Saturday, 28 June 2014

My current cross cut sled

The crosscut sled is a very simple but (I believe) essential addition to a table saw. I have made many of these over the years but this is my latest incarnation. It won't be my last.
Essentially it comprises a 3/4" plywood base with two 4" x 2" softwood fences. I won't go into the details of how this is made as there are many tutorials on the internet.

The overall dimensions of the base are 16" wide x 23-1/2" long. The saw kerf slot is at 5" in from one edge. There is only one mahogany runner on the base as European saws with sliding tables only have one mitre slot to the left of the saw blade when viewed from the operator perspective. I don't believe that you actually need to have two runners as they are prone to binding if the mitre slots are not precisely parallel.

You may also notice the piece of blue tape on the fence. This is just to micro adjust the fence so the cut is exactly square. This saves having to mess around with unscrewing the screws underneath and readjusting. That is just a waste of time and tape works just as well if the fence is slightly out of whack.
If I had one improvement to this it would be making the cutoff side slightly deeper probably 12" instead of the stated 5" making the overall sizes of the sled 23" x 23-1/2" long. I find that cutoff pieces fall when the are cut off instead of staying on the sled. You can scale your crosscut sled up or down accordingly but I find (even at the current relatively small size) it works very well and does not take up much storage space.

I also attach sacrificial 1/4" thick ply to the fence as the kerf slot wears (they do) with some double sided tape. When that wears I take it off and attach another or just put another on the existing as currently shown. When the entire sled is worn out just make another.

Single mahogany quarter sawn runner
on the underside

16" wide - note the blue tape micro adjuster

23 1/2" long x 3/4" thick plywood

4x2 softwood jointed fence
either end

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Not one of my stringed instruments

My wife Elly and I recently went to see Pat Metheny and his Unity Band live in concert at Salford's Lowry Theatre. We were lucky enough to get almost front row tickets but were situated 6 feet away from Pat as the position of the seats were right in front of him. I had been following him since 1977 and I have always been a big fan.
The concert started with him playing a derivative of the guitar shown below.

The one he was playing only had two necks but still had 4 separate runs of strings making up 42 strings in total. Elly and I thought he would just strum it and call it done. How wrong we were. He played every part of the instrument including the wood and it blew every-bodies mind in the theatre.

I did a little research and found out that it was made by Linda Manzer a luthier based in Toronto see here. It gives me food for thought (not that I would be able to play it like Pat does) but I could have a go at making something similar.

Hmm a project maybe for the future.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Keepsake box

As I mentioned in a previous post I'm currently working on a keepsake box for my nephew and his soon wife to be. They are marrying in June so I've had to work fast on this one.

The design of the box is roughly following a recent project in the WoodWhisperer Guild where Marc Spagnoulo showed a humidor box being built. I didn't do a direct copy of this but used some of the techniques like veneering and accent with a different wood.

My wife and I also thought it would be good to incorporate some inlaying so we have chosen, with the help of one of Elly's Chinese colleagues, to have some Chinese characters in the design. This is essentially the dual happiness character used at many Chinese weddings. My nephew and his fiancĂ©e are not Chinese by the way.
Chinese double happiness character
The intention was to make the character from mother of pearl and then inlay it into some ebony. The ebony was to be cut to a square shape and then inlayed into the box.
The box itself had to fit a regular magazine that was available on UK bookstore shelves. So the internal dimensions dictated the overall size. The outside dimensions are 370x270x160 high

So here is the finished article in all its glory.
The finished double happiness
in pearl inlayed into ebony

Brusso feet and latch

Sliding till made from mahogany,
inside lined with sapele and felt baize.
Hinges are Brusso quadrant hinges

Book matched oak burr veneer

The entire box is English oak, sapele and mahogany. The veneer on the top is oak burr bookmatched in quarters making up the diamond. This is overlaid over 3/8" mdf that has sapele stabilizing veneer in the inside.
The box is finished inside and out first with two coats of shellac. Onto that is pore sealer that was rubbed out to 320 grit. On top are several (12 I think) spray coats of General Finishes Enduro Var satin (semi gloss). This has been rubbed out finishing off with 0000 grade wire wool and has a nice shine that isn't too glossy.

Monday, 9 June 2014

MuscleChuck review

My Trend T11 router is mounted in my router table. Over the years I have received a few skinned knuckles when trying to get the collet tightened or undone. This is due in part to the router having tools that only work under the table. It's just the way it is!
On to the scene came the Musclechuck from De Rosa engineering see here. I bought mine from their European partner Woodrat see here.
A pair of MuscleChucks

The device is a precision made accessory that replaces the collet and nut from your router. There are no cams or internal parts just a split collar with a 1/2" bore and an allen head socket screw. It also comes complete with a teebar allen wrench (4mm in my case).