I’ve wanted a froe for many years but just couldn’t bring myself to spend the money for one for the amount of use it would get. Now I have all this ash and hedge, and the intensity of desire picked up a LOT. So I mentioned to a friend that I was on the lookout for an old vehicle leaf spring with the loops. To my surprise, he walked to a back wall of his huge farm shop and picked an old truck spring off the wall. “Like this?” My jaw dropped and when I found it again I asked if I could buy it. “Nope, not gonna sell it. But you can have it.” Pushing my luck, I asked if he could do a couple quick mods to it, which he did in about 15 min. This is the result, applied to forming its own handle:
A brief afternoon entertainment in a 28 degree shop, this dimmer switch knob of burly walnut is on it's way to the State of Washington. The five leaf flower is intentionally irregular to mimic the real flower it was patterned after. The name of the flower is unknown to the Internet, surprisingly, because if you can't find a fact you can count on several opinions. Not a clue in this case, but the picture sure was pretty. I had to stylize the stamen because they were long and fragile.
This is a project that has been on the list for quite awhile. As shown here, two more chests are being test fitted. Things seem to fit nicely and will help to get clutter from underfoot. One thing I learned is that the vintage saws I bought for restoration and use should have been measured! Handles take up a LOT of length. They will fit only because of slots cut in the top! Handles and finish need to be applied, but that will wait until warmer weather. If I finished them now, I'd be out of the 98% club! I didn't get angles so you can see, but the dovetail spacing format matches the foreground case.
I have the distinct privilege to have been in the right place at the right time. One of my “hobbies” is to operate farm equipment, so I’ve become good friends with a large farm operation not too far away. They agreed with the neighbors to take out an ancient common hedge patch and recover about 20 acres of farm ground. I stumbled into the operation as it began and asked what was to become of all those giant hedge trees. Well, they were just going to burn them, and the fires had already been started. It turns out an acquaintance of mine was running the bulldozer and giant backhoe. I flagged him down and asked if I could harvest some of the trees he was going to burn, so he sort of reluctantly agreed. (People like me hold up their operation and make more work for them). I marked the ones I wanted and he kindly set them aside so I could cut them up. Then he went so far as to push the cut logs into piles and pushed all the brush over to his fire. I couldn’t keep up with them, so I only got 2/3 of what was out there.
I’d never seen such in all my wanderings around the country. The cut logs average about 20” in diameter and range from 6’ to 12’ long. If you know anything about osage orange, a 6’ straight piece is just plain uncommon, let along a 12’ piece! I just delivered 24 giant logs to the sawyer, and there are 21 more smaller logs not going to be sawn. This is the operation in a small window of good weather and very hard frozen ground:
They don’t look so big until you get closer.
Here you can see what I mean about not straight. You have to put them through a straightener before you can deliver them to the sawmill. So the loaded logs had been through the “straightener”, and these are next. The “straightener” is a 16” Stihl chain saw cutting at the curves to get maximum straightness. Some of these logs were over 30’ long before “straightening”.
I don’t have pictures of the remaining 21 logs, and as of tonight they remain in the field. I might have been able to retrieve them, but I ran out of daylight. They have to be hauled through a deep ravine and conditions have to be just right for that to happen. I spent all day Wednesday using a “Clydesdale” (JD8400) to drag these logs through the ravine and across the field to the closest road. According to the weather forecast it is going to be awhile before I can retrieve them.
So, if you need mallets, handles, or material for outdoor stuff (this stuff does not rot) let me know. Based on what I’ve had to give to harvest this treasure, it’s going to be something like $10 bd ft., still about half of what you pay any where I’ve been able to find the rare stuff.
I have created some spreadsheets for looking up or calculating elements needed to put true radius cambers on your plane blades. While many craftspeople do this by eye, I have a desire to increase precision in all aspects of woodworking...not to an extreme (and many may consider this an extreme) but to enhance the experience of woodworking. Precision often makes craft work so much more satisfying. So, for your convenience, here are the files to download if you wish. Comments and questions are welcome.
I've been wanting a reliable jig to create and keep repeatable true radius cambers on my various plane blades. I have done them for years by hand and even have a Mark IV holder with camber roller but the repeatability to the accuracy I wanted still eluded me. The available commercial models (e.g. the Jet "wobble" and the Mark IV) rolled the blade about it's center line, but the radius was unpredictable. They aren't much better than doing it by hand. I saw a couple of LJ postings that involved a bolt and washer thought the blade slot. They were on the right track. There are some blades I have lightly cambered that do not have a slot. So I made this jig which can get a reliable, repeatable true radius up to 16". On a two inch blade that is a crown just short of 1/32". The setup is the same as for a straight blade: establish an extension, I chose 2" from the jig, set the angle, check the centering and start sharpening. This setup also moves to the honing wheel and the same radius is used for the hone. It's very quick because very little metal is removed from one touch up to another, a hallmark of the Tormek methods. BTW, I used my new router mill to machine the plastic plate slot.
The Mark Router Mill Version Four Iteration 1.1 has begun its life as a productive machine in my shop. Tier 4, the Z axis head, was an afternoon walk in the park because Mark had done such an outstanding job on the head kit. After completing the machine and making a few adjustments, it was time to do some productive work with it. First up are parts for some workbench attachments I have wanted to make. (LumberJocks post #8543) I was dumbfounded at how simple it is to rout slots! Making slots was not trivial in my shop until recently, and now this! This machine is incredible...simple to use and set up, and accurate. I can't wait to discover uses and operations not possible in my shop before. In fact, there is already another attachment being developed that just might make this the most versatile woodworking machine around. Stay tuned!
Another exciting milestone has been reached. Mark, who is the creator of the kit following this blog, suggested that I put the pedal assembly in before doing much more. I was leaving it til later thinking that I could use up the smaller pieces and slide it in from the bottom. I learned that no matter when you do it, keeping holes aligned accurately is not a job for beginners. I used a predrilled deep block to help guide the bit and when the pilot screw penetrated the far surface, I came at it from the other side. I got lucky that my brace just barely allowed that. I also measured the hole layout using "true surfaces" technique to assure accuracy across the width of the machine. The second tier has the first moving part, other than the pedal, and when I finished, it glides as smoothly and tightly as any linear bearing can. I bet I spent 10 minutes moving it back and forth just to enjoy the smooth quality. Awesome job on the kit parts, Mark. And I'm here to tell you Mark's attention to detail is phenomenal. Before uploading I could see the pedal mechanism in the second picture, but it apparently got cropped. You can see some of it in the third picture. I did not complete the second tier yet. There are four more pieces to cut, assemble and apply. They go under the sliding table you see here and will hold the ends of the chain that is driven by the crank on the left. So I've made a lot of progress today.
One thing that helped a lot was to print out more detailed pictures of parts with their dimensions. I have to be careful to check the dimensions for fit. Mark told me he made some changes (real improvements) from the drawings we made so I'm trying not to be tripped up by that. I also take time to record the "as built" so the drawings can be improved.
This machine has a lot of parts that have to fit together very accurately. While Mark has made it as easy as possible, there is an astonishing amount of detail to pay attention to. You need some serious planning and woodworking skills to pull this off.
I guess I'll have to figure out why this site crops so much of my picture off. I put the spring return on the pedal after moving the pedal stop up two inches because it didn't move far enough to make the head travel its full 4 1/2". Now on to tier 3 the X-axis table.
Shop time today. Made some good progress. Need to work on second tier drawing dimensions. You can see that the vertical height crank will probably need to be cut off. I'll do it last to be sure, but so far things are looking promising. You might notice a stray hole and some stray screw holes...I couldn't get it going right this morning. For the first 30 minutes, if there was a way to do it wrong, I did it. But it didn't mess anything up really, just frustrating.
You might remember that I have embarked on a major tool building journey. Customers come first, so this tool build moves forward slowly. But I have reached a milestone...the base is finished. This build has at least six major components, the largest of which is the base. You can see this is not a small machine. The next build will be Tier 1 which is the foundation for the other tiers and headstock. I'm not very good at blogging, and if it turns out to be desirable, I'll try to collect all the bits and pieces of this build into one place.