Monday, January 31, 2011

Making some eight sided tapering pencil posts and sharpening.

I am currently working on two queen size pencil post beds so I am making all of the posts at the same time. Once the post is made square, it is then tapered on the table saw to a four sided tapering post.   In order to make the remaining 4 facets (to make eight in all) first the post is scribed to mark out where the extra facets will lie then the lambs tongue is rough chiseled, then most of stock is removed staying a bit above the scribe lines.  I use a power planer for this to same my arms.  Then finally a hand plane is used to finish off the final facets until the scribe lines are all gone.
roughing the lambs tongue
taking fine shavings with a cabinet scraper
lambs tongue after finishing
with chisel and scraper
I made this little hand plane about
15 years ago. It is a great plane for this work.
lambs tongue before finishing

the new tool rest for my grinder. not pretty but
it works very nicely.
For all of this hand work, sharp tools are a must.  My grinding wheel has not been working well lately and I have been having a really hard time getting blades to be true before honing in the water stone.  I finally took the time to re-make my tool support for the grinder.  I used a wooden hinge that I had made as a test when I made a gate leg table last year.  This is a very rigid hinge. The difference was instantly amazing.  I was able to get a straight even grind that was quickly honed to a perfect edge.  When all is working properly, a new grind/sharpen takes about 5 minutes.  Before I fixed my jig, I was easily taking 30 minutes or more of very frustrating time to do the job and not ending up with good results.  Now that I can create a fine even sharpened edge, I should be able to just hone for the next two sharpenings and skip the grinding part.  More time saved.
the two white lines are actually the mirror
smooth surface of  the front and back edge of
the hollow ground bevel.

Stay sharp,

6' Windsor Bench, cars, and new work is coming in.

Here are a few shots of the 6' Cod Rib Settee that I just delivered last week.  I managed to get it delivered a day ahead of schedule in order to avoid driving through another north east coastal storm.  The trip was highlighted by having the chance to see the great house where the bench will live and to meet the owners.  When looking at the photos, remember that this bench is 1" shallower (front to back) that the 6' Settee on my website.  I think it works. There is a difference though.

Also, I was able to do the delivery in my 1987 300TD Mercedes wagon that I bartered for a few years back.  A six foot bench just fits in the back.  I was also delivering the car to the dealership from where I got the car in order to have some specialized exhaust work done on it.   My friend and owner of the dealership was gracious enough to give me a very nice loaner.  At least to me. It is a 2002 E320 Mercedes sedan.  These are amazing cars. Even 9 years old and with 143000 miles on it, it is tight, powerful and smooth driving.  I will definitely keep an eye out for one of these. For me, it is a reminder that buying quality does pay.  The car that I took in for work has 280,000 miles on it and I have another '87 wagon with 480,000 miles on it that I try to drive only in the summer these days.  It is in great shape, though the newer cars, 10 or so years old, are way ahead.    During these times of fuel and climate issues, I feel guilty about it but I do love cars.  We spend so much time in them that it is understandable I guess.  It is always exciting to see what the car companies are coming out with to use less fuel and to give more comfort and performance. The only drawback is that I need to wait ten years until I can afford it.  If you have a ten year old E-Class Mercedes, I may be interested in bartering.  Diesels are preferable.

And, yes, work is coming in. After a slow period, I have a bunch of new orders.  I am currently working on 2 Pencil Post Beds, 3 Kitchen Work Stools, 8 New Waltham Side Chairs,  2 custom Trestle Tables and I am waiting on a deposit for a 5' Waltham Bench.

More coming soon,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

6' Bench on Schedule, making it right.

I have a hole in my work schedule due to needed mattress dimensions from a client, so this gave me a chance to get a project done on time for another client's desired delivery date for their party.  So far, I am on schedule.
I don't consider myself to be a very compulsive person but in some ways I guess I can be.  When something is not right in my work, I do everything that I can to make it right.   I had to throw out the first crest rail that I made for this bench.  I rushed the drilling and neglected to look at my notes from past jobs.  This resulted in a rail that would have been passable but would not have given the spindles the grace that they should have.  So, out came the glue-up jig again and I made a new one.

Then.... after the bench had its first coat of oil on,  I noticed some blemishes due to incomplete sanding on the seat.  (many times things are visible after oiling that are not visible before)  I consulted some friends about the look who said it was fine but I really hate to let things like that go.  I really noticed it, so last night I took the whole seat down to bare wood again with 40grit paper and bringing it back to 220. It had to be done last night in order to meet the delivery date.   Now it looks great.

For me, the extra work is worth it since the reward is being able to deliver a piece that has my full confidence.  I sleep better too.

Below are some shots showing a stack of cherry veneers (you can see the edge of the log on the left side of this first shot) .  The veneers are sawn into strips and then glued and clamped over a jig to form a rail with matching grain and great strength.

arm rail, just off the glue jig

seat blank, drilled for spindles, before shaping

finding the right splay for the end spindles
adding spindles, first two, then one at a time, unlike a chair that gets them all at once. This is actually easier than a chair because I can leave it unfinished to go have dinner or run an errand.

grinding the seat down to bare wood and below blemishes.
The seat after finish sanding for the second time.  Ready for oil, again. (the line in the middle is a shadow)

I forgot to mention that this was a custom bench. The client asked to have the bench as shallow (front to back) as I could make it in order to fit in a specific space.  I took an inch off of the depth and I actually like the look. It did not suffer for it.  I may make them this way in the future.

Well, we have great snow here today and warmer temps.  Later this morning my wife, kid and I  will head off to go snowboarding at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl.

Have a good one,

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Getting Things Done: Custom Work Stools

The four custom walnut and ash stools are finally done, boxed and ready to go to their new home in NYC.  Three of them are pictured below while being finished.

Below is one of the walnut stools with one with an ash seat.  Usually I make these stools 26" tall with cherry seats. These are all 28" tall as specified by the customer.

And the finished shot of the walnut seated stool alone.

My next project is a 6' Cod Rib Settee.  I am hoping to get that done for a party that the clients are having.  We'll see.  I would need to deliver it on January 21. The party is on the 22nd.