Thursday, August 30, 2018

Simpson tenon saw 2, a new handle.

There are excellent tutorials to be found on how to make a handle, I am not sure if my order of progress is the most correct one, but it works for me.

Please also bear in mind that there are tools that will be much more suited to the task than those I have chosen to employ in the making of this handle. I don't use the "wrong" tools as some sort of self punishment, but because those are what I have got out here. It can as usual also be seen as an example of a way to work around a problem with regular tools.

First I decided which piece of elm that I wanted to use for the handle.
I had flattened one side of the piece at home on the jointer, so I set the marking gauge and brought the other face down to the line.
Somehow I made the handle 1 (5/128")mm thicker than the old handle which is actually quite noticeable when holding it. So for the next handle I'll have to take a few more swipes with the plane.

With the now flat piece of wood, I placed the old handle on top of it and traced the outline with a pencil.
It is important that the grain will run through the upper part of the handle as straight as possible, in order to keep the handle as strong as possible.

I used a drill press and a 1/4" drill to drill near the tight curves at the back, and also inside the handle.
After the drilling, my trusty hacksaw helped to achieve a somewhat handle shaped object.
This is where a scroll saw or a coping saw would have made things a bit easier.

The handle was then mounted in the vise, and I used a couple of files to remove the surplus wood, so that I was getting the outline of the handle correct before doing any rounding over. Rasps would have been the natural choice, but regular coarse files for metal works fine though maybe a bit slower.

With the shape correct, I placed the saw plate on top of the handle, in order to mark out where the holes for the mounting screws should be. I chose the same hang and position as the original handle.
I had to grind a drill specifically for making the recesses for the screws and nuts. I couldn't find a drill of the exact same size as the heads, so I had to use one that was a bit larger.

With the holes drilled, I marked the vertical center of the handle and sawed the slot for the saw plate to fit in.
Luckily the kerf of a hack saw was the perfect size for the plate, so a fresh hacksaw blade and a bit of sawing did the trick.

I started rounding the handle over, but after a bit of time I remembered that it might be a good idea to chop out the recess for the spine of the saw before going any further, so that was done and the rounding over continued.
After a lot of time spent filing, and sanding I was happy with the look and feel of the handle. The final sanding was done with steel wool, and that left the handle very smooth.

I applied some varnish to the handle and lightly gave it a brush with some steel wool before wiping of the little that was left on the surface.
Once the varnish has dried I plan to give it a coat more using the same technique.

Handle after sanding.

Outline of handle, note grain lines in upper part.

Sawing the handle.

Fresh from the drill press and saw.

Marking the position of the mounting holes.

Drill especially ground for making recesses.

Varnished handle.

Elm is such a nice wood.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Pressing apple cider

I made my own cider press in 2006, based on an old model that I had borrowed from a museum.
The shredder is an old one that I was given because the bearings were completely shot, and the flywheel and gears were missing.
I cast some new bearings of white metal, mounted some grease cups, mounted an electric motor and made a new undercarriage plus enlarged the hopper a bit.

Ever since we have tried to make a batch of fresh cider every year.
We make around 60 L (16 gallons) which is just about what we manage to drink in a year. We freeze the cider, and take out a bottle every week or so.

Since we have a lot of apple trees, we could easily make more, but there is not much point in that if we don't manage to drink it, besides we also need some bottles for all the cider, and space in the freezer for it.

Usually we try to make it as an arrangement where friends can drop by to have their apples processed as well, but this year due to the warm summer, our primary cider tree had ripe apples earlier than normal.
So Saturday before going out to sea, we made the yearly processing of cider.

Gustav helped in the beginning, and he was later relieved by Asger who poured the cider into the clean bottles.
"Rather strangely" I was left with the task of cleaning the equipment and putting everything back in its place when we were done for the day..

I am still working on a handle for the Simpson backsaw, but there is not much effect in showing pictures of my progress with a file and a bit of sand paper :-)

Washing the apples prior to shredding.

Gustav shredding some apples.

Packing the apple pulp prior to pressing.

Pressing 4 packages of pulp.

Dry apple pulp after pressing.

Ecologically apple cider.

Bucket of apple cider.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Simpson tenon saw 1, the saw plate and spine.

Last time out here at sea, I ended up swaying back and forth between making an infill moulding plane, or a tenon saw. I finally decided that a saw was the way to go, and i started looking into finding some steel for the saw plate.
This time I wanted to make a tenon saw, so I couldn't just buy a plaster scraper as I did last time I made a saw - I needed something bigger.

Luckily I know Pedder from Two Lawyers tools, and I wrote and asked him about his ideas for using steel shims for saw plates.
He looked at the specifications and found that it was rather soft, and immediately offered to make me a saw plate and stamp some teeth in it at the same time.

When the package arrived, there wasn't just the saw plate, but also a very nice old large tenon saw in there as well.

I figured that rehabbing an old saw would be a fine way of getting some experience before making a tenon saw from scratch. So I brought both this tenon saw and the saw plate with me on board.

The first thing I did was to remove the handle. The brass screws and nuts loosened easily, and the handle came off in no time.
Removing the spine was a lot more difficult. It pinched the saw plate pretty hard, and at the same time there was a bit of rust to help bind those two together.

With the steel parts separated, I got a bit of metal brightener from the guys on deck and washed the parts in that. I think it is some sort of phosphoric acid mixed with soap. It seemed to work pretty well.
After the metal brightening, I sprayed the parts with some thin oil and sanded them with emery cloth. I didn't go all wild since there are some pitting that I can't remove. I also don't mind that the saw will still show signs of being old - as long as it will work.

I tried to do a bit of searching about the saw maker, but searching for anything containing the name "Simpson" will generate a bunch of hits with a yellow faced cartoon figure that likes to drink beer. So I gave up on that quest after a few tries.
Mostly I would like to know the approximate age of the saw, and one of the few non cartoon hits I had suggested something like the early 20th century.
If anyone else knows something about the Simpson saw making business, I would be happy if you left a comment.

My plan is to make a new handle for the saw, since the old one has got some worm holes and also some damage to the horns.
I brought some stock with me for that purpose, two pieces of elm and one piece of whitebeam (Sorbus Intermedia). I thik that I'll go for elm as material but in case that doesn't work, I'll still have a possibility of making one out of the whitebeam.
The handle will be a direct copy of the old one.

Handle of old tenon saw. 

Removing saw nuts.

A bit of rust damage, but still usable.

Cleaned and oiled saw plate and spine.


Friday, August 24, 2018

Mini Max hydroplane 2, completing the boat.

After assembling the hull, I had to work with epoxy and fiber glass for the first time in my life in connection with wood.
Technically I got to think of that I have used some before back when I was an apprentice on a reefer ship. It was used to make a temporary repair of a leaking pipe.

First I rounded the edge a bit, and then mixed the epoxy, applied some and put on the glass fiber. It looked really fine for half a minute or so, then the glass fiber mat started to creep up and loosen from the rounded corner.
I added more epoxy and brushed it down again, but to no success.
After a while I concluded that I should have rounded the corner a lot more. So I stopped for the day.
The next day after the epoxy had hardened, I used one of my large rasps (a farriers rasp/file) and made a much larger rounding on all the corners of the hull. I ended up making a rounding with a radius of approximately 3/8". For information, I am using a slow setting epoxy to give me a bit more working time when applying the stuff.

This time the fiber glass stayed in place and it looked good.

After another day, the epoxy had hardened, and I sanded the edges of the mats and also sanded the surface of the hull.

Asger and I helped each other priming the boat. The primer dried quickly, and the next step was to paint the bottom.
We used a real marine primer, but for the top coat I opted for the classic boat color: New Holland agricultural machinery rim white. Conveniently available at our local tractor dealer just up the road.

When the bottom had dried some, we helped each other flipping the boat around, and I painted the top with the white paint. I painted inside the cockpit, and the corners of the hull plus the center stripe.
More waiting time, (I am not that patient when it comes to painting). And it was time to apply the green color.
The first boat was going to be Gustav's boat, and since he had gone to Mette's uncles place to help in the harvest, I had decided the paint scheme. The green was again an agricultural paint (Krone hay and forage equipment) because that is also a product they carry at the local tractor dealer.

Suddenly the boat was completed, and more so, it looked just as I had imagined.

Part of the reason it was to become Gustav's boat was because he had once been given a small 4 hp outboard motor from his uncle, so we had made the motor mounting board a bit longer than described in the plans - to accommodate the long leg of that motor.
Asger also thought that it was a smart move to get the second boat, because that would hopefully mean that all the messing up had been sorted out on the first of the series.

Late that evening, we tested if the paint had dried, - and it had.
It was completely calm without a wind, so Asger and I immediately decided to take the boat for a test.
He found a wet suit, and I mounted the handles at the transom and on the fwd part of the hull, to facilitate moving the boat.

After a slow initial run, I discovered that the throttle could be pressed further to the side, and suddenly the boat was planing, just as it was supposed to do.

All in all a very successful project.
Now we are on the look out for a reasonably priced outboard with 10-15 hp. But given the much nicer weather than normal, all outboard engines have risen considerably in price. But maybe we will get lucky during the winter time.

Ready for the first test of the boat (motor not yet mounted)

Asger mounting the upper part of the hull.

Farriers rasp for rounding corners prior to epoxy and fiber glass.

My younger brother Jens visiting from Japan (being put to work)

Sanding and dusting off at the same time.

Asger priming, cousin Kai and Jens admiring the work.

Boat primed.

Ready to fly.

60'ies inspired paint scheme.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Mini Max Hydroplane 1, assembling the hull.

When I got home I was determined to start building a couple of Mini Max's
I never expected the biggest obstacle to be that the lumberyard had run out of 1/4" plywood. Somehow it took them 3 days to get hold of something so I could carry on with the build.

I also had to call the company where I had ordered some epoxy and glass fiber cloth, because that package hadn't shown up either. And I ordered that a week prior to going home.
I got a less than enthusiastic person on the phone, and as soon as I had explained my reason for contacting them he replied: Oh yes, I know about that package, we have thought about contacting you for some time, because the one item you ordered is out of stock (3" wide fiberglass tape). I had to struggle to stay diplomatic, but we ended up finding a solution to some wider tape and some large square mats instead.
But why for Heavens sake does it have to be that hard to get a little bit of service . I mean they could have mailed me as soon as they got my order explaining that despite the web shop showing the item it was out of stock and they could suggest this or than instead.

A bit of searching in the piles of lumber at home brought forth enough 8" wide larch to build two boats with, and also some narrower stock that I used to make some strips as the plans called for.

Both the boys were really exited about the build and they were able to participate a lot due to a low weight of the individual pieces, and the ease of construction.

The first boat I tried to make exactly according to the plans. But after a little time it became apparent that the plans are not 100% correct.
The two stringers for instance that will form the sides of the cockpit were too tall, but none of this was a real deal breaker. It was more an eye opener to me, that I couldn't make x number of pieces and then assemble it like it was a jigsaw puzzle.

The most difficult thing about the build was indeed the closing of the slit on the lower part of the hull.
I had seen and read various fine solutions on how to overcome this task - so off course I had to invent my own way of doing it. Please see the final pictures for a short guide on how I did it.

I clamped a batten on each underside of the slit, using two clamps for each batten.
With the battens securely in place, I used a clamp on the battens to squeeze the two sides together. It worked just as I had imagined.
The hardest thing is to make sure that the battens don't shift while squeezing them together. This is why each of them has to be secured with two clamps, and off course a piece of wood on the top side to protect the plywood from being marred by a heavy pressure from a clamp.

I made sure to place them a little distance from the slit, so that once it had closed up, I could put screws into the "fore strut".

Asger showing the boat with the top temporarily in place.

Gustav sawing out a paddle, Thomas (friend) watching.

Asger mounting the transom.

Planing a bit of the fore cross piece.

Asger stepping off distances with a divider.

1) Clamp on the fore cross piece

2) Clamp on a batten on each side of the slit (underside)

3) Each batten is held in place by two clamps.

4) Force the battens together using a clamp.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Thank you Ralph

Suddenly one day during my home period (which ended yesterday), the mail man (a woman actually) stopped by and delivered a package.
It was addressed to me, but I hadn't ordered anything, so I was puzzled, and Gustav and Asger immediately asked what I had ordered.
When I told them that I had no idea they became really curious.

The package was sent from USA, and contained a beautifully restored Sargent plane from Ralph  the accidental woodworker.

In the very nice accompanying letter he explained that no one on his side of the pond were interested in such a plane, so he wanted to give it to our youngest son Asger to use, since he likes to spend time in the workshop with me.

Due to a busy schedule, we never got to trying the plane out, but based on last time Ralph sent a tool my way, I am certain that it will be a joy to use.

So Ralph, thank you so much for the nice plane and for thinking of Asger. And sorry for not having posted any sooner, but we were really busy with a soccer tournament of 4 days and after that a horse tournament also of 4 days, followed immediately by getting back to school. So the plane had to wait a bit.

Asger unpacking a Sargent plane from Ralph.

Christmas comes early this year.