Sunday, July 25, 2010

4th Down and time to punt

I decided that there was no reason to continue on with the bench top I was working on in "The Glue Dance" post. I didn't like the feel of that bench, and not to mention the glue up didn't go as planned. This time, Ive selected some Mahogany that sat outside for a unknown amount of time, and its now "Sun Dried Mahogany" if you will. Today I moved planks around and ended up with a very cool looking book match on one end that Ive determined to be my face vise side. I cut out dog holes about 6" on center and have made arrangements with the first few planks to accept a European style tail vise. I will post pics after this section is flat, and just before the next stage of glue up. One thing I should have known but didn't do is its best to glue up the top in sections, rather than trying to wrestle a bunch of planks and the race against strong quick setting adhesives! All is well, and the other bench top will serve somewhere maybe a new glue up table.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Glue Dance Day 1

Everything is all ready for glue up. This is always much more fun with a friend, but I have my Lab who provides my much needed supervision. So here is all of the stock Ive got, and remember it was free so my “Kitchen Sink” bench top will be mostly cherry, with a little maple and walnut for added flavor.

I used every clamp I could find that of course was big enough. My battens were 2×4 wrapped in wax paper to keep everything as flat as possible.

Day 2-
I was did the right thing here and waited a full 24 hours for the glue to cure, and evaporate. Now based on the next photo you can see Ill be busy for quite some time. Cheers!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

One Saw Bench or Two

My first attempt at recording my thoughts, hopes and wishes on a work bench have changed and today Ive begun to bring forth my ideas into my shop. One of the things about woodworking as you may have found out for yourself, is sometimes in order to accomplish one goal, along the way your faced with sub tasks if you will that must be completed before the main goal can be reached. For me that was a saw bench. You may wonder why I need a saw bench to build my work bench and the answer is this. My power tools continue to collect dust the old fashion way, and my band saw is the only one that has survived my journey into hand tools. The band saw is like a big hand tool with a cord anyway. That cant be applied to the tablesaw, or router etc. The bandsaw has its purpose in my hand tool shop. The saw bench is for crosscutting all of the large stock that will go into my bench. I followed the design for a saw bench found on Christooher Swartz Lost Art Press. I changed some things such as the 10 degree splay is at the back of the bench rather than all four legs. That way the legs shouldnt interfere with my saws downward motion. I also added the rip notch at the front of the bench,goes along with the 90 degree legs to tell me or someone else which side is the front.
I did read in the Lost Art plans about having two benches stored on top of each other. I will more than likely make another. I liek this one pretty good, but I made it in a hour, and there are some things I would do differently. Not big things, but I like pretty, and this thing is kind of ugly. Maybe in about 5 years Ill like how it looks.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Changing Directions

Over the last couple of years my approach to woodworking has changed a bit. Like many, I grew up on power tools. As a member of I recently posted a forum topic about a injury I sustained using my table saw. The post does has some pics of my injury, so be warned. Some folks dont like blood. One thing that happened to me over this incident was the beginning of interest in hand tools. I had no idea of how truly remarkable a hand tool could be used to elevate ones work so. It took about one month to get over the injury, mentally atleast. The hand surgeon told me to wait 6 months for healing! If woodworking was a hobby, I can see waiting that long, but how was I too feed my kids like that? So I knuckled up, and started working. Recently I made the decision to rid myself of some power tools for several reasons. One I dont enjoy them at all. Im not against them, or a hand tool purist, but for me hand tools have provided a unequaled amount of satisfaction in my work. The tools are beautiful, a joy to use, and yes expensive! I would encourage any woodworker to look closely at hand tools, just to see how very accurate they can be. There is so much information to be found on how to set up, properly care for, and use hand tools. Some great books Ive picked up are, "Choosing and using Hand Tools" written by Andy Rae. I've recently ordered Tom Fidgen's "Made by Hand". All of James Krenov's books are of course a must for your library. Finally anything written by Christopher Schwarz is also a must have. My final comment for now would be to consider hand tools for how clean they are. The dust made by hand saws isnt anything like that from the table saw. Your ears will thank you, but your power company won't!