Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Projects for 2010

Despite it being the end of March and I'm still working on 2009 project I've been busy planning a few projects for 2010. Feel free to post comments and suggestions.

Shaker Style Blanket Box
The first project, is a Christmas present for my two nieces (1 and 4). I wanted to make them a small project, and my sister thought a blanket/toy chest would be great. The only design stipulations were the size, couldn't have any sharp corners, cant jam their fingers and they should be able to sit on it.

Kerry Pieces's book on Pleasant Hill Shaker Furniture has an article on a classic little box which will form the basis of my design. To provide a nice seat to the top, I plan to ask mum, (an avid patchworker) to make a nice patchwork cushion which can be attached by press studs epoxied to the underside of the top. I need to research hinges. Timber will most likely be radiata pine. As for finishing; I limewash and varnish.

Shaker Style Trestle Table
I have a selection of fiddleback and plain Tasmanian Mrytle set aside for this project. This will be my second attempt at a shaker style table. I learnt a few things the first time around, and am looking forward to trying some new techniques. The fiddleback boards are only 1", and will be edged with 4" of 1 3/4" plain myrtle, and re-enforced with the wood to join with the leg. I'm considering using bent laminations rather than solid timber for the curved leg for increased strength on the short grain. The chairs will be a whole other issue.

Classic Bookcase
The bookcase will be a wedding present for a friend. I plan to use more classical joinery and techniques including (mitered) dovetails, hide glue, mortise and tenon frame construction, and french polish finish. As well as modern knife hinges, and glass panels. The plan is for nice figured red cedar sides and top, plain ceder shelving, and a pale silver ash tongue and groove backing. This project should also include a secret drawer.

Drill Press Upgrade
I have a 3/4hp carbatec drill press which needs an upgrade from the ridiculous tidy table. The plan is, with inspiration from Australian Wood Review, to make a table the height of my workbench, and then make a mechanism to allow the drill to move up and down. Fun times.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Reenforcing the Sliding Vice Spike

I can list the number of metal work project I’ve completed on one hand. All of which I completed at school. However, the need arose when some research showed certain components of this build required re-enforcement.

Before I glued the top, I cut a section to receive the spike from the sliding leg vice. Despite the 140mm of wood between the slot and the front, several sliding leg vices I’ve seen (including Bill Liebold's ), use metal to prevent warping of the bench front. Using coach screws I installed 3×40x40mm galvanised steel angle.

The spike is attached to the sliding leg vice. It's function is to slide in the slot below the table (now re-enforced) and to provide counter force for the vice (preventing the vice from being pulled forward and out of the bench!)
The decorative elements follow the same clover leaf and curves as the rest of the bench. Slots are cut to allow the piece to slide down, flush with the top of the bench, and then be moved up into the groove. I used a drill to cut the slots, cleaning them with a carbide router bit. (I still need to tidy the wood.)

As the entire pressure from the vice is transmitted through this joint, I used two pieces of 2x20x20mm aluminum angle, to re-enforce the joint. I used structural epoxy to hold it while I worked on it. When it is on the bench it will be bolted.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Online Woodworking Community & Widgets in Static Pages

If you're reading this then chances are you're familiar with the Online Woodworking Community. That unofficial group of half mad woodworkers who can't find enough people close to them to talk about woodworking they need to plaster it all over the net. (And have a good deal of fun in the process!)

I've added a section to ~theloveofwood~ to function as a blog roll; a list of blogs that I follow regularly. Never to do anything simply; a list wouldn't do, I wanted active RSS feeds. After some tweaking; it's alive.

Blogger Tweak
As a general rule, Blogger, does not let you add widgets to the (static) pages or the main post section. This cause me some problems when I wanted to make my blogroll actively incorporate the RSS feeds of those blogs. I got around the problem after reading a few forums and some coding.

The first step, in the template HTML section I needed to change showaddelements to yes. This may be different in your template.

b:section class='main' id='main' showaddelement='yes'

This enabled me to add widgets to the center section as I would anywhere else on blogger.

After clicking 'Expand Wiget Template' you can edit the properties of the template. Blogger allows the use of 'if cond' condition statements which allows the code to ask a question. In this case is asks a simple question 'is this a post page or a static page?'

If the question is true, than any code between the if and the /if is run.

b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == "static_page"'

In this example: is the page static? (ie. my only static page is my blog roll) If it is show the widget (ie. the RSS feeds for the blog role.) If it isn't don't show the widget (ie. if it's post and not the blog roll page, don't include the widget.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Acacia melanoxylon - Tasmanian Blackwood

Tasmanian Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon, part of the wattle family) sets the standard in cabinet timbers from Tasmania. It's softly variegated golden to dark browns often streaked with black set an interesting but not overwhealming tone. It's white sapwood although very soft can also be used for distinguishing marks. It's grain is normally wavy to straight, and can be found with large swirls or fiddleback.

Blackwood is a pleasant timber to work. Cuts crisply, turns smoothly, and planes easily (in the right direction.)

The only area in which you may run into to trouble it's it's high silca content. This in turns means high heat production (very easy to cause machinery burns) and dulling of blades in an otherwise medium toughness wood.

It's density is ~640kg/m^3 (12%) or 870kg/m^3 (green.) Janka density 5.9.

The Bedside Tables

Click for details: Tasmanian Blackwood Bedside Tables


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Progress on the Wheel Brackets

I've made headway on the wheel brackets, the most complicated piece of joinery so far. Shaping was by drill press, rasp, router and sand paper. The pieces are attached using 3 small 10x10mm mortises with wedges. Glued with titebond 3 provide a very strong joint. Tenons were cut using a small dozuki hand saw.

By why do I need a wheel bracket? When Jameel at Khalaf Oud Luthiery (who developed the bench crafted vices) first made his roubo he used rollar blade wheels to reduce friction on the parallel guide.

The bench crafted design (see above) using two bolts in line with the parallel vice to allow fine tuning. As I wanted the entire mechanism below the shelf I moved the bolts to the side. The pro's and con's (namely justed inline strength and complexity of build) of this have been discussed. I have to fill a few small gaps with epoxy, a little bit of sanding, and the brackets are ready to roll. (Pun intended.)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ideal Starter Workbench

On my morning peruse of lumberjocks I came across this interesting workbench by KennethW.

It's a simple wooden knockdown workbench. It offers an element of simplicity; while still having a vice of decent size, various bench holes for wonderpups/hold downs, and a bench top usable for small projects of furniture or boxes.

I assume it couldn't weigh more than 50-60kg (compared with the 300kg of my workbench.) Which would make moving this bench a little easier. My only concern is about the rigidity of the base and some flex and movement with each mallet blow.

Click for details: Knock-down workbench and wood vise

Overall though; for someone just starting out, or working in a small area and/or rental this would be an ideal bench. Two thumbs up.

Shaker Table on LumberJocks

Click for details: Blackbutt Wedding Shaker Table

This is project I completed a couple of years ago. Just uploaded to LumberJocks.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Looking for a Handle Maker

My skills and equipment don't (as of yet) extend to turning. When my current project reached a stage where it requires turning, I'm going to have to outsource. I'm looking for someone to make me two handles to hold the steel rod used as the sliding vice parallel guide stop.

I've made a quick sketch of various options trying to incorporate the design details of the bench such as it's concave and convex curves, as well as traditional chisel design (eg. g).

I have enough timber to make it in blackwood, blackbutt or redgum.

Which do you like?

Discussion @ Australian Woodwork Forums.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Borrowing Tools - Fine Woodworking

Gary, If a someone asks to borrow a prized chisel how would you politely decline the request? I replied thusly: There are several options.

The Shakespearean Answer
Be Shakespearean: “What, you egg! Shag haired villain of treachery! [And then, with a smile on your lips] Touch my chisel sirrah? Begone or I shall have to smite thee with my deadblow!”

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Click for details: Phoebe

3.775kg, 27/02/2010, 1049pm.

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