Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Let's face it - when there are 60+ people working at your shop in any given week, you're going to need some sort of regular tool maintenance in the shop. I try to stay up with several tasks by keeping a maintenance chart - regular chores that I can check off on a weekly basis.  Like what?  Oh emptying all five dust collectors every other day, tossing out all the scrap wood that build up at each tablesaw, changing the filters in the air cleaners, just to name a few tasks.

But when some of the tools start making weird sounds or acting sluggish, it's time for a little deeper maintenance. Take this Porter Cable sander, for instance. 

It's gotten some abuse lately, and since it's a work horse in the shop, I couldn't let it sit idle for long. 

It's particularly sweet for sanding in tight spaces. 

But when it started groaning and wouldn't spin freely, I knew it was probably a bearing that needed replacement. 

It's an easy chore, but some people hear the word "bearing" and think it's akin to open heart surgery. 

Once the pad is removed, 

there's little in the way to see the culprit.

Perhaps the most difficult part was locating the right Torx wrench. 

They always seem to turn up missing, right when I need them most!

Once that top screw and double washer set was removed, pulling out the bearing was a breeze. Until I noticed the snap ring holding it in place. 

Again - the right tool for the job makes this an easy repair! 

Snap ring pliers and a little BFI.

Here's where things got a little tricky - conventional wisdom would require a bearing puller to get that bearing out of its housing. But - 1) I don't have a bearing puller, and 2) I don't need no stinkin' puller! 

My old buddy and tool guru Phil taught me a simple way of getting the bearing out. It's all about removing the bearing with an even pressure, so that you don't twist or bind it. So I found an appropriately sized socket that provided even pressure all the way around that bearing, and with a few light taps.... 

BAM! It easily popped out!

Honestly, the part that took longest about this repair was locating the replacement part! 

I looked up the model number, did a little cross referencing (ereplacementparts.com is my favorite site for this) and within minutes, I found the part number for this bearing.

A little more digging and I located a similar bearing on eBay... free shipping, and overnight delivery. What's not to love?

And just like that, the sander was re-assembled and back in business. 

Speaking of ereplacementparts.com - they offer some great videos to assist in tool repair. Here's a great video for their method of pulling a bearing. 

All I can say is - if you have tools, they're eventually going to need some work done on them. Don't just call a repair shop to do your dirty work...embrace it!  In all honesty, it's kind of fun to work on them!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Sashimono Woodworking - prepare to see a whole new side to woodworking

My buddy Jay sent a lenk to this video, and said it blew his mind. I hear that a lot, but when I watched it, I definitely agree. This takes woodworking to a whole new level.

Good find, Jay!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Magic little magnets...

Way back in 2012, I made a simple knife block for some knives that I use most often. 

That block still resides in my silverware drawer, and I use it almost every day. 

 So when a customer wandered into my shop with three of the most gorgeous knives that I'd ever seen, I suggested something similar. She bought these up in Ferndale California, at The Blacksmith Shop.  

These are made by Michael Mara of Radharc Knives, and all I can say is... I want one.   Or... some.

She didn't want to hide them away; she uses them often, so we decided on a small countertop block, so that they could stay within each reach while she cooks. I had a small piece of a cutting board, and we decided on a (very small) footprint for this block.

A few angled cuts provided the slot for the blades, but the smallest knife was too light, and didn't stay in the groove properly. 

So I inlaid some rare earth magnets into the wood, on the underside of this block, to hold the blade in place. (The magnets are set under all of those plugs you see in the photo below.) 

 It was a simple solution for keeping the blades in place without damaging the metal.

I love simple, quick projects like this 

Now if I could only get up to Ferndale and find some (more) knives for my kitchen.....

Friday, October 07, 2016

The Dreaded Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)

Who doesn't love a great looking tree, with an even better story behind it? 


The sad part is - this Ash tree has seen better days... it has a rich past, and perhaps an ever better legacy, thanks to some artists in the city of Akron, Ohio. 


But first, a little history...

Here's a great article discussing this tree, and how it became infested with Emerald Ash Borers.  They're pretty little things, but do their damage quickly. The sad part is that this tree - the oldest one in the county, had to come down.

A cousin from Akron sent me a log - and not a very good one! - so I've been putzing around on it, trying to make some small mementos out of it.

Parts of the log were definitely compromised - and I had to weed out the rotten parts of the wood. 

The Laguna bandsaw plowed through this with ease, and gave me some blocks that I could use for turning.

I started off with a simple bowl, wondering if I'd have enough "meat" in the wood to come up with anything. This piece of wood was particularly compromised. 

In fact, in the photo below, you can see an insect hole bored right through the wood.

When I became tied up with some other projects, I invited my buddy Lupe to make a few things. She upped the game by coming up with these... this very cool ice cream scoop,

and this gorgeous pizza cutter!  (Talk about pressure!) 

 By then, I was down to one decent sized chunk of the log, and some small bits of wood that felt almost useless. I kept picturing a few projects in my mind, but every time I'd try one, cutting open the wood would reveal another rotten area. 

I'd seen a mezzaluna knife recently, 

and thought it might be fun to make one, so I found a blade and made some handles for it - that was trickier than I thought!  

And then with that last big chunk of wood, I made a chopping block for the knife - hoping the wood wouldn't reveal some rotten spot and spoil my plan. Luckily, it worked out, although as the log continued to dry out, it cracked a bit around the edges. 

That's pretty common as moisture leaves the wood; nothing could really be done to mitigate that, especially since the log starts its journey in a more humid climate, and then found its way to the desert.   


These bottle openers were an easy project to make, and I used pennies from the year the tree was felled.  


Lupe also made this little egg cup,

 and although she tried to make a lid for it, the wood kept moving and the lid became stuck. (I love this little ring bowl in the front!)  


By now, I was down to scraps of wood so small, that they could fit into your hand, so I came up with this small hand mirror. 

And a few live edge bookmarkers. I was down to splinters by now! 


All in all, a very fun project to work on!