Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Again, I didn't get a lot done this weekend in the workshop. I did however, get my trailer fixed... again... I replaced the right side hinge that allows the trailer to be folded. This wasn't a super complicated operation but it took a little time. I've got to say I am a little disappointed with Harbor Freight. Yeah, I hear you... Harbor Freight? Yup, I have a folding trailer from Harbor Freight. I'm not disappointed with the quality of the trailer. I am disappointed with their spare part fulfillment. I ordered two sets of hinges so I'd have a backup set in case I torqued them again. Unfortunately instead of sending me four front hinged and four back hinges they just sent me 8 front hinges. The difference between the front and the back hinges is that the back half the hinge has a bend in it that allows it to wrap around the outside of the front hinge. Without that the hinges cannot slide past each other when the trailer folds. Karen, the woman I talked to on the phone, was very nice and sent me another set of rear hinges. Unfortunately they were just another set of fronts. I'm betting someone miss stocked the parts. Anyway, I cut two of the extra hinges in half and used them as big washers so I could get the trailer put away. Very happy with my Harbor Freight angle grinder that I used to cut the hinge.
I also made some Braciole... I used Wegman's recipe which doesn't look like any other Braciole recipe on the internet; however, it still makes a decent meal and can be frozen for later cooking.
I also mowed leaves. That took a bit of time. I've got three maple trees in the front and a half dozen in the back. I also get a share of my neighbor's maple leaves.
At least I wasn't just sitting on the couch watching YouTube videos. Not that I haven't spent entire weekends doing just that, I prefer when I can look back on a weekend and mark off things I got accomplished.
This weekend's woodworking started with adding the missing trim to the back of the sharpening station top. I didn't grab a photo so I'll point it out in a later post. Since I was milling an offcut into the top back trim I also milled a bunch of 1/2 inch x 3/8 inch x 16 inch pieces for drawer runners. It was Saturday evening and it was getting close to my bedtime so I just cut the back molding to length and glued and clamped it on.
Today I focused on making the tray for holding the Tormek on the right side of the cabinet. I don't know how often I'll store it inside the cabinet vs on top but I wanted it to be easy to "put it away" easily in case I notice it is getting dusty sitting on top. Or more likely if I want to use the top for something else (like sharpening with water stones.
My tray is going to ride on full extension slides. Unlike the trays in my workbench this one is basically going to be a sliding shelf without sides. However, to ride on side mounted slides it needs to have sides to screw the hardware to. I'm going to put them underneath the sliding shelf with the shelf covering the drawer hardware.
Normally when I am building drawers I do a lot of exacting measuring and careful cutting to get the drawer to fit inside the opening minus the thickness of the slides. In this case since the "sides" are just going to be runners glued to the bottom of the shelf I came up with a shortcut.
It's kind of hard to see in the photos but I am using the case for alignment. It's upside down. The shelf is sitting on the bottom of the case. I used the actual drawer slides to fit the tray sides and added a couple of spacers to make sure the sides stayed vertical. Some glue, a few clamps and Bob's your uncle.
After an hour I pulled it out of the clamps and added a white oak front to the tray. That'll help keep the sides from buckling in, will provide a hand hold for pulling the shelf out, and will hide the hardware when the tray is in the cabinet.
Okay, it needs a little fitting but it fits. The sides are there underneath. You just cannot see them because that's the way it is designed.
I made the hand hold in the front by using a 1 inch Forstner bit to define the two ends, drew lines between them and used a jigsaw to connect them. I rounded over the inside and the outside of the opening with a 1/4 inch round over bit in my router table.
I'll come back later this week and do some trimming on the sliding shelf so that the gaps around the shelf are even and it slides in and out easily. I'm a little afraid it is too tight but it's also just a couple of pieces of plywood. Next one I'll make looser than it needs to be and I can shim the slides to get a good fit.
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
No, I don't know what the title of this post means... I haven't done any work on the station tonight... I did get the puppy outside to play with Jackson our neighbor Bernadoodle (Berner + Poodle), cooked my wife dinner (pan seared tilapia, sautéed Brussels sprouts, and Texas Toast) and watched some television. I did a really good job on dinner.
This post is mostly because I took a couple of minutes before our Tuesday Sentinels of the Multiverse game to grab a couple more pictures of the sharpening station and I figured I'd share them now.
This is the station up on its wheels showing off the trim in the front. There is supposed to be matching trim in the back but I forgot. Unfortunately my game is going probably until close to my bedtime so there wont be time tonight to duck into the shop, mill the piece and glue it on.
Yup, those are my shop pants hanging in the background of that shot. I have separate clothes for the workshop so I don't get glue on my everyday wear. It also helps segregate the dust and keep it in the workshop.
In the photo immediately above you can see that there's a little bit of a gap behind the rubber mat. That was supposed to get filled by more white oak trim. Unlike the front trim that is hiding the plywood edges this trim is going to sit on top of the plywood. The cabinet back will hide the plywood edges and itself be covered by the white oak trim on top. I'll try to remember to get a photo of that when I add it and the back.
I grabbed this photo because I mentioned yesterday how much better the t-nuts looked over the hex nuts I used initially. I still think they look better. I could have used threaded nuts but those are much more expensive and overkill for a shop project.
Anyway, that's all for tonight. Next steps are:
- Drawers on the left
- Shelves on the right
- Sanding the case, easing the edges
- Finish the trim around the top
- Add a back
- Add a door on the right covering the shelves
Monday, October 19, 2020
I got surprising little work done on the sharpening station considering I had a long weekend. I ducked down into the shop Thursday night and got the panels sanded before I had to make dinner. It went pretty quick and there weren't any surprises. When I was sanding the plywood - the case top and bottom - I hit the faces where it joins to the side pretty hard with 80 grit sandpaper. This solved my problem with the tight fitting joints. They fit perfect.
Since everything was fitting I added glue to the joints and clamped everything up. Good joinery is awesome and everything came out perfectly square without any fiddling.
Friday I had to work and Saturday I had a lot of errands to do so I didn't get any shop time in. I did however get to Home Depot Friday evening to pick up some lag screws and t-nuts to help fasten the wheels onto the cabinet. Saturday I worked on putting my trailer back together - and promptly broke it again, had a doggie play date, mowed, stopped by a friend's house to help him identify tools he'd pulled out of his dad's basement... I did stuff...
Sunday I got started by routing a lip in the back of the sides so I can fasten a plywood back later. I left room behind the top, bottom and middle divider but I forgot to put a stopped rabbet in the sides. I threw a rabbeting bit into my router and started routing it out. I found the 7/8" edge a little challenging to keep the router balanced on so I added a scrap piece of poplar to give myself a little wider of an edge to follow.
Yup, pretty ugly. I don't remember if I showed the wheels before but those are the wheels I am going to be using in the above photo. Yes, they are light weight and cheesy but this is a small cart so they should be fine. The entire cart probably weighs 20 pounds right now and even loaded up probably wont be over 100 lbs.
Unfortunately I had a surprise while adding the wheels. I was using my socket wrench to tighten down one of the nuts and when I bumped my hand into the side it moved. Gently knocking it with my hand popped the entire joint loose. Apparently I forgot to glue one of the joints in my rush Thursday night.
Fortunately my glue is pretty runny so I was able to separate the joint just a little then squeeze a lot of glue into the back and let it dribble down to the bottom. A few clamps to bring everything back together and problem solved. Unfortunately I had a lot of glue squeeze out and it kind of made a mess I am going to need to come back and clean up.
This was the end of my working on the case for Sunday. I made some progress but not as much as I had envisioned.
Today (Monday) I went back to Home Depot and picked up some shorter 1/4 inch bolts. I figured I'd try the 1/4 inch t-nuts. On the first t-nut I drilled out holes for the prongs but on all the subsequent ones I just pounded them in. I know I've had problems before with the prongs bending over in the past but that might have been hardwood vs plywood. I was careful and had no problems. I even had almost enough lock washers for all the bolts. I was only short by two and if I remember and it is convenient I'll pick up more and add them before the cabinet gets full.
The inside looks much better with the t-nuts versus the hex nuts. I didn't get any good pictures of them but I'm sure they'll show up again when I start working on the inside of the cabinet.
I'd thought I would use some leftover cutting board to make runners for my drawers. Cutting the first one went fine. I cleaned up the little burrs and the cut edges with my low angle block plane. Unfortunately things started going sideways at that point. The blade started getting hot and was melting the cutting board rather than cutting it. Eventually my Saw Stop detected something wasn't right and shut down. It's a couple of hundred dollars if the brake fires so I figured I'd stop and switch to wood runners. Very sad but they should work fine.
I thought about calling it a day at that point but then I figured I should at least get something glued and clamped so I can have something drying overnight. So I picked some scraps of white oak to make the front trim from, planed it to thickness and ripped and cut it to width and length.
This stage worked okay but it again pointed to my sloppy job gluing the case Thursday night. The top/bottom setback wasn't consistent in all the corners.
It is sad but also relatively easy to fix. I might try using a hand plane or maybe I'll just sand the heck out of it.
This is where I left it for the evening - had to stop to make cheese steak sandwiches for dinner. I'll probably not be able to find any time tomorrow night but maybe I'll get back into the shop Wednesday or Thursday this week.
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
I really love the stub tenon and groove joinery method. With clean shoulders the panels just come together square naturally.
The pictures above do a pretty good job of showing my process. The template for the top/bottom edge was a piece of 3/4 inch plywood glued and stapled to a 1/2 inch piece of plywood. The 1/2 inch ply was cut to be 1/2 inch wider than the 3/4 inch so when I glued them together I just aligned on of the edges. Then when I clamped it to the top of the panel the top edge of the groove was automatically set without me needing to measure.
Monday, October 5, 2020
- Water resistant
- Shorter (the Tormek branded stand is 30")
- Storage for sharpening supplies (including the Tormek accessories)
- Mobile (needs to not be a stationary obstacle in the shop)
I realized during the dry-fit process that I'd glued my book matched panel upside down. Oh well... again, it is shop furniture that I am banging together quickly. And yet another lesson learned. I'm not going to fix it because I'd have to make a whole new panel. Also, it is shop furniture. It'll be fine.
This is a favorite joint of mine. It is super simple to make and holds up well for reasonable amounts of stress. The flat grain glue surface of the sides of the tenon to the walls of the groove provide excellent holding power. It is easy to cut on the table saw and really only requires two setups, one to cut the groove and one for the tenon.
Sunday, October 4, 2020
We're in week 29 of our Covid lockdown. Things have been looking pretty good in NYS in general; however, I just heard on the news today that several boroughs of NY City have had a large uptick in reported cases. I haven't looked closer yet; however, I just got news last week that my company will not ask us to return to the office before January. That's not terribly far off but it is a wait an see type of situation. Also, it was announced just this week that President Trump has tested positive for Corona virus and has been taken to Walter Reed Medical Center. Me, my wife, my dog, and all three of my cats are doing fine.
Next, why haven't I posted anything in the last month? Well, first... it is summer and I don't do very much woodworking in the summer so not a lot has happened in the last month to talk about. Also, my new Dell laptop broke and yes I could have used my old laptop but it's slow and getting kind of flaky.
I was picking up my new laptop when the processor fan started making a horrible grinding noise. I quickly shut it down but the next time I booted it displayed an error screen saying the processor fan was not responding appropriately. Fortunately with some emails, on-line chats, and phone conversations the Dell first tier support sent me a box for shipping my laptop back to them. About seven days later I got my laptop back in perfect working order. Very happy with the Dell service (even though their first solution was updating the BIOS).
Anyway, I have gotten a few things done in the last month. I decided I'm going to build a hand tool workbench for my winter project this year. I pulled out my trailer to pick up lumber for the project, fixed it, broke it, then fixed it again. I picked up lumber for my workbench project this year. I picked up general purpose lumber for my winter shop projects. I started learning how to use my Tormek. And finally I started working on a shop cart for my sharpening system.
Hand Tool Workbench
I've been wanting a hand tool workbench for a number of years. I've been trying to learn how to use chisels and hand planes but not having anything reliable to hold down my work pieces has been a hinderance. Eventually I want a nice hardwood workbench with a leg vise and a tail vise... but that's what I think I want. Having no real experience with workbenches I just think that's what I want. My plan is to build an inexpensive bench that I can fit a front vise and a tail vise to and hopefully learn better what I want for my ultimate workbench.
Christopher Schwartz is a workbench aficionado and has written several books on the matter. He's also written several articles for Popular Woodworking while he was editor there. One of the articles he wrote was how to build a workbench for $170 and I decided it would do. Of course that article is several years old. Also, he lives in the south where he can get Southern Yellow Pine. I had to settle for Douglas Fir and since there were a fair number of knots I bought extra. All-in-all I spent around $200 on lumber for the project. I haven't bought any vice hardware yet so my final price tag will be a bit higher.
The only real drama that happened on the trip to get the douglas fir was someone else in the store who wasn't wearing a mask who for some reason wanted to stop and talk to me about my purchase. I managed to be polite while wishing he'd go away. Also, I was wearing my own N95 mask. If you aren't wearing a mask, don't go up to strangers and talk to them!
I broke down some of the lumber and carried it down to my workshop. The rest of the lumber I wanted to leave in my garage but I also needed to get it out of the way. I made a dozen or so quick supports I could screw to the 2x4 studs along the back of my garage and got the remainder of the wood up off the floor.
I purchased a Harbor Freight 1720 Super Duty Folding Trailer several years ago when I sold my pickup truck. It has several good aspects and several unfortunate aspects. The biggest positive for me is that when I am done using it I can fold it into thirds and stand it on end. It fits into a footprint of about 2 ft x 5 ft. I have a niche in the back corner of my garage that it fits into perfectly and I can still fit my Forrester in my spot.
The biggest downside is that it folds. It's heavy enough that when I am folding or unfolding it I am lifting weights that are within my ability to lift but if I slipped I would get hurt if it fell on me. It is also quite awkward for a single person to either fold or unfold. (The directions actually specify that it's a two person job and should not be done by a single person.) I make it manageable by tying the back half the trailer to a rafter so I only have to lift the front half the trailer. However, this weight is also part of the problem. The amount of force to rip apart the trailer wiring is much less than the force to fold the trailer so if it catches on anything it gets ripped apart. I've had to fix the trailer wiring a half dozen times generally when the outside temperature is under 30 degrees F.
When I went to unfold my trailer for this wood pickup I noticed that somehow the hinges on the left side of the trailer had gotten torqued. I figured I would still be able to use the trailer until I got the hinge fixed but like every time I get the trailer out the lights didn't work. It's kind of a pain to crawl under the trailer to debug wiring issues so I folded it back into its vertical configuration. I debugged and fixed the lighting problems and figured I'd be all set to go to the lumber store. I'd missed my window for Saturday as they close early but figured I'd go Monday after work. I tried to prepare ahead of time by unfolding the trailer on Sunday so I'd be ready to go right after work. In the process of unfolding the knot in the rope holding the back came untied and the back half the trailer came crashing down smashing the right rear taillight.
It was a dumb mistake and it was my fault. Of course the lights I'd just fixed no longer worked. When I tried refolding the trailer to get to the wiring I found that each time I was folding and unfolding the trailer I was just making the hinges worse. I ended up needing to take the hinge off and bolting the front and back half the trailer together. Also, the lights were still broke so instead of going to the lumber store I made a trip to Harbor Freight to purchase a new trailer light kit.
I ended up replacing the entire wiring harness. This time I soldered all wiring connections, added dielectric paste and used heat shrink tubing around each of them. Also, I had previously purchased some 2-wire weather proof connectors that I used to connect the front and back half the trailer. My plan is to disconnect the two halves the trailer before folding it and reconnecting them after unfolding it. This will require going under the trailer but I also bought a mechanics creeper from Harbor Freight so it isn't that big of a deal anymore to get underneath the trailer while it's unfolded.
It was actually quite pleasant working on the trailer in 60-70 degree F weather vs the 100+ degree F weather I originally assembled it in and the 20 degree F weather I had to fix the wiring in.
Oddly the second most annoying thing about the trailer is that it is all bolted together. This is mostly only a problem because the frame is also the ground. Most of my wiring problems were related to having an open ground because one or more connections were loose. Also, to get the original wiring job to ground I had needed to thread copper wire around several of the bolts to get the front and back half the trailer to make a connection.
Fortunately one thing making all the wiring easier is a test box I'd made that allows me to plug my trailer into a 100 v wall outlet to test the lights. It would have been a nightmare if I'd had to hook it up to my truck each time I wanted to test it.
All in all I think I spent about three days futzing with the trailer and it still isn't completely fixed yet. To get replacement hinges I needed to mail order them. The box showed up Friday but instead of sending me front and back hinges, they just sent me two sets of front hinges. This wont work because the back hinges have a bend to them allowing them to fit around the front hinge. Karen, the woman I talked to when I called them about the incorrect order, was very nice and put in an order for replacement hinges. I'm figuring there is at least a 50-50 that I'll get the wrong hinges again.
General Purpose Lumber
What's general purpose lumber? Well, I like keeping a small amount of walnut, maple, red oak, and poplar hardwoods and baltic birch plywood in my shop. It's cheaper to just keep some around than to need something and have to run to the lumber store. Especially if it requires putting the trailer together.
So, I bought enough maple to make several more magazine boxes. I also picked up a single board of red oak and walnut and a couple boards of poplar. I bought a couple sheets of 1/2" and 1/4" Baltic birch. I don't have plans for them but I'm sure they'll get used for jigs and the such. I wanted to pick up some 1/4" MDF but they were out. Apparently it is one of the things that is hard to get.
I started practicing using the Tormek on my old cheap chisels and a plane blade I'd ruined trying to learn how to use water stones. It was day two and I got to use what I thought was the funniest accessory they'd included in the box. When I was unpacking it I found a yellow plastic "wallet" that when I opened it I found it contained a dozen or so band aids. Hilarious... Then on day two or three of using the Tormek I accidentally dragged the back of one of my fingers across the plane blade I was sharpening while reaching for something else on my workbench. It initially just looked like a little scrape but by the time I got to my paper towels I was dripping blood.
I wasn't too proud to use one of the Tormek supplied band aids. I did finish what I was doing, then when I was all done cleaned the wound and put on a better band aid. I'm not sure when it happened but at some point many years ago I got tired of never having an appropriate band aid for whatever wound I had so I have an extensive collection in my medicine cabinet.
Anyway, back to the Tormek... I really need to write up an individual review for this but suffice it to say for now that I am liking it. It does tend to get water splashed around it. My 35" tall workbench is also too high to work at it comfortably. When grinding chisels and plane irons you need to be "above" the tool and since I am only 5'10" that means I need to stand closer to the tools and I kept bumping into it. It doesn't hurt, you can touch the wheel while it is spinning. I did get wet though and it felt awkward.
Tormek makes a stand that is currently selling for almost $800 (USD) on Amazon. But, I am a woodworker. I can make my own stand. I spent a number of weeks noodling around what I wanted in my stand and I came up with a final set of plans this last week. My stand is going to be 30" high (like the Tormek one). I'd originally thought to make it entirely of plywood but when considering the amount of water that might be around it I decided to wrap the top with white oak. After deciding to wrap the top in white oak I thought that I may as well use some of my leftover white oak from building my dresser to make frame and panel sides. The inside is going to have drawers on wooden (UHMW plastic) slides on the left half and shelves on the right half with a pull out tray where I could store the tormek if I wanted to.
This weekend I pulled out one of my leftover boards and turned it into two panels and rails and stiles. They're all milled but I still need to finish sand them and glue them up. I could use some watco danish oil to make them looked fumed but that seems a bit extravagant for a workshop project. Yes, I see the irony in saying that when I am using quarter sawn white oak. But I really didn't like the experience of working with it so that makes it scrap lumber and I may as well make something out of it rather than just let it sit taking up space.
I've not necessarily been doing that much wood working but I have been preparing for being able to do a winter's worth of projects. I still need to get the trailer fixed so I can get my wife's parking spot back but if they don't send me the right hinges this time I'll figure out some way to get the trailer folded and make it work. I am really looking forward to having sharp hand tools and a workbench I can use them on.