Saturday, February 20, 2010

Batting 1000

You just gotta love Saturdays. Now Sundays are pretty nice too . . . but there's always that cloud of Monday hanging over it. Earlier today the family and I headed over to Barnes and Nobles, and low and behold they got in a new selection of woodworking books. Nice. Took the time to page through the "Using Hand Tools" book by the Popular Woodworking Magazine group and was impressed, but I have more than half the articles already in the mags I've collected so there was no point in buying it today, but I did have some hard earned tax return money to spend so I splurged and bought 2 new books. I only get to do that once or twice a year.

One I had been looking at for a long time and finally pulled the trigger on was "Building 18th Century American Furniture" by Glen Huey. A very comprehensive and well done work with a step by step walk through of every process. A direction I wanted to go in . . . need to go in to grow more, as a woodworker. I've spent almost ten years playing around and doing just what I need to do, picking projects by need, by request, or by random decision based on what wood I have available to me. It's time for me to grow and studying the height of custom furniture in it's heyday of the 18th century. This book is a good roadmap to go farther down the path.

The other choice I made was "Turning Wood" by Richard Raffan. This goes along with my only other significant purchase with the tax return money. The local Menards had a clearance sale on their full size Tool Shop lathes. I had been thinking about picking up a mini lathe but to get a full size for less than 120 dollars, too good to pass up. I know Tool Shop brand is a pretty cheep brand, but that's pretty much my MO when it comes to buying full size tools. I start out cheep and small, learn my lessons and take my lumps. Then when it's time . . . I upgrade to a fuller size, grown up model, and man do things go smooth after that. Besides, I have had a Tool Shop drill press for many years and it has always performed well for me. I have played with a lathe for a while, an extremely cobbled version I inherited from my wife's Grandpa, and I enjoyed it, but really all it was doing was playing. In the vein of learning and expanding comes this book. It seemed from the quick, at the store, look through to be a good book that covered things from the basics through the more interesting stuff. Hopefully a good book to start from and work from.

Then, later this afternoon, I got to spend some time in the shop to boot. I finished the stair saw by drilling the holes in the handle and in the blade. Broke three drill bits drilling into the saw steel but that is a combination of them being older, probably dull bits, and doing the drilling with a cordless drill and not in a drill press. Oh well. In the end the job got done, and the blade was mounted and set to a 3/8 inch depth, a couple test cuts and the saw worked like a dream. The poplar board I had has some black and purple staining on it. Some poplar does this. . . I guess I'm not sure why some develop this, must be something in the environment where they grow. But the staining really came through with a layer of danish oil, and I think it looks very interesting. I'm very happy with this piece and inspired to forge ahead.

So I started work on the smaller bow saw I also planned to build, I started using some of the mystery hardwood I used to make the handle of the flush cut saw. "I'm really not sure what the hell this stuff is, I found the board in the garage of a house we rented a few years ago and I've carried it around for a few years just because. Anyway, I ripped out a couple of lengths for the 2 end pieces and one for the center stretcher. I hand cut the mortises and tenons to join them together. This is the first time I have completely cut a mortise by hand, and I have to say a pretty satisfying experience. I do see people that do it quite a bit use a gooseneck chisel to help clear chips. . . I'm thinking I may have to look for a few on e-bay. The joint did turn out a bit sloppy, but I don't really mind this, because a bow saw needs some flex in it at these joints, so in the end, good learning experience and something I will have to do more of.

One last note before I go tonight, This little blog experiment has now hit 1000 hits. Considering I started this blog as an experiment mostly for my own self gratification less than a year ago (That's right started June 15th) that is incredible to me. I want to thank everyone who has come to read my little foray into the unknown. hitting 1000 feels pretty humbling and inspiring at the same time.

Thank you all, and as always Cheers

Oldwolf

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