Sunday 18 April 2010

Things Are Sliding, But Hopefully Not Downhill...

I’ll admit to a strange habit. When a project is stalled because I’m not sure how to handle something, I often take a walk around Home Depot and take in the “stuff”. Often, I’ll see something that triggers an idea, and off I go.

I did this yesterday, walking up and down the aisles aimlessly, trying to figure out how to drill that 20” hole in the hinge in a way that would minimize screwing it up. It came to me in the plumbing section, believe it or not, when I spotted the different sized hose clamps.

This is the result of that brainwave.

I guess you would call this a “Sled”, as I think the term “Feed Table” is reserved for a motorized version of this type of thing.

Seeing the hose clamps gave me the concept of how to fix the drill. It wasn’t a stretch of the imagination to come up with the bed, it is just a 1x8 hunk of pine with a couple of 1x2’s used as skates and two more used as guides. A thick coat of LeeValley’s “Waxilit” made the whole thing slide back and forth with minimal force.

I still have to fine-tune the position and height of the drill and make a couple of more clamps to hold and position the hinge. Once I get that done I can take it for a test drive.

The comments from Bill and Steve in response to my last post where I asked for some ideas regarding how to handle this were good, and I appreciated the thought they put into their suggestions. The problem I had was that they both involved cutting up the hinge. Both ideas would work, but both would also take the challenge out of it and frankly, guys, where’s the fun in that?

I’ll let you know how things work out.




I produced this jig to minimize screwing up my mahogany hinge while drilling a 1/4" diameter hole through its entire 20" length.

I screwed it up.


Friday 16 April 2010

Shooting Board Update...

Here is where I am at with this wooden hinge for my "be-all and end-all" Shooting Board.

I have the shape roughed out and ready to fine-tune. I am not going to remove any more stock until the pin is holding the two plates together, even though I have to fight to get the barrels lined up right now. For the first time in my life I was really stingy with the material I removed, so instead of having to figure out how to add material to overcome a sloppy fit (something I still haven’t figured out after all these years), this time I have to refrain from removing more to make the joints freer.

The hinge is 20” long and 6” wide, each plate being 3”. The hinge flats are ¾” thick and the barrel is 1 ½” in diameter. I have a ¼” brass threaded rod that will act as the pin, held in by an acorn nut with twin shoulder washers on each end. Drill the ¼” hole, slide the pin in and Bob’s your uncle (he is, actually – God bless him).

I have been putting this little drilling job off now for two weeks.

So what’s the hold up?

That 20”!

I’m scared to death that I will not get the bit aligned right, especially because I will have to drill from both ends and meet in the middle. If that isn’t enough reason to stall the job, I can always add the reality that a ¼” drill bit travelling 10 or 11 inches is definitely going to have some deflection along its way, so even if I get the alignment bang on, how can I be sure the drill won’t decide to head south a quarter of the way through?

Any ideas?



Monday 5 April 2010

How to talk about screws politely...

I bought this set of thread cutters recently on eBay, thinking I got a real score as they are a matched set of four and relatively old.
A couple are marked, "Henry Boker", with "Germany" underneath a symbol of an arrow, two crossed lines and a couple of stars. I did some research before I bought them and the only inference that I could find about this manufacturer was on the Davistown Museum web site. There they stated that the Henry Boker company was a prolific exporter of tools from Germany, many landing on the shores of the Americas. Nothing special there, except to me, a matched set of four average tools is much better than four different ones. I said this before in this blog, I think this comes from being raised poor and having a kitchen cupboard of mismatched glasses, cups and the like. The one shinning star in the whole kitchen was my father's matched set of beer glasses. Go figure. Anyway, I grew up with a penchant for all things matching.

Anyway, back to these thread cutters.

I need a number of adjusting and locking screws for my new shooting board so I thought this would be the perfect answer. The listing and the tools are marked; "1 1/8", "1", "3/4" and "1/2", which I assumed was the size of the d0wels used to make the screws. When they arrived, I noticed they are also marked with a second set of numbers, those being; "13", "36", "6" and "2". They make no sense to me.

The other day I stopped off a Lee Valley (just down the street from the college, tee-hee) and picked up some maple dowels, one 1/2" and one 3/4", just to give them a go. Nope, wouldn't fit. All four have sample threads or test pieces, so I measured them to try and figure things out. Just for an example, the one marked 3/4" has a test thread of 11/16", that is a measurement of the none-threaded area above the thread.

If anyone out there can enlighten me on these sizes, I would truly appreciate it.



Thursday 1 April 2010

"He's baaackkkkkk"...WoodTreks...

Of all the digital blogs in all the digital servers in all the world; I had to choose this one.

Ok, that old Bogart movie line didn't quite translate as well as I would have liked it to, but you get the drift. It is my belief that there is one blog out there stands head and shoulders above all the others, and that blog is WoodTreks.
After a hiatus of God knows how long, Cruickshank is back behind the camera making us all better woodworkers again. Having taken time out to move his family to a new part of the country, building a new home, shop, and of course, a new film studio, it has been quite a while since those once anticipated emails started to show up in my in-box again. After viewing the postings on this site more times than I have watched the Law and Order rerun series', I am beyond thankful to see them again.

I would be surprised if you don't already know about WoodTreks, but if you haven't been exposed to the finest woodworking how-to videos on the web today, then you should take it in. Put aside some serious time to do so though, because this is one very serious woodworking blog.

I, like thousands of other amateur woodworkers around the world, like to sit down and yak about what I did, what I bought and what I would like to do when it comes to all things wood. While, in many cases, a lot of information can be gleaned though the thousands of posts that go online every day, the truth is, a lot of woodworking processes are unexplainable in words, even when they are supported by images. Keith Cruickshank, however, has taken a different approach to this information-sharing stuff, and actually kicks it up a serious hundred notches or so, even though talking, ok, writing, isn't his thing. With each post, Keith pretty much says nothing more than; "Hi, I'm Keith Cruickshank and welcome to WoodTreks. In this video series, we visit..."

What Keith does is locate and arrange a film session with some of the best craftsmen in America, all working in different fields. Keith hauls a studio set-up to their location and films them putting on a complete and in-depth demonstration. Where he finds these craftsmen is beyond me, but find them he does, and they are all at the top of their crafts. The results of both of these craftsmen; the one doing the demonstration and the one filming it, are - as appropriately put as I can - just bloody amazing.

One of Keith's latest releases covers Hammer Veneering, as demonstrated by Patrick Edwards, a San Diego based artisan and teacher. In it, Patrick shows you how each step is accomplished, demonstrating each method, shows the wanted result, and explains the pitfalls you can fall into getting there. In this 13 minute video, this pair of masters give you more insight into this process than what could be had in a month's worth of reading.

But it doesn't stop there. In the usual Cruickshank manner, he then follows this movie up with another that discusses only the glue. Hide Glue is a topic very few of us know much about, In this second latest release, the video; "Hide (& Animal Protein) Glues: Background, Selection and How to Prepare", Patrick delves into the many aspects of working with this historic material from explaining and showing all the different varieties, to giving insight into such things as how to determine the holding power of each.
We all have had a home movie camera pointed at us at one time or another and it would not be stretching it to say that the moment we see the lens directed at us, most of us turn into frozen popsicles. Having watched all of WoodTreks' films, each a number of times, I have yet to see one craftsman struggle with their demonstrations. Each and every one of them is relaxed, confident and open. While I have never been privy to one of Keith's film sessions, having worked in this industry many times over my career, I can tell you that this relaxed appearance has little to do with the star, and everything to do with the person behind the camera and the one directing. As Keith wears both of these hats, the credit for relaxing his subjects and letting them do their demonstrations as though they were explaining it to you directly, in their own shop, lies squarely at his feet. It is obvious Keith has nothing but pure talent for relaxing his subjects and allowing them to connect with their unseen audiences.

While Keith has come up with winning content for each movie, the way that content is captured is equally important. Poor lighting, camera angles and a lack of interest all serve to make a very good project go very bad, very quickly. This doesn't happen in Keith's movies as each and every one is far and above some of the best produced and captured productions of this type that I have ever seen. They all are professionally staged, professionally lit, professionally shot and professionally edited, all by a guy with a marketing background who never took a camera lesson in his life. If credit goes to the teacher, than not only do I have to take my hat off to Keith the Videographer, but I have to do so as well to Keith, the Videographer Instructor.

Keith's attention to detail and quality stand out in each production, but if I had a complaint about the site, I would have to say that Keith, the woodworker behind it all, doesn't. There is a person behind every blog out there and coming to know him or her is what adds so much to this insane style of communication. Keith, however, prefers to let his camera do the talking for him. While that camera, in his hands, is very articulate, I would like to see more of what Keith is about.

In the opening titles for each movie you are presented with an absolutely stunning example of quality workmanship; the corner view of what appears to be one hell of a great looking workbench. Some time ago I cornered Keith into admitting that he was the craftsman who created that bench, oversized dovetails and all. When he told me that, I asked that he do a post on it as I would truly like to see it all, not just that one amazing corner. I'm still waiting.

WoodTreks. Far and above better than any old Bogart movie.