Monday, April 16, 2018

A Barnsley hayrake table 1, stock preparation and the frame.

I have started making a Barnsley hayrake table for a friend of mine.
He needed a large table, and I am more than happy to build another table like this. For some reason large tables are pretty popular over here, and my friend said that he would like the top to be 198" x 48". So I am once again ending up with a hefty tabletop that will be difficult to move around. But I am also given the opportunity to make a nice sturdy base to go along with it.

A thing that bothered me a bit about the last hayrake table that I made, was that it didn't have breadboard ends. So this time I am going to make some of those.
Another thing was the fact that suddenly the size requirements for that table changed, so the legs are way too close to the edges of the table - but now I get a second chance for making it look right.

I milled some larch about half a year ago, and while it isn't furniture grade dry, it will be dry enough for me to make a table out of. I can't get the moisture content down to furniture grade anyway, so I'll just be prepared for a bit of wood movement.
It might even ad some character to the finished table.

The stock for the frame was jointed and planed to thickness on the thickness planer. The legs started out as 6x6" timber, and the hayrake part was a 3x5". I removed approximately 5/8" from the legs, and a bit less from the stretcher stock.

I started making the mortises in the center stretcher by drilling and chiseling out the waste. The result was really good. I then decided that it might be fun to test the chain mortiser on the leg mortises. To avoid tear out on the front side of the legs, I didn't plunge the machine all the way through, but stopped maybe 1/8" from going through.
I had marked out the location of the mortise on both sides, but I was curious to see if the machine was going straight in - or if it worked at an angle once loaded. So the first few taps with the mallet on a chisel were really interesting. Much to my surprise, the hole was dead accurate. I know for sure that I could never make such a good looking almost 6" deep mortise by hand.
So already now the machine has earned its keep.

Apart from making a lot of mortises, the stretcher also needs a lot of tenons. I am gradually becoming better and better at making those, though I still find the angled tenons to be a bit difficult to execute.

There is still quite a bit of way to go, but I am enjoying every minute of the building time.
Some parts of the stretcher.

Planing a 6x6

This chain mortiser is amazing!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Pilot ladder cabinet 10, completion

Two days ago I glued in the back panel, and yesterday I managed to smooth the outside surfaces of the carcase. I had to place the cabinet on the floor, and push it against the workbench with a small piece of wood in between, to be able to do a decent job.
I have also glued in some drawer guides and drawer runners. These are merely flat sticks that the drawer will run on and register to.
I tried to sand the outside a bit, but I think that I'll wait with the final sanding until I get home. This wood is so hard that I think a quick run with an electric sander would be better than me spending forever with a sanding block.
My plan has been to give it a coat of clear varnish as a finish, so I might as well do a proper job of preparing the wood for that.

Today I installed the hinges and mounted the door. As per the instructions of Robert Wearing's "The essential woodworker" a hinge on a cabinet should be let into the door, too keep a continuous line of the stile.
The text and drawings are easily understood, and mounting the entire door was a smooth operation without any unfortunate hick-ups.

Before the final mounting of the hinges, I glued in the knob for the door.
The door knob and the drawer pull were both turned yesterday, and while not identical, they still look a bit the same, and that is fine with me.

Our daughter Laura has expressed a genuine interest in this project, and I asked her the other day if she would like the cabinet at some point, and she did. She is left handed, so I decided to mount the hinges on the left hand side of the door, to make the cabinet more user friendly for a lefty.
Actually I am not sure if that is the normal way, but I find it most natural to have the hinges on the right, so I guess that mounting them on the other side would make sense for someone left handed.
I figured that she might as well participate in deciding where the small metal plate should go, and I also have some nice small round headed brass screws at home that would make the mounting look fine.

With the door in place, I made a small toggle to keep it closed, and the final work was to chisel MMXVIII inside the door frame on the hinge side.

Now it will be a matter of finding a cardboard box and make the cabinet ready for the flight home.

Thoughts about the build:

-The pilot ladder wood is definitely harder to work than my regular spruce/pine pallet sides. But I was lucky this time that it didn't twist and cup too badly.

-I would have preferred a regular back made of T&G boards, but since it wasn't really an option, this 3 panel solution was also OK. It took a long time to make and the joinery is not of a very impressive accuracy.

-The door came out pretty well, and making the small beading on the frame went surprisingly smooth. In addition I think that this small detail gives a lot of visual interest and helps to make the door look more "done".

-I was afraid that the cabinet might be a bit too deep, but I think it looks OK. The final test will be once it is mounted on a wall somewhere.
One of my colleagues remarked that it looked a lot like a small bedside cabinet, so that could also be a possible future for it.

-I haven't registered the amount of time that I have used on the build, but I guess it is somewhere around 60 hours. So it isn't a fast build in any way, but with stock preparation entirely by hand, it isn't a surprise.

Pilot ladder cabinet completed.

Left hinged door.

Door and drawer opened.

Not too deep after all.

Chiseling out for the hinges.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Pilot ladder cabinet 9, door and metal plate position.

We have had a couple of days in harbour, and due to the Easter, we have had a chance to relax. For me relaxation means going in the workshop and continuing with the build.

I completed the door for the cabinet, and there was quite a lot of work involved. I have brought a copy of "The essential woodworker" with me, and Charles Hayward suggests that to ease the look of a panel type door, the inside edges should be broken by either planing a chamfer or by some sort of decoration.
After a bit of consideration, I opted for making a small beading on the inside of the frame. Before starting, I honed the blade for the Record No 50, and adjusted it for a fine cut. Despite one of the sides not being 100% with the grain, the beading came out a lot better than I had anticipated. Having a beading made the rest of the joinery a bit more complicated, but after some fiddling, the frame was ready.

Of all the panels that I had glued up in the start of this project, I had chosen the flattest and most uniform looking for the door panel. I could see that it was a bit too narrow, so I glued on a small piece left over from the drawer bottom. It was close in colour, and wide enough to give me the size I needed plus a bit extra.

I like raised panels on doors, and I have made one on board a ship some years ago. I wanted to replicate the method and it worked out just as well this time, despite the wood being a lot less cooperative compared to soft spruce.
The method I used was to initially plow grooves and dadoes along the edges of the panel, to define the raised center. These grooves/dadoes are probably a bit less than 1/8"- I never measured them. 
I make the grooves so wide that my smoothing plane will be able to overlap the flat bottom of the grooves. So for my wooden plane that means a width of 3/8".
The next step is to clamp a batten along the grooves/dadoes for the smoother to register to. Then it is just a matter of holding the plane at an angle and remove some material.

Once all the planing is done I lightly sanded the raised panel to remove a few marks. Mainly on the ends where I had traversed with the plane.
In an uneventful glue up, the panel was mounted inside the frame, and later the horns were removed from the stiles.

Metal plate position:
I have been giving quite some thought to the idea about the metal plate from the pilot ladder.
-My first idea was to put it somewhere hidden on the inside. Other people (including my daughter) suggested that it should be mounted boldly on the front. 

Now if I put the plate on the inside, it will hopefully end up looking like a nice cabinet, that maybe my dad, Olav and whomever I have of woodworking friends will notice and perhaps look at and comment on.
Most other people I know will likely see a small cabinet and never give it any further thought.

If I on the other hand put the shiny metal plate on the front, it will almost certainly attract attention from a lot more people. Who I imagine will go and look at the cabinet and read the label that seems to be out of place. That could likely lead to a series of questions about the cabinet, and that could be interesting.

It isn't complying with Shaker tradition, to boast of something that you made yourself, but it might be an eye opener to some people, that it is still possible to make things with your own hands that looks OK, and that all upcycling doesn't have to involve white paint and some rough boards.

As a experiment, I placed the door and the drawer in place in the carcase, and mounted the small metal plate with some tape, to get an idea of how it could be mounted.
If you have an opinion on the matter regarding if the plate should be mounted as a sort of peoples fishing lure (to attract attention) or not, I would like to read it in a comment.
I would also like your opinion on how the plate should be positioned if you think that it should be displayed prominently. 

Cabinet with no metal plate
Plate mounted horizontally on door.

Plate mounted vertically on door (similar to raised panel)

Plate mounted on drawer.
(technically it could go in the center of
 the drawer, but that would require
 two pulls instead of one center pull)

Grooving /dadoeing the raised panel.

Position of plane to make the raised panel sides.

Glue up of door.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Pilot ladder cabinet 8, drawer with half blind dovetails

Before attaching the face frame to the carcase, I smoothed the divider between the cabinet part and the drawer part, and i also smoothed the shelf that divides the cabinet in two.
Both these two panels were slid into their mortises, and the face frame was then glued onto the carcase.

Yesterday I began making a drawer for the lower part of the cabinet.
I crosscut a piece to the desired length plus a bit more, and reduced the thickness by planing.
When I was satisfied with the thickness of the piece, I squared the ends off, and cut it to the correct length.
The piece was held in position in the opening, and I marked the height of it with a pencil.
One of the advantages of not having mounted the back panel is the possibility to do stuff like that.

The drawer front was then ripped to the correct height, and the sawed surface smoothed too.

I had made some stock ready for the sides, by resawing it, so I just had to work it a bit with a plane to make it ready for some joinery. One piece would yield enough material to make both sides, so I left the piece in full length for the moment.
Luckily the wood had remained very stable, so it was a matter of very little work to get it like I wanted it.

Out here (just like in the real world), grooving comes before dovetailing. So the Record No 50 was outfitted with a grooving iron. I paid close attention to the grain orientation of the sides and the front.
I mounted the wood using a clamp, and made some really nice grooves.
Once I had the grooves planed, I cut the sides to the correct length.

Before stopping for the day I marked out the tails on the sides, and that was about it for yesterday.

Today I have made the half blind dovetails for the front and the sides, and now I just needed a small break before making a back to the drawer as well.
I have already glued up a panel for the drawer bottom, and it should be a quick job to attach it after the drawer has been glued up.

Half blind dovetails pressed in halfway.

Setup for grooving.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Pilot ladder cabinet 7, face frame and dadoes

Yesterday I planed the individual strips of wood that was going to form the face frame.
I spent some time deciding what type of joinery I should use. The choices were: bridle joints, half lap joints or mortise & tenon joints.
After weighing the options against each other, mortise and tenons came out on top. I think they will end up looking the best, since the cabinet will not be painted., so these offer the least amount of end grain to be seen. Only the ends of the stiles will have visible end grain, and that will be OK.

After measuring the carcase, I laid out all the joints on the parts for the face frame. I decided to allow myself approximately 1/16" overall, so I wouldn't end up with a face frame that was smaller than the carcase itself.

The tenons were sawed using a hacksaw, and the mortises were chopped out using my 3/8" chisel. It is not a mortising chisel, but if you go slow and don't use the chisel as a crowbar for levering out the wast, it is no problem for me at least - to turn out an acceptable mortise with it.

I really tried to take my time and work accurate, and mysteriously it helped. 6 of the joints were really nice and tight, and only one of them was a bit loose.

When I laid out the joints, I had tried to make sure that all the inaccuracies in thickness would be on the same side, and it went pretty well. The one side is near flat with only a minor deviation in one joint. The other side is not flat, but since it will be the outside, I can level it out after gluing the face frame to the carcase.

With the face frame complete, I could measure directly of it, to make sure that the division between the drawer part and the cabinet part would end up where it should: Behind the middle rail of the frame.
The location for that dado was laid out, and it was then used for determining the location of the other dado. That will eventually house a shelf that will divide the cabinet into two.

My usual method for making dadoes is to clamp down a batten next to the line, and use it to guide the saw. When both sides of the dado has been sawed, I remove the waste with a chisel and follow up with a router plane.
I deliberately made the dadoes a bit narrower than the partitions, so I can make a nice tight fit for them by planing the underside of them a bit thinner, just like I did on the floating panels for the back of the cabinet.
Mock up with the parts.

Mortises and short tenons.

Face frame glued up.

Setup for making a dado.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Pilot ladder cabinet 6, carcase

After blogging about the too large back panel, I decided to follow the advice of Brian Eve, namely to cut the thing apart and pretend that it had been an exercise in making bridle joints.
I really don't like to do something like that over, but I think that it really was the best solution. That way I won't be pushing more problems ahead of me for the rest of the build.

The stock for the carcase ended up being closer to 1/2" instead of the 5/8" that I had hoped for, so instead of a groove for the back panel , I decided to make a shallow rabbet.
I used my Record No 50 combination plane for that task, and I have to say that a dedicated rabbet plane does a better job in my opinion. I will admit that having some stock that is far from straight grained didn't help either.
Eventually the four rabbets were acceptable, and as they will all be hidden under the frame of the back panel, the look of the surface doesn't really matter that much after all.

I sawed the pieces to the correct length, and marked out for some dovetails.
The wood is considerably harder than the pine or spruce I usually work with on board, so I had to trim the dovetails a bit to make them able to go together without splitting the boards.  One of the corners was a bit loose, but the remaining three were nice and tight.
The sides of the carcase were pretty flat. The top and bottom were quite a bit more warped and cupped.

Finally I glued it all up and made sure that it was square.

The next task will be to make some dadoes for the shelf and the divider between the cabinet part and the drawer part.

Record No 50 set up as a rabbet plane.

Glued up carcase. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Pilot ladder cabinet 5, a minor discovery.

When I left yesterday, the two larger panels were reasonably flat, and just needed to get their edges thinned, so that they would fit in the grooves.
A bit like my earlier experiences with pilot ladder wood, those had warped a bit too. I am not sure how dry the wood is, but at some point it will hopefully stop moving around.

No need to worry though, a bit of work with the scrub plane, and the panels were able to get into the grooves.

Contrary to my normal work habits, I performed a full dry assembly of the back panel, to see that all would go together as planned. - And it did.

I planned the sequence of my glue up, made sure to orient the pieces correctly, and even I will have to admit that it actually help in achieving a stress free glue up.
The diagonals confirmed that the assembly was as square as could be expected, and I applied all our clamps to the bridle joints and left it to dry.

While the panel was drying I sorted out the panels to find the best looking ones for the carcase and the door.
I ripped them to a similar width and tried to plane them too, I managed to make them tapering in that process, but jointing and straightening long pieces is not easy with a smoothing plane.
It isn't much, and I'll just use my regular trick of keeping one side as the reference side - and then later plane the other side flat after assembly. It is how I usually do out here because my stock preparation is never really spot on; due to materials, tools, workholding and other excuses (I suck at manual stock preparation).

My idea was to crosscut the parts to length, and then maybe plane a small rabbet on the inside of the back, to accommodate the back panel.
I placed one of the short boards on top of the back panel, to assure myself of that I could remove close to 2".
At this point I could hardly believe what I had discovered:
I couldn't even remove 1/16"!
In fact somehow the back panel was 2" wider than it was supposed to be.
The length was correct, but I was a bit puzzled to say the least. I mean how could it have happened. I had marked everything out, and even used a marking knife.

I have to admit, that I never measured the assembly while it was dry. But if I had done so, I would most likely have discovered that I had made all the joints for the width of the panel so that what should have become the outside of the joint was "suddenly" the inside. Alas the width of the panel was increased by exactly the width of my two stiles.
The only place that I had noticed something a bit irregular was on one of the top corners, where the outside wasn't quite flush. I never thought much about it but blamed my sawing technique.

In hindsight, I should have crosscut the rails to the correct length first, and then made the joints, but I decided that being such a "pro" there was no need to do that, I could just saw of the protruding ends once I had assembled it all. And since I didn't want to make a deep open mortise in one end, i had just sort of centered the rails, so I had to remove an equal amount in both ends. It all looked fine to me during the build.

But if there can be any sort of wisdom hidden in this discovery, it have to be that accurate measuring doesn't mean much if you saw/cut on the wrong side of that line. And never bother to check the measurements before applying glue.

I still think that I will be able to save the build, but somehow it is not getting easier.
And now my idea of trying to use the golden section as overall dimensions is effectively shot down too.
Hopefully tomorrow it will all be better!

Glue up.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Pilot ladder cabinet 4, back panel

A regular way to put a back on a small cabinet is to make a rabbet along the inside of the carcase, and then nail some boards on. these could be shiplapped or tongue & groove, or with a loose spline etc.
Another approach is to make a large floating panel that sits in a groove or use plywood.

All of the above mentioned solutions will sort of require that you have sufficient stock of an appropriate length - which should be equal to or longer than the height of the finished back.
In theory it is possible to put the boards on horizontally, but I have never seen it done, and It is really not a classic way to do it.

I only had two long pieces of steps, and after gluing up panels for the sides, there was not much left. I still need to use a bit for the front frame, but there was just enough for a frame on the back too.

The individual sticks were planed to a somewhat uniform thickness, and then I tried to lay out where the grooves for the small floating panels should be. I used my combination plane to make some grooves, and it ended up looking like shit. Some earlier owner had rounded the end of the blade that I used, and also softened one of the cutting edges. I hadn't noticed it, but it cause the blade to wander and the grooves were not very consistent. In addition the grain orientation helped to ensure that at least one of the sides had a hefty amount of tear out, so I wasn't too happy with the results.
I try to remind myself that very few people judge the quality of a completed cabinet on the appearance of the grooves hidden by the floating panels - and that actually made the thing a bit easier to live with.

In order to not complicate things further, I decided to assemble it by making bridle joints. The plan is to glue the entire panel assembly inside the carcase once it is complete, so it won't have to hold up to that much abuse - and it is technically also just a small cabinet.

I can feel that I am a bit out of training when it comes to something like this, because I managed to disregard the marriage marks on the stiles and also to make a few extra saw cuts in what was to become the lower rail.
It might have paid of handsomely too, if I had made sure that the sticks were of the same thickness before starting joining it all together.
I still feel fairly confident that I can fix the small errors with a sharp plane and a few swipes, so that the frame and panels will end up looking OK.

The next task will be to plane down the sides of the two larger panels, so they can me mounted in the frame and the assembly can be glued up.

Ripping to make the two large panels.

Frame loosely put together.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Pilot ladder cabinet 3, planing

Yesterday I started planing the glued up panels. My plan is to plane all with a scrub plane first, and then let it rest for a bit and finally give it a round with a smoothing plane.

The first piece I oriented so that I was going with the grain, and the first couple of swipes looked great. Apparently there was a bit of reversing grain in the other end of the board, because suddenly there was some serious tear out.
I switched to traversing the piece instead, which works fine, but doesn't leave quite as nice a surface.

Also this first board had managed to open up one ind of the glue line, but I think that it will still be wide enough to be used as a shelf or as the drawer bottom. So I am not too worried about that.

At some point, someone has mounted a new worktable by welding a steel plate under the original tabletop (steel). This is done at an angle, and it is just like having a giant 1/4" planing stop built into the table.
There are a few welds that hold it in place, and they are sloping, so for a wide board, I have to put a couple of small hexagon nuts between the board and the planing stop edge.
But all in all it is an improvement over the arrangement on Troms Artemis, where I would regularly smash my hand into the bulkhead and bruise my knuckles while planing.

I got to think of, that I tried using pilot ladder stock earlier, and it didn't work out at all.
Once the stock had been sawed and planed, it twisted so badly that I had to give up on using it.
Hopefully this stock will behave a bit better.

Planing arrangement.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Pilot ladder cabinet 2, resawing.

Today I started doing some stock preparation. It was mainly crosscutting the steps from the ladder to remove the holes for the ropes. 
I still have a couple of short steps left, but I am pretty sure that I will have enough wood for this project from what I have cut so far.

Once cut to length, I tried to resaw some of the short pieces. I split them a small distance from the middle, to take into account that the surface of the boards have some depressions routed into them, to make them more grippy when wet. I expect to be able to end up with some stock just shy of 5/8".

Resawing semi wet wood with a hand saw is not that much fun, but on the other hand it is one of the few types of exercise that I do - so I guess it is OK.
I timed my efforts for fun, and I could resaw a board in 12 minutes. The length of the board is 15.5" and the width of it is 4.5". It isn't fast, but I have learned over time, that in the end - the fastest and most enjoyable building experience for me is to have made all the stock ready and dressed from the start. That way once I start on the actual joinery the project goes a lot more smoothly compared to when I process the stock when I need it.

There were two long steps (spreaders as Jeff correctly calls them), and they were able to provide some stock that is 26" long. I didn't resaw those yet.

The plan is to make the cabinet something like 20" tall, 8" deep and 14" wide. But nothing is certain yet.

I have toyed with the idea of incorporating the original metal badge certificate of the ladder into the cabinet. Probably on the inside on one of the sides.

Should I incorporate this in the cabinet?

The ends have been treated with some end grain sealer.

Still a bit of resawing left to do.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Pilot ladder cabinet 1, considerations and finding some stock.

As you might have guessed, I am back at work and ironically able to find the time to blog.
Our last ship was temporarily lend out to the Canadian branch of the mother company, so we have all been transferred to a "new" ship.
This ship has been mothballed for the last two years, but has just been through dry dock, so apart from a bit of dirt here and there, she is ready to go to work.

This ship was built in India, so instead of the normal pine timber on the deck, we have 1000 square meters of exotic decking. All made up from 2 x 4" planks. It is rather impressive!

I am not sure what species it is. The chief officer who was present during the building of the ship thinks it is teak, but I am not so sure about that.

My reasons for the doubt is that I had spotted a few extra pieces on my tour around the ship to locate different stuff.
I have tried to saw a bit in one of those pieces and it doesn't smell like teak, It is a bit open pored, but still heavy. Anyway, it is nice looking wood.

I have made up my mind that I should get back to making some real stuff out here, no more playing around making planes and other tools that I will never use. It is much better to make some furniture (that I will never use either).

Looking back on my blog it seems to be a long time since I have built a cabinet. You could argue that a cabinet is nothing more than a box flipped on an end. But my intentions are to make a small drawer under the door as well.

As you might have guessed, my initial idea was to use the spare 2x4"'s as material. But they are parked well underneath a bunch of other wood, so I was unable to pull out any of them.

Instead I found an old pilot ladder that was going to be thrown away.
I think the reason is that it is more than 5 years old, and therefore not necessarily safe to use anymore. The wood is also some sort of exotic looking stuff of unknown sort.
But contrary to the deck planks - it is easily accessible.

So my plan is to make a small cabinet with a drawer from the steps of the old pilot ladder.
There are some large holes from the ropes that will give a natural limit as to the possible usable lengths of stock. But it could be fun to see how I can work around that. I might leave the old metal certification plates on part of the stock, as a gimmick to show where the wood came from.

4 spare planks for the deck + a small piece in the foreground.

An old pilot ladder (soon to become a cabinet).

Monday, February 19, 2018

Campaign bed, frame saw style

At some point I got inspired to build a campaign bed.
I trawled the Net for inspiration, and ended up finding this bed.

The original looks as it is made out of beech, which is a traditional furniture wood over her, but as usual I wanted to make it out of larch. Because it is what I have.

I have never seen one of those beds in real life, but based on that the overall dimensions are 80" x 32" that were described, I thought that I could come up with something that looked similar, and besides the most important thing for me was to test out the frame saw system.

The two main dowels are 1 7/8" thick. I made them by octagonalizing some long pieces and then planed them round. They aren't 100% perfect round, but they are fairly close.

The legs were drilled with a 1 7/8" hole and ripped apart. After that the legs were mounted in the lathe and turned down to give a sleek appearance. Instead of rounding the top, I chose to saw a diamond shape.
Finally I marked out and drilled the stopped holes for the short dowels.

The two short dowels are 5/4" in diameter and I made those on the lathe. I made them overly long, to be able to trim the length afterwards.

I found my old roll of canvas, and borrowed Mettes sewing machine.
It is a regular household sewing machine, so I was a bit curious if it would be able to sew in this thick fabric, but it worked admirably.

Assembling the bed was pretty straight forward, though I had to shorten the two short dowels even more than I anticipated. Right now they could still be shortened with perhaps 1/4", but I choose to wait to see, if perhaps the canvas will stretch a bit over time. They are not perfectly plumb, but splay a bit (I guess 1/2"). But I think it is preferable to the legs pointing inwards.

Thoughts on the build:
Planing a long round dowel takes a bit of practice. I could feel that the second dowel was easier than the first one, but that is hardly a surprise.

My drill press is not very good when it comes to handling large Forstner drills. It lacks power, and it flexes a bit, causing the hole to not be 90 degrees.
It isn't a deal breaker, but I think that I could probably have made a hole just as accurate by hand.

Once assembled, the bed will flex a bit when you sit on it - kind of like a Roorkhee chair.
If the rope is twisted tightly, the bed is surprisingly comfortable. I tested the bed myself, and I it held up just perfectly.

The original bed might have the legs a bit closer to one another, which would stiffen up the whole thing, so I might do that if I make another one at some point.
Mette likes the bed so much that it has been placed in the living room, which is a sure way to determine that the project has been a success.

Campaign bed frame saw style.

Larch stretcher dowels before planing.

Crappy light, but notice the romantic roses!

Load testing the bed.

Holding system.

Monday, February 12, 2018

A plane for Asger

I made it home despite a cancelled flight due to snowy conditions in Bergen airport, and Thursday morning I found two packages waiting for me. the one of the I had ordered myself, so that wasn't any surprise. But the other package was a complete mystery, It had clearly originated in USA according to the postal logo on the label.

Curious as to what it could be I opened it and found a letter from Saint Ralph. Ralph explained that he and Ken  had collaborated on sending me a Bailey No 3 hand plane.

The plane was securely wrapped in cardboard and bubble wrap, and was disassembled.

When I started unwrapping the plane my heart sank. Ralph had mentioned in the letter that he had rehabbed the plane, and upon seeing the individual parts I became painfully aware how far from my own pitiful rehabbing efforts the job that Ralph had done was!
Ralph's rehabbing is nothing short of immaculate.

Ken had sharpened the blade, so all I had to do was to assemble the plane, and what a joy it was, to assemble a plane that was already rehabbed.

Right now the kids have a winter vacation, so I plan on giving Asger some instructions in how to adjust the plane, and then I will let him bring the plane with him to school, so he can show his teacher what a sharp plane looks like and feels like.

Thank you very much, Ralph and Ken for this very thoughtful present. It is deeply appreciated, and I am certain that the plane will see a lot of work in the future.

Rehabbed Stanley No 3.

When mirror finish is more than a word!

This is how you wrap a plane for shipping.

Friday, February 2, 2018

No loitering!

I got inspired by this post by Bob the Valley woodworker who is organizing his shop.

At a point in my life I would actually feel kind of frustrated after being in the shop, because I felt I didn't get anything done at all.
I would go out there, look a bit around, maybe try to take a couple of stokes with a plane, perhaps move some tools away and try something else etc. But I rarely started a new regular project, and I never completed anything.

After being unproductive in the shop for some time, I would go inside the house disillusioned, and have a cup of tea and feel sorry for myself.

I wasn't getting anywhere at all.

Someplace I then read about another guy who had experienced the same thing, and his mean to  overcome it was that he could only stay in the shop, if he did some actual work or actual cleaning of the place.

I decided to try out that approach. So I put a mental sign up in my head when I entered the shop where it said:

The minute that I started procrastinating or dreaming about future projects or looking at this and that, I had to leave the shop.
It worked great!

Clearing out the shop and organizing all the tools suddenly went really fast, because I would not loaf around - wasting my own time.
When all the tools were in place, I swept the floor and vacuum cleaned the machines. Then stopped for the day, leaving the shop with a feeling of accomplishment instead of frustration.

The next day I opened the door and looked inside. the shop was inviting. But I didn't have any actual plan for what I wanted to do in there, so I remember just looking around and then leaving again.

I can't remember what my first actual project was after my new shop practice, but I remember that it went a lot faster than normally, because I stayed focused all the way.
And due to being focused, I never have the same feeling that I "waste" my time by being in the shop, because I try my best to always be productive out there.

Despite my best efforts, I still experience that horizontal flats will eventually become crowded with stuff, and suddenly there are old pieces of glass in a corner of the shop, scraps on the floor and some surplus wood from the last five or six projects occupying space along one wall. But it doesn't scare me anymore, or get me in a bad mood, because I still keep my imaginary sign hanging in the shop, so as soon as I am out there, I try my best to be efficient, either in building or in cleaning.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Danish Chairbuilding Extravaganza 2018, what to build.

There are approximately 9 months left before the third bi-annual DCBE is scheduled to take place.

While it is still a bit too soon to start clearing out the shop and make ready for the event, it is by no means too early to start contemplating on what we should build this time.

The first DCBE was aimed at Welsh stick chairs, and the second event saw all of us making Roorkhee chairs.

All making the same kind of chair gives a possibility to make some sort of stock ready, and it is easy to help each other on the way, since all have to do the same things.
The other approach, where only the general guideline is suggested, is interesting in another way, because there are so many different ways to do things, and it will be much more up to the individual participants, what they would like to build and how to do it.
We have also discussed the option of employing steam bending as a theme, so that we could all get bit of experience in that. Then it would be up to each person if they wanted to utilize that in their design.

I think that I will try to suggest that the DCBE 2018 will be an event in which each participant can build whatever he desires. As long as it is some sort of furniture aimed at being used for sitting on.
I will try to make some chair blanks etc. made ready, so that anyone wishing to make a Windsor or welsh stick chair can do that.

A rocking chair could be fun to make, either a classic model using rockers made out of wood, or experimenting with a renewal of the platform rocker design using springs.

Ever since I saw a picture of Ray Schwanenbergers immaculate sack back nanny rocker, I have wanted to build one.
We aren't planning on getting anymore children, and given the age of our own children, grand children are still a long long way out in the future. But that would potentially give me the time to complete the piece before it is needed.

So as you can see, there are still some things that aren't quite decided yet.

I am certain however, that we will organize the food the same way as we did last time, with a catering company, as that was a great help.
We will probably have to increase the intake of pastry by visiting the local bakery a bit more, but that shouldn't be a problem given that we all work very hard - so the extra energy is needed..

Pastries named after a famous Danish children's television frog (Kaj)
Picture courtesy of Toolerable.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Tools for Asgers sloyd class

I talked to Asger on the phone today, and he told me enthusiastic that he had had his first lessons in sloyd.
He told me that they had to choose between 3 different projects which was OK, but what he didn't think was OK was the tools that were available to them.

It is not that Asger is a tool snob who can only use a Lie Nielsen plane or a Two Lawyers backsaw etc.
But he expects that a chisel is sharp, a plane is sharp and a saw should surprisingly also be sharp in his opinion.
He was really frustrated discovering that the tools were all dull.

I know that the budget for classes such as sloyd is so limited that it is hard to do anything. The allowance per student doesn't really leave room for investment in any new tools.
And the teachers are only given a bare minimum of hours for preparation, and those are not nearly enough to cover a sharpening of all the chisels or planes etc.
It annoys me, because I know that most schools will still spend an enormous amount of money each year on IT equipment such as new computers or printers etc. And no one expect a computer to hold up for as long as a chisel in matter of years.

I told Asger that if he wanted to, I would be happy to find some tools that he could bring with him to use in the sloyd class. A couple of chisels, a small plane and a saw that actually is sharp.
He wasn't sure about it, but he thought that he would ask the teacher if she was OK with it.

He was worried that the other kids might suddenly become aware of how crappy the tools of the school were, if they suddenly tried a sharp chisel, and then they would perhaps prefer to borrow his tools instead.
A sad thing about crappy tools in such a place is that it might cause some of the kids to become disappointed with woodworking, because the result in no way resembles the effort put into the project by them.
If they try really hard, but are held back due to dull tools, the final result might not be as fine as they would have liked it to be, and that could potentially keep them from thinking that woodworking or any other handmade activity is fun.

I would hate if the teacher felt that sending tools with Asger was a critique of her job, because that is not my intention.

I know that in regular class each kid is expected to bring his/her own tools like pencils and rulers etc. And in physical education it is the same, each kid brings their own clothes and shoes etc.
But could it be viewed upon as being the same for sloyd? and how about needlework or home economics etc.?

So what do you think, would it be OK to bring your own tools to school, or is it a bad idea?

Sunday, January 21, 2018

What is this tool?

ANSWER: A chopper and meat tenderizer.
Thanks to Robin, for providing a link with a picture of the exact same model.

This is not a quiz - since I don't know the answer.

But does anyone out there have any idea about what this tool is?

I got the pictures from Olav who was asked by his cousin about it. So the pictures are courtesy of Olav and his cousin.

Based on the method of hanging the tools, I assume the pictures are from some sort of restaurant, or at least someone who doesn't mind being questioned by Saint Peter on the day of his judgement regarding why he/she thought that it was OK to mount a nice looking socket gouge with a Torx screw through the handle.

I don't know where the pictures were taken, if it is in Denmark or somewhere else.

Mystery tool.

Mystery tool with one blade inverted.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A bit of activity in the workshop in the last period.

This last home period happened to be during Christmas and New Years eve time, so I hadn't planned any major projects in the shop.

I did do a bit though, some leather working with Laura, where we made a couple of belts for some of her friends as Christmas presents, and I started clearing out a bit too, but that is an ongoing project.
During this clearing out, I found the base of a model ship that my dad had found some years ago. I initially wanted to throw it out, but I decided to ask Asger if he would like to make a project out of it.

He wanted to paint it, and then later the plan is to install a mast and a boom and probably make a sail to go with it too.
He settled for some dark blue paint, and due to the low temperatures in the shop, we just gave int one coat and then left it to dry for the rest of the home period.

Suddenly one day, he asked if he was old enough now, to cast tin soldiers on his own?
I said that I thought he was, and helped him to fire up the propane torch (which is technically more butane than propane in Denmark).
I have kept all my molds for making tin soldiers from when I was a child. And we purchased some new molds when the kids were younger. Those new molds were mostly for casting fantasy creatures like orcs, elvers and goblins etc.

Asger cast a bit of everything from cannons to horses and soldiers to some orcs, and he had a great time doing it. There are plenty of ways that you can hurt yourself while doing it, but it is also a way that you can show you child that you really trust him/her, and allow them the thrill of doing something that is exiting for them knowing that it is a bit dangerous.
And it is a thrill to open op a mold and see a perfect figure emerge that has until now only existed as some molten metal in a ladle.
Something that is very important to the children is the fact that the figures they cast look exactly like the ones that I can cast. Despite all my years of skill and knowledge (there isn't much of that btw..)
this is one place where they can make a product just as well as I can.

Painting the hull of a model ship.


Casting tin soldiers is exiting and fun.

An officer emerges from inside the mold.