Well, I couldn't control myself today, I skipped the saw handle I promised I would make, and since it was such an awesome day out worked some on the saw horses instead. It feels like spring now that I'm tackling a real project. As practice for doing the ren faire shows this summer, I have decided to build these monsters using only hand tools. Usually I'm a hybrid kinds guy, little hand, little 'lectric, but there's a purpose here so I'll do my damndest to stick to the principal though I think I hit my first stumbling block. More on that at the end.
I started the day by cleaning up the shop, I had a ton of shavings on the floor from testing rehabed planes. (god damn it's fun to make shavings!!!) I got them all swept up and in the trash, ahhh nice clean shop.
Then I took out the 2x12's I bought for this and began to measure and cut for my rough pieces. Two 3 foot long sections and 4 18 inch sections. The other thing I have done without so far is the modern contrivance of measuring tape and pencil. Instead I have done my markups with a pair of dividers and a scratch awl or marking knife. My rosewood tri-square had some inch gradations on it and I will have that with me a faires, so I thought it was fair to use them to set the dividers at 6 inches and step things off. I'm not sure how absolutely accurate my measurements turned out, but I think I have to let go of that anal side of myself for this stuff. Measuring out what looks right, and going with it. Using one cut board to get the matching length for another, works just fine. Who needs a tape measure anyhow?
With the boards cut down to length I took them into the shop and started planing the edges down square. removing the rounded corners the mills put on them. I never have quite understood the reasoning behind why they do that extra tooling like that, you'd think less tooling would mean less investment, maybe its because a board with rounded corners might play an optical illusion and look straighter and closer to true than most of their twisted crap would look with squared corners. I don't know. Either way, I'm taking it down to square.
Now you get to see the hell that the Wood Shop Jr. can be for me, I have three reasons from today, The first two are illustrated in this picture.
In the end, it turned out OK. I like the proportions. I shortened the triangle cut out below on the fly and it was a good decision. It has a vaguely medieval style and feel to it. I used this one to mark out the other three remaining legs. Then I decided to try and solve my last problem. Carving the designs into the legs.
In the past all my carving has been done with a dremel style tool and burrs. Again, I want this to be hand tool only so the dremel is out this time. The trouble is the set of carving tools I own are crap, serious crap. Cheep Buck Brothers BORG P.O.S. crap. I should just throw them away for all the good they do. I just want a couple that will do some basic work, that will sharpen well and that I can get some experience and grow from. I thought I would try to make due with what I have in the shop. Maybe I can do it with chisels I thought, I have some small, spoon type scrapers, those would help. I've got to be able to make something work.
Forget it, this is the frustration I was talking about at the beginning of this post. For all the distance I've come there is just one more hurdle, one more tool that I need to do what I want. . . I suppose it will end one day, just not today. I just spoke with my wife, This weekend we will be making a trip to the Woodcraft store in Madison so I can pick up two or three decent carving tools. Any suggestions?
I guess that will be all for tonight, Cheers!