Tuesday, December 29, 2009
A New Post, Wherein;
~ Our narrator, succumbing to the vain allurements of folly and fashion, steps into frame ~ The gross effects of holiday overeating are revealed and laid bare for comments, criticisms and judgment ~ A new sawing technique is demonstrated for the first time (in these annals) ~ A brother, unspoiled by praise or blame, heroically takes up the camera and performs admirably ~ A stout oaken plank is bent to the will of the craftsman ~ A dogsled is returned to trail readiness ~ And - Only Hand Tools Are Used!
Umm...sorry. Got carried away there. A combination of Rex Beach's "The Silver Horde" (1909) and "Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases" by Grenville Kleiser (1917). Dreadfully sorry. I shall endeavor to contain myself...
Earlier today I responded to a comment on a previous post where a reader had stated that I clearly enjoy all aspects of making something out of wood. I agreed, saying that sometimes I enjoy the process more than the product. This post is a perfect illustration of how the process can trump the product - which in this case was nothing more than a rectangular stick with a half-dozen holes drilled in it.
My brother Josh, a recreational dog musher, asked if I could help him fix one of his broken sleds, and I happily agreed. So, the week before Christmas, Josh and his daughter Kaija came over to visit the shop (Kaija actually had her own project to work on - but that's a future post). One of the oak sled stanchions had broken after an abrupt meeting with a spruce tree. Actually, it's more complicated than that, but Josh isn't here right now and that's my version of what happened.
Here's a shot of the part to be replaced:
Josh brought a lenght of oak that was just big enough to form the new stanchion. The main job here was ripping, so the trusty Disston D-8 was called for:
This was one awkward board to rip - hard to hold on the edge of the saw bench, and too narrow for the slot down the middle. I ended up starting it at an angle across the bench and had to stop frequently to readjust - and avoid cutting into the bench.
As I got closer to the end of the rip, I reverted to my normal stance. When discussing the use of this saw bench before, I've tried to describe this position in words, but a picture is better:
At the very end of the board a chunk had been cut out for some past project. The gauge line almost, but not quite intersected this void. Of course, I could have stopped ripping and just planed this slightly wider section down to the line, but where is the challenge in that? Time to put theoretical knowledge into practice! I decided to flip the saw around, sit on the board, and try my hand(s) at overhand ripping:
Hmm, I have been eating too much...
Anyway, it worked better than I would have guessed:
After that I cleaned up the rip and straightened the edge with a jointer plane.
Hey, isn't that a plump grizzly bear chowing down on an enormous cream cheese covered bagel on my shirt? Fitting - isn't it...
Josh provides the obligatory shavings shot:
I used an awl to transfer the holes from the existing part to the new one...
...and then bored the smaller holes with a hand drill...
...and the larger hole with a brace and bit:
After that it was just a matter of bolting it into place. Here's Josh working on that:
So, a thoroughly enjoyable process that yielded a completely mundane product. Cool.
Of course, when joined to its other mundane friends, that part becomes a sled capable of the extraordinary process of mushing. Hmm.