Monthly Archives: December 2014

Woodworking with Tweezers

Yesterday, after the holiday anxiety had passed I decided it was time to face my demons.  I took a Marquetry class with Patrick Edwards in late September.  The class was absolutely great, but I really struggled with being able to accurately saw the parts out using the Chevalet.

Fast forward two months and I’ve built my own personal torture device Marquetry Chevalet.  Time to face my demons, I don’t like getting “stuck” on learning a technique or process.

First off, I needed to adjust several things on the Chevy for it to work properly.  First, the jaws need to clamp tight in the middle and not tough at the sides — by the thickness of a sheet of paper.  This is to help with steering the packet, if it clamps most tightly at the edge it will be hard to take a corner at speed.

Then I started on adjusting the saw so it cuts square to the rear vise face.  I did this by cutting a plug out of a 1/2″ MDF and sliding it through front to back.  If it sticks that tells you the blade is out of square.  I got it as close as I could, the plug slides through, but it’s slightly snug at the front and loose at the rear.  Part of the problem is that the jaws only come together at the top edge.  The jaw faces are parallel when open, the rear jaw swings in an arc to meet the front jaw and then connect just at the top.

What that mens is the the packet between the jaws can pivot front to back by maybe a quarter of an inch – clamped tight at the top with a 1/4″ or so gap at the bottom.  That is what is making the last bit of adjustment tricky, if I let the packet tip while sawing the test plug without realizing it I get inconstant results.  I’ll probably experiment with a tapered rear jaw to see if that helps – although I think I have it more than close enough already.

Sawing test plugs to check that the Chevy's front end alignment is right

Sawing test plugs to check that the Chevy’s front end alignment is right

After several hours of fussing around with filing the vise jars, moving the adjusters and adjusting other bits I declare the Chevy roadworthy and decide to take a short road trip.  I’ll need some supplies and a map.

I’ve spent hours searching the ‘net for “marquetry patterns”, including looking at embroidery patterns, stained glass patterns, line drawings that could be adapted, etc, etc.  Lots of ideas, but I hadn’t settled on one that was the right balance of “interesting” and “simple”.  I finally decided to go with this rose pattern.  I like the shape, and it seemed “simple enough”, although I wasn’t really seeing the complexity in the middle of the rose.  Lots of little bits there.

I scaled the pattern up slightly to fit within the 4″ x 6″ veneer samples I bought 20 years ago.  I picked Wenge for the stem, Black Limba for the leaves, Paduk for the rose and Rippled Sycamore for the background.  There are also 1.5mm and 3mm waster veneer for the front and back of the packet.

Pattern and materials for a first marquetry project

Pattern and materials for a first marquetry project

To start, I had to mix up some hide glue using the glue pot I built last year.  First time out, Yeah!

My glue pot finally sees it's first outing

My glue pot finally sees it’s first outing

I think I had the glue just slightly too thin.  Not by much though.  I did discover a problem with Hot Hide Glue (HHG in the internet woodworker vernacular), more on that in a bit.

I laminated a piece of newsprint to the show face of each veneer to give it a little resistance to splintering while I’m sawing and assembling.  I also laminated the pattern to the front waster veneer.  I made up a little piece of grease paper by rubbing some industrial wax onto newsprint and folding it over itself (I’ll get some lard or tallow this week, this stuff what on hand  but it’s too sticky and clumpy).

The packet is assembled for sawing by laying down the thicker “waster” veneer, the grease paper and the first layer of show veneer.  These are taped at the edges with veneer tape.  Then the next layer of show veneer is added and taped, continuing until the front waster board with the pattern glued on is added and the edges are wrapped with tape.  For the process we did in the class, using a paper-covered assembly board, the show face of the veneer with the newsprint lamination I added needs to go down.  The final image will be a mirror of the pattern on the front of the packet.  Unfortunately, we’ll come back to that too.

Assembled marquetry packet, ready for sawing

Assembled marquetry packet, ready for sawing

So, in the class my nemesis was the sawing.  My cuts were “lumpy” and wove back and forth around the line like a drunken teenager learning to drive.  So it was with no small amount of trepidation that I climbed into the seat on the Chevy put on my turn signal and checked over my shoulder for the highway patrol.

Honestly, the sawing went great.  I had Lightnin’ Hopkins cranked up and just took my time.  The cuts weren’t perfect, but it’s subtle things.  A tiny bit off the line here, an inside corner that should be sharper there.  I’m using the finest 2/0 Escargot fret saw blades because that’s what seems to give me the best control. I need a 5X magnifier to see that there even teeth on it.  The trickiest part of  the sawing sometimes is getting the tiny little bits out of the packet when they are cut free without losing them.

An hour or so of sawing

An hour or so of sawing

There are a lot of process steps to doing Marquetry successfully.  Patrick would yell at me if he saw the pile of parts above, and I’m going to follow his instruction on the next project.  What’s wrong with it?  First, I should immediately throw away any layers I know I’m not using.  If it’s part of a leaf then I only need the Black Limba piece, the grease paper, waster veneers, Wenge, Sycamore and Paduk should all go in the trash immediately.  Second, the parts should be laid out neatly according to the pattern as they come off the saw.  They are close, but not quite right.  One of the goals is to handle the parts as few times as possible.  With about 40 pieces in this little picture, having and extra 120 pieces mixed in isn’t doing me any favors.

About half way done sawing.  I'm using tape to reinforce areas that are not well supported after removing parts.

About half way done sawing. I’m using tape to reinforce areas that are not well supported after removing parts.

Once all of the parts are sawn out I decide to checkout the overall effect.  On a copy of the pattern I set out each individual part, sorting through the little disorganized piles.  Next time, I’ll only keep the bits I need and I’ll keep them in proper relation to each other.

All the parts cut out.  Normally at this point you would think about sand shading the parts and then assembling.  I'm skipping the shading for this exercise.

All the parts cut out. Normally at this point you would think about sand shading the parts and then assembling. I’m skipping the shading for this exercise.

Up to this point things have gone reasonably well.  If you like stories with happy endings you might want to just skim from here on and assume you’re the Fairy Godmother to my Cinderella.

There are a lot of processes here that I need to figure out and get dialed in to work in my shop.  Setting up the pattern board (special kraft paper stretched over a backer board), HHG, sawing, sand shading, assembly, filling the gaps with mastic.  I decided to skip the sand shading as I didn’t have the sand and was eager to see the first sample through to completion.

I had the assembly board set up, and in the space of 30 seconds ran into to serious problems.  I brushed the kraft paper on the board with HHG, and placed the background onto the board.  Problem 1, it was cold in the shop (maybe 45 or 50 degrees) and the glue started to set almost immediately.  I had the background partly stuck in the glue when I realized this.  I pressed on, applying little bits of glue in an area and then putting another piece in place.  But it was fighting me the whole way.  Parts weren’t sticking properly, other than to my fingers.  Then I picked up the next piece in the assembly order and it popped out of the tweezers (my hands were cold), flipped end-over-end, fell through one of the bench dog holes and landed somewhere in the dark nether reaches under my bench.

After ten minutes of crawling on the floor I gave up on finding it.  I put the nearly-complete assembly in clamps and went inside for dinner.  On my way, I realized mistake #2, I assembled the marquetry upside down.  It should be face-down at this point, but it’s face up, showing the newsprint veneer.

So three problems.  How do I keep the HHG from going off so quickly?  Probably warm the assembly board and heat the shop.  Or wait until summer to do more marquetry.  The assembly reversal is just a brain fart on my part, with enough self-recrimination I’ll probably avoid that in the future.  The missing piece of marquetry I could probably patch, but I’m on the fence in terms of trying to repair this now.  Another piece pulled off from clamping, and a couple of pieces are loose.  I’ll have another cup of coffee and stare at it a while..

It doesn't look like much at this point, but it was only intended to be a learning exercise.  Try and fix it, or see how far I can throw it?

It doesn’t look like much at this point, but it was only intended to be a learning exercise. Try and fix it, or see how far I can throw it?

 

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We Came, We Saw, We Gifted

Like years past, my son and I decided to make a few gifts for Christmas this year.  Just to ensure that we have the maximum amount of time relaxing and not stressing over things that need to be done.

The Reindeer of Christmas Presents

The Reindeer of Christmas Presents

My project was to build a backsaw to give to my brother-in-law.  You’ve seen the previous posts, there wasn’t much more to write about that project.  I spent way too much time brushing Shellac on the handle.  In retrospect I should have sprayed it with lacquer or just used an oil finish.  I didn’t want to overly darken the color of the wood and I thought clear Shellac would be the ticket.  Mostly it was just fussy and imperfect.

Once the handle was smoothed it was a matter of setting the teeth, sharpening and assembly.  Voila!

Completed Smith's Key saw. 12" toothline, 13tpi Rip

Completed Smith’s Key saw. 12″ toothline, 13tpi Rip

Making the handle was 90% of the work in the project, and getting the finish on it was probably half of the work by itself.  Next time I’ll do the finish differently, brushing Shellac, sanding and brushing more is not my idea of fun.

Bronze back and fasteners, Claro Walnut handle

Bronze back and fasteners, Claro Walnut handle

Finished handle.  I'll gibe it an "A" on shaping and a "B" on finishing.  I was going to straight A's, but but sometimes there are trick questions on the final you can't anticipate.

Finished handle. I’ll give it an “A” on shaping and a “B” on finishing. I was going to straight A’s, but but sometimes there are trick questions on the final you can’t anticipate.

The most important thing is how does it work?  It’s extremely comfortable in my hand.  I built it with the idea of being a general purpose joinery saw for building furniture.  I think it should work really well for cutting tenons and dovetails.  I made several practice cuts and the saw tracks absolutely straight, cuts crisply and leaves a smooth surface finish.  I’m very pleased with how it works.  I’ll need to make myself one of these — it’s hits a nice sweet spot between my dedicated dovetail saw and my dedicated tenon saw (which is actually too coarse-toothed for my taste).

My son has been hard at work building a chess set.  All of the individual pieces were scroll sawn, first from the front view then from the side view.  I’m proud of him for sticking with it, some of the cuts were tricky and the wood we used was barely big enough for the pattens we found online.  For finish we soaked them in a brew of equal parts Mineral Spirits, Boiled Linseed Oil and Poly.  I made the board, which was just a lamination of 1 3/8″ wide strips that I then cross-cut and re-glued with every other one flipped.

The completed chess set.  I'm impressed, I think my sone did a fantastic job on this...not even counting that he's 14.

The completed chess set. I’m impressed, I think my sone did a fantastic job on this…not even counting that he’s 14.

The final project was a batch of pizza cutters.  The cutter mechanism is something I picked up at Woodcraft, along with some “acrylic turning blocks”, or as we like to call them “demon-spawned torture devices”.  The are decidedly un-fun to turn, we switched to wood after the first one.  They smell like plastic when you’re turning them of course, and are really prone to grabbing the tool, chipping out and spraying hot plastic chunks everywhere.  Sanding wasn’t much fun either — with the finer grits it will re-melt the dust onto the handle and you have to drop back to a coarse grit to remove it.  Never. Again.

I had to help with this one when Kolya ran into problems, but it’s still mostly his work.  Once he had it sanded to 1,500 grit I took it to the buffer and polished it.

Turned acrylics handle for a pizza cutter

Turned acrylic handle for a pizza cutter

We used some Chakte-Koc to turn the other two handles.  It’s still damp so it was an absolute joy to turn.  As it dries out it will darken to a deep red-orange.  The finish is Tried & True Oil/Wax mix.

Pizza!, Pizza! (Pizza!)

Pizza!, Pizza! (Pizza!)

So I’m done with all of the projects that have been going on in the shop.  What to do now?

 

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Simple Saw Vise

I’ve been slowly applying and leveling coats of shellac on the handle of the saw I’m making.  I’m probably overdoing it, but I want to have a nice glassy smooth finished handle.  While I’m doing that I’m thinking ahead to setting the teeth and sharpening it.  Somewhere I have an old saw vise, but I wasn’t really happy with it the last time I used it – it has teeth meant to be driven into the top of the bench, and then it needs to screwed to the front of the bench.  Not ideal.

There are a lot of home-brew saw vises, and a googling turned up several ideas.  The simplest one I saw that overlapped with materials I have underfoot already was the “Lie-Nielsen Saw Vise” that I found on Close Grain.

It’s simplicity in itself.  I cut two pieces of 3/4″ ply to 9″ x 18″, which just fit in a scrap left over from the quickie TV table I built.  I has a length of 1″ x 3″ Poplar laying against the wall.  I cut one 1″ length and ripped it in half to make a pair of cleats.  Two more 18″ lengths were ripped into a 3/4″ wide strip and whatever was left.

Parts for the saw vise

Parts for the saw vise

The assembly was just glue and screws.  I glued one wide strip and one narrow strip on each piece of plywood, then screwed the cleats to the outside faces.  The narrow strips are the jaws of the vise.

Gluing the Poplar strips to the plywood

Gluing the Poplar strips to the plywood

Vise mostly done.  Cleats screwed to the outside, jaw and hinge supports glued to the inside

Vise mostly done. Cleats screwed to the outside, jaw and hinge supports glued to the inside

I used hinges at the bottom, but strips of leather or even thin plywood would probably work.  It just needs to flex enough to slide the saw in.

Hinges at the bottom to allow the vise to open

Hinges at the bottom to allow the vise to open

And it’s done.  It took as long to upload the photos and write this post as it did to make.  The cleats sit on the top of the leg vise and bench to keep the vise from falling it’s opened.  I’m going back out to the shop now to add a strip of leather to the jaws to make sure they hold the saw plate securely.

Finished vise ready to use

Finished vise ready to use

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Making a Back Saw, Part 3

Yesterday I left off with pictures of the freshly slotted saw handles.  It’s always a great confidence booster when something I was worrying about goes well.  Luckily, there is always something else waiting in the wings to keep hubris and humility balanced.

After several cups of coffee I went out to the shop yesterday morning and started laying out the mortise for the saw back.  I assembled the saw plate and bronze bace and fit it to the handle so I could scribe the layout directly from the bronze back.

Transfer the location of the brass back to the handle.  Yes, that's the marking knife I made with the "surgical blade" recently.  I need to make another, I really like this one.

Transfer the location of the brass back to the handle. Yes, that’s the marking knife I made with the “surgical blade” recently. I need to make another, I really like this one.

On the first handle I decided to chop the mortise just like I would for a piece of furniture.  It was going just fine, but when I loosened the vise to reposition the handle, guess what I found?  Yes, a little bit of humility there on the Group B Bench.

First handle cracked even though it was supported in the vise.

First handle cracked even though it was supported in the vise.

Bummer, right?  I’ve had this happen before with figured Claro Walnut, there was a great bit of curly figure in this piece too (obscured by the coarse sanding).  Unfortunately that also made the grain run vertically right in this spot.  Oh well, better now than after the saw was done.

For the second attempt I decided to try sawing the sides of the mortise, sort of like you would on half-blind dovetails.  That worked OK, but I’d be lying if I wasn’t wincing with every move of the chisel.  But it worked just fine.

Sides of mortise sawn

Sides of mortise sawn

With the mortise done I clipped the back of the saw plate so it would seat against the kerf in the handle and test assembled the saw.

Test Fit

Test Fit

It’s an OK fit, I’ll give it a B+ for accuracy and class participation.  The overall look of the saw is good.  I’ll need to trim the brass back just a bit.

Decent fit around the saw back

Decent fit around the saw back

With that done I was ready to start shaping the handle.  I drew layout lines on the side as you can see in the picture, and on the edges.  The lines on the edges are parallel to the sides and about 3/16 away.  I also drew in a center line on the edges of the handle.

Layout lines for the first step in shaping

Layout lines for the first step in shaping

The first step in shaping was to rasp a bevel from the layout line on the side to the line on the edge.  I tried to get a flat chamfer and to keep an “even” edge where the shaped area meets the side of the handle.

First bevel cut on the back of the handle

First bevel cut on the back of the handle

Once I had the primary bevels cut into the handle area on both sides, and on the front and back of the handle, I was ready for the next step.  I laid out a line in the middle of each bevel and rasped a second bevel from the line to the center line of the handle edge.  From there it was simple to round over the remaining facets to have an even shape.  By cutting a series of even facets you can ensure that the shape will be even more easily than just grabbing a rasp and rounding it over from the start.

Blackburn Tools has a great series of articles that describes the process in more detail, including some details I’m not going to incorporate on this saw — maybe on the next one.

sdasd

Both bevels cut and blended together,  Lots of sanding to go.

The rough shaping of the rounded part of the handle went really quickly.  Maybe 10 minutes.  This was followed by an hour or more of hand sanding the rounded areas to remove the rasp marks and smooth everything out.  I started with 100 grit, then 120, 150, 180, 220 and 320.  The hardest part for me are the chamfers y the saw plate.  They aren’t as uniform and flat as I’d like.  I’ll need to work on my technique.

Sanded

Sanded and smooth as heck

I drilled the handle for the saw nuts, drilled the saw plate to match and started working on the saw back and saw plate.  I got one coat of shellac on the handle and left it to dry overnight.  I’ll sand it today and work a couple of more coats on.  I need to set and sharpen the saw and assemble it but I think I’m pretty close.

Oh. Nuts.

Oh. Nuts.

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Second Saw Handle Roughed Out

I had a little time after work yesterday and decided to rough out a second handle for the backsaw project.  I made the first one in some dark Claro Walnut, but I was concerned that I would screw it up when cutting the slot or doing the final shaping of contours.  So I decided to cary a spare along through the process.

This one is also Claro, but it’s a marbled color with an interesting spray of figure.  I slabbed it out of a turning block I picked out of a sale bin years ago, I can only get one handle as there is a crack in the block.  It’s too bad because this one has some great color.

IMG_0023

Two handles rough shaped

On the second handle I used the scroll saw to profile it after drilling the holes.  This worked a bit better than the bandsaw cuts as there was less waste to clean up.  Both methods work fine, but I like having to do less rasp work to get the the lines on the pattern.

From here, the next step is the scary slotting of the handle for the saw plate.  It actually turned out not to be a big deal, maybe the saw gods were watching over me.  I used a marking gauge to scribe a centerline where I wanted to cut, then used another saw to start the key all the way around to a depth of about 1/8″.  Then I worked the kerf deeper and before I knew it I was watching to see that I hit the stop marks for depth.

Getting ready to saw the first handle slot.

Getting ready to saw the first handle slot.

On the first handle I used my 14ppt crosscut saw, I know this is a rip cut but I was concerned that the narrow very my dovetail saw leaves would be too thin for the saw plate.  I didn’t saw quite as perfectly as I’d like, there are a couple of spots where the teeth gouged the side of the keep making the opening look slightly uneven.  But it’s centered and straight and functional.

For the second blanks I used my trusty dovetail saw.  I cut a nice crisp slot with no tear out…that was too tight for the saw plate.  So I re-sawed the kerf with the crosscut saw and that opened it up just enough to fit the saw back.

Both handles slotted.  The one on the left is a little sloppy, but I think it will look fine when it's all shaped and assembled.

Both handles slotted. The one on the left is a little sloppy, but I think it will look fine when it’s all shaped and assembled.

Once I get some coffee I’ll head out to the shop and do the next step — which is to fit the saw plate and back to the handle.  The saw plate need to be clipped to set against the back of the slot, and I need to layout and cut the mortise for the bronze back.  With that done I’ll be able to fit the fasteners, and do the final shaping on the handle.  This should go relatively quickly, although I’m already wishing I hadn’t said that out loud.

Saw plate test fit into handle.  The plate needs to be clipped at an angle so it can settle completely against the slot in the handle.

Saw plate test fit into handle. The plate needs to be clipped at an angle so it can settle completely against the slot in the handle.

Just in case something goes amiss and neither of these handles work out, I picked up a couple of scraps of wood at Global Wood Source in Santa Clara.  These will also be useful “just in case” everything goes well and I decide I need to build a bunch more saws to fill the gaps in my saw till.

One is tiger stripe figured Honduran Mahogany, the other is Granadilo.  The Granadilo is a South American wood that is used as a tone wood in guitars.  It’s heavy, and the coloring looks like East Indian Rosewood to me.

Extra handle material.  Just in case.

Extra handle material. Just in case.

Rough Shaping the Handle

Roughing the handle in — that is, getting the handle contours cut and smoothed — is pretty basic stuff.  It helps a lot to have a nice pattern to glue to the wood and use as a guide.  I wanted to share the sources for handle patterns that I’ve found:

Saw Handle Templates on CraftsmanSpace.com

Blackburn Tools offers saw handle templates for the kits they sell, these are slick because they are all available is different hand sizes.  Isaac also has scans of actual handles for a number of vintage saws.

Wenzloff and Sons have several patterns available on their site.  They used to sell kits and parts, but they have reduced their line and I’m not sure how active they are in saw making these days.

Two Guys In A Garage, which is a great and unpretentious name, have a nice selection of patterns for many different vintage saws, including one for the Disston saw in my Millers Falls miter box.  Hmmm…  They also have parts for building saws including folded backs.

Tools for Working Wood sells a nice looking dovetail saw kit, their instruction packet includes a pattern for the handle and tips of cutting the slot and mortising for the saw back.

 

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Making a Backsaw

Part one of 300.  (Kidding…I hope)

I saw a comment on a recent Schwarzpost about purging your excess tools, complaining about how hard it is to find vintage / used backsaws.  That’s true to a certain extent, but it occurred to me that it might actually be about the same amount of effort and cash outlay to build a saw from parts as to restore a vintage saw.  Sure, the fresh-built saw won’t have the same vintage appeal (or rust pits) but it ought to work every bit as well.  I restored a Diston backsaw a couple of years ago, and re-shaping the teeth with a file wasn’t any picnic.  I didn’t get them perfect in the end, and my saw set was too coarse to get the set quite right.  I’ll go back and tune that one up as part of this post.

There are a couple of places that sell saw nuts, slotted or folder backs and pre-punched plates, both ala-cart and as “kits”.  Some you might want to check out are Two Guys In A Garage, Bontz Saw Works and Blackburn Tools.  There are probably others.  I purchased some parts from Isaac at Blackburn, he shipped the parts out quickly and has been very responsive to my naive questions.

The goal is to make a saw in the style of the 12″ carcase saw that is listed in Smith’s Key.

N8529037_JPEG_52_52 copy

12″ Carcase saw from Smith’s Key

 

Unlike a typical carcase saw with crosscut teeth, this one will have fine rip teeth for dovetailing and small tenons.  It also has somewhat less saw plate under the spine.  I ordered a .025″ plate with 13 tpi.  It should be a really handy all-around joinery saw.

As a side note, if you haven’t downloaded a copy of Smith’s Key it worth visiting the link above and downloading the whole thing.  There are a number of interesting tools shown.

Several saws from Smith's Key

Several saws from Smith’s Key

I also got a bronze slotted back and saw nuts from Blackburn Tools.  The actual alloy of the nuts and saw back are different – Brass/Bronze ends up being a very loose definition of Copper-based alloys, and many different alloys are sold under similar sounding names.  In this case the saw back is “Architectural Bronze” (57% copper, 3% lead, 40% zinc) and has a yellowish-white cast, looking more like Brass than (say) Copper.  The saw nuts have a much redder cast and are probably Commercial Bronze (90% copper and 10% zinc).  The higher copper percentage in the alloy is clear in the coloring.

Bronze saw back and nut, notice how much redder the nut is than the back.

Bronze saw back and nut, notice how much redder the nut is than the back.

Finding alloys that match in color and have the right properties for machining is no easy feat.  I think the reddish nuts will look good against the Walnut I’m planning on for the handle.

Isaac has handle patterns for many different saws, in different sizes, on his website.  Actually, “Two Guys” has a lot of interesting handle patterns on their site tool.  I’m using the pattern Isaac drew up specifically for the Smith’s Key saw.  I really like that he has each pattern scaled for different size hands.

Saw handle pattern - click on the image to go to Blackburn Tools to download the actual pattern.

Saw handle pattern – click on the image to go to Blackburn Tools to download the actual pattern.

I am actually going to cary several blanks through the handle making process.  In part, because I’m concerned about getting the slot for the saw plate in the right place.  I’m also thinking of making more than one of this saw eventually, so ending up with two or three handles would be just fine with me.

I have two handles going right now, one is a bit of figured Claro Walnut and another in a piece of Marbled Claro Walnut.  I started by attaching a copy of the pattern to the wood with 3M Super 77.  I drilled all of the holes as indicated in the pattern, then sawed the rest of the waste off on the bandsaw.  I stayed off the pattern lines, so there was some hand work to do to get the handle down to the right shape.

Pattern glued to wood, drill locations marked with an awl

Pattern glued to wood, drill locations marked with an awl

Holes drilled using Forstner bit

Holes drilled using Forstner bit

First handle sawn and profiled

First handle sawn and profiled

back side of first handle -- the wood still has a rough sawn texture.

back side of first handle — the wood still has a rough sawn texture.

I think for the second blank I’ll try cutting it on the scroll saw instead — I think I’ll be able to closer to the line and save some time filing and shaping.  This handle looks kind of dicey in the pictures – partly because the pattern is fuzzy and obscuring what you can see.  In person the contours are smooth and crisp.  I filed everything, and worked most of the edges with a scraper.

It’s worth noting that I shouldn’t have have drilled the marker holed for the saw nuts — on this blank I’m now locked into putting the saw nuts there.

Next up I’ll bring the Marbled Claro Walnut blank up to this same point — and maybe one more blank just for good measure.  Once that done I’ll cut the slot for the saw plate to make sure that goes properly.

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I’m done staring at this now

After probably two months of part time tinkering I’ve finished building the french marquetry saw I’ve been piddling with.  It looks nice, it seems to clamp parts properly and it saws.  I’m going to stick to simple projects for a little while.

This wasn’t hard, it was just a lot of pieces to make.  It needed to be accurate so that it cuts properly (exactly perpendicular to the real vise jaw).  I probably will need to adjust the carriage for the saw frame to dial this in — that’s why it has the adjusters built in.  But for today there are no more parts to make.  And with the Chevy assembled there are no more stacks of parts to be shuffled from one place to another.

I’m going to do a simple practice marquetry project soonish, but I have one or two quick things I want to build first.  The first is a tool from Smith’s Key, this should be a lot of fun.  Now where did I leave my box of triangular files?

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Thumb Twiddling

I made the last (I hope) part for the Chevy — just a knob for the saw frame.  The main purpose of the knob is to provide a place to press your chest against when putting a blade in the saw.  The process is to clamp one side of the blade, then slightly flex the saw frame by squeezing it against your chest and clamping the other side of the blade.

I don’t think I love the shape, but it will serve to assemble the saw once the finish dries.  Which might be a while, since it’s cool here and I’m using an oil-based finish.  I wiped a couple of additional thin coats of oil/poly mix on the parts today.  I’d like to imagine that it will be cured tomorrow, but then I’d like to win the lottery tomorrow to.  I don’t have high hopes of either coming to pass.

But it’s done. Fin. Críochnaithe as my ancestors would say.

Knob for the Chevy saw frame turned from a scrap of Claro Walnut.  It could double as a gear shift knob for a classic Chevy.

Knob for the Chevy saw frame turned from a scrap of Claro Walnut. It could double as a gear shift knob for a classic Chevy.

I glued a 5/16-18 coupling nut into a counterbored hole, this will thread onto the back of the blade clamp in the hardware kit.

I epoxied a 5/16-18 coupling nut into a counterbored hole, this will thread onto the back of the blade clamp in the hardware kit.

Time to start the next project while I enjoy the sounds of finish drying…

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I was wrong…

I thought I had all the fab work on the Chevalet done.  It turns out there were a few details left to do.  Nothing crazy, but so far it’s added up to probably five or six hours of little bits.  The holes to mount the chain for the clamp actuator.  Two spacer blocks that go between the seat assembly and the upright.  Remaking the vise spring because it wasn’t right. The vise jaws. And etc, etc.

Nothing nuts, just stuff that needed to be made, tweaked, sanded, scraped or stared at.

All of those details are done now.  Except for making a knob for the saw frame.  That’s a lathe job, and I’ll knock that out tonight or tomorrow morning.  But first I wanted to get a coat of finish on all of the parts I’ve made so far.

I mixed equal parts Mineral Spirits, Linseed Oil and Polyurethane, and slathered everything.  It’s still soaking in the pictures, and after I hit “post” I’m going to go wipe it dry.  I may put one more coat on tomorrow, but it’s a coin toss.  I just wanted to bring out the color in the wood and give it a little protection.

Mission (mostly) accomplished.

I’m looking forward to starting a new project (W00T!)

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Chevy Fabrication Finished

I completed construction on the classic chevy yesterday.  Or as a friend used to say, “it’s all fabrimacated now”.

A little sanding and slathering, then final assembly and adjusting.  I need to order some veneer today so I can see if I can pull off a simple marquetry project without Patrick and Patrice coaching.

What I did yesterday was the “slidey thingine” and the “clampy thingie”.  I didn’t take any pictures of the latter part, but it’s just a 3/4″  board that is thinned down to 3/8″ for most of it’s length.  I actually made a cosmetic mistake on it and might re-do it.  we’ll see.  The foot pedal assembly came out nice.  It started with a giant dovetail connection between the vertical slide and the actual foot medal.

Dovetail sawn on the end of the vertical slide

Dovetail sawn on the end of the vertical slide.  To ensure it ended up in the sight spot on the horizontal foot pedal I struck a center line, that way I only had to watch four things while transferring the teal to the pedal: centerline alignment, baseline gap, alignment with the square and tracking the marking knife.

I did a reasonably good job sawing and chiseling the joint, I had to pare one small area where the the saw went slightly off course.  When I knocked the joint together is was TIGHT, if it had been any tighter I would have worried.  Back apart, glued and into the vise to dry while I took my sone to a school function…

The sound of one glue joint drying...

The sound of one glue joint drying…

Back home, the glue’s dried enough (or, more accurately, I’ve waited ling enough for the glue to dry).  A little clean up on the back of the joint and it look pretty good.  One little gap right at the edge.  No one, other than the 3 people that read my blog, will ever see it.  The important think it that it be strong, and I[m confident on that front.

Finished pedal/slider assembly

Finished pedal/slider assembly

Back into the car, pick up screws at the hardware store, a few groceries, and finally the boy, and I’m back home again.  I finish up the pedal mechanism and install it on the front leg of the seat assembly.

Pedal mechanism done and installed

Pedal mechanism done and installed

And with that done, I can finally glue up the seat assembly.  This went as smoothly as any multi-part assembly could go.  I’d profit everything, so it was just a matter of sliding everything in place while juggling clamps.  I wiped off the worst of the glue squeeze out,tonight I’ll give it a once over with some sandpaper (everything was pre-sanded) just to clean up any shop dings and bits of escaped glue.  Then I can put a coat of finish on the parts. I’m going with a 1-1-1 mix of mineral spirits, linseed oil and poly for the first few coats.  I really only want enough finish on this to protect it and bring out the color of the wood.  I’ve never finished spell without dye, so I’m eager to see how this looks, color-wise.  It should be fairly brown with some reddish cast.

Seat assembly glue up

Seat assembly glue up

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