Saturday, 25 January 2014

Stools Two

A little more progress after lunch to show ya.

  I was trying to figure out the placement of the 3 legs around the circle when Cole came over and drew a peace sign. Perfect that took the math right out of it. There was still considerable math to use yet though.

Here she is with the legs pushed through just have to drive some wedges down into them.

The legs are strong enough on their own but Cole wanted to add in some cross members for looks.
So we put some dowels through.

How about a handle to carry it around. Why not. It's your stool.

  Like a milking stool is it not? Where's the cows. But seriously it was nice to see Cole work so hard at this project. Attention spans are awful short these days for most young people.

  It's unfortunate that so many school boards have dropped the shop classes. Today a young person had to apply what he learned in math class, science class, English class and use some wicked eye hand coordination.

  I didn't build anything in the shop today but it is just as satisfying or better passing on knowledge to another. What I relay to him today will hopefully be passed on by him to another when he has the chance. Today also empowered him with the knowledge that if he tries hard enough he can succeed.
Making something with your own hands is a feeling like no other.

thanks for reading
We had a great day.

Stool Build update

So far this is what we have a seat that cracked so Cole dropped in some keys  and started on the three legs.

We used the golden ratio to determine the length of the legs using a shop made Fibonnaci gauge.

Legs are coming along now too

Friday, 24 January 2014

Shop Stool Build off. Where Woodworkers Dare.

  Tomorrow is the day. A day like no other. Eighty plus intrepid woodworkers will put their skills to the test in the Flair Woodworks Shop Stool Build off taking place starting on Jan 25, 2014. A weekend marathon of noise, sweat, sawdust, wrong cuts, good cuts, finger cuts, bandages, dirty work aprons, unkempt hair and beards ending in triumph or failure.

   Be sure to tune in to my blog and Flair Woodworks where you will witness the singe of neurons as the undaunted design their work. Chips will fly as they wield their steel tools. In the end all will be better craftsmen than before this day.

  When the dust settles Prize winners will be announced after January 28, 2014. The host of the competition will be leaving information on Flair Woodworks.

  I wasn't going to participate when I first learned of this competition a month ago but I thought Cole (aka The Apprentice) could gain experience in the build and also see that he and I are not the only ones who have such a great interest in making something from our own hands.

 Cole and the work bench I helped him construct in my shop. 

  He has his own space to work at home but is always welcome here. Cole is the son of Peter and Terry, friends of ours. Peter is a steel fabricator and asked if I could help out Cole with some wood stuff. I believe he has his fathers aptitude when it comes to hands on work, just a different medium.

  The Apprentice is keen to learn more and demonstrates a good natural understanding of the material we work with. The third most important thing this twelve year old has mastered so far is that woodworking takes time. Rome was not built in a day but maybe his shop stool will be. What happened to one and two?

  Well number one is Safety. Can I do this safely, how do I do it safely, where are my fingers. Number two, when hammering in a nail look at the nail head, not your thumb. The hammer strikes where you look. Ouch! Yes I confess to a little giggle after he did it.

Cole on Tuesday night just finished some crates. They will later be arranged into a table. 

  The apprentice would like to purchase a used 14 inch bandsaw for his shop space at home, so in order to raise money I suggested he build some spoons and spatulas from various woods I have in the shop. I admit to hoarding scraps under the cutoff table. It takes about an hour to cut, smooth and apply finish to each spoon or spatula to perfection. We do good work here or not at all.

  " An hour each," he said. " Times twenty sets that's forty hours......" as his shoulders slumped. He figured that out in his head. "Good math skills", I grinned at him. This is also the moment he learned that third most important thing. But he continues undaunted. It's all fun anyway.
Here are a batch in progress

  Once he has 20 or sets done ( I am making some too they are so fun to make and will be additional to the 2 he makes) we will put them up on facebook and on the blog for purchase then they can be mailed out to you. First come first pick once we get the pics up. I will let you know.

Might also have a few serving/ chopping boards in walnut available by then too.

  Just to finish I would like to thank Chris for starting up this build off. It's a fun idea for the woodworkers and lots of work to look at for everyone else.

Until tomorrow
Ken an the Apprentice

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Blogging about Clogging

  You know the time you should have listened to yourself but you didn't. Yes, it always comes back to bite you in the rear.

  Dust collection in the shop had worked fairly well even though it would clog up from time to time. It was mostly an annoyance at first but as I put more hours in the shop it became down right maddening.

This is the original setup

  I was spending a fair amount of time unclogging pipe which begot the unclogging of dust chutes in the machines themselves. It became a common sight to see me on my knees in front of a different machine each day. On some days I bowed before them all.

  Someone looking in the window may have thought I was paying homage to these green demigods with strange ritualistic movements. First the kneeling then moving slowly to a half prone position whilst uttering some vulgar incantation. Usually followed by standing upright and waving my arms ad midst more incantations to finally raising my hands up towards the ductwork and brandishing a scrap piece of wood like it was a sabre and striking the beast named Clog the Cantankerous. Sometimes it would move on to be devoured by the collector. Other times I would have to open the pipe and take him on in his cavernous lair. Clog usually left quickly at this point and would not be seen for the rest of the day.

  On those rare occasions when Clog was very cantankerous it would move a few feet down the line and stop. I would immediately deal him strong blows to dislodge him only to have him skid to a halt again down line. In all our battles he would be vanquished and the collector would happily gobble Clog up.

  On January 18, 2014. A day that will live in infamy, Clog made a brilliant blitzkrieg like move and bunged up almost every machine drop before I could react. Clog the Cantankerous had lost many a battle but he had just won the war. I flailed wildly with my scrap wood sabre knowing full well I was defeated. I lay down my sword. It was time to do what I should have done so long ago.

  The full tear down off the entire piping system began. It felt right, it felt just. It took only ten minutes to rid the universe of Clog's labyrinth. May he be gone for eternity.

The carnage

 Clog the Cantankerous
 Lets rebuild shall we? You can see the aftermath of the blitzkrieg strewn upon the floor.
  I spent the rest of Saturday and part of Sunday realigning the duct work to eliminate as many possible clogging areas as I could.

The "Y" junctions all lay flat against the ceiling eliminating the machines runs from fouling each other.
Everyone gets there own run to the main trunk line.
 It has that industrial cool look guys like.

  After burning incense accompanied by offerings of fresh wood shavings and some Druid incantations the test runs began. There was an immediate swooshing as the debris flowed effortlessly through the piping. A tear welled up in my eye. I am feeling confident this is the correct setup. All is working quite well now.

 This coming Sunday my apprentice, Cole and I will be involved in a workshop stool build off.
It takes place over the internet by each competitor posting photos of his progress through the day.
I will be posting from the shop on our progress. Should be fun. Here is a link to the competition's originator

Thanks for reading
All the best in this new year.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Refinished Luce Furniture piece.

 Grand Rapids Michigan was the place to be at the turn of the last century if you were a furniture maker. They even went so far as to call it Furniture City.

  We have had a dresser with mirror in the family for years that was made by Luce Furniture of Grand Rapids. Their business operated between 1896 and 1938. They were acquired by a larger firm in 1935 and soon after closed the doors in 1938.

The dresser is well made for factory fair. At least better constructed than most furniture from that era.
   We decided to go with a simple refinish. Strip or sand off the old finish and put on some fresh shellac. Shannon is a great stripper, she had that finish whipped off in no time.
  Any broken pieces were repaired. Drawers were made to slide in an out like they should. A spit and polish really. Not bad at all.

A little piece here.....

A little squeeze here.
           Coming back together. That shellac really brings out the mahogany veneer.

  After a few coats, reinstalling the wheeled feet, drawer knobs, skeleton key locks, and hanging the mirror she was done. Just need to find one knob for the upper drawer. The knob went missing years ago.

  They were really into the arts and crafts style back then but this one seems to be transitioning to Art Deco. But I am no expert on the history of furniture. I'll let someone else decide.

 This piece is for sale should anyone be interested.

Thanks for reading and have an enjoyable evening.