Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Proper Pre Planning

I got inspired by a blog post by Ralph the accidental woodworker.

This time I hadn't planned my time on board very well regarding woodworking.

OK, a fact is that I had the flu when I joined the ship, so doing the daily job drained most of my
energy - leaving none for exercising or woodworking.
I did manage to make a few small projects, but looking back I think I should have prepared myself better.

So to get ahead of the game I have been doing a bit of thinking the last couple of days. One of my thoughts have been that I just can't continue making small chests and cabinets. I like making them, but I need to challenge myself by making something else once in a while. Plus I'll scare people away from this blog if they only see me doing the same old stuff over and over again.

So here is a short list of my ideas for future projects that could be made on board (in no particular order):

Restoring chisels.
I have a bunch of old chisels that could need a new handle, and either turning a handle or making an octagonal handle would definitely be possible on board as would general cleaning and initial sharpening of the chisel. I would need to bring a bit of suitable wood for the handles and also the chisels, but that is no problem.

Making a back saw.
Leif Hanson of Norsewoodsmith has made an excellent series describing how to make a back saw.
This step by step tutorial is so clearly written and illustrated, that it makes it look easy and possible to make your own back saw.
It could be fun to try, and I could make a saw with a very small handle aimed for my sons to use. I would need to bring a piece of steel for the saw blade, and some wood for a handle. The back could either be made from a short piece of angle bar or I could try to find a small piece of brass plate that I could bring along.

Restoring moulding planes.
A couple of years ago I purchased a bunch of old moulding planes. I have tried one of them since, but frankly they could all do with a little cleaning and a lot of sharpening. This is one of the things; I never manage to convince myself to spend time at while I am home.

Restoring wooden plow planes or moving fillisters.
I have somehow managed to acquire a couple of those as well, and like the case is for the moulding planes, these could use a bit of TLC.

Make a tool roll for some of my extra auger drills or chisels.
This would see a return of me sewing canvas. Something I have never blogged about.
Theoretically I could also sew the roll in leather. This type of project has the advantage of being something similar to the sign carving projects. I.e they can be done in the engine control room.

Make an explanatory working model of an engine.
One of my old dreams have been to make a model that can be used to explain how a steam engine works. This would require some turning and a lot of fiddling, but it could end up being a cool thing. I would probably have to bring some hardwood with me for this project.

Make a small Bombay chest.
OK this is not my idea, it was suggested by Brian Eve, and I can see that there would clearly be some challenges in making one. It would require me to either use a jig saw for the curved parts, or bring a frame saw.
The curved sides would probably benefit from me bringing a compass plane too.

Make a model ship or boat.
This would require me to bring a lot of thin strips of wood and a coping saw. Making the strips at home on the table saw or the band saw would be so much easier than ripping them from a piece of pallet wood and then planing them flat.
I think it could be kind of fun to make a 1:5 model of a rowing boat. This could very well be made from the drawings of a boat that I would like to make in full size.

No matter what project I eventually choose, at least I know that I have done a part of the pre planning. Thus I should theoretically have prevented a "less than adequate performance" (you need to check the actual meaning of the seven P's on Ralph's blog).


  1. I read Ralph every day. He is inspiring.

  2. I read Ralph every day. He is inspiring.

    1. Hello Bartee.
      Thanks for commenting.
      Ralph is very inspiring, and furthermore does he somehow manage to write on his blog every single day, while finishing projects at an incredible pace - I have no idea how he can mange to do that.

  3. I vote for "Make a tool roll"

    1. Hi Aymeric.

      Thanks for commenting, I might choose to make a tool roll even if I make another project too. Because it should be a fairly easy project to start and stop. And the materials aren't terribly heavy to bring on board either.

  4. I vote for the bombay chest. These have always fascinated me and I have yet to come across anyone blogging about it.

    1. Hi Ralph.
      I would have to do a bit of research before starting such a build, but I would say that 5 minutes of Googling should do it.
      It would end up being a very small Bombay chest though, one that I could take home in the airplane as checked in luggage.

  5. If my vote counts, I would say in order: Restore your moulding and plow planes, restore your chisels, make the tool roll, make the model boat, engine, Bombay chest, and back saw. I saved the backsaw for last because I believe it will be the most difficult.

    My logic is that you can restore the tools first and use them on your projects. As for the model boat, that is something I've always wanted to make. I love the old "tall ships". My first choice would be the USS Constitution, though I'm sure you have many examples from Danish History if you chose to go that route.
    Good Luck

    1. Hi Bill.

      I like your logic way of thinking. If I try to be sensible (something I am admittedly not very good at), my prioritized list would be pretty close to yours.
      But I would probably put the back saw a bit higher on the list. Reading the series of Norse Woodsmith, makes it look fairly easy.
      But on the other hand, I don't really need a children's back saw. It could just be fun to make one. And we have got a hydraulic metal press out here that could fold the back without any problems.
      My model boat would not be a tall ship. They look amazing when executed correctly, but I suspect that getting one safely home as checked in luggage might be a bit optimistic.
      A model row boat wouldn't have any mast or rigging, so it should be possible to find a sturdy cardboard box that it could be transported in.

      We have a Dremel multitool out here that help in sharpening of the blades for the moulding planes. Plus I just know from experience, that I never take the time to do such stuff at home.
      But I have once in a while wanted to try using the moulding plane, but found myself picking it up, trying a few swipes, and then returning it to the tool chest because it didn't work.
      The chisel handle project would just satisfy my "taking care of old tools" sense. I have plenty of chisels with handles, but I also have some without, and it would just feel good to have made a complete set of handles that matches.

  6. I think building a bombay chest while at sea with only five minutes of internet research sounds like a fine series of blog posts.

    1. But I'll end up being known as "The ocean going pallet woodworker".
      Here I am trying to be serious and inspire people :-)
      I do like the ring of it though, it would make a nice challenge. Sort of a follow up of the first sea chest build.