Some of the things that will be at the show. These are already sold! See you at Olney City Park on Saturday 9-30-2017 from 9:00AM to 5:00PM.
I’ve been looking for till ideas and either my google-fu is not strong or there is a severe dearth of till construction for hand drilling tools and accessories. My list of what one might put in such a till is near maturity so I have posted a sharable version of it here. This list was developed to prepare for building a till to hold a well stocked woodworking, one of each kind, un-powered hand tool, user collection based on the very basic operation of making and modifying holes in wood, aka drilling. It is intended to be generic, not brand specific, with a users choice in subcategories of style e.g. corner braces vary widely. Many of these items come in various sizes, the range of which is to be determined by what is available. With this much stuff, it’s going to take a clever design to keep it compact, tools readily at hand, and somewhat portable. Adding to the challenge for my shop is that the tills should be modular and adjustable for changes. So I’m beginning to work on designs for such a till and due to the nature of the beast there are going to be some tall challenges to come up with a “classic” design. I’ve got a few ideas to deal with wasted space that I see in the tills I’ve encountered so far. Any ideas you have or can link to are appreciated.
In every image of a brace till, I’ve noticed a lot of wasted space. I thought if I could somehow overlap the braces in such a way that they laid compactly yet could be easily turned like leaves in a book to fetch the desired one, that could be a huge step in the right direction. These pictures show a preliminary layout. It looks workable to me. There is a lot more to be considered, and some of the big tools like a corner brace I don’t have but would like to design space for the largest type, even though I won’t likely have one. I’m dreaming of a more universal design that could be copied by anyone.
This is the current project preparing a bonus room for insulation. These paneling boards were machined from trees grown in my front yard.
Perhaps the most valuable time saving tip(s) I have learned over the years is that all measuring is relative. By definition, measuring is comparing something to a “standard”. Most beginners use a “number stick” (ruler of some sort) to determine sizes. But if you are concerned about accuracy, comparing to a number stick with a pencil, no matter how sharp, is fraught with almost unavoidable error. A marking knife used correctly helps, but the most accurate measuring is done by “transfer”. A simple linear measure transfer tool is a pair of dividers. When applied cleverly, they are also useful for transferring angles. (think grade school geometry). And for checking squareness. Trammel points are a good tool for larger transfers. There are many other useful tools for transfer.
Expanding on this concept, the notion of a story stick (or in marine work a tick stick) will save your bacon by very efficiently becoming the standard against which all measuring, including joint details, can be done. An entire kitchen can be laid out and cabinets made and fitted from a couple well done story sticks…no rulers required. Story sticks are used to lay out accurate curves of any dimension and can be used to re-create an existing curve that is almost impossible to measure any other way.
Proportions and ratios are applied using the three main reference planes as a starting point for all layout and cutting comparisons. The reference planes are necessary for all project accuracy and eliminate creep or cumulative errors. Usually the 3 main reference planes are left, bottom, and front. Sub-planes, like for drawer or door cutting can be established.
All of the above implies that drawn up plans display the appropriate dimensions from the appropriate starting reference. Most of the time, dimensions are numeric and number sticks are used to quickly approximate the transfer. If dimensions are given as ratios instead, then number sticks become irrelevant. It’s a good practice, I’ve learned, to lay out a story stick from the plans BEFORE any other work on the project. The stick becomes the standard with ALL the details of the project on its various sides. It can be thought of as a “custom ruler” that eliminates most of the transfer issues of number sticks. (think bad memory…)
It’s a whole different mind set to do work without number sticks and at first it seems impossible. Eventually, as one continues to apply the principle in simple ways at first, one becomes a hybrid, using transfers as well as number sticks. Sometime, probably just when one is too old to really take advantage of it, number sticks become irrelevant.
We may be coming full circle, because as CNC machines become popular in small woodshops and the craftsman learns to program, he will realize that all CNC moves are calculated from a single reference point. And it’s interesting to note, that rulers as we know them, are a relatively recent development.
These are a little tricky to cut cleanly, but the end result is worth the effort. There are three different turnings here. I think they are some of the liveliest and prettiest turnings in quite some time. And that includes the astonishing black locust turnings done a while back.
Zu früh alt, zu spät schlau. Too soon old, too late smart.
For no reason other than I've always thought it should be done, I've concentrated recently on corralling the dust and chips that accumulate so quickly. It started some time ago when I mounted my big shop vac and a Dust Deputy cyclone on a 55 gallon drum. Recently I've been able to afford a Jet JCDC3 and found as expected that it can pick up the big plane shavings that choke the 2 1/2" tube, cleanly gather the planer, table saw, shaper, wide belt sander and bandsaw output. But neither of them seem adequate for lathes and miter saws which have always been notoriously difficult to successfully corral the flying chips unless you live at the end of a wind tunnel that will take off your hat. Taking a hint from "CleanTurnTools" I have begun down a path of lathe dust collection that seems to work for more than just one gouge and costs very little.
Using 1 1/2" left over plastic plumbing, I formed the collection tube and with a wedge of wood and a band clamp secured the tube to my lathe tool. It is capable of fitting on any of my 15 or so tools and it takes about 45 seconds to change to another tool. I expect that to get much faster as I grow accustomed to the process and not fumble so much. There may be improvements to be made and I welcome all suggestions.
The sequence of pictures show the getup and then the "clean" work area as I start to turn this little plate. The third picture shows the bottom of the plate done ready for sanding. A close up shows how much wood I was removing (to test) and how the cutter can still reach into a corner. I had the tube very far forward so you can see where it rubbed the turning a bit. The fifth picture shows how much didn't make it into the tube and then after 60 seconds with the loose hose. Without the tube the shavings would have been ankle deep and the lathe surfaces piled to the point any more would fall off. So I think this idea has potential. I did move the tube to the other cutter to clean up the plate top. .It's not nearly as awkward as it might seem and I almost forgot that it was there as I concentrated on the tool action. I haven't tested it on all my tools yet, but each one will get a turn. I'm especially anxious to test it on the big 2" roughing gouge. There is a constriction where the plumbing attaches to the Bosch (Festool) tool hose that may require some change.
This is oak that I bought from a local sawmill that custom cut it to order. It's been air dried tor three years stickered in my garage. The treads and risers are rough cut on the cart. I trued up the bull nose with a Stanly 45 hand plane fitted with a blade and round shoe for the purpose. It worked SO slick...just a few strokes and the edge was perfect on all 15 treads. Next up was stringer fitting and routing. I put finish on the exposed parts before assembly and the sixth picture is a milestone of stringers in temporary position ready to measure final length for treads and risers. Gonna hafta move the truck. It's a bit of a Chinese puzzle to assemble this between two walls. The outer wall stud #1 will have to be installed before any risers and treads are put together because the top of the stud will be behind the stringer.. Part of the solution to the puzzle is to build the second wall as the assembly permits. The other part is to put in the top two treads and one riser while the assembly is pushed up into the room above. The bottom tread and riser will require the assembly to be lifted at the foot high enough to slip the bottom riser into position. Then the entire assembly dropped into position and secured, finish studding the wall and slip 1/2" sheetrock between the stringer and studs with 1/8" clearance. The rest of the pre-finished treads and risers can then be installed from under the staircase. With full dados on treads and risers, pocket screws and glued wedges, this is going to be one SOLID staircase, never to squeak.
And indeed it is one solid staircase even without any further support from the walls. A lively load of 400 lbs caused only slight vibrations. I will attach the centers of the stringers to three wall studs on either side for absolutely no wiggle. The house can be blown away, but this staircase might remain standing!
I have a commission that involves making a wine rack. While many wine racks are butt jointed, half lapped or even half lapped in a shallow dado, I chose to use French Dovetails. The panels physically lock together and become an exceptionally strong unit. The key is a very precise layout template. There is a short video on FB showing the process.
1.Dry fit. Coming along pretty nicely. Yes that is hedge (osage orange) and Baltic birch plywood. There will be another rod welded to the inserted one that will rest in the notches and rotate out when the bench is lifted. There will be some springs and pedals and gobbledegook to release the ratchet for lowering. The top will be attached to long pivot blocks between the pointy ends. To secure the legs to the rails, I plan to use four 12” bolts that screw into a captive nut plate, similar to a bed rail.
2. This is the basic bench without the inserts and it’s what I mean that one literally cannot set a tool on it. That vise platform comes off and can be replaced by a Kiefer style leg vise, if I choose to build one.
3. There’s a bit more work to be done. The latch rods need to be welded and installed, braces made for the vise platform (they will lock to the bottom of the top legs), the lengthy jack/sticking rail attached, and a new slanted shooting board for the far end, and deciding how far to let the leg cross rail into the bench rails, if at all. The rail that the shooting plane rides upon is holding the crochet and is slightly below the bench rail and will be moved back to its original position close to the bench. I pull hand planes sometimes because it uses a whole different set of muscles. This bench gives solid a whole new meaning to me…there is not a hint of wiggle and this one is not attached to the floor. I'll add a "finished" picture soon.
Here is a sharpening holder jig inspired by Tormek's new SE77 hardware. They have top of the line equipment, but I find their new release to fall short of my expectations. Those of you who know me know that I love versatility and modularity...the more things a given jig can do well the better. The thing that really got me started was the need to get a precise and controllable camber of any radius (which the SE77 looks like it would do well), not a poke and hope wobble caused by applying pressure to distort a jig (or blade). My previous attempt at a camber jig fell very short because the radius was so limited. I also find their SE76 (the previous model replaced by SE77) to have issues holding the blades firmly and squarely. This design addresses that issue and at the same time opens possibilities of replacing the functionality of some of their other jigs. Here is a partial list of what I believe this jig can do well:
Chisels and slicks to 3"
plane blades straight
plane blades cambered to any radius, even just the corners
Lathe parting tools
Lathe skews, straight and curved
any double bevel tool
This is all "theory" at this point. I want to manufacture at least one prototype to verify that it works and to identify any tweaks that may be needed. Even a scale drawing does not assure tweak free reality. Note that the blade can be held off center of the pivot by simply tightening one side more than the other. The frame can be flipped over and put back on the pivot post (not shown) for symmetric sharpening a double bevel on straight, skew, or curved edges. The pivoting is limited or eliminated by the little thumb screws. There is a tick on the heads to allow equal or asymmetric pivoting.
Dan is an experienced woodworker who is anxious to make an heirloom of the future for you.