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.

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.