Friday, June 25, 2010
Back From the Dead!
Hi all. My apologies. I've completely ignored the blob and it's been two long years since I posted anything.
A lot has developed over the last two years, but I'm going to focus on non-work activities.
Let's dive into the workshop.
Along time ago my Dad gave me a behemoth of a hand plane that was in fairly good shape. Didn't really know what to do with it, so it got put in a cabinet only to come out when I wanted to fondle it. After moving up yonder to Northern VA, I had some time on my hands before we bought the house in Reston and I stumbled onto the website Woodnet which had forums on power tools and hand tools.
In perusing the hand tool forums I stumbled onto a thread about handplanes and one of the posters posted a photo of a plane that looked a lot like the one my Dad gave me. The plane was identified as a Stanley #8, but most importantly a Type 11, one of the more desirable versions of the plane. Checking mine indicated it was indeed a Type 11.
I had never used it and the blade was as it was when my Grandfather gave the plane to my Dad. I did a quick sharpen job on the blade with the limited resources at my disposal and applied the plane to a piece of wood.
Oh, my..... I took another stroke. And another. And another. Until I had a large pile of "curlies" on the floor. Yes I was hooked. The tote (handle) on the plane was broken but that was okay. I bought a piece of Cocobolo from Vienna Hardwoods and using the template on Lee Valley website, I cut another tote out of the Cocobolo. It didn't take long, but the Cocobolo was an odd color after smoothing. Kind of an orangy caste to it. I was sitting down watching TV and playing with the tote and the oil from my hands transformed the tote into a thing of beauty. Absolutely gorgeous color. I bought a can of Danish oil and wiped on a couple of layers and wow. Mounting it on the plane transformed it.
Realizing I really had no effective means of sharpening the blade I started researching the ins and outs of sharpening. Lots of recommendations to start with something called "Scary Sharp" which is to use several grades of sandpaper mounted to flat plates to sharpen the blades. I went to the company who did the granite counters in the kitchen and asked if I could rummage through their scrap bin for a couple of pieces of granite to mount sandpaper on. They had plenty, so I retrieved what I wanted from the dumpster and brought them home and cut them into appropriate sized pieces with my tile saw. In the interim I ordered an Eclipse sharpening guide and built a sharpening station for my belt sander based upon this one posted by fellow Woodnetter Derek Cohen.
I managed to get the blade on the #8 fairly sharp and was buoyed with my newfound skills. I embarked on what my wife was to call an obsession of collecting a fairly comprehensive set of Type 11 (or similar) Stanly planes. Over the next year or so, I was fairly successful and have a full suite with doubles of #4 and #5. Some were beaters, some were in good shape, but all needed cleaning and sharpening. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about old tools and being able to make them productive once again.
In parallel with the blade collecting "passion" I was able to pick up a couple of sets of chisels. I had had a four piece set of Craftsman chisels that I had bought many years earlier, but wanted a descent set to work with. I managed to find a set of Marples on E-Bay that was made in the UK and got them sharpened up and as the say, the slippery slope got slipperier. A couple of other chisel sets appeared as Woodcraft had a special on a 6 chisel Chinese set and I got a set of Ashely Iles off the for sale forum at Woodnet. So I'm awash in chisels.
Before we moved from Slidell, I had two panel saws that my Dad hd given me and somehow they got lost in the move up here to Virginia. I have no eartly idea where the two saws and a large bench vice disapperared to, but I've not been able to find them. I was perusing Craigs List one day and saw a Disston #8 panel saw for sale for $10. It was newer than the ones I had lost, but it looked brand new. As ot turns out it was a crosscut saw and I decided I wanted a ripsaw. I managed to find a #8 ripsaw on E-Bay shortly thereafter.
In addition with panels saws I became interested in backsaws. I bought a Disston #40 from a fellow Woodnetter which needed a little bit of tweaking shortly followed by two more #40's off of E-bay. All need resharpening at the very least so I need to work at that.
Last fall I was looking at Craigslist and came across this bandsaw.
The add said it was a 16" bandsaw and the price was $75. A quick shout out to the folks on Woodnet indicated it might be a Walker-Turner bandsaw and was highly desireable. My wife and I were taking my son and some friend to Maryland to do some "airsofting" so I decided while he was doing that we would go look at the saw as it was not far away. The saw was complete except for the opper blade cover so I grabbed it. I had to take it apart to get it on the back of the car as it was very heavy. The car was fairly full on the way home with the saw and the three teenagers and all their gear!
Anyway, I did some research on the web and the holy grail of old tools is OWWM . There are two websites, one with a lot of documentation on old tools and one with a forum discussing the tools. I was able to grab a manual for the saw and over the course of the next month or two was able to buy the odds and ends I needed to rehab the saw. I built a base for the saw out of plywood amd using a wirewheel I got everything cleaned up and repainted all the cast iron and the new base. Putting it all back together results in this,
While all this was going on another Craiglist add popped up showing this:
A quick check of the archive at OWWM revealed that this was a Craftsman Cabinet saw which I had been looking for. The beauty was the asking price was the pricely sum of $20.
Getting it home the next day I was able to grab a couple more photos:
It's fairly complete and not in bad shape. The seller provided a 1/2 hp 1750 rpm motor saying it went with the saw. I hate to think how poorly it cut with that motor. As it turns out the motor was non-functional so I just discarded it. The other major omission is the fence. A fellow OWWM'er has offered to send me the fence he took off his saw but he advised that I wouldn't be happy with it. So I'm on the lookout for a fence.
Anyway, I think that's all for a bit. Hopefully I won't be so long to post next time, but who knows.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Long Time Coming
Sorry to be so long in updating this, but things have ben very hectic. Last I posted, I promised to post more frequently. Oh boy was that a crock.
Anyway, as the blog is going to focus more on things of interest, here we goooooooo......
I'm going to break this post up into a couple of sections so that they are properly "classified" here in Thingamablog. As we discussed, the focus of the site is now going to be:
So read on for more of the above!
Friday, June 20, 2008
Back to the workshop....
With the kitchen remodel out of the way, it's now time to turn my attentions to the workshop and tools, languishing since Katrina.
The house we bought has an unfinished basement which I claimed as a workshop. This has taken some getting used to because there is no natural light and it shares the space with all the mechanical equipment for the house. It is also significantly smaller than the space I'm used to working, but it's bigger than the tin shed I had way back when we lived in Metairie. So particular focus has been spent on maximizing space utilization.
When I tore the old cabinets out of the kitchen I knew I wanted to be able to use them again and putting them in the basement space seemed ideal. I got about 90% of the cabinets installed against the outside wall for a lot of storage. This allowed me to start unpacking boxes of stuff from the garage in Slidell some of which I hadn't seen in nearly 3 years.
Of course I modeled the whole thing in SketchUp and this is what the workshop will look like...
You can see the cabinets on the back wall and the placement of the tablesaw on the left and the band saw and thickness planer on the right. The new Makita Sliding Compound Miter Saw from Tyler Tool is on the cabinet and further along the wall is the jointer-planer.
Looking at it from another angle shows the layout more clearly
Getting all that done, now the focus was getting the tools whose stands all perished in the flood workable again.
In a previous post I talked about the stand I wanted to build for the table saw I foresaw a problem in limited means to cut sheet material so I had designed the base primarily out of dimensional lumber. Taking the opportunity to utilize my new SketchUp skills, I migrated that design into SketchUp.
If you rememeber it looked like:
I even went so far as to by all the dimensional lumber but I just couldn't bring myself to build this. Don't know why. Last summer, I built a TV stand out of plywood for the house in Ashburn using nothing more than a circular saw, jig saw and a belt sander. Not to pat myself on the back it turned out pretty good. If I could cut the plywood for that, I could certainly cut plywood for a tablesaw stand. I decided to fall back to my original design (made form MDF, ugh) but made even more modular.
What I came up looks like this:
This is much more to my liking and it will be transportable if need be. It's made of of four boxes (two of which are identical) that I will bolt together using through fasteners. Simple yet effective and much nicer looking.
Only now what do I do with all the 2 X 4 's I bought?????
Dang. Maybe I'll give them to Habitat for Humanity with the rest of the kitchen appliances.
Stay tuned for the jointer and thickness planer stands!!
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Some time back (don't remember exactly when) I was reading my monthly issue of Fine WoodWorking magazine and there was a piece about designing furniture with Google's free SketchUp 3D modeler. I read the piece with some interest as I've been designing woodworking projects in SolidWorks for a long time.
The problem is designing casual woodworking projects in SolidWorks is it's akin to taking a Formula 1 race car to get a gallon of milk at the grocery. While it certainly can be done, it's not the most cost or time efficient methodology out there. Some time back I had casually reviewed SketchUp (I honestly don't remember which version) and had been underwhelmed. In any event, I downloaded a copy and began investigating.
Spelunking around, I found some on-line tutorials and began to play with SketchUp. It's a completely different mindset than SolidWorks and no where near as powerful, but it was just the thing I was looking for to hash out casual woodworking projects. The neat thing about SketchUp is being free, an amazing user community has sprung up which includes a 3D model depositry hosted by Google.
While all this was going on, my wife and I purchased a house in Reston that is definitely a fixer upper. We knew from the outset that it was going to need a complete kitchen makeover, so I decided to use the opportunity to fold SketchUp into that process. After flailing around with a design for a while that neither Melanie nor I liked as a result of the odd dimensions we had to work with, we got the opportunity to see the kitchen of a neighbor who has a similar floor plan as ours. She had completely transformed the space into a way we hadn't imagined so we immediately asked her if we could steal the idea (which she admitted wasn't hers!). Taking the new layout the new ideas and building them into the layout I had been building of the floor space allowed us the opportunity to get a really good feel for the design. We had decided early on to use CraftMaid cabinets in the kitchen and fortunately enough CraftMaid offers 3D AutoCAD models of their cabinets which can be imported directly into SketchUp
Spending a lot of time tweaking the layout resulted in the following:
Using the basic layout, we got the cabinets ordered from Home Depot, some $15,000 worth, and began demo. Some 4 1/2 months later this is what the kitchen looks like:
Which is pretty close! SketchUp is a pretty amazing tool.
One of the things we did was open up the big space in the wall leading to the living room which greatly increased the feel of space in the kitchen. The SketchUp models really gave us a good feel for this.
Some wonderful SketchUp resources are:
- Google of course
- Go-2-School has a great series of on-line tutorials, highly recommended!
- Sketchucation has a plethora of resources including a really great forum section and some add-in Ruby scripts that are mandatory.
The one thing that SketchUp (the free version at least) doesn't do is create 3D pdf's. I got used to having those in SolidWorks and they are really great. But for the price, I can't complain!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
change of focus
Sorry it's been a while since I have posted, but we've been very busy.
I've been thinking about this blog lately and it's time to transition it into something a little less personal. For those of you who have been reading for a while, this was started some time back primarily as a conduit to reach out to all those we couldn't easily contact after Hurricane Katrina. I wanted a central resource that friends and family could consult in order to see how things were going in the great rebuilding of our lives.
Now that the rebuilding phase of our lives is behind us, I'm going to change the focus of this blog into more of a technical nature.
Henceforth I shall be focusing primarily on one of three topics
- Digital Photography
The blog is already segregated into those areas, so this will really not be a major difference in layout. It's all about a change of focus.
To all those who have followed the story of our travails, I thank you. Your hopes and prayers for us have been answered in droves and we are exceedingly grateful.
The postings will 'hopefully' be more frequent. I'm aiming for once a week with a common theme running for some period of time until it's exhausted.