Thursday, January 27, 2005

Fixing the lathe

I have an old lathe that I bought about 9th hand from an old guy in Thomasville, NC. He had gotten it from a flea market. I gave him $100 for it. Works ok, but needs some fixing, and so far can be done cheaply.

1. Too lightweight. I bolted the lathe to a worktable that wasn't being used and put some bags of concrete underneath. Beefs it up pretty nicely. Cost: $0. Had all the stuff already.

2. Replaced three bolts. The tool rests lock in place with bolts that are threaded at 1/4 x 20. But the bolts that were in place (probably replaced a hundred times) were galvanized and soft. These worked, but had to be tightened and loosened with an open or closed end wrench and were extremely inconvenient. Not to mention that the softness of the bolts caused them to shear off and become unuseable. SO, I had heard a tip about using a Dremel to grind a slot in the end of a sheared off bolt and try to use a screwdriver to get the bolt out. It worked on ONE of the two broken bolts. A friend of mine was able to grind the other bolt, center punch and drill it, and get the bolt out with an "EZ-OUT" bolt remover. I replaced these with phenolic star knobs which have a harder bolt. Perfect and VERY convenient! Cost: About $7.50. (3 knobs at $2.50 each)

3. The bed is a steel tube with a rectangular strip of metal riveted to the bottom. The tool rest arm slides on the tube and has the negative of the tube with metal strip so that it does not slip around. That metal strip on the bottom of the tube is loose. Looks like the heads of some of the rivets have broken off. Might be a simple fix, but will have to be unbolted from the bench. A pack of rivets is cheap and I have a friend with a riveting tool. Cost: pack of rivets.

4. Could use a nice sprucing up. Cleanup cost: Free. Painting cost: can of spray enamel.

All in all, a nice little lathe. Not fancy or great, but I probably got more than I paid for.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Woodstove platform progress

Last night the temperature was great and there was enough daylight to:
1. Finish the framing.
2. Attach the plywood.
3. Clear out the corner where the stove will go.
4. Move the platform into that corner to see how it looks.

Next up will be buying and installing tile backer board on the platform and walls. Perhaps even the ceiling if the tolerances call for it. Then buying and installing the Saltillo tiles.
Looking good so far.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Butterfly table update

Rough cut the panels (for the butterfly supports) to length. I am going to let my friend lay out the curves, then I will do the cutting.

Yet another project??

As if I didn't already have enough on my plate, I started yet another project. This one is a platform for my workshop, on which I will place a wood stove. The platform is relatively simple...2x4 construction covered with plywood. But I want a notched front because this will be placed in a corner, thus the platform will be 5 sided. Once constructed, I will cover it with tile backer board and tile (Mexican "Saltillo" tile).

Started the framing at lunchtime. Decided to make it a square first, then add "blocking" for strength. Before attaching the plywood I will lay a diagonal line across one corner, cut that out with a sawzall, then fix it up with 2x4 material. Beats figuring out all the angles and lengths ahead of time. Of course, I made the required mistake! But luckily I erred in making two sides TOO long. Since I am using drywall screws for construction, I was able to disassemble and correct the error. I currently have a 4 foot by 4 foot square frame. Before cutting the notched 5th side I need to check the manual for the woodstove to make sure I am following the codes for required clearances to walls. If the weather stays as warm for awhile after dark, I may be able to have the frame done and plywood attached.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Weekend update:

Wow, so cold over the weekend. No time in the shop whatsoever.

However, on Friday the 21st I had a little brainstorm concerning one of my little "back burner" projects. I have a friend who has a table that has 4 legs, and the top is pretty much round, but has 2 drop down leaves. When the leaves are up, there is supposed to be a mechanism that pivots under each leaf to hold it up. One of these was missingand the other looks like a piece of junk. In looking at it carefully, it appeared that both had broken long ago, and SOMEONE just cobbled together a repair in a few minutes. It works, but looks terrible. The repair was just 3 pieces of wood, nailed together in a triangle.

I took the table apart and brought that triangle home, intending to duplicate it, but using better joinery. Then it occurred to me that this is too junky and I should try to find out what the original might look like. So, I did some web searching and found that this type of table is referred to as a "butterfly" table, so named because of the design of the curved supports that hold up the drop down leaves. Aha! Then, I quickly found that Norm Abrams had built one of these on an episode of "The New Yankee Workshop." Using his picture, I decided to make PANELS instead of the triangles, and cut the panels with a nice S-shaped for each leaf.

I fiddled around with circles in Powerpoint, and came up with a nicely shaped curve using a circle and two half circles. The radii and diameters of the circles were all the same and when moved together made a very nice curve. I have found a reference to a "sinoid curve", which shows up a lot in nature, and my curve looks very much like that. Using Powerpoint, I drew a 5 inch radius circle, which hangs off a slide, and printed this half circle 4 times. I then cut these out with scissors and taped 2 together, forming a circle. I can't demonstrate here, but using the circle and 2 half circles, I can position these on the panel, then tape in place. Then I can trace the curve with a pounce wheel, connect the dots with a pencil, and cut out on the bandsaw. This can be sanded smooth, and then transferred to another piece with a pattern bit in a router. That way I will have pieces that are exact duplicates (2 wings of the butterfly).

Finally, a couple of holes to drill for the pins that allow the wings to pivot and the repair will be complete. This should only take a couple of hours. In fact, I may just make a template and attach that to the underside of the table, so that replacements can be easily made at any time in the future.

After that is done, I will need to repair the leg stretchers on that table. They are connected to the legs with dowels. A couple of the dowels are broken. SO, I will disasemble it, drill out the old dowels, and glue it all back together with new dowels.

This will be a great little table when all done. I hear that it had been in someone's basement for many years because it was broken, and was just GIVEN to my friend. It costs nothing but time to fix it right. I will leave it to my friend to do any staining and finishing once I finish the repairs.

That's all for today. Sure hope it warms up soon!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Puzzle box update

All sides have been sanded. Need to work on finer grits now. Cutting of the parts will be this weekend when my son visits. This is a project that he has taken interest in, so it can wait for him.

Router table leaf

Last week.
Trimmed the laminate. Looks great ! Next up will be the challenge of accurately mounting the table in place of a tablesaw leaf. After that, cutting out the place where the router will mount. The easy stuff is done !!

For the past couple of days it has been too cold to work in the shop.

Chess board update

Last Thursday.
Had a little fiasco. I finished the glue up of the 8 strips. Then went to cut them to 2 inches plus about one-eighth, so that I could stack plane them to exactly 2 inches all as 1 operation (precision). Well, my temporary roommate was looking over my shoulder, stuck his nose in, made some comments. To get him to shut up I made a modification to the setup and mis-measured. Then I started cutting strips. After 4 (of 8) it was clear that I would run out of material. The strips were too wide. Got mad, screwed up one, and was left with 6 good ones. Now I have to mill all new pieces from rough stock to make up the difference. However, what has been cut, when oriented correctly, looks wonderful!

Last Friday.
Decided to make another board since I was going to be milling strips anyway. So I ripped 10 strips (8 for the new, 2 for the old). These need to be jointed planed, and glued.

Been so darn cold for the past few days. No shop work!!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Router table leaf update

I affixed the countertop laminate to the tabletop, but did not rout the edges yet. That will be a simple job this evening.

Puzzle box update

5 of 6 sides are sanded and the 6th has been trimmed to length. This wekend I will sand that, then continue working to about 220 grit.

CHess board update

I took the two panels back out to the shop. Stickered and stacked them, and weighted them down with stones in the hope that the one will return to a flat state. Will check tonight or tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Chess board update.

I glued up 4 of the "two strip" sub assemblies. When set, an hour later, I unclamped and scraped off excess glue. The joints are gaps. I took these two "4 strip" panels inside. This morning I looked and the one that was laying on top had formed a cup. Ugh! The bottom one is still flat. Now I need to figure out what to do before continuing. Perhaps I made these too thin.

Puzzle box update

Last night I was using my stationary belt sander and a 50 grit belt to sand off and smooth most of the new block for the second attempt at the puzzle box. I sanded 5 of the six sides. The sixth side is to be trimmed in a miter saw first, then sanded. While sanding, I accidentally sanded off some skin on the knuckle of my left thumb. It will grow back fine, but smarts right now. The block looks really nice and has some interesting grain. Will move to a random orbit sander next.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Chess board.

I started gluing up the thin strips of cherry and poplar for the chess board. I can only do these in pairs. 8 strips = 4 pairs, which I glued up and clamped. Next I will glue together 2 of THOSE pairs, then later the FINAL pair. Then the board will be half done. I then turn it 90 degrees and cut 8 strips again. When these are rotated and opposed, they will make the alternating 64 squares. Then I will need to do the same gluing technique for those strips. Fun project so far. Simple, but need to take my time and be precise. I want the squares to be EXACTLY 2 inches each side. So far I am successful.

Puzzle Box update

I started to make a "puzzle box" out of scraps of wood. This would be a project that I wanted my son to see start to finish. It's a simple project and demonstrates several steps. It has sparked my son's interest. When he is with me he asks if we can work on the puzzle box.

To make this I glue laminated 5 pieces of various woods about 6 inches long by 4 inches wide. When cured, I sanded all the sides and ends. The process to cut the box is precise. Cut off a thin slice of the bottom (which will be glued back on later). Cut out a "key" which will hold the top in place. Cut out the top of the box. Hollow out the middle. Sand all parts. Glue the bottom back on. Apply finish.

Well, I got out of sequence and did the hollowing before cutting off the top. The piece was ruined. I was in a hurry and got careless. I was disappointed, but it turned out to be a good lesson for my son...don't hurry, take your time and read the instructions. So, I told him I would make up another "block" and get to the same point by the next time he visits me. Last night I glued up the block and today I did some sanding. Piece of cake to get to the same point before Jan 22. Will take more time and not skip grits when sanding.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Workshop update

I had been advised, by another woodworker, to put a couple of coats of contact cement onto MDF before putting on laminate, because it soaks in and won't hold otherwise. Sounds good, so last night I put on 1 coat. Had other commitments and couldn't hang around to do more.

However, I did do some necessary cleaning and organizing. The shop looks a LOT better and I feel better about it. This morning I spent a few minutes doing a little more organizing, and need to just keep that up as a ritual. What a pleasure it is to be able to move around and look at an organized shop.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Router table leaf

I cut the sheet goods to finished size this morning before going in to the office. It was just a little too cold to apply the glue (needs to be 55 or higher), so I will do that at lunchtime. Seems like my panel cutting jig is just a hair out of alignment, but for this project it won't make a significant difference. Tomorrow I can put on the oak edges and then the laminate.

After lunchtime update:
The temperature was perfect, so I glued the sheet goods together. Had plenty of time to glue and nail on the oak edges too. Will get to the laminate tomorrow. The tricky spots will be mounting this to the tablesaw and cutting the hole for the router plate with precision. The plate must fit in snugly with no ability to wobble, yet be able to be removed easily. Will practice on scrap.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Tim and JP Posted by Hello

Woodworking projects

I have a few things in progress:
  • A table for my drill press. This was built of 3/4 particle board, 3/4 plywood, a piece of countertop laminate, and oak edgebanding (3/4" by 1-1/2") which I milled from rough stock. The table has been assembled with glue and and contact cement, then the laminate and edge banding were chamfered. Looks great. Still need to install T-track, cut a space for replaceable inserts, and mount to the drill press. Oh yes, and make a fence too.
  • A router table to replace one of the wings of my table saw. This is to be made just like the drill press table, but is bigger. I have rough cut the sheet goods and milled the oak edging.
  • A platform for the wood stove. I am going to start on this tonight. Need to heat the shop, and to do that I will install a really nice little wood stove. It needs to be done properly so I don't burn the place down, so the fireproof platform is necessary.
  • A chess board, for a friend. A friend wants me to make him a chess board for his birthday in July. I have milled strips of cherry and poplar to EXACTLY 2 inches wide. These need to be glued in an alternating pattern. Then turned 90 degrees, ripped into strips, and milled to exactly 2 inches again. Then glue up in alternating pattern to have the 64 squares. The stock is 1/4 inch thick (pretty thin), so I am still figuring out how to edge glue the strips and keep the strips absolutely flush to each other. Have months to finish this, plus the playing pieces.
  • Replacement drop leaf table swing arms, for a friend. I milled replacement pieces using a plain old 2x4 pine stud. But I lost one of the 6 pieces. I could make a replacement or try to find the original. No rush. When found I need to do some joinery so these supports are strong.