Pottering about

Last project finished, next one not properly started yet (just have the rough cuts done) and another in mind but not off the notepad yet. So now’s the time to work on the shed itself…

That’s the dust collection for the shed (it’s collapsed because the vacuum hose got clogged with shavings and the shop vac managed to pull enough air out of the barrel for atmospheric pressure to crush it). It’s a bit… big. For the shed at least. So a while back, I got a smaller drum.

And it’s been sitting there since I bought it, getting in the way, because I was trying to get other stuff done. So…

Out with the old…

And mark out and measure for the minicyclone seperator in the lid of the new drum, cut out the large hole with, of all things, the lie-nielsen radius cutter I was using for stringing on the last project, and then drill the holes for the attachment screw and fit it. In the end I didn’t use the sealer though, I’m not sure if it’s needed just yet.

It’s a wee bit smaller 😀
May need to re-jig how it’s held upright because unlike the older drum, this one has no side handles to thread with bungees.

Much smaller and neater. I didn’t use the sealer yet – I was mucking about with a safety valve to stop it getting crushed like its predecessor, but discovered that even with the 10mm hole in the lid wide open I was still getting suction on the main hose, and if I blocked that main hose, the 10mm hole wasn’t enough to stop the vacuum trying to collapse the drum. May need to rethink that a bit – it could just be that the smaller size results in far more rigidity and I don’t need it. Or I may need it later due to wear and tear. We’ll see.

Either way, more room!

And more clamps! There were a few 3″ clamps going for a fiver per pair on ebay so I grabbed them. They’re getting some PTFE lubricant here. At some point I really ought to take off the old paint and repaint all of these but I like the old record blue and I’m not sure I want to go into learning how to stove enamel stuff in the same oven we cook dinner in…

(Oh and the calculator is because I can’t multiply by 1.618 in my head)

And this is the next project after the next one; it’s not off the notepad yet but I was looking at how beech and walnut look beside the rippled sycamore that I want to use in it, trying to figure out colour contrasts so things look matched rather than looking garish, but also letting me keep mucking about with stringing.

I do have one shed task left though, and that’s to grind a camber in the new scrub plane blade. It won’t be anywhere near as severe as Sid’s camber, that was something like a 4″ camber, this will be about 7″ or so. I’ll get to that next, and then I’ll get back to the locker.

Starting to finish

So time to take the shelf out of the clamps and see if it’s okay…

holds breath…

That’s not too bad from the front 🙂
Different story from the back mind…

Urgh those dovetails. There will have to be some remediation work there. At least the white inlay bits worked reasonably well (you just can’t do dovetails from end to edge like that if there’s more than one tail, the short grain on the pin means it always breaks off, so I deliberately broke off the pins and replaced them with some sycamore chunks).

Okay. Time to start finishing. I could keep trying to touch this up for ages and never finish 🙁

Going for a simple finish this time, just some thin coats of osmo and buffing it out.

Magic time 🙂

Little better at the back after some touching up.

That might be nice once the rest of the coats go on…


And then the surprise for the day – Custard over at the UK workshop forums offered to send me some thick sycamore veneer while I was trying to sort out a commercial vendor here for the stuff (the laminated 0.6mm stuff is workable but fiddly as feck and occasionally bits delaminate and you don’t know it till you expose the delamination while trimming off the excess and you now have a double thin white line instead of one slightly thicker line; and it’s hard to thickness properly as well). And the box arrived today. “I’ve thrown in one or two other bits” he said…

2.6kg. In veneer. What the hell is in that box?

Holy shit.

So that small sheaf at the front left over the vice? That’s all I was hoping for. Look at the rest!

Thick ebony and boxwood veneers – boxwood is bloody lovely stuff and with an interesting history and source. And rippled sycamore. Wow. That stuff is stunningly pretty. (If you’ve not seen it before, that plank is perfectly smooth – the lines are figuring, cellular anomalies in that particular part of that particular tree, we don’t quite know what causes it and it’s become very fashionable these days (in the 17th to 18th century it wasn’t so much because it’s not as strong as straight-grained wood, but when veneering was invented you could use stronger wood for the substrate and let the veneer of a figured wood be the final decorative layer).

And the walnut is even prettier when it’s figured like that. And the cherry is figured as well – I’ve not even seen cherry in the flesh before now, I can understand now why it’s so popular for furniture making. It doesn’t come across well in photos (well, in mine anyway) but it’s very very pretty up close.

Custard, the stuff is incredible, you’re a maniac. Thank you!




Oh, and the resawn beech still hasn’t pretzel’d on me…

Glue-up part two

The resawn beech from yesterday is holding up well…

But never mind that, time to focus on the glueup from yesterday. It went reasonably well despite the fiddliness of the clamping.

They don’t look even from that angle, but they are:

There’s some squeeze-out and the join needed some fettling to get it properly smooth, and I suspect I’ll be running round the piece with a chisel checking arises before finishing, but it’s not too bad.

It’ll be interesting to see it with finish on. But today’s task is the final glue-up so I did a dry-fit and some inevitable tweaking and then did a dry rehearsal and then prepped to glue up:

The final glue-up was almost calm right up until the end when I realised I needed to clamp the dovetails as well and I had nothing on the front to clamp against and had to rig something using a third sash clamp and some heath robinson nonsense…

We’ll see how that went tomorrow…

Can you tell what it is yet?

While wrapping up the stringing and preparing to glue and finish the latest project, I got some time to do the initial rough-cut of the pieces for the next project; which is to take the roughest thing that’s ever come out of the shed and remake it with a bit of refinement 😀

A quick hacking with the large ryoba broke these down to approximate length, and then some quick ripping with the bandsaw…

And that’s the rough stock almost ready. I want to see if I can resaw this (it’s some nice beech bought a while back in the timber yard, but I’ve not worked with this before and beech apparently has a reputation for movement). So I resawed one of the off-cuts and I’ll see how that moves over the next few days while I finish the stringing project.

I also have to get some brazing rods; the recent subzero temps appear to have made the water in my spray mister expand in just the wrong way:

Poop. And that’s thin-walled stuff; I’m not sure it’ll braze readily.

Oh well. Might as well try; worst that happens is it destroys it. And given that it’s not working now anyway… 😀

Wrapping up the stringing…

Finally some decent weather combined with a bank holiday this weekend and I wound up spending some time in the shed (and got the weber out so yay!).

Started off trimming and cleaning the lines put in on Thursday (Friday was a work do and I was done in by the time I got home so I just crashed, so this was all done Saturday evening).

Then I checked the feet to be sure I liked how my idea for how to do these looked. I quite like the idea, but we’ll see. And I took the new laminated stringing out of the clamps:

The – I don’t think it’s ebony, maybe dyed pearwood? – darker stringing is stunningly dark, but I cut a test bit and compared it with a test bit of the walnut and it was just too dark; jarring, in the piece. So I went with the walnut instead.

The front curve is almost vertical, but no, really, it’s a curve 😀

And that’s the feet done, the second circles on the bars done, the last of the string on that face of the sides done, and that got to dry overnight.

BTW, so much for credit card thickness plastic being a perfect pivot point 🙁

The next day, cleaning up and trimming the excess…

And laid in the last stringing line on that face of the sides…

And then after running a smoothing plane over the bars a bit and rounding over the arises, it was branding time.

Bit hot on the iron there; another pass with the smoothing plane needed to fix that.

Grand. And then on monday…

The last decorative element. I wanted to do these in different colours, but my plug cutters didn’t arrive on time (bet you they show up on Tuesday) and tempus fugit, so I cheated and used a dowel. An hour of curing time, then in with a flush-cut saw and some chisel cleanup…

Then a few passes with the smoothing plane and some scraping to get the surface smooth and the pencil marks gone, and then I started in on the glue-ups by putting on the feet first. At this point clamping got… complex because the feet are wider than the sides and that creates a twisting moment when you apply the clamps (and I need the bench to keep the feet and sides in the same plane so I can’t flip it over or anything).

Complex clamping arrangements are a bit suboptimal – they’re fiddly and prone to slipping and so on, but shikata ga nai. We’ll see how it turns out tomorrow. If all goes well, I’ll cleanup the squeeze-out and then do the final glue-up step. And after that, it’s osmo time…

Stringing continues…

Bit fiddly in one place this evening where the groove was slightly thinner than the stringing. A bit of work on the stringing with a scraper sorted that out. I’ll leave this dry overnight and clean it up tomorrow, and then add the remaining pieces. I still have other elements beyond the border stringing that I want to add though, but my plug cutters haven’t arrived yet…

The feet are a different wood to the shelf, so I wanted some contrasting stringing there; the “variety pack” of veneers I bought an age back had some possibilities, but again, 0.6mm so I’ve laminated two sheets together and they’re gluing up between two sheets of MDF there. Not sure about my cauls mind you. But it shouldn’t require *that* much pressure… we’ll see how it turns out tomorrow.

I do need a better way to stash the syringe when there’s still glue in it. It’s a pain if it hardens into the needle itself. I’ve buried it in a small puddle here to try to keep the air from it, but there has to be a better way. I’ve seen how Steve Latta does it, but I don’t have the same glue bottle design he has, I’ve got the normal titebond ones while his is more of a traditional nozzle design and he just sticks the syringe into the nozzle like it was the cork:

More thought required…

Cleaned up

Trimmed off the excess from the weekend’s work, and it doesn’t look too terrible:


There’s some more outline left to do (for which I will need to bring the heatgun out to the shed from the electronics bench) and there are some more decorative elements I want to add, but not bad so far.

I also need to think about decoration for the rest of the piece:

I have some ideas, but they’re not settled yet…

Back to the shed

First day in a few weeks where it’s not been I-don’t-wanna-go-out-there weather and my teeth haven’t been broken, so I wandered out to the shed to continue the current stringing project and try to make some progress on it. I got the joinery for the desk shelf mostly finished yesterday evening, though I borked the dovetails and I’ll have to do something decorative to cover that up (one of these days I’ll learn you can’t do fine dovetails as an end-grain-to-edge joint) but other than that it’s not terrible. So I skimmed it up to get ready for stringing and started cutting a nice basic outline with the shed-made cutter and occasional use of the lie-neilsen radius cutter.

The card’s not an advertisement btw, it’s just that you need somewhere for the pivot point of the radius cutter and if you don’t want to dig a hole in the middle of your project, double-sided tape holding down a plastic card like that makes a good surface to anchor to. In other cases though, you can put the pivot point in a groove and so it gets hidden when you put the stringing in:

Those pivot points will just go away when I put in the bottom line’s stringing. So, time to cut some:

I still haven’t found a good supplier of thick (~1mm) veneer so this is the lamination of two 0.6mm thick sheets of horse chestnut. And the glorified pizza cutter makes short work of it with no tracking off the line following the grain, it’s neat that way. Just don’t leave your finger hang over the edge of the ruler because it’ll take that off too. Tungsten carbide blade. Next, put glue in the slot…

Handy things these, but you don’t half get a few odd looks when a box of them arrives for you at the office…

And the pivot points are hidden. I was able to coax the stringing round those corners by rubbing it a few times to heat it through friction but I really must get a bending iron off ebay.

Now let the glue set a while and then trim back with a chisel (I’ll take a smoothing plane or a scraper to the whole surface when it’s all done, but cutting off the excess now makes it a bit easier to work with).

Not a fantastic job on the endpoints, but okay for a first try I guess. Now to cut the line that cuts through that curve (funny thing, I’d have thought you’d cut all the lines first then glue in all the stringing, but no, if they overlap like this you cut through the stringing as well for a cleaner result).

And now glue in the other curve and the other straight line, covering that pivot point again…

And leave that set a bit, trim back the excess and then glue up the last long straight-ish bit:

I knocked off there, I’ll come back to it tomorrow evening for a while and clean it up, but for now that’ll do. I really want to find a way to heat the stringing for that last remaining segment and I need a plug cutter set (which is on its way) for the last decorative bit I had planned for that corner.

Not too bad so far I think. Mind you, so far this has been rather simple…

More stringing tests…

Hmmm. Well, the veneer I cut myself was a total failure, but then I could guess that as it came off the bandsaw – that thing is just not up to fine work.

I mean, maybe if you just needed a wavering line that left gaps in some places and was full width in others, but that’s kindof a specialist sort of need 😀

The doubled-up sheets of 0.6mm veneer were… okay, but a little fiddly. The result was okay though.

(That’s the single sheet on the left and the two-sheets-glued-together on the right)
Looks even better from a small remove:

Still though. Would rather get the thicker veneer. The search continues….


Oh, and some more photos of the record frog from the new and old #04, it seems to be an oddity apparently.

Hiding from the sunshine

Fairly ugly weather here for the last month or so, and between that and a broken tooth that developed an abscess and needed a root canal, I’ve just not been in the mood for the shed. But today was sunny for the first time in about five hundred years, and I’d bitten through the second temporary filling the dentist had fitted for the period between “drilling all the pulp out of the tooth” and “finishing off the root canal”, so I figured I’d go hide in the shed and play for a while.

Also, a new toy had arrived:

Nice early version of a Record #04, bought to be used as a scrub plane. I already have Sid:

Sid was made from a cheap-as-chips €12 #4 and for rough work it was grand, but the casting isn’t great and it digs into my hands until they bleed and the front tote keeps unscrewing, so I figured a Record #04 would be a good idea. Wouldn’t cost that much (and it didn’t, it came to about €30 with shipping) and it’d fit better (it does). I can keep Sid for really heavy work and use the new #04 as the workaday scrub instead. It was in much better condition than I thought it’d be mind you.

Needs to have the cosmoline gunk taken off the frog and the blade reground to give it a camber, and I might need to file the mouth a bit wider but other than that it should be grand.

It’s a bit shorter than Sid, but oddly, it’s also a bit shorter than my other #04, which is from the same vintage as far as I can tell from blade and frog and adjustment levers and so forth:

That’s a little weird. But okay. And as a bonus, I can finally clear out the interloper from my plane till…

…and just go full Record 😀


Anyway, on to veneers. I thought I’d found a source for constructional veneer…

Colour’s excellent; but the thickness is still 0.6mm 🙁 I’ve glued up two layers between two clamped sheets of MDF to see if I can build up a thicker veneer. In the meantime the search for better veneers goes on.

Mind you, it doesn’t look *terrible*….

The single thickness isn’t great as there’s a very visible gap beside it:

A double thickness isn’t too bad, but still not perfect.

And I need something to actually put stringing into, so…

Simple housing joints for the shelf, I’ll dovetail the back rails in tomorrow, and that’ll give me some large areas to try stringing on.


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