Monday, September 30, 2013

The horse dung experiment

Inspired by the appetizer on Lost Art Press' Roubo book To make as perfect as possible, where a recipe for a stain was given, I decided to try the mentioned recipe.

The stain is made by letting the liquid seep out of horse dung, this should according to the text give a stain that will color wood red.

The text suggested to use two buckets, one perforated placed on top of the other. The dung goes in the top bucket and the liquid/juice should go to the lower one.

I was too cheap to sacrifice a bucket, so I took a flower pot that has already got holes in it. It fits perfectly on top of a smaller bucket I had on hand.

Horse dung is fairly dry, so the text suggested that horse urine could be added on top of the dung to sort of flush the stain into the bucket below.
The collection of the dung itself is straight forward, and not difficult. I am more hesitant to try and collect the urine, it requires that I am ready at the exact moment, and there is a risk of splashing which is not necessarily a good thing..
So for now I'll see if the trick works with the dung alone. Time will tell.

I have prepared a pictorial guide if someone wishes to make the experiment themselves.
The stain manufacturers.

Setup of buckets.

This is what it is all about..

More of it..

Stage 1 is complete.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A tool chest for the sea (part 2)

I finally made it home to the family, and after some days of pleasing the talents I found some time to go to the workshop and get started on the tool chest for the sea.

I found an old wooden bodied plane that a friend once gave to me. He is actually working as a deck hand, so it is very fitting that I use his old plane. He actually gave me a box of some old worn planes because he believed that I would be able to find a use for them instead of he having to throw them all out. There were one more plane that was beyond repair, but the iron was of the same size. So I am able to follow my plan by having an iron ground for a scrub plane and an iron ground for a smoothing plane. (the blades have not been cleaned yet as can be seen on the photo)

The mallet is one that I made as an experiment. I have hardly ever used it, probably because I normaly prefer to use a round mallet. But that would be prone to rolling of the bench when the ship is rolling or pitching, so a square mallet makes sense here.

For some reason, I have numerous wooden marking gauges, so I found a decent JPBO to bring along.

I found 3 chisels: 2 Crown and one E.A. Berg. I sharpened them so they are ready for work.

The combination stone that I mentioned in the first blog entry about this tool chest was actually not needed. I found one on board, so instead I will bring a fine oil stone for polishing instead. I think the combination stone is grit: 250/600 or something along those lines, so a little too rough to give a nice edge.

I decided to see if a dozuki could fit in my imaginary tool box, and by the looks of it, it will be possible.

Sandpaper and sanding block are easy to fit in. The small brush is intended for glue. That way I can bring glue in an old glass jar.

So far the content can be contained in a box that is 30 x 40 x 10 cm (12" x 16" x 4") So that is fairly close to my original idea.

The tools as I imagine they should be in the finished chest.

Originally I thought about bringing  rabbet plane, if I had the space, but I am considering to bring a plow plane instead. But I am still a bit uncertain.
So please let me know if you would go with the rabbet plane or a plow plane?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hand-applied finishes with Jeff Jewitt, a review

For once I was actually smart when I was packing for going to sea.
I borrowed a DVD from Brian Eve, when my family and I went to visit him last summer. But I never found the time to watch it at home. I tried a couple of times, but for some reason neither my wife nor my children wanted to sit and watch it with me.
Therefore I decided to take this DVD with me, so I at least could watch someone else work wood while I am stuck out here.

Right now it is 03:00 in the morning, and we are positioned about 60 feet away from a drilling rig. Once we are within the 500 meter zone of a rig we have to stay in the engine control room all the time.

I decided to use that opportunity to watch the DVD. It can actually be a cosy watch, with a cup of tea, some biscuits and a woodworking DVD. And even the weather is behaving, so there isn't much rolling or pitching right now.

The review:
Jeff Jewitt guides the viewer along in various finishing processes including staining and French polishing etc.

Without going too much into details, I can say that he manages to make finishing look like it is possible even for someone without a lot of skills in that field.

For every job or operation he is performing, he usually makes some kind of typical fault that everyone would be doing, and then he shows how to correct that fault. This is something that I really appreciate. He also pinpoints where typical mistakes happen and how to avoid them.

He uses different brands of products and never tries to advocate any of the brands which I find is a very sympathetic way of doing it.

The camera work is professional and the sound is also good. There is no background music to disturb and Jeff speaks with a clear voice and at an appropriate pace.
A thing that I really like to see is that he takes safety seriously. Whenever he is working with volatile solvents he wears  respiratory protection. Whenever he is handling finishes by hand he wears gloves etc.
The duration of the DVD is 80 minutes.

To me the most interesting part of the DVD is about the chemical staining of wood, where he is using e.g. caustic soda, nitric acid and other chemicals. I am very tempted to try to make a set of sample boards once I get back to my work shop.

I can highly recommend the DVD to anyone who would like some inspiration regarding finishing.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A tool chest for the sea

Just after I finished the sea chest, I was made redundant at my old company due to a sell out of tonnage.
I have got a new job at another company now, but on this vessel there is even less possibilities for working wood in the spare time.

Therefore I have decided that I need to make a small tool chest, that can accompany me on my adventures on the high seas.

I re-read my post concerning what I had learned about building the sea chest since it covered some of the tool aspects.

I am definitely going to need the following tools:

  1. A plane, probably a wooden smoother perhaps with an extra iron ground like a scrub plane.
  2. A sharpening stone, preferably a combination stone.
  3. 2-3 chisels.
  4. A mallet.
  5. Some glue.
  6. A block of cork for sanding.
  7. Sandpaper in various grades.
  8. Some brass screws.
  9. Some small brads / nails.
  10. Small hinges.
  11. A pencil.
If I find there will be room for it, I would like to bring the following:
  1. A marking gauge.
  2. A rabbet plane.
  3. A router plane.
Tools like a hack saw, various hammers, screw drivers and drills etc. are on board all ships with a workshop in the engine room (At least the type of ships I am working on). 

My thought on the chest itself is to make it out of 6 mm (1/4") birch plywood. I imagine that I can keep the size limited to approximately 45 x 25 x 10 cm (18" x 10" x 4"). But I will have to check up on the actual size of spare wooden planes I have got at home, since the plane will be the largest component.

Weight is going to be a major concern.

An inspiration is the Nefab PlyPak 20010. It is the smallest suitcase model as seen on this link. 

The weight of this case is 2.1 kg, and the size is 10" x 14" x 4". The prize seems to be around 100$, which is kind of in the high end.

According to my calculations, I should be able to make a box out of 6 mm (1/4")plywood that would end up weighing about 1.6 kg + the weight of hinges etc.

I guess the tools are going to add about 3-4 kg extra depending on how many I will be able to fit in the chest.