Thursday, February 23, 2012

Twisted Timber and the Dogs - Fini

That would be a good name for a band!  Next up was the gap/stop.  The Split-Top Roubo has a few, what I consider, advantages over a solid slab top.  Mind you, this is from someone who is mostly knowledgeable from reading and a bit of doing.  The main and most advantageous aspect to building the split-top is being able to handle all the operations without help.  That's not to say help wouldn't make the job of flattening the top easier, but it is less convenient to have to schedule the help.  The other aspect is that the gap/stop can be flipped from the flush position to being proud of the top and acting as a stop for planing.    We'll have to see how much I really use that.  I tend to want to do the major stock removal, which is where one would employ the stop, at the machines.  I really believe the forefathers of woodworking would have gladly used machines to do the "menial" tasks.  But, then what would have happened to apprenticeships and how would that have impacted the future of woodworking?  Something to ponder.

I was getting my gap/stop from a twelve foot 2" x 12". After setting up the support at the bandsaw, I ripped the 2" x 12" in half.  I had to be careful feeding the board to avoid binding or stressing the blade.  

After ripping, I used my custom made winding sticks to evaluate the twist.
They're simply two pieces of 1" x 4" mdf.  One has an edge painted black with a Sharpie and the other is the factory white.  I have another piece about ten feet long that I use for setting up infeed and outfeed support.


I find if you use and place infeed and outfeed support correctly, it's not that hard to get the twist out of a board without loosing a lot of thickness.  

If you can have one of the supports at the crux of the twist you can begin the cut with the downward pressure at that point.  

I was a little off from the crux of the twist, but not too bad.  You can see the progress in these photos.

Once jointed, I set up and sent the board through the planer.  The entire process only wasted 3/8" of the thickness.  I went from           1 13/16" to 1 7/16".  
That left me enough to get the entire gap/stop from this half of the original 2" x 12".  I went back to the bandsaw and resawed the board and again ran the two halves through the planer.  I got to each being 5/8", which was perfect.  There was enough material to get the five center dividers from this board, too.  

This shot is from the next evening before I started working again.  The old growth Fir is dry through and through.  That has really been the joy in working with this old wood.  It just doesn't move.  

Here you can see what I find so special about old growth Fir.  This old tree experienced some good droughts in Eastern Oregon.  There is one section that had 4 growth rings within 1/16".  

To keep things aligned during the glue up, I used the method I'd seen David Marks use on DIY Woodworks.  For each divider, I tapped in two small brad nails and clipped them, so a nib was sticking up.  Before applying glue, I aligned and pressed the assembly together, so when I did apply the glue the pieces fit and stayed in place as I applied the clamps.

The final step in the build for me was to make the sliding dog hole and all the dogs.  The sliding dog hole was made the same way I made the other dog holes.  After gluing up the board, it was simple to cut and fit to the Benchcrafted vise hardware on the bandsaw.  

This seemed to be as good a time as any to go ahead and do the final flattening on the top.  The finish I'd already applied made it easy to see my progress.
After creating a bunch of shavings, I had a dead-flat top.  I took six passes diagonally and six more with the grain.  I didn't worry about tearout, and there are still some planing marks, but it is flat.  
I'm really happy that I installed the floor sweep on this side of the shop.  Most of the mess I make on this side will always be able to be swept without putting dust into the air. 

The process I used to "mass produce" dogs was first milling some stock to be close, but a little oversized for the holes in the bench.  I ripped the stock first at the band saw, jointed, edged and thicknessed at the jointer and planer, then crosscut to length with the tablesaw sled.  

A stop block on the bandsaw stopped the long cut on the dogs and the little "chin" was cut using a square piece of plywood for a guide.

I had some of the dog stock left and ripped some strips at the bandsaw.  I only needed one side to be smooth for gluing, so I left the other side rough, figuring it would help keep the dogs in place.  I cut the spring pieces to length with my 2" chisel and also put the inaugural chisel marks in the top at the same time.  By clamping the dogs in the vise at an angle, it was extremely quick to put the angle at the bottom of the dog where the spring would be glued and screwed to the dog.  A one man assembly line later and the dogs were done.
 And THAT, my friends, concludes my participation in The Woodwhisperer Guild's Roubo Bench Build.  This was, as always, more time consuming than I originally thought.  I'm still getting the processes of building more efficient within my shop.  This build changed the location of my bandsaw and opened up some other idea for changes.  I'll get into those when I make a firm decision.  

This is the completed bench:
 And this is me actually using the bench to build my Br'all.  A full tutorial can be found on my friend, Chris Wong's website Flair Woodworks.  After all, EVERYONE needs a Br'all!
 The beautiful wooden plane pictured is made by my buddy Scott Meek.  He's a very talented plane maker.  This smoother is heaven to use.  Be sure to support your boutique tool makers.

If after following this blog for the last few months, you're still jonesing for more of that bench building fever, check out these other fine people doing their versions of a woodworking bench.  If I've missed anyone, my apologies.  Contact me and I can add your site to this list.

And, of course, you can sign up for The Woodwhisperer Guild and learn from Marc Spagnuolo.  Marc is taking the Guild through the building of this lifetime woodworking bench.  With his usual easy delivery and thorough understanding of the process, he makes this very large project easy enough for the beginner, who has a very basic tool selection.  

I hope you have enjoyed the building process.  Woodworking is what I want to do until I die. It is what gives me peace and is my passion.  If you think you may be interested in woodworking, contact me and I will try to get you pointed to a resource near you and/or online.  Thanks for taking the journey!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Deadman Lives - Part 11

I thought I'd get a lot more done this week, but NOOOO!!! I've had an issue with the master bath shower door installation.  I'm up to four corrected shipments, once the part arrives tomorrow.  Luckily, it wasn't my error.  After I'm done with this bench, finishing the master bath "semi" remodel will be my priority.  I get to make several lamps for that project and I'll, of course, take you  along.

This week I got the bench assembled and applied two coats of polymerized tung oil.  These photos are with the oil still wet.

This particular oil is my favorite finish, as it's super easy to apply and looks wonderful.  I've used straight tung oil and a tung oil varnish before, but this applies and dries differently.  It also provides the ability to build a finish, if you wish.  I like it for the bench because I can reapply without any prep work and because this is a work bench, the surface prep was extremely minimal.

All this week I spent laying out the design and position of the dog holes for the deadman.  I got to use my favorite power tool, the bandsaw, for the design and then moved to the drill press for all the holes.
I used a forstner bit for the holes and set my depth stop to only allow the point of the forstner bit to penetrate the back of the deadman.   I then came back and finished up from the back side.  Both the drilling and clean up of the design were much more difficult than I expected.
The growth ring are very tight and, while I don't know why, this particular piece was harder to pare with my just sharpened chisel than the Osage Orange.  Here is what I came up with after a coat of oil has been applied.

This week, I'll get started on either the gap/stop and/or the dogs.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Get Woodworking Week Is Here. Get To It!!

Tom Iovino, a prolific blogger for Tom's Workbench came up with
The idea is for those of us that are doing woodworking to encourage newcomers to dig in and and give it a shot. 

Woodworking for me is about designing.  It's a creative outlet.  I started helping out a friend who was a general contractor years ago.  All that time with power tools made me comfortable with them.  Taking my time with cutting, and lots of it, greatly improved my hand to eye coordination.  

Almost 15 years ago, my wife Sylvia and I bought a very modest 1910 Craftsman Four Square house.  The house had all the original trim and it was in great condition, except for nearly a century of paint on the woodwork.  It was all very basic and unadorned.  

I had the idea of woodworking in my head prior to this, but bringing that house back to it's original beauty was what really fueled the fire and placed the desire squarely in my heart.  I bought a contractor tablesaw, a planer and a drum sander during that time, as well as assorted other small power tools.  

Although we loved the house and all it's character, it was downtown and not the greatest area.  I had bought five acres of land several years into that remodel and by about year number eight, we decided to finish up the last of it and move to the country.  The deal was that Sylvia would get a pool, I would get my dream woodworking shop and the dogs would have lots of room to run.  

Five years into building the shop and I still had not built anything of my design and not much of anything beyond regular trim work.  I had been pouring over all the woodworking magazines: American Woodworker and WOOD for years; Fine Woodworking and Woodwork magazine came in as I gained the basic knowledge the former magazines target toward the "beginner" woodworker.  I had watched David Marks on DIY Woodworks, discovered a young man named Marc Spagnuolo who was creating online content that was geared toward the woodworking community, and started seeing more and more online activity to follow.  

I was well on my way to being one of those guys whose real hobby is the shop, not building furniture.  I was comfortable.  Yes, I had big dreams to design and build, but I was building a shop, dammit, and it needed to be perfect before I started down that road.  The problem was, nothing is ever perfect and if you're going to do anything, at some point you have to actually start doing it! 

Queue a request from a life long friend, who had just found, after trying for quite some time that they had finally got pregnant and in my enthusiastic joy for them, the words coming from my mouth, "I'd love to build you something for the baby."   Oh my god!!  What was I thinking!?  The shop isn't done!  I'm not ready for this!  Take it back!  Quick, take it BACK!  After the initial shock of what I'd committed to subsided, I thought about it and, hey! I've read about it.  I've studied it for years.  I CAN DO THIS!!  That statement is key!  YOU can do this!!  It's not rocket science.  It's a series of steps toward an end product.  

The result of me finally doing, instead of planning to do has been a turning point in my life. I'm in the shop as much as humanly possible.  I've not only dreamed of a life of design and woodworking, I'm doing it and although there are times I still freak out over one process or another, I think it through and approach it with confidence.  Everyone can do what I'm doing, you just have to believe in yourself and GET WOODWORKING!!  

Enjoy your one shot at this life and make it everything you dream!!