Monthly Archives: July 2013

Roubo, Leg Mortises

Between you, me and the fencepost I’ve been dreading the mortises in the bench top for the the legs.  It just looked hard.  No, that’s not quite right.  It looked like something I couldn’t do without screwing it up.

I finally decided I didn’t care if I screwed it up.  So today I laid out the location for the first leg and started making chips.

And so it begins...

And so it begins…

I drilled the holes halfway through the top first, then started chipping out the waste.  That wasn’t too bad.  The drilling was pretty simple, too.

Holes Drilled

Holes Drilled

Waste Chopped

Waste Chopped

Then I flipped the bench over and did the same on the other side.  This is a heavy piece of wood, probably 250 pounds.  Or, I’m a lot weaker than I thought.  Or, perhaps, both.

Marking out the top side

Marking out the top side

The mortise wasn’t too bad, but sawing the sides of the dovetail socket was a pain in the neck,  Mostly because everything was wobbling, and I couldn’t get a decent stance.  Once the sides were sawn it was easy to pop out the waste and pare the bottom (more or less) flat.

Not my best sawing, but it was like doing it in the back of a pickup truck driving down a country road with all of the swaying

Not my best sawing, but it was like doing it in the back of a pickup truck driving down a country road with all of the swaying

And, viola, one leg fit.  I did a little cleanup after this picture to get it to sit the rest of the way down, and to sit square to the surface of the bench.  It’s slightly twisted, flush on one side and about 1/8″ proud on the other side.  I’ll square the up as a last step before finishing.

Now I need to do the other three legs, and stretchers, and the leg vise and I can put this thing to work.  I’m going to have a bonfire with the old bench.

One down

One down

 

 

 

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Stained Glass Class

My son Kolya and I went to a introductory stained glass class today.  We both had a good time and came home with finished projects.

My goal was to see if I could make a panel for my Greene & Greene style sconces.  I had patterns ready and the instructor OK’d my project.

The process is fairly straightforward, but of course the devil is in the details.  My glass cutting needs some work, and there are a dozen little details that I wish I’d done better on, but I understand the process now and am confident I can do it.

The gist of the process is to score the glass – and there is a special procedure for dealing with inside and outside curves.  Snap the glass on the score lines and check it against the pattern.  Any uneven edges get mark for grinding later after all the parts are cut out.

Cutting Out the Pieces

Cutting Out the Pieces

This is a fairly complicated part only because the parts are small, and there are small inside curves.  I cut them as best I could and then tried to fine turn them with the grinder.

Once the parts are fine tuned they get cleaned to remove the grinding dust, then warmed on a hot plate to help the copper foil stick.  The foil is rolled onto the edges so that it overlaps both faces just a little.  On the finished piece my solder lines are a little wider than I’d like – which is a combination of too much of a gap between parts and perhaps too-wide copper foil tape.

Soldering the Parts

Soldering the Parts

The parts are soldered from both sides, cleaned, a patina applied and a coat of wax applied.

I give this one a C+ for effort.  I’m going to buy my own set of glass tools and order some glass and make the parts for the sconces now.

My First Stained Glass - In the Sconce

My First Stained Glass – In the Sconce

Kolya's Project

Kolya’s Project

 

 

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Roubo Bench Progress

I got a little time in on my workbench project, and just about finished mounting the end vise.  After turning lots of different options over in mind I decided to mount a standard (albeit heavy duty) Jorgensen face vise on the end of my bench.  I’ll add a large chop to it to hold the bench dog similar to Chirs Schwarz did on his Cherry Roubo bench.

The first order of business was to figure out where to put the vise (other than on the end of the bench).  I thought about putting the vise right at the front edge of the bench.  The downside is that then the closest leg needs to be shifted quite a bit inboard.  I also wanted to recess the vise to minimize top-to-bottom racking, and the would leave an ugly gap in the front of the bench.

Vise at the front edge of the bench

Vise at the front edge of the bench

I played with all sorts of different positionings, in the end I set the vise about 3″ back , so I could move the leg back toward the end.  I hope I don’t regret that later.

IMG_0891

Vise positioned as close to the front as possible without hitting the leg

Then I needed to decide how deep I should recess the vise into the bottom of the bench (that is, how close to the top I should move it).  I wanted to minimize the stress on it when using it like a tail vise (where all the force will be cantilevered from the surface of the bench top), but I also didn’t want to weaken the bench in any significant way.  I decided that 1.5″ looked about right.

How deep to recess the vise?

How deep to recess the vise?

I marked out the area to be removed on the bottom and on the end of the bench.

Material to be removed

Material to be removed

I removed the waste from the bottom using a router (gasp!), it was quick and easy.  For the material on the and of the bench top — the recess for the inner vise face — I used a chisel and popped it out the same way you might on a dovetail.

 

Main cavity cleared, time to grab a chisel and attach the recess for the inner face of the vise

Main cavity cleared, time to grab a chisel and attach the recess for the inner face of the vise

The vise dropped right in after a little clean up paring in a few spots.  The next step is to cut the mortises for the legs into the bench top.  I’m really nervous about that for some reason.

No woodwork tomorrow, Kolya and I are off to learn how to do stained glass at Kiss My Glass.  I’m hoping to be able to make one of the panels for my G&G sconces. but they have some fairly small parts and I might do better starting with a simpler pattern that I can finish in a day.

A decent fit

A decent fit

 

 

 

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Return To Roubo

About a year and a half ago I decided to do some woodworking, and with Roubo-styled workbenches all the rage that seemed like a good place to start.

I picked up a 6×9 salvaged Douglas Fir beam and proceeded to hand plane three sections of it square and glue up a bench top.  It was a unbelievable workout, complicated by knots and my inexperience with hand tools in general.  But I got all three pieces glued up, then squared up the entire slab on all six sides.

Roubo Raw Materials

Roubo Raw Materials

No One Mentioned Workshop Aerobics!

No One Mentioned Workshop Aerobics!

I picked up the wood to make the legs right away, but it was green – so I thought I’d let it dry for a few weeks.  Weeks turned into months, and eventually I cut the joinery for the leg-ends to attach to the top.  After probably a year at that point the legs were still damp inside.  The leg joinery was cut back in November of 2012. I guess I’m not in a rush to get this finished…

Leg Joinery Complete

Leg Joinery Complete

Anyway, today I spent a couple of hours organizing my shop spaces.  I moved the blacksmithing power hammer to the metal shop, and moved my $75 wood lathe to the wood shop.  Parts for cars that I want to build someday were hoisted into the attic space in the metal shop.  And the parts for the Roubo bench were hauled to the wood shop.  I started squaring up the stock for the stretchers – It’s kind of amazing how much resin has seemed out of these parts.  Ick.

I started laying out the locations for the right side “end vise” on the bench as well as the legs.  It’s all upside down in this picture, so hopefully I’ll get the end vise on the right end and the face vise on the left front.  I think the first step will be to mount the vise.  If I move it beck from the edge maybe 3″ the vise guide rods will be behind the leg, and I san move the legs more towards the ends of the bench – which should make it less tippy.  To mount the vise I’ll have to make a recess in the bottom of the bench, and in the end.  I’ll get to work on that next.

Next Saturday is the Stained Glass class, I’m looking forward to that.  I have my patterns for the sconces, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to do those in the class as it’s probably more intricate that they want in a beginner’s class.  We’ll see how that plays out then.

Upside-Down Mock-Up

Upside-Down Mock-Up

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Out of wood…

Rats.

I started on the drawers for my tool cabinet, but realized that I didn’t have enough wood for the job.

I milled the drawer fronts from one piece of Alder I had on hand, but the other length wasn’t wide enough.  I decided not to run to the local wood store because the weekend traffic in Santa Cruz is murder.  Santa Cruz is a major destination for Bay Area folks in search of some beach action.

Instead I’m going to spend the time I would have sat in traffic fine tuning my table saw and organizing my shops.  The wood shop is in pretty good shape, especially now that the tool cabinet is mostly done.  I need to fix a leak in the dust collector ducting and do a little clean up.  Then I need to do a major overhaul on the metal shop, luckily my son is on the hook to help me for a couple of hours.

Along the way I’ll move the parts for my Roubo bench over to the wood shop so I can work on that later.

Drawer Fronts Fitted

Drawer Fronts Fitted

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Tool Cabinet – Hangers All Done

I just spent a couple of hours in the shop and finished off the hangers for my tools.  As a recap, I finished the main part of the tool cabinet a month or more ago, but had a bunch of tools that I intended to hang on the inside of the doors.  I finished that off, and I’m reasonably happy with it.

It’s not super fancy, but there is a place for everything, and it’s all accessible.  I had to fine tune a few holders so that stuff wouldn’t fall off if I yanked the door open.  The mortise chisels were a problem – a fast yank would free one of them from the holder and it would stick in whatever was under the door (a temporary table at the time, but still plenty exciting)

I’m planning on starting on the drawers tomorrow.  I’ll probably use the router bit joint rather than dovetails — I want to finish this quickly and move on to more interesting projects.  This is intended to be utilitarian.  I don’t have a lot of other stuff to put in the cabinet – a couple of extra plane blades.  One drawer will hold my auger bits.  One will hold my carving chisels.  That leaves three more for screwdrivers and other stuff.

Left Door - Layout Tools, Drills, Dovetail Saws

Left Door – Layout Tools, Drills, Dovetail Saws

Right Door, Chisels, Rasps, Scrapers, Spokeshaves

Right Door, Chisels, Rasps, Scrapers, Spokeshaves

The Whole Montey

The Whole Montey

 

 

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Tool Cabinet Details

When I made the wall cabinet for my hand tools recently there were a few details I didn’t get finished.  I had a small pile of tools that I intended to hang from the inside of the doors that I hadn’t yet made hangers for, and of course the drawers.  This past weekend I picked up some 4/4 Alder to make the rest of the tool holders, and the drawers.

I’m still cogitating on the drawers.  I have a “drawer lock joint” router bit that would probably make quick work of six drawers, and that kind of joinery would be in keeping with the down-home pragmatic construction I used on the rest of the cabinet (inexpensive shop-grade plywood, table saw joinery and biscuits).  At the same time, it would be a great chance to practice dovetailing and making drawers.

We’ll see.  I still need to make a holder for my rulers, squares, and panel and marking gauges.  By next weekend I should be ready to tackle the drawers, so I’d better have a plan by then.

Holder for scrapers and burnisher

Holder for scrapers and burnisher

Hangers for braces and eggbeater

Hangers for braces and eggbeater

Rack for marking knives and awls

Rack for marking knives and awls, and a holder for my dovetail saws

 

 

 

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Quickie Cutting Board

I needed some shop time today to relax and clear my head, so I rummaged around and found a scrap of Cherry.  Nice color, but not enough to do much with.  So I made a cutting board with bread board ends and through-mortises.  The mortises aren’t perfect, but they are snug and overall pretty nice..  I planed it all nice and smooth, broke the edges with a block plane and rubbed in a coat of (food safe) Tried & True Oil/Wax finish.  I’ll give it another coat tomorrow while I clean up the mess in the shop and leave it to dry for a week.  It looks nice and didn’t take long to do.

Laying out the tenons

Laying out the tenons

Finished Cutting Board

Finished Cutting Board

 

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Final (maybe?) Sconce Plans

I updated my plans for the sconce I’ve been building, a sort-of reproduction of a sconce from the Blacker House, designed by Greene & Greene.  Visually it’s pretty close I think.

In this update I added some missing dimensions, and lengthened the wall bracket by 1/2″.  I also created patterns for the stained glass and sent them to the woman that is going to be teaching the class I’m taking in a couple of weeks.  Between now and then I’ll add a few more coats of oil to the sconce parts and start on another project.  Let me know if you build something from these plans, this has been a fun project and I’ve learned a lot along the way.  I’ll post pictures once I’ve done the glass and mounted them in the house.

Download the plans here

Sconce, front view with stained glass pattern fit

Sconce, front view with stained glass pattern fit

Sconce, side view with stained glass pattern

Sconce, side view with stained glass pattern

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First Coat of Finish on the Sconces

I just slathered on the first coat of finish on my sconces.  Just plain old boiled linseed oil.  Nothing fancy.  I decided that I’m going to put a coat or two of oil on and see how I like it.  If it’s too light I’ll probably put a coat or two of Garnet shellac on to build up some color, but the thought of getting an even coat on these little parts with all the little edges and corners leaves me a tad put off.

After one coat of oil the body and lid have reasonable color.  The wall brackets — the last parts I made — are a bit too light.  They will darken over time, so maybe I’ll just build up an all-oil finish and call it done.  In the pics I haven’t wiped off the excess oil yet, so they show more sheen than they actually have at this point.

So, what’s next? building up more finish, cleaning up the shop and deciding what to do for the glass panels.  The local glass shop has a 1 day introductory stained glass class in a few weeks.  That might be the best plan for getting a handle on the glasswork.  In the meantime I need to finish a few details on my tool cabinet and finish my Roubo workbench.  And I want to do 10 other projects, including a small wall-hung cabinet.  Too many ideas, not enough time.

Tops - These look really nice to me!

Tops – These look really nice to me!

Sconce Bodies - Looks OK, but I'm eager for them to darken up

Sconce Bodies – Looks OK, but I’m eager for them to darken up

Wall Brackets, too light still.

Wall Brackets, too light still.

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