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.