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.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I can't decide what to build for my next project.

I have been a little low on the energy and inspiration side when it comes to finding a suitable project this time.
After chatting with Brian Eve from Toolerable, I was eager to try to build a Rorkhee chair. It seemed like an appropriate challenge that didn't require too much wood, and the thing could be brought home in the airplane as well.
I tried to see if I could find some wood that would be fitting for this project, but sadly I don't have any thing that will make a good chair. I have a few small thin boards of some oak (from a pallet), but the only wood of a larger dimension on board are some construction grade spruce boards.
My thoughts are, that making a chair out of that will be a waste of time and energy, and I will be angry when the project fails due to some wood that is not strong enough. So I guess that I need to find some other thing to build. I'can always make a Rorkhee at home some time.

A folding camp stool would be a nice thing to make, but the same problems concerning the source of wood applies to that project. Maybe I will make a triangle bolt or two to bring with me home, that way I can have a head start when I decide to build a stool in the future. My idea is to make a triangle bolt by hard soldering 3 bolts together, so the legs of the camp stool can get very close to one another.
Chris Schwarz once blogged about a Roubo stool that looked like that.
Maybe it could be a fun project to make with the children?

Asger (our youngest son) has developed a keen interest in steam engines. That could open up for some interesting projects.
I have considered building a split demonstration model of a steam engine to better explain the working principles to him. That doesn't require a lot of wood, and it shouldn't be too hard. After all, the various parts doesn't have to be steam tight.

Yet another possible project is to build some sort of machine or contraption that can be driven by his steam engine at home.
E.g. a conveyor belt, a small crane or something along those lines.

But so far I haven't advanced past the sketch and dream phase of any of the above mentioned projects.

Do you ever find yourself in a similar situation?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tumblehome sea chest, the completion

Yesterday, I made a lower skirt for the tumblehome sea chest.
I like to change the orientation of the dovetails for the lower skirt, so it can better resist the outward thrust of the bottom, if it should expand at some time.

A great advantage of fitting skirts to a canted chest is that the further down you press the skirt, the tighter the fit will be.
I took a critical look at the surface of the chest itself, and it doesn't look very good. The spruce I have used was definitely not furniture grade, so I am convinced that I will paint the chest once it is done.

While waiting for the skirt to dry, I glued up a panel for the lid.
I figured that a small experiment wouldn't hurt, since the chest isn't designed for anything special. So Instead of my usual floating panel type lid, I decided to go for a flat panel with nailed on battens to prevent it from warping.
I dovetailed two battens to a piece of wood that will act as a front dust seal. After the glue had dried, I mounted the assembly on the lid.
I glued the front dust seal piece onto the lid, and then I reinforced it with some clenched nails just to keep on experimenting.
The two battens were attached with clenched nails, but no glue. My theory is that the front piece will stay put due to the glue and the nails, and the nails holding the battens will prevent the lid from warping, but still be flexible enough to accommodate seasonal movements.

The lid is secured with a leather strap which I took from an old bridle for the horses. I punched a couple of holes in it, and mounted it using some brass screws.

Before painting the chest, I decided where to put the lifts, and I made pilot holes using an awl.

I couldn't make myself use the milk paint which I bought two years ago in Germany. I haven't been able to locate a dealer in Denmark, and I didn't want to risk waste the paint on an experimental chest like this one made out of crappy wood.
I looked at my shelves and found some machine enamel in the RAL colour 6011 (Reseda green / Hannover Green). It is produced in Denmark by a company called Esbjerg Paints. and I figured that if it can stand up to agricultural machinery, then it will be OK for my chest.
The red colour is Swedish red wood protection from the same company. I used it for painting a door on the backside of the barn a year ago.

After letting the paint dry for a couple of hours I estimated the paint to be at least dry enough to allow for mounting of the lifts.
The mounting itself went suspiciously easy, so maybe I am having a lucky day.

All that is left is to present it to SWMBO and see if she would like it in the stable or inside the house.
I think it might end up in the stable, since we need a new box for curry combs, and this chest will be perfect for that. In addition it is very stable and can be used as a small platform for standing on, when the hair of the horses needs to be groomed and braided before going to a contest.

The finished chest.

View from the other end of the chest.

Clenched nails and holding strip.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Barnsley table finished

I think that this is the longest period without any activities on the blog. But as you probably all know, sometimes there are a lot of other things that needs to be taken care of, and this May had its share for me.

First our daughter had her confirmation at the church, we held the reception at home, so the house and garden needed to be groomed before that. Then I had a lot of work on the riding court and a clogged drain from the yard, so I have seen my part of shoveling for a long time. I did manage to get a bit of woodworking done, but I never found the time to blog about it until now.

I glued up the tabletop for the Barnsley hayrake table. I decided to make glue it all up at once which wasn't a very good idea. The result was more uneven than expected. I tried to flatten it by using a scrub plane, but larch has a tendency to produce some really ugly tear out even if the wood is traversed. Luckily I had started on the bottom of the tabletop, so I could change the strategy for the topside.
My solution was to purchase a belt sander and some grit 40 and 60 belts. That actually worked quite good. It was not as fast as planing, but there was no tear out.
After the belt sander, I used the random orbit sander with some 80 grit sand paper.

Instead of breadboard ends, I added cleats using a sliding dovetail. These were then secured with a single dowel in the center. That way any movement won't upset anything. The cleats were then secured to the top of the legs using some slightly wedge shaped pegs.

I called Charlotte who had asked me to build the table to come over and check the result. luckily she was very pleased with the result, so we helped each other load the table onto the trailer and we drove it to her place.

Charlotte wanted to do her own finishing, so that is why I have not described that part at all. I issued her with a lot of test boards out of larch, so she could test various methods before determining which one she would go for. I still don't know what finish she will chose.

The legs ended up looking a bit bulky and too close to the edges of the table. But that was because the stretcher and the legs were made first, and at that time the requested table size was 48" x 128". But I still think the table looks nice and sturdy even with the smaller top (40" x 98").

The table in the trailer.

The finished table.

Lower stretcher complete with Roman numerals.

End view of the table.

One of Charlottes' Kaare Klint Safari chairs ( Rorkhee chair).

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tumblehome sea chest 5, the bottom

We had some semi bad weather yesterday, so I was glad that I had decided to try tackling the bottom of the chest. That is a  little more coarse woodworking than dovetailing and making a complex glue up.

For those pallet wood builds, the following approach is working fine for me:

First; I'll flatten the boards on one flat side, and maybe touch up the sides as well if they need it. The back is left coarse, and the boards don't necessarily have the same thickness.

Second; is making either a rabbet for ship lapping or a tongue and groove. On this chest I made 2 tongues on the centre board and one groove in each of the other boards.
I use my Stanley grooving plane for making tongues and grooves (and rabbets if needed). It is surprisingly effective, When you have only got one flat side, this side will be the reference side to all work done. This is possible as long as you remember to start with the widest setting on the tool, that way there will still be some wood for the fence to touch when you need to make the groove closest to the reference side of the board.

For this particular chest, I just had enough wood left over from the initial board (6m in length) to make a complete bottom. 3 pieces covered the width and I had an additional 1 cm on each side.
Making the bottom a bit too large and then sawing of the excess is an easy way to do it with canted sides.

Third;  I attach the bottom to the chest. The bottom is mounted with the nice looking side (the reference side) on the inside of the chest. The rough side becomes the lower bottom of the chest.
I would prefer to use nails to stay a little classic, but we haven't got any on board, so I used some screws instead.
The wood is so soft that I didn't have any problems with setting the head of the screws about 1/8" below the surface. This low setting is crucial for the next step.

Fourth; with the bottom attached I use my scrub iron in the plane and level out the underside of the bottom. I usually work across the grain as it is easier to remove more material that way. Since the screws are set really deep in the wood, I can plane away without being afraid of nicking the iron.

Making a groove.

Bottom mounted.

Planing the bottom, note the cupping of the boards.