Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mouldings In Practice: A Very Short Book Review

Mouldings In Practice, by Matthew Sheldon Bickford, was under the tree this year. I haven't gotten far in the book yet, but I already love it.

This one quote shows why:

"Nine years ago I was excited to look at all of the things I could do with my router.

Now look at all of the things I can do with my hands."

Amen to that brother!

And that underlying sentiment is why this book is awesome - that, and because he spells "mouldings" with the "u", like I do.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Scary Sharp to Go

If you're a regular reader of this blog you probably know that I am a huge fan of the Scary Sharp system or method of sharpening. (Here's a link to my original post on Scary Sharp, and I've added a label if you want to read more about my experiences with it.) Last year, when I was getting ready for my classes with Roy, I decided I wanted to take Scary Sharp with me, so I created a smaller, portable version that could travel.

First, I needed a flat surface to bond the sandpaper to - and it had to be small. After poking around my local Borg, I found these small marble tiles that were just the right size and seemed pretty flat (and actually, if you can't find ones that are flat enough, you could lap them, although I don't really think you need to do that). The tiles are approximately 3"x6" and about 3/8" thick.

I sprayed nasty adhesive (I still want to create my own non-toxic version of this) on one face of the tile and on the back of the abrasive sheet. After it tacked up, I placed the sticky face of the tile on the sticky back of the paper and then trimmed the sheet flush to the edges of the tile. I decided I wanted six grits, so six tiles in my kit.

Here it is with my marking knife for scale:

From left to right: 100, 180, 320, 600, 1000, and 2000 grit. I was basically trying to double the grit on each consecutive tile, which I find works well. But of course you could have less grits if you wanted to spend more time on each one, but I find it too tedious. Plus, with more grits, each one lasts longer.

Here's a shot of the kit rolled up in its canvas cloth:

The tiles are on edge in this shot, which is why the proportions look different. Also, what you can't see, is that I cut spacers from file folder stock to put between each tile to keep the abrasive clean and protect it from its neighboring tile.
I'm not really done messing with this kit yet (it's only been a year). I have an extra tile that I might experiment with - I am thinking of bonding some leather to it to use as a strop with the Lee Valley green compound. If that works, I'll post about it. Eventually.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Conductor's Rostrum

At the school where I teach, all students in grades four through eight learn to play strings - violin, viola or cello. Recently our music teacher asked me if I could make a platform for her to stand on while conducting. Of course I said yes - and as a bonus, I got to put some extra wood that I have been tripping over to good use.

It was a bit of a rush job (Christmas concert), and it fought tooth and nail against its birth (all I'll say is I about got knocked out...don't ask), but I'm pretty happy with it. I think it is a good example of how a good design, with balanced proportions, doesn't need to be anywhere near perfectly executed to still be pleasing.

I was moving so fast (well, except after the head knocking part...) that I didn't take any pictures of the construction. The base is just a simple rectangle made from both 2x8 and 1x8 stock. It is joined with rabbet joints, which are screwed from both directions as well as glued. The top is a piece of 3/4 birch ply, and I stuck some quirk-ovolo-fillet moulding to hide the ply edge and it really added to the design. The finish is Tried & True Danish Oil and Varnish Oil, which of course I love.

Here are some shots of the final product:

Anyway, it was a fun project and was appreciated by my colleague. Of course, my son and daughter saw it and now they want a "dancing platform" of their own. I'll put it on the list...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pipe Clamps

Okay, this is probably a pretty obvious "tip", but I thought "Hey, you never know..." So here it is: You can easily, and cheaply, extend the versatility of your pipe clamps beyond buying various lengths of pipe, by buying pipe couplings.

Oh, and as for galvanized versus black pipe, my personal preference is the galvanized. It doesn't stain the wood, and as for being "too soft" as some have found, in my experience my black iron pipes are more easily dinged by the clamp clutch. Just make sure it is smoothy galvanized - my local Borg tends to have some that are very smooth and some that are rough.

Anyway, I hope this helps someone.