Sunday, January 30, 2011

Leaves of time.....

Back in December, I was doing some repair work to an old dining room table when I had a small accident. The finger is better (still pretty ugly, though!) and the table is finally close to being finished. With repair work, you never know what you're getting into - sometimes you'll find parts that you didn't realize were broken, or joints that need disassembled and completely rebuilt. Even worse, sometimes the wooden pieces are too warped or cracked to use again, so new pieces have to be built from scratch. Finally, getting it all to match is difficult - in short, that's why I don't take on a lot of repair work!

Here is the table with it's new top, awaiting some final coats of polyurethane.

Poly isn't my finish of choice, but for tables, it's really the best protection. I added some extension slides so that the table will hold three new leaves that I also made.

Wooden extensions like this are quirky - prone to humidity fluctuations, so I had to wait until the weather calmed down a bit. We had a rainy spell a few weeks ago, and if I had installed these then, they would have absorbed some ambient moisture and probably been difficult to open. Another thing about these slides - the manufacturer lubes them up with a greasy substance to keep them traveling smoothly. That makes them messy to handle, and if you get the lube on your hands and transfer it onto the raw wood, the finish will not absorb correctly. So the slides are one of the last parts to be attached to the table.

Here is one of the leaves, ready for drilling.

I put four wooden pins on each leaf, to align them,

and used a doweling jig to drill the holes perfectly plumb.

A simple wooden height gauge cut on the table saw ensures that all the pins are set at the same height.

Nothing glamorous going on in the woodshop, just a whole lot o' drilling.

If you know me, you know I barely use a tape measure in my shop for most tasks. Here, a series of 1-2-3 set-up blocks helps me space the holes the perfect distance from the end of each leaf.

Ready for some final tinting and poly coats.

A test fit in the table, and a big sigh of relief that this job is nearly complete!

I've been taking film classes and working on my video production skills - gotta love being a Mac user and using iMovie. Here's a little video on drilling all the leaf pin holes. (As usual, I work better to loud and fast music, so if that bothers you, turn the volume down.) The video is mostly for wood geeks, but have a look.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Musical aptitude

It's probably best that I don't have a piano in my house, or Stella would likely try this.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fun with chisels

Sometimes watching how something is built is much easier than having it explained to you. Here's a lovely, folding bookstand, somewhat complicated to build. Check out this nicely produced video to see how it's made.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Changing planer blades (again!)

It's about to get a little crazy in the shop, with lots of classes starting and projects being completed. So I thought it best to do a little maintenance around the place. Sending blades to be sharpened is the first place I start.

You know you basically have no life when the highlight of your week is having your three favorite sawblades sharpened and ready to re-install.

Sharp jointer and planer blade are icing on the cake.

I've gotten pretty quick at installing the planer blades.

Keeping the manual and knife press gauge handy helps!

This diagram tells me just about everything I need to know about installing the blades at the correct height.

And all I need to do this blade replacement are two very important things - a cup of coffee and a wrench. The coffee isn't essential, but really helps.

Install the springs that go under the blade,

slide in the gib, that holds the blade in place,

and slide the blade into place. Remember, it's very sharp. Then put the height gauge over the blade and press down.... GENTLY!

You don't want to ding your blade, do you?

Here is a short video to show you how simple it is.

Time for another cup o' joe.... good luck replacing your blades!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Snow in the New Year

It snowed here in Vegas this week, not necessarily a good way to start the year, in my opinion. Everyone has a picture of snow in their yard, or wherever they happened to be when it was coming down. Here are my two obligatory shots - from the back yard - my raised bed garden, which sure looks different with a layer of white on it.

And the grill, which of course, didn't have it's cover on. I think it blew away in the windstorm, and is probably laying in someone's yard down the street. The wind here was brutal.

The next morning, I was stuck in a snowstorm on the freeway, on my way to jury duty. Everyone was driving like they'd never seen snow in their lives, and probably hadn't. The traffic was cluster-fucking-unbelievable; I was late to the courthouse, which didn't make a good impression on my new buddy, the courthouse clerk.

Stella, on the other hand, had a marvelous time in the snow. She played for a few hours, and I just couldn't find it in my heart to make her come inside. I mean, how often will she ever get the chance to play in snow? Here she is, in all her messy, muddy glory. You can bet she went straight into the bathtub after we took this photo.

Finally, later in the evenings, long after my woodworking duties are done, I've been playing with clay again. Here are a few new layered glaze experiments. I'm quite pleased with what has been coming out of the kiln, now that is a good way to start the year!