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

New, Improved Lumber Storage

Before I start, I want everyone to know how grateful I am to have 2 strapping teenage sons.  Now, I'm grateful for so many reasons that have nothing to do with this blog but...if they weren't around, I wouldn't have been able to install the storage.  Even with their grumbling and words of "It's not going to fit, Dad!" I am still thrilled they were there to help.

I have a "loft" over part of my shop.  It is 2x6 construction with 12" centers so you could hold a dance on it if there was enough head room.  Without the head room, I just use it for storage.  It has been a disorganized, piece meal storage location so I wanted to improve it.

My goal was to create multiple shelves and cubbies in the shelves so I could keep like wood with like wood.  I am far from an expert but for the few species I work with, I'm beginning to be able to tell what is what.  I thought I might be able to install 3 shelves on the loft but it turned out only 2 was practical.

Given the 4 foot depth, I cannot really store extra long lumber there but it will get most of the usable pieces off the ground which is at a premium in such a small shop.

Lumber Storage in my shop

Lumber Storage in my shop

The amount of space I saved on the ground helped a bunch in giving me some elbow room.  It will be a little more inconvenient to have to get on a ladder to get my lumber but I think I can work with that.

Additional Shop Projects

I have paint, stain, and other finishing and cleaning supplies on an open shelf for the whole time my shop has been in existence.  I've always wanted to put these supplies in an enclosed metal cabinet.  So I made a quick trip to a big box store and got one that should server.

Paint, Stain, Finishing supply storage

Paint, Stain, Finishing supply storage

Next I have to improve my wood storage.  Right now it's on the floor and on shelves and on my mini loft.

First I have to remove a door accessing the attic next to my shop.  Quite a while back, I installed external security cameras (ever have too many hobbies?) and in so doing, I cut open the drywall in my shop and installed "temporary" doors in case I needed access again.

1 of 3 Doors to the attic.

1 of 3 Doors to the attic.

It's not pretty but unfortunately, I created 3 doors.  When I installed a heater in my shop (see past summer posts), I patched up one of the three doors.  Now that I am addressing lumber storage I need to close up the second of the three doors.  The last of the three will remain in case I need access in the future.

Drywall Patch to close up door in prep of lumber storage

Drywall Patch to close up door in prep of lumber storage

First thing, it's good this is my shop because my drywall patches kind of suck.  If I ever need to do this inside of my house, I'd better practice a bit more.

In the picture above, you can see that I have a loft on one end of my shop.  I've used that for some wood storage but I need to make it more efficient so that I can store nearly all of my wood there.  Now that the wall is patched, I will create stacked shelves or cubbies for the wood allowing me to keep it organized and mostly out of the way.  I'll post a final picture when I have it all done

Last Cabinet is done - Saw Till

I finished the door for the saw till.  Most saw tills don't have doors but I live in the Pacific Northwest so humidity and moisture is all around so I wanted an enclosed space to keep my saws so that I could keep a silica based de-humidifier in it and attempt to control moisture and rust.

Saw Till - with door installed (closed)

Saw Till - with door installed (closed)

I'm a western saw user for the most part but I do have a few pull saws and so I am using the inside of the door to store those saws.

Saw Till - with pull saws on inside of door.

Saw Till - with pull saws on inside of door.

I am hoping over time to explore saw sharpening too so I'm glad that I have a larger panel saw collection than I really need.  I do think I want get 2 additional Bad Axe saws.  I'd like a crosscut that is a bit longer than the Lie-Nielsen crosscut and maybe after that a rip saw with a slightly shallower plate than the Lie-Nielsen rip saw.  All of this waits for additional funds to be saved up.

Saw Till Cabinet

Now that the Plane till is done, it's time for one more shop cabinet.  I am building a Saw Till such that I can have a door on it and still fit all my saws inside.  The reason for the door is to have a little control over humidity via some silica based de-humidifiers (via Amazon).  Living in the Pacific Northwest  means we have lots of moisture which of course means rust for all metal surfaces.

The saw till is a basic cabinet box with dovetailed corners.  The dovetails allow the cabinet to have some strength just for the hanging (tails on the side panels and pins on the top/bottom).  I placed a center divider at the bottom of the cabinet allowing the positioning of 2 dowels to hold the saws up on their handles.

Saw Till (loaded) with no doors yet

Saw Till (loaded) with no doors yet

I still have to make a door.  On the inside of the door, I will hang a few pull saws I use occasionally.

My Plane Till next to my new Saw Till

My Plane Till next to my new Saw Till

No more shop builds after this cabinet though I do have one moderate project to coral my minor amount of lumber and keep it organized and out of the way.  After that, it will be time to build something else.