Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Yards Sales and Old Tools

I love Memorial Day weekend, not only because it signals the start of summer, but because its one of the biggest yard sale weekends of the year, everyone is out there like eager little beavers trying to sell all there accumulative junk. Lucky for me one mans junk is another mans treasure and I found some treasure this weekend. First I picked an older Stanley back saw that looks like it could be from the 1940s. The guy wanted $20 dollars for it and when he saw me looking at it he said to me I’ll take ten for it, then a few minutes later as I was eyeing down the teeth of the saw which where in great shape, he came over and said I tell you what that there is an old saw and if you give $7 bucks for it, it yours, now I would of gladly given the him the $20 for it but hey he was a tough hackler. I search his tables some more to see what else I might find when I picked up an old 1 ½ chisel with no handle I started to ask him what he was asking for this gem when he said you can have that old thing I was going to throw it out, so I put it in my pocket. Then I the saw a little bench vice like the one I’ve been wanting to get for Tina, it had $10 dollars on so I pick it up pleased with that price and went to pay him, he looked at to the vice and told I could have it for $3 bucks that said I was a tough sale. I gave him $10 dollars and thank you and got back in the van.

At another yard sale I found a Shop Smith Mark 5 for $75 the man said the motor was shot on it I said that was fine I can fix that with no problem, so I paid him and ask if I could pick it up later this week. Even if I have to buy I new motor this will make a fine lathe for the shop. thing are coming together.

On Saturday my son in law was out with his sister shopping yard sales and he picked me up a box of hand planes for $45 there was a really nice Stanley #5 1/4 and Fowler that looks like it could be a #6 but I don’t know nothing about these planes so I need to research them a bit. There were also several block planes in the boxes some really nice ones. So now my plane collection is glowing and the ones I don’t use I was pass on to my grandsons tool box for them to use as they glow up.

Other finds at yard sales includes some 4” c clamps, 2 small back saws, a dovetail saw, all of these are older tools which I like some of the saw I got for my grandson I want to start letting him build things he’s getting old enough and is starting to show some interest.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Slow day

Today has been a slow day. Finally finished the cabinet for my daughter and got it inside her house, placed just where she wanted it, and I must say it looks much nicer than I thought it would. I didn't expect much from it given what I was working with, but I guess that just goes to show you with a little imagination and low expectations anything is possible. One of the best parts of working on that particular piece was I wasn't afraid to let my 18 month old grandson help me with it. He got to help plane some wood and was a real natural at it, he sanded a bit and even show a lot of interest in it (I expected that will fade with time). Its funny, now when I ask him if he helped me build that piece of furniture he says YEAP!! and runs over to it and rubs on it like only someone who loves woodworking can rub on a piece of wood, and I can already see the pride in is eyes and I down in my heart I know that I have planted the seed for another generation of woodworkers in my family. I guess I better watch my tools close when this little guys around or I might just be a few planes short when he goes home.

Undergoing MyBlogLog Verification

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Glen Drake Workshop

The Glen Drake Workshop

Tonight, my business partner who is also my lovely wife, and I had the pleasure of attending a Glen Drake Workshop on tools and techniques, and he gave a demonstration of all the unique tools that he sells. He demonstrated some very interesting tools from his Tite-Mark™ marking gauge right down to his wild wild west saw, which was a very interesting saw with its two handles and no teeth at the beginning and end of the blade that it was designed to work with his Kerf-Starter™ a kind of a one tooth saw that works like a scraper removing a thin path of wood the same thickness as the kerf of your saw. So now your saw already has a small kerf to start its cut in. He has also come up with an ingenious way of laying out the assembly clearances right into your layout lines. Now you can achieve an almost machine quality fit with your hand cut joinery and still retain the softness of hand cut work.

Glen talked about how each woodworker brings to this art the experiences of other things in their life’s and how those experiences shape how they approach the way they do their woodworking. For him he was a musician and then later a programmer and he talked about how being a musician taught him to practice, practice, and practice some more before actually going out and playing for the world a finished version of what he did. Woodworkers on the other hand seem to do it just the opposite, most get into woodworking because of a need that has to be filled and a lack of money to fill it so they build it, then find that hey this is ok I like doing this, its even fun. So then they set off to learn how to build and then start practicing the craft. He talked about as a programmer he learned how to deconstructed and think about all the what-ifs and how that helped him in his woodworking and his tool business. He said what made him start designing tools was is aggravation in the tools that he was using on a day to day basis. I guess if necessity is the mother of invention then aggravation is it’s cruel aunt.

One of those innovated designs he has is his hammers, and his hammers are some of the best I think I've ever picked up and in 30 years of swinging hammers I have picked up a lot of hammers. Going back to his music although he didn't say what instrument he played I kind of got the feeling that he was a drummer, and from his drumming experience is where I think he came up with the unique handles on his hammers. When you first see his hammers the first thing you notice about them is the fine workmanship that goes into making them Then you will notice that his chisel hammers have bent handles because they are made for left and right handed people. They sit very comfortably in the palm of your hand and because of the bend of the handle you can work with your wrists in a very natural feeling position. One other feature I really liked about these hammers is that they had a domed head and the flat head; the doomed is good for striking chisels with a flat face handle and the flat head is good for a striking chisel with a doomed face handle.

He also makes these hammers in a very short handle version he calls the Tite-Hammers™ they are made to be held very close to your chest when working close up. They would be very handy for a craver or somebody's doing very close work. My business partner alias wife really like the Tite-Hammers™ one of her hobbies is jewelry making and she works really a close all the time and regular hammers are always getting in her way. Plus she really like to finish on the hammer I could see her making some kind of jewelry out of it or at lease decorating the handle on it.

It was a very good wookshop we really enjoyed the evening. I also enjoyed meeting Glen Drake and all the people from Popular Woodworking, although we didn't buy any tool's we are planning on buying some in the future. I did buy Chris Schwartz’s book on Work Benches and had him sign it for me plus we got to see the popular woodworking shop and meet the most of the editors. I got to meet and talk to one of my favorite editors Glen Huey, and see the table that he build in their last issue We got a peek at some of their upcoming project that they are building for the next issue of Woodworking Magazine, so it was the very nice evening. I hope to get invited back again the people from Popular Woodworking and F&W Publications did a great job. The food was great, and people were great, and any time woodworkers together and talk about tools and woodworking you know the conversations was great. We wish you all could've been there but since you wasn’t I hope my little blog here will give you a little taste of the evening. So remember to keep the sawdust out of your eyes and stay safe.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Little Things Can Really Hurt

Some times the smallest things can cause us a lot of pain. and as woodworkers one of those things are splinters. On and average day in the shop I know I must get at least three or four, and some time as many as ten, depending on what type of lumber I am working with. The worst one I thing I ever got happen just the other day. I was fixing a piece of treated lattice work by my front porch when I picked up a splinter in my little finger. It managed to go in at old angle right up under my finger nail, now I still haven't been able to extract it with my first aid kit that I keep handy for extracting stray little wood slivers. I am hoping my body will expel this on its own, if not I am afraid I may have to go to the ER, because; my finger is turning red and is stiff and numb. I sure wouldn't want it to get infected and have to be treated in the hospital. Now that may sound extreme, but it wouldn't be the first time for me, and while I was there the ER doctor told me its not as rare as one might expect.

Some wear gloves while handling boards, but I always found that awkward and a little dangerous while running a machine, although a friend of mine told me he use his golf gloves, so I tried mine and found they where comfortable and safe to use, now a just need to get one for my right hand.

I keep a of small bandaid box in my tool box, and in my van, and in them I keep I pair of good tweezers, a magnifying glass, a few large upholstery needles I sharpened, some neosporen, a razor blade, and some bandaids. I found that with these few items I can safely get most splinters out of my hands. For the more stubborn ones I soak them in warm water with baking soda that cause the wood to swell and most time pop them right out. If I get one of them multi splinter kind that we all hate, I use yellow glue rubbing it all over the area and letting it dry then peeling it off and with it the splinters.

Well I sure hope everyone is staying safe so remember to keep the saw dust out of your eyes

Reclaimed Shop Cabinet

This was a shop cabinet that I kept tools on in my old shop

My daughter ask if I could make here a cabinet for her living room out of it I really wanted to just build something new but for some darn reason she liked this set of shelves. Now it had been banged up, had oil on it, and who know what else in the year or so setting in the shop as you can see

I did little work on it. and l think it came it out pretty nice. I added some nice trim, made a top for it and did some art work of my grandkids on the top, then scraped and sanded the whole thing. and used a glaze and some paint to help hide some of the scars, then I gave it a few coats of poly.

The hardest part about this project was working on the tiny porch of our apartment. and trying to do the finish work out there with the wind and the rain always coming just after I got that last bit of finish laid down, well lets just stay it seemed like mother nature must not want me to of put poly on this thing, because every time I did she try to blow every thing she could right over stick to it. I guess she wanted me to use shellac.

If you would like to see more on this project of others I have done you can go to my project page on LumberJock.Com


Monday, May 5, 2008

Bookcase Design


This was a bookcase I designed a while ago. I pulled it out of my design book and dusted it off and I entered it in the recent Lumberjock - Popular Woodworking bookcase design contest. Although it was not a winner I still feel it was a good design. I may of done better in the contest if I would of remembered the words of one my English professors from my college days, she always said “you have to write for your audiences” well I guess when you are designing for a contest that is going to published your design in a magazine, it is a lot like writing a paper for an English class. I didn't design it with that audience in mind, which in this case would have been the magazine. I rushed in and submitted what I thought was a good design, one that was original, but it wasn't one that really fit the format of the magazine. It was just not the kind of project that they published on a regular basis. More over I kind of knew that going into it, because I have been loyal reader of their magazine for many years, and I still went with the design, because; I just knew there was going to be a lot of arts and craft, and green and green style entries, and did not want to enter another one. So, I thought, a federal style bookcase that set low might make an impression, and it did make on the Popular Woodworking's Blog.

One other thing that I think might of hurt me in the contest is I hand drew my entry, and I notice all the winners was summited in Sketchup. Maybe it would have helped to get my vision of my bookcase across better. This is certainly a skill that I need to work on.

So I didn't win, I really didn't expect to. Fact is as the contest grew closer to a close my biggest worry was that I might win, then I would had to make the choice of building the project and writing the article or letting Popular Woodworking do it for me, and I think I would had to go for it, and that was scary. I did learn a little, and I put myself out there, and in the end I know that the editors picked the right bookcase, it sure is the one I would of picked if I had their job.

I might one day get to build this bookcase, I think it would look really nice in a living room, maybe a dining room, or even behind a sofa. The design I think it would certainly challenge one skill to build.

Right now, if I was to build a bookcase for my home. it would probably have an arts and crafts style to it because my wife leans more to the arts and crafts furniture and the table shes wants me to build is an arts and crafts style table and a bookcase would look good setting in our dining room full of woodworking books.


Safety Week

I would like to say, I think when Marc Spagnuolo of the Wood Whisperer declared May 5th through May 9th safety week it was a great idea. I know there will be a lot of people going over use of safety equipment, like respirators, hearing protection, and how important it is the use the guards on your saw and they all are very important. But one of the most important things that I think we overlooked as woodworkers is our backs.

I am saying this from my own experience, because in 1992. I was working for small shop on Saturdays, while I was running my own cabinet and trim business through week. On this particular Saturday my employer asked me to help him move his table saw. Now he had a large cabinet saw with a 7 hp three-phase motor that was capable of cutting 60 inches right of the blade. So this was a big, big saw and to make things worse it was a small shop, with lots of tools. So we had muscle this saw to where it was going. While we were moving it somewhere in the process I felt a little pain in my lower back. Than a little later I was laminating some table tops after I glued down the tops I would stack them about seven high and then place a couple of five gallon buckets of water on top of them as a clamp until the glue dried. After about my third set I reached down to pick up a bucket and about half way up. I felt a snap in my back, and I fell to the ground. That was in 1992, three surgeries, many hours of PT and almost one year are not being able to walk, all because of a few careless moments of not watching how I was picking something up.

So when you're in your shop muscling around them heavy sheets of plywood, you would do well, to be very careful of your back, where a back brace, stretch, and loosing up them muscles a little. If you need to move heavy items go inside get some help, call your neighbor, and use your tables or some other type of holding jigs. I am here to tell you it really isn't worth it to hurt your back over trying to saw a sheet of particle board or man handle that piece of furniture up on your work bench.

I hope some of this is a little bit of a reminder to watch your back. I know I still have to remind myself to watch my body position. Even after all I've been through. Well, that's my little spiel on safety. So keep the saw dust out of your eyes and live long and prosper

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Teasure Hunting

Last night I went to the auction in the town where I live and could not believe what they had on the auction block, it was a vintage beech workbench top with a wooden vice. It didn’t seem like no one wanted it so I made a starting bid of two dollars, and my bid turned out to be the only bid. So, I got this workbench top for two dollars. The top is in rough shape but I think I can bring it back with a little work and a new base.

Last week at this same auction, I was able to buy an older metal seven inch vice for five dollars. Again, I thought more people would want this vice. I opened the bid for five dollars, and again, I was the only one who bided on it. At this same auction that night they sold two pieces of pine 2 x 4 that had several holes drilled in them and was held together with two quarter-inch bolts and wing nuts. The auctioneer called them homemade shop clamps and there was a lively exchange of bidding, and these sold for seven dollars each and there wasn’t $.50 worth of hardware holding together those two boards. So I guess I'm lucky to be going to an auction with people who do not know the value of good woodworking tools.

I've been going to these auctions trying to fine some older planes and saws. Who knows, maybe I will get lucky and run across a few more jewels in the process. One can never know. I did notice they had a pile of rough sawed lumber and maybe a I’ll will get lucky and get that pile of lumber at a good price

I will post some pictures of my treasures and the progress I have in restoring them. I’ll keep everyone updated the best I can. I hope to start building the base and bring the top back to some kind of usable condition. Until then keep the saw dust out of your eyes.