Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What Can You Do With A Saw Tooth Rail?

Prop up a book silly.

Now where was I . . .  Oh yes, building a version of the William and Mary Book Stand built by Chuck Bender and showcased Popular Woodworking Magazine. If you need a refresher of where we're at, what we're talking about, and the ultimate answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. Then you can find two of those things HERE. Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

As I said before when talking about this piece, I was super impressed at how much of a challenge it was. There is a ton of joinery in this little 12" by 12" by 4" pile of walnut. As I neared the end of the build I became more worried about the Derek Factor involved here.

"I've come so far on this, I screwed up the last time I tried this piece, it all seems to be going so well, when will the other shoe drop and I deflower the pooch on this one."
I was down to cutting and joining a piece critical to the proper function of the stand. The frame I had finished is really just a frame but two pieces inside the frame make it into a book stand. that's the saw-tooth rail and a tapered leg that spins on a pivot inside the inner frame.
The first thing to do was mill a piece of walnut to size and then cut the tenons for the through mortises in the front and back pieces of the frame.
Here's where the plot thickens...(pause for dramatic effect). I'm working away, knocking out the mortises with my 1/4" bench chisel.
The first mortise goes off without a hitch, so I move on the the second mortise, I'm halfway through the thickness of the stock, I drive the chisel in and lever back to clear the chips and BAM.

Now I know these Irwin chisels aren't Ashley Iles or Lie-Nielsen chisels, I've never claimed that they are even close. But really these chisels are pretty decent for the price you pay, I was planning to upgrade someday but not really just yet, and here my 1/4" is broken. I haven't abused it or did big modifications on it. The usage was not beyond what a bench chisel should be able to handle.

To Irwin's credit, I visited the companies website and filled in a comment and in a couple days I heard back from a representative. Irwin was sending me a replacement chisel for my trouble. In the end I think they redeemed themselves. I will still find myself upgrading in the future, but that was always the plan.

I found another 1/4" chisel in a drawer with other older chisels, it took some time to tune it up and get back to work. Once that ordeal was done I had another decision to make where the inner frame pivots in the older frame. Left alone the inner frame impinges on the saw rail as it raises.
There are a lot of ways to fix the issue. I could bevel the backside of the bottom stile, but I was worried that would weaken the round pins I had cut from the ends of the stile.
In hindsight I realize I could have made a localized round over right at the contact of the rail and stile. I guess I just didn't think of it at the time.

With my first failed attempt at this piece I made the choice to notch the stile to move around the saw-tooth rail. I have gotten to look at that decision alot while it's sat around the shop, and I hate that decision. I wasn't going to make it again.
The answer I decided on was to grab a small gouge and make a small groove in the saw tooth rail so the inner frame could travel up and down unimpeded.
Now to make the saw teeth that give the rail it's name. I measured and marked out the spacing and depth and made a series of cross cuts

I used the bandsaw to back cut the slope into the cross cuts.
Then I used a chisel to clean up the bandsaw marks.and refine the slopes.
Now half of the mechanism was done. The swinging leg was what was remaining. I sized a small square section of stock to ride on two pin tenons inside the inner frame. I cut a small tenon into a piece of sized stock  and a matching mortise into the small cross piece.
A little work with a block plane and I had the leg properly tapered.
I can't help myself, I had to dry fit the piece together once again. I was so tickled to see the piece together I had to reach into the backpack I carry back and forth from the shop to home and pull out a book to see how it looked.
I'll bet you can't guess which book this is???

Now it was on to do some finish planing, some sanding, and some finishing.

And one more thing, if you were disappointed that my earlier link did not contain the ultimate answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. Well if you don't know already . . . the answer is 42.

Ratione et Passionis

Friday, August 26, 2011

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

As my post before explained, I often take a few weeks off in the beginning of August for some vacation time with family and friends. In the past I have prepared by writing up several posts ahead of time so I can just pop on and post them when I get a chance. This year that just wasn't in the cards so it appears that I have been quiet for a while.

I have not been quiet, I have in fact been busy. The first two weeks of August are the busiest time of year for my hobby Viking Age Reenactment (I guess I cannot classify woodworking as a hobby in my life any longer, words like addiction or passion would probably serve better) We have a big show up in Ishpeming Michigan for a renaissance faire on the first weekend in August and our annual Midsummer Feast and Tournament the second weekend.

Now there was some woodworking involved in both weekends. When we set up our encampment at a faire I bring along my portable joinery bench and set up doing some woodcarving demonstrations for those interested. I love doing this because other woodworkers I have never met before stop, look, and then begin to talk sawdust with me. 

 I also got the chance to visit with an old piece of mine that I traded to a bladesmith friend for a nice dagger. the chest was actually one of my first successes at dovetailing. They use it to carry the stuff they need for rustic cooking, and his wife is an amazing cook!
But that isn't all we do at faires, we also perform a show where we talk about how weapons were used in medieval combat, we show several examples, and then we use padded versions of those weapons and do actual combat. No choreography, no stage combat tricks like telegraphing, no pulled punches, we go for it and go hard.
The steel is just for light demonstration, so far. We are working towards passing the padded weapons  on and using wooden ones, and in some cases, real steel weapons. 

This is the first combat I've participated in for over a year, since I hurt my knee doing this last June. As you can tell from the last picture, it feels good to get back in the "swing" of it.

The next weekend was the feast and tournament. I did a short presentation on carving techniques for the members in attendance.

 After my presentation and ones from our blacksmith, bow maker, and a herbalist. We started the martial games.
I took second place in archery.
Second place in the axe throw
First place in the spear throw.
I took first place in the balance log combat, were we use our weapons and sometimes our bodies to remove our opponent from the log first.
And I took first place in the heavy combat tournament, a great weekend for me overall which added to me winning the overall competition and the prize of a couple of pieces to add to my armor.
After all that I admit it took a week or so of resting up and healing from the bumps and bruises of two weekends in a row of combat, but now I'm feeling much more like myself and I'm ready to hit the shop and the blog, batteries recharged and ready to go.

In fact I just put in an order at my hardwood dealer Big River Lumber Company for 60 board feet of 5/4 poplar. I'm starting work on a traditional tool chest in an Anarchist style. So from here on we'll finish up talking about my build of Chuck Bender's William and Mary Book Stand, and we'll talk about my finishing of a carved box. After that we'll follow up on my build of an anarchist's tool chest and some of my own individualist ideas I intend to include. (Nothing really too far off the map though) Until then. . .

Ratione et Passionis

If you are interested in seeing more info on my Viking Age Reenactment Group you can visit our website 

If you like what you see and maybe want to see more pictures of the events The Tribe has a Facebook page as well. you can check that out HERE. Become our "friend" and stay up to date with what we're doing and where we're going.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Apologies.

Greetings all,
This is just a quick note to offer an apology for my recent absence. I had no intention of taking a break in the middle of writing about my build of Chuck Bender's William and Mary Book Stand, but sometimes life happens. The first weeks of August are always packed full for my family and I, and though I still get some time in the shop, I usually have little time to write about it. In the past I have prepared for this by loading up on some pre-constructed posts I could use to fill the gap. This year I just did not get the chance to do so. Those of you who connect with me via social medias like Twitter, Google+, or Facebook may have noticed that lately I am more erratic in my presence there as well.

At any rate I want to thank you for your readership and your patience. I will be back pounding the keyboard into submission soon. Until then here's to summer evenings with a good beer and better friends, sunny afternoons with my beautiful daughters, and maybe a few days of sleeping in until 9am. . . maybe.

Ratione et Passionis