Monday, December 30, 2013

The moving workshop

I was asked for some pictures to back up my explanation of bad weather. So without further fuss, here they come.

The current wind speed is between 18-20 m/s which is equivalent of 40-45 mph

I guess the height of the waves to be about 3-4 metres, but I am not used to making qualified guesses on the wave height, so they could be bigger.

We are going pretty straight into the waves at this point, so there isn't much rolling/listing at the moment. If we had the waves coming from the side it would be a completely different story.

So actually in this weather with the present course woodworking is possible.

Taking pictures of waves isn't easy. You don't really get an idea of the size because there isn't anything that gives a comparable size. Our type of ship has got the accomodation forward, so that is why most of the pictures are facing aft or ove the side.

The ship I am on is a PSV = Platform Supply Vessel.
It is kind of short haul trucking at sea. We supply the platform with e.g. fuel, fresh water, food containers, spare parts and drill mud, drill equipment etc. We also move stuff from the platforms e.g. waste and equipment which is not needed anymore.

The overall length of the ship is 85 m (278') the breadth is 20 m (65'), so it isn't a very large ship. It is very maneuverable though. We have two froward tunnel thrusters and 1 retractable azimuth thruster fwd. At the aft we have two azimuth thrusters (the main propuslsion).

The ship can be seen here: Troms Artemis

Waves and some spray

Some of our deck cargo: Containers and pipes

More waves

View aft, the deck cargo is secured.

The workshop facing aft.

The workshop facing fwd.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Small hanging cabinet with drawers part 4

We have been severely pestered with bad weather. The North Sea is no joke during the winter months. You can't sleep properly, and a lot of work functions are also limited due to the constant an rather violent movements of the vessel. This includes woodworking during the leisure time..

Today we have been sailing a course where the ship hasn't moved too much, so I decided to do a little woodwork as a Saturday treat.

I started by shooting the ends of the carcase boards. The lid for my little tools chest is also a shooting board. After shooting the first end, I checked with an angle, and found that the shooting board was more off than last time. I rectified the problem by placing a little bit of cardboard behind the carcase board, an easy and quick solution. The boards ended up looking fine and each board in a pair had the same length.

Next I ploughed the grooves for the back panel. This was done using my trusty Stanley grooving plane. The grooves were made before the dovetails in order for me to make a dovetail layout that could conceal the grooves.
I placed the grooves about 5/16" from the edge. This is roughly half the thickness of the back panel. The only problem is that it gives a rather thin half pin for the back of the carcase. I hope it will still be all right.

the dovetails were laid out using my cardboard dovetail marker with a 1:6 angle. The back dove tail is thinner than the other to help conceal the groove.
The weather was still OK, so I decided to start sawing out the pins.
Normally I prefer the tails first approach, but due to the limited work holding out here, I go for the pins first.
I used a hack saw with a almost new blade in it. Actually I doubt that it has been used since last time I was out here, and used it as a tenon saw.
I find it very easy to use a hack saw for dovetail saw. It has a nice weight to it, so it will work its way down the wood just fine. The teeth are fine I can't remember if it is 18 or 24 PPI. If the blade is dull, it takes only a short time to replace it, and the saw is sharpened for rip cuts.
The only backside is that the kerf is a little wider than it would be on a normal fine dovetail saw, but I don't mind.

I chopped out the waste between the pins and left it at that. The weather has turned worse, and there is no point in risking to mess up the carcase by attempting to make the tails during a lot of waves.

The first pins are sawed.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Small hanging cabinet with drawers part 3

Merry Christmas.

We were led to believe, that the ship would be alongside for the best part of Christmas. But due to bad weather with heavy winds, things have been delayed, therefore we are going to go back to sea tonight, to deliver some more stuff to a rig. This isn't exactly like winning the sweepstakes, but on the other hand, it is what we are getting paid to do. At least we had Christmas eve alongside.

I used the opportunity of still being alongside, to plane all the re sawn boards that I had made for the project. Planing is also one of those things that are easier, when the workshop is not moving.

The boards from the single use pallet were of a mixed quality. Some of them cupped really bad. All in all, there were three small boards that I decided would be a waste of time to try to plane. If I need some more, I'll have to re saw some later on. But for now I'll see how far my stock can get me. They ended up being a bit thinner than I anticipated, so I am curious as to if I am able to make a groove in them for the drawer bottom.

Yesterday, I glued up the back panel, I decided to leave it in the rough until I am going to use it. There is not much idea to flatten it, if it starts to cup and bow and twist before I get a chance to mount it.
There is a little cupping of the panel as it is right now, but it is actually looking better than I had feared.

Most of the planing today was done with the smoothing iron in the plane. I had managed to re saw the thinner boards so they didn't need that much work. The boards for the carcase were dressed with the scrub iron first, to reduce the thickness a bit. I am amazed at how well my plane iron holds up. Another thing is, that I am getting really good at adjusting the plane - in no time I can have it ready for smoothing, and take a nice full width super thin shaving. I guess that practise really does make perfect.

After finishing the planing, I cross cut the boards for the carcase. Then I cleared up in the workshop. Depending on the weather tomorrow, I might try to shoot the ends of the boards and plane a groove for the back panel.


The planed boards and some shavings.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Small hanging cabinet with drawers part 2

To me the beginning of a project out here at the sea is the least fun part. Like any other woodworker I need some material to work from. This is commonly known as stock preparation.

At home I would cross cut some wood, and joint it on the jointer, bring it to thickness in the planer, and then get on with the fun part of joining the pieces together.

Out here I have to cross cut the pieces, rip everything with a handsaw, plane the stock to the desired thickness, and then I can get to the joinery.

In an attempt to be a  little more effective than usual, I decided that I would rip most of the wood for the carcase, before starting to plane it.
My last build out here (the seaborne chest) was not made quite that way: I would rip a couple of boards, plane them, find out I needed more, rip again, plane again and so forth..

Yesterday evening and tonight I have been busy ripping a total of 9' (270 cm) of 6" stock. I timed my efforts out of interest, and I can rip 2' in about half an hour with the saw I have available. The surface isn't quite as nice as a band sawn surface would be, but once it will be planed it will be OK.

I have made the initial stock preparations for the sides of the carcase, the back of the carcase and the horizontal and vertical dividers.

The sides are hopefully going to end up being around 1/2" (12 mm) and the back and the dividers around 5/16" (8 mm).
Tomorrow I intend to find an old pallet and see if I can salvage some wood that will be fitting for the drawers. I also need to find the future rails and stiles for the door, but I could always rip those out of the 6" stock if I have to.
If the pallets are too wet, I might decide to rip everything out of the 6" stock, since that is perfectly dry already. The problem is it will require more work from my side.

Ripping a 16 "x 6" into three thin boards.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Small hanging cabinet with drawers part 1

Before going back to sea, I had given some thoughts as to what I would like to try to build this time. I decided that I have made enough chests for a while. On the other hand, it has been a while since I made a cabinet with a lot of small drawers. 

I bought some more small brass hinges to bring with me, and I even decided to bring a lock. I purchased that one years ago without no definite goal, simply because it was on sale.

The sea chest builds were both made without any drawings or sketches. But I figured that it wouldn't hurt to have a rough idea of the problems I might encounter during this build so I made a small sketch.

The principal dimensions are 30 x 40 x 14 cm (12" x 16" x 5.5"). This should give a nice small cabinet that can be transported home as luggage without any problems. With a depth of only 14 cm I won't have to glue up any side panels, but I can get them out of the lumber that I have on hand.
This time we are even so lucky as to have some old single use pallets lying about, so maybe I won't have to rip as much as I did when I made the seaborne chest.

The door is what is troubling me the most. 
If I make a planted door, I can gain access to the drawers that are in the hinge side of the cabinet. But then I can't make the lock work, because it needs to enter a mortise. This could be overcome by adding a small portion on the inside of the door, so the lock would be further in than the actual door. But that would mean that I would have to make some of the drawers shorter than the rest, and I am afraid that it would look strange.

If I make an inset door, with then hinges set into the door, the left side drawers can't come out. That could be overcome by adding a small board inside, thus starting the drawers about 1/2" from the actual side of the carcase. I think this will look the best.
It is also possible to make an inset door with the hinges set into the frame. That way I won't have to add any boards to the inside of the carcase, but the look will be slightly different.
An inset door will allow the lock to be fitted as it should.

Then there are the various design possibilities of the door itself: 
It could be made with mitred bridle joints at the corners, I think that would look good if I made mitred dovetails at the front corners as well.

On the other hand,  it could be made with regular mortises and tenons giving rails and stiles at right angles to each other. That would probably look best together with a normal dovetailed corner.

The idea is that the cabinet should be able to be mounted on a wall, so I plan on making the pins on the top and bottom of the carcase. I'll just go for regular through dovetails for the carcase.
There will be plenty of half blind dovetails at the drawer fronts.

The calculations on the sketch is for the height of the graduated drawers. 


My building sketch with design possibilities






Monday, December 16, 2013

Large knobs made on the lathe

After installing the oversized peg board, and moving the stable sheets (rugs), I installed an old shelf in the saddle room. This helped organize all the odds and ends that always seem to acumulate in a short time. SWMBO asked if I could make something that would hold the riding helmets, thus freeing space that could be used for the bridles instead. 

I quickly acccepted and this morning I turned some nice pegs. They look like mushrooms on steroids. 
The turning was made with two mushrooms made out of 1 blank. They were then separated using a saw and then ends trimmed using a chisel.
The mounting was done by boring a pilot hole in the base of the mushroom and then screwing from the back of the panel where they were fitted.

Those were then installed on the side of the shelf, and then entire project took about 2 hours including turning and mounting. This is way faster than my ususal projects, but then again it wasn't complicated in any way. 

I was able to fit 4 "mushrooms" for helmets, and the remaining 4 were installed near the box of each horse for holding the halters.

4 pairs of mushrooms.

8 mushrooms ready for being mounted

The mushrooms mounted on the side of the shelf.
1 helmet removed for explanation purposes.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Peg board for the stable - installed

With the future hide glue out in the fresh air, I drilled the holes in the wall using the hammer drill function. I am convinced that the noise would have caused the horses to frown, so it was better to have them out of the way before doing the noisy part of the job.
I went into town and bought some 6" screws, and then I mounted the peg board. The left side of the left board sunk a little during mounting, since the drill just hit below a brick and the wandered of to the easier soft mortar. But I doubt anyone will notice.

Laura helped to hang up the stable sheets, and it looks as it is working just according to the intended plan.
The stable sheets just clear the ground which is perfect.

I tried to take some pictures showing the moulding, but photography is not my strongest side.

Stable sheets hung on the pegs.

End detail showing the moulding profile.

Complete with Roman numerals.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Peg boards, table and benches

Today I finished the peg boards for the stable. Since the project had gone smoothly so far, I decided that it would be a fine idea to test a moulding plane.
I have never worked with moulding planes before, but I have a few old ones lying about.

The choice fell on a pretty simple beading profile. During the entire process I became painfully aware that I had not paid any attention whatsoever as the the grain direction of the boards with respect to the moulding plane. The moulding plane is not symmetrical, so I couldn't stand the board on an edge and plane with the grain.. The result left quite somewhat to be desired in terms of finish. I reground the blade a couple of times to get an even shaving, and in the end the plane behaved OK. Maybe one day I'll try it out on a piece of wood with the correct grain orientation.
For my comfort I kept on reminding myself that it is for the stable, and it can look a little rustic. I also sanded the beading lightly after finishing, so the result is OK. Actually it is more than OK. I am impressed at the impact a simple moulding had got on a board. Previously I would have just chamfered the edges - and that would only be in case I wanted to make the piece extra nice. But the beading makes it look a lot more finished and refined.
Sadly I was unable to hang the boards up on the wall, since I didn't have any 6" screws left. I'll have to go to town tomorrow and buy some. The reason for the very long screw is that the inner wall of the stable is covered with 3" of insulating bricks that are very soft. So in order for the boards to be secured decently, I have to drill through all that and into the real bricks.

A friend of mine is active in the World of model aircraft. The local club which he is a member of has just rebuilt their club house. They asked me if I could make some rustic looking tables and benches? I have been thinking about a design for those for a long time.
I prefer tables like that to be collapsible. That makes them easier to move and to store in case they need the meeting room for something else.
Benches on the other hand should be as sturdy as possible without being clumsy.
Since the club has offered me to pay for the stuff, I had to figure out what the cost was going to be. So as an experiment I decided to try to work as effectively as I could, and not be overly attentive to hidden details that wouldn't matter regarding strength or function.
I was very surprised to find out that I could knock together a good looking sturdy table in 6 hours and 20 minutes. Off course it helps greatly that The only finish is a quick run over with a random orbit sander and grit 80.
The most difficult thing is that when you can't square up stock due to requests from the "customer", you have to work without a lot of the normal possibilities of measuring that you usually have.

For the benches I turned to the Shaker bench that I have made before. Only this time it too had to be made out of unprocessed stock.
The bench took a lot longer to build than I anticipated. I guess it is due to the fact that there are a lot more joints to be made, and all of them has to be made  more or less by hand. Working as fast as I could, the bench took me a little more than 4 hours. I can't remember the exact time, and I am too lazy to go to the workshop to check it out.


A crappy picture of the two peg boards

The table and the first bench

A sliding dovetail is holding the table top.
The legs are inserted into mortises in the stretcher

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Peg board for the stable

As many woodworkers know (and even more have heard of), hide glue is working best when it is warm.
The funny thing is that this adage is also true when it comes to hide glue in the rough.
In order for the future hide glue to keep warm during the cold months they are fitted with stable sheets. These take up an impressive amount of space in the saddle room, and when they are wet they take forever to dry if they are not hung upon something. In an attempt to keep SWMBO happy, I have offered to make an oversized peg board for this task.
Part of my reason for offering to make this project is that I rediscovered how much fun it can be to turn stuff on the lathe. So I wanted to turn some more.

The pegs are mostly made out of white thorn that I have salvaged from our own hedge once I cut it back quite drastically. A few of the pegs are made out of apple. White thorn is almost as easy to turn as apple, and I had a lot pieces lying around of an appropriate thickness.

The length of the pegs from end to the start of the tenon is approximately 6". The tenon is 1" except for the first peg I made, which I made it 11/8". I switched to 1" after testing the two drills and found that my 1" drill was superior.

The pegs waiting for me to find a board for them.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Seaborne chest part 10 (the end)

I finally pulled myself together and finished the sea chest.
After a lot of various obstacles such as a course north of the Polar circle, a heavy storm and 80 cubic meter of sea shells - today seemed like the right day to end the project.

The traditional way of attaching the beckets to the cleats is by means of an axle made out of rope. In order to make a nice diamond knot, you need at least some 4 stranded rope (or a higher number).
I don't have any rope of that kind lying about, and I don't want to purchase some just for making two small axles. So instead I decided to turn some axles instead.

I made the axles out of some old apple tree that I had once saved for turning purposes. Turning old fruit tree like apple, pear or plum etc. is a joy. The turning itself went conspicuously smooth, and that is rather strange since I don't do much turning. I turned two axles with a dome shaped end, and two loose domes that were drilled out afterwards - and then glued on to the axles (with the beckets installed)

I made the recesses of the cleats little deeper, to accommodate the domes, and then I simply screwed them onto the ends of the chest. I didn't use any glue in case someone will want to disassemble the arrangement in the future to renew the beckets when they are worn out.

For a finish I have thought about painting the chest, but I ended up deciding for a pure oil finish. I read on the can of Kamelia oil I have, that it can be used as a finish. Since the whole chest has been sort of an experiment, a new type of finish seemed just right. The oil penetrated the wood impressively easy, and I have now left the first coat to dry. I guess that I will add three coats in total.

What did I learn about this build:
The correct tools really do a difference. A scrub plane was probably the biggest difference from my previous sea chest build.
The nice looking Crown of Sheffield chisels that I had brought with me are nice looking and comfortable to use, but they can't hold the edge. They are so soft that I had to resharpen them way too often considering that the wood is soft pine. So I don't recommend anyone to buy that model of chisels. It is actually a shame since the tapers of the sides are nice and thin, and the name Sheffield used to be synonymous with high quality steel years ago.
Peer pressure got me into making beckets and cleats. Looking at the finished chest, I have decided that I think they look a little too extravagant. I have to admit that I am more into Shaker simplicity than fancy rope work. But I guess that I would never have found out if I hadn't tried.

All in all a nice little project that is possible to make even without a proper workbench.

The end (of the chest)

The other end

A blown out hole in the barn made by the heavy weather.