A few updates and tool gloats

Published on by Mike  (2 Comments)

Hey All, I know its been a long time since I have put an update to the blog.  The good news is things have been happening, I just haven’t been very proactive at updating the blog.  I do have part 2 of the Technology in the Shop article nearly complete, just needs some final touches.  If you would like to see more articles like that from me, please leave feedback on what you would like to see.

2012-12-06 20.48.432012-12-15 19.31.48Despite the lack of updates, I have been busy in the shop, largely spending time at the lathe turning Christmas ornaments for family and friends.  This year I tried turning miniature acorn bird houses.  These were a lot of fun to turn!  I am also participating in another challenge from the chatroom on The Woodwhisperer.com website.  This time it is a box.  I will update the blog once it has been completed.  The hand tool cabinet hasn’t changed much since its last post, that may have to wait till Spring before I work on it again.

2012-11-08 18.17.16Finally, a couple tool gloats.  First back in November, I went to the Woodworking in America show near Cincinnati.  While I took advantage of a number of good deals, my main purchase was a Veritas Router Plane.  I must say, it is a very well made hand plane, and I will likely be buying the smaller blades for it as well.


2012-12-25 18.14.47The second gloat, is for Christmas my family got me the Ridgid Oscillating Sander.  This thing is great is at doubles both a spindle and belt sander, and really excels at smoothing cuts from the bandsaw, both inside and outside curves.

I will try to do a bit better with getting blog posts up.  One thing that helps motivate me to do more blog posts is feedback!  Let me know what you think!

Hand Tool Cabinet – Update 1

Published on by Mike  (Leave a comment)

I got some time today to work on the hand tool cabinet, specifically starting on the hand plane storage.  I am actually breaking from my sketch-up plan almost completely on this.  Since I made the cabinet an inch deeper, I decided I could do a little better for my block planes.  So I decided I would build a block plane garage.  I had a few cut-offs that were left from the case construction, so they were wide enough, w4ithout glue-ups.  I planed these down to 1/2″ thick, as I felt 3/4″ thick would be too much.  After I planed them down, I ripped the stock to width, then cut each piece to length.  At this phase, I wasn’t sure how many cubbies I would have (I was playing this by ear after all), so I made sure I cut what turned out to be one extra spacer.  At this point, I glued everything together. Once the glue was dry, I did a base sanding to get everything good and smooth.  On the router table, I routed round overs on the front.  At this point, I noticed that it was sitting as flat as I would have liked.  So I took my hand planes, and started planing down the bottom of the dividers, until I got sitting flat.  From there I took a rasp and completed the round overs.  Now this may seems like a minor detail, but it doesn’t take long, and it makes the piece look so much more refined.  From there, I did the final sanding.

The next phase of plane storage will be the till for the bench planes.  I haven’t 100% decided how the plane will turn out, I am thinking through some ideas.  As soon as I come up with something, I will post here.  I still have the doors to make for the cabinet.  I figured out that I need more wood to completethem, so I haven’t started yet.  My driveway the last few weekend has been inaccessible due to road work.  My plan next weekend is to go to my hardwood supplier and get more so that I can start on the doors when I am ready for them.

Tool Cabinet Project – Finally!

Published on by Mike  (Leave a comment)

Ever since I completed the chisel rack at the beginning of 2011, I have been wanting to build a hand tool cabinet.  Over the past year or so I have off and on been working on a design for the cabinet using sketch-up.  So to take advantage of a long weekend, this past Saturday I finally started the actual build.  Right off the bat, I made a design change to the cabinet, simply because I had the wood to do with.  I had some wide boards of maple I have been holding back for this project, that were a bit wider then the 7″ depth I had planned on.  So I added on an extra inch, making it 8″ deep.  I was pretty much in the shop all day Saturday, and got most of the case work done on it.  The only items missing were the dividers for the drawers and the back.  During the process of cutting the dados, I made another design change.  I decided it may be good to have one of the drawers wider, so I took out the center divider.

Sunday, I did spend nearly as much time in the shop as the heat and humidity (it wanted to rain all day, but didn’t) were horrible.  I did however clean up all the glue joints and sanded it.

Today, Labor Day Monday, I glued in the dividers and back.  This was also the inaugural run of my new cross-cut sled I made.  I have been meaning to make one for years, even bought Incra’s slider bar a couple years ago, but never got around to it.  The back on this is 27″ wide, and would be impossible to cut with the miter gauge on the table saw.  I did break it down to manageable piece with my circular saw, but that does not leave a clean cut.  In fact it tears up the veneer on the baltic birch ply horribly.  I used my roller stand to support the sled, and was able to safely cross cut the back down to the exact size I needed.  All I can say is, I wish I hadn’t waited so long to make one! The rest of the time I spent in the shop today was sanding the back.

All-in-all, I am happy with the progress I made, in fact a little surprised I am already this far a long.  I was hoping for the first glue-up this weekend, but managed to get that done the first day.  Most likely I will work on the door boxes next, but I am considering work on the plane till portion next.

Cradle Project (formerly the mystery project), Turnings, and Tool Gloat

Published on by Mike  (Leave a comment)

I know it has been a little while since I made a post here, but that is simply because I have been busy in the shop!  It is a long post, but reflects what has been going on the past couple months.

First thing, is I finished what I previously referred to as the mystery project, which is a cradle for my wife’s cousin and her new daughter. When I decided to build this project, I had very little time to complete it, but I figured that would add to the challenge of completing an already challenging project.  I love a good challenge!  🙂  I started out drawing a design using Sketch Up.  After making a few slight revisions, and worked my way through some design challenges, I got started.  My plan was to make the frames of the panels out of maple, with cherry inserts.  I started out making the parts for the two end panels, both of which were the same.  The frames are being assembled with haunched tenons, which create a very strong joint.  The two side boards (the stiles I supposed you could call them) are also be where the side panels attach to the end panels.  After dry fitting the end panels, I went on to make the two side panels, including the tabs that will help fit the side panels to the end panels.  After fitting all the parts together for the side panels, I went ahead and did the glue ups for them.    Once the glue was dry, I was able to mark on the stiles for the end panels precisely where the tabs of the side panels will meet.  I then proceeded to cut out the tabs before the glue-up of the end panels, and made sure I had a decent rough fit, with enough material left to further tweak for final assembly.  Before gluing up the end panels, I went to the band saw and cut out some of the more intricate curves on the runners, but left the larger curves for after assembly.  This allowed me plenty of flat clamping space so I could achieve good solid joints.

After the glue dried, I cleanup the glue lines, and then put an extension table on my band saw.  This allowed me plenty of table space to cut the curves for the runner, and to make a nice profile across the top.  From there, I cleaned up all the glue joints, lots of sanding, and putting round-overs where round overs where needed.  This did involve some time with rasps and other hand tools to make the round overs look right on the inside corners.


This brings us to final assembly.  This involved a LOT of dry fittings, and a LOT of tweaking of all the pieces.  I kept doing this until I achieved as square a fit as possible.  My awesome wife also helped me with a lot of these dry fittings as it proved to be very difficult to put together with out a helper.  She also helped me with the final glue up.  Once glued up, I flush cut and sanded all eight tabs, the sanded all the joints smooth.  From there did the final sanding, working my way up to 220 grit.

With the cradle now ready for finish, I took advantage of the heat wave were having and applied two coats of boiled linseed oil.  The high heat helps the oil to dry and cure fairly quickly.  I let the second coat of oil sit for several days to give it a chance to cure and off gas.  This brings me back to a point I made earlier in the post, and a lesson learned.  The lesson being, just because you pull a board off of the maple shelf from hardwood supplier, does NOT mean it is maple.  Now, up until the point of finishing, the color of all boards where pretty close (as shown in the pictures)  Imagine my surprise as the oil brought out the color of the wood (which is why I like using oils) that some of the boards were not at all maple, but were in fact cherry!  Thankfully I already had cherry elements in the project, and where the boards ended up worked very well, and added a lot of character to the overall project, and I really liked the look of it.

After the oil was dry and cured, I applied man coats of shellac, with sanding between each coat.  After the shellac was dried, I made the bottom panel and put a couple coats of shellac on that as well.  From there my wife took care of getting the mattress, sheet, and bumpers for it to make it comfortable for the baby.

Today we delivered the cradle to my wife’s cousin, and her new daughter appears to be very comfy in the cradle!

After completing the cradle, I cleaned up the shop and sharpened all my chisels and planes.  I also decided that I would get started on turning some Christmas gifts so that I would have plenty of time to get them done.  Someone I think I will be making them last minute again this year.

Finally, I do have a bit of a tool gloat!  🙂  If you recall in the shop tour video I did back in January, I showed my bench top jointer and basically said it was a POS.  Well it has finally been replaced!  I ordered a freestanding jointer from Grizzly and had them deliver it to me.  Due to the weight (240lbs!) it was shipped freight.  It was a pretty awesome feeling seeing the UPS Semi Truck pull up to the house to drop that thing off!  It took me a couple evenings to put it together and tune it up, but from the test runs I have taken on it, this is definitely light years ahead of what I had before.


Shop Made Tenon Jig

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As I mentioned in yesterdays post, the mystery project utilizes a bunch of tenons (8 total) but I didn’t have a tenon jig.  So I decided to make one from MDF.  To keep it simple, I made it so that it slides on the rip fence.  I started out putting a couple blocks that were as tall as the fence it self and clamped them on to the fence.  I put some paper between the blocks and the fence to keep it snug fence but hopefully allow for smooth movement.  Once I got the blocks placed, I put a top on and glued and nailed it solid.  I then took a long board that was wide as the slider is long and cut a groove down the center.  This groove will allow for clamps to hold the work piece in place.  This was glued and nailed to the slider.  Now, in theory it should have been perfectly square to the table, however theory rarely pans out.  🙂  Luckily my fence allows for adjustment of that so that I can get the vertical board perfectly square to the table.  After I got it all together, and provided a good snug fit.  I will put a good coat of wax on the inside of it to get a smooth slide.