Monday, 28 April 2014

Veneering experimentation

I have a large amount of veneer that I have accumulated over the years. I have occasionally used my stocks in smallish projects doing edge-banding or fixing flaws. I'm currently working on a keepsake box for my nephew and his fiancée for their forthcoming marriage in June.

I had some sapele veneer in strips about 6 feet long 10" wide and also some oak burr veneer so decided to try flattening the veneer and veneering the top of the box. This is essentially a piece of 9mm MDF cut to the size of the rabbets I had cut in the box upper sections.

I enquired on Woodtalk Online forum if anybody had any recipes for a veneer softener as the commercial softeners are not available here in the UK. The commercial ones in use in the US are SuperSoft 2 Veneer Softener or the other one "Veneer Softener/Tamer". The mailing costs were prohibitively high or there were export restrictions.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Fire Screen to stop little cats going up the chimney

A few days ago I awoke early one morning at around 5AM. I went down stairs to make coffees and sat for a while in my living room watching breakfast TV. I was joined by Anna the cat who is a totally black cat. She sat on my lap awhile and then got off. I heard her mooching around opening cupboard doors and the like. Next minute she appeared standing on the fire (which wasn't lit) staring up the chimney. The next thing I knew she had disappeared up the chimney and bits of soot and brick dust were falling down. Now the fire is gas powered and there isn't a great deal of soot up there but I was dumbfounded. "What do I do if she gets stuck?" - I thought. I had visions of firemen dismantling the brickwork of the chimney to get her out. Fortunately she emerged a few minutes later none the worse for her experience. I had noticed in the past that there were occasional black foot prints on the carpet so it must have been a regular thing for her.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Sketchup 14 tiny review

I'm been a user of Sketchup for years and I've been testing the Pro version of Sketchup 14 for the 8 hour evaluation period and have found it very good. The additional features of Sketchup Layout are fantastic if you are a professional user and have to get working drawings out to clients. I'm not a professional engineer anymore, having left that profession using AutoCad many years ago, so don't need the feature.

New to this version is a template especially for woodworkers either in inches or millimetres. This was previously called Product Design Woodworking in V13 but has now become a template in its own right. They have also made vast improvements to the Extension Warehouse. One extension I always install is called Layer Manager by D.Bur. This is a superb tool if you are familiar with the concept of layers.

The 3D modelling extras in the Pro version are useful but not essential in a woodworking design environment. For instance if you want to project a radius all the way around a surface (producing a representation of  a roundover like the lid on this box)

you can do it quite easily using Intersect Faces command. You then have to erase all the extraneous lines produced manually. The Solid Tools command does all of this for you but it costs $$$ (or £££ if you are English like me) for the privilege. I, as a weekend warrior garage woodworker, am happy to do this by hand so it's no big deal.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Tool Rack MK 2

I've been operating with a tool rack made from some plywood mounted in the window, as suggested and used by Chris Schwarz, for about 12 months now (see my original one here). It has been a good experience so I've decided to "improve" it by making a new one.
What spurred me onto doing this was the chisel rack I'd added to the original tool rack.

Original Tool Rack
The chisel rack is mounted on the front LH side
Essentially it comprises a piece of 1/2" ply 2" wide x around 30" long. Into this I'd drilled a series of 7/8"

Monday, 14 April 2014

Mini Shaker side table - Part 2

The table is now finished. I applied several coats of my quickly depleting General Finishes Arm-R-Seal wipe on poly to the entire piece and turned a knob on the lathe. The interior of the drawer is lined with self adhesive green baize felt and it now resides at the side of my wife's chair. The drawer easily fits in an iPad mini and various implements she uses when relaxing in the chair.

The finished mini Shaker table
(made from English Elm)
with exactly the same proportions
as the full size one. It's just 2/3 thirds scale.

For scale here it is next to
it's full size brother (made from French Oak).
There is a bevel on the top which starts as 5/8" (16mm) thickness and tapers off to 1/2" (12mm)  at the edges over 1-1/4" (30mm) length. It doesn't show up on the pictures above due to the angle they were taken from. I also applied a thin veneer of elm over the visible end grain.

View showing the bevelled edge creating
a visually delicate edge to the piece.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Spring cleaning the shop

This is one of those jobs I'd been putting off for a while (or saving for a rainy day). The shop was rebuilt at the end of 2012 (see here) and when restocking it there were a lot of boxes containing equipment, detritus, old bits of wood and plywood. I just put them onto the shelving for that elusive sorting out time in the future.
Well the time has arrived.

Over the last 15 months I had obtained a lot of timber from various sources and put them neatly on the wood rack (see here). Inevetiably during that time pieces were shortened, the wood pile disturbed etc to the point where I didn't know what I had. In fact it had become quite a mess. The first spring clean job was to put the offcuts and anything shorter than about 1m on to the top shelf but crosswise instead of lengthwise. This allows me to categorize and label the timbers, oak, mahogany, beech etc. This methodology was carried to the long lengths too but placing them longitudinally labelling the side or ends of the wood rack so I now know precisely what I have. I just have to keep this rack tidy and then I'm all set.

Shop Plan View
This is so you can orientate yourself
for the following photos.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A mold for an acoustic guitar - The Cavendish

A long term task I have set myself this year is to make a series of jigs and fixtures to produce acoustic guitars loosely based upon Jonny Kinkade's plans from his book "Build Your Own Acoustic Guitar". The one he outlines in the book is called "The Kingsdown".
Kinkade Guitars "The Kingsdown"

I have decided to call mine "The Cavendish"
The Cavendish will have my TMC headstock with the following specification:
  • Scale length of 25.5"
  • Body length 500mm
  • Body Depth: 105mm
  • Body Width of 385mm 
  • A thin flattened C electric type neck with a nut width of 43mm.
  • Neck radius 10"
  • The truss rod will be adjusted at the headstock and will be a double action type.

Mold construction