Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Bottom Achieved

Well getting the bottom flat and dimensioned turned out to be way more work than I had expected. I guess my less than stellar work at school on the "perfect board" exercise to hand plane a board perfectly flat came back to haunt me on this one!

One of the two boards I used was reasonably well behaved, it flattened readily and stayed flat. The other, not so much. Anyways, I got them as close as I could/dared on the machines, then glued them up and handplaned them down to thickness.

I was annoyed at myself for a long time because of my mistake on the length of the two original boards I had for the bottom and the fact that I liked their grain pattern better than the pattern on these two boards I had to go with. In the end I am happy with these though, the grain pattern turned out to be acceptable. I wish it were a bit straighter, but I didn't have much choice.

Tearout while planing was a challenge with the contrast between the hardness of the earlywood and latewood on the Monterrey cypress, as well as the grain direction changes, but my Krenov style plane really saved me.

Now the next step will be to get some grooves routed in the bottom and part way up the sides for a couple of dividers. Since it is supposed to be a tool box, I'll set the two dividers something like this so a plane will go in each compartment. Eventually(!) I will make a tray to fit on top of the dividers. Really, I will, I already have some wood selected for it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Box and New Lathe

Progress on the Japanese box has been, by my standards anyway, stellar.

The two new pieces of Monterey cypress for the bottom are trimmed and dimensioned close to final size. I am letting them sit a few days again just to work out any last tension before I take them to final thickness and glue them up. So far I have not cut these pieces too short!

The caps which go over the end pieces and handles are ready. These will be fastened by floating tenons that are fox wedged into the ends and handles, and wedged into the cap itself. The mortices will be 1/4" thick, but they need to be cut into the tops of the ends and handle which are only 1/2" thick and not visible with the cap in place. Seems like a ton of room, but there is a lot to lose here if not done right. So I have measured about 17 times, even cut a spare cap and drilled some holes in it to verify my alignment. If this project never gets mentioned again you will know why!

 Cap top, test cap centre, end bottom

Meanwhile, I somehow decided it would be a good idea to buy a metal lathe. So I picked up this rare (or more correctly, obscure) Standard Modern 9" Utilathe which was made in Canada maybe in the 50's, I am not sure on the date. Similar to a South Bend but a bit nicer machine. Obviously the first order of business will be some cleanup. Then I need to learn how to use it so I can make up missing round pieces on the tools I restore!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Japanese Box, Jointer, The Big Bandsaw Brothers

Well we are still plagued with back problems here at the Slow Woodworker offices. I have however made a bit of progress on a Japanese style toolbox that I am working on with a study group at The Carpentry Way. It's made of quilted catalpa (who knew that such a thing even existed!) with a Monterey cypress bottom. Both of which I milled up myself.

The handles are of black limba and the top will be elm. I know it sounds chaotic, but the black limba and the catalpa are a similar colour, and the bottom can't be seen with the lid on, so I am confident it will be fine.

After I rough cut everything I let it all settle, then trimmed it closer to finished dimensions and started making mortices. I even baked the cypress in the oven for a couple hours at 180 degrees or so as I have had trouble with sap bleeding in the past with this wood.

 Things were moving along nicely until I ran into an unanticipated violation of the "measure twice cut once" rule. As you can see, I cut the bottom piece too short! Needless to say it was not a happy discovery.

Anyways, I resawed another couple boards up and will let them settle for a while before working any further with them.

Meanwhile I found an old 6" jointer, made by Continental of Montreal. With my Continental bandsaw and my other 6" Continental jointer I may well have the largest collection of Continental equipment in the world! Don't think I have the largest collection of jointers in the world though, but I am up to six-ish! Unfortunately the previous owner had painted this one orange, but at least it came with the guard which my other one was missing.

Speaking of the other Continental jointer, I decided to tear that one down and rebuild it after I discovered that the outfeed table was out of parallel by about 20 thou. The teardown is complete, near bearings have arrived, I am having the main pieces media blasted as we speak. Not sure how I am going to resolve the parallelism problem, I am hoping a shim will do it, otherwise I may have to get the ways machined. Clearly a more expensive proposition than the jointer is worth!

Progress on the big Wadkin and White bandsaws has been slow. I am unable to do any work on them while my back is still "out". I did order and receive a set of Wright guides for the Wadkin, a blade for the White (that I hope will fit the Wadkin too!), a return spring for the Wadkin, and a VFD for each so they can be run off single phase. A friend suggested I cut a hole in the ceiling of my garage to fit one of these saws in. I am seriously considering doing that!