Saturday, October 31, 2015

Shaker hanging cabinet, North Sea edition, blind dovetails.

This was my first attempt on making blind dovetails, but I figured that it couldn't be that hard, ad if I messed things up I could always reduce the size of the cabinet a bit and nail it together like the original version.

I know of two types of blind dovetails, one of them leaves a bit of end grain visible, and the other ends in a mitre.
The mitre model is probably more difficult, and it would be better for something like the corner of a fine chest. When I am going to try out that method, I think I would like to do it at home in my own workshop.

The end grain model (for a lack of a better word) on the other hand is perfect for this application since the end grain will be concealed due to the rabbet I made.

After a bit of thinking I decided that the best way to make them would be to start out with the pins. That way I could mark out the tails afterwards.
I chiseled out all the waste so I could stay within my layout lines. If this had been for e.g. a carcase for a campaign chest, overcutting the baseline wouldn't have posed a problem at all, but this will be very visible inside a small cabinet, so I wanted to make it look as nice as possible.

Once I had made all my pin boards, I marked out the tail boards directly from them.
I soon discovered that I had made a small mistake:
My pins were so small at the thin end, that I didn't have a chisel that would fit inside them to clean them up. It wouldn't have been a problem on regular through tails, but in this case it wasn't the smartest move.
My solution was to use a small screwdriver as a chisel, and it went surprisingly well. Probably because the wood is soft and the inside surfaces of the tails will never be seen anyway.

While I had the outer case dry assembled, I marked out the length of the shelf directly from the case.
The shelf was sawn of at the correct length and the ends were cleaned up using the shooting board.

Before glueing up the assembly, I rounded over the protrusions, and sanded the parts.
To protect the pieces I put a piece of cloth on the workbench before I started the glue up.

So far it looks just like half blind dovetails.

These are the blind tails.

My first assembly of a set of blind dovetails.

Shooting board in action.

Dry assembly.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Shaker hanging cabinet, North Sea edition, dadoes and rabbets.

With the sides trimmed to the correct thickness it was a small job ripping them and touching up the edges with the plane.
The narrow strips of wood from the ripping will eventually form the stiles of the front of the cabinet.

The sides themselves, need a dado for the shelf. I am just going to put in one single shelf in the middle of the cabinet, though you could also put in more shelves if you wanted to. I guess that two shelves would be the maximum practical number, to prevent the height between each shelf to become too low.
Technically there is nothing wrong with putting the shelf other places than in the middle, but since I don't know what I'll use the cabinet for, I'll go the conservative and safe route.

Since I don't have a dado plane, I usually make my dadoes by marking them up, and sawing to the desired depth. A fine crosscut saw is ideal for this job.
I normally clamp a piece of wood right next to where I am going to make the cut, to help guide the saw.
Once I have made the cuts, I remove the waste using a chisel and then I clean up the bottom of the dado with a router plane. If you have a real router plane i.e. a plane which is easier to adjust then my homemade router, It is easy to remove all the waste using such a plane. Just remember to gradually increase the depth of your cut. You'll be able to control the router plane better if you don't take a huge cut such as 1/4".

The top and bottom needs some rabbets. The design calls for approximately 1/4" of wood to protrude from the carcass as a decorative element.
Since I am going to try making blind dovetails, my rabbets on the sides will have to be 11/32" wide (9 mm) That way I can have 1/8" of wood left to cover my dovetail and still meet my design criteria of 1/4" protrusion.

The rabbets on the front will need to be 1/4" plus the thickness of the sides themselves (3/8") = 5/8" wide.
For all the rabbets I used my rabbet plane, but if you haven't got one of those, you could also make them the same way that I made my dadoes. But that would probably require a bit extra sanding eventually.

Sawing the sides of a dado.

Cleaning out the waste from a dado with a chisel.

The rabbets on the top and bottom boards.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Shaker hanging cabinet, North Sea edition, pallet sides.

Ralph commented on how all the pallets he encountered were made out of fairly narrow boards.
European standard pallets (Euro pallet) are made using something like 1x5" boards for the top and also the lower part.
The things to get hold of are not the pallets themselves, but rather the pallet sides if they are fitted.
These are hinged sides that are made out of some 7.5" wide boards of 3/4" thickness. Mind you that these sides are not intended as furniture wood, so there is sometimes a lot of cupping or twisting in them. It can be a bit hard to see beforehand, as the hinges are really stout and hold the relatively short boards flat.
We often receive spare parts on pallets with sides on them, and since we are not part of the return system, we don't deliver them back or reclaim money for them.
The general idea is that like a Euro pallet, you can trade them in, but it is not worth the trouble given our small throughput of these.

Today I got about an hours work in the workshop trying to dimension tome stock.
The bottom and the top will be almost the full thickness, since I plan on dovetailing the carcase together. There will be a rabbet to allow me to do some half blind dovetailing, or perhaps I will try to make blind dovetailing of some sort.

The sides and the front I planed to around 3/8" thickness. The plan is to rip the full width boards, and that way make one side and one front from the same board.

Both these two boards were fairly flat, so there wasn't much work in getting them to the desired thickness.

The back panel on the other hand has got a pretty significant cupping.
across a width of 15.5" there is almost 3/8" in the middle. I even tried to correct it a bit when I glued up the panel, but it will still take some work to get it flat. The goal for the back is something like 1/4", so I should be able to get it out of the glued up piece despite the far from flat condition.

One thing that is bugging me a bit about the use of pallet sides is that I have never been able to think up at a fine solution for using all those heavy hinges.
I just saw the off and throw them away.
They have stamped reinforcement in them, and they are wide and coarse, not exactly the classic qualities you want for small woodworking projects - but maybe one day I'll be able to think of something and I'll regret throwing out a great number of them along the way.

Pallet with sides mounted, + one loose side on top.

A hinge for a pallet side. 

My cupping back panel.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Shaker hanging cabinet, North Sea edition.

While I am still going to continue with my drawings for the small barn, I really need to build something again, to get myself out of the low productivity period that I seem to be having.

I have spent some time pondering what to build, and though I know that some time ago I made a lot of suggestions on the blog, and also received some from nice people commenting, I have chosen to do something completely different.

As you are probably all aware of, I have had a tendency to build chests out here. One form or another, which is technically OK, but I need to do something else. I can't keep on with the same projects over and over again.

Out here I have so far only built one small cabinet though: The hanging cabinet with many drawers. It was an interesting build, but I eventually finished the drawers at home. I.e. it was a bit of a large project to complete in a limited time. But the cabinet itself was interesting to build.
So suddenly I got inspired to build a North Sea version of a Shaker hanging cabinet.

The initial plan is to be inspired by the small Shaker cabinet from New Lebanon. I'll base the size on the availability of wood (pallet sides again).
I am not planning on doing anything really fancy, just more or less build it like I did together with the boys a couple of years ago: Shaker hanging cabinet.
To not completely forget how to dovetail, I think that I'll attach the bottom and the top using half blind dovetails. I suspect that the Shakers would have approved of that too.

First task as usual is to find some wood and get started.

It turned out that one frame of pallet sides should provide enough material for this cabinet. There is going to be a lot of planing, in order to reduce the thickness to something that will look acceptable.

Today I just sawed the pieces to rough length and glued together a back panel. The top and bottom were smoothed out and that was about that.

My next move is going to be to prepare the sides and the top and bottom so I can dovetail them together. I'll also need to make a shelf and cut a couple of dados for it.

But that will be another day. So far I am content with just having started a project again.

A future cabinet.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A small barn for the summer house.

My wife came up with a really nice suggestion this fall.
She suggested that we could build a shed at the summer house next year.

Since Gustav is going to have his confirmation this next spring, we could use a low budget holiday, and spending it by building something at the summer house is actually pretty close to my idea of a great summer.

My idea is to make a small barn like structure with a gambrel roof. I want to make it with some sort of a timber frame, and I plan on milling most of the wood myself.
I wanted to make it as large as possible with my own timber, which means that it will be 14' x 14'.

In order not waste my time by making a construction drawing of a small barn, only to find out that I can't build it due to regulations, I did something a bit unusual:
I started by visiting the building regulations department at the town hall.
Much to my surprise I was able to find a friendly person to discuss the case with, and she looked at the various regulations and said that as far as she could see, I could go ahead with my project based on the information that I had given her.
The Danish building regulations are changed regularly, and especially in summer house areas they can differ a lot compared to the general regulations, because some special local rules may apply.

So I have brought some paper and and a mechanical pencil with me to sea this time. My idea is to make the drawings out here, and then submit them for approval once I am done.
For the final approval, we need to establish where the barn will be placed on the property. As far as I understood, that information can be submitted later in the process.

I saved some of the old roof tiles from our house when we had the roof renewed a couple of years ago. I plan on reusing them for the the barn. I want to make it with a solid sub roof covered in tarred paper (which isn't paper anymore by the way).
The Danish code of good building practice concerning roof tiles made out of burned clay, describes the minimum pitch/slope of a roof to be 25 degrees. I found an excellent tool on the Internet, that helps designing a gambrel roof:
You can alter the calculator to suit the roof you are designing. I found out that a 40 degree sweep angle made the top part have exactly the 25 degrees of pitch that I was looking for.

I started milling the wood before going back to sea, so I have already made the wood for the lower frame of the barn. That will be made by some 7"x 7" lumber. I plan on making the rest of the timber frame out of 6 x 6, that way I can hopefully handle it myself with out having to use a crane. I do suspect that some ingenuity will be required, but that is part of the fun.

The project will also need some windows and a door etc. which is all stuff that I hope to be able to make during the winter.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The sewage system. (rant)

I have had a period with very little interest in the blog. Mostly because I haven't been doing any small scale woodworking and also because we have had to do a major rebuild of our sewage system.

This sewage business has really annoyed me. We had a perfectly well functioning old system with a septic tank, but some years ago one of our worthless governments decided that it was too popular to live in the countryside in Denmark, and something had to be done to prevent people from wanting to live there. Therefore they decided to impose a law requiring people to rebuild their sewage systems. There doesn't seem to be a uniform plan in the different communes (kind of like small counties). So some places people have not been forced to rebuild, and other placed like my place, people have. But for some reason it is not all people that have been forced to rebuild their systems. my neighbour for example have not been told to change his system, though it is the exact same system as our old one. And the cleaned water goes to the same recipient as ours. I don't want to be an informer and rat on him, because the last thing I want our otherwise pathetic society to transform into is a rat community.

The long story short is that we have had to get the garden dug up, and some new equipment installed, all at a total cost of approx. dkk 100.000,- (around US$ 15.000).
I have to tell y'all, that I could easily find a project or two that I would rather put my money in than this shit system. Dealing with this has drained me of a lot of my energy and left precious little desire for woodworking and even less for blogging.

I have often seen that Denmark has been declared the best place to live on the earth, and the Danes are supposed to be the happiest people around, I have never heard of anyone at all being interviewed about their happiness etc, so I tend to think that it is pure BS, based on statistics on how many hospital beds etc. are available and so on.

Lately, I have been seriously considering emigrating to a more civilized part of the World. Anywhere but this ridiculous excuse of a country.

So far the following places are on my list: (In alphabetical order)

- Australia, because there is supposedly lots of space, and the climate is way better.

- Canada, because there is supposedly lots of space, and the level of civilization seems to be high, and I believe it is sort of a welfare society as well. I have to confess that I have looked a lot into the immigration process already. I think my first choice would be Northwest territories, Around 40.000 people in a place the size of Spain means plenty of room for a small forest for me, and perhaps even a place to fish and hunt.

-England, because of the level of civilization, and they have a better climate.

-Germany, because of the level of civilization, some very nice and friendly people mixed with a beautiful language and a better climate (in the southern part at least).

-USA, because of the much more liberal laws and there is really nice people and lots of space. I would probably opt for Oregon, Montana or Alaska. The climate is also better.

Anyway, the rest of the family isn't quite convinced that it is time to move on yet, so it seems that I am stuck here.

The new sewage system itself is something called a planted filtration unit. It is an excavation filled with gravel with some special plants planted on top of it. There is an aeration system in the bottom of it that will supposedly enhance the bacteria efficiency.
It is not a particular advanced thing to make, but do to our legislation, things like this has to be made by an authorized person.

The old system meant that for every cubic meter of water that we used, we had to pay dkk 5.32 (80 cent).
With this new filtration unit this price has graciously been lowered to dkk 1.1 (17 cent).
BUT then there is a new requirement to have the system serviced once per year with a sample of the water being taken and sent to the commune for verification of the state of the filtration unit. cost: dkk 2000 (300 $)
There is also a small compressor that uses electrical power of around dkk 400 (65 $)

So all in all the system is a lot more expensive to us. See if you can guess which Dane is not very

The good news is that the basic porch is complete, I still need to make a few trimmings to it though.
There will be a 14 feet wide stair on the front part of it, going down to the lawn, and I need to make some sort of railing system to make it look more completed.

There used to be an OK lawn here. 

The filtration system.

The new porch 

The south part of the porch.

This is much more fun than messing with sewage systems.