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Saturday, March 31, 2007

A slow day ends in "ZEN"

After a long day of clamping up panels, ONE AT A TIME. I finished all but one (it is still drying) . You see I am breaking yet another cardinal rule and using my saw as my glue up table, ja gotta do what ja gotta do..... I was a little confused on a few steps so I had to turn to my trusty partner for some advice. As you see he was deep in thought for a good while before he said "Dude, you had my balls cut off!" and went back to sleep.

It was back to the slow process of glue up feeling even worse after receiving such deep in site.

So this really slow and mundane day suddenly took a turn for the better when I had to flush trim the faces on the panels. I reach for my 6 dollar garage sale Stanley block plane to get the job done. This is not a vintage plane but your regular old ace hardware model. I have not been to crazy about this planes performance in the past but always chalked it up to it being an el cheapo (four years of Spanish pays off) hand plane. About a week ago I spent an hour tuning the plane on my new JET slow speed sharpener, I trued the base, flattened the back of the knife, took it down to 27 degrees and made it shine like a mirror, then I put it away. Tonight, when I ran it over my project it hit me........ "ZEN" or at least for a woodworking geek like myself. For the first time I was making perfect passes end to end shaving perfect little Peyos or for you non east coasters, curly thingies... So with just a little effort a 6 dollar POS is now converted into a portable ZEN machine........ Ahhhhh

Gunny came in to check out my pile of shavings that I was so impressed with and said "Cool but, you cut off my balls!!!" and went back to sleep.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Toy Cabinet for Joey

Here is the last project that I completed at the request of my wife Jackie. She came home with nine baskets and requested a cabinet to house all of my son Joey's toys. This is what I came up with. It was a good learning project since I made several mistakes that I will not make again.
1. I made the templates for the base out of MDF using various design jigs, this worked except for the fact I should have made one side only and mirrored it so they were perfectly symmetrical. (pointed out by dear old dad)
2. I did not leave a large enough reveal on the side rails to do the detailed trim I would have liked to have seen on the sides. Although, this worked out well since I made some neat tapered trim that I like.
3. last thing is the finish, I used a combo Polyshade from Minwax, I know, I know, if you are skipping a step it can't be good. Basically once you put that first coat on you can no longer balance it out the way you can with a normal stain. To top it all off, I had it in my garage and the door was accidentally opened and it loaded it with crap. All in all, the finish is not horrible and I am happy with the stain / basket match but I would have liked it to have been better. I figure since it is in my 2 year olds room it will need a new finish in a few years anyhow, I will deal with it then.
This was the first project that I did with my new jointer, a Grizzly 8" spiral head G0593 (now on sale for 100.00 less than I paid :( ). I really enjoyed using this tool, I had a ton of Oak in really poor shape that I milled up for this project, very satisfying tool...... (Tim Allen grunt).
I also decided to put a half blind Dovetail in the base, I used a Jet Jig and they came out perfect. I think I will try to do them by hand next time.
I am starting a piece of furniture in the morning for a client (yes and actual paying client) It is a cabinet that will house a safe on the bottom, stuff in the middle and a TV on top. They provided me with a cabinet door off of their old stuff so we shall see if we can get a close match, antique ceiling tin and all.

Wrapping up some cutting boards

Cutting Boards:

I just put the final coat of varnish on these cutting boards today (unfinished in picture). I will post a better picture when I pull them out in a few days.

I plagiarized this project from Marc over at the Wood Whisperer site.

Check it out, Great site!!!!!

I made one extra to try out using different finishing techniques, mainly finishing without sandpaper. I used a hand plane and a card scraper. I was pleased with the results, I wound up with the equivalent of a 180 finish but I did hit it with 220 before finishing. One of the challenges I had was putting a proper burr on the scraper. I think I have figured it out, I made a jig to hold the card in place so that I can put pressure on the edge to get a proper burr. I have not mastered this but I am getting better.

This is the first post so I promise things will get better as we go along.