Hand Tool Shelf

I built another project for my hand tool nook in the apartment. Naturally needed a place for small tools and accessories.  I made a hand tool shelf, out of cherry, to hang above my petite Roubo.  This is the second project I’ve done completely with hand tools (with the exception of milling the boards).

As with all things the idea developed in my head for quite some time, but I did draw it out and made some adjustments, such as loosing the center drawer.  One thing I did not really do, surprisingly, was to figure out where each and ever tool was going to go. Something I slightly regret, but overall I am very happy with the design.

As much as I needed a shelf, I wanted to create a project to challenge my hand tool skills and joinery.  I decided the carcass would be held together with dovetails,  the shelves would get rabbets (or grooves), the dividers would get stopped rabbets and the drawer fronts would get rabbets.  A little bit of everything, but only if it was appropriate in the design.

Box Details

It wasn’t until I was nearly done that it occurred to me to add rare earth magnets to the size to house my dovetail saws.  I may add a few small magnets to the bottom shed to hold my marking gauge and similar items.

Hand Tool Shelf - 4Hand Tool Shelf - 5

Next up, a bow saw from the Tools for Working wood kit.

Roubo’s Apartment Workbench, part deux

I could have built three benches in the time it took me to finishing blogging about one.

I attempted to use hand tools as much as possible, but given my skills, not to mention my patience, I certainly used a combination of hand and power tools.

Here are the details of the build. I figure a picture tells a thousand words, so perhaps I’ll start doing more pictorial blog posts for builds.  Let me know what you think about this format.

Apartment Bench 1Apartment Bench 2

Apartment Bench 3

Apartment Bench 4

Apartment Bench 5

I went back and forth about how I wanted to integrate a Moxon vice.  I decided I wanted to have it permanently mounted to the front of the bench,  a choice that I have been very happy with.  I needed to install a locking nut within the sliding dovetail joint in order to allow the bolt to lock.  Pretty proud for coming up with this one on my own and it worked like a charm.  It should be noted that I did not install the Moxon vice until I got thru the tight apartment doors in Brooklyn.

Apartment Bench 6

Apartment Bench 7

Roubo Bench - 1 (1)

Packed for the trip to Brooklyn!

Incarnations of a Reoccurring Dream

As with all dreams I’ve had a lot of incarnations of my dream shop, and lots of ideas to mull over in my head.   What tools would I want to put in it? How would I use a Roubo type bench?  How much space do I really need?  With all this new space maybe I’ll take up blacksmithing as well!  I’ll need a welder!  Wow– I need more power!  Windows!  I want lots of natural light!  But most barns don’t have a lot of windows. Hmmm.  We don’t have a garage now, but we now we need a three car garage (in order to house the dream sports car and dream pickup truck)! Dust collection in the floor of course (thank you Vic).  So many things to consider.

This rarn seems about the right size and general shape

This barn seems about the right size and general shape.

I’ve spent hours over the years staring at spots in the yard- sighting and plotting out ideal locations for a barn.  I believe I’ve landed on the perfect spot:

Potential Barn Sight

Potential Barn Sight

So many things to dream about!  It can keep you up at night!  This one I can conceived one night in bed:

The Concept Shop!

The Concept Shop!

Before that I had a friend help me with some basic design ideas I had and figured that would get my juices flowing,  without my sketch-up skills slowing me down.  Here are some of the designs he helped me create:

Barn Frame 1

Barn Frame 1

Barn Frame 2

Barn Frame 2

Barn Frame 3

Barn Frame 3

These certainly gave me a model to play with and be able to consider space.  Probably the thing I gained the most from this exercise was to realize I don’t want or need a full second floor. The third garage door makes the building a littler grander than I would like. And while I like a modern spin on traditional design, I would most likely go with a more traditional design.

What do you think?  What version do you like?  Leave a comment below.

Cradle Pegs

When I was designing the cradle I went back and forth about what I would use for the though tenons.  I really like the look of through tenons and found quite a few options I responded to, but they were all linear spikes that didn’t feel right with the curves of the cradle.  I decided I needed to come up with a curved, or rounded tenon.  I also wanted to create one that would be easy to take in or out when the time came.

Sketchup was certainly my friend on this project:

Sketchup

My Sketchup helped me realize the head needed to be curved.  My sketchup skills however were not going to allow that!

Once I was happy with the design I needed to approach the one tool in my shop that I had yet to even come close to perfected–the lathe!

I started by glueing up two pieces of walnut.

I started by glueing up two pieces of walnut.

Cradle peg02

Next I headed to the nearly unused lathe to start to rough my stock

Next I headed to the nearly unused lathe to start to rough my stock

Based on the lines I roughed in--the pegs actually began to take shape.

Based on the lines I roughed in–the pegs actually began to take shape.

Cradle peg05

As I got closer, I cut the pieces down in order to create a smooth curved top for each.

As I got closer, I cut the pieces down in order to create a smooth curved top for each.

Dance of the Wooden Soldiers

Dance of the Wooden Soldiers

Next I headed to the band saw in order to cut the pegs  cleanly in half.  I don't use these wooden clamps often  enough, but sometimes they really come in handy!

Next I headed to the band saw in order to cut the pegs cleanly in half. I don’t use these wooden clamps often enough, but sometimes they really come in handy!

and then there were eight...

and then there were eight…

I had the cutest of shop assistants help me sand each of them down.

I had the cutest of shop assistants help me sand each of them down.

I laid each tenon out in order to trace out the mortise.

I laid each tenon out in order to trace out the mortise.

Cradle peg13

This made for a snug fit!

This made for a snug fit!

I must say this was really the 1st project that I had created using the lathe.  I am no turner (yet), but can see how the lathe and what I can create with it will begin to be in integral part of my designs and woodworking experience.

Thanks for stopping by the shop.

The Austerlitz Woodworker’s Show

Several weeks ago I got a message on my machine by a gentleman by the name of Howard.  He asked if I was indeed a woodworker and would like to participate in a woodworking day in town of Austerlitz.  Austerlitz is a small community, there are only about 500 households and approximately 1200 people.  But as it turns out our town hosts over 18 woodworkers, at least that was the number Howard was able to track down!  Around 12 pro’s and 6 hobbyists.  Why so many in this town?  Are there others??

I was very excited by Howard’s call, I called him right back and said I would love to participate.  He gave me a brief outline and asked me what I would like to bring.  I guess I didn’t quite understand what he meant when he said an Austerlitz woodworker’s day.  You see, I thought it was going to be a gathering of woodworkers to discuss and share ideas on our favorite subject. You know, a local guild.  Then it occurred to me.  This was a woodworking SHOW.  I was expected to bring pieces of my work to display!!  Panic set in!  I had never shown anyone but family and close friends (and you folks) my work.  What did I have to show??

Then I took a breath and did an inventory of things I built and was proud of.  My cradle, an end table, a console table, an unfinished guild build shaker table, a few boxes.  Hmm, maybe I do have enough to show.  I’m not a pro, and I have nothing to be ashamed of.   My excitement returned.  My first woodworker show!! And where better than a mile from my house!

Now the self induced pressure was on. You see my wife and I are cursed with being over zealous and taking on too much.  We tend to put undo pressure on ourselves and squeeze all we can into a day, and our life. Preparing for this was no different.  As all ‘weekend woodworkers’ know there is never enough shop time.

Luckily, I have two children who heard the battle cry and came running!  Max and Samantha were very excited to help on “Daddy’s show”!  “We can turn pens for you to sell!” they happily declared.  How awesome is that?   So I had a promise of some finely turned items.

I now had to gather and put the finishing touches on the pieces I had.  The twin cradle I built was no longer being used by the 10-month-old boys, so we just had to fetch that from New Hampshire.  A console table I had in the basement needed a final sanding and a finish.  My Greene and Greene table was finished and just had to be retrieve from our apartment in Brooklyn.  The biggest item I had unfinished was a shaker table that I had started through the Wood Whisperer guild build.  I had everything but the top and the drawer complete.  Not much, but time was a tickin’….

Twin Cradle Series, Part 3.2 : Failures and Fixes

-Through Tenons; Mortise failure/solution

It was not until I went to cut my mortises that I realized I should have laid these out and cut them before I cut my board into an oval, with no straight edges to register a cut. To make matters worse, the mortises were angled at 12 degrees to receive the headboard and footboard.

Attempt at chiseling out the mortis

Attempt at chiseling out the mortise

It was my intention to use a chisel out the mortises. I started on one and failed. In hindsight, I am not sure what I was thinking. It took me forever and I ended up with blow out on the bottom despite my best efforts. Ugh.

The result of my chiseling = Blow out on bottom side

The result of my chiseling = Blow out on bottom side

Plan B: Drill holes for my saw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then went to plan B. I drilled out holes and rough cut the mortises with my skill saw. This seem to do the trick, at least at this point of the process. I then went in with my rasps and snuck up to my layout pencil line. At least I thought I did, there were places that I ended up over compensating as I was trying to dry fit the pieces.

Perhaps overkill: I used my jig saw to cut the mortises.

 

 

 

As my hand tool skills have refined since, I believe I would now go in with a small saw, perhaps a keyhole saw.  But my Jig saw certainly kept me moving.

 

 

 

**If you’re reading this and nodding your head (up or down), I’d love to hear your feedback on how you would approach some of the tasks I struggled with.  As with all things woodworking there are infinite ways to skin a cat, and we can all learn by sharing our experiences.

Knot The Right Epoxy Fill

I love me knot….

I am a huge fan of knotty pine, and I am always looking to see how I can incorporate the knots into my layout. I have not, however dealt with the knots properly, until now, well almost.

How beautiful is this–Knot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I have more knot knot jokes, but I will save them for another post.)

 

Ugh. Nice Job, Genius.

 

 

The 1st ‘epoxy’ I purchased was from the local hardware store.  It was a grey paste. I am not sure what I was thinking as I applied it. Did I really think this was going to sand out and look anything different than a cement patch? And yet I proceeded.

 

 

Obviously I was not happy with the outcome. I moved on, but I tried another epoxy, this time a clear product (makes sense, huh!).

 

 

Better luck, but I still wasn’t thrilled with how it sanded out.  I need to try West Systems Epoxy and spend a couple hours experimenting with it.

 

 

Thanks for stoping by the shop. I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts on how you might have approached things differently!

12 Lighthearted Questions for Matt Vanderlist of Matt’s Basement Workshop

We woodworking bloggers might not be here without this guy!

Matt Vanderlist of Matt’s Basement Workshop and Spoken Wood Podcast AND Wood Talk Online Radio took time out of his busy schedule to answer 12 of our lighthearted questions.

1- As the grand-daddy of woodworking podcasts: what podcast did you listen to and say: “I can do that!”?

There were three shows I listened to early on that convinced me I could do this crazy thing called a podcast.  First was Adam Curry’s (yep…THAT Adam Curry of MTV) “The Daily Source Code“.  Adam was always talking about how wide open it was for people to make their own content and would ask people to send him clips to promote their shows.  So I took the plunge.

In fact, my sign-off “Straight Grains & Sharp Blades” was inspired by Adam.

Adam’s a pilot and always wished his fellow pilots “Tail winds” in reference to having a good flight with tail winds pushing you the whole way.

Non-pilots would leave a message for his show and end it with “Tail winds”, so one day he said something about ONLY pilots could say that and everyone else would have to come up with their own phrase.

So I did just that, every pilot wants “Tail winds”? As a woodworker I often wanted “Straight Grains & Sharp Blades” when I work on my projects.

The other two shows at the time that heavily influenced me to give it a go were “Dawn & Drew” a couple still podcasting today.  And a now long defunct show, called “Who’s your daddy?”  These two shows convinced me if they could do it, I could do it.

2- What was your first paid commission?

A set of side tables for an old co-worker of my wife. Like so many people, she was convinced somehow “custom woodworking” was cheaper than buying it a big box retail store.

Sadly, I was green enough to say “OK” and take the job. If I calculated the time it took me (minus the materials) I probably made $.25/hour.

3- Did you grow up wanting to be a Cytotchnologist?

I never even heard the word until a college guidance counselor (Mrs. Garza) approached me at a career fair on campus.   She said it was a career with a lot of promise and good pay.

I’ve been doing this for 16 years now, I’m still waiting…

4- Have you ever taken a chisel to work and looked at your sharpening skills under the microscope?  

Nope, I work with a light microscope silly! You’d need an electron scope to get those kind of awesome pics.

All it would look like on my scope would be a re-enactment of the last solar eclipse.

5- What’s with the hat?

Keeps my head warm in a cold drafty basement.

Actually it was a gag gift from my wife on Xmas a few years ago, apparently I didn’t get the joke until much later.   So quite literally, the joke is on me.

6- What tool, that you inherited from your grandfather, do you value the most?

It would have to be two things; a pair of chisels that I underestimated their shop-worthiness for years and a small adjustable square.

The adjustable square is the perfect size for tool setups and so much more, that I go into a complete freak out if I can’t find it.  But the pair of chisels is what surprised me the most.

They’re a set of simple wooden handled chisels from all places…Montgomery Wards…and I remember as a kid using them to pry open cans and as screwdrivers.  It wasn’t until I was attempting to teach myself how to sharpen my tools that I reshaped and honed them and made this discovery that they take and hold a sharp edge like no other chisel I own.

7-  Have you ever built a project and then couldn’t get it out of the basement?

YES!  In fact getting this project out of the basement was probably the closest my wife and I have ever come to divorce.

It happened in my first shop at our old house.  The project was an armoire style entertainment center and I swear to this day I measured for the clearances to get it up the stairs and out the door to my garage so I could apply the finish.

What I didn’t account for was the extra height added by the moulding on the top of the unit (added at the last minute because “it just needed something up there…”).

When we were attempting to get it angled to go up the stairs, the finished ceiling dipped a little lower at the base of the stairs and it got wedged.

Shortly afterwards all hell broke lose and my kids and the whole entire neighborhood were treated to some of the most colorful language anyone had ever heard (almost entirely spewing from beautiful wife).

Needless to say, eventually when cooler heads prevailed we removed part of the moulding on top and discovered we had just enough clearance to get it up and out of the basement.

8- What’s the latest you have ever turned off the shop lights?

I’ve been known to stay in the shop until as late as 1 or 2 in the morning.  Typically when this happens, the wife and kids are off visiting friends and family out of town.

9- How many different woodworking catalogs are in your bathroom right now?

I think only one and it’s from Winter 2009? I now do a lot of my shopping and perusing with my iPad or iPhone when visiting the little woodworker’s room.  I bet after reading, that people will think twice about borrowing them in the future.

10- I know you spend your days staring into a microscope, did you create the Spoken Wood Podcast simply so someone would read to you at work?  

Pretty much yes.  I’ve always been amazed at the number of requests I would receive, before I launched the Spoken Wood Podcast, for more audio only content.  A large part of the audience listens to the show while commuting, working out, walking the dog and at work.

Add to it the requests for recommendations for favorite blogs and authors and it only made sense this would work.  I can’t take all the credit for the idea though, it was largely inspired by two other podcasts I’m huge fans of myself;

Escape Pod – a science fiction podcast in which short stories are read to the audience, and Slate Magazine’s daily podcast – where the host reads articles from their website.

I figured I enjoyed it so much and so did their audiences why not do the same thing with woodworking?

11- How many hours a week do you spend watching woodworking videos and reading woodworking blogs?  

I can’t say for sure.  It’s surprisingly low when you think about it.  I’m slightly preoccupied creating my own content.  But I’d say it’s a fair guess to estimate I spend easily 2-3 hours a day.

12- What project are you most proud of?

This is where I answer with the old “that’s like asking which of your kids do you like better?”.  But when push comes to shove, the one project I absolutely love hands down is our kitchen table.

I haven’t talked much about it before, but it’s big and heavy and covered with scars.  It doesn’t look pretty to most people and I’ve only recently come to appreciate its significance.

Besides being the place we gather around to eat and do homework and play games and talk and…whatever else it is we do there,  it’s also a reminder of the woodworker I started out as and the woodworker I’ve become.

It’s made entirely of ash and I designed it less for show and more for just being used.    There’s a lot of things I would do differently now if I were to build it again, but there’s also a lot of the beginner woodworker foolishness that I wish I still had.

When we first get started many of us don’t realize there’s limitations to what we can do with our materials and our designs.  We just jump in feet first and start swimming to the shore.  At some point we realize we’re in over our heads but by that point it’s too late.  You either finish swimming or drown.

I’m afraid of deep water, so I guess I kept swimming and never looked back.  That’s the personality flaws in myself I wish I could exploit more than ever.  The “I’ve got nothing to lose” and the “what do you mean you can’t do that…I just did  didn’t I?”

I think that’s where conventional thinking messes us up in our endeavors.  If you don’t experiment and fail once in a while you’ll never find out what you can actually do.

Many Thanks Matt!!