Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Categories of projects

A comment on my recent post by Jeremy of JMAW Works gave me the idea for this post.

I have for a long time been following some general rules of how to categorize a project. These categories help me decide what to do and when.

This is the first time I have tried to write them down and put actual words on the categories, but I have more or less followed them for a long time.
They are all aimed at projects I do at home.

Instead of categories based on form or building method such as chairs, cupboards, chests, turnings, dovetails etc. my categories are primarily based on the weather and secondly the time of day.

Main categories are:
1) Nice dry weather .
2) Light rain or grey weather.
3) Rain.

Off course if a job can be handled in rainy weather, it can technically be handled in fine weather as well, but not necessarily the other way around.

Sub categories:
A) Day.
B) Afternoon.
C) Evening.

Day jobs are jobs that require natural light, and perhaps other shops to be open, and also the longest continuous stretch without disturbances.
Afternoon jobs are jobs that can be done when the boys are home from school, they might like to participate in the job, or I have to be able to leave the project at very short notice to help them or to drive them to soccer practice etc.
Evening jobs are jobs are for the time left after eating supper. During the weekdays our family normally eat supper at 5:30 in the afternoon, but it can be as early as 5 PM or as late as 6:30 too.
So a couple of hours in the shop is not unheard of until our youngest needs to be tucked in.

Whenever I have something that I would like to get done while at home, I place that project into one main category and into one or more of the sub categories.

This approach has helped me to work efficiently on multiple projects, and I like being efficient while I am at home.
Ever since I adopted the idea, I have been a lot better at not getting angry that I had to stop one project due to weather issues, because I would know exactly what other project I could switch over to.

My list of projects that I would like to get done while at home this time will get assigned to the following categories:

Bi-annular control of cars: 3)-A
This is a job that I don't plan on doing myself, and the mechanic can work on the cars inside. I just have to drive the cars to him and also later to the actual control.

Repair Volvo Valps: 2)-A
I have a machinery shed in which the Valps are parked. There is a concrete floor, so even with a bit of water I can lay on my back and work on them from beneath.
These jobs are best done without getting too distracted or disturbed.

Install panels and handrail in the small barn: 2)-A
I need to move in and out of the barn a bit with all the boards for the panels, so full rain is not nice for this job.

Make leather belts with Laura: 3)-C
This is a typical evening project. Something to be done in the shop and easy to go to and from during the process. It will most likely be a Friday or Saturday project.

Run the sawmill: 2)-AB
Dry weather is nice but not a complete requirement for running the sawmill. If it is too wet, it is simply unpleasant to go outside all the time with off-cuts and getting a new log etc. The boys like to help sawing with the sawmill, and I can stop anytime to drive and pick them up etc.

Empty the horses boxes and whitewash of  the stable: 3)-A
This is a large project,  inside save for emptying the wheelbarrow into the trailer.

In addition to these projects that were mentioned in my last post, there is also the ongoing list of perpetual projects, like:
Making and stacking firewood: 1)-AB
Cleaning and organizing the barn: 3)-ABC
Building stuff in the workshop: 3)-ABC
Garden/yard work: 1)-AB

Since the weather is generally bad From October to April, in those months it is especially important for me to have a few projects of each main category, so I won't risk wasting the single day of December without rain on doing indoor stuff.

Does anybody else categorize projects something like this?


Thoughts about what to build when I get home.

I  haven't been very productive this time on board, mostly because the weather has been miserable, so as soon as you get off the shift you had better try to get some sleep, because no one knows when the ship will be moving so much that sleeping is impossible, and holding on to something is the best solution for staying in the same spot.

But I am looking forward to signing off in a weeks time, and I have been thinking a bot about projects that I would like to complete the next home period:

Both our regular cars will have to go through the bi-annular inspection in the beginning of 2018, so I'd better make sure they are OK.

Both Volvo Valps are down at the moment. The black one needs a new set of points and a new capacitor, possibly a new fuel hose from the tank to the pump and a new muffler. The green one needs a new set of timing gears.
These cars are "essential" to my well being. I really like to drive them, and getting one of them back in business will get a high priority.

I would like to complete the interior of the small barn, and perhaps install a hand rail for the staircase as well. But apart from that I don't think I'll work much out there this time.

Our daughter would like to make some leather belts for her friends as Christmas presents, and I am looking forward to helping her with that project. The plan is to make one belt that will look like a saddle girth for the horse interested friend, and the other friend would apparently love to get a bright red semi wide belt. As luck would have it, I have some bright cherry red shiny leather that I haven't been able to use in any project, so making a belt of some of it would be great.

I need to work the sawmill a bit too, so we can get a new load of sawdust for the horses. I am also starting to run low on regular boards, so a day or two spent re-stocking the barn at home is also pretty high up on the list.
If I manage to produce a lot of sawdust, I would like to empty the boxes of the horses for the old sawdust that has been there during the last year, and at the same time give the stable a coat of whitewash. But for that project to work out, I'll need at least one Volvo Valp to be running. I need the 4WD to haul the laden trailer onto a wet field and unload the old sawdust.

It might sound like a lot, but my experience is that I can be fairly efficient when I am at home, given that I can devote the entire day to a project. So there should hopefully still be plenty of time to enjoy the holiday season with the family and take the dog for long walks and perhaps even ride the horses if the weather permits it.

And who knows, perhaps some last minute projects will suddenly find their way onto the list.




Thursday, November 30, 2017

Another Danish blog on traditional woodworking

One of the kind people who has commented on my blog is Mikkel from Denmark.
We have a couple of times touched upon the subject that there wasn't any woodworking blogs written in Danish.
As a result I started the bloksav blog (which is the Danish name of a mulesaw).

And behold!
Mikkel has resurrected his old blog called Haandkraft. He writes in a very informative language about the projects that he makes. He uses hand tools (though he admits having a chain saw)

I really hope that it will be possible to get just a tiny bit more people engaged in some sort of woodworking, now that it is possible to read about in Danish.
However International the woodworking community may be, there may still be someone out there who find it easier to read a blog in their native language.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Drawbore pins completed

I made the remaining handles the same ways as the first handle, and It went according to the plan.
The tangs or shafts of the drawbore pins were a bit over sized compared to the hole that I had drilled in the handles. Just a little bit, but when I first tried to mount the handle I got afraid that they might split, after all bubinga isn't a soft wood.
So I mounted the drawbore pins in the lathe and turned down the shafts to the exact diameter of the holes that I had drilled.

I still had to use a large hammer to mount the handles, but none of the handles split, and everything was really tight once seated.

For a finish I decided to use some old floor varnish that we have on board.
I simply dipped the end of a handle into the can and smeared the varnish over the rest of the surface. Once the entire handle was covered in varnish, I rubbed the handle a couple of times with an abrasive pad, and then I wiped off the excess varnish.
The idea is that it should provide a bit of protection against grime without being a super shiny and slippery surface.

Conclusion of the project:

Making a set of eccentric drawbore pins is relatively easy if you have access to a metal working lathe, or know someone who does.
The actual turning process is very simple and the material is inexpensive.

I am not sure if it was necessary to harden the drawbore pins, but I figure that it can't hurt to do it. But if you don't have the equipment for it, I am convinced that a set of homemade drawbore pins will still work perfectly.

Making tapered octagonal handles is easy, and you don't have to despair if they are not exactly square or if the taper is not identical on all sides, They are comfortable to use and a huge advantage is that they roll very poorly, so if you work on a ship there is a possibility that they might actually stay where you put them on the bench. I guess that the non rolling function also applies to shop ashore, so if you haven't got a tool tray - it could be a pattern worth considering.
Joshua Klein made an entry about the subject a couple of years back.
He was inspired by Zach Dillingers blogpost which provides a very thorough step by step guide to making those handles for a chisel.
A really fine thing about this pattern in my point of view is that it is possible to make it without a lathe.

All there is left for me now,  is to see if having some drawbore pins will make my work easier when using that joint. But I kind of expect that I will be the case.

Completed and finished drawbore pins.

Handles while drying.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Podgers or framing pins, a blog about timber framing and a place for handmade tools.

First of all, thank you to Sylvain for providing me with a link to a blog where you could see a drawbore pin for timber framing in use (a podger).

Second, I am sorry for the long headline, but I couldn't really sum up all this information in a shorter sentence.

Now back to some meaningful writing:

The link that Sylvain kindly found for me is for a blog of a company called Castle Ring Oak Frame. In one of their posts they had pictures where you could see the large drawbore pins that they call podgers. I instantly got exited and wanted to get some of those so I can start a new timber frame project at home.
Before going all wild in searching for those podgers, I thought that I'd take some time and browse through the blog.
I often find that when a company has got a blog it is mostly advertising in a poorly written form. This blog was completely different though. It is written in a cheerful way and to me it feels a lot more like someone who are so proud of their job that they would like to say: I might not be a self-made millionaire or a sports star, but I make timber frames that can last for hundreds of years - and I am having a great time doing it.
Oh - and they are using Roman numerals to mark the joints :-)

I doubt that I will be using their services to erect a timber frame, because I would like to do that myself, but I am pretty sure that I will read their blog and continue to be inspired by someone making timber frames for a living.

The name podger was new to me, and given that all the podgers used by the timber framing company looked the same, I thought that maybe they were available from new somewhere.
A quick search on Google, and I landed on another dangerous site.
Not the kind of site that will get you in trouble with the police mind you, but one of those sites that could potentially be the source of birthday and Christmas presents for years to come.

There I discovered the podgers (or framing pins) I was looking for, offset prickers, froes axes etc. all handmade.
The offset prickers I can make myself on the lathe, but I think that I will order a couple of podgers for Christmas.

For sake of good order, I am not affiliated with any of the companies, they don't know me and I don't know them, so I don't get any discounts or free stuff etc from them for this blog post.
But I like a well written blog as much as the next person, and I would think that there might be a person or two reading this blog that are willing to admit that they don't mind looking at a homepage with nice tools on it.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Octagonal handles for the drawbore pins

Tonight I pulled myself together and started on making some handles for the drawbore pins.
The weather is incredibly bad at the moment, with forecasts of a hurricane (named Ylva) coming sometime tomorrow on the Norwegian west coast. Wind speeds are predicted to be around 50 m/s (112 mph).
At the moment we are a bit south of the places that are expected to be hit the worst, but guess who is scheduled for sailing north this morning?..

We have already strong winds and high waves, but making a handle isn't the project that requires the biggest amount of accuracy.

I wanted to use a bit of my bubinga, and There was a part left on one of the large pieces that was just the right size for my purpose.
My initial idea was to saw of this end and then rip it to make the handles, but I decided that it was probably going to be a lot easier to rip the part first, and then saw it off. I had decided on a length of 11 cm which is something like 4 and 3/8".

Once I had four small pieces all approximately the same size, I squared one of them up a bit using a plane. two of the sides plane nicely and two sides don't. It is really some strange grain, and I had a bit of tear out. It isn't a plane tote, so I can live with a less than perfect surface, because it is not a tool that will be handled over a long period of time, so the chances of getting blisters by it are close to non existing.

I eyeballed a pleasing taper and planed it without too much trouble. The fat end of the handle is something like 1 1/8" and the thin end is approximately 13/16"

With a square tapered shape, I drew some lines with a pencil on each corner to define the octagonal shape. It is not an equal sided octagonal, but It doesn't have to be.

I planed down the corners and once I was happy with the result, I flattened the end with a file, so the piece stood up straight.
I marked out the center in the thin end and drilled a hole the size of the tang of the drawbore pin.

The edges of the fat end were then chamfered using a chisel, and finally the handle was sanded. When I used my fingers as backing for the sand paper, I was able to smooth down the small pieces of tear out that were left on the sides.

I only made one handle today, but since I didn't find any major obstacles in my course of action, I think that I can make the remaining 3 tomorrow if the weather permits it.

The drawbore pin has not been hardened yet, so I didn't mount the handle.

Octagonal handle next to drawbore pin.

Ripping.

Removing the corners.

Octagonal handle. 

Chamfered end.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A new woodworking blog in Danish

I have once in a while tried to search for Danish woodworking blogs, but the few ones that I have found all seem to have gone dead very quickly.

Woodworking doesn't seem to be big as a hobby in Denmark, but who knows, perhaps there are someone out there who would like to read about it in Danish instead of English.

So for once I did something highly unusual for my part. Instead of just bitching about it and getting annoyed, I actually took action myself!

I have started a Danish woodworking blog.

The name is bloksav, which is the meaning of mulesaw.

The address is bloksav.blogspot.dk

Quite often it will be duplicate posts from this blog, but I have actually posted about making a cutting board on the Danish blog that is not featured here.

I can see from my stat's that I do have some readers from Denmark, so maybe someone will read the new blog.

So far I am up to an impressive 33 visitors, so it is heading the right way.