Saturday, July 4, 2015

Me 'n' Her - #4

In a hotel:

Me: I forgot my deodorant.

Her: You can use mine.

Me: I can't use yours, it's pink!

Her: Take your pick.  Pink, or Stink.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June 31st

It must still be June because I am still plugging away at my June Chair build.

Lots of pics today, so I'll try to keep the text to a minimum amount of superfluous recitation.  Oops!  Too late.

I woke up this morning unhappy with the size of my tapered tenons.  They seemed pretty delicate in comparison to the beefy legs.  I figured with the radical rake and splay angles of the legs, this tenon might not be enough.

The problem is, I used the biggest rounder I have to make those tenons.  It ends the taper at 5/8".  I remembered that when I got to chat with Tim Manney at Handworks, he had this ghetto, shop-made gizmo he said was superior as a rounder.  He told me he gets grief for not selling matching rounders to his tapered reamers, and his reason he doesn't is because they are simple to make and you should make one to exactly match the reamer you have.

Fair enough.

He blogged about it a while back, but it is easy enough I didn't need to reference his instructions to build.
First, get a stick of wood about as wide as a plane blade you have.

I drilled a 3/4" hole, and reamed it with my reamer.

I marked a line on each side that just touched the outside of the circle.  This will be a different distance on each side.

Saw to the line.  At least, don't go over too much.  If you do, don't go over near the hole.

After a couple swipes with a plane, I am getting close.
Once it opens up, clean it up with a chisel.

Clamp a plane blade (bevel-up) with a C-clamp.  I got extra fancy with a piece of leather, because this is a brand new blade.

Round 'till your heart's content.
Usually you want to stop when the end of your leg gets to the very top of the rounder.  I kept going, because I already used a smaller rounder before.  This tenon is getting pretty long.
Success!  The tenons seat farther now.
I figured I would lose some length to my chair legs doing this, but it couldn't be helped.  I think most people who sit in the chair would rather it is a little lower rather than the legs break when they plop into it.

There's an hour re-doing something I should have thought about in the first place.

Oh well, now on to complete my adzing.

It took a lot longer than the five minutes Peter Galbert said it would, but I figure that's expected when using elm rather than pine. I wound up having to use twice as many depth cuts as Peter says in his book.  
This actually looks WAY better than the last time I tried this with a vintage hammer adze.

Next up - the scorp.  What a cool name for a tool.  "Scorp."
The scorp is the medium tool here.  I tried to smooth out all of the adze marks enough so I could go to the fine tool, the travisher.
I find the travisher a very simple tool to use.  Don't think about it, just let the tool tell you what it wants to do.
Now that the chair is scooped out, I need to move on to shaping the front and sides.  Before I do that, it is time to work on the shape.

I had intended on going for a shape with a French curve in it, similar to any other Windsor side chair.  However, something wasn't quite right.  It dawned on me that I had never seen that shape in a Welsh stick chair before.  I decided to change it to a really mild and gradual taper to the back of the chair to give it a bit of a lighter feel without going crazy.

It just took a minute on the bandsaw at Dictum.
When I got home, I was able to use my spokeshave to smooth out the sides and front.
A little layout was required before the next step, so I smoothed the bandsawn edges and laid it out.

I have a couple of nice Swedish drawknives.  The only problem is, I haven't rehabbed them yet, and they have no handles.  Just in time, I was given this drawknife.  It is a new Pfeil, and is a real dainty thing.  Just perfect for those tiny details.

For hogging off an inch thickness of elm, not so much.

It is, however, amazing how much you can get away with when it is all you have and it is sharp.
Action shot!

Here's where I had to leave off for today.
There I am.  Most of the shaping of the seat is done.  Just some refinement and I'll have it.  Then I can saw off the back, bevel the underside and bang the legs home.  The only real work left after that is refining the shape of the crest and gluing it on.

June 32nd is only a day away!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Last Day for June Chair Build... Almost

This build so far has been perfect.  As far as I know, no one has finished their chair for the June chair build.  Including me.

There's still plenty of time, though, I think you probably still have a few hours depending on your time zone!

I have no problem with this.  On the other hand, maybe that's my problem.  Woodworking as a hobby is at the mercy of whatever else life is throwing at us.

The good news for me is that I made some real progress today, as it has been more than a week since I have been able to spend any time on this project.

Here goes:
Mark all to length at once.  It's faster and more accurate.
First, I needed to deal with my sticks.  I cut them to length, octagonalated them, rounded the corners, then scraped them with my roundish scraper.  Not perfect dowels, but I think I like it.
It's amazing how good results you can get with accurate layout.

Back to my Moxon vise for the octagons.

Finished off with a pollisoir.
I wasn't quite sure the best way to layout and drill holes for the back, as this one will be much different than my last chair.  The answer presented itself in Peter Galbert's book!
I spent five minutes making this jig, and most of that was digging through my scrap bin.
I did do it a little different, though.  Peter suggests using string with a notch in a protractor to find the rake and splay angles for this.  I decided to eyeball the sightline, and match the resultant angle with my plastic cheapo angle finder.  This worked perfectly.
I also spent ten minutes looking for a piece of string in my shop.
I decided to drill straight through the seat blank, and intend to wedge the straight sticks from the bottom to hold everything tight.  This requires super hyper accurate boring.
I had success by checking my angle about every turn or two.
Things are starting to look chair-like!
Look!  A piece of wood with sticks in it!
I really enjoy this part of the build.  Making the tapered mortises is an opportunity for dialling in the leg angles to absolute perfection.
Maintaining the perfect angle on the sightline.
I was a bit apprehensive about my leg angles that I chose on the fly.  Looking at photos of old Welsh stick chairs, the coolest ones seem to have crazy rake and splay angles.  I used Drew Langsner's recommendations for the last chair I made.  These were a bit conservative, in my opinion.  So I went crazy.  Splay angles are 25 degrees, the rear leg's rake angles are also 25 degrees.

I am happy with the look, except I suspect the chair legs will be a little less then 30 inches apart from each other when the legs are cut to size.  Maybe next time I'll move the legs in even farther.
Really starting to resemble a chair!
The next part I have been looking forward to since my last chair build.  I got a new adze from Tim Manney, and have been itching to try it out.

Caleb James posted a video of Peter Galbert demonstrating this technique the other day, so I thought I would do it just as he said.
The idea is to start by driving cuts to depth, followed by scooping everything out across the grain.
This tool is great.  I only had about twenty minutes before I had to quit making noise, and was able to get the seat to a depth of about 9/16" in elm.  Peter Galbert says he can do this in about five minutes, but he was working with pine.  I'm sure I'll be able to finish it up in no time in the morning.

Drew Langsner says to go shallower when using a hard wood, but I decided to go deep on this seat.  One reason is that it is so thick, the leg tenons don't come all the way out.
I took a break long enough to take a close up of Tim Manney's adze.
Even at this point, it is comfortable.
Pay no attention to the mess in the background.
If you have started a chair or have finished one, send me a pick and I'll post it.  Here are a couple pictures of some chairs that I have seen so far:
Here is Steve Voigt's Birdcage Side Chair.
Ray Schwaneberger's chair is coming along.

Monday, June 29, 2015

iPad for Woodworkers?

The other day I bought a new iPad. I was reluctant to buy an iPad at first because there are a few reasons I don't like them. On the other hand, there are plenty of really cool things that can be done with one.

Here is a review of the iPad which may be of some help.  Perhaps you might find you use yours similarly.

The machine I got was an iPad air 32 GB.
My new iPad.
The reason I got it, was because my old netbook from 2009 is on it's last leg. The fan stopped working after I dropped it three times in one day, and I think it's just a matter of time before it burns up losing all my info. Another reason I got it is because my new camera has a cool feature on it which allows it to transfer files from the camera via Wi-Fi. The problem with that is it needs to connect to a phone or a computer with an app to do it. My phone had no such app.  The last reason is that this iPad is a screaming good deal.

So first the bad:

  • Mac is worse with collecting your personal data than even Google.
  •  I can't figure out how to tab on this virtual keyboard. 
  •  Typing on an iPad with no keyboard is a PIA.
  •  It's just a little thing but the learning curve does take a bit of effort if you're not used to an iPad. 
By far the worst in this list is the first point. I unsuccessfully tried to quit Google a while back because I am not particularly crazy about allowing the company to mine my online habits in order to sell me something. Mac takes this concept to a whole new level. You need to enter in all kinds of personal information just to do basic things with an iPad.

Now the good, which in my opinion makes up for nearly all of the bad:
  • Apps.
  • The Cloud.
This seems kind of like a weird list but let me explain: there are some apps that excel with use by a woodworker. Here are some apps I found which make the world of difference:

Instagram has a fantastic woodworker's community. It seems to be a real comfortable place for woodworkers to post pictures of their work and comment, share, brag, etc. It is very active and works best with a smart phone or a tablet with an app.

My camera's app.
After all, this was one of the big reasons I bought the iPad. There are some other options, however it works fantastic with the iPad. It works  by turning itself into a router. You connect with the camera in your settings and download pictures directly from the camera in only seconds.

Google Photos.
Here's a great place to store all your unedited photos. If you don't mind a little loss in size, Google stores an unlimited number of photos. If you want the original files, you are limited to a dozen gigabytes or so. This means no need for a huge local hard drive any more.

E-book readers.

I installed the apps for both Kindle and Nook. This allows me to read all of my purchased e-books, no matter what file format. I also have a couple other apps that work hand-in-hand with these.

If you're not getting the books, audiobooks, videos, etc. from your local library online, you're missing out. Most libraries use the OverDrive software to facilitate borrowing books and checking them out from your library. I listen to audiobooks every day during my commute.

My library has a deal with Zinio.  Zinio is an app that allows you to buy electronic magazines, or if used with your library to check them out through your library for free. E-magazines look fantastic on an iPad. I've tried them before on my PC, but I couldn't get into it. Reading them on  an iPad is almost as good as the real thing. In fact, today I read the last four issues of Popular Woodworking. 

Although you can watch YouTube through Safari - iPad's browser, the app is far superior. Video on my iPad looks clear, is fast, and the sound is just fine for my purposes. Also, try it on your smart tv.

Like YouTube, eBay can also be viewed in the browser, but works better through the app. Not that I'm buying more tools, but it's fun to look. Okay, I am buying more tools. Don't tell the Frau.


Siri isn't really an app, it comes with the operating system in an iPad.  Siri is a text to voice and voice to text application.  It will read out loud, you can ask it questions and it will answer, and you can even avoid typing by speaking to it.  In fact, I entered most of this blog post using it.  I find that I can enter it about ten times faster with my old way of typing, but it sure beats the hell out of that virtual keyboard.  I will have to figure something out.  No wonder so many woodworkers are abandoning their blogs for Instagram.

That's it!  If you can deal with selling your soul to the collective, then an iPad is awesome for woodworkers.  :)

Do you have an app that helps your online wood life?  I'd love to hear about it and learn a thing or two.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Convert Milimeters to Inches with Fractions

While surfing the internet today, I realized I have a piece of lumber at home that was recently surfaced to 40 mm. 

"How much is that in inches?" I asked myself.

A quick google came up with this site, and the answer of 1 9/16".

Just put in your mm or cm measurement, and out comes something useful for the shop.  This is handy for those of us in Europe who prefer to use inches.  Also, if you would like to use a plan in the shop that is metric.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June Chair Build - Day 2

I hope everyone got the sarcasm in the end of my last post.  There was no way I was going to finish this chair today.  The good news is, I feel like I am cruising through this build faster than last time.

I found a piece of wenge (Millettia laurentii) in my scrap pile, and it looks an awful lot like my smoked oak.
Can you tell which is flat sawn wenge and which is flat sawn smoked oak?
When I was building chairs at Jonas', he showed me a cool technique for using a power jointer to taper legs.  You can watch a video of Glen Huey demostrating the technique here.

Anyway, while I was at the Dictum woodshop, I was not permitted to do this technique.  I can totally understand that, as if I was hurt while doing it, their insurance adjuster probably would say, "you let him do what with the jointer?"

I decided to do it the old fashioned way, which really isn't that hard.  I used my BU jack (of course) and finished the cut with my hot-rod jointer.
Any excuse for me to post a picture of this plane.
It was a good workout, and between that and the octagonalization of the legs took most of the day.  Overall it was pleasant enough work.  Plus, I now am certain that the grain of the wood is plenty straight enough for chair legs.  There is virtually no run out on this wood.  Nearly as good as riven stock!

For some reason I couldn't find the octagon-layer-outer that Olav gave me, but it was simple enough to make a new one.  Follow this link for the original post on this simple layout jig.
My version of the octagon-layer-outer.
The octagon-layer-outer in use.  Granted, the pencil mark is hard to see on this wood.
 I used my moxon vice as a joiner's saddle to plane the octagons.
Moxon vise alternate use #1.
Here I took a break and ran back over to Dictum.  I decided to use the seat blank that I had ripped in half as stock for the crest.  I feel like I could be wasting a good seat blank, but what the heck.  This stuff grows on trees.

I made a decision to saw the shape out of the 2"+ thick wood I had.  After Andi and I spent half an hour using all of the geometry, trigonometry and calculus we knew, we figured I could joint one edge on an angle, make a cut for the inside of the crest, re-joint the bottom square and make the cut on the outside of the crest.  Perhaps it is easier to see in a photo or two.
Action shot!
If it looks like the wood is not sitting on the bandsaw's table square, it is because it is not.  It is at a slight angle.  Hopefully, when it is done the crest will have a gentle curve, and the top will be about 1/2" thick where the bottom will be a full inch.
Completing the cut.
 After re-jointing the bottom, I'm ready for the next cut.  By the way, this bandsaw is really nice.
Ready for the outside cut.
Luckily, all the thinking Andi and I did paid off.  It worked perfectly!
The rough crest.  I kept the offcut to aid in clamping it to the bench if I need to.
Peter Galbert's book said you should drill holes for the back before saddling the seat, so that's my plan.  Before I do that, I needed the crest so I can see where to drill the holes.

Enough of that, back to the legs.  Plane, plane, plane, plane, taper, taper, taper taper. 


I did find another cool use for the Moxon vice.  I don't have a shavehorse yet, but I was given a cute little drawknife that was perfect for pre-shaping the rounded tenons on the legs.  Since I don't have a lathe, that is.
Moxon vise alternat use #2.
The Moxon vise was perfect for this.  I just set the jaws up on the vise so the far side was wider than the near one, and pulled the tapered chair leg until it stopped.  This vise is awesome, as one good tug and the leg was firmly seated.  To turn the piece, I just gave the leg a little push to loosen it, and pull it again in the new position.  A lot like a real shavehorse!

I have to say I love this Moxon vice.  I have had it for about a year and I have yet to use it to cut dovetails.  It is amazing to me how many uses I find for this vise.  It is great.

Once I got the tapers roughed in with my drawknife, I used my rounder made by Elia Bizzari to taper the tenon.  This tool works best to just finish off the joint.  It doesn't do well to hog off lots of material.
Tapered tenon rounder.
With only a little cleanup with the drawknife, the tenon is done!
Completed tapered tenon.
 This is the state of my shop at the end of today.  I have even emptied my trash bucket twice by this point!
Totally trashed!
That is about it for today.  I was hoping to ream the holes on the seat and try the legs out, but there just wasn't quite enough time.  Unfortunately, I have another long stretch at work starting tomorrow, so there is only one more day in order for me to finish this chair in June. 

Do you think I can do it?