Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Small Pleasures

Well, it's been quite a while since I posted anything new to this blog. The beginning of the school year is always crazy, but now that first quarter is wrapping up, I finally have a few minutes to spare. I have a lot of project type posts that I have been meaning to work up, but instead I think this post will pay tribute to the many, simple, small pleasures of time in the shop...

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Moulding Plane Shelves

Lately I've been exploring yet another part of the slope - wooden moulding planes.

In the past, whenever I wanted to try my hand at making mouldings I've used my trusty Multi-planes (hmm, multi multi planes...). Now I know that some people hate these things ("boat anchors"), but I found that using these was a fun adventure in gizmocity (especially the 55). Of course there was the usual learning curve and the ongoing series of adjustments each time a new profile was needed - and naturally the setup in the plane at hand is never the one you need now, but will be the one you need next. You get the picture. Which I suppose is how I ended up with three of these beasts in the first place...

"If only there was some way to have one plane for each profile! You would'nt have to reset everything time and again! If only there were dedicated moulding planes...wait!"

Enter the wooden moulding plane. In reverse chronological order, I have discovered the joy of making mouldings with moulding planes (electric router, multi-plane, wooden moulding planes). And after an initial purchase of a great mixed set I was off and running. Earlier this summer it was Maine and New Hampshire and then Ebay. Soon they were everywhere and I had to build them their own shelves.

It was one of those "One Day" projects that took - well let's just say longer than one day. But it worked and I liked the way it looked. But soon it was full and time to build a second one. This time I really tried to get a handle on how long it would/should take me to complete. I outlined the steps involved (and actually predicted most of them) and estimated the time to complete each step. Then I kept track of how long it really took. I should probably mention here that I am infamous for my lack of "time reality" - so this was not as easy as it may sound to you time sensible folks. The results? Not bad. I predicted 9 hours and in reality it took 11 and some change. I'm pretty happy with that, and if I ever have to do it again I am confident I could shave off another 2 hours by not repeating a few stupid mistakes (I actually took notes this time...).

Here's a picture of the work in progress. It is being held off the side of the bench for the planing of the dovetails. Just a simple jig really, but by far the best way I have figured out yet.

Here it is finished and ready to hang. You can see the decorative ovolo shape at the top of the sides - the first one had a cavetto design.

And here is a final shot of both shelves, looking rather empty now, in their corner of the shop.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Celena's Cookbook Stand

The first neander project I tried after the ledgendary "St. Roy Encounter" (see The Whole Story In Three Pictures post) was the book stand from one board. I followed the guidelines from a handout, and tried to remember the hints he had added during the demonstration. Results were exciting but not exactly great. It sat in the shop doing various light duty work: "Now where am I going to sit this screwdriver/photo/sandwich where it won't disapear in the next 5 seconds? Ah-ha! You there..."

Sometime later I decided to give it another go using some sassafrass that I had picked up somewhere. Results were much better.

Here's a shot of the two iterations:

It was nice, visible, evidence of actual progress in my skills. It had been about one year and I had obvioulsy gotten better at a lot of stuff such as layout (I actually had a marking gauge by this time - shop made no less :), sawing (and saw sharpening), paring with a chisel, and some basic (real basic) chip carving. Plus, Celena really seems to enjoy it.

Finally, here's another couple of shots - at work (What? Doesn't everyone read Joy of Cooking in their shop?), and at rest:

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Test, test. Is this thing on?

Well, let's just see how easy this is.

Hmm, how about a picture:

Okay, that seems to be working...

I guess that's all for now.