Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Got new toys

Which means I wont get much shop time for a little while...


As the snow is finally retreating, I'm getting antsy to clean all the rocks from my lawn that got blown from the driveway with the snowblower.


Usually I just rake and pick them up by hands, but its a real killer on my back. So this year, I bought a lawn sweeper to drag behind my lawn tractor. That should speed up the job and give my poor back a break.

I like it when they vaccu pack all the screws and parts in separate container.
So much easier to find the right parts and less chances of missing parts

Put it all together but could not get the tractor to start, sigh. It hasn't ran all winter, probably gummed up. Put in fresh gas, still Nogo.


I used my tractor a lot to move stuff around the yard with my trailer, which means lots of small runs and never long enough to recharge the battery, like when mowing the lawn.  So last year I got a small smart battery charger. Battery is always top up ready to go. Best thing I bought for my tractor.
Highly recommended if you have batteries that see intermittent, short runs.

Just like the name says, it`s wicked Genius!

My tractor is due for its yearly maintenance anyway, so I'll just call my local John Deere dealer to come pick it up and let them do their stuff on it. Long gone are the days when I do my own maintenance on most anything (except my woodworking tools) can't be bother anymore.

The other one is going to help me on this blog. I have been using a Canon Power Shot SD780IS,  I finally broke down and bought my first real DSLR camera.
A Nikon D5500 a couple of lens and a copy of Photoshop elements 13. There goes my tool budget for a while :-)


I have a big learning curve with it, so it may be a while before its pics shows up on my blog, time will tell. In the mean time, if you haven't done so yet, I invite you to catch up on my previous posts, that should keep you occupy long enough for me to get back in the shop :-)

Bob, reading and watching You tube tutorials


Monday, April 27, 2015

Energy efficiency comes to my shop

Twice a year in Nova Scotia, Spring and Fall,  we have rebates on various energy efficient upgrades.
We always used the occasion to replaces our light bulbs with LEDs. Never cared much for the CFLs, they may have been more efficient than incandescent for sure but at what price to the environment? They are fragile and contain mercury...Dumb idea!

LEDs bulbs may be expensive, but they come on instantly, no delayed full brightness, even more efficient than CFLs and etc. What is it not to like ...except the price :-(

Canada has banned incandescent light bulbs this year. Can no longer be manufactured, imported, and are being phased out from the stores. LEDs options are more plentiful and the prices are coming down.

With the rebates from Efficiency NS, I can buy LED bulbs from about $5 and up.
We are slowly changing from CFLs to LEDs, so far we have 34 LED bulbs installed and the next batch would be in the fall.  I can see a difference in my power bill, they are paying themselves pretty quickly.
Consider this, the main bathroom has twin sinks and a 3 light fixtures above each mirrors, that's 6 bulbs. I got Cree 40 W equivalent bulbs, drawing 6 W each, so for 36 watts I got the equivalent of 240W of  incandescent lights.  And then there are two more bulbs inside the ceiling ventilator and there is also a natural light tube. It is very bright in the bathroom :-)

In my shop remodel project I'm also tackling the lights in use. I replaced the lonely bulb in the ceiling above the built in bench, I had a 100W incandescent, I swapped it by a 9W (equivalent to 100W) LED bulb and it is even brighter, bonus.

100W incandescent
9W LED

My new LED bulbs are dimmable and made in the USA (Cree) and are regular $11.97 at Home Depot. With my rebate of $4 to $6 depending on models, they are quite affordable. Still, I counted 114 bulbs inside and outside the house, hence why we are changing them in batch twice a year. The first ones to go were the ones most often used: kitchen, bathrooms etc.

As the prices keep coming down, we will probably replaced them faster.
The other lights in the shop are Fluorescent fixtures, One 2 tubes over my work bench and one single tube over the built in bench. I get my fluorescent tubes, 4ft, recycled from my wife plant stands, she grows African Violets and goes thru a few tubes each year. Once they are about one year old she replace them to keep the light output, they are still plenty good for my needs, 8 in the garage, 3 in my basement shop. The portable lamp on my bench also has a 6W LED bulb.

Other energy savings in my shop come with the replacement windows in the basement, Energy star rated, Low-E. Argon filled and bla bla.


The walls are insulated by Styrofoam sheets under the OSB sheathing's walls. It is toasty warm and bright down there and I am doing my part to save the planet and save money, bonus!
And lets not forget that woodworking unplugged is easier on our environment also :-)

And talking of energy savings, it does not look like the furnace is about to stop anytime soon, we are getting mixed precipitations today, rain turning into snow, grrrr.. and the snow was almost all gone...

Hard to see on the pic, but the snow flakes are getting bigger by the minutes, sigh!
Thankfully as the day warmed up it changed to rain. phewww!

Quick quiz:
How many retirees does it takes to change a light bulb?

Only one, but it takes all day :-)

Bob, energy concious and snow saturated

Further work on the guitar project

You may remember the work I did earlier with a friend on his flea market $3 special 12 string Guitar project ? There was some broken or loose ribs under causing the top to caved in under the stress of the strings. Well after a while our reglued job on the ribs failed and the bridge is once more pulling out, so time for a more drastic approach.

The bridge pulling out caused by the failure of the ribs under the soundboard.

My friend Mark carefully cutting around the side purfling in preparation to unglued the bottom.

Then it was a matter of applying heat and steam on the side to remove the plastic purfling.

Which was then removed with a chisel 

Once completely removed we applied the heat to the back, 
we now have access to the sides of the back. 

The back removed, yes it was a bit messy, it is a plywood bottom, but we did it. 
Just keep in mind its a $3 guitar and we are strict amateurs :-)

With the bottom of the top exposed we can now assess the damages. Someone drilled thru the braces in an attempt to bolt down the bridge. Failed! Not only is the bridge still pulling out, the brace has cracked and is becoming unglued, causing the top to sag under pressures and making matter worse.



The good news is, the brace was easy to separate from the top. Now its time to make new braces.
Hopefully we can get the the top flat again.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The moulding iron jig part deux

Another day, where, I did not got shop time until later in the day. That's one thing about working with hand tools, it is quiet  (well at least there are no screaming universal motors) and it is therapeutic, Hommmmmmmm :-)

First I cleaned up my fluffy shavings mess from yesterday, oops, here goes an universal motor, my Shop Vac!

Regarding my problem with the narrow groove yesterday...
Decided to just move the fence over by another 1/8, so put in /2 plus 1/8 pieces together to reset the fence. Then recut the groove and tested with an assortments of irons, they all fit, from narrowness to widest

The board was then cut to rough length, twice. Just because, I wanted to play with my saws and my new bench :-)
First with my Disston No D23 8 TPI crosscut on my saw bench, using my removable fence. Not a bad cut for a saw tweaked for hardwood (think fleam).
Then cut closer to required dimension with my Craftsman miter box, sitting on top of the saw bench. Humm, that work but barely, the bench is not quite wide enough, the box move and becomes tippy. I finish my cut on the floor. I may revisit that setup by mounting the box on a board first. Unless I built a dedicated miter box station (unlikely) my mitre boxes would be mounted on some sort of boards anyway. Maybe a bench hook type of affair?

The cut, off the miter box was not too far off being square, should be easily tweaked on the saw set.

Then I knifed the wall for the wider recessed platform at one end of the groove and used a wide chisel to quickly pared it down. Now tried my irons again...

Only new problem to surface is the length of the recessed platform to support the blade profile. Some smaller iron are too far in when shoulder is engaged at the back. But if I cut it shorter, the bigger ones would have too much unsupported. Just goes to show, again, that there are wide differences between various wooden molding planes, the tangs and profiles are all over the places, even within a small selection like those from mine and Ralph's. If you built one, check your irons first!







While I ponder that question, I may as well moved on to the next step, fitting the clamp.
By a pure coincidence, the tip of my available clamp (stolen from drill press table) fit perfectly inside my groove, so that is what I did. This way I can grip solidly any tang that lays in the groove regardless of width or position.

My board being pine, (left over from saw bench skirt) I pre-drilled 
the holes for the 2 screws holding it down.
 Keeping with all hand tools approach, I used a gimlet.

Tried my selection of irons they all get gripped solidly, regardless of position in the groove or their width.  

Now time to check on the sliding metal stop, on its length and holes locations.

Widest iron in place. I can use the farthest hole on the left.

Sample narrow, Still got room to move in more, so next hole on right is perfect.

Also tried this set up. That pushed the profile far enough out so I can access it all with my sharpening media. That would also work if I push it far enough to touch the other groove wall. That would still be within the range afforded by my holes location. 


My experiments tell me that if I use the last 2 holes on the left of the mending bar, I have sufficient room. I now know how long to cut the piece and how big a slot to cut into.
I got the rest of my hardware at "Home Despot" today in my travel back and forth to my friend.
At the store I took the time to grab a similar mending bar that I got already to make sure the screws would fit.
Well, would you know it, my bar had its holes shrunk in storage apparently caused my screws don't quite fit :-)



 So now I need to cut a slot in my bar between the two holes, then I'll cut it to length and install it.

And that's obviously part 3, cause its time for my nap, then a cold one :-)

Bob, working at a leisurely pace.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Ralph's moulding iron jig

I really like the jig that Ralph from the Accidental Woodworker made for sharpening his moulding irons, so I figured I'll give it a quick go, since I'm still in the planing stages for my upcoming sharpening station. Besides having it before hand is a good excuse so I can make provisions for it :-)
So, armed with my doodle from his notes, I'm off to gather the materials while I do some errands.


My doodle CAD V1.0

I did not get to start it until much later in the evening, but still should be able to finish it.

Gather materials, check.
Try a few irons for sizes, check.

 After going over my board with my planes it was time to reduce it to width, good occasion to break in my new saw bench. That went real good, I'm quite please with my saw bench.

Rip to width on my new saw bench, using a holdfast.
I'm using a Disston No D8 5TPI Rip.

Left the line.

Shot the edge with a Record No 4 SS.
Same plane I used to do the faces.

Then I shot one end on the shooting board with my Veritas Low Angle jack plane. I like the heft of that plane for shooting.

The 3/8 slot for the iron's tang was then plowed with my Veritas small plow, which I set for 1/2 from the fence and 1/8 deep, using my Veritas set block. This is one place where using set up blocks is a lot faster and easier than trying to measure it.


After this, I did a quick check for the blade fit, and decided to try a few more. that's when I ran into troubles, the 2 other I picked had a much wider tang than my groove.
OK, no biggie, I just have to change the iron re-adjust my plane (fence and depth) and recut the groove. But by then I got thirsty, so I figured its a good enough place to stop, while I reconsider this jig.

Should I make one size fit all, or should I make two? At any rate, I better round up my planes and do some checking.

This is where I stopped. Board is flat both sides, to width and still need to be cut to length.
The groove is cut but may need to redo (?) 

I notice also that my irons in the two planes I used tonite are starting to leave some small scratches. They are due for sharpening, another distraction away from this quick (?) project.

Bob, regrouping

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Saw bench final details

Well, believe it or not, I managed to finished it :-)
Wed nite I worked a shift at the wood shop on the base, so I brought along my bench and a small tool kit. The funny shaped angled corner pieces are clamp caul  to ensure squareness when I glue assemblies.

The wood shop is really geared toward power tools woodworking, 
so I brought a small kit to finished it.

The bench, the feet pieces and the pieces of lumber for the skirts.
The material for the skirt is 3/4 in, would not want to make my saw bench to heavy now would we? 

Did not took too long to rip my skirt pieces to width, crosscut them to length and after a quick swipe of my No 6 fore plane they were installed on the bench. I decided to uses 3 biscuits on each sides to hold the skirt piece flush with the top, I was going to put screws in , but I rather leave that metal free in case I ever cut into it.

The skirts were later screwed in the side of the legs with a counter-bore. 
I used a 2 in screw with a washer on each side legs. 

My original plan was to to cut a small dado on the leg at the bottom of the skirt, to secure the T- shaped skirt to the legs. I opted for a simpler way. Time will tell if it is strong enough.  At this point, I still have to add the bottom brace pieces and these would be dadoed in so the legs would be reinforced even further. I also have to clean up the bottom of my legs. I went a bit over enthusiastic when I banged my dovetails together, as a results of the damages at the bottom, I now have reintroduced a bit of a rocking. Must fix that before I put the foot pieces on.

I also filled in the cracks with epoxy.

Once dried, I gave it a quick planing job with my No 4-1/2 to cleaned up the joinery and the epoxied cracks. That prove to be a very gummy experience for my poor plane, had to stop a few times to un-gummed the sole.  Guess I should have left the glue dry a bit more :-)

A friend took a picture of me cleaning up my shavings after. 
Compared to using power tools, this is a lot less messy and cleaner :-)
He asked that I put my shavings back on the floor to look more messy, non, I just cleaned up!

The bench back home, sitting temporarily on its footing pieces. 

The foot brace are ripped from a piece of Ash, so in spite of their thinness, should be strong enough.

The bottom braces are installed so that my foot can slip under to brace myself against the bench. This is useful for chisels work on the bench. It would not matter if strictly used as a saw bench.

Pieces of rubber, same as on the workbench, are contact cemented under then nailed.

Made a removable fence, held by 3 dowels. Would make crosscutting a breeze.


Last details is to put in a few 3/4 in holes for using the holdfast and bench pups accessories.  I'm not sure yet where to put them.
I will only put 4 (2 on top, 2 on one side) and wait until I have a need for it to figured it out.



That is why I went with 1-1/2 in thick construction lumber. Similarly the bottom brace to tuck my foot under is for chiseling. I may also put in a large hand hold in the middle of the top. Again will wait and see if need it. Last thing I want is to turn the top into Swiss cheese :-)

As for any kind of finish on it? Well its meant to be a shop appliance which I expect will get chew up in due time, so its not a piece of furniture, Ill go over with some sand paper and let it aged gracefully, just like me :-)

One last thing. While test driving it, I realized that it is a bit too low for me, I punch the floor easily using a 26 in saw. My max extension is 25 in, so I'm not likely to used anything longer. Re-checking my measurements, It look like the bottom of my knee is more like 19 in than 16. Hummm, how did I went from a 9 to a 6, I wonder :-) OK no biggie, I haven't attached the footing yet, I'll give this height a try and raise it if I see a need.

Bob, moving on to next project (not necessarily in line)