Saturday, September 13, 2014

Horse mounting stool

My wife has acquired a new horse that is a bit taller than her old one. She asked me if I could make a stool that would make it easier for her to mount the horse. 

The requirements were that the stool should be fairly lightweight and very stable, approximately 1 foot high and the top should be 10 x 20 inches.

I decided for a canted design, with the same angle on the sides and the ends. The slope is 1:5 
The material is larch. the top and the stretchers were milled to 20 mm thickness (3/4"), the corners were initially square, but I made a rabbet to lighten the weight as much as possible.

After cutting the pieces to size it was down to making 16 mortises and 16 tenons. Despite being at a slight angle, it went pretty well. The tenons are 8 mm thick, and about an inch wide. The mortises are (not surprisingly) the same size. 

I drawbored all the joints which added a little extra time to the build.

The top was attached by means of buttons screwed on from the underside. These are seated in a groove that I cut in the top stretchers before assembling the base.

I made a hole in the top to facilitate handling of the stool.

Since the stool will be placed on the riding court most of the time, I didn't bother with a lot of sanding or planing. It will look scruffy in a very short time anyway. 
As an experiment I finished it with a blend of Tung oil and Camelia oil, approximately 2 parts Tung oil to 1 part of Camelia oil.

Since SWMBO wanted to ride her horse this afternoon, I said that she could use it even though the oil had not cured yet. She was able to mount the horse without any problems, so all in all a the project has been a success.

Stable and lightweight.

Fnug testing the taste of the oil finish.

The buttons and the grooves.

SWMBO and the new horse (Bernie)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Welsh stick chair build day 3, 4 & 5

Day 3 we pretty much all worked on our legs. Off course there were a lot of other things such as planing, sanding and discussing which way the things should look.
My parents paid us a visit and my father brought along some old tools, so we took some time deciding which ones we couldn't live without. We both ended up with some chisels and various other stuff.

My mother made sure we didn't loose any weight, so we had late morning coffee with rolls followed about an hour later by a large lunch. At 3 o'clock coffee was served including apple cake and cookies and some delicious Panna Cotta that Olavs wife made.
Around 6 we had a large supper with wine etc.
Brian joked about Danes being like Hobbits employing the 2nd breakfast and more small meals spread out over the day.

I managed to put on the legs of my bench in the evening, but that was about it.

Sunday I finally collected enough courage to drill some holes for the loop back. And much to my surprise I managed to get them both pretty even.
After test mounting in the loop back, the whole contraption suddenly looked like a bench instead of looking like a shaped plank with four sticks in it.

I marked the position for the centre spindle for the loop back, and used a divider to step out the position for the remaining spindles from that point. The spindles are placed 4" apart.
The two front spindles are a little further away from the loop back than 4 inches, but it still looks OK.
I used a level to transfer the location of the spindles to the back so I would ave something to aim for when drilling the holes.

After remounting the loop back I drilled some 16 mm (5/8") holes in the seat eye balling the angle in relation to the back. the 2 front most holes in each side had to be drilled without the back to make room for the drilling machine.
I used a cordless drill and a spade bit. I tried to go very slow at the bottom of the hole, because it is difficult to drill from both sides when the hole is at an angle. I managed to get by with just a little bit if tear out.

The back went on again and I flipped the bench over. Aiming through the holes in the seat I now drilled the holes in the loop back. This was done from the underside of the loop. These holes were 12 mm.
Again a few of the holes near the front needed to be drilled with the loop back taken off.

The holes in the back were tapered using Brian's tapered reamer, and the spindles were tapered as well.
All the spindles were made by planing some square 16 mm (5/8") stock octagonal and then further rounded by an plane finishing with some sandpaper.

I inserted the spindles from the underside of the seat and hammered them all the way till they seated in the loop back. I used liquid hide glue for this operation because the hot hide glue stiffened up a bit too quick. The spindles were finally secured with a wedge in each end.
I started fitting the centre spindle and then worked in pairs on each side of it, each time leaving an open spot between the spindles. I have no idea if it is the preferred way, but it worked for me. I figured that it would prevent me from accidentally dislocate one side of the back by accident.
Once all the spindles were mounted I sawed of the protruding part of the all the wedges.

The entire settee was sanded up to grit 180.

I finished the piece by rubbing in Camelia oil wit a black scotch brite pad. Then I wiped all the chair over with a clean rag to remove any excess oil and the eventual slurry made from the scotch brite.

I got some bees wax and orange oil from Brian, so I decided to try out making my own paste wax finish.
I never measured the amount of ingredients I mixed, but I think it is 4 tablespoons of wax,  1.5 tablespoon of orange oil and half a tablespoon of camelia oil. The batch was heated up until the wax melted and then stirred and left to harden up.
The result is a very pleasant smelling wax that has a nice consistence.

Today I waxed the settee and finally buffed it off.

All there is left is to decide where to put it in the house.
Paring the end of a leg, Jensen senior in the background.
Brian's Moxon vice. Note the nice flower on the seat. 

Brian drilling holes for the legs. 

The legs are mounted.

Windsor settee with a loop back.

OK result for my first windsor type furniture.

Nice gentle curves.

Ash legs and spindles, elm seat and loop back

Even the weather is nice.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Welsh stick chair build day 2

Another day of the epic chair building arrangement has come to an end.

Today we worked on stuff that ended up looking like parts for a chair, which was a great leap forward compared to the various #$£% ups yesterday.

I started out trying to make a nice round dowel for my final attempt of steam bending. I had done some of the job yesterday with one of Brian's spokeshaves, but it needed some more work to look really nice.
After a short while I decided that it would probably be a great idea to make a dowel maker. So without consulting any books ore other sources of information, I ground an old plane iron and made a wooden holder for it.
At first it worked really fine, but it was a bit tight on the dowel, so I wanted to try to reset the iron. Then it went from fine to disastrous. I got a bit angry since I had made this special tool to make it easier. And with a bit of temper I decided that maybe it would be better to clamp the tool in the bench and turn the dowel instead. This really didn't help since the dowel wasn't completely straight, and the new setting of the iron was more aggressive. The result was the some heavy tear out and a not so round dowel.
I managed to cut my finger in the process too, so I resigned and went back to the spokeshave that had to be used even more now because I had to reduce the diameter of the entire dowel to 25 mm (1") from 30 mm (1.25"). The dowel is 2.4 meter long, so it took some time.

The finished dowel went into the steamer and sat there for about an hour and a half.
For some strange reason the bending actually worked OK. There was a bit of splitting, but not more than what could be glued once the piece had dried.

With such a huge success under my belt I was ready to start on the seat itself.
I planed the blank using a scrub plane and traversing the entire time. Much to my surprise the result was a nice flat surface without tear out. It didn't even look fuzzy. 

In the mean time Brian had finished planing his seat blank and he had started saddling it. He was happily chopping away with an adze and looked just as professional as he is. That did sort of put some pressure on me.

Having had success with the steam bending and the planing of the seat I decided that I was probably smarter than anyone out there who had ever built some sort of Welsh stick chair or Windsor chair. Therefore I would not use that old fashioned adze method for saddling my seat. First off it looked kind of difficult, secondly it also strongly resembled good old fashioned work!

I have seen Mario Rodriguez saddling a chair using a tablesaw, but I had to saddle the seat of a settee so I had to invent something else.
The logical step was to use a circular saw.
I attached a board under the base of the saw and started dragging the thing diagonally over the surface of the settee seat blank, using the saw as some sort of router.
This approach worked really well. 
In very short time I had saddled the seat and it looked good with a minimum of bumps and definitely better looking than what I could have made using an adze. Here's a link to a video of it.

Next I used my old compass plane to make the saddling a little more round in the bottom.
After that I used my belt sander to clean up the saddled parts of the seat.

Actually today was a great day with success pretty much all the time.
Tomorrow I'll probably start on the legs and the spindles for the back of the settee.

Remember to visit Brian's blog for even more pictures and yet another eye witness account of the day.

Scrub planing the blank for the seat.

The steam bending results of yesterday.

The successful bending.

The blade on the sawmill, compare size to the safety glasses.

Someone needs a haircut and a shaving..

Brain professionally adzing out a seat.

Ripping the seat blank for the settee.

Saddling freehand using a circular saw.

Using the compass plane.

Selfie while test sitting the settee seat.

The bending straight from the form.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Welsh stick chair build day 1

Brian arrived last night, and so did I. After a quick hello and a hug to my wife, we headed to the workshop for looking at the wood and each others tools.
We managed to stay in the shop until 1 o'clock testing out various tools and talking.

Today we started by bringing out the elm slabs and marking out where we could fit a sat blank. We cut those pieces out with a chainsaw. I have decided that I want to try to build a settee, so we made one blank for that too.

Next on the agenda was the procurement of some ash for steam bending. I had some old logs lying that we believed we could use.
We were a bit ahead on the schedule so we decided that we could try split the logs because we agreed that it would make the stock for bending even better.
The first log had some twisted grain, and I managed to break the handle of the sledge hammer..
We moved on to the next log and it looked better. The splitting went surprisingly easy but the grain wasn't straight on this one either.
For my settee I needed a piece of approximately 2.4 m. After some splitting with a froe that Brian brought, we broke his whacking stick.. I made a heavier model that looks like a cricket bat on steroids and we proceeded with the splitting. After spending some more time we decided that it didn't work as easy as it should and that Peter Follansbee probably had some secret trick that made his froe splitting sessions become a success. We sure didn't have that trick!
In order to be able to claim some sort of result by the entire splitting circus, we tried resawing the split piece on the bandsaw while following the grain. After some time even we couldn't pretend that this was the correct way to go and we stopped the show.
Instead we found some old boards of elm in the barn and quickly agreed that everyone knew that elm was the preferred wood for steam bending throughout the World.

In an effort to catch up on some of the lost time we started making leg blanks for everyone.
Soon after starting this another of the participants arrived: Lars Olav who is a carpenter that lives near by. He brought two really nice old workbenches with him so we totalled 3 workbenches in my shop.
We continued the leg blank work and we also made a steamer. This is made out of an old deep fat fryer and an old gutter pipe from our roof.

In the afternoon Brian started making some arm crests for his chair, Olav was considering which chair to build and I was trying to steam bend the back rail for my settee.
The first attempt broke, but we decided that the dimensions were probably too large to start with.
So I found another piece of elm that was even more straight than the first. This was squared up to 3 cm on each side (1.25"). The stick was steamed for an hour and a half. But while bringing it close to the bending form it also broke.
I still have one more piece of elm that I want to try steam bending tomorrow, and if that is not a success, I'll have to find some long piece of ash instead.

Please make sure to visit Brian's blog: where you will also find a description of today's build.

Lars Olav, yours truly, Brian.

Afternoon tea + coffee in the garden.

Jointing some ash on the edge

And jointing some ash on the side.

Removal of some old piece of barbed wire.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Stock preparation for chairbuilding extravaganza

The summer holiday is upon us with all that it means = not too much time for woodworking. Next time I get home from the ship the plan is to have a chairbuilding extracaganza meeting, where a couple of woodworkers will try to make a Welsh stick chair.
The meeting is going to be held at my place, and I am going to supply the elm for the seat blanks.

This means that for once I actually have a purpose for sawing with the mulesaw.

going through 24" of old elm isn't easy, so one plank takes more than 1 hour to saw. Yesterday I had to rearrange the motor for the mulesaw, because the flat belts kept slipping. Now I have made the setup, so there is no clutch between the electric motor and the saw, but still it is not a fast saw.
The good thing is, that the surface looks nice, and the board is flat.

Compare the size of the log to the standard barrel next to it.

Close up of the saw blade.

A look from the outfeed side.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Hay slide

I arrived home Friday, and one of the points on the "Honey do list" was to make some sort of arrangement to move the bales of hay to the hay loft.
The bales are a bit bulky and not super light, and the stairs leading to the hay loft are narrow and steep.

Asger really liked the idea of putting in some sort of machinery to facilitate the moving of the bales. He had seen that we had an old hand cranked winch in the barn, so he asked if we could use that one.
We decided for a system with a small door leading directly to the hay loft, and a slide for the bales to guide them, and the winch to haul them up.

We screwed on a couple of battens to hold the boards in place while we sawed out the door. Then we cut a little bit of every side of the door to make certain it wouldn't bind.
Asger helped sawing out the boards that were to be fixed on the front of the door to make it close tight.
We found some old hinges that were fine for the project, and all in all it went smoothly.

The winch is not really a winch, but an old clothes roller that had the top roller removed. So there is no locking mechanism but since the weight of a bale is not that high, it will be OK. It will also not be directly hoisted, but more pulled up the slide.

Tomorrow I'll go to town and buy a sheet of masonite to use for the slide.

The stable before the job.

A hole for the door.

Asger mounting some boards.

The finished door and the proud worker.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A small shelf and a small passenger

Despite my lack of energy concerning woodworking this trip, I made a small project yesterday.
We have had the need for a small shelf for as long as I can remember, but we didn't have any wood that wood look just remotely OK. I am not a fan of making shelves out of plywood when it is something that is intended to be in a public space. In a workshop it is fine, but after all this is not just our working place, it is also our home for half the time, so it shouldn't look too bad.

Yesterday the electrician came in and said that he had found an extra table top in a stores room. Apparently it was designated for a table that was never built anyway, so we immediately decided to use it for the shelf.

The job itself was done by reducing the size of the plate by means of a handheld circular saw, one that I didn't know that we had on board.

After making the top of the correct size, I attached some mounting sticks below it and finally screwed onto the wall.
So no we have a tea drinkers shelf complete with a kettle and some tea. Before we had to share the space with a coffee machine and some coffee.

The small feathered passenger looks like a pigeon. It has got a ring on one of the legs, so maybe it should actually be on its way to somewhere. I have no idea if it has lost its way or just needed a break, but it landed on our deck this afternoon, so we have been feeding it with some bread and have given it a cup of water to drink from.
It seems fairly tame, since it doesn't panic when we go to the deck. Anyway, as long as it behaves it is welcome to get a free ride.

Have a nice weekend

Our passenger.

The tea shelf.

The tea shelf from the underside.