Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A little old growth and an upcoming tool teardown

Working in the shop the past few weeks has been fascinating, but a challenge, too. 

Some old growth boards found their way into my shop - four planks about 5' long and 8" wide.  But their history was the main reason I undertook making this tabletop. 

These boards are from a tugboat hatch cover from a late 1800s steam tug, built in the Brooklyn navy/ship yard.  Older timbers have a much different look and feel, and are more durable, too. Why is that, you ask? Do a little research and you'll find buckets of information, but here's the best I've found, courtesy of The Craftsman Blog by Scott Sidler.


Here is a short list of the many benefits of old-growth lumber.
  1. More Rot-Resistant – Sure, we have woods like Pressure Treated and Accoya (which I use often) but old-growth wood is the original rot-resistant wood. The slow growth process creates greater proportion of late wood (summer/fall growth) to early wood (spring growth). Late wood is the good stuff that adds this rot-resistance. Also, older trees develop heartwood at their center, which is not only beautiful to the eye, but it is extremely durable and resists rot in ways that other wood can’t.
  2. More Stable – Wood moves. It contracts when it’s dry and expands when it’s wet. This can cause joints to open up, paint and finishes to fail prematurely, and a host of other issues. But, old-growth wood (due to the tight growth rings you can see in the picture above) does not move nearly as much as new-growth. It is immensely more stable, and therefore keeps everything where it needs to be from siding and framing to windows and doors.
  3. Stronger – The denseness of old-growth wood makes it a much stronger wood able to carry heavier loads across longer spans. The span rating for framing lumber continues to fall each time the lumber industry revisits it. Wood is getting softer and weaker as the years go by, so old-growth is definitely a worthwhile option, especially if you already have it in your house.
  4. More Termite-Resistant – Termites don’t like hardwoods. Don’t get me wrong here, termite-resistant is not the same as termite proof. Termites will still eat old-growth wood, but they prefer soft, moist wood (read: easy to chew). Old-growth wood is harder and drier than new lumber and it does not make as tempting of a meal for termites.

The owner requested a table top made from the boards, 


so a little gluing, planing and sanding was in order.  


There was a pretty nasty crack that I repaired with an inlaid bowtie.


In the process of jointing and laminating the boards, I discovered a problem with my jointer, which resulted in a tear-down and repair. The infeed table was out of adjustment, so when I ran boards over the cutter head to straighten their edge, I wasn't getting a nice tight joint.

If you run a couple of boards over the jointer and get a gap in the middle of the joint, which is what I was experiencing,  your infeed table end is too high. 


 I managed to get the front edge of the jointer to cut perfectly, but the back half of the table was still giving me problems.


 I'll have to tear it apart and add some shims to shore the top up, but for now, I could go back to working on the tabletop. 



 Here's the finished table -  the rough top went to the owner, 


where he sanded and finished it,  



and added some legs.


I love it when people send me pictures of their finished projects!

When I tear down the jointer, I plan on replacing the bearings - it's been almost ten years since I did that, and this machine has miles of wood run over it since then. It sounds a bit whiney, and it's really not that difficult of a job, so the plan is to roll up my sleeves and get to work. 

Stay tuned!


Saturday, May 12, 2018

National Hardware Show - don't miss it next year...


There are times when I think the National Hardware Show is actually better than the AWFS show, mostly because it's held every year, and it's bigger and more encompassing. 

Sure, it doesn't cover woodworking per se, but it sure does have something for everyone. 



The rules were switched up a bit this year - absolutely no pictures were allowed, so my photos here will be a little lacking. But when this scene greets you as you're ready to enter, you know something big is about to happen. 


This year's show featured two HUGE rooms of  vendors, showing off their latest and greatest products. Especially interesting were all of the booths promoting newly invented items, where you could actually meet the inventors and get samples of their wares. 



I thought it was very smart that you could go to the Match Me booth and have your NHS experience tailored to exactly what you wanted to see... if plumbing was your specialty, you could have your day mapped out, to include all of the plumbing vendors. Smart.



Outside, there were outdoor entertaining items, 


from grills to coolers, 


hammocks to tiny homes. 






Once inside the main hall, I had an agenda to follow....navigating the crowds was a little tricky! 





The Wooster booth was packed with just about very paint brush and painting accessory you could imagine. 


An interesting trend was material management - there were tons of dollies, roller carts, plywood and drywall carts, casters and more.

Viva el carro!



This may sound dorky, but I've been looking to find a screw vendor to supply the shop with square drive screws. My old local vendor went out of business, and the backup supplier I've used has raised their prices so high it's just not possible to keep using them.  I managed to find a supplier that might be a great fit, and these samples will probably seal the deal, if they work out. 


Somehow - I missed my meet and greet opportunity with Martha!





Another item on my agenda was a swamp cooler for the shop. The fellows at Portacool made me an awesome offer, and we wheeled out this Cyclone unit 



and this beast...


should be pretty easy to cool the shop this summer!


One of the best connections I made at the show was meeting the people from the Jorgensen/Pony clamp company. They've been MIA for a while, but are regrouping and coming out with their new and improved product line. We had a nice conversation about the world of clamps, and I encouraged them to re-examin this discontinued bench hold-down clamp. 


It's the old 1623 model, and we use the heck out of these! 





They even hooked me up with some swag... sweet. With a little luck, we'll be testing some of their new products at the shop soon.




How big was this show? Here are some exhausted attendees, napping outside one of the exits. 



After the show, it's always nice to head to Grimaldi's for a slice and a beer. What a terrific day! 






Tuesday, May 08, 2018

It's finally here - the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas


When I was younger, I loved puzzles like this! 




What am I saying?... I still do!  




Look what I found when I was poking around Pinterest today... these two videos for making puzzles. 



You know what I'll be working on this week.... 





Meanwhile, the National Hardware Show is in town, and I'll be attending it tomorrow.  

It's always a fascinating glimpse into the latest trends in hardware, finishes, tools and more. I'll be shooting some photos and hopefully getting some great ideas for upcoming projects. 

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Here's an update on those broken blow guns...

Happy to see that Flexilla stepped up and replaced those two blow guns that recently broke. 


Well, to be specific - the gun itself didn't break, but the hooks that are molded into the cast metal body are the part that failed. They snapped right off, and that makes hanging them up around the shop a little difficult. 

This delivery came right in the middle of my work day yesterday.



The shop was a mess, but I was happy to receive the box! 


And BAM! Just like that, we have two new guns to add back into our arsenal. The Flexilla people took care of this one quickly, and without any objections... I appreciate that!  


Next delivery expected? 

A new base for the Powermatic sander... stay tuned!

Friday, April 27, 2018

So much for the Gold Standard...

Classes have just ended and it's time to buckle down and finish up some projects I'm building in the shop. 

But... it feels like there has been a gremlin in the shop, wreaking havoc on some of the tools. 

About a month ago, I bought a new belt / disc sander, and the first time I blew the dust off of the base with an air gun, the paint blew off of it, too. 

The surface underneath revealed some pretty significant rusting, and sure... the manufacturer agreed to send out a new base, but that's not the point. It's going to take some muscle and time, both of which I'm doubtful of having, to replace the base. Furthermore, I shouldn't have to do it... it shouldn't be peeling in the first place. 

Like I said... so much for "The Gold Standard"....


Do I sound irritated? A day or so later, that same sander flopped backwards, smashing this knob. Another call, another warranty replacement. 


 But the gremlin wasn't done - both of the blow guns in the shop decided that they didn't want to be hanging by their hooks, so ... well, let's just say we had a double failure. 

Sure, Flexilla agreed to replace them, and yes, this is an easier repair, but there are a hundred other things I need to be doing. 


And finally - the weirdest one... the handle simply snapped off of the Sawstop elevation wheel. 


Now - if you felt the heaviness and quality of this handle, you'd understand why it's so weird. This handle is solid and strong, and I have no idea how it could have snapped. 




So if I sound a little crabby, it's because I'd much rather be building the cool commissions that are on my schedule, than making repairs to tools that shouldn't be breaking. 

OK, I'll quit whining now..... back to the sawdust...


Thursday, April 05, 2018

Things that artists put up with!

So this text thread appeared on another blog, and it caught my eye. 

A potential customer contacted an artist, to purchase one of her quilts. Check out this interaction between them...  














Any comments?