Moulding Plane Cabinet - getting started

With the new set of moulding planes (hollows, rounds, side bead), I needed a place to store them that would work well with my normal work flow and as I learn how to use them after a bit of rehab work on the planes.

I decided to go with a simple case which will have an overhead door.  I will have a separator inside the case to keep the side beads separate from the hollows and rounds thus giving both a way to stay upright.  The sides, top and bottom of the case will be joined with dovetails.

Getting ready to create some dovetails with my new Badaxe stiletto dovetail saw

Getting ready to create some dovetails with my new Badaxe stiletto dovetail saw

I am going to try something new with my dovetails since I've gotten more comfortable with them.  I'm going to make the pins rather small - inspired by seeing Frank Strazza of Heritage School of Woodworking create dovetails will almost whisper thin pins.  I'm also getting a chance to use my new Badaxe dovetail saw.

Birthday cupcakes from a friend

Birthday cupcakes from a friend

While working on the cabinet, my neighbor and friend, Judy and her daughter Lizzie, came over to sing and wish me happy birthday.  It's not everyday we get to party in our workshops!  By the way, the cupcakes were awesome and I've already eaten way too many.

Spent some money at Handworks 2015

My last post was about the people and information and how much benefit I gained from both.  Today's post is about the goodies that I either bought at or bought because of Handworks 2015.

A few years ago, I built a big and beefy Roubo styled bench using Benchcrafted vise hardware for both the leg vise and the end vise.  Shortly after I finished building my bench, Benchcrafted came out with a new version of the leg vise called a "crisscross" vise.  It allows you to use the leg vise for various thicknesses of clamping without needed to adjust a peg.  The peg system works but I have found that I cause the vise to rack and require frequent readjustment before use.  At the show, I was able to acquire the retrofit version of the crisscross hardware.  I can't wait to install it.

Crisscross hardware from Benchcrafted

Crisscross hardware from Benchcrafted

To get all my purchases home, I was able to fit them in my luggage.  When I got home, I had a surprise.  It was a love note from the TSA.  I also found they went exploring through my luggage and especially my Benchcrafted purchase.  I'm sure they were thinking - "What the hell is this?"

What the hell is this?

What the hell is this?

I also purchased a new dovetail saw from Badaxe.  I'm clearly becoming a Badaxe fanboy as the new saw is my 3rd saw.

Badaxe Stiletto Dovetail Saw

Badaxe Stiletto Dovetail Saw

While I was at Handworks, I got an education on sources for used tools thanks to my friend Marilyn.  She connected me up with a vendor who had a nice, functional half set of hollows and rounds.  I also got a few other moulding planes ordered.  They arrived the Monday after returning from Handworks.

Left: Moulding Planes; Right: Hollows and Rounds - even set

Left: Moulding Planes; Right: Hollows and Rounds - even set

Since I was getting some moulding planes to add to my working set of planes, I knew that I'd need a new tool I didn't have - a plane hammer.  For those of you who don't know about or use wooden planes, a plane hammer allows you to adjust, set and release blades in wooden planes.  They often have one softer side and one metal side.  I chose a beautiful hammer from Sterling Toolworks.

Sterling plane hammer

Sterling plane hammer

I also found some useful small stuff.  As a hand tool woodworker, I've been fascinated by historical tools though I am not trying to be historically accurate in all I do.  I've developed a love for folding wooden rules and am trying to include them in my woodworking approach.  I found 2 small wooden rules.

Small wooden folding rules

Small wooden folding rules

The last item that I purchased was purchased after I got home.  I and my friends had a nice talk with Tito Vogt at Vogt Toolworks.  He makes a gorgeous shooting board that is sloped and use magnets for the accessory attachments.  The slope gives the benefit of using more of the width of the plane blade in the shooting plane.  The attachments include a miter fence and a donkey eared attachment (for miters in the other direction).  I've ordered this but don't expect the set for a few weeks at the earliest.

I spent too much money but all of these items will either help me improve my existing woodworking skills or expand them.  Stay tuned for the accuracy of that statement.

Handworks 2015 ... is now in the books!

I thought I'd do a little post mortum on Handworks 2015.

I had the benefit of attending with 3 of my friends.  We traveled through Chicago.  While on a painfully long 6 hour layover, Marilyn introduced me to Instagram.

On the way to Amana, IA via Chicago from Seattle

On the way to Amana, IA via Chicago from Seattle

Handworks was off to a great start if the crowd was any judge.  The 4 of us went through every vendor booth and had some great conversations and demonstrations.

A long line to get in

A long line to get in

We headed over to the secondary buildings to start with so avoided some of the crowds.  We had a chance to learn something about approaching carving with Mary May.

Mary May talking about carving

Mary May talking about carving

I learned a bunch about chair making and chair making tools from Tim Manney.  

Using an Adz and learning about proper technique

Using an Adz and learning about proper technique

There were so many skilled and talented vendors there willing to share their expertise.  Even without formal talks going on, I still walked away learning a bunch.

Frank Strazza, Heritage School of Woodworking teaching some inlay work

Frank Strazza, Heritage School of Woodworking teaching some inlay work

Of course even with all of this information, the best part was being with my friends - Ananda, Mike and Marilyn.

Hanging with friends

Hanging with friends

Our fellow woodworkers were there in numbers and friendliness and respect ruled the day.

A view of the crowd in the main space

A view of the crowd in the main space

In addition to the show, we had the opportunity to see Studley's Toolchest and Workbench.  Wow!  Go get the book about the Toolchest and Mr Studley - Virtuoso.

A selfie with the Studley Toolchest

A selfie with the Studley Toolchest

I'd call the long weekend a success.  I hope that all the planners involved decide to do another one in 2017.

Handworks is less than a week away!

I'm heading to Handworks in Amana, IA next week.  I'm even lucky enough that 4 woodworking friends from here (the Seattle, WA area) are going too.  I'm really looking forward to the trip.  Check out the site for the event at http://handworks.co.

The event is a couple of days of hand tool oriented vendors.  I expect some money to be spent.  The list of vendors are the who's who of hand tool vendors.

In addition to all the vendors, they are having an exhibit of the Studley Tool Chest.  Chris Schwarz at Lost Art Press has also time a new book about the tool chest to come out while we are at the show.

Music and Guitars

A while back, I built 3 acoustic guitars.  I set them up but wasn't happy with the set up.  I have wanted to get back to them and so now is the time.

Guitar setup time

Guitar setup time

My main goal was to adjust the action.  This required removing the neck followed by adjusting the nut, saddle/bridge and the height of the fret board where it attaches to the body.  The fret board was glued down (what was I thinking?).  The 2 cutaway guitars came up with minimal damage to the body and in fact given the height changes I was trying to accomplish, all worked out great.  The full body guitar had more damage but still worked out ok.  I think I still need a bit of saddle/bridge work on the full body guitar but the 2 cutaway guitars are in awesome shape.

In making these adjustments, I also removed some weird resonances that were happening so the guitars sound even better.  I still may have a few more adjustments to make but will need to play them for a bit before figuring out what to try. 

One of the cutaways is now my oldest son's (Xander) and I hope that he enjoys it.

Sharpening, sharpening and more...

Over the past 3 or so weeks, I have been working on sharpening.  The first part was to ensure all my tools were sharp and ready to work with.  For this activity, I wanted to make sure the grind was good as well as the micro bevel.  For any grinding work, I have a Tormek T-7 and while it can be slow when a grind is way off of the desired angle, it still gets the job done without risk of "blueing" the blade.  For the micro bevel, I'm using the steel diamond plates from DMT and doing it free hand.  After establishing the micro bevel and removing the wire from the back, I use a strop to get a nice polish on the back and the micro bevel.

Sharpening all my bladed tools

Sharpening all my bladed tools

All the bladed tools in my cabinet and out (i.e. the chisels), have been sharpened and are ready to use.

My main purpose for this was to establish a more manageable routine.  I have been doing a project and then sharpening all the tools used which can take weeks.  Rather than that, I would like a shorter routine where I can "freshen" the cutting edge and get back to work sooner.  Freshening may include using the diamond stones or just stropping the edge/back.  I want to reduce my grinding work.

I still have to sharpen my scrapers and my carving blades so there is still a little to be done.  I'm going to step away from sharpening to do a little work on music.

Post Drill - Totally Working

I've been quiet here for the past bunch of weeks.  It's not that nothing has been happening in my shop but rather my frustration level was quite high and I dislike reading about people complaining so I tend not to post anything during those periods of high frustration.  

Until I find some sort of resolution...

Yesterday, I finally got the post drill I wrote about a couple of blog posts back working completely!  Let me tell you the story.

A friend of mine, Mike Lingenfelter (our local MWA leader), told me that his brother was heading to another part of the state (we are in Washington State) to an auction that he expected would have post drills.  He knew that I was interested in them so I gave him some of my preferences.  His brother came back with 3 and gave me pick of 2 of them.  I was thrilled (THANKS Mike and his brother!).

When I got it home, I work really hard to clean it up and get it ready to mount and set up.  Clean up wasn't bad as there wasn't much rust though there was plenty of grime.  Once it was cleaned up, I even painted it.  I installed an actual post in my shop and then mounted the drill to the post.

Then I hit my first problem.  The drill is obviously old and probably well used.  The gear where the hand crank was attached to had a skewed wear pattern where it fit over the shaft making it alternately bind and not engage.  This was probably due to the torque the crank handle applies to the gear causing the wear over decades.

Post drill mounted and ready for work

Post drill mounted and ready for work

Fortunately I have a brother who is also a machinist.  After discussing the issue with him, he had a quick solution of installing a brass bearing inside the gear that would fit the shaft more accurately and remove the wobble.  It took a few weeks to send it to him and for him to fix it and send it back.  Obviously, my brother does awesome work so if anyone needs machine work, they should contact him at Metal Concepts Machining in Santa Fe Springs, CA.  The fixed gear fit like a glove.

My next problem was the more frustrating one since the fix to the first problem was fairly obvious.  When I turned the crank (even with the fixed gear), the drill press would vibrate like nobody's business.  The post is attached to studs which are attached to my house proper so it would shake our entire office inside.  After getting more advice from my brother, he suggested that the moving/friction parts needed grease.

It took many days over a period of a few weeks to get enough grease in all the proper places.  My wood shop was smelling more like my brother's machine shop with all this grease.  I went through adding grease and getting no change, frustration made me walk away for a few days and then I'd do it all again.  Eventually though I must have slathered grease in all the right places because the vibration finally went away.

I can really crank it and the entire thing is nice and quiet.  I can't wait to try it out on a real project.  

Shop Tour 2015

I've always been a big fan of shop tours.  They give different perspectives on organization, tool selection, and even approaches to woodworking.  Video shop tours are my favorites.  Most video shop tours are from folks that are doing some sort of video podcast.

I don't intend to start a podcast, video or otherwise, but still wanted to have a quick shop tour.  I don't do any talking as I don't have any decent audio recording equipment that I could move to my shop.  My video camera was a Canon point and shoot that I've always been happy with video for family stuff.

My 3 main areas of my shop are my Roubo bench, my joinery bench with a Moxon vise, and my sharpening station.  My shop is only 12' x 16' and due to the small size I've had to work over the years to optimize my work flow.  With the recent addition of tool and lumber storage, I'm close to as good as it can be without adding more space.

Tour of my mostly hand tool based woodworking shop in 2015

I'd be glad to field any comments or questions so feel free to add them to the post below.

Post Drill - Installed

I showed the post drill in my last post right after I got it home.  The next steps were to clean, paint, tune up, install.

Cleaning was lots of paper towels with a degreaser (Simple Green in my case) and then wire brushing followed by more wire brushing.  I took apart what I could to make cleaning easier.  Next was to put a little rust protection paint on the surfaces that could be painted (obviously the moving surfaces couldn't).

Before I could install it, I had to make a post in my shop.  I installed a 4x4 post just under my lumber storage loft (later to learn that it transfer's noise into our office and family room like you wouldn't believe).  Once I had the post up, I got a little help from my wife and mounted it to the post.

Post Drill - installed and ready

Post Drill - installed and ready

I'm still putting lubricant in the moving areas and seeing if there is anything to tune up.  One thing I'm playing with is the crank adjustment.  I have it all the way out for the most throw but I'll probably want that in except with big bits.  The advance movement is very slow and I don't think it's adjustable.  I'll know more as I try and use it.

Post Drill

My shop, while dedicated, is still pretty small at 16' x 12'.  Getting close to 10 years ago, I made the conscious decision to move more, though not exclusively, to a hand tool approach and sold off most of my large power tools.  My 2 main reasons are (1) space as I described above and (2) I'm not in a hurry so the journey of making projects is what I'm really enjoying.

The 2 big power tools that I still have are my bandsaw and my thickness planer.  I keep these 2 for specific reasons.  Ripping long boards is the least interesting sawing I have to do.  Also, initially thickening boards is the least interesting hand planing I have to do.

One tool I miss is my drill press.  Unlike the other 2 power tools, it's not because drilling is tedious but rather because I can't seem to drill a square/plumb hole.  I can set all sorts of squares around a brace and bit (or even a power drill) and depending on the thickness of the board I'm drilling through make a very angled hole.  It's quite frustrating.

So about a month ago, my friend Mike Lingenfelter said that his brother was heading to a more remote part of our state for a tool auction and said they were specifically looking for post drills.  They offered to keep an eye out for one for me and this past weekend, I checked it out and it was everything I'd hoped.

Post Drill

Post Drill

There is a bunch of rust though most of it seems to be on the surface but the gears all work, including the auto advance feature.  I need to clean it up and see what parts should be painted since rust will still be an issue over time.

Space is still an issue in my shop so I'm going to think about a mounting location and will undoubtedly need to be very creative about where and how I mount it.  

I also hope to retrofit the chuck with a modern chuck so that I can use my more modern bits.

I'm looking forward to getting the Post Drill operational though.

Post Drill, a different view

Post Drill, a different view