Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wood Screw Fail

Probably three nights of trying to get a usable wood screw turned. Spent some time sharpening the bit, and still no luck. Finished almost 2 ft of wood screw, and when I tested it in the vise, it binds an 1" or so in. Not happy. Pics of the failure that is turning a wood screw in the next day or so.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

One Half Double Screw

Finished tapping the holes on the backside of my Moxon Double Screw. Few things, even with a sacrificial backing, the ash is prone to blowing out the back when drilling through. I suppose if my marking was good enough, I'd have the confidence to drill part way through and finish from the opposite side; I don't. The drill press is an interesting machine. It doesn't really seem to come equipped capable of any sort of repeatable or accurate drilling, which is ironic. It definitely needs an aftermarket or homebrew table to permit consistent placement and repeatable results piece to piece. Lastly, tapping a 1 1/2" wood thread through 8/4 ash is a decent workout. Those skinny woodworkers must be a wiry bunch.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Moxon is Approaching

So a few things learned already. There seems to be a very generous definition of flat coming out of a machine. The planer leaves an undulating surface, and the jointer is prone to imparting a bow on edges. I think the latter is due in part to two things 1) bad technique on my part, and 2) the shortness of the in-feed table. Easier to work on 1 than 2, so that's another skill to put on the list of "skills to practice/learn".

So I finally milled, and cut my ash to finish the Moxon Double Screw. All that's left now is drilling a few holes, tapping and threading, and we're off to some real projects.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


With the dust collector ready to go, the only thing left was to adjust the tables on the jointer/planer. Despite my annoyance with having to fiddle again to get a machine working properly, the exercise turned out to be relatively painless. Basically one side of the tables are adjusted for height, and establish an "origin". The other side adjusts for tilt. This allows a relatively easy method of getting the table to co-linear with the cutterhead. Given that there's no adjustment for the planing table, I guess I just assume/hope that it is reasonably parallel to the cutterhead.

After all is said and done, I finished milling my first piece of lumber. Surfaced four sides, and all square to boot.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

White Ash

Here are the partly milled pieces of 8/4 white ash. The edge has yet to be completely squared to the faces. I postponed aligning the cutterhead to the outfeed table on the jointer while I worked on getting the dust collector set up. The dust collector has its own 240V/20A circuit, so I don't expect it will be tripping out. The guy I bought it from was tripping out a 120V/20A circuit despite it only being a 2HP unit, so it definitely has a hefty inrush current draw when it first starts up.

By the way, I am really beginning to despise the amount of money spent on electrical odds/ends and wire.

Tablesaw Burning

So there's still a bit of burning with the tablesaw. The fence has a bit of play at the far end when it's not locked down, and I'm not convinced at this point that it aligns itself consistently at the far end when I do lock it down. I guess that's another thing that I'll have to fumble through. The burning the last time though was on the leading edge, not the trailing like previously. At least what I recall previously, which may or may not be the case.

Checked and Stickered

So Mr. Schwarz opined that the timbers were potentially quite wet since there was no checking perpendicular to the rings outward from the pith. Well a few weeks in the basement and the checks have started to show up. The question now being, how much checking is too much checking before I have myself a pile of oak firewood?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Milling, Spouse and More Setup

So the pile of woodchips is reaching epic proportions. Not quite, but I suppose that's what you get trying to mill a couple 8" wide 8/4 boards. Of course, I am now forbidden by order of the spouse from milling until I get the dust collector up and running. Minor dilemma of whether to put it on a separate circuit or not. I wouldn't think the circuit would trip with one of the machines and the dust collector running, but I guess better safe than sorry.

Back to milling. I'm not able to get the board edge jointed at 90° to the face. It's off by maybe 0.5°. The fence and the feed/outfeed tables are definitely at 90° so that leaves the cutter head as the only suspect in the misaligned cuts. Well, the cutter head and my technique.

Woodchuck Chuck

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Redemption, Chips & Dust

In the end everything worked out, but not without some frustration along the way. Everyone (the manufacturer, distributor and tech) said the right thing, but only one party ended up doing the right thing. I have to say I am reassured by the service tech, but don't expect I'll be buying too much from either Laguna or the local distributor any time soon.

All that said, the jointer/planer is up and running. There are a few small annoyances already with it, but I don't think they're game breakers. The fact that it's a single machine definitely mitigates the annoyance. My basement is looking pretty crowded already. I'm not really sure how all the wood and equipment is going to fit into half the space when the basement gets finished someday. When the unit runs purely as a jointer, it's mostly good. I'm not really happy with the quality of the fence, but I think I can live with or replace it relatively easily. The problem is in using it as a planer. The planer bed needs to be lowered nearly all the way in order to switch back to jointing. That fact combined with the questionable scale for the thickness setting means that repeatability for different batches pretty much turns into a crapshoot. Lastly, there's a stop switch accessible from the feed side of the planer, but no start switch. Seems like an odd exclusion.

I managed to pick up a used 2HP dust collector yesterday. I had originally hoped to use my Festool CT22 with the jointer/planer and tablesaw. Given the rather copious amount of chips and dust generated, the 2HP collector looks like a stroke of genius... or common sense.

Have the ash for the Moxon Double-Screw vise nearly milled. Couple more passes through the planer, jointing the edges and cut to length remain. So really, I've only started. The aforementioned piles of chips and dust stopped the operation a bit short.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tablesaw is a Go

Finished setting up and wiring the tablesaw. Finally. Ran a few test pieces with some scrap. I'm a little bit dismayed that I'm getting a bit of burning on the few pieces of maple. I double checked the alignment of the blade and miter slot and it stays within a couple thou over the entire rotation of the blade. It's late now, so I'll double check the alignment of the fence tomorrow. I know maple is a bit prone to scorching, but I was hoping for better.


After a bunch of calls, I'm now left waiting. We'll see if the three parties involved manage to resolve the issue. Not a great start though. Doesn't seem as though anyone particularly likes speaking to each other anymore.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Clear Rough Pine

Picked up a couple 1x8 pine boards for the school box. I'm scaling it down a bit so it'll work as a recipe box, but I'm having few doubts about the suitability of the thickness of the stock for such a small box. Always an interesting time running through the barn at Century Mill Lumber.

Almost running... and a Rant

The tablesaw is finally assembled, and just needs to have the plug wired.

Time for a little rant. I purchased the combo jointer/planer from Laguna Tools since it looked like a great deal. First, I find it exceedingly arrogant for a manufacturer to act as though I am privileged to be able to buy their product. I'm not lucky to be buying a product, the manufacturer is lucky to be selling a product, especially in this case. The jointer/planer comes with an instruction manual that clearly wasn't written by anyone with a passing command of the english language. To make matters worse, the local distributor was forced by the local electrical authority (who in their own right is of dubious ability) to install an auxiliary magnetic start/stop switch. The distributor was then kind enough to leave any details of the start/stop switch, such as the wiring diagram, absent from the delivery. After nearly two months of hounding the distributor, I was verbally provided wiring instructions. Well, today after wiring the unit up, it was humming smoothly. I ran a small 1x2 strip of maple over the jointer, and all seemed well. The first pass light, and I proceeded to take a 2nd pass removing the same thickness of material. Once I cleared the cutter head with the strip, the jointer shut down. The start/stop junction box smells of burnt electricals, and the unit will no longer start. To say that I'm pissed would be an understatement. Did I mention the "new" unit I purchased was the show floor model they'd been hauling around to shows for 6 months prior to my purchase? They neglected to mention that one on the phone when I made my order. Real classy.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Is Wet and Stickered

I knew the wood was damp, but now that it's had the chance to sit in the basement for a couple days, I was expecting it to be a bit less so. It's not. Mr. Schwarz commented in an e-mail that the lack of splitting on the pieces containing the pith indicated that the lumber was still quite damp. I will be trying to get my hands on a moisture meter in the next several days to determine exactly how damp. I just don't want to drop too much money on a meter. Many other things I would rather be investing in at this point.

Some pictures of the stickered wood.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tools & Library

The Tools and Library pages are now up! I have apparently bought a lot more tools than I thought... which considering I feel like I've bought a lot is saying something.

A Box & A Double Screw

So my friend asked if I could build her a recipe box. Seems like a simple enough side project, while I wait for all this lumber to dry out. It will get me back to practicing again. It's been a good couple months since I've practiced the basics. I'm definitely far from perfecting them, but the whole "workshop setup" process, ironically, pulled me away from actually woodworking or practicing anyway. The 1839 School Box from the Autumn 2009 issue of Woodworking Magazine (from The Joiner and Cabinet Maker) seems like a good place to try and start for the recipe box. Obviously, there will need to be some scaling, but at least it gives me the chance to exercise the basics without scrapping too much wood.

I was in the midst of milling two pieces of ash for the Joseph Moxon Double Screw Vise that Christopher Schwarz blogged about a few months back, and which showed up in this month's issue of Popular Woodworking. Getting a piece of stock that size, for the first time, proved a bit more difficult than I was expecting. Although the highly questionable work area probably didn't help matters. A flimsy and unstable work table combined with a makeshift planing stop made for some difficult planing. I have one surface pretty good, but was never really sure if I had removed way more material than needed. I'm tempted to run the pieces through the power jointer and planer to get them done and out of the way so I have a good vise to work on the box. Maybe I'll try jointing the stock for the box by hand. Baby steps as it were.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I mustered up enough energy last night to get the lumber all stickered. No pictures yet, but it's a bit more orderly now. The consequences are being felt today though. Quite sore.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lumber in the Basement

White oak timbers that have sat outdoors for a rainy week are extremely heavy. It was painful, and my walls have a few new marks as a reminder. Some (most) of the pieces are quite wet from the rain the past week, and will have to spend a good time drying out in the basement. The small bundle of 1"x2" pine is for the stickers as mentioned previously. I'm quite happy that I was able to land the 6"x6" pieces for the legs. I'm not particularly looking forward to the milling process with such heavy lumber, but expect it shouldn't be nearly as bad as moving them all into the basement.

6x6 White Oak Timbers and Pine for Stickers

2x8 White Oak Lumber
4x6 White Oak Timbers

Trip to Townsend Lumber

I've been to several of the "lumber mills" in the area, but most of them seem to be lumber yards as opposed to actual mills. Townsend (in Tillsonburg) seems to be the real deal. The drive down the 401 wasn't so bad. I went down to purchase lumber for what will be my first substantial project. The famous Roubo Workbench as popularized by Christopher Schwarz.

The "I Can Do That" series of articles from Popular Woodworking Magazine is great and I definitely felt gratified after finishing my step stool project, but it seems a bit of a stretch to consider that a "real" woodworking project. That certainly won't keep me from posting a few shots and comments on the stool, but that will likely be the extent of it.

I now have a rather large and heavy pile of rough sawn white oak sitting both in my basement and in the minivan. I'll have to set up some stickers to set the timbers on to dry out. I'll leave with a comment that the price Lowes charges for what amounts to kindling is criminal. I thought a 16 stick bundle of 1"x1"x4' cedar nailing strips was on sale for $1.48. Not unreasonable given, as I stated, that the bundle was a glorified bunch of cedar kindling. Knotty, cracked, crooked and extremely dry. Apparently that's the price per stick. I ended purchasing a few 1"x2"x8' furring strips, which I think should do the job.

Almost the Start

At this point, I'm almost 7 months into "woodworking" but it seems the proportion of time between learning and working has been skewed mostly to the former. I have one completed project during that time that was completed with a pretty rudimentary set of tools. Now I've nearly completed setting up a much more complete (and expensive) set of tools after much pondering, questioning and research.

The first few posts, I expect, will go over a bit of the last several months as well as what's happening now.