What's the weather like in Doug's neighborhood?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Little woodie

Well, this one has been on the workbench for about a month now. Before that it was on the shelf for a while. I don't really know the last time this plane actually saw any use.

Here is how I got it. Honestly it doesn't look too bad.

But initial looks are a bit deceiving. Iron and cap were a bit rusted. The plane sole had a couple cracks and the wedge was anything but flat.

The wood got sanded down. I used titebond3 to seal and bond the cracks. Then it got a couple coats of 2lb cut shellac. Finished it off with a rub down and paste wax.

The blade has given me a bit of trouble. Not only was it rusted, but it had been beat pretty good. Fortunately no pitting. Once the rust was resolved I went at flattening the back. This turned into a 2 week process. A previous owner had dubbed over one corner badly (probably the same guy who hammered the tar out of the blade). With a combination of coarse paper and grinding the bevel back this is just about remedied. But it was a lot of work. In retrospect it would have been better to take it to the belt sander and forget about preserving the Sandusky logo. Oh well, live and learn.

Well, initial results are in.

a bit slack jawed...

It does cut a nice shaving, but the mouth opening leaves something to be desired if it is ever going to be a smoother. Either I need to re-sole it or camber the blade and make it a scrub. Jury still out on that.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas wish list

Hey, never hurts to be optomistic. Someone might be looking for that perfect gift for their woodworking friends.

From Sawmill Creek
Best Christmas ideas under $20

From Lee Valley
Holiday Gift Ideas

My personal wish list:
- Lee Valley Dovetail Saw $69
- Lie-Nielsen 12in Tennon Saw $165
- Norton 3x Grinding wheel 8"x1" 80grit $47
- Norton Multi-Point Diamond wheel dresser $39
- Fine saw set 12-26pt $16
- Hock 2in Straight Edge Plane Iron $43
- Grizzly Double square $18
- Makita backing pad for sander $14
- The Handplane Book $17
- Workbenches Book $20
- Timberwolf 1/2x93-1/2, 3tpi bandsaw blade $29
- Woodcraft Gift card and size will work :)
- ZEM Hearing protection $20

Okay, long list and I fear too much on the high end side. Oh well gives some ideas anyways.

the RB memorial sharpening station

I have been lugging around this heavy duty workbench for a few years now. Acquired from part of my Granddad's estate. Since moving in I hadn't needed to set it up, so in the corner it sat. Well this week I reclaimed it from the cobwebs. I stumbled across a large granite surface plate on the cheap. Upon bringing it home I needed to find a home capable of supporting the 150lb mass. I am still not positive that the top won't sag, so I will keep an eye on that.

Back in commission:

no7 for reference

Good spot to nest some of the spare parts, stones, and jigs

More space. Hopefully this predefined storage space will prevent me from piling on the work surface. Here's hoping.

I have a plan for how best to use this bench. Obviously I am not going to be moving that hunk of rock around on any regular basis. I lucked out in getting it from my truck to there without even breaking a sweat. My planer cart allowed me to just slide it out of the truck onto it and then slide it again right onto the bench. There it will stay.

hmm, where was I?
Oh, the plan. I am picturing a series of shelves that can be placed over the granite slab. These shelves would be #1-for the whetstones, #2-for the slow speed grinder, #3-for the wet stone grinder. When I need to use the stones, simply put it's shelf over the granite. Likewise if I want to use the grinder, just put it's shelf up there. For lapping and stone flattening I will just stick sandpaper to the surface plate with 3M super77.

Hopefully this will get me to stop using my TS and Jointer for lapping plane soles


Monday, November 24, 2008

The No5 restoration

I have been recieving some questions on plane restorations, so I figure I will put together a start to finish on one of the planes I just did.

In the beginning we have a sub $10 e-bay win. Never going to win any beauty contests and not of a very well regarded vintage. So it is a perfect candidate for a facelift.

Initially I just cleaned it up and put it to work. This gave me a chance to test drive prior to investing much time or money. I would recommend testing a plane prior to a full restore if it is in a state that allows it.

Okay, now tear it down and strip it to bare metal. I used a combination of Aircraft paint removers. After a couple of application and rinse cycles you get to something that will likely look like this.

Next up is rust removal. There are several ways of going about this. Brute force method is to just take a wire wheel to it. Electrolysis is better option, but it is messy and requires hot wires in an open tub of water. Electrolysis is probably the most economical method if you plan on doing a lot of planes. Then there are the chemical chealators. Naval Jelly is just nasty stuff, but it will convert rust.

My preferred method is Evapo-Rust. Non-toxic, no offensive oddor, no worries of a chemical burn. It removes rust and creates a protective barrier against flash rusting.

After a couple of soak and rinse cycles you end up with a part that looks like this.

Some rust staining will remain, but the bulk of it will scrub off with a soft wire brush. So scrub it. After you are satisfied with the surface do a dip in the evapo-rust and let the part air dry. This will leave a protective film that lasts up to 2 weeks. I let the parts air dry overnight before proceeding.

Up next masking and painting. I stuff paper towel wads into the screw holes and mask the sides. I oil the frog pads so enamel won't bond. Pretty simple. For paint I was recommended Duplicolor Engine Enamel. After using it a couple of times I agree that it is the way to go for a finish that mimics the original japanning, but is much easier to apply and readily available at places like Autozone. You will need to apply 4-6 coats in short sessions. Give about 10 minutes between coats. Here is what you will be looking like.

Allow 20-30 minutes after the last coat, but not enough time for the enamel to fully cure. Then remove all masking and plugs from the screw holes. Take care not to touch the wet enamel as it will leave marks in the finish. Allow the finish to cure overnight. You should now have something like this.

Now it is time to remove the enamel from the areas that it doesn't belong. To remove it from the front, back, and top of the cheeks I just use some 120g sand paper. This is mainly just to restore the plane to an original aesthetic. You could leave the enamel on those areas if it doesn't bother you.

Next prep the frog to sole interface. A light sanding to remove any enamel overspray may be all that is required. On the other hand some light machining may be in order. Several of my planes have had rocking at the interface. Use a file or machinist scraper to remove metal from the sole or the frog high points until the rocking is removed. Oil everything and reassemble.

I installed a Hock iron and chip breaker. I am really a fan of these. The added mass does make a significant difference in cut quality. I also like the clean interface that the machined chip breaker provides compared to the stock sheet metal version. I still have the stock iron and breaker, maybe I will camber them and use that set for roughing.

I used aftermarket replacement tote and knob on this plane. Since the originals were Beech painted black they weren't worth restoring. I think I will put up a seperate blog to discuss refinishing of handles and cleaning/polishing of brass hardware.

The end result

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fall colors

This is the stereotypical fall colors. Beautiful, majestic, and a tell tale sign of the changing seasons. This is the top image when searching "fall colors" on google images.

Yep, I got your fall colors right here. Crap, nobody told me when I moved here that I would have to rake 2 tons of leaves annually. Actually the fall colors are on the curb waiting to be hauled away. I spent my entire afternoon raking and transporting leaves to the curb. Amazingly I was able to do both front and back yards. Okay, maybe not amazing to everyone but I was pretty pleased to take on the entire yard and come out on top. Of course the day ends with me grumpy, tired, sore, and a bit buzzed (raking is a good excuse to drink beer all afternoon). Here is one of my piles...

Temperatures have been droping into the 30-40's at night. During the day we are posting up at around 50-55. Not bad, but definitely time to bust out my winter gear to tackle any outdoor activities. Today I donned my Mountain Gear thermal fleece. That coat is amazing. At less than 1/8" thick it has me sweating at anything over 60 degrees and it seems to be good down to about 40 degrees with only a t-shirt under it.

In the garage...
Some goodies this week. Packages have arrived. Erin hasn't said much. She did inquire about last nights package, so I showed her my ass. Err, my horse but that is. Yep, that's right got me some good'ol horse but leather to strop my blades. That stuff is tough, arguably the toughest leather available.

I have my first catch and release in the books this weekend as well. I cleaned up my extra no6 and promptly sold it to another woodworker. I would say at a profit, but that would be foolhearty since I spent about 4 hours tooling on it and some money on supplies. I think I broke even in a sense that selling it paid for the supplies to clean it and 2 other planes. I also take a rusty hunk and return it to service. I can't save the world, but putting good made in the USA tools back into service just makes me feel good in the patriotic sense.

Also in the garage, big'ol rocks. Yep, I got big stones. Wanna see?

Them are some good'ol fashioned Arkansas stones. I have only sharpened one blade with them, but I gotta say WOW. They work great and don't erode like the synthetic stones. These are 10x3x1 in size and are what I would consider an heirloom since even if I used them daily I still wouldn't be able to wear through them in my lifetime. In contrast my Norton waterstones loose about .010-.020" per sharpening session. This is another instance that I am reminded that we are duped as consumers in this century. We are sold that the latest and greatest sharpening stones are where it is at. Of course nobody bothers to mention that these hot new stones will only last a few years. Dang, why do I keep learning all this the hard way.

Thanks to Microsoft. Wait, did I just say that. Okay, evil empire aside MS has a cashback promo that is currently returning about 25% on purchases with buy-it-now on e-bay and paypal. MS Live Search Cashback
It does take a while to get cash back, but rebate programs offering 20-30% back just don't come along every day. I recommend you check it out if you have anything on your e-bay shopping list.

Sorry, no woodworking this weekend. Just house cleaning and yard work. Gotta do the dirty stuff sometimes. Thanks for reading and take care.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Working on planes

Been fussing over some hand planes in the garage. Okay, so what's new there?

Yep, that's right Evapo-rust
This stuff is cool. Dissolves/converts rust in a non-toxic and non-corrosive chemical reaction. It is rare to come in contact with a cleaning solvent that actually works yet is not something that you have to worry about getting on your skin. Here is an example...



About 5 minutes with a wire brush and the dark oxide comes right off leaving a surface about as good as new. Other than a little babysitting this process is a very minimal effort for the returns. Cost is about $20/gal and it is reusable.

Here is another example of what can be done.



There is some sort of an etching reaction as part of the process. Note the gray hue to the raw metal. This etch by itself will prevent rusting up to 2 weeks. Of course if you want shiny metal you do have to buff through it.

The No.6 pictured above was a fun project. I will most likely release it back into the wild though. I was looking for this size plane and picked up this rough one on ebay. Then out of the blue my dad shows up with another one. So here I am with 2 of the same plane except one does have some family relevance. I think I can flip this one now that it is restored for enough to cover the evapo-rust, stripper, and paint. Time is out the window though since I don't get payed to tool around in the garage.

SawStop, just in case you hadn't heard

Yep, the old saying fingers and toes...


If woodworking does continue as a life-long hobby of mine I am going to have to invest in one of these machines. Introductory cost is about the same as a simple ER trip for stitches. But keeping those fingers is pretty much priceless.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday fun

Gotta love youtube for totally useless humor. Some people have way too much free time...

Well, yesterday was Faith's 3rd birthday. Time flies when you are having fun. My parents are in town and we had one of our friends over with her children. I will try to get some video and pictures up. She happily cruised around for the evening in a princes tiara and a pink tutu. So much for not raising a princess...

I have been scrambling to get the table together so that we could at the minimum all sit at the same table. Well, with about 2 hours to spare I got it up into the kitchen. Of course this isn't the final build. I threw in the towel on Wednesday and picked up a sheet of hardwood ply. Too much going on to laminate up the actual table top. I did have just enough time to stain and seal the legs, stain and polyurethane the top, and pocket hole screw the top on. This turned out to be a good exercise. It gave us a chance to test the table size and for me to get a scale model to show Erin the size. As it turns out, looks like the table will need to be somewhere between 6' and 7' to fit the room better (I built the plywood top at 8ftx40in). So, there you have it made a quick table and bought myself a little time for the other projects.

New tools!
Yep, my dad showed up with a truck load of stuff for me. Mostly from my grandfather's estate. Among all of the stuff that I don't need were some jewels:
- 2 10in hardwood screw clamps
- 2 12in hardwood screw clamps
- 4 Jorgenson quick clamps
- a dozen multi drill bits
- a cutting board (should come in handy for quickly cutting snadpaper to size)
- dremel tool, new in box
- a Stanley Bailey No.6 jack plane

I am pretty jazzed on this stuff. The plane was my actually from my grandad's step father. A quick type study of it reveals it to likely be a type 5 produced sometime between 1888 and 1892. This makes it the oldest of my hand planes. It is pretty rusted, the handles are toast, and the blade is rusted solid to the chip breaker. It will be a challenge to restore, but I was able to get it apart so at least I will be able to bring it back to life. I will add some pictures later.

Other treasures from the pile include a bunch of my old toys. The cool part is that Austin is hitting the age where he will be totaly stoked to play with them. RC cars, construx, and erector set type toys. Dad also brough my Sega game gear and nintendo gameboy. A bit of video game flash back. Hopefully sometime in the next year or so I can get my original nintendo and games shipped out here. Again, I can teach Austin to play these and I think he will be pretty excited.

So fun stuff. The garage is a mess again. Catch you later. I am off for a 4 day weekend. This government job is a hoot sometimes with respect to holidays. Seems like half of them are within 1-2 days of a weekend so it is just too easy not to stretch the weekend.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In the garage

Okay, not going to go political. Last post is as all I am going to say about recent events. Soooo, moving on. I have been cranking in the garage, trying to get some semblance of a table together. My parents are due in, so we need to be able to seat 6 at the table for dinner. That 30in round table just isn't going to cut it.

Well, to the best of my efforts I don't think I am gonna get it done. Here is where it sits.

Things went together pretty fast.
Say hello to my little friend.

I have avoided biscuit jointers for years. Hard to justify dropping $250 on a one trick pony. Well, Lowe's has had a clearance tag on their display model for a couple of weeks. This one was originally about $100, marked down to $79, then to $68. I took it up to the manager and he dropped it down to $60. Such a deal, how could I say no. I adopted it on the spot. After my last glue up and how the boards shifted, I wanted a little help in keeping things aligned and the biscuit jointer is perfect for that application. See this article if you want to know a bit more about biscuit jointers (what they are and why use them)

So I now had a biscuit joiner. I got to thinking, hey this would be a quick way to attach the aprons to the legs of my table. So I made a test piece. I was surprised at how much beating it took to break my test piece, so I decided it was a strong enough approach. Here is a shot of the joinery.

I wasn't 100% confident, so I added glue blocks to give some additional strength.

Glue up was a bit stressful. To reduce chance of error I glued the short ends in a seperate step, let that cure for a few hours. Then I took those subassemblies and connected them with the long aprons. I used titebondIII, so I had about 10-15min to work with it. I still felt like I was rushing to get it all together. It came together pretty well.

Next day I trimmed the legs to length. Yep, pulled a bonehead. I had left the legs long to be able to trim to length. Well, I got in a rush to taper and cut the joinery and in my haste neglected to trim the legs. So I lopped 3in off the bottom after assembly. No biggie. Busted out my ryoba to hack off the ends, then used a rasp to square the feet back up. I flipped it back upright and planed the top of the legs/aprons into a flat surface for the table top. Look at those nice fluffy shavings on the floor. I am really loving my hand planes these days. I now have most converted over to aftermarket blades. The aftermarket blades are thicker so they don't vibrate as much during the cut. Aren't they cute all tucked away in their drawer...

Well, America wants change

as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for...