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This is a collection of all the different blogs I (try to) read. A whole bunch! If you have any comments or suggestions feel free to use the CONTACT page to get a hold of me. Thanks!
Lately I’ve been struggling to find any free time for woodworking among other things. This is generally my favorite time of year to woodwork, the weather is warm and comfortable, but the heat and humidity of the summer are still weeks away. It left me wondering how many woodworkers in my situation also manage to find time to woodwork. Basically, my schedule is as follows:
Wakeup 5 a.m.
Leave for work 6:15 a.m.
Work 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Return from work 6 p.m.
Like most people I work Monday thru Friday. I also work every other Saturday. Of course, there are the typical things that needed to be done around the house like washing clothes, cleaning, making sure bills are paid, lawn work, etc. I also go to the gym either 3 or 4 nights per week depending on the week. Luckily the gym is just a short distance from my house so that generally takes no more than 90 minutes of my time. Couple all of this with things like having dinner and spending time with my family and it doesn’t add up to a whole lot of free time. At that, I would have to think that my schedule is pretty typical for most people in my age demographic. So my question is: Do other woodworkers struggle to find free time for woodworking as much as I do? I would love that answer to be “yes” just to know that I’m not the only one in that boat.
Most of last week, I was in Connecticut to film a video with teacher, sculptor, author, artist and woodworker Toshio Odate, along with our video editor, David Thiel, and studio manger Ric Deliantoni. I’d prepared (of course) a long list of questions and subjects to discuss with Toshio…but when we turned the cameras on, Toshio started talking, and I could barely get a word in. And that’s great – because […]
|KUBISK Night Stand|
This really should have been no surprise, as we all know, engineers are put together a little different than the rest of us. Being one to never walk away from a challenge I set about designing a cantilevered pair of night stands in the cubic design theme we had chosen.
|Metal brackets to support the top, with|
slotted holes for top wood movement.
The key challenge obviously was how to support the top and make it as invisible as possible, joining end grain, even with dominos would not be strong enough to support even a short 5/4 cherry top. Enter my friend Joey - the machinist. I went to him with my idea and we designed a bracket that would sit under the top and inset into the side. They showed up a week later and as usual they were perfect, I cleaned them up and painted them black to match the hardware and installed them in the base.
Festool Domino Changes woodworking in small Bedford shop...
|A test fit-up with Dominos.|
|Another test fit-up for the top,|
looks pretty level!
To me this entire bedroom suite project was going to be a big one and I have been thinking about the Festool Domino Tool for a while; this project with its rectilinear joinery suited the domino perfectly so I picked one up.
What do I think of it?
In short, why did I not do this years ago? While traditional mortise & tenon has its place, this type of joinery has no peer. It has clearly picked up where biscuit joiners have left off.
As the first pieces of the set, the night stands were for me a chance to work out the joinery on the rest of the pieces, and as such it was a design-build project. The dominoes made test assembly and rework a breeze. Compounding with the top design and making most of this up as I went along, this was a very challenging project - my favorite kind!
Time too valuable to spend it dovetailing twenty large drawers...
|First drawer side|
|Drawers for two nightstands|
The Requisite Beauty Shots - after letting the cherry bake out on the deck for a week or so.
|KUBISK Night Stands with black edge pulls and change caddy in top drawer.|
|Another look at a fine set of KUBISK Night Stands|
Poor Russ. I have no proof that Bob Van Dyke dosed him, but there was Jefferson Airplane music playing much of the afternoon; I heard “White Rabbit” at least 3 times. When we got to the demo of me carving the central part of the design below, Russ struggled with the photograph – his eye & mind were seeing “innie” when it should be “outie” & vice-versa.
Here’s the same panel flipped upside-down. Sometimes the shadows being above the design make things weird. Right now, I can’t see it “wrong” – but sometimes I can. Russ couldn’t see it right at the time. Often I tell people to close their eyes, then look again. That often fixes it, but the best thing to do is put the photograph right-side up. Or like Alice, just bite from the other side of the mushroom.
|first of the dark pics|
As for the pics, after posting this I checked the camera and all the dials and wheels on the top weren't set on auto. As I am completely clueless about cameras and taking pictures, I'll check this before I snap pics again. And no, I do and don't want to learn how to use my camera beyond the auto setting.
|cauls are gone|
|fitting the other bread board end|
|still too tight|
|2nd bread board done|
|my project blood offering|
|too gappy for my liking|
|gap between the table top tongue and the bottom of the bread board groove|
|my planing bench|
|much better joint line|
|the under side of the above pic|
|drilling my dowel holes|
|dowels are done|
|sawed the horns off|
|it paid off|
|final shellac coat on the base|
|it's 1/8" thick|
|this is working very well|
I quit here for the day. I stopped counting after 5 times that I had to flip the table top. I feel like crap already and I was ready to take a nap until next saturday. Instead of working in the shop in the afternoon I ran errands with my wife and we stopped to get our first ice cream of the season before heading for home.
With the woodworking done on the top, I can start on the finishing work. I'll have to flip the table twice more and that should be it. I have to flip it over to flush the bread boards on the bottom and then flip it one last time right side up. Oops, forgot about the flipping for applying the shellac and poly finish.
What two cities were linked by the Orient Express?
answer - Paris and Istanbul
My next few posts are going to tackle the dust collection system for my workshop. I have just finished building my handtool bench and have amassed a fairly comprehensive set of handtools, but have no intention of going handtool only. I love having a good jointer and planer for stock preparation, and a bandsaw and tablesaw are great workhorses that I have no desire to part with either. Don’t get me wrong, I love my handtools and plan to use them in as much of my joinery as I can, but electrons aren’t getting banned from my shop any time soon. There is, of course, a setback to using these big power tools… They make a lot of dust. Be it for health reasons, or simply to keep the shop clean, the use of large woodworking tools usually necessitates the use of a dust collection system.
My current dust collection system can only be described as less than ideal. The equipment that I have is good, but it needs to be set up with some better organization and logical planning. As it is now, I have to bring the tool to the dust collector. It’s a pain wheeling the jointer over and jointing, then wheeling it out of the way and bringing the planer over to plane the other side. I have good tools and they’re on mobile bases, but they are very heavy. I want to get to a point where all my major tools are stationary and plumbed in to a dust collection system.
I like the idea of using a separator or cyclone to remove most of the wood particles before they enter the dust collector. The main reason for this is that the plastic bag on the bottom of the collector is such a pain to empty. I’m currently using a metal trashcan and a separator lid from Grizzly. To be perfectly frank, this lid is crap! If I get any more than about 6 inches of dust in the bottom of the can, the air turbulence in the trashcan prevents it settling out. This means the dust ends up in the collector, which is what the trashcan separator is supposed to prevent in the first place. This should be solved by the addition of a Thien baffle.
One other thing that I don’t like about my current setup is the size of its footprint. Having the metal trashcan sitting next to the dust collector nearly doubles the floor space that it takes up and makes it awkward to move. That’s why I’ve been bringing the tools to it, instead of the other way around. Ideally, I want the trashcan to sit underneath the dust collector.
In this series of posts, I plan to address the following steps:
- Build a Thien baffle separator for the trashcan.
- Disassemble the dust collector and mount it to the wall.
- Wire the dust collector for use with a remote switch.
- Design and build brackets for hanging PVC ducting from the shop ceiling.
- Design and build blast gates for the ducting system.
- Install everything and test the system.
So, here goes. First up is the trashcan separator. I won’t go into every single step as there are plenty of places online that have already covered the issue, but I did take some pictures along the way and thought that I would share them with you here. Searching on YouTube for “Thien Baffle” will get you a ton of information, but if you are thinking of building one of these, your first stop online should be here, JP Thien’s Cyclone Separator.
I had plenty of left over plywood off-cuts of various types and thickness in my sheet storage rack, so I didn’t buy any wood for this project. To start the lid, I got some of these pieces out.
The top of the lid consists of two pieces of plywood, one that fits just inside the top rim, and another that is slightly larger than the rim.
I glued these two pieces together, added some clamps, and left them to dry.
I cut a third piece of plywood to a slightly smaller radius than the others. This is to reflect the fact that the trashcan tapers and gets narrower a towards the bottom. Then, two thirds of the perimeter of this piece is reduced by a further 1 1/8-inch. This piece is the actual baffle that should allow particles to settle to the bottom of the can without being sucked back up and sent on to the dust collector.
The third piece will be mounted about 8 inches below the lid. I’ll do this with three long carriage bolts and three lengths of copper pipe to act as spacers.
I needed to determine the location of the bolt holes before I cut the holes for the 4″ PVC fittings. I used a pair of dividers and adjusted them until my third step brought me back to my original starting point. One the hole locations were marked, I drilled them at the drill press and then laid out the 4-inch holes for the PVC pipe and fittings.
To cut the 4-inch holes, I made a template out of 1/2-in ply. I cut the hole on this piece slightly under size and adjusted it on a spindle sander until a 4-inch piece of pipe fit snugly. To cut the holes in the separator lid, I first drilled a hole, then using the jigsaw, cut it being careful to stay inside the line. I finished it with a pattern-maker’s bit in the router, using the 1/2-inch plywood template to guide the bearing. That left these two holes in the lid:
I added the copper pipe spacers, washers to prevent them sinking into the wood, and the PVC pipe and fittings. I glued the pipe in place using PL375 construction adhesive purchased from Home Depot. I like this stuff, it takes a long time to cure (about 24 hours), but is very strong when done. I’ve even used it with masonry when building small retaining walls. Here’s the finished separator lid:
Next, I turned my attention to mounting the dust collector to the wall. I disassembled the dust collector and removed the steel base and wheels. I bought some heavy duty brackets, also from Home Depot. I would have liked to bolt these brackets directly to the wall studs, but there weren’t any in the location that I had to put them. My solution was to bolt the brackets to a piece of sturdy 3/4-inch plywood, and then attach the plywood to the wall studs using LedgerLok lag bolts. I had quite a few of these left over from when I used them to mount the vise hardware underneath my workbench.
I then made a shelf from another piece of 3/4-inch ply and shaped it to fit. It needed a small notch on the left side to allow my sheet good storage bin to fully swing closed. I also notched the back of the shelf for the upright support column and cut a semi-circle out from the right side. This will allow the trashcan separator to slide underneath the shelf and thus reduce the overall footprint of the system.
The shelf is attached to the brackets by bolts and to the backer board by screws. I lifted the dust collector onto the shelf and marked the location of the mounting holes. After drilling, I bolted the dust collector to the shelf.
I bought some cheap swivel casters and attached them to the bottom of the trashcan. This should make it a little easier to pull out and empty the can.
To attach the casters, I cut three small pieces of metal from some scrap flashing and drilled holes in them to match those in the base of the swivel casters. These were installed on the inside of the trashcan and acted as a type of washer to improve and stiffen the connection between the casters and the metal base of the trashcan.
With the addition of the wheels, the trashcan fits perfectly level with the height of the shelf.
To make a little more room for the PVC fittings that were to be added, I cut the plastic bag down to about 1/2 of its original size. If the separator works as intended, I won’t be having to empty it very often in any case.
With all of the main components in place, I added some of the PVC fittings.
Well, this project is off to a good start, but there is still a long way to go.
In the next post, I’ll tackle wiring the system with a contactor switch so that the collector can be turned on and off remotely.
– Jonathan White
Just prior to the Thursday evening reception for the Handworks exhibitors, project photographer and my Virtuoso partner in crime Narayan Nayar set up to take portraits of each of the exhibit staff with the tool cabinet. I will post the images of the docents next week when I blog about their participation, but here is the one Narayan took of me of me.
This exhibit was the first time probably ever that I wore a dress shirt and necktie for four days in a row. My wife said it was the biggest smile she had seen on me for many, many moons.
As for the exhibit itself, the physical manifestation was exactly as I had envisioned it almost two years earlier. How many times does a person get to experience such a concrete realization of a dream?
It was not possible with my camera to get a true panorama of the gallery without it looking bug-eyed, so here are a group of images from which I hope you can derive the complete picture.
This coming weekend I will be teaching a class on making wooden spoons for the ROADS Workshops in Austin, Texas.
It’s going to be a little different from your usual woodworking class, though. ROADS Workshops are a part of Mobile Loaves and Fishes, a homelessness recovery ministry. They teach recovering homeless people skills and crafts in order to help them get back on their feet financially. It’s a live-in facility with housing, gardens, and workshops.
One of the crafts they’re beginning to teach is woodworking, and they’ve asked me to come over there to hold a workshop on spoon making. Soon the students will be making spoons and other wooden items to sell in local markets. The ROADS Workshops want to be very hand-tool focused, and they also want to use locally-sourced/scavenged materials as much as possible. That fits in very well with my own woodworking ethos.
Most woodworking classes focus on teaching amateur woodworkers. This class, however, will be working with people who will be working wood for a living. So we will focus not only on tools and techniques, but also on efficiency and selling-points.
I’ll be blogging here about my spoon-making odyssey.
Tagged: Austin, MLF, ROADS Workshops, spoon carving, spoon making, wooden spoon, woodworking class
When we left off our tale of the table I was trying to figure out how to make a jig to help produce the slot for the decorative ebony spline. It’s not really a difficult problem, but I complicated matters slightly by making the top a thickness that didn’t nicely match up with the available guide bushings. I adjusted my thinking for the jig by adding layers of veneer to make up the difference. The jig fits over the edge of the top, and registers against the breadboard end to cut the 5″ long slot.
Once I had the design sorted out it was simple enough to cut up some MDF to build the jig.
I’ll still need to think through how I’ll make the ebony splines, but I wanted to move forward on building the breadboard ends. Unfortunately when I started to lay out the tenons on the top I noticed that it was badly cupped. If I wasn’t doing the breadboard ends this probably wouldn’t matter as the top attachment buttons would likely pull it flat. But there was no way I could accurately make the tenons on the end of the top and have them fit the end caps.
After staring at this for a while I decided that part of the problem was at the joint between the two boards. Each half was slightly cupped, but a significant amount of the cupping seemed to be at the glue joint. So I decided to rip it apart, re-joint the edges and re-glue it…using cauls this time to keep the joint flat.
I make cauls out of some scrap 2×4 material, with one edge jointed dead flat. I covered the edge with clear packing tape so I don’t accidentally glue the 2×4 to the top. The edges are perfectly aligned and the top is flat at this point, we’ll see what it looks like once the cauls come off. I’m going to make the end caps this morning, then take the top out of the clamps and immediately cut the tenons for the ends in case it wants to move.
And finally, the table base is out of the clamps. The skirts are all tight, and the base is nice and square. Really, just the top to finish and this table will be a wrap.
|quiet time work|
|top strip flushed with the plane the bottom one with a chisel|
|the new and the old|
|this will work|
|made a shallow groove|
|my working solution|
|original tube it came in|
|the plane clears the cauls|
|but the caul isn't pulling the bow out|
|now it is|
|I hate this *&^!#@$))*(^^$# when it slips|
|I can't catch a break today|
|a little fat|
|cleaned up the bottom|
|used the #3 too|
|bottom side is done|
|laying out for the tenons|
|four 2" tenons and one 3" center tenon|
|a Wally World find|
|protecting the underside|
|yes I am brain dead|
|something went south|
|rip and crosscuts for the tenons done - removing the waste is the next batter|
|first crappy coping saw cut|
|second half of the second cut is much better - settled into a groove here|
|nailed it on the opposite side|
|trimmed the coping saw cuts with a chisel|
|first dry fit|
|1/2" lip is too thick on this end|
|just right on the opposite end|
|last dry fit for today|
Joe McGlynn had a bow in his Blacker table top - 1/8" over 22" mine is/was about 1/8" over 38 5/16". He is making a new top. Me, I'll be busting a gut using the top I got. I don't have the time or the option to make another top nor can I plane the bow out. I would probably end up with a 5/8" or less thickness which isn't suitable for a table top.
I think I've been lucky with my table top so far. I can clamp most of the bow out with the cauls. And once I get the center tenon seated a bit I can see the remaining bow disappear. Having my bow spread out over 3' is helping me here.
Tomorrow I'm hoping to get all the bread boards done. Once I get a good dry fit, I can drill for the dowels and elongate my holes. I want to get this glued up and cooking so next week I concentrate on the finishing.
What is the largest mountain in the world?
answer - Mauna Lao in Hawaii
In thinking about the hardware for this project I had more or less settled on a solution for the blade. I have a #5 ½ blade that had been sharpened so many times that it was well past its useful service life as a plane iron, but would have been suitable for this project, albeit a little wider than necessary. However, the chap who commissioned this project had a better solution. He had previously tried himself to make a Biltong Slicer, but found that he couldn’t do it. His intention was to build several of them and sell them on, and to that end he had a number of blades made up. He suggested that I use his blades instead. They are a little tarnished and the bevel has been crudely ground with and angle grinder, so they will need a little honing and polishing before they can be pressed into service, but I think they will be more suitable for the project than the plane iron.
The slicer that I was loaned at the start of this project had its blade attached at and angle to the side of the handle with two bolts – two bolts being necessary to stop the blade from swiveling away from the desired angle. My design, because it makes use of a mortise hole to house the blade, will only need one bolt to secure it and I happen to have an old saw nut, salvaged from the beat up tenon saw that I used to make the plate for my Kerfing Plane. Again, it is a bit tarnished but it should buff up nicely with a bit of elbow grease.
The tarting up will have to wait until later however. First I need to concentrate on the mortise. Using my sliding bevel, set to the correct angle, as a guide, I chopped out the mortise with my one and only mortising chisel – an old beat up specimen that just happened to be exactly the right width. Then I drilled for the saw nut; a 12mm counterbore for the heads, then 5mm from one side, 7mm from the other.
With the blade installed I turned my attention to the hinge. I have decided to use a piece of 6mm brass rod which will pass through the handle and be glued into blind holes in each upright. Then it was onto the holes for the dowel joints. Using dowel centres for accuracy, I bored 8mm holes for the hinge uprights, 3 dowels each, and 5mm holes for the chopping board, before dry fitting. Next I’ll need to cut out and refine the final shape of each component. Hey! Maybe I can use my new Turning Saw! Happy days!
Filed under: Projects Tagged: biltong slicer
Before I got around to playing with the table I had to finish up the new glue risers I made. I had one more stiffener to glue on and I did that. I then did some running around and errands and that gave it sufficient time to set up.
|I was curious|
|18 5/16" dowels for the bread boards|
|one of them is done|
|nightmare glue up|
|see the bow and the gap|
|the bow and the gap got worse|
Once I fixed this problem, I glued the 1/8" fillers in the saw kerfs with hide glue. I have a lot of hide glue now and it will be my go to glue from here on. I'll still use yellow glue but hide glue has been promoted to the head of the class.
|practice bread boards|
I did this setup with the grain to get these two matched. I'll do the actual practice run against the grain. This scrap I'm using is the crosscut waste from the table.
|groove is to depth|
|splitting the big tenon is next|
|what I dislike about splitting|
|the groove bottom is the planing target depth|
|used the jack to remove the bulk of the waste|
|the one bad split area on the whole tenon|
|nice and clean|
|the other side|
|doesn't look good for the home team|
|no problems planing down to the groove on this side|
|gauge line on the outside|
|my tapered end|
|gauge line still visible|
|tapered end fit|
|the other end|
|sharpening time upcoming|
|the record 073 iron|
I took a few strokes and I checked it against the square. It takes a while to sharpen because of this but at the end I had a sharp, square iron. I need this plane to clean up the bottom of the inside wall.
|shiny and sharp|
|I have to put it back on the bench|
Another helper with taking the bow out will be the bread board ends themselves. This is what they are meant to do. The cauls flattening the top are a must here before I can fit the bread board ends.
Not much done today but the practice run will pay dividends tomorrow.
How many signatures are on the Declaration of Independence?
answer - 56
By Joshua Farnsworth
I’ll bet you thought I wasn’t going to finish this desk, right??? In the above video, I show how I cut a through mortise & tenon joint, in which the tenon goes all the way through an open mortise. I used this joint to construct the middle stretcher, which spans the desk legs. It offers support and a place to rest your feet.
Click here to go back to part 1, if you want to follow me as I build a historic hinged-top desk. Below you’ll find photos and the list of tools that I used to build this desk.
TOOLS THAT I USED:
Even though I have a helpful hand tool buying guide (here), I’m still often asked for a list of and links to the tools that I use in my videos, so here is a list of tools that I used in this series of video on desk building (I also included tools that I used in construction that wasn’t in the video):
- Sjoberg Elite 2500 Beech Workbench (with optional tool cabinet)
- Moravian Workbench (portable and sturdy)
- Gramercy Holdfast
- Lie-Nielsen Low Angle Rabbet Block Plane
- Lie-Nielsen No. 62 Low Angle Jack Plane
- Vintage Stanley No. 71 Router Plane
- Lie-Nielsen No. 73 Large Shoulder Plane
- Vintage Stanley No. 4-1/2 Smoothing Plane
- Vintage Beading Plane
- Vintage Wooden screw arm Plow plane
- Lie-Nielsen dovetail saw
- Lie-Nielsen’s thin plate 16″ Tenon Rip Saw
- Lie-Nielsen cross cut back saw
- Vintage Millers Falls Miter box and miter saw
- Robert Larson Coping Saw
MARKING & MEASURING:
- Starrett 6-inch combination square
- Vintage metal try square
- Vintage sliding bevel square
- Vintage Starrett Dividers / Compasses
- Veritas Wheel Marking Gauge or Veritas Dual Wheel Marking Gauge
- Lie-Nielsen panel gauge
- Wooden Straight Edge
- Vintage Stanley No. 62 Folding Rules (24″)
- Marking knife (chip carving knife)
- Staedtler Mars 780 Technical Mechanical Pencil
MALLETS & HAMMERS:
CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO SEE ALL THE FOLLOWING VIDEOS OF THIS DESK CONSTRUCTION!
Here are some photos from the previous steps:
There’s an apocryphal story about someone sorting through the possessions of an elderly relative who had died. Among a houseful of stuff, he comes across a shoe-box labelled ‘Bits of string too short to keep’.
I sympathise with the elderly relative – at least as far as bits of wood are concerned. It’s hard to throw away even small scraps of timber, especially when they contain an attractive figure. One solution is to heat the workshop with a wood burning stove. Then the problem goes away each winter. Another possibility is to use them up making something tiny. A few years ago I wrote about making musical boxes. This week, wondering what to do with the walnut left over from the 5-string guitar that I wrote about in a previous post, I thought I’d make a soprano ukulele.
Apart from the walnut, I was able to use up other off-cuts that I hadn’t been able to bring myself to throw away: spruce for the soundboard, laburnum for the headstock veneer and the fingerboard, and a piece of plum for the bridge.
The plans for the ukulele came from Christophe Grellier, a French luthier, who generously makes them freely available on his website.
She contacts the site and they are a satellite for the main office and she'll have to resolve it with them. She contacts them and they tell her that the first one didn't go through so they sent it again. That is why it shows up twice. In order to resolve this she'll have to contact PayPal because it's their problem.
None of the players are disputing that she was charged twice for the one order but none will accept that they are the problem nor that they can resolve it. They are pointing at each other with my wife in the middle.
Needless to say my wife wanted to strangle someone or something when she got home. To placate her and not end up as the surrogate sacrifice, I took her out for pancakes. Music can soothe the savage beast and pancakes made my wife forget a horrendous day.
I am not an idiot on some things and I beat a hasty retreat out of the shop and we headed out to IHOP when she came home. Of course this curtailed all my plans for the shop tonight. But it's the long weekend and I'll make up for lost time then. I did get one thing done and a start on another.
BTW, the company said that they will look into the matter and get back to her sometime next month. In the interim my wife did a charge back and I think she'll have a resolution sooner than next month.
|I need more screws on the drawer front|
|I need to know the total for the box and front|
|an awl and #1 Robertson screwdriver|
|smudge on the lens|
I got this punch set when Noah had his yard sale after the flood waters receded. This is the first time I'm using it. Rather then use a sharpie to label the right and left drawers, I'm going to stamp the letters 'L' and 'R' on them instead.
|the letter L is under the smudge|
|working on my gluing risers|
|as far as I got|
Who was president when electricity was installed in the White House?
answer - Benjamin Harrison and the year it was installed was 1889.
A few weeks ago I stopped by the home office of Popular Woodworking to go to their Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event. It’s always fun to take a break out of my day to play around with their tools. While I was there, I tried their No 5 1/2 jack plane that cut such nice shavings it almost got me thinking of quitting restoring my old Stanley planes.
Along with Lie-Nielsen, Lost Art Press was there selling their books and apparel. I took a peek inside one of their newest offerings, “Chairmaker’s Notebook”, to see if it was something I wanted to open my wallet for. I love books about making chairs. I’ve read over a half-dozen of them over the years including John Alexander’s “Make a Chair from a Tree: An Introduction to Working Green Wood” as well as Drew Langsner’s “The Chairmaker’s Workshop”. In fact, if I was ever a professional woodworker, I’d probably be a chair maker. So, I decided to bite the bullet and purchase the book. Needless to say, I’m glad I did.
I read a few chapters a night as I wanted all the information to absorb. What I love about this book is that it takes you through all the aspects of building a chair. From buying a log at a sawmill, to setting up a chairmaker’s workshop, to modifying and sharpening your tools, to assembly and finish. Peter even gives you a scaled model of a “sightline ruler” so you can photocopy it and make one yourself. It’s by far the most complete woodworking book I’ve ever read. Absolutely nothing was missed when writing this book.
As an example of how well this book is written, in the beginning, Peter talks about buying a log from a sawmill and what to look for when picking a log. He tells you not to buy the veneer logs as they tend to be too expensive and go for a premium. He says you should ask for “veneer rejects” because those logs will work just fine for building chairs and will be a whole lot cheaper. He then goes on to recommend that you bring a chain with you to wrap around your log so that the guy on the forklift can gently lower it down on your trailer instead of slamming it down breaking your trailer in half. It’s first hand stories like this that really sets this book apart from other books I have read.
A few years ago I made a few Windsor chairs of my own, but I used kiln dried lumber because I had no idea how to go buy a log. Regretfully, had I owned this book at the time, I would have made my chairs a whole lot better.
Along with the excellent information in the book, Peter is also one hell of an artist as he drew all the pictures in the book. In fact, the pictures are so well drawn, that you know exactly what he is describing in his illustrations.
If you have ever been intrigued with building a chair, then I highly recommend that you add this book to your library. You can buy it from The Lost Art Press.
Last Thursday was spent setting up the show, or in the lexicon of museology, “installing the exhibit.” Several of the volunteer team for the exhibit had arrived the previous day and helped to unload both the dedicated fine arts transport truck and the cargo van I drove from The Barn. The remaining volunteers arrived through the morning and pitched in seamlessly. I will blog about these heroic volunteers next week.
The raucous good nature of the day was genuinely infectious and invigorating. There I was, watching the different continents of my life collide: friends from the museum world, an on-line restorer’s forum I have been with for many, many years, and the newer World of Schwarz. Not to fear, rather than volcanic activity as the tectonic plates collided, jocularity ensued. In a lot of respects it was just like our sessions in Studleyville where despite the grueling work there, Chris and Narayan and I spent just as much time laughing intensely, with sometimes ribald humor.
So while we started out that day with all the pieces of the puzzle I brought with me, the composition of the picture goes back a few days. The week prior I had spent several days in Cedar Rapids making sure everything was on track for the installation. Dedicated transport arrangements? Check. Host site? Check. Graphics? Check. Cabinetry? Check. Vitrine? Check. Lighting? Oh oh.
The lighting company was the last stop before departing for Studleyville, and it was clear immediately that there was trouble. Despite months of correspondence, in-person discussions, and repeated promises that, “Yes, 1) we know what you want and 2) we have what you need,” it was abundantly clear that 1) no they didn’t, and 2) no they didn’t. So I fired them and welked out the door with no lighting arrangements in hand. Frantically I called Jameel, who in short order found exactly the vendor for me. So, with less than a week before the exhibit opens — in other words, about two years behind schedule — the entire lighting scheme needed to be redesigned from a blank piece of paper. I did not sleep much that night, but by noon of the following day we had all the details worked out. I hit the road for Studleyville with a great sense of relief.
Six days later I returned with the exhibit in a box.
The first step in the installation was the receipt of the platforms and vitrine case. They were waiting for us when we arrived at the Scottish Rite Temple before 9AM. Those got hustled inside in short order. While a team of folks measured and laid out the room, the remaining volunteers carefully placed the exhibit furniture where I asked them. The layout resonated visually exactly as I had hoped.
At the same time the fellows from the graphics company arrived with the panels and banners for the exhibit.
Next came the unpacking of the Studley Collection. The packed tools were set on a work table for me to fill the tool cabinet later in the day. Each crate was re-closed exactly as they came apart. Losing pieces of the customized packing is not beneficial.
At the same time was the assembly of the base for the replica workbench top. Simultaneous with that was the placing and assembly of the vitrine case for the tool cabinet (see below).
The really heavy work came next, as around 500 pounds of cast iron was affixed to the approx. 250 pound replica top.
The photo of moving, flipping, and placing the elements of this ensemble was not taken as almost everyone in the room was doing lifting, flipping, moving, and exact placing of the multiple pieces.
First big piece down, two to go.
Next came placing the replica bench base for the original Studley bench top. This was not easy as the base was very heavy and the handholds few, but with care and muscle we got it done.
Yup, things were shaping up spatial composition-wise.
Up went Studley’s original bench top, on top of the replica base. O-o-o-oh yeah. We took a minute to stand back and admire our work.
At the other end of the room was the team joining the case and the vitrine. I had asked for a very snug fit, and boy did we get one.
It took almost everyone on the vitrine team to hang on to the top and press it down into the rabet of the base.
With a notable “thunk” it popped into place. Beeeyoooteeeful.
We were under some time pressure as we had to get the major elements of the exhibit in place before the lighting guys arrived, because they had to know where to point the lights. Makes sense, huh?
The bottom panel for the vitrine was cut, then lined with black felt for the plane underneath the tool cabinet. The fit had to be exact, and presented in such a way as to become completely unnoticeable once the exhibit was being viewed.
The lighting guys showed up exactly when they promised, with all the exact equipment they needed. What’s up with that? Just kidding. They were fabulous.
We killed the house lights and turned the guys loose.
The lighting units they had were slightly warm (2700K color temp) lithium battery light fixtures with magnetic bases, which the stuck on the ceiling fans!
Soon it was looking like an exhibit should.
Once the lighting was done, up went the black theatrical backdrop, setting off the entire space and establishing the respectful tone for the entire event.
I took a couple hours to load the tools in the cabinet, with the entire crew of volunteers watching with the same looks on their faces I would see throughout the weekend.
With several minutes to spare, were we done.
I haven’t had time to post for a while – lots going on – but I thought I should drop down a couple of lines on how the Biltong Slicer project is going.
This is the design I eventually came up with, and as you can see the design features that set it apart from the other one are: 1. the blade is integral to the handle, 2. the base is shaped, rather than oblong, 3. the cutting board is more rustic than the original, and 4. the base includes a bowl, for the slices to fall into.
I began by making templates for the component parts, first on tracing paper, then onto 6mm ply. This is so that I can reproduce the parts if I should make a mistake, or even if I want to build another one in the future – you never know!
I then cut the components from a raggedy piece of walnut on my new Sawyer’s Bench, resawed them where necessary using the Kerfing Plane and Frame Saw, and dimensioned them. I did the same with the zebrano and acacia until I had the five main components i needed.
Then, using a gouge, I carved out the depression for the bowl, scraping and sanding until I had a decent finish. My next job will be to chop out a thin mortise for the blade and drill holes for dowels to join all the pieces together.
Filed under: Projects Tagged: biltong slicer
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees
Put a sheet pan in the oven on the middle rack and while the oven is preheating....
3 cups of rolled or old fashion oats - this is one thing you can't substitute
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp of kosher salt
3 tbsp of light brown sugar
1/4 cup of shredded coconut - if you use roasted coconut skip adding it here and add it with the fruit and nuts at the end. I like to bake/roast my coconut because I like the flavor/crunch of it over it being uncooked. This is optional.
Mix this together in a big bowl and set aside - you'll be adding the wet to this so make sure it's big enough for that and for the mixing to come.
1/4 cup of canola or veggie oil (corn oil would probably work too but I haven't tried that yet - I also want to try peanut oil and a flavored oil like walnut but they are expensive)
1/3 cup of honey
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tbsp of Grand Marnier (orange flavored liqueur) this is optional and there other liqueur flavors too
whisk these ingredients together until the honey and oil combine
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until the oats are evenly coated
Spread the mixture out on the sheet pan in a thin even layer
Cook for 15 minutes turning the the sheet pan at the half way mark
After 15 minutes take the pan out of the oven and turn/mix the granola and lay it out evenly and put it back into the oven for another 15-20 minutes. I cook it until it gets to the brownness I like which is closer to 20 minutes with my oven. It will continue to brown after you take it out so it may take a bit of experimenting with your oven to get it to the level you like. Browner = crunchier
After you take it out of the oven let it cool for about 20-30 minutes. I found that if I start mixing it up after about 5 minutes and do that a couple of more times that the granola doesn't stick as much to the sheet pan as it cools. The honey will stick to the pan like glue to wood if you wait till the very end to mix it.
After it is cool to the touch add the fruit and nuts of your choice. The original recipe I got this from called for a 1/2 cup each of nuts/seeds and fruit. Not enough for me and I go nutso here.
I like raisins - I don't measure this I just eyeball it
Dried cranberries - I use the ocean spray ones as I think they are the best. They are moist, chewy, and packed with flavor. I throw in a boatload.
Walnuts - I like these and I add a lot of them. I also like pecans and mix these two sometimes. Peanuts are another nut I like alone or mixed.
Roasted unsalted sunflower seeds. I don't like the salted ones as they tend to make the granola too salty for my taste.
You can also add other fruits, seeds, or nuts of your liking.
I usually end up with about 2 cups (eyeball measurement) of fruits and nuts. I mix this in with the granola on the pan and then add it to a air tight container. I am not sure how long this keeps as the longest it has ever lasted for me has been 4 days. This will make about 4-5 cups.
Enjoy and you'll find that it's cheaper to make and better tasting than the stuff you buy in the stores.
What year did Disneyland open?
answer - 1955