Friday, August 22, 2014

I had to concede...

Last week my thumbs starting hurting like they had never hurt before. I've been taking it easy and trying not to push the envelope with them too much. They are still hurting but it has subsided to a dull ache. I can work through and ignore the pain. What I can not ignore nor work through is the loss of strength in my hands. The left is far worse then the right and the right is my master hand.

Tonight in the shop my desire was to start chopping out some dadoes on CC #2. That didn't happen as much as I wanted it to. Any prolonged grabbing, say 2-3 seconds, and my thumbs let me know it's time to stop. I'll be chopping dadoes hopefully this weekend.

moved the door to the tablesaw
Moving his convinced me again that I wouldn't be chopping dadoes tonight. Gripping this to move it was sending pains shooting through my thumbs.

I did paint it and that wasn't too bad and it was relatively pain free. The paint I looked at stupidly yesterday I should have looked at smartly. Turns out it was a can of primer and not the leftover fence paint. I made a pit stop at Wally World on the way home and bought a gallon of white exterior paint. I got one coat on this side and tomorrow I'll topcoat the show side. Saturday, rain or shine, I'm hanging this door on the shed.

CC#2 carcass stock
When I did the first cupboard I didn't mark the stiles and sides and it almost bit me on the butt.  I arranged the stock as it will be in the finished cupboard and labeled it.

plan A
Is to flush one end and clamp it. Clamp the other end and mark for the dadoes. Stand back and say aah.

flush on this end
wee bit out of whack on this end
There is a slight difference in 3 of the boards but the other end is just about as dead nuts as I could get it.

marking for the dadoes
I made my knife mark for the top of the dado on the bottom and top. This is what is really important. This knife mark needs to be at the same point on all seven boards and the ends being flush or not flush doesn't matter here.

couldn't do it
I didn't have the strength to loosen this clamp one handed. I had to use both hands to loosen it.

labeling
I checked my labels and I got it right. The dadoes will be on the opposite of the labels and the labels will be hidden by the wall. I also paid attention and got the grain flowing in the right direction on the sides and the stiles that will be getting the 1/4" groove.

final dry check before dadoing
The joints between the stiles and the sides look good. The corner board has started to bow and cup a bit at the far end. I'll have to keep and eye on that and I may have to replace that.

I'm still on track for an all hand tool build so far.  I'll have to down shift into slow mode for me and do what I can.  Any day in the shop, even like this, is better then no day in the shop.

accidental woodworker

more useless trivia
What are the one eyed face cards in a deck of cards?
answer - king of diamonds  jack of spades  jack of hearts

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Roman Woodworking by Roger B. Ulrich.....

I've finally finished reading this book. Although it wasn't what I expected, in retrospect it is a very well written and researched book.  I think I was expecting too much from this book and I did come away a bit disappointed in that respect. How many tools are there that are over 2000 years old that you have ever seen? Roman woodworking goes back over 2500 years so there aren't a lot of examples of it or tools used to do it neither.

The written record for it is also sparse. There are some surviving writings that were penned by Roman architects written in latin. The problem there is deciphering latin terminology and translating that into english. There is a bit of guessing here along with not having any surviving examples to look at.

This book is written from the archaeological findings from wherever Rome had a presence. There are some examples of roman woodworking from boxes found in a roman shipwreck to partial buildings that have been excavated; mostly in England. Some tools have survived from Pompeii and Herculaneum but not intact.  A lot of what Roman tools looked like has to be inferred.  Most of what is known about Roman woodworking tools comes from carvings on tombs, paintings, and murals.  Hadrian's column also has a lot of woodworking depicted on it.

I was and I am still interested in what kind of tools the Romans had to use.  They had axes, adzes, chisels, saws, hammers, and mallets.  They used squares, compasses, and plumb bobs.  I was surprised to read that they also had a rudimentary twist drill (for drilling large holes). They had rulers although there isn't any evidence that there was a standard for them. From paintings and other sources, roman woodworkers had a good tool set. And with that tool set they made the same joints that I do today.

I've been to Pompeii and Herculaneum and I wish now that I had looked at with a different eye. Then I was an awe struck tourist looking at what 1st century living was like. The structures at Pompeii and Herculaneum  are used to figure out how the Romans did things back then. What size timbers were used and guessing at how they were employed.

One surprise I got was how much wood was actually used in buildings. I assumed the entire structure was stone, brick, or a combination of the two. The first floor and the walls were that but the second floor interiors and up were wood. The roofs were what I would consider a roof built on top of another roof. The common thread I got from this book was that the Romans overbuilt to compensate for a lack of engineering understanding.

There was a Roman shipwreck where a wooden box was recovered almost intact. (The latin for a box is loculus.) The surprise for me was that is looks almost exactly like the box that Paul Sellers did on the Master Woodworking Classes. It has dovetailed corners, a captive beveled bottom, and a beveled sliding lid that moved in/out in grooves in the sides.

This was an interesting book. The woodworking done by the Romans was varied, complex, and it was simple too depending upon the circumstances. They understood wood rot and how to use the best woods to delay it. I would have liked to have seen a carpenter's shop during roman times. Even back then the trade was specialized. There are distinct latin names for carriage makers, furniture makers, and carpenters. And the carpenters were further subdivided and specialized.


The book covers everything woodworking wise. Starting with how foundations were done to dock and quays the Romans built in London that are still there and can be studied. Julius Caesar wrote about building a bridge in ten days and then dismantling and it is one of few sources of what Roman engineers/carpenters were capable of doing. Over building structures and how furniture was made rounds out the book.

On of the last chapters deals with what the Roman knew about various types of trees and their characteristics. There are surviving writings form this period that deal extensively with this subject.
And there is a glossary of Latin terminology such as scandula-ae which is a wooden shingle(s).

All in all I found the book easy to read and interesting but I don't think that everyone would like to have this by the easy chair. It's a scholarly work and there is not one how to in the entire book. There is a lot of guessing and comparing Roman and Greek building techniques throughout the book.  The only annoyance I found with it is the measurements are all referenced in metric. It was a major PITA converting from that to inches.  I gave up on that after a few chapters.

I learned quite few tidbits that I didn't know before I read this. I was a history major and I find this stuff worth reading.  At $37 plus S/H, you will have to be really curious about Roman woodworking in order to buy this one.

accidental woodworker

more useless trivia
Who holds the record for the most NBA all star games played?
answer - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar  He was selected a record 19 times and played in 18 games