Walnut Dragon

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Engraved on the CNC Shark Pro, using a Carbitool laser bit (solid carbide, 15o).  250mm diameter, 45 minute machining time.  Finish: Festool Surfix Oil System

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Despite all the preparations for the move, the already significant dismantling and degradation of shed function, I still managed to get out there for a bit of woodwork!

This was specifically because I needed to make some real progress on the latest set of articles for ManSpace magazine, which are due around about the same day as I am moving!  Timing is an immaculate thing.

One of the articles this time (and there will be a few in the same series) is about making kid’s toys – and takes you through a series of 6 steps to produce it.

I further wanted to ensure as many people as possible could complete the project, so limited the number of tools to a maximum of 6 (and only used 3 for the current one), and tried to come up with a project that would only take 60 minutes or so to complete, and under $60 in materials.
I’m not going to tell you want the actual project was – you’ll just have to wait for the next edition to hit the shelves!

It took 60 minutes, $40, and 3 tools (and 6 steps), so I definitely covered the brief (and got to make a little bit of saw dust in the process).

Ok, ok, I’ll give you one cryptic hint.  Dover.

Wonder if anyone will figure it out?

The Promise of Future Projects from the Ghosts of the Past

Once, I’m sure, it would have been regarded as a stunning architectural feature of the Menzies Building, but the original timber ceiling is no longer the flavour of the month and has been replaced with a modern suspended one.

I had a scan of my collection of digital photos taken over the years, and found one that at least gives a small taste of what the ceilings used to be.

timberroof-1Rather than see that timber wasted or worse (such as landfill or burnt), I have been fortunate enough to have a good portion dropped off at my place (yeah, just in time for me to then have to relocate it to the new house!)

While part of the ceiling, the boards are secured together in groups of 3 or 6, with a board nailed across them (bet that was some apprentice’s job!) The majority are 90 x 30mm, and 1.8m in length.

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To take them apart, I initially tried a hammer, but decided there was a much better way – the Worx Pro Jawhorse.

By clamping the crossbrace in the jaws, it only takes a little encouragement (and gravity) to neatly separate the two, leaving lengths of very straight, very dry timber.

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Just goes to show how stable the Jawhorse is!  And a tonne of clamping force to boot.  From there, the boards got stacked onto a pallet.  I haven’t measured it, but it’d be close to 2 m3.

I used a bit for toy kitchen for my daughter’s Christmas, and there are a fair few projects to come out of this lot.  Can’t wait!  So awesome (and inspiring) having a good collection of timber!

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When I ask for a slab

I may be talking about a cool amber beverage, but I’d certainly settle for one of these!

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Photo taken by my old man on one of his overseas jaunts – will get more detail about where (and what). He neglected to bring it back for me – something about carry on baggage on the plane.

Can’t imagine what you could do with it to justify the timber – whatever it becomes, it would be impressive!

A Question

This has been bugging me for years, but not enough for me to get around to actually finding out the answer.

When you buy DAR (dressed all round) softwood, it typically comes with faint grooves running the length of the timber.  (These are about 1mm apart).

Other than the possibility it is used to identify soft wood from hard, why are the grooves there, and how are they produced?  Grooved blades on the thicknesser I assume.  But to what benefit?

One brand is laserwood, but these days if you google that, all you get are countless ads for laser engravers!

Cot Commissioning

It has been a few months since we finished the cot, ready for a final sand and oil, and of course it’s young occupant!

So my colleague took the cot home, then disassembled it into components as we designed it. He then proceeded to run multiple passes (and grades) of sandpaper (on a random orbital sander) over the cot, then applied Organoil’s Hard Burnishing Oil over it.  The result is awesome :), and MJ (aka new Dad) sent these photos through.

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Oiling the rails

As the oil is applied, you can really see the beauty of the grain in the Tassie Oak, and the colour come out.

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Before and After

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Before and After – End Pieces

I love this one – the before and after shows up the details of the piece, and the colour and features of the timber.

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Assembled, bed made up, and in the nursery

So it all came together, and what a difference a little finishing makes!

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The Cot

So here it is – the first cot that I have turned out, and MJ has done a great job finishing it off.  Hope the bub gets lots of sleep!  I’m really pleased with the outcome, and MJ should be equally so :)

Glueups Progressing

Much of the evenings this week have involved short trips out to the shed for the next small step, primarily glue ups.  Sure have gone through a bit of glue this project!

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Sink Lip

I cut the opening in the top of one unit for the sink using the Worx Sonicrafter.   To stop the sink falling through (and add strength), I created a rebated mitred lip around the sink.  I don’t have four corner clamps the same, so ended up using both the corner adapter on the Quick Grips for to corners, and the Woodpeckers Mitre Clamp Set for the other two.  Interesting comparison – the Quick Grips were more convenient, the Woodpeckers did a better job.  The design of it really allowed the corner to load up and get pulled together.  I also made good use of the Woodpeckers Mitre square.

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Woodpeckers

I can really see how having the Woodpeckers Mitre Clamp set mounted to a jig would give a very good result.

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Dry Fit

Tried the sink out (and no surprise), it fitted like a glove.  No surprise because I’d already tried a couple of times already :)

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Mitre Inserts

I wasn’t happy how the mitres went – not close enough for what I wanted.  I’ve not had good results from mitre joints so far, and this one was no exception.  Nothing wrong with the clamps, everything to do with my technique.

So I decided to try another idea.  I ran the sink back over the saw, with the blade carefully set to the height just to cut through the top, and created a kerf at each corner.  Into that, I inserted and glued a piece of Solomons Queen Ebony.  Once it is dry, I will sand it flush.

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Reinforcement

Finally, before I ran out of time, I added some support to the front and rear edges of the trays – didn’t want to risk a split/breakage when loaded up and in operation.

Still seems so much to do, progress is dragging.  And Christmas is only a few days away!

Getting closer

Been popping out to the shed to continue to take small bites out of the toy kitchen project.  This one is taking a lot more bites than normal – partly the detail I am including, partly the timber source I am using (and having to glue up constantly to get the panels I need).

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Drawers (Gifkins Dovetail)

A kitchen needs drawers, especially one for cutlery. I decided to make two – keep things even on the sink unit.  Dovetail drawers were the order of the day, and once again I turned to the Gifkins – takes no time to dovetail up the sides.  Took me longer to machine and glue up the base!  I’ve only recently started using the Bessey clamps with the jig, and they sure do work a treat.

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Tambour handle

The tambour door wasn’t working very smoothly while I was testing the track, but freed up a great deal when I actually secured it in.  The track was sanded, then waxed with Ubeaut traditional wax.  Now it runs as smooth as you’d expect – perhaps even more so!  I needed a handle, so took a piece of the reclaimed redgum, routed a finger hold, then dominoed it to the tambour door with 4mm dominos.

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Stove progress

I am making this kitchen without any plans, so find it really beneficial to occasionally put the components I have made so far together, to get a vision of the final product, and see what needs to be done next. I also find it worthwhile, because it gives me ideas for other items to add.  The dovetailed drawers are one example, and a plan to make some spinning arms for the dishwasher is another.

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Wooden hinges

I was still working on the concept of the kitchen being 100% wood and glue, and so tried to make some wooden hinges that used a wooden dowel.  The result was less than ideal, so rather than force the issue, I will incorporate a minimal amount of metal.

I am still planning on using wooden hinges, just now with a brass pin.  The photo above was during the trial, and is the largest hinge that I can make with the hingecrafter.  It didn’t work out for a number of reasons, but was a good test, and the lessons learned will be incorporated into the remake.  I am planning on making a wooden strap hinge for the oven door – if you have a hinge (especially a wooden one), sometimes it is nice to make a feature of it.  It also means I can make it large without it looking out of place.  I will get back to making the hinges next “small bite!”

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Drawer fronts

Glued up the drawer fronts – a centre of redgum, because I could.  I have moved onto a new glue bottle (Gorilla yellow PVA), and wasn’t used to how far the glue spreads, and how much the nozzle dispensed, and got a bit much here!  At least the joint won’t be dry.  Easy enough to remove when the glue turns rubbery.

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Drawers in place

I added runners to the sink unit for the drawers.  With a small recess in the side of each drawer, and a notched runner, the drawers need no other guide to work successfully.  The fronts still need to be added obviously.

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Frontline Clamps

The Frontline clamps have again proved invaluable – hardly a minute that they haven’t had one panel or other being glued up.  So much so, that I really want to consider a more permanent home for the setup in the new workshop.  I am even considering whether to add an additional three clamps to my setup – either more 900mm ones to match my existing, or even three 1200mm clamps.

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Tops ready for machining

The tops of the two units are now glued, sanded and are ready for final sizing, and for the sink to be inserted into one, and stove elements routed into the other.  Still so much to do!  Just so little time.

Sinking Deeper

Once the initial parts for the sink were glued up (the large U shape sections), it was time to make the actual components.  Ideally, I wouldn’t have had to take the previous step, but I am working with a limited stock size, partly as a bit of an exercise, partly because I have the timber, and don’t feel like buying something else.  The redgum is being salvaged from the ugliest, oldest sleeper you would have seen in a long time.  Always surprising just how much good timber is hidden behind a rough façade.

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Creating the sink template

To cut the individual sections out, I created a template from MDF.  It is easy to draw up and shape to the required profile.

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Template attached

In this case, I didn’t have to worry about screw holes, so it was easier and less problematic to use screws (Kreg square drive).  You may wonder about the amount of timber wasted here inside the sink.  It won’t be going to waste, as I intend to use this again in the same way to produce some other (as yet undecided) kitchen appliances.

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Bandsawing around the template

To remove the bulk of the material, the bandsaw works exceptionally well.  Cutting near to the template reduces the load on the pattern copying router bit.

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Routing to shape

Over to the router table, and with a pattern bit (a straight cutter with a bearing on top), each piece of the sink is routed to shape.  (The photo above has the piece upside down)

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Glued and clamped

Next, each piece is glued and clamped together to form the body of the sink.  The ends have also been cut using the same template, but obviously only the outside is cut and routed.

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Spindle Sanding

The spindle sander is next, and is the perfect tool for this job.  It may not get the full depth, but flipping the workpiece over a few times keeps things pretty even.

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Fine sanding

The size of the sink just allowed me to get the ETS150 inside, but it isn’t ideal for sanding around corners…..except I have a soft sanding pad (from Ideal Tools).  This has hooks on one side, and loops on the other, so it acts as a spacer between the original sanding pad and the sandpaper.  With this, it is really easy to sand all sorts of concave and convex profiles.

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Soft sanding pad

This is the soft sanding pad – a very useful addition for the ROS.

***Update: it is called an interface pad, and can be found here

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Attaching the sides

With the inside done, the sides of the sink can be attached.  This (and the next image) were actually photographed before the glueup, but it gives you the idea.

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Laminated sink

So that is how I make the laminated sink, still ensuring that the entire project can be made from timber.  Not sure if I will be able to maintain that ideal for the entire project, but I am still working towards it.  Very pleased I used contrasting timber this time – might as well make a feature of the laminations!

Carcass and Top

Gave the toy kitchen project a good nudge today, despite the heat!  I would have hoped to have more done, but it takes time dressing boards down from scratch, resizing and all.  And I’m designing as I go as well!

Carcass Front

Carcass Front

This is the front of the carcass, partially assembled using Dominos to ensure it all lines up.

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Centre Detail

To deal with the central post, I used the Domino to punch right through, then a longer Domino (50mm) so there was enough proud to have plenty of depth for the cross members.

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Testing carcass depth

With the front and rear portions of the carcass glued up, it was time to join the two together.  Rather than use the sides as a structural member, I decided to complete the carcass separately, then attach the sides afterwards.  To get an accurate length for the remaining pieces, I clamped the sides to the carcass, then measured.

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Starting to take form

It also provided the first real chance to see how the unit was coming together.  One side is to be where the sink goes (and cupboard underneath), and the other side is the dishwasher (with tambour door – more of an industrial form of dishwasher!)

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Carcass glued up

These were also Dominoed, then the whole lot was glued and clamped.  The old adage that you cannot have too many clamps is so right.  I had all the Bessey clamps, and the two Jet clamps, and still had to resort to some others (that don’t have the same clamping force).  Another thing: as much as I always thought that Jet and Bessey were the equivalent of each other, with pros and cons to both, I have started to significantly favour the Bessey.  The ease to resize the clamp plays a big deal in being happy with the clamp as a whole, and the Jet is painful compared to the Bessey.

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Laying out the tops

Just before I ran out of shed time for the day, I got a bunch of shortcuts/shorter sections, and dressed them up.  Then between the stove and the cupboard/sink, I found I had just the right number.  Not bad for an eyechrometer!

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Commencing glueup of the tops

After sizing  to length, they were glued, and clamped in the Frontline clamps.

So that is where it sits at the moment.  Tomorrow the other top will be glued up, and progress made on the features that will turn this from an elaborate set of cupboards into a kitchen.

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