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.