Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sketching and Sketchup

Canal walks are really beautiful. Man and nature seemingly walking hand in hand. 


So I sketched this 'easy' whiskey cabinet a week ago. Quick half an hour, forty minutes tops amount of work in Sketchup.

Gives me dimensions and a basic idea of how to build the work. So I set off to work! 

The board was too big for the shed, so I set up this 'portable workbench' under the back maple tree.

These sawhorses are an example of wood movement and poor construction. The joints were shoddy, gappy..But glue fixed them up. Some joints were a bit too tight.

Well, as it turns out, unfinished wood and poor joinery left outside in bipolar weather is a bad idea. So there's cracks in the feet, cracks on the vertical members. The stretchers pop out when they're dry, and almost break the members after rain. 

Back to the cedar... 


The design has mainly stayed true but has changed a little bit. Mainly I decided to go with one shelf and not two, and make it so that the ratio of space in the shelf space is the same as the compartments- I butchered that sentence.

 Yes, I'm blogging at midnight after taking my melatonin, how could you tell? 


Another design change is instead of one big lid, I'm going to use two that meet on the divider. This will hopefully put less stress on the hinges/wood and also add to the experience of the user, I hope. 

Going from basswood to cedar is weird. Basswood is nice, easy, relaxed. Seems like there's no grain to worry about. It's butter. Awesome to work with, and even my shoddy dovetails look ok.


Cedar...It's soft, kinda easy to plane, but MAN do you need proper technique to get a good result. And sharp tools, but a lot of technique. The same chisel used one way will crumble the end grain, used the other will pare it somewhat smoothly. 

The knots are everywhere. I didn't cut around any, as I want the grain to wrap around the cabinet and flow as much as possible...this meant one pin in the dovetails was all knots and kinda...shattered. 
if there was a woodworkers guild, it would probably mandate I be executed by blood thirsty doves. 
Blood Thirsty Doves. Anyone need a band name?


Lots of shavings, though. 



While waiting for glue to dry...Looking at some scraps and time to try sketching. 

Oh god I haven't improved even though I've filled up three sketchbooks...

And RIT recommended drawing and building up a portfolio for their furniture design program...






Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How hard can a grid be?



...pretty damn hard if you're me, it turns out.


The one on the left was my second try.

The one on my right was my first.

The left one fits worse, actually. Mainly the outside, the inside is ok. There's gaps and for some reason half the joints are really nice, snug...but the other half is loose. 

This confuses me a fair bit because all the joints were marked the same. 

Also if I flip one of the strips around in the grid, it's no longer even. Like it sticks out on one side...Weird. 


Guess it's time to go back and study more. Study and practice...maybe the combination will eventually bring me somewhere. 

Perhaps some meditation too?



At least my new zero clearance insert works well. I think I might get a 1/8" attachment to my gripper, so I can saw even thinner strips.

The one positive from all this, besides my insert working well? 

Eastern white pine smells FANTASTIC. 








Did take a nice walk along the canal the other day. Saw some big fish...Next time I'm bringing my rod. 




and my dovetails are slowly getting better. Basswood is good for practice. 


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ura-Dashi/Tapping out the blade


So after using dremel and sandpaper to grind down the ear of the blade until it fits in the mouth...

Time for my first try at ura-dashi/tapping out



Here's my ura-dashi layout.

-Hickory log, smooth on the top
 -tiny cross-pein 
-blades
-Tablet playing Iron and Wine



A minute in: 


Nice! I don't want to go overboard. Just gotta get a good feel for the process first. 


Now to follow Jason's advice: Grinded the offending side on 80 grit for a while. 


Then put the full blade on, with the pressure still on the offending side. 

Then proceeding from 80, 150, 220, 400 sandpaper; 800 waterstone; 1000 waterstone; 6000 grit to finish up. 


Not hanging on it's bevel...yet.


Sloppy camera work, sloppy bevel...

But how does it work? 


Translucent shavings...but the board isn't flat, so it isn't taking perfect shavings. 

But...just to show how well the chipbreaker is working now that it's fitted...Those shavings were taken against the grain. No tearout. 


                                                           taking thicker shavings, it's working well!


Still a really great polish, even from thick shavings, and no sight so far of the tracks....



On pine...Chipbreaker is working much better. Not only preventing tearout but curling and shooting out shavings perfectly, except when my hands are in the way. 

Also...translucent shavings in pine are solid shavings in cherry.  I blame the widely different growth rings in pine. 



Pretty darn square! Either that or my cheap square is out of square! 


I didn't add tape yet. It's working pretty well, though. Big thing was it turns out the whole reason why I couldn't adjust the blade was the blade was too wide for the mouth...

Now it's still not perfectly even, pretty close, but I can adjust the blade now, and that makes a huge difference. A few more sharpenings with the pressure on the right side will soon make it perfect, I think. 

And I think another round of tapping out, too...The line was thicker at the beginning but all the grinding back has it once more thin. The hollow is starting to look like a pinched-off pot, though...

Thanks to Jason for his comments, his blog posts on ura-dashi, and also to D and M King's blog posts on tapping out! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Kanna trouble...


So I made a quick basswood practice box.

And my dovetails are really getting better, at least in forgiving wood.

But what caused the few gaps that were there?
1. I inserted the walnut bottom and it was slightly too big, wedging some of the bottom dovetails slightly apart. 

And then:

2. None of my pieces were perfectly uniform, causing some problems.




Part of the problem is my laziness and desire to just churn out a box in 20 minutes. 

Part of it is my slowly burgeoning skills with planes not being perfect yet.

And part of it is my kanna. 

My kanna is a cheap student's kanna. I thought it would have no problems and would be easy to learn on.

Well, it's still pretty awesome. It still cuts translucent shavings and makes awesome looking surfaces. I have learned a ton and I'm glad I didn't waste money on an auction only to get a bad tool, or a tool that needed too much work for a beginner.

However this kanna has problems. 

First can be seen in that picture: The blade is too wide for the mouth.

The second is a huge problem, and since I flattened the bevel and made it straight and even again, the problem has only gotten worse:

The blade takes slanted cuts. If I'm not careful, the wood ends up like this: /. At a much shallower angle, that is. 


I've had the plane for a year so I feel like I can now safely alter the kanna without worrying about it being screwed up in the next seasonal change.

So the side that the blade protrudes the most on, I removed the wood that was stained black from the paint-stuff that the blade is covered in to look similar to a forge finish. 

Now the blade is loose...but the slant is still there.

It's still there with two pieces of paper in the other side.

No amount of tapping the blade on the left side will get the blade to even out on the right.

I'm about to be just completely overwhelmed...and kind of want to buy a new kanna...

but Dammit, this kanna still takes translucent shavings! I just need to fix it!

If anyone has any advice, that'd be awesome. I might try grinding the side that's too wide and see if that fixes anything. 

Hickory Handle and Lemons


Getting quicker at sawing! Still not too accurate, though...



Also getting better at carving with a hatchet. 





Still needs some work, but it fits nicely, it's straight, and it's pretty comfortable. bit too bulky though..But better than too thin. 

Also made some cheeseboards /charcuterie boards! 


Then some bad stuff happened...while a lot of bad stuff. Some personal stuff, then a branch fell down on a tomato plant.
Dammit. 
I hate Tuesdays...


But I am not one for letting bad shit getting me overwhelmed! Well...It does get me overwhelmed sometimes... I just don't like it and try to avoid that.

Turned that branch into my first shrinkpots! Soaking wet wood is really nice to work. This maple feels like basswood.

And soaking wet isn't too much of an exaggeration...I can feel drops of sap/water on this wood. 


Cut a groove for the base...


First try on the right. 
Second on the left. 
Out of order, I know, many things here are. 




At least the banana peppers are alright! Got some big ones and some tiny ones! 


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Finished Cherry Box



Trimming the top to fit to the sides. Simply loving cherry. 



Some flaws in these butterflies...making some scraps to fit into the small holes. 



Love the kanna finish. 




Now here is a tricky part. This is my first time building a box. So this was my first time installing hinges, and I chose the easiest to install variety; I was originally going to make some out of copper, but that was taking quite a while! These hinges came out nice, and I think the duct tape worked well to hold all the parts together during install. 




Then the hinges came off to put on some danish oil on the box! 


I think for a box from scraps, it came out nice, for my first time. Hopefully the next one is better. 


The maple butterflies all look slightly different, being from different boards. 


Opens nicely! maybe I'll install a chain to keep it from going past 90 degrees. 



and here it is inside. 

My first box, finished. Feels nice. Maybe I'll be able to sell this one. 

Lighting the Candle


so inspired by a Danish lantern on Lumberjocks user Mafe's blog, I decided to try my hand making a lantern. 

First had to saw and plane some reclaimed mystery wood into about 1" square. 


Scrap white oak cut and squared, then marked for center. 

 
Basswood scrap drilled to receive a candle, then sawn. 



White oak drilled: Left slight depression to hold the candle, right hole to allow smoke and heat to escape. 


Basswood carved with knife and plane. 


Seems good so far. 


More scrap oak used to make a quick jig. 



Works great sawing shoulders! 


Then tenons are fully sawn



Bit rough, needs some cleaning, but overall an improvement. 


Sawing for wedges 


Then disaster...Tenons broke off on the fourth post. I think I cut too deep with the shoulder cuts. 

I miss being able to use my table saw...


I couldn't make a new piece, since all the other posts had been glued and wedged in. So I planed a piece of firewood to fit. One post is now smaller than the others, but I feel like the lantern overall has a nice sense of rhythm, and the maple piece adds a contrast of natural elegance and interest. 


Danish oil, still awesome, though with all this humidity it takes a couple of days to dry. And the basswood didn't receive it too well. 


Piece of leather for a carrying cord, and a candle lit....Works well!