Friday, February 28, 2020

Parts R Us...

My shop could probably be renamed "Parts R Us" and it would be fitting. I've been making a ton of parts lately. 

It's always interesting to see what projects people are undertaking. I had a client bring a couple of antique baby carriage wheels to my shop - one was intact like this, and one was in pieces.

 And missing some pieces - specifically, missing two of these wheel spokes. 

They had an odd shape - I could tell that it was turned on the lathe, but it also has some flat spots and some scoops in the profile. Not a particularly hard piece to make, but one that took a few different steps. 

I started with a couple of pieces of sassafras, which matched the coloring and grain of the original spokes. 

Once I has a piece roughed out, I shaped the sides on the NEW bandsaw, 

and smoothed everything out on the belt sander. 

My lathe work is more about utility than making artsy pieces. There's never enough time to make all of the pieces I would like to...  someday! Turning these was the easy part!

Turning these was the easy part! 

Finishing them was a breeze, using Mohawk spray stains. I added a bit of distress to the two new spokes, so they wouldn't stand out against the old ones. My secret weapon for making these look grungy was a Sharpie for some darker highlights. 

And finally - fitting all ten of the spokes into this rigid rim was quite a challenge. And probably why the client asked me to do it. She had done the first one, and struggled with it, so I was tasked with assembling the second one. 

The two new spokes are these two at the bottom - could you have found them, if I hadn't pointed them out?

It would have been easy if I had four hands, but I didn't. An hour later, struggling with each individual spoke wanting to pop out of place, and this small repair was complete.  I love quickie projects like this - they keep me on my toes, and pay a few bills.  And my clients are awfully happy! Still want more? 

By the way, this carriage was made by the F. A. Whitney Carriage Company - click here to read more.

Still want more? Check out this article.

She promised to send me photos when the piece is fully restored, and I can't wait!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Has Watco changed its formula?

Do you remember last October, when I started working on this small live-edge table?  

A client brought a slab to me, requesting a small side table, so I started flattening it with a scrub plane. It was a lot of work!  

But eventually, the high spots were taken off, 

 and it was flat enough to run through the planer. 

Some weird punky spots popped up... I've never really seen something like that. 

The wood was dense and solid, yet when I started sanding it, small chunks would chip or flake off. 

I'd been given a sample of super glue that seemed like it might do the trick, so I "mended" these punky spots, covering them in CA glue and hoping for the best. It did the trick, sealing and hardening the wood enough that I could sand and finish it. 

All that was left was sanding. 

And more sanding.  And oiling. 

Of course,I always use Watco Danish Oil, wet-sanding it into the wood. This results in a very soft surface, so nice to touch, and one that clients always gush about.

But here's something interesting... I had to open a new can of oil, and I noticed that the artwork and packaging on the can was different. The new can is on the left, the old can on the right. 

This is the new can, with its " EASY wipe on" banner on the front. Over the years, Watco has changed hands several times, being owned by Minwax, Flecto, and Krylon. And probably more.  

This time, I've sensed that the original recipe has been altered. This can seemed really different - thicker in viscosity, and "stickier" in feel. 

The old version had much more flow to it, although both versions resulted in a similar result. I'd be curious to hear if anyone else has noticed the change in recipe. Either way, this table surface was gorgeous.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Projects...big and small

A few posts back, I highlighted some of the cool projects that everyone built in the shop last year.  

I was scrambling to find pictures of one terrific table that Alvin built, and it took me a while to track them down. 

This was his first attempt at working with a live edge slab, and he knocked it out of the park. 

But we don't just work on large pieces - here's something I helped out on - and had forgotten all about! When your mom and dad don't have tools... we can help with your important project! 

These Pinewood Derby Cars were winners!