Monday, October 19, 2020

Making a handrail for my dad

My dad was in a bad car crash last year. For some inexplicable reason he suddenly found himself in the wrong side of the road, and with an oncoming truck, it is a miracle that he managed to swerve the car to the right, so that instead of getting hit head on by the truck, instead it smashed the left side of his car.

He was incredible lucky to survive, and he had remnants of orange paint on his jacket from the truck, so a few more inches and he probably wouldn't have made it.

He was hospitalized for some time, and they discovered an internal bleeding in the skull, but the doctors believed that it was so small that it would stop on its own. He ended up getting pretty much back on his feet, and all was fine until the summer.

During the late spring and the summer his balance got gradually worse. And it culminated when my ship was going to Aarhus for the Tall Ships Races. My dad wanted to come on board and see the ship, but he got ill while waiting for us to berth, so I went to the first aid station and picked him up. When we walked the short distance to the ship , say maybe 250 yards. I became aware that he was constantly pulling to the left. I supported him and was afraid that there was something wrong, since it was like he had absolutely no power or control over his left side.

When we got to the ship, I got the doctor to check up on my dad, and he couldn't really find anything wrong, so we all decided that he was perhaps just tired and needed a nap to sort of digest the incident with getting ill and getting help from the first aid helpers of the arrangement.

A couple of hours later I woke him up, but he was confused and not better. So after consulting the doctor again, we decided to call for an ambulance. 

With the help of the police, the ambulance was able to get through the massive crowd of people to where our ship was berthed, and he was then taken to the hospital. 

At the hospital they first gave him some pain killer to ease of the fever that they discovered that he had. They then did a scan, and it turned out that the bleeding inside the skull hadn't stopped after all as the doctors on the other hospital had expected. So they kept him for a couple of days to get him ready for an operation to relieve the pressure on the brain.

They drained approximately a quart cup of blood out from inside his skull. No wonder that this treatment did a lot of difference. Now he could suddenly feel the left side of his body again.

Over the last two months, his health has suddenly started to deteriorate again. He lost his balance and his appetite and has begun to become a bit confused. He had a scan, but according to that there is no signs of an internal bleeding in the skull again. He has been checked by his own doctor and he is going to a specialized department at the hospital this week and seeing a neurologist next week. So I really hope that they will be able to find out what's wrong with him.

He now has such a bad balance and health that he has been temporarily assigned to a nursing home to keep him out of harms way by falling at home and maybe breaking an arm or a leg. This just happened over the course of one week. 

He voice sounds like he is drunk when I call him on the phone, and it is really not a good sign as far as I know.

A week or so before he was assigned to the nursing home, I visited him to help him mow the lawn and clear the trimmings from the hedge that he and his neighbour had cut a few days earlier. He had fallen a few times at that point, so we decided to make a hand rail for the stairs leading from the scullery (back door) and into the kitchen. 

It struck me as a bit sad, since it was the first time in ages that I did some woodworking in my fathers shop, and now I was suddenly making a handrail because he is getting old. 

It wasn't a super fancy or striking elegant piece of work, but I had to make do with what I could just find, and besides I had come down to visit him and talk with him, not to immerse myself in some high end woodworking. We found a piece of dry ash that could be made into a nice handrail, and my dad had a couple of brackets for attaching a it to the wall. 

It worked great for that coming week, and I really hope that he will get well again so he can return to his own home and then continue to use it for many years to come.

The remnants of my dads Renault Clio

Rounding a piece of ash

The installed handrail

Friday, August 21, 2020

Making a Roorkee chair with Laura

Two years ago Laura started making a Roorkee chair in the workshop.
She hasn't lived at home all the time, so getting the chair completed has taken a little more time than originally planned.

Before going back to sea this time, I asked her if we shouldn't try to make it a goal to complete the chair so she could bring it with her as she was moving to go to university.

She agreed and we found all the parts from the chair.
We were pleasantly surprised to find out that she had completed the turnings of the legs, so the only woodwork left was to turn the stretchers, drill some holes and make some tenons and finally do a little bit of work on the back pieces and round over the top of the legs.

The wood used were some scraps of whitebeam that I had left, and while it isn't a particularly beautiful species with elegant grain, it sure is the most sturdy species I know of. So there should be very little chance of the stretchers breaking on this chair.
Laura liked that the wood was so uniformly white and pale, so when we started talking about what leather to use, she decided on the plastic coated candy apple red leather that I once got from my dad.
It is originally from clogs production, so that is why the plastic coating is on it.

Her thoughts about the contrasting leather is that very often in kindergarten, chairs would have a contrasting seat or leg etc. to create some visual interest for the children, and she thought that it would be fun to make the chair stand out a bit more compared to using veg tan leather for the straps etc.

I didn't have enough of the red leather to make a seat and a back from it, but she wanted those parts to be made out of canvas anyway, so the leather was only going to be straps and armrests.

We helped each other with the seat and back, and I instructed Laura in how to do the riveting which was needed for mounting all the buckles to the straps.
In very short time she became really good at it, and the for each piece that was completed, the chair looked more and more like it should.

Once it was all assembled Laura was thrilled, and the chair looked just like she had imagined.
Again I was amazed at how great a project it is to make a Roorkee. It is really difficult to mess it up, and even small irregularities won't be noticed when it is assembled.
She proudly brought the chair with her to Aarhus where she is going to be studying. And since she also brought one of her campaign book cases, it looks right at home in her room!

Laura's Roorkee chair.

Have chair - will travel

Riveting indoor.

And then we moved into the shop..
to keep the noise out of the living room.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Making a small ovolo infill plane, 2 dovetails.

Yesterday evening I first removed the remaining waste between the pins. Then I transferred the pins to the sides where the tails were going to be.
Those were sawed out on the edges and a drill removed most of the material. After that a file was used to remove the rest of the waste down to the baseline.
After a little adjustment, the pieces went together as they should.

I used a file for flaring out the backside of the pins, in order to make the "double dovetails". And that was pretty easy. I didn't make a huge flaring, but just enough so that the dovetails will be locked once I peen them together.

When I made the infill smoother a couple of years ago, I made the aft part of the sides with a couple of swooping lines. Or at least that was the thought behind the design. I decided to see if I could make this plane look as though it had some relationship to the bigger plane, by making the same design feature.
It didn't work out at all!
First the drill started wandering off because my design placed two holes too near each other. I thought that I could fix it with a file and still make it look good.
After a bit of filing it became clear that I could not make two small swoops that looked good.
I found a bigger diameter round file and decided on one swoop instead.
The edges turned out pretty well and I was happy until I removed the sides from the vise.
Instead of the elegant shape that I had envisioned, I now stared at the silhouette of a pickup-truck with an extended cab.

To get on from that point, I marked out for the mouth of the plane, and drilled a series of holes where the mouth will be. The holes were then cleaned up with a file. It is a lot easier to drill and file in just the sole on its own, instead of doing it when the sides are connected pickup shaped or not.

I didn't want to start peening the parts together because it was getting a bit late, and I didn't want to disturb anyone, and I also didn't want to risk messing things up.
After working a bit more with the material, I am beginning to think that it might be bronze rather than brass. First it doesn't smell like brass and second it machines differently too. Brass will make a lot of small chippings when drilled, but this makes nice long shavings when drilled. (there is probably a correct word for that too).

The next part will be to work a bit more on the mouth, peen the parts together and start making the wooden infills.

Pickup shaped infill plane.

Proud pins and tails.

I had glued the sides together before filing them.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Making a small ovolo infill plane

Since I have returned to the blogosphere, I have been thinking about something new to blog about.
The projects that I have made the last year have been completed without any photographic evidence, so I might as well start something new to make out here.

We are currently in dry dry dock, and I haven't brought my tool set with me.
I could go out and use the tools in the carpenters shop, but where would the fun be in that?

Instead I have decided to try and make a small infill plane. We happen to have some sheet brass on board, and That should be a "heckuva" lot easier to work compared to my last infill plane which was made out of regular mild steel.

As I predicted when I completed the last infill plane, I haven't used it a single time since I made it. But that is because I have a nice Stanley Bedrock #4 that I use as my everyday plane at home.
I haven't got a functioning ovolo plane though, so merging an infill plane with a moulding plane should be a fun little experiment.

I drew a rough sketch which sort of gave me the overall measurements of the plane. It will hopefully end up being sort of 4.75" long and 1" wide. The height of the sides will be around 1.5"

First I marked the outline of the sides and the bottom on the sheet of brass, and then I used a hacksaw to saw them out. The sides were held together in the vice and filed to the same overall size.
The bottom just had one side filed smooth.

Using the smooth side of the bottom, I marked the two baselines for the dovetails, Doing it that way should in theory result in that any deviations in width will be on one side only, and I won't end up with a wedge shaped plane.

The brass is 4 mm thick which is pretty close to 5/32". in order to make sure that there will be enough material to peen, the pins will be 1/4" long.

I marked out for a half pin on each end of the bottom, and two full pins in between them. A bit of sawing followed by some drilling removed most of the waste. I started filing one end, but decided to stop for the evening instead of stretching it too far.
It feels good to be back at making something like that again!

Starting to file the waste away.

Dry mock up of the plane to be.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Chimney cupboard for a friend

One of my old friends has started a guesthouse at his place where people sleep in old circus wagons.

The wagons are actual old circus wagons that have been stripped and rebuilt. Kind of like a tiny house.

I visited him while he was working on a wagon and one of his challenges was that he didn't want the inside to simply look like a caravan or an Ikea catalogue. 
Some stuff he does get from Ikea such as beds etc. but he would like to add something that was purposely built for that place. 
So we agreed that I should make a chimney cupboard for the bedroom of the wagon.

I couldn't make it quite as tall as normally, since the rounded ceiling started a little less than 6' up from the floor. 
It also had to fit in a corner, so I had to keep that in mind when making the top and the base.

The tractor driving the saw mill suffered from a damaged priming pump form about 7 months ago, and though I have bought the spare parts, I haven't taken the time to actually fix it yet. So instead of using some home milled larch, I bought some wood at the lumber yard. It is nice to be reminded once in a while how expensive that is, just so I am able to appreciate my own home milled lumber a bit more. 
The boards for the case itself were of a worse quality than I had expected, I had tried to be picky when choosing the wood, but it was filled with knots and I was a bit disappointed about it. 
For the back panel I had chosen some T&G roofing boards. And they on the other hand were of an amazing quality! Not a single knot in any of the boards, and clear straight grain. It was roughly the same price, so I guess I should have used that for the rest of the case as well, But I know that for next time.

I am leaning on the plans from Bob Rozaiesky from Popular Woodworking, and though it can be made as a full hand tool build, I use some machines like a thickness planer to speed up the process a bit.

Again I must conclude that it is a really nice project. The finished cabinet has an appealing look and despite its small footprint there is a lot of useful storage inside. 

Solid wood construction

Both doors can open up!

Five shelves inside.

Newf and gambrel stamp.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Building a Mini Max hydroplane

Readers with a good memory might be able to remember that two years ago Gustav, Asger and I constructed a Mini Max hydroplane in the summer. 
The plan was always to make another one, so each of the boys had their own. 

And last year we completed the second one. 

The construction is really simple, but the boat just looks nice and is a fun project to build. 
Asger decided on the paint scheme for this one and he was determined that it should just be a blazing orange on the top and white inside and on the bottom. 
I had purchased an outboard motor from one of my friends, and we decided to try and make a steering wheel for it so it felt a bit more like a racing boat.

Near our summerhouse, there is an old shop that has been under the same ownership since 1970. They carry basically everything. Form tape recorders (though not modern anymore) to regular dairy products and household items.
The shop is well worth visiting just to see the enormous amounts of weird old stuff for sale. 

Prime examples are: blades for scythes size No 4, made in the Soviet Union, 
400 or so pairs of old rubber boots that are frequently treated with a bit of silicone oil to prevent them from cracking while still in the store. 
And the list goes on!

The orange paint that the boat is painted with is bought at that store. It is an old can since there is no MAL code on it (mandatory from some time in the 1980'ies in Denmark I think)
The colour agent is lead chromate which also sort of fell out of favour a couple of years ago. But that sort of stuff is still available on the shelves of this shop.

We will try to get it stored at the summer house, since it is a lot nearer to the water. Then there is a chance of it to see more action.
Gustav testing the steering mechanism.

Asger painting the hull.

Completed paint job.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

A year suddenly went by.

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog entry about the sudden disappearance of blogs.
I guess that mine is pretty close to fall into that category by now.

What is interesting to see (for me at least) is that my blogging is so closely connected to my job.
Back when I was employed in the offshore supply industry, I had a decent Internet connection, long uneventful night watches that allowed me to do stuff in the workshop and there was very little social interaction on board the ship save for meal times.

When I started on Statsraad Lehmkuhl, it became clear how different a job place this really is.
The Internet connection is crappy when we are sailing. 
There are no night watches. And there is an incredible social life on this vessel. 
So instead of having to sort of occupy my own mind I suddenly found myself in a group of people where playing either board games cards in the evening was the norm. 
A supply boat can often feel like a ghost ship, people will gather for the meals, and after 15 minutes people will wander off to their own cabins and watch TV or computer by themselves.
Out here that isn't really an option. There is a TV in the aft mess room and a projector in the fore mess room.
No TV signals while at sea, but it is possible to watch a DVD. This isn't done very often though, since most people will gather in the aft mess and have a cup of tea/coffee, and play cards or sit and read a book or just talk to one another.

So I found that I didn't have the urge to build something on board anymore.
And I have generally always had a hard time pulling myself together to blog while at home. One week took the next and those weeks became months etc.

Now I'll have to see of I can make good of my intentions to blog from home once in a while.
It will probably be a difficult starting time when I go home in 10 days, since it is high summer and holiday season etc.

But lets see how it goes.