Friday, May 28, 2010

Alien in the Shop!

I finally picked up one of these unbelievably cute 6" Craftsman planers. It was a machine I had wanted for a long time. I'd had a line on one in Massachusetts, but it fell through recently. This one I picked up locally, Tsawwassen. I guess I was destined to buy one from a place that is unpronounceable and unspellable!

For obvious reasons they are nicknamed 'aliens'. They are all cast iron and despite their diminutive size they pack some heft. I am hoping with minimal work it will be a nice precision planer for small stuff. 

Special thanks to Ryan for coming by and taking the Elm of Death slabs off my hands. My wife was happy to see them gone, not happy that he didn't take more! Get a bigger trailer Ryan!

Picked up a few rounds of locust from a nearby tree that got cut down. Locust is very hard, similar hardness to padouk, about the hardest wood that I am likely to find locally. Locust makes great jigs, bench dogs, etc. One of my first cabinets I made with locust I harvested, it has a strong yellow cast that has been darkening gently, and delicate ray flakes when quarter sawn.

Also made a touch of progress on the 12" Beaver bandsaw, in that I got the motor clamped to the stand and actually had it all running for a brief time. Long enough to discover that everything seems to work OK, but that the upper guide is missing the thrust bearing. Sigh.

Also made what for me is great progress on the bookcase. The Youtube drill and saw technique for making 7 mm diameter dowels was just not reproduceable enough, so I instead made a jig that allows me to feed a square stick into it with a drill, the jig holds it in position on my shaper which cuts it round as it spins past the shaper bit. It was quite tedious to set up those last couple 0.001" but it worked well once I got it dialed in.

After I made up several feet of 7mm dowel from various stock I turned my attention to the consoles themselves. A quick jig with a solid hold down on it, and working on two consoles per piece of wood solved the problem of consistent sawing of small pieces.

Each console has three vertical 'facets' on it, two of these are at the same angle, but the third is on a different angle. So, more work. The consoles are inspired by the consoles Craig put on his beautiful kwila sideboard at IP last year.

Once the consoles were trimmed, I drilled the backs for the dowels, modified the jig and cut the third face, planed each face and took off the sharp edges, cut each piece in half to separate the two consoles, and glued in and trimmed the dowels. Here is the first one.

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