Thursday, June 7, 2012

learning alder wood; a small favor box

So last year my da sent a several hundred pound shipment of wood milled from a windfall on the family farm some years previously. The mass was divided between some gorgeous VG Fir, and some alder:

I've never worked alder before, but my curious first swipes from a block plane revealed some pretty grain and color patterns despite my being colorblind

This weekend, I milled a small offcut plank of the alder for a simple gift box to my mom on her birthday. The wood proved "springy" in that i'd plane it flat and watch it cup and warp before me after inspection. Perhaps it was a flat sawn piece, but working this will be a challenge. All this is fine given the way the wood looks. I plagiarized a design from a recent blog posting by Mr. David Barron here. I have attempted wood hinge mechanisms before but his with the tapered thickness lid is quite elegant.

Here, I am fitting the lid using bamboo skewers from the supermarket as hinges.

And this is the finished assembly, with a couple coats of "citrus shield" paste wax. LxWxH 8,3/4x4,5/8x2,1/4.

Here we can see some of the grain reversal chipping out in the dovetails due to my hamfistedness. must be cautious while working this stuff. But otherwise, you see the grain patterns. the diagonal "shooting star" effects are part of the wood's grain itself. quite a thing to behold.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

computer cabinet in knotty pine

25"Hx30"W. my first casework project.

casters (CASTERS?!)allow it to slide underneath a desk that has not yet been built (the monitor, speakers and control inputs will then sit atop the desk).

all the wire debris routes through an exit port in the back
cpu, router, printer and power strip enclosed in the bottom, right drawer holds 8,1/2"x11"paper neatly, left drawer various other computer debris
started with a lengthy glue up of 1x12 knotty pine boards from home center that were first milled down to 5/8" thickness on the planer to make for a light-weight feel
this was then carefully dimensioned and prepped for dovetailing the carcass
the main casework wasn't terribly eventful, though i should not have used such a wide pin in the middle of the work as the wood cupped outward there and created some small gaps.
drawer runner assembly
my first attempt at nested cupboard doors using butt hinges. this was by far the hardest part of the entire project
plenty of little knicks and dents throughout show this as very much a learning project :-)

Monday, May 28, 2012

boomerang dojo with todd and sons

A quick boomerang project with todd and his two sons ryan and grant - these were made from some mystery wood scraps; pretty light weight. half-lap joints and then a rough spokeshave shaping of an airfoil was sketched out. See on the unshaped one LE for "Leading Edge" and "TE" for "Trailing Edge".

The models below are meant to be thrown right handed, grasping with your thumb and index finger the lower right blade in the picture, with a slight bank off of vertical; snapping motion of the wrist. they actually work!

too bad i forgot the camera to take some footage of flying them down at the local park. alack some spear/sword making concluded shop time for the day

Sunday, April 15, 2012

derivative of the ruler trick: the pop can trick

sifting through all the sharpening methods out there, you read about the "ruler trick" attributed to charlesworth (i think). that's the metod of honing a blade from the back side to help finish out a new edge using a standard 6" rule. works great but i dislike mucking up my ruler. so I tried using a thin strip of material from a soda pop can, folded along one edge to help it register along the edge of the stone. i've been using the same piece of aluminum for some months now, and have been satisfied with my results. not sure if anyone else has tried this out there, but today i took some time to show it off here.

after going through the typical progression of grits (my finest is a 8000 waterstone), i flip it over and then just a few light swipes on the back like so:

I usually do one more finishing swipe on the primary bevel (I do not use a secondary one...since i hollow grind, i don't use any jigs to hold the blade, it registers fine on the stone without), i go back to another swipe or two on the back side. hard to make oute here but there's a light polish near the underside's busy end.

works for me

Sunday, March 18, 2012

a kitty tree in reclaimed redwood fencing

you can't teach cats. you can only give them options that they prefer over whatever it is you wish they wouldn't do. In our case, it is jumping onto the counter tops or shredding the couch.

We had one of those carpet wrapped "kitty trees" you get from the pet store, and while it worked it was filthy and unserviceable within weeks of use. at the same time, we have used these disposable cardboard "scratch pads" meant to be set onto the floor. Those work fine, but we feelt kind of weird paying $15 for one of them at the pet store. I wanted to put a simple construction together using the cardboard idea, while also giving them the height advantage to be able to look out the windows and keep tabs on the local bird population. Another climbing option might mean less time spent on the kitchen counter they seemed to like it okay

I based the design idea off of something I found googling around (and it can be yours for $435!):

Implementation was pretty straight forward. I started with two long sticks of redwood, bridle jointed at this angle: I then threw together some trays dovetailed in the moste expedicious way to hold things together. These were glued to the lateral supports using Titebond III, and a couple drywall screws for good measure. the glue is probably plenty enough, but screwing things together made the clamping process a lot easier. THere' was no real joinery between the two parts, just face glue, so they could move pretty easily even under full clamp pressure.

and then about an hour or two of cutting a bunch of 2" thick strips of cardboard, gluing them up to a thickness that will nest snugly into the tray frames. There were also some cleats I glued into the bottom of the trays to support the cardboard structure:

The lower stretcher is just a 2x10 with a few dados cut underneath to receive the "feet" of the structure. I wrapped some old rope to make a sufficient scratch pad.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

quick picture frame in reclaimed redwood

Quick project here involving 4 sticks milled from old redwood siding that i've had drying out in my garage for the past 6 months.

Sarah found this 4'x6' map of california at the Oakland museum and wanted to spruce up our dining room with it. A tidy frame was on call. The choice of redwood is appropriate for the map, plus the wood is very pleasing to work. Its grain is very very fine. I'd estimate that this was old growth just given that the siding was quite beat up and had several layers of paint needing removal before final milling.

I used mitered bridle joints. wished I had a decent shoulder plane to help with the fitting

I chose a very subtle ornamentation for the corners, and knocked off the edges of the frame using a spokeshave and a smoothing plane.

The miters were gappier than I would like, but you can't see them from here.