Woodworking Project Update


bench-dreams

Not my bench but I hope it will be someday soon…

Well, It’s been a busy¬†few months so I haven’t had much time to post updates but I have some new, interesting things in the works that I wanted to share with you.

It’s been a full year since I built my first Corn Hole set. In that time, I have learned so much about basic wood working. I have had several challenges to overcome and with them some heartbreak, lots of practice of my colorful vernacular, and some surprising wins! I have built just over 60 sets which works out to:

  • over 18 sheets of plywood quartered
  • 120+ 6″ holes cut
  • 240+ rails, stiles and legs cut
  • 1680+ brad nails
  • 240+ Carriage bolts, washers, and wing-nuts
  • 4, 1/4″ rounder-over router bits
  • 3 leg hole jigs
  • 2 hole saws* 3 drills
  • 2 RO Sanders
  • 1 Belt sander
  • An obscene about of sanding disks (80, 150, 220 grit)

Since Corn Hole sets are a very basic carcass to build, I was able to experiment with different tools and techniques to improve the quality of the product and to reduce the amount of effort to build each set. I discovered that when you compromise quality for speed, you end up paying for sooner or later.

My shop motto: Slow is fast. Fast is slow, and painful, and costly, and dangerous! I learned this when I was rushing to get the roundover on a couple sets before the rain came in. I got halfway around the the first deck when the router bit shot off at 100 MPH to embed itself in a bookcase. In my hurry, I failed to tighten the bit and rather quickly, the bit went to be with Jesus. I think about that and I could have easily joined it on that trip to the heavens or, more likely, been seriously injured.

Being self-taught, I have had a couple other minor incidents but only one requiring a trip the the clinic and that was only to make sure I was up-to-date on my tetanus shot (I just said tet-anus). But I like to think that instead of just being slow, that I am being deliberate and thoughtful. Taking this approach, I have not had any more accidents and my mistakes have diminished to level that I can blame those on the wood or the tool. ūüėČ

Also, because of some personal events, I am not able to get into my shop until after my boys are asleep. This has vexed me considerably until I simply adopted a more focused, hand tool woodworking approach. More out of necessity, I have come to find a simple joy in working with wood and hand tools.

NOTE: Since my drill, impact driver, brad nailer, and circ saw don’t have a cord, they are considered hand tools ūüėČ

This change has really fired up my passion for woodworking to another level. I not getting into the holy war of power vs. hand tool woodworkers. I don’t care about all that. I have a Dewalt planer and a thumb-stealing table saw, a router, etc. Power tools are cool. I use them when I have to get stuff done. However, when I need my therapy, I can either drink a bottle of rum or wander out into my shop and do some woodworking by hand. Both satisfy my need to forget the world for a time, but the benefits from woodworking outlast the rum.

With my new-found enthusiasm for wood working, I have lined up a whole host of new projects: Here are just some of them:

  • Build an updated work bench (more Roubo-styled — ¬†see image above)
  • Build a Sawyer’s bench (Sawing by hand is a bitch without a way to hold your work) – ¬†inspired by Tom Fidgen
  • Updated Twin Screw Vise (More for joinery but this project is my white whale)
  • Make and use a Frame Saw – Resawing by hand just facinates me
  • Make and use a Bow Saw – i have seen some amazing things with these smaller saws and I want to see what I can make and make happen with them
  • Hand Planes Extraviganza! – I recently bought Scott Meaks’ DVD on making a hand plane. It’s every bit as good as attending a class and I will dive into many of the details as I plunge into these builds. Also, I’m looking into making router planes, shoulder planes, Scratch Stocks, Rabbet Planes, Kerfing Planes, Air Planes, whatever it takes to scratch the itch
  • Making Back Saws – As with many aspects of woodworking, making, sharpening, tuning and storing back saws is its own rabbit hole. I really want to explore more of this…

As you can see, building tools and appliances is really my wheelhouse since this is pretty much what I have done for the past 20 years, only with software. The tactile interaction with wood is so therapeutic for me and I appreciate every moment that I have in the shop.

Before I go, I just wanted to acknowledge a couple of people that have helped keep me motivated and inspired:

  • Shannon Rogers
  • Christopher Schwarz
  • Tom Fidgen
  • Scott Meeks
  • Marc Spagnuolo

and last by certainly not least…

  • Roy Underhill

(There are so many others and I will thank them when I get to projects especially inspired by them) 

Thank you gentlemen for providing your knowledge, insight, and perspective to this endeavor.
For those looking for more BeagleBone Black post, I hope to be working on some robotic/electronic/music -related projects with my oldest son, and anything related in that realm, I will certainly post ASAP.

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Projects Update: It’s been crazy


CrazyWell, it’s been a rather crazy and chaotic few weeks.

First, I want to say thank you to everyone that has visited my blog. ¬†I don’t make money from this. ¬†I do it to share the knowledge that I accumulate. ¬†For the 2012 calendar year, I had a total of 333 hits… for the entire year! ¬†I must say that wasn’t really trying for an audience. ¬†Rather, I started blogging just to document some things that I wanted maintain in a way that I could share with others. ¬†However, in 2013, I actually gathered somewhat of a following and logged over 6000 hits, the lion share of those came after August. ¬†It is humbling and an honor to have not only so many visitors but regulars that come back and reference my posts. ¬†Thank you.

Now, I want to quickly let you know what I am working on and some of the projects I will be documenting in the near future.

  • Beaglebone Black Santa-CAM (after-magic report) – I had some issues with this but things worked out in the end
  • Beaglebone Black¬†Santa-CAM upgrade – adding motion detection on it so it will fire when there’s something happening
  • Hand-made Wood Bench Plane – I will be finishing that up soon
  • Bunk Bed Underbed Storage (IKEA Kura bunk bed hack)
  • SteamOS beta Virtual Machine Install (on Oracle Virtual Box – this is going to be a hoot!)

So, check back often because the updates will be coming fast and furious!

-Dave

Hand-build Bench Plane


hand-plane-1One of the projects that I have been thinking about it a hand-build wood hand plane.  I have a couple planes that I love but they are small and not appropriate for squaring large pieces of timber.  I wanted to get a jointer or jack plane for this but the cost is simply not in my budget.  Then I found some plans for building 3 wood planes on the Popular Mechanics site.  With this, I think I might be able to get somewhere.

About a month ago, I was trolling in the local WoodCraft store and found a piece of Poplar that is 2x3x20 in the scrap bin.  I thought that this might be a good starter piece with a separate sole, and some sides, I can make this work.

Now, I just heard someone groan. ¬†Yeah, its poplar… maybe not the first choice but was going to build it with pine. ¬†I generally like to build a prototype out of something cheap or reclaimed so that there isn’t the fear of jacking up a $40 piece of timber. ¬†It cost me $5. ¬†Prototype started.

Days later, I was trolling through Home Depot and found 1/4x3x24 timbers of Red Oak.  Looks like I found my sole (finally) and my sides.  While I was there, I picked up a couple cheap plane irons so that I had a close approximation to what the size of the iron will be.  Later, I will discuss my choices for materials for the real thing.  Oak planks were $15 for three.

I next picked up a 1/4″ piece of steel for the wedge cross-pin. ¬†$2 for 36″ rod.

Sunday night, I laminated one of the red oak planks to the poplar body and clamped. ¬†Sorry, but I don’t have any pictures of that but thats not really interesting. ¬†Then last night I unclamped and cut off the excess red oak from around the poplar and began planing the sides. ¬†There’s something fundamentally ironic about planing a plane.

That is where I ended up last night.  This weekend, I hope to get in a couple hours so that I can cut the body, fit the iron, and get the sides glued to the body.  Maybe I will have enough time to gift this to myself for Christmas.  Maybe.

Here’s the link to the site and plans that I am referencing:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to-plans/woodworking/1273456

http://www.popularmechanics.com/cm/popularmechanics/images/7E/tb_lg_plans-lg-1.jpg