Thursday, August 6, 2020

The strangest brace I ever saw

I just went over the strangest brace I ever saw and thought this one was worth a post, so here it is:

A strange brace.

It looks like a mutant born from a brace breeding with a hand drill and apparently can be both. If one is interested it is currently for sale on EBay.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Almost there...

In my last post I started to work on the two shelves that will go in the middle and at the bottom of the vanity I am building. 

I cleaned the tenons on each board and marked them so to remember where each one was going.

Each board is marked to recall its place.

The next step was to make the mortises in the rails used to assemble the shelves boards so I marked each mortise on one rail.

Mortises marked on one rail.

I then put the opposite rail side by side and used the first one to mark the second one. This allowed me to get mortises perfectly facing each other in both rails. In case of a slight misplacement on one rail it will be reported to the other.

Using one rail to mark the other.

I chopped the mortise waste using a mortising chisel. Each mortise is 1/4" wide and 1/4" deep.

First rail done.

After about an hour of fun, both rails were done and I was able to clean the boards for the first dry fit.

First shelf dry fit alone...

... and in its final place.

One more shelf to go and one more hour of fun and I was able to see the final result.

Both shelves in place.

Now that all parts are done I will be able to tackle the last adjustments and cleaning then will finish parts before final assembly.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Vanity taking shape

Now that the raised panels for the vanity side are done I did start making the frame that will receive them. I first cut the four legs to length and planed them square to 11/2 x 11/2.

Two of the 4 legs.

The side panels are set in a groove made in each leg. To make this groove I used my small Record #43 plough plane.

Making the grooves.

However, as it can be seen in the picture above, the groove is stopped at a point in the leg. To be able to use the plane I had to make the groove end using a chisel first so the plane can work for the remaining waste.

The end of the groove is first made with a chisel.

After having made the matching tenons and grooves in the top and bottom rails I was able to do a dry fit of each side of the vanity.

The two sides of the vanity.

I then tackled the rails for the front frame and matching mortises in the legs and was able to dry fit the base vanity assembly.

Base assembly dry fit.

I did the same for the bottom rails and did another dry fit with the doors inserted.

Another dry fit with doors inserted.
The next thing to take care of are the two shelves. These two will be made with separate boards assembled with tenons in rails mortises.

The two shelves will be made with separate boards.

The middle (darker) board is birch, like the raised panels while the other ones are pine.
I am not sure yet what will be the finish for this vanity. My initial idea was to stain the pine dark and keep the birch natural. Now I start thinking that I like the contrast of clear pine and natural birch. I will think about it over night to get some inspiration :)

Monday, April 27, 2020

Big slab planing and a drama (sort of).

Long time since my last post. We just came out from 3 weeks of vacation (at home of course) that we spent doing some long due home renovations.
Still I took the opportunity of the nice weather coming back to start planing some big slabs of white pine to prepare them for the bench I want to build. It is a joy to plane outside under a shining sun!

Start planing the slabs.

This was also the opportunity to play with the latest tool I got, a Millers Falls #88 jointer plane fence. I got it in perfect shape, it just needed a bit of cleaning and was ready to be back to work.
I mount it on my Stanley #7 and used it for the first time. At first it was a bit strange to use but when I got used to it I found it nice. With this, it is easy to follow a long straight edge.

Trying my Millers Falls #88 jointer fence.

After a while, and a bunch of shavings, it was time to clean up the deck a bit.

Time for a good sweep to collect the shavings.

And then came the drama... My Stanley #7 was resting peacefully on the slab when I heard a big "bang"... the plane felt down on the deck. The result was immediate:

Resulting effect of a fall.

I was lucky enough that my deck was made in wood so the shock was not too hard on the plane sole and the only damage was a broken tote and a slightly bent threaded rod.
It was easy to get the rod back straight. For the tote I used epoxy to glue it back in one piece.

Tote glued back in one piece.

After slight sanding and a coat of finish, it will be almost as new.

Anyway, lesson learned: When the job is done, put the plane back to its shelf!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Making laminated raised panels

After making the doors for my bathroom vanity I need to make side panels of the same type that is to say that these panels will have a pine frame enclosing a birch raised panel.
Considering the size of these side panels I needed to make the birch panels by jointing two 6" wide boards. I cut the boards to length, adding 1" for the tongues, and planed the edges with a jointer plane.
After a quick dry fit I started gluing the panels.

Jointing boards.

At the end I got two 11"x165/8".

Jointed panel.

In order to make the raised center I needed first to cut the tongue all around the panel and then to plane the raised bevel. I started by marking the boards.

Board front face marked...
...and same for the back face.

On the front face, the first mark is the tongue, the second is the end of the raising bevel. On the back only the tongue is marked.

Using my favorite rabbet plane, my Record 778, I started planing the tongue cross grain.

Starting the tongue cross grain on the back.

Then went with the grain to get it done all around. The tongue is 1/4" deep and 1/2" wide.

One face done.

When the back face is done I did the same to the front face.

Both faces done.

The remaining step was to plane the 1" wide bevel from the tongue to the marked line.
To plane the bevel, this time I used a Millers Falls #8 to remove the bulk and finished with my shoulder plane.
I ended with my two side raised panels.

Rough planed side raised panels.

Next I will start finishing these panels and will work on the frame.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

New project: A bathroom vanity.

As shown at the end of my last post, my next project is a bathroom vanity.
With all the situation regarding the pandemic evolution of the famous infamous COVID-19, I am working from home since last week and for an unlimited duration. I was thinking that this would give me more time for woodworking as I am saving many hours in transportation but I was wrong. My workload increased with all the situations I need to care of so as a result I do not have more time in any way.
I am also glad that I went out to buy all the wood I need for my project as starting tomorrow all stores will be closed for at least the next 3 weeks.

This said I started the project by laminating the counter-top of the vanity. To make it I am using some left over from my previous TV stand project so it will be made by assembling four 2" thick pine boards.

The boards to be assembled.

After having planed each pair of side straight for gluing, I did dry fit to be sure I was ready to proceed.

Dry fit before going further.

When I was all set with everything easily reachable I went for gluing.

The boards glued waiting to dry.

When dry I removed clamps, cleaned any extra glue, planed the top to thickness and smoothed it.

Smoothing the top.

To smooth the top I used my Millers Falls #10 that I rehabbed recently. I love this plane so much. It is heavier than the #9 and really slides smooth through the wood without effort, a real pleasure.

I ended with a nice thick slab for the top and a nice big pile of shavings.

The top silky smoothed...
...and a pile of shavings.

The next step was to cut most of parts to size, this made my evening busy.

A pile of parts cut to size.

Next was to tackle the two front doors. These doors will be made of a pine frame enclosing a birch raised panel. I first tackled the raised panels. This is the first time I try to make a raised panel by hand and birch being a quite hard wood I did not expect it to be an easy task.

After marking both faces, I began with making the tongue all around the panel that will fit in the frame groove.

Working the tongue with my Record #778.

For this I used my record #778 and I was surprised how well that wood was workable. Harder than pine it offers more resistance to the blade and cut clean and smooth, even cross grain.

Tongue done on to sides.

When tongue were done, I use my Record 311 & 042 to plane the created angle in a slope that raises right to the line I marked previously.

Using shoulder/rabbet planes to create the raising slope.

This result in a 1/2" tongue followed with a 1" raising slope.

On raised panel done, one to go.

In no time I finally got my two raised panels done.

Both raised panels done.

I have been very surprised about how pleasant it is to work with birch. First I love the smell of that wood and how much it is figured. I worked with it using power tool in the past but never tried with hand tools until today. It is planing very well, of course with sharp tools but like for any wood, and you don't risk any ding and far less split than wood like pine. Only negative point is the price tag if you want a planed board, a 6"x1"x8' planed board is sold for about 35$ up here so better not to waste it!

Next was to take care of the door frame, back to working with pine.
I first planed all the 1/2" deep grooves in stiles and rails using my small record 043.

Planing grooves on stiles.

I checked if this was fitting the raised panels properly.

Checking raised panel fitting.

I then cut the tenons on the rails that will fit in the stile's groove.

Cutting tenons.

When done I did a dry fit of the door to get a preview of the end result.

Preview of the end result.

Next I will start with making side panels and cutting groove and tenons on the remaining parts but this will be a different story.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Addition to my shop

After having finished my last project I decided to build some additional shelves for my shop. I was fed up to see all my planes taking my workbench space so it was time to sort that out. 
I built this on the same design as my other shelves for my braces and hand drills. Unfortunately I did not think about taking much pictures about the construction.

Gluing up the last pieces

For this one I added some support that will rest on the workbench below. The shelf itself is quite heavy but with the addition of all the plane weight I thought it was preferable to have this resting of some surface instead of putting all the strength on the wall, even if screwed in the inner studs.

At the end this is the final result.

Final setup.
The shelves are built around my screen and this is where vintage classic tools meet with technology. I find a screen to be a very convenient tool to display a schema or plan of your project. It is easy to take a take a picture of your plan  with your phone if you draw it on paper, share your phone screen to the TV screen and you have a big size display board.

Now onto my net project. I need to build a bathroom vanity for my master bedroom. For this I came up with something that will schematically look like that:

First draft
The top will receive the vessel sink and faucet. Pretty simple and straightforward looking but this is the kind of design I like the most.
The sink is ordered and I will wait to receive it before starting any more detailed plan so to check for correct sizing. 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Project delivered

Finally, it is done. Last weekend my TV stand project was delivered and made my sister in law happy.
Here are some pictures of the final result.

Front view.

Top side finish.

In place.
This has been a very nice and interesting project that allowed me to learn many things.
In summary the lessons learned are the following:

  • Full size drawing - Having a full size plan of what needs to be done provide a way to quickly check measurement. Also direct measurement is less prone to calculation error.
  • Avoiding blushing on pine wood - I found my recipe of Shellac mix and application and it is very effective. This is the first time I was able to easily get no blushing when applying the stain.
  • Staining - Very easy to stain using a piece cotton rag instead of a brush. This has the benefit to leave no mark.
  • Finish - Here again I found my recipe for wiping varnish and was able to get a pretty decent finish. Add a coat or two of beeswax and some buffing to get the shine I wanted. Also start finishing early in a project and before assembling parts when possible. It is far easier to finish a piece set flat on a table than after having assembled it. 
  • Router plane - This is a handy tool that makes very easy to get precisely sized tenons.
  • Mortise by hand - Cutting mortises by hand is easier than I originally thought when you use a sharp chisel and the right.
  • Lamination - Be very careful at wood orientation when laminating boards so the wood fibers are all on the same direction. Doing this ease a lot planing the surface.
  • Spokeshave - Are handy tools very nice to use when creating round shapes.
  • Sawyer bench - This is so enjoyable to saw long board using a sawyer bench. The position is perfect and makes very easy to saw straight.
  • Don't rush - Take the time to think before doing something so to properly plan it ahead. If any issue, step back and think instead of rushing to try to fix it as it will just worsen it.
  • Gluing - Always have your gluing sequence repeated before starting, always have all the clamps and tools ready and reachable, always have a bunch of damp cloth nearby.
This is a lot of good experience that I will certainly apply to the next project.
For now I will be tackling some more shelves for my workshop so to properly store my planes that are resting on the workbench and taking too much space.