Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Galootaclaus 2012

Every year the members of the OldTools list holds a gift exchange match-up known as Galootaclaus.  I haven't participated the past couple of years due to time (lack of time, and last year just plain missing the sign up), so this year I made sure to sign up in time and participate.

On Friday, I returned home from work to find my son bouncing with excitement.  I had a hunch that this meant Galootaclaus had cleared the borders and arrived at our house.  My wife confirmed this, and one of the projects for their day was creating a treasure hunt for me.  I was presented with the first clue upon entering the home after work, and treated to a 10 riddle treasure hunt leading me to the package.

Upon opening the box, I discovered a nicely wrapped package - shown here by my lovely assistant.

(cat not included)

 Tearing into the paper, a wooden box with a very nice, fine stone appeared.  I had assumed the lid had a decorative touch that had been added to it, but I was incorrect.  When I looked closer, I discovered it was a separate piece that had been added on, and turned out to be a piece of leather - I imagine for final stropping/polishing.

This is a welcome addition to the shop.  I have some inexpensive water stones, but am bad at touching up my edges while working due to the hassle of having to set them up since I don't have a large work area.  This is a bad habit. Having a good stone at hand will go a long way to correct that.  And having it in a solid case means I can make sure to have it with me when I travel.

I would like to thank my Galootaclaus for a great gift.  And I just noticed from my last post:  Galootaclaus 2008, that my gifter is Stephen Reynolds again.  What are the odds...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Galootaclaus 2008

It's been longer than I've meant to post any content. Things have been busy in other areas of my life, but every year the members of the OldTools list holds a gift exchange match-up known as Galootaclaus.

Whoo-Hoo! It's here.... It's here! The Galootaclaus package has been released by the border elves known as customs agents. (Insert little Galootaclaus song here). I wonder what's in it......

The irony here, is that was my wife. Who then stuck her head in the shop, and made me put what I was in the middle of on hold because she wanted to see what was in it. And so, as usual, she handed it over.... with all identifying marks and paperwork neatly removed. Good sized box, and heavy too.....

So without further ado, I ripped the pull tab on the box, and had it break. Tried a second time, and it broke. Pulled the tab on the other side and it broke after 2 inches. Hmmmmm..... dug out the strip and gently pulled managing to open the box up. Pulled out the packaging, and.....

Wow. Or more accurately, WOW!

In my neck of the woods, we have 2 types of moulding planes:
1) exhorbitantly overpriced, often damagaed, and missing most of their components in an anteek maul.
2) The ones Cowtown Eric beat you to.

I've never seen a skewed rebate plane in the wild before, and here is this gorgeous moving filletster sitting in my box. A W. Marples & Sons of Sheffield, Hibernia (Cloverleaf) Trade Mark, full length fence, adjustable depth stop, cute little knicker, skewed blade moving Filletster. Along with a note. And an old box that they used to ship Irwin bits in containing the wedges, blades, and an original Irwin pamplet together with an original cello wrapped 13/16" bit.

The little bit of shavings are mine.... couldn't resist putting it together and trying it out right away.

Now, the good news is that SWMBO returned the customs declaration once I had opened it so I could properly thank the sender.

So, Steve Reynolds, thank you for your thoughtfulnes and generosity. Thank you for the Irwin bit and pamplhet, and the plane. She is beautiful, and I will treasure her and put her to work. It was a fabulous end to my Christmas Holidays.

And thank you to Jim E. for organizing/coordinating the event. Hope we see more participants join in the fun next year.

Monday, October 13, 2008

life is funny....

It's been a long time since i've posted, and a fair amount of time since i've done a large project.

A lot of small projects have gotten accomplished, but i haven't had time to document or blog - and let's face it, a lot of the small stuff is boring. No one wants to read about gluing up broken Thomas The Tank Engine tracks (I use thick CA glue and an accelerator btw - no 4 year old wants to wait 20+ minutes to get back to playing).

I've done a number of pens - and while I've photographed the steps I've taken, and mean to put up a short (ha ha) sequence - I've been stumped for time due to work, and life in general. It's almost amusing to notice that the last post is for Galootaclaus - which is beginning to ramp up again for this year.

However, I am in the midst of posting a project I'm in the middle of.

Of course, it's taken about 4 years to get started, and is going slowly. But I do have part of a post written, and photos uploaded. I'll be completing that post in the next day or so..... and hopefully posting a little more frequently.

I should now have several evenings during the week, when the young'un has gone to bed that will go to projects, and other things I have neglected for a while.

See you again. Soon.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Galootaclaus 2007

I know Santa delivers a lump of coal when you've been bad, and gifts when you've been good, but there's no way I've been 'that' good this year. The package arrived safe and sound over a week ago, and the delivery man was met by SWMBO. Said package was whisked away and all of the cross border shipping documents were removed. I got to look at the box for about 5 seconds. The box was then hidden until Christmas Eve.

So on Christmas Eve, I got to open it once everything had settled down in the house.

The large and very heavy box.

Contents lovingly packed in pine shavings.

An overview of the extremely generous contents.

Close-up of the double ended callipers on the Olive Wood.

Stunned. Speechless. Awestruck. Giddy. Flabbergasted. Overwhelmed. Any one of the items in this box would have put a big smile on my face and fit the bill. Instead I was sent a bounty of goodies that never seemed to stop. I was sent to the kitchen as SWMBO suspected shavings were used as packaging, and she was correct. Once I moved the shavings out of the way, I found:

  • A short personal note from Galootaclaus, including some of the history of the included items.
  • Olive wood (cut in '98, milled into boards in '99, and drying in the shop rafters since)
  • A Tape of St Roy episodes (something I've never had an opportunity so see as it's not carried on PBS in my area)
  • A gorgeous little double ended calliper about 3.25" long, and opens to 1.75" (no maker's mark I can locate)
  • 5 books:
  • The Art of Making Elegant Jewelry Boxes (Design & Techniques) by Tony Lydgate
  • The Best of Wood Boxes (Ideas & Plans for 59 Unique Wood Boxes) Edited by R. Adam Blake
  • Box Making Basics (Design, Technique, Projects) by David M Freedman
  • Marvelous Wooden Boxes You Can Make by Jeff Greef
  • Award-Winning Boxes (Design & Technique) by Tony Lydgate

I don't quite know what to say, or how to say it, so I'll keep it simple. Thank You Michael. From the bottom of my heart.

That Olive looks gorgeous, and I'll be saving it until I can find a fitting project. I can't begin to tell you how enjoyable you made my Christmas.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Level Of Difficulty....

Why do we sometimes choose to make things so difficult? I would like to think that sometimes that is the correct way. The necessary way. In fact, the only way. Here is a case in point.

I recently purchased a scroll saw. A Beaver JS-3100 24" scroll jig saw. Not a new tool by any stretch - I believe it was manufactured in the 40's, by The Callendar Foundry & MFG. Co. LTD. in Guelph, Canada. A monster. A massive chunk of cast iron. A marvel of engineering. The best made scroll saw at the time. Of pre-Beaver/Rockwell, Rockwell/Delta, Delta lineage. A saw that takes 5 -7 " pinless jeweller's blades, or can take sanding sticks, files and saber blades? And, let's face it, it can handle thicker material than my bandsaw.

The problem? Mine came without a stand. So... A little research was in order. After digging through several forums, and spending some time online going through different types of stands and designs that were available, I put together a small checklist of what seemed to be the most important considerations:
  1. Will you be standing or sitting when you scroll?
  2. Three leg stands seem to be more inherently stable than a four leg design. This seems to be because it is easier to stabilize 3 points on an uneven floor.
  3. It must be stable, and solid.
  4. It is easier to view your work and guidelines as you cut if you raise the back of your scroll saw by about three inches.
  5. Convenient storage for blades, parts, accessories should be considered, but isn't really a deal breaker.
So here is what I went with: Sitting, 3 legged stand, raised at the back. Built out of construction grade lumber I had on hand (2x and 1/2" plywood). I opted not to worry too much about blade storage - I put them in a coffee can that stays under the saw.

The plans were pretty much out of my head (original "full" detailed sketches below). The dimensions were based on the following:
  • Height of table must be at elbow height while sitting (27" for me) so subtract the base to table height on the scrollsaw and thickness of the plywood gave me 14.5" for the stand, 17.5" at the back. This turned out to be a 4 deg. rise.
  • The width needed to be a minimum 8" at the back (the width of the scrollsaw) and wider at the front for stability - it also seemed like a good size for foot clearance with the legs angled out, and the plywood I had kicking around was 18" wide. Turned out this was an 8* angle.
  • The length needed to be at least the length of the saw's base - 34"
  • The legs needed to be angled out for stability - 10* splay seemed about right.
Wait.... that's 3 angles. Haven't cut compound angles - in fact, I have a project that has languished because I have a 2 way compound angle that I've had trouble wrapping my head around. I could still back out and make it square with 4 legs..... No - what would be the point of doing it "easy" when you can just as well do it "right".

The Original "Plans"

In the end I drew out the start and stop points for all 3 directions on the back leg, and stared at it a while, joined up the lines that should create the right angles, and cut the practise piece. Since that actually worked, I then did the real one, remembering to change the angle directions for the left/right sides :)

The Main 3 way compound angle. I opted to
cut the shoulder to help support the weight of the top/saw.
I also used shoulders on the front legs which you can
sort of see in the "top" view below.

Using The Table Saw as an Assembly Table.
(It was the flattest surface I had and a convenient height.)

Shot From The Top. I Used a Brace between the
two front legs and from the front to the back to
prevent any issues with the legs spreading
- especially when the stand is moved.

With the top attached - I added some
dowels and holes to keep the allen key
and wrench I need close at hand.

Now with the stand complete, I wanted to rewire it, as the original wiring was bad - the plug head actually fell off when I picked it up at one point. I wanted to add a switch for the scroll saw, but to have a live plug in for a light, auxiliary dust blower, etc. Dug through books on wiring, and headed down to my local Home Hardware to pick up some 14 AWG 3/C water resistant (flexible copper, rubber sheathed) wiring - not available at any of the big box stores in my area.

Wiring the switch and outlet. A good lesson:
be careful that you wire the hot, and not the neutral.
I had to go back to the electrical wiring book
when I plugged in the saw and it ran no matter
what the switch was set to. Guess I should have
referred to the book while working
rather than trust my memory.

But you have to give me credit for testing the outlet.

The saw and stand, in all it's glory.

Close up of the head with the tension
system, blower, and guides.

Close up of the guides and hold-down.

The saw in use, I believe a medium to fine
coping saw blade with the pins cut off was
used for the oven squirrel.

Final verdict?
  • Is this high enough? I still lean forward sometimes - but it's been pretty good for the work I've done so far. If it become an issue, I can always add some 2x risers under the legs.
  • Stable - yes. The legs haven't been a problem when moving it.
  • Easy to move? No - but it's a really heavy saw. I mean just look at the thing. It gets dragged out for use, and dragged out the way when I'm finished. No issues with the legs at all.
And I learned to deal with a compound angle. Now maybe I can get around to finishing that other project.....

Monday, July 30, 2007

you learn something new every day....

today's lesson: A bead looks intentional - a subtle cove need to be part of an overall design. A subtle cove on an otherwise straight section doesn't look like a cove - it looks like an accident.

The other day I turned a pen - an El Grande Fountain Pen (Berea Hardwoods kit, from Lee Valley). I have turned my previous pens with a pretty straight barrel - or an extremely subtle 'swell' in the centre. I thought I'd play a little with the latest one, so I left a slightly larger swell at the 1/3 way mark near the bottom of the cap, and added a slight cove. It looked good at that point, but I think the sanding flattened the swell and didn't much affect the cove - changing the proportions.

I wasn't sure about it.

I was torn between leaving it (it was hard not to play with it - pleasing to the fingers) and "fixing" it (visually it looked like I screwed up.) I was able to disassemble the cap of the pen, and remount it. So I fixed it.

I'm happy I did now. There was enough material I was able to change it from a gentle swell with a subtle cove to dead ass straight. I left the gentle swell on the barrel, as it feels comfortable when using, and is subtle enough it doesn't look out of place with the straight cap.

*Photos will be coming as soon as I can get my digital camera back.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Coarse No. 2....

My first pen, an Extra-Large Twist (Cigar),
pen kit from Lee Valley (Berea Hardwoods).

The blank was a Rust & Black Acrylic Acetate,
from Lee Valley (not sure who their supplier is).

The second course I took from Lee Valley was a Pen Turning course. Always wanted to try, but didn't have everything required. I also didn't want to purchase everything required (bits, mandrels, bushings, etc.) only to find out that I now owned $100 of products I wasn't going to use again.

I called to sign up for the pen turning course, only to find out that the wooden pen turning course had been cancelled. The instructor had retired, and the person putting the course offering together had accidentally listed it.

They were able to sign me up for the Acrylic Pen Turning course that they had running. I chatted with someone knowledgeable from the staff to find out what the difference was - and he felt their was little difference. The plastic was probably tougher to work - more prone to damage, melting, more work to polish and put a gloss finish on.

I have yet to complete a wooden pen so I can't really comment. I have however completed 5 acrylic pens, and 2 from a bowling ball thermosetting material (which is really nasty to polish). My only experience with turning wooden pens was to test cut some blanks I had mis-drilled. I have 4 wooden blanks ready to turn - out of figured wood. So even when I do finish my first wooden pen, I'm not sure my experience will be 'typical'.

The best part? The association/union I'm a member of at work is allotted funds for staff to take courses that are professional or personal development. I received a full refund :)

Ok.... the best part was I got to spend a dedicated evening turning. The free pen was a nice bonus.