Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Blog Updated at Lumberjocks

Hey Folks,

This blog is now being maintained and updated at You can view it here!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Small Workbench #6 - Complete

Well, I got the vise installed. I used red oak for the vice face for two reasons. The primary reason is that I've never installed a vice before and it was my test piece. The second reason is I liked the way it eventually worked so it graduated to my workpiece and the finished product.

A quick test drive of the system for cutting some tails and it's 100% success. The vice racks more than I hoped, but this procedure doesn't involve extreme vise pressure and a like thickness piece in the opposite end compensates for the problem.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Small Workbench #5 - The Apron

I have been hemming and hawing on what I was going to do to give this little bench a bit more character. It's going to serve a dual role in being both my auxillary bench for hand tool work as well as my 2 year old son's bench. In that vane, I decided to add a little detail to the apron...the shadow or inlaid dovetail. Please note: Though I prefer to do these one-off projects with handcut dovetails, the Akeda 16 was used throughout.

To start, I joined one maple board with one walnut board. The walnut will be the shadow. Mostly because I had more maple than walnut or I could have done it the other way. This piece is glued up and my impatience sets in...

After the glue dries...well, almost (more on that,) I cut the pin board off, leaving the pin slots filled with walnut.

Now, as I mentioned...the glue was almost dry when I did this. I don't realize yet, but I'm about to find out that my impatience is NOT a virtue...

I then recut the tail board revealing a 1/8" shadow of walnut. This is where I found my glue wasn't dry and and sent a chunk of walnut flying across the shop. Luckily, I glued it right back in place and still not waiting for it to dry, I supported it side and back and happily began cutting again. I don't get alot of time in the shop, so I forge on at times when it's best to go to bed. **shrug** I'm not about to change after all this time....

Here is the tail board...

Once I recut the tailboard, I then cut a pin board of maple to match my detailed tail board and the end result is the shadow dovetail.

Now, to add a complete shadow, I could have also cut a tailboard of walnut, mated it to the pinboard of maple and done the entire process to add the walnut shadow to the inside of the pin piece as well. However, as this was my first venture into this particular detail in dovetail joinery, I figured I'd take baby steps.

This process did involve more than a little hand chisel work as I made the pins proud, and for some reason the pin board fit WAY too tight into the tailboard when I joined the walnut to the maple. A few minutes spent with a nice sharp chisel and everything was a piston fit. I wasn't concerned with altering the fit of the jig, as I was only fitting the inlay, and not the final tail and pins.

I used the Domino (once I found it....more on that later as well...stay tuned for another blog series) to align the apron to the table top. It all fit. I was happy because I didn't do a dry fit to find out. I either have that much faith in the Domino, or in my vast skills. D'OH. I just didn't want to put that dovetail joint together again as they fit the best the FIRST time, not the 4th.

The camera with shadow and flash pics up some tear out that I can't appreciate with my eye, but here it is glued up, clamped, and awaiting the vise.

The next installment of this series will be the vice installation. Your guess is as good as mine as I'm trying to decide to run it the length of the table. I'm concerned about racking though so I may just run it 12". I havn't decided.

Thanks for taking a look!


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Small Workbench #4 - Joining bases and putting on the top

I joined the bases with the stretchers by using dowels as anti rotation pins, and then running a bolt through the stretcher to pull everything up tight...

I added a top that is 22" x 12" of double thickness birch plywood. You can see some blade burn on both the plywood and the hard maple bases. It was a sharp blade, but I had feed rate issues.

Cutting the top. The excalibur blade guard is a real asset when cutting sheet goods for not only finger protection, but overblade dust extraction...

The top installed with 4 screws. The blade burn you see on both the base and the top was a feed rate issue. I'll sand some on the base...or not. The top will have a maple apron around it. I may work on that tonight or in the next day or so. I have a little bit of fancy detail planned for an otherwise utility piece.

I also used the Festool ES150 ROS to make the top smooth as glass. I had to be careful with the veneer, but the ES150 works so good I just used 150 grit on the top.

I'll post more of the apron detail when I work out the "Big Finish!"


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Small Workbench #3 - Using Dowelmax to join the bases with stretchers

I wanted to put a bolt through the stretchers in order to tighten up an seasonal slack that might occur with this bench. The perfect thing to do, (perfect only because I thought of it,) was to use two dowels for anti-rotation pins and then put a bolt through the stretcher. This is just a short blog entry today.

This video is how I used Dowelmax to align the stretchers to the base.

In part IV of this series, I'll discuss the top of the bench, and move on to the skirt and vise installation. As I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do for any of those, I'll just leave you with this tidbit for today.

Have a great day in the shop!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Small Workbench #2: Using Domino to bore mortises for tressel base...

Yeehaw! I anticipated this step all day. I had originally planned to use Dowelmax to join these pieces because I was more comfy with the jig and this has to align perfect. I then though, phooey! I'll use Domino and give it a good test drive.

The first picture shows the Festool Domino fitted with the Trim stop. This fitting allows you to "center or off-set the Domino joiner on narrow work pieces for perfect positioning."

HA! If anyone can screw this up, I can! I defy a tool company to make a jig that I can't find a way to ignore the instructions and eventually misuse....

Well, as you can see in the background, I had to get the instructions out. I couldn't figure out how to put the trimstop on the Domino. After about 4 seconds of looking at a picture, banging me head into the headstock on my lathe in self disgust, I fit the trimstop on and centred the unit to the test piece that I had measured and marked, and made a test cut.

After making the first cut, I just stuffed each piece into the the trimstop and cut the remaining 15 mortises. Clarity of thought might have led me to take my time and measure each one to ensure that I was going to end up with the right alignment in the end, but trust tthe tool, I always say. Sometimes, I end up being the "tool."

They look okay, but time will tell. There is another essential step or two to see if I can pull this off. As you can see, I decided to put two (2) dominos in each joint just to really test the limits of measurement error or success.

Now, when I went to measure and mark where I wanted the ajoining mortises on the tressel base and top, the indexing pins on the Domino were too close to the edge. I tossed on the outrigger attachment and found to my horror that I was in the "in between zone." Crap! Well, just move where you want the mortises. Right? That would be too easy. Lets find another way to index. I started thinking, "What would Dowelmax do?"

I didn't really think that, but the indexing rod for Dowelmax was sitting on the bench and I just happened to pick it up.

I lined up the Domino on the first cut, set the indexing rod, and proceeded to cut the remaining 15 matching mortises in the tressel base and tops. This is NOT going to fit. No way, no how. But, I press on!

Just when I must be looking like a genius to everyone reading this, my humility knows no boundries. So I have therefore included a video of me trying to use the darn indexing rod. I mean, this is really Keystone Cops stuff. In my defence, however, if I held the Domino with my right hand, and the indexing bar with my left...even with the opposite side cross-over maneuver, then this entire process goes REALLY easy...I may remember that for next time...may.

Well, they look pretty good to me. They still have to fit though. You see, back in the beginning, I forgot to mention how I had chosen to make this EVEN MORE difficult. I could have milled the tressel base and legs to exact dimensions. Then just set the fence on Domino (hereafter affectionately named, Lucille (BB King Joke).) Instead I wanted a reveal on every leg. I'm going to make this so there is not a popsicle's chance in the Bayou of working....this involved some test cuts and measuring on some took about 20 minutes to get things setup where I thought they were pretty good.

Well, so far so good, eh? (I'm Canadian)

I didn't get too excited, as anyone that has made a piece with slats or spindles knows, the big gal hasn't sung yet...I still have to lined up the ajoining piece of tressel top. I'm admittedly equally excited and nervous at this point.

I put glue on (more than the picture shows) and drove the pieces together with my handy dandy mallet and a piece of scrap wood. This little endeavour met with a knock on the shop door and a rather annoyed look from my sleeping...banging...all that...yada yada yada...I'm on a role...I'll fix the damage to the upper two floors in a second.

Well, nobody was as shocked as I. They both fit. I tossed a couple of K-bodies on them and left the shop for the night to tell my imaginary friends of my exploits of precision and design...or blind assed luck...depends on how well you know me!

The project forges forward!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Small Bench

I'm about to undertake a quick little project. An auxillary bench for my main workbench. I've been learning to cut the dovetail by practicing alot and watching some Rob Cosman videos. I've found that my bench is too short to comfortably do this. This little guy will have it's tressle base made of maple, but it's top will be less fancy. I'll probably just laminate a piece of oak plywood to a hunk of MDF and put an apron around it. I originally thought that I'd laminate a maple top for it, but I didn't feel like making this thing weigh 60 lbs. Anyway, I'm going to use the Domino for joinery and should be able to start this project this week. I have some S2S maple on the rack ready to go.

I'll have construction photos and possible a short video on the bench construction. construction photo's will be on my Picasaweb Album.