Sunday, December 5, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
as summer flows past in its irregular heartbeat of projects one thing has remained the same, the plodding progression of drawer building. Just when it all appears to be nearing completion, the last dovetail cut, the last groove plowed, widths and lengths tweaked, a few questions arise.
Do I really like these knobs?
well... not really, they interfere with the design in ways I can't quite figure
too small, too busy, wrong color
so it's back to the lathe, a strip of hard maple trimmed from the tabletop, and the lessons learned from the previous bunch. One afternoon is all I need this time, thirteen pieces from one stick, though it was a little hairy near the beginning.
And then it's time! Glue-up...
Maybe I should finish the insides of the drawers first, after all sanding between coats will be so much simpler, just don't finish the tails or pins...
where to put all these pieces!
After the insides are complete I can do the glue-up (no I'm not procrastinating) final fitting, and then finish the outsides. Then I can show you the finished pictures, I think you'll agree the new knobs really made the piece!
Monday, July 5, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
I just spent the afternoon rabbeting five small bits of wood, four rabbets each, plus two pieces with only two, so a sliver over a sixteenth of an inch ran the span between the front and back stretchers. Each rabbet took twenty four to thirty passes with a large rabbet plane, on my fence equipped shooting board, and maybe only twice did the cut have to be mended. A good plane is predictable, true, a good plane should cut a flat surface the same amount so that after thirty two passes, the surface is completely parallel to its origin. It helps to know how to hold the plane, how to push, how to steady, and hold plumb, when to skew or tilt or dip, you learn the sound, the feel, you anticipate a calamity and prevent it.
This is what I love about hand tools, each becomes a part of you. I work all day with routers, table saws, chop saws, radial arm saws, jig saws, sanders of all colors and sizes, a massive dust control system and some really uncomfortable safety gear, it's like getting suited up for a joust, then taking it all off and shutting everything down for ten minutes just to think and measure and yes, actually do math, then don the armor, turn on the noise makers and get er done.
Thank the gods for filler!
There's no finesse in a production shop, it's pretty as long as you don't look too close. I'm constantly heckled for my desire to be accurate, they call it "working too close"
Nice thing about the drawers, each will be unique, thinner walls, different dovetails, attention to its own attributes.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I've had a good weekend, a few afternoons after work, and a couple odd hours otherwise, after giving this thing a good lube, or two, the action is so smooth it's almost a letdown, I really thought I'd get a workout.
Once it all settled in, it's really no effort at all, just gotta keep the rhythm.
The hard maple cut-offs from the tabletop seemed to be as good a challenge as I could muster, but the results are out of this world! I really can't believe a meat-powered machine could do work like this, total control over speed and depth of cut.
I've been transitioning over for a couple years to pure hand-work, and I love it. Every time I perform the same task without power, noise, and dust, I'm continually amazed at the speed, accuracy and fulfillment I can achieve.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I'm always up for a challenge, but this is crazy.
stand there, weight on one foot, Karate Kid crane stance, whuu
free foot bicycles in place, whuuuahh
force on the push stroke, hyyya
barely disengage at the upper apex
hold a tool
light grasp near the end
the real way to hold a hammer
four fingers and the weight of the other hand
slide it home
hips and shoulders and legs and arms
yea right, I get it, but it's not there yet. I know what to do after just a few hours, but I have the sneaking suspicion that it will take many months of those hours to get it right, long enough to even sail a ribbon
oh yea, one more thing.
square stock!, you can't match the center if the end ain't square!
and when your meat is doing all the work, every little bit counts, every sliver of friction you can loose, every edge, that's why wood turners know planes! (not like I'd even know that, but I'm pretty damn sure I'm right!
You are asking yourself, wait, what the hell is he talking about.
I must have forgotten to tell you.
I finally dove.
After many months pondering, checking the finances and schedules, I bought it.
CME Handworks Inc. Treadle Lathe
It's a pretty little thing, well not so little, but you get my drift
Really beautifully made, great curves and even brand spanking new, pretty smooth.
It's me that's going to take some work.
The design is simplicity in itself, matched with an elegant grace. It really demands to be used. And there's smashing little touches like the Bubinga handles (which by the way look perfect with just a coat of paste wax!)
I will get a good finish on it as the weather warms up but for now it's quite an entertaining workout. Think about it, hand planes really do the upper body some good, now how about a little somthin somethin for the waist down.
Having never turned a thing except some handles on the drill press with a rasp and sandpaper,
this is a challenge indeed.