Monthly Archives: November 2013

Stoopid Magazine Project

A recent issue of Woodworker’s Journal had several “holiday gift” projects, including a tray for doing jigsaw puzzles with slide out drawers to hold the extra parts.  My wife saw it and put in her order.

I thought it would be a simple project, and if I’d stuck to the plans it probably would have been.  But the one in the magazine article was designed for only 500 piece puzzles.  My wife and son take on jigsaw puzzles with at least 1,000 pieces at a minimum, the most recent one was a 2,000 piece puzzle.  Personally, it makes my head hurt just thinking about fitting 2,000 little pieces together.  As it turns out, making the tray had the same effect.

This should be an easy project, but scaling it up made it unwieldy and floppy to boot. I tried to reinforce it, but it wasn’t a lot of fun to put together, and I ended up having to made some “adjustments” to get it to work at all.  But I persevered, and it’s done.  Not fancy, not elegant and definitely not my best work.  But done, and sometimes that’s the name of the game.

Drawers Open

Drawers Open

Drawers Closed

Drawers Closed

 

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CAD Lantern

I re-modeled the lantern design I want to use for my driveway gate project last night.  The original model was just to simple solid — a cube sitting on a cube with a domed roof.  It was fast to model so I could get the visual look I wanted, but it wasn’t something that had the details on fabrication.

I drew it up again as a series of sheet metal pieces joined together with rivets.  This is pretty close to final, although I think I’ll do something to make the rivets on the faces of the lantern box symmetrical.

G&G Style Driveway Gate as a Sheet Metal Model

G&G Style Driveway Gate as a Sheet Metal Model

I need to order the low voltage lights for the two lanterns and the the street number so I can make sure everything is going to fit properly.  Monday I’m hoping to go to Alan Steel to pick up some copper sheet, I expect that to be an unhappy experience for my wallet.  I’ll probably only get enough to make the street number and finish that before I start making the lights.

For the main glass I’m going to use Wissmach Amber Iridized art glass:

Wissmach Medium Amber Iridized

Wissmach Medium Amber Iridized Glass

Here is an exploded view of the the lantern body, it will be a great opportunity to practice driving solid rivets!

 

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Too Many Ideas

I’m working through the design details for the copper lanterns for my driveway gate project, and working on getting some better quotes for having the parts for the street number and lanterns laser or water-jet cut.  That’s going to take a week or two to sort out.  If I was making a bunch of these I could get a lot better price for each one — that’s part of how I ended up starting a business to manufacture chopper parts.  Let’s not go there.

Meanwhile I’m working on a scaled-up version of a tray for holding jigsaw puzzles that has two drawers to hold the parts.  It was in a recent woodworking magazine and a requires from SWMBO for Christmas.   Every time I have to cut something on my tablesaw I’m reminded that I need an outfeed table for it.  So last night I doodles out some dimensions.

Since my shop is smallish I need to make sure I make the best use of space I can.  And since my table saw has a big sliding table I only need outfeed support next to the sliding extension.  About two feet wide, running parallel to the sliding table.  I want it to be able to store my extra blades and saw accessories, and I want it to be mobile so it can do double duty as an assembly table.  I’d like it to be a bit wider for that purpose, but space is tight.

My current thinking is that this will be built similarly to a kitchen base cabinet out of 3/4″ plywood, with banks of drawers on one face.  Maybe I can build some clamp storage into the back side too.  Here is my current 2D mockup, I think it’s enough to start building it.

Outfeed Cart, 2D Mockup

Outfeed Cart, 2D Mockup

Unfortunately when I start adding up the materials to make it it gets expensive quickly.  I figure at least 3 sheets of 18mm baltic birch ply (5′ square).  It might be 4 sheets by time I add in the drawer fronts, at $45 a sheet.  Plus a sheet or two of 1/2″ plywood for the drawer bodies, and 11 drawer slides at about $15 each.

Good grief, maybe I can do something with cinder blocks and an old door.

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A Little More CAD Work

I spent some time adjusting the size and proportions on the lanterns for my gate project, I think I’m close with this version.  It doesn’t have all of the details because it’s just a mock up to get the overall feel right, I’ll model it as I’d build it next and add in most of the details as I do that.  The main glass panels will probably have an abstract/cloud design in them similar to some of the interior lamps from the Culbertson house.

Gate Lamp Mockup

Gate Lamp Mockup

I got a quote back for laser cutting the street number — it was about three times what I’d expected.  I’ll have to shop it around I guess.  Worst case I’ll have to rent time at the local “Tech Shop” and do it myself on their laser cutter.  By the time I made all of the parts for the lights and gate hinges laid out I’ll have a lot of laser cutting to have done — so I’d rather not do it that way.

Gate Mockup With Lamp

Gate Mockup With Lamp

 

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Back to work designing the front gate

Work and family continue to be nuts, and that’s enough about that — other than to justify why almost nothing has happened in the shop the past two weeks.

The ancient laptop I use for my CAD software was on it’s last leg, so I spent the morning setting up a new (ish) computer to run SolidWorks, and installed the latest version that my license allowed.  It was totally worth the effort, high rez renders complete in less than a minute (as opposed to medium res renders on the old machine that took 40 minutes if it didn’t overheat and shut down).

I re-worked the Arts & Crafts style street number I had designed previously.  I changed the font, changed the horizontal bars that hold the numbers, changed the shape of the border, and added rivets around the periphery.  I also laid it out so that the whole part could be laser cut, with tabs for the sides.  I can bend that on my brake.  I just emailed it off for a quote to have it cut from 16 gauge copper.

Final Design for Street Number

Final Design for Street Number

The main part of the assembly will be a sandwhich of the copper exterior, the glass panels, and a steel backer to hold the glass in place.  There will be a bracket that mounts to the wall, which will hold two small 12 volt lamps, and this assembly will attach to the wall bracket.

Exploded View

Exploded View

Next I need to work out the final design for the two metal lanterns.  I will probably tweak the gate a little, and I have to design the hinge supports still.

I’ve been a good boy this year, I’m hoping Santa brings me a hollow chisel mortiser for Christmas.

Updated gate model with new number plaque

Updated gate model with new number plaque

 

 

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A Conundrum In The Shop

co·nun·drum
/kəˈnəndrəm/
noun
  1. a confusing and difficult problem or question.

Perhaps I’m easily stumped, but as I’m approaching the weekend I feel a building sense of panic over what I’ll do with my shop time.

You see, I finished the Greene & Greene sconce I’ve been working on last weekend and I haven’t decided what to do next.  I’m dying to start a new project, but I don’t feel ready.  I haven’t fully decided what to do next, and I certainly haven’t made plans or bought materials for anything specific.

Done! Finished!  Acabado! Terminé!

Done! Finished! Acabado! Terminé!

I’ve been heading towards a major overhaul on the entry to my property, building a new G&G style driveway gate, street number and a pair of copper lanterns.  But I have more design work to do before I can start that.  I also want Santa to bring me a mortiser to speed up the process.

Current design for the new gate

Current design for the new gate

Not that I have any shortage of things I could do.  Just as a for-instance, there is a customized (albeit unfinished) Studebaker pickup truck in my metal shop that has been languishing for 10 years.  My buddy Ron and I chopped the top 6″ and cut a 4″ horizontal section out of the body of the cab.  I built a new, smooth firewall, sectioned the hood and heavily modified the frame so that it had airbags to lower it, independent front suspension and a Cadillac 500ci engine.  Then I got distracted with starting a chopper parts business.  Before the Studebaker I’d been into making furniture (don’t get excited, I was pretty clueless).

There is plenty to do on this, including making new floorboards, welding up about 20 linear feet of seams in the cab from where it was sliced-and-diced, making a custom grill, fabricating a steering column, making a dashboard…  It’s quite a long list, which is perhaps why I’ve postponed starting on it again.  But, it would be really fun to get it to the point where I could drive it to work.  Between the body and suspension modifications it’s considerably shorter than stock and compares favorably with my Mini Cooper.

Chopped and Sectioned Studebaker

Chopped and Sectioned Studebaker

I also have several unfinished knife projects.  One is a stainless chef’s knife made from a purchased cast stainless steel blank.  I did the finish work on this blade years ago and had it professionally heat treated (heat treating stainless is a specialized operation).  I forged the dagger from a stack of discarded power hacksaw blades that I forge welded together with thin nickel foil.  When it’s etched it should have an interesting twist pattern in the steel.  The small blade at the bottom is forged from a scrap of 1″ round O1 tool steel.  All three need some more detail work on the blades, handles made and attached and guards fabricated.

Knives in the offing

Knives in the offing

And I have a long list of “someday” furniture projects.  Two from the top of the list include:

Reproducing this bookcase from the Blacker house:

Blacker House Bookcase

Blacker House Bookcase

And reproducing this light fixture from the Gamble House for my dining room:

Gamble House Dining Room Fixture

Gamble House Dining Room Fixture

But I’m still left with the question of what to do next.  Sigh.

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Inglenook Sconce Finished

So, I’ve proven that if you you work on a project 10 minutes a week you will eventually get it finished.  The past month or so at work has had a number of challenges, which has seriously cut into my already small slice of shop time.  I’m working on a plan to try to carve out more shop time, and I’m eager to start the gate project, which will actually be a number of smaller projects all combined.

But, on the the point of this post.  I finished the sconce I’ve been working on.  It’s a close copy of the sconces in the Inglenook in the Gamble house.    I scaled it according to photos and my memory of the originals that I saw when I toured the Gamble House last spring.  I think it’s pretty close, but I want to go back and look at the originals again.  Do you think they would mind if I measured the original?

Since I’d completed the stained glass panels already, I was pretty close to being finished.  I had to install the metal bracket I made to hold the lamp socket, which also screws into the bottom of the “roof”, into the cloud lift hanger brackets.  Then I glued the glass panels in.  It was a little too tight and I had to make some minor adjustments — the glass I used was about 1/16″ thicker than what I’d used previously.  Whoops.

Installing the metal bracket

Installing the metal bracket

I drew up some brackets to mount to the bottom of the beam in the entry hall, these will be used to hang the sconce from some leather straps.

Hanger Brackets

Hanger Brackets

And I screwed the brackets to the beam, I’m ready to install the sconce!

Reach for the sconce...

Reach for the sconce…

Finished sconce, ready to install

Finished sconce, ready to install

Sconce On, 40 watt "edison filament" lamp

Sconce On, 40 watt “edison filament” lamp

I made a small, dished Walnut cover plate for the junction box

IMG_1214IMG_1209

 

IMG_1208

Overall, I’m happy with the result.  If I make another there are a few small tweaks to the design I’d like to see.  The lower rails on the sides should have the “cloud lift” too, and the Ebony bars on the roof should be a tad longer and thinner.  And the front stained glass panel is a little off, I need to work on keeping the “vine” part of the design more fluid.  The side panels came out better.

 

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