2
This is the one that kills the combo square for woodworking for me. You can't do this with a combo square. The balance of both of these squares is superb. They are positioned hands free and will not fall off unless you move them. Big Red - the framing square - has the same features as it's little siblings here.

the combo square
Both the 12" and 6" combo squares I now use almost exclusively for layout and checking 45's. I have seen vintage woodworker's 45 degree squares offered on various tool sites but it's something I am hesitant to buy. That is something I want fondle and look over before I pony up any dollars for it.

old craftsman square
This square is bit off on the inside and outside and I can't bring myself to part with it. This is one of the first woodworking tools I ever bought. It's hard to see in this pic but there is some daylight showing through. I don't use this one anymore and keep it my saw till for sentimental reasons.

my wooden square herd
I have six of them and 5 can be used. The first one in the foreground isn't square.

oak baby anarchist square
I have a thing for miniatures and I made this one because I had no need or want for the big one. This one is dead nuts square.

made one in pine too
I think I made this one first to work out the kinks and the plan was to use this as a decoration in the shop. But after I made the oak one I revisited this one. It took me about 20 minutes to plane this before I got it dead nuts square also. I have used the both of these a couple of times to check for square. However, they will not become daily users or replacements for the Woodpecker squares. They just happened to be handy.

out of square
I can't remember where I got the plans for these wooden squares but I think they have a limited use. Of the six, 3 of them only check for square on the inside and 2 will only do the outside. 1 square will do both in and outside checks for square.  I am of the opinion that a square should be able to check both, not just one. That is why I made one square that did both.

a good size
This is what a woodworking square should be. Accurate, light weight, and stable in use - ie it doesn't flop around on the stock as you knife or mark with it. One thing that I have never used is the measurement scale on any square. I may have used it intermittently but it is not something I think of using.

Lee Valley and Starretts
The two 4" starretts used to be my all around do it all squares. I also used these a lot to mark parallel lines on stock. One problem that I always had with them was the pencil usually slipped off the end of the blade and I ruined the line. It seems I was racing holding the pencil and moving the square and it never seemed to end in a tie.

I now use the Lee Valley jig to run my lines. The vastness of the improvement in using this over the Starretts would take years to write out.  I have a wide blade to run the pencil against and I can stop it at the edge and still have most the blade on the stock. The pencil hasn't won a race yet since I have been using this.

That is my $1.47 input on squares. I do think that combo squares are useful and have a place in the woodworking shop. It has nice features like an adjustable length, in/out square checking ability, and it will do 45's. They are a good option when starting out and assembling a tool kit.

On the other side of the coin, my red squares are not adjustable. They are lighter then the combo square (except for Big Red) and my 12" square is 12" on the outside. You can not get 12" with the Starrett because some of the blade is always buried in the head. I can lay all of them on the edge of a board and they will stay there. The combo square can not do this trick.

I started out using a combo square but after getting my first Woodpecker square I have slowly been using the Starretts less and less the Woodpeckers more and more. I'm finding that the 6 and 12 inch squares handle everything I used the combo squares for.  And I like the Woodpecker squares more than the Starretts. I still need the Starretts for 45 work but they won't be the workhorses they used to be.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What affliction do you suffer if you have hyperetrichosis?
answer - an abnormal amount of hair growth over the body