Friday, July 29, 2005


By a miracle of photography, a wobbly assembly of parts balanced one on top of the other on their side on the workbench can be rotated to give the impression of an upright project. Okay, so you may need some imagination... Anyway it gives a rough idea of what I'm aiming towards. Alas a nasty split in one upright necessitates the panels to be used large panel down, which is mildly annoying. But I'll live. But on the plus side it looks like I'll have a bit of space for DVDs and such. Just need to buy some then... :~) Still not wholly sure how best to tackle the back while still using the minimum amount of timber; probably some sort of bar across the gaps or something. Ach, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. And I know, the spacing of the shelves is a bit weird, but it should be practical, if aesthetically displeasing.

Meanwhile the new GWW arrived this morning. Apparently the shelves of WHSmith's have become Phil's second home. :~D 'Fraid despite the presence of The Gloatmeister the sub for GWW is gonna have to go. It's just annoying me now; not the content but the blasted presentation. Sad when I've subscribed uninterupted since issue #48, but it's the only way I can register my protest and keep my blood pressure at reasonable levels. I'll have to get in touch with my brother, who gives me the sub for Crimbo, to stop the renewal due in two issue's time. I dunno, what with that, the increasing dissapointment of F&C and FWW's downward turn, it looks like PWW is the only one to look forward to - when it comes! Thank goodness for the 'net to keep me (in)sane and up-to-date with The Gloatmeister's daring do. ;~)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

You can call me Speedy...

All go here, isn't it? Yep, already glued up the frames and the walnut lipping onto some ash for the shelves. The ash is a mixture of leftovers from The Coffee Table and a tool cabinet I made - and outgrew - ages ago. I've given the cherry panels a quick wipe over with some shellac, but I'm not going to go mad on the finishing on this one. Typically, because I'm not overly worried about how this piece will turn out, it's going terribly easily and no angsting at all. Yet. Still to resolve a couple of things though. What to do for a back, or maybe not have a back per se at all? Small panel at the top? Or bottom? I'm inclined to the latter for some reason. And the extra length on the uprights? I'll leave the ones at the bottom (whichever the bottom turns out to be) as legs I think, but what about the top? Leave them? Chop 'em off and put an overhanging top on? Decisions, decisions. Opinions welcomed. Possibly ignored, but still welcomed. :~)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

You've been framed

Well a pressing need to use a jointer plane turned up yesterday, so CD storage it is. Using the minimum of wood and as many off-cuts as possible. Oh and I thought I'd make it as much of a hand tool made piece as possible too. No pressure then... I was going to shove these pics up onto Blogger's hosting service, but it won't cooperate, so a new album started a little earlier than planned here. Walnut frame (the sappiest board of the ones I got from British Hardwoods when I got the Side Table Cherry) and Cherry panels - the off-cuts from the Side Table leg boards; the pic above should give you the general idea. Another first for me, using frame and panel for carcass sides. Naturally I have no plan or drawing and only the sketchiest of measurements to go on, so it's all made up as I go along. Silly me... Not sure how I'm going to do the shelves yet, although whatever I can dig out with some walnut lipped on the front is favourite, and not a clue as to the back either. Oh well. Got a third of the mortises done so far, which isn't bad going considering how out of practice I am. But those oval bolstered or pigsticker chisels are practically impossible to steer wrong. Square, straight mortises are virtually guaranteed. And when I write up the Blog next and moan about the skewed mortises I just cut, please don't quote me back at myself... Anybody know if walnut and cherry go together reasonably okay when they're finished? Beggars can't be choosers so I didn't bother to check, but if it's going to look really ghastly I'm prepared to paint the cherry...

Monday, July 25, 2005

Planning ahead and behind

As promised, the buttons. I finally got round to putting up a plan of sorts too. I really need to work at my CAD drawing. Not helped by the fact the trial period of the software I'm using has expired, so I'm reduced to using screen shots to capture my works of art for posterity, and squashing them up rather in consequence. Oh, and sorry Mike, all in millimetres too... :~(

Anyway, I'm starting to think about what to make next. I have an urgent need for storage for CDs and such, but on the other hand I could do something about Christmas presents now instead of waiting until the last minute like usual. Oh, and there's my brother's 25th wedding anniversary in October which I suppose I ought to do something about. I know, inconsiderate of them to choose the same year eh? It gets much worse next year; nephew's 18th, brother's 50th, mum's - shhhh- 75th etc etc. It's a flippin' nightmare.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

I'll get my coat. And another coat. And another. And...

Well progress progresses, albeit in such a boring way as to make Blogging about it a pointless exercise. I'm making a terrible dent in my rag stash as I wipe on coat after coat of shellac, then abrade it back with 500g, and wipe on again. Endlessly. The edges of the tops are giving me the most grief of course, so I've gone down to quite a dilute mix to avoid the dreaded drips while still trying to get sufficient coverage on the arrises. But in an effort to show I've not been idle, and in case my readership misses me..., I got round to boring the recesses for the Sixpences. Wonder of wonders the 3/4" forstner bit from the el cheapo Chinese set I bought eons ago - with the intention of replacing the sizes I use most with better quality ones when these ones bust, but have yet to need to do so - is a perfect match for the coins. Huzzah! So a quick test run on a off-cut and then zip, zip and two perfectly sized 'oles for the coins. A wee dab of epoxy as insurance and they're all done. Inspired by this sucess I decided to tackle the pilot holes for the screws to fix the buttons too. And they didn't go wrong either... I tell you, it's unnerving. 'Course I forgot to take a pic of them in situ until after I'd put another coat of shellac on the tops, so that'll have to wait now. Still nearly three weeks to go until the deadline, so now I'm wondering where I'm going to keep the blessed things safe for that long...

In other news I'm trying to put in some time with the diamond paste. At the moment I'm most impressed with the coarsest and finest; the former for back flattening quick-time and the latter for a really sharp edge. The middle grades have been less wow-full, and as it happens they were from a different source, although the syringe type suggests they're all from the same manufacturer. I know said maker does make different grades for metal removal as opposed to glass, gems etc, so maybe they're slightly different composition? Ach well, no matter, and it's still early days.

Oh, and the less said about the first Test the better. Huh. Even the English weather can't do a decent job...

Monday, July 18, 2005

Sixpenny Tables

Yeah, progress! Saturday I tackled the joyous hell that is Me Doing A Glue Up and it all seems to be okay. Then this morning I got up early and planed the bevels on the underside of the tops before breakfast. It can't last, but then it doesn't have to much longer. A few millions coats of shellac to wipe on the tops, the coins to be set in the underside of the top and the buttons screwed on and I'm done. Heck, what can go wrong... (Don't answer that!) I wouldn't usually put the coins in the top, but rather one of the stretchers, but this way when a 2005 coin does eventually cross my path it'll be easier to bore the additional recess. Looking good, although it's ridiculous the amount of time I've taken to make two piddling little tables. Never mind.

Oh, and I'm getting to grips with the diamond paste a little more. Less successfully with the Veritas irons at the moment, but the L-N skew block was hair-poppingly sharp after the 0.25 micron. I thought I was getting things pretty sharp before, but evidentally
I was deluded...

Friday, July 15, 2005

Oven Hot at Alf Towers

Workshop temperature - 112F
Progress - 0
Instead I'm reading "Ice Cold in Alex" as all the talk of heat, flies and thirst fits the current situation perfectly. But it ain't woodworking. :~(

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Spare any change, guv?

After that small break, here we go again, and a small update to the progress on the tables. At the moment it's just a case of wiping on endless coats of shellac until my eyes boss. Not particularly exciting to do, or take pictures of. I was down in the workshop before breakfast this morning (on a Sunday! Aargh), in order to apply another coat before it got unbearably hot down there. At some point I have to dig out the two 1955 sixpences I bought to put underneath the tables, to mark the fact they're for the Golden Wedding, and polish them up. I'm still on the lookout for a couple of 2005 coins to go with them, coins being my usual method of dating a piece and this year not being 1955, but so far no dice. I have a nasty feeling they do only tend to show up in the latter months of the year, so I could be all out of luck. I also need to check what size recess a sixpence fits into; hope to goodness it happens to coincide with a bit I own or things will get complicated.

Anyway I bunked off the finishing yesterday to go to the Wood Fair (pics here), which was fun. I'm also trying to get round to trying out the diamond paste, but I really need to clear the decks of the side table parts before I do that. Verily, there's no such thing as a workshop that's "big enough"...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Lord of the Rings

Further progress has been made, but no pics until Charley's finished moving my web space to his new server. Worryingly there's still no glaring cock-up to report. Anyone got any ideas as to how wrong chamfering the underside edges of the tops could go? Just so I know what to look out for...

In other news, London won the curse of hosting the Olympics in 2012, and I'm thrilled. Not because I particularly wanted the Olympics to drop us all into terrible debt, but because we Beat The French! Or should that be the Red Team...? That'll teach M.Chirac to be rude about our fine cuisine. Not that I have anything against the French per se, it's just, sometimes, it's rather nice to pull le carpet out from under their feet like that. ;~) Does this make Seb Coe* Lord of the Rings now?

*For 'Murican readers, Sebastian Coe, Olympic winning runner was, er, running the campaign, and he's also a Lord. For everyone else, "Olympic rings", see? Oh never mind...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Buttoned Up

Buttons and slots for same all done, and still no major disaster... What's left to go wrong then? Only the flippin' tops, that's what. Something that'd really show up, in fact. Oh deary me... Did I say they were to be 13.5" square earlier? Well it's all rot; 12.5". Not that it matters either way really; both are too big to crosscut on the SCMS. Heigh ho, I'll just have to suffer with more cleaning up of bandsaw marks with planes. Sob. It's a hard life. As it happens I've already made my life unnecessarily hard in cutting the buttons, simply to save wood. I used a stick of the right dimensions, 'Ratted a rebate at each end, cut the required button length off, rebate at each end, cut 'em off, etc. Eight times. I know, I know. Lunacy. It worked though.

And for those folks who don't read the Off Topic section of UK Workshop, may I recommend a gawp at the Wooden iPod? I suddenly find myself wanting an iPod; my el-cheapo MP3 player doesn't lend itself to a wooden makeover unfortunately.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

'Lac-ing excitement

Dissolving shellac really is on a par with watching paint dry. Except drying paint doesn't require me to pay attention and remember to shake the bloomin' stuff every-so-often. Needless to say, despite having the jar of blonde, de-waxed flakes and solvent right here next to the keyboard, I forgot to give it a quick swill round and it's stuck in a big clump at the bottom. Apparently a coffee grinder is handy to grind up the flakes so they'll dissolve quicker, so I've been keeping an eye open for one at the car boot sales. I did find one a couple of weeks ago, but it was full of coffee beans and they smelt so wonderful and it seemed such a shame to just toss them, I didn't even ask how much the grinder was but just walked on. I know; crazy. Hmm, looking at that jar, I could do with a little more alcohol in there. I mix it Galoot Fashion, which means to toss a few flakes in the jar and cover them with the solvent. Refreshingly hit'n'miss, I think you'll agree...

Talking of car boot sales, found another saw this morning. A 12", or might be 14" back saw, can't recall, with nearly all its teeth jointed away. Oh, and a Yankee screwdriver bit, which I belatedly realised is bent, but for 20p I'll take the trouble of hitting it wiv an 'ammer to straighten it I suppose. The question is, should I have bought the 8" steel-backed dovetail saw for £5? Oh well, too late now. The WS Manufacturing Ltd. #4 was still there to taunt me; it's getting harder and harder to resist...

And before you ask, no, I haven't done the buttons yet. I think they've become my new Woodworker's Block...

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Buttons and bows

Funny thing. It's not 'til you come to look for it that you discover there seems to be very little detail about the use of buttons for fixing tables tops swilling about. I have, ha-hum, a wide range of woodworking books from which to choose, but barely anything on the subject. Exactly how many does one need for a 13 1/2" (don't ask) square table top? I suppose eight, two each side, in order to "hold the corners down". My search for info did turn up quite a nice resume of the options here, plus some really nice pieces they've been used on here. Got me wondering if that could be a subject for an article for Good Woodworking mag in fact. Then I saw the "new look" that arrived on the doormat this morning and realised my writing for them is never going to happen. I don't have the necessary ability to write in the printed equivalent of a sound bite, which seems to be the trend they're adopting. I daresay the multitude will love the new look, but when I see the same features they've always had, but just with new names, and "interviews" that comprise two-thirds of a page, half of which is a photograph of the interviewee, I find it hard to buy into the style when the content is so disappointing.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Leggin' it

Yes, it's an unnecessarily thin shaving. I'm not addicted. I can stop any time I like. Call it a minor gloat of triumph, for I have faced the demon that is tapering and I have overcome it. Huzzah! Well I decided I didn't want the whole weekend blighted with anxiety while I put off the fatal moment, so I got it done today instead. I can now safely say I don't much care for tapering jigs. In hindsight I could have done just as well cutting to the line, which I had to draw anyway in order to see where to plane to. (Alas, I didn't see Mike's comment in time!) But that's one more step closer with no apparent disasters. I tell you, it's starting to get spooky...

Did I mention about the falling through of the first diamond paste order? Well I ended up ordering from two different places instead, and the first half arrived today. Man, those syringes look like they contain shots for a horse... I won't tell you how long it took me to work out how to get the stuff out of the damn thing, but no, you don't just press the plunger. Oi vey, what have I let myself in for?