Sunday, September 27, 2009


While there a dozen or more woodworking projects awaiting my attention today, I couldn't stop myself from working in the yard all morning. The garden went from this

to this.

Oh, and we have this

When I went into the kitchen to clean and freeze these veggies, I flipped on the TV to watch Saturday Night Live, which I Tivo'ed last night. If you missed this, here's a funny clip. Someone's bound to get in trouble for this one. I love her reaction when she realizes what she's just said on live TV. Priceless.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Great video

Replacing bearings on a Delta Jointer

This will be a quick post, as I'm swamped with tool repairs. I guess that's to be expected with running a woodworking school. Shit happens, tools break. Deal with it. I've spent the better part of the last few weeks repairing things, including installing a new 1.5 HP motor on the 6x48 belt sander in the shop

and replacing the bearings on the jointer. Oh, and hanging a new air cleaner from the 14' ceiling in the bench room. You know, routine stuff. This isn't for sissies, trust me.

When you turn on your jointer and it starts screaming like a freight train, you pretty much know there's a problem.

It was pretty easy to figure out that the cutterhead bearings were the source of all the noise, and I'd love to say I took some great photos and documented the whole process. But the repair happened so quickly, I barely had time to whip out my camera and shoot anything.

My incredibly mechanically-inclined friend, Philip, just happened to stop by when the jointer was well into "screaming" mode, and being the generous person he is, suggested we rip it apart and fix it right then and there.

So we did.

Luckily, there's a place that sells bearings just down the street. The bad news was - it was close to closing time, and we were heading into the weekend. If you saw a blur of a white cargo van flying out of the parking lot, that was me, heading off to buy the replacements before they closed.

Of course, that meant pulling the bearings off each end of the cutterhead. That's not so easy without a bearing puller, but Philip and I made due with a couple of flat pry bars and a giant flat screwdriver. A few skinned knuckles later, and we had the cutterhead stripped.

Luckily, the bearings were in common ones, and in stock.

And not that expensive, something like $25 total.

The bigger question was - remembering how it all went back together. We had a pile of parts, and remember, we took this apart very quickly.

Philip has such a good memory for stuff like that. Me? I can't remember what I wore yesterday, but he is a genius for all things mechanical.

I had company in town for dinner, that happens a lot when you live in Las Vegas. So we weren't able to re-assemble the jointer until the following evening.

So we met the next evening, and four hours later (and countless numbers of passes on the jointer, to adjust it), the repair was complete. Frankly, getting the machine reassembled was the easy part. Adjusting the outfeed table, which had to be moved out of the way to remove the cutterhead, was the difficult part. This particular jointer had an outfeed table that's adjustable at each of the four corners. Getting it back in to place took some perseverance.

Anyway, all in a day's work, it's finally done. I'd like to thank Philip and Dan for their help and sage advice with all my tool issues. Having guys like them in my life make me a lucky person.

And the beat goes on...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

James Krenov, RIP

The single most influential woodworker in my life has been James Krenov. Have I ever met him? Unfortunately, no. But that doesn't mean that he hasn't been a major force in how I design and build.

For anyone just starting their woodworking journey, I highly recommend you buy these three books on cabinetmaking.

My work today would look much different today without Krenov's influence. He didn't simply teach me about how to use a plane, or choosing the proper hardware, he taught me how to look at wood.

Quite frankly, eleven years of woodworking classes (high school, college, and a four year carpentry apprenticeship) didn't teach me as much as one of his books.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

James Krenov 1920-2009

I'm on my way out to teach a class, so I don't have time to blog right now. But I just wanted to post a link to this article about James Krenov, who passed away at the age of 89.

It's a very sad day in the woodworking world.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Slab roller retrofit - part four

My last post ended with the motor belt being too loose, so I had to figure out how to add some tension to it. My good friend Dan pointed out that I could simply slide the motor off to one side, thus increasing the distance between the two pulleys.

Yup.. but wouldn't that have made it too simple?

So I removed the shelf and experimented with a few different thicknesses of shelf material, to come up with the right spacing.

Making sure everything is lined up properly.

I had to remove the old shelf and make a new one, with an extension on it, to mount the motor. That meant taking the leg off (again) and sliding the old shelf out, and the new one in place. Here's the new shelf.

Yes, if you're paying attention, it's upside down. (The countersinks should be on the bottom.)

Of course, I noticed that before I bolted the leg back on. Not.

Here is the new shelf, right side up, in place.

It might look simple, but it took me a few days to do all this work. Although it sounds like a luxury, having two studios is a pain. I always find myself in need of a tool that's at the other studio, or needing to cut something when I'm not near the proper tools.

Oy, it's always something.

I knew that even with the new shelf cut, the motor was going to be a tad too low, so I decided to lift it up by placing a fat washer underneath each mounting hole.

The best way to accomplish this is with a big cup of coffee, a nice assortment of washers and bolts, and some patience.

After a little experimenting, I decided one fat washer underneath each mounting hole was all it needed.

Bolted in place.

The suspense is killing me. I want to get this baby cranking.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Recycled Houses in the NYTimes

This New York Times article on Recycled Houses might be the coolest thing I've read in ages. I've been working on a line of furniture made from recycled materials, and this article dovetailed nicely with what I'm attempting.

You MUST check out the slide show, the mosaic work and the ceiling made of old picture frame samples are my favorites.