Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Deep in Chaos

Well, my shop is in a state of utter chaos. I'd post a picture, but it's too depressing.

I mentioned last month in the New Wood Rack post that I was overhauling the shop. Well, it has been creeping along, feeling like it will never be finished. I'm only on "Phase 2" and it looks like a tornado went right through the shop.

What I find most disturbing is how unusable the shop is in its current state. It's hard to even move out there. Every time I have a few minutes to work on it, the sheer enormity of the project just overwhelms me. I need to keep plugging away at it, but it's hard when I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Alright, enough whining! Back to it!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rocking Chair Repair

Here's another old furniture repair post, and also a lesson on the importance of grain direction.

This old rocker had a broken runner:

A closer look revealed how the sawn runner split down the grain. If the runners had been bent, with continuous grain, this couldn't have happened.

I didn't need to disassemble the chair; it was easy enough to loosen the screws and rotate the broken parts to get at the surfaces needing glue. The brown fuzzy strip is adhesive backed felt to protect the bamboo floor.

Here's the clamp swarm holding things put after glueing:

The glue probably would have been enough, but just to be sure I removed some of the felt and drove two finish screws across the joint. To insure that the screws pulled everything tight, I bored two different size pilot holes. First I drilled a small pilot hole (the size of the screw's shank) the full depth of the screw, and then bored a larger hole (the size of the threads) just as deep as the break. This way, the clamping effect was between the threads of the lower part and the head of the screw.

To replace the felt, I squished the new felt with clamps until it was the same thickness as the older felt. Although I am confident this repair will hold, I didn't want to tempt fate by putting a lump right under it. Confident is confident, but safer is better.

Oh, and although I already pointed out that bent runners would not have failed this way, I also concede the point that these sawn runners lasted almost 100 years. So there you go...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Wood Rack

Here's what has been absorbing any free time I've had for the last two weeks:

It's the long overdue, long planned, new shop wood rack - and it is finally done! Wahoo!

The posts are three 2x6s laminated together with glue and screws. The arms are 2x4s, set in mortises created by missing sections of the center post lamination:

I debated using 2x6s as arms, but decided I'd try the 2x4 arms first. If there are any problems, I can make 2x6 arms with a cut down tenon to fit the mortise and a supporting lower shoulder.

This is really the first phase of the "Total Shop Overhaul". For some time I've been wanting to change things in my shop, which is in one half of our two car garage. When I stand facing into the shop half, everything makes me happy. But when I face out of the shop half, I am looking at all sorts of things that just don't feel right: recycling bins, hot water heater, boiler, kitty litter, random storage, exercise area etc. In short, I've been wanting a 360° shop.

I thought about moving the shop out to the small shed in the yard, but it's unheated and has no windows and no real door. Then I thought about building a new, dedicated shop structure in the yard. This was more exciting, but I finally realized, with a lot of help from my wife, that it just wasn't going to happen this year. In the end, I decided to go with an idea that my brother Josh championed. I'm going to build a temporary (it will need to come out at some point) partition wall down the middle of the garage. This will solve the 360° shop issue, and also give us more storage (shelves on the non-shop side) for our teaching supplies/materials that are currently filling a rented storage unit (my wife and I are both teachers, and are moving to a new school and have way too much stuff that needs an accessible storage space - i.e. NOT the crawlspace).

Here's my tentative plan for the Total Shop Overhaul:

Phase 1: New Wood Rack - complete!
Phase 2: Remove Old Wood Rack to make room for the wall - pending.
Phase 3: Partition Wall w/ door - planning.
Phase 4: Window Installation - planning.
Phase 5: Rearrange Shop - dreaming.

I'd love to think that this will all be done soon, as the shop looks like a bomb went off and is almost unusable at the moment. It's like being in the middle of one of those sliding picture puzzles - move this, to move that, to move that, to get to that, to reach that. Frustrating! But the reality, especially with the new job, is that it is going to take a while.