Thursday, April 19, 2007

Eyeball stretcher

In lieu of a coherant blog entry - and just to prove I am still here, albeit a bit quiet - a nice view from Trelissick Garden where we went this morning as "driving rehabilitation" for the Old Man and his Bionic Hip. We think looking towards Mylor, but don't quote me.

The eagle-eyed will quickly spot a do-it-yourself-panorama. Came out pretty well considering I had no tripod. The Carrick Roads were, as you can see, like a millpond. Pendennis Castle just visible as a low-lying lump on the headland to the left. All very beautiful, is not it?

Needless to say I got told off by The Powers That Be for viewing all the trees in the garden in terms of board footage...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Woodworm morals

So a four-day weekend been and gone, and glorious sunny weather the whole time. Unbelievable. And I had A Plan. Dig out the timber I'd mentally ear-marked for the saw till doors, hope the ready-planed stuff was still straight and square and if so start on the frames. If not, along with suitable panel material, plane it up to just oversize, allow to acclimatise for a while in the workshop and meanwhile break the back of a few dozen handle-making tuits for chisels and gouges.

Instead of which I've spent the whole time with an absolutely classic, sore-throated, coughing, sneezing, and generally making foul noises day and night, cold. The idea of sawdust didn't not fill me with delight. The idea of sneezing inside the Airshield is not a mental image anyone needs either, so I largely spent the time feeling sorry for myself instead. So as regards the doors, the spirit was willing but the flesh was knackered.

I did manage to get to my first car boot sale in a couple of months on Sunday though. Mainly to give the Old Man a change of scene, cabin fever starting the kick in as it has. He elected to choose that day as his first "one walking stick only" day (cane, 'Murricans), but claimed he hadn't really meant to implement it on the wild plains of Carn Brae. Well regardless of whether he did or didn't, he managed very well. Just rather nerve-wracking for the "carer". Viz; me. As I've found before, when you get out of the way of combing the rust heaps it's always a bit tricky when you begin again, so I was surprised to come away with anything at all. But I did. Click on the pic to take you to the post about it on Traditional Tools.

Managed also to crawl out innto the workshop long enough to have a much over-due sort through the contents of six plastic boxes that contain tools either surplus, waiting to be cleaned or spare parts. Over time the different catergories have become mixed up as I just tried to cram stuff in anywhere it might fit. Well I won't claim I reduced the amount of stuff significantly, but it's better. Except I may have done a foolish thing.

In one box was a wooden jack. Nothing special; the common beech, 2" blade variety, William Marples, but clean and with good grain orientation. When I got it I admit it did have a couple of worm holes, but they looked like flight holes. Well they weren't. Thank goodness these boxes have good tight-fitting lids, 'cos I open the box, go through the other tools and find at the bottom a Swiss Cheese that was formerly a wooden jack plane. Scattered amongst the swarf were the dead bodies of its destroyers. Bum. Well that jack was promptly lobbed out of the workshop (well after the horse had bolted) although I saved the iron, and the dead disposed of. But, friends, it didn't occur to me to wonder if the little blighters had infected any other tools in that box, and by the time that thought had hammered hard enough on my cold-befuddled brain to get in, well I'd completely forgotten what was in there with the jack.

Now I'm certain there weren't any more wooden planes, so that's a Good Thing, and I think most everything else was metal and not going to be troubled. But the nagging worry is planted firmly now and I'm just not 100% sure. So I'm telling myself things like "that plane was bought in a junk place that was in an old, damp chapel. The workshop is dry; Ma Woodworm likes to pick moist, juicy wood for her little darlings, so she wouldn't have thought much of any dry old handles that might have been in that box anyway". "They've got wings - ergo their natural instinct must be to fly off somewhere to have their evil little sprogs. They couldn't fly anywhere, ergo...". "Surely the adult brothers and sisters wouldn't, erm, you know, anyway, would they...? What are the moral standards of the woodworm?"

Go on, laugh. It's my own fault for doing stuff when my head is clouded by a cold - always potentially disastrous. Naturally I'll end up going through it all again, checking for tiny pin holes, and I still won't be sure. So if you do know the habits of woodworm and reckon I'm deluding myself, please, just don't tell me.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Auger bit box

As requested, more pics of the box of bits. The sides and lid are all 3/8" thick and outside dimensions are 10 1/2" long, 3 15/16" deep and 3 3/4" high. For more dimensions there's a not-great but dimensionally pretty good Sketch-Up file here.

The top tray doesn't seem to be full depth but has an extra 1/8" or so thick bottom. Also not full length grooves for the smallest bits - which gave me all sorts of headaches with SU...

The second tray seems to go "right through" with no additional bottom. Note the original wax paper wrappings on two of the bits - gloat, gloat, gloat... ;)

The bottom tray seems to provide the bottom of the box too - and another bit of original wrapping.

Finger/comb/box joints at the corners. I'm assuming the whole thing was made as one and then cut into three tiers and the top added afterwards. There's also a slip inserted across each end of the lid.

Interesting hinge, no?

Horribly tempted to "hang spring cleaning" and have a go at making one. Only problem is I don't see much cause for boring holes in such a project, and I have an urgent need to bore holes. Lots of holes. In corners, where a ratchet that whirrs like a Swiss watch would really show its stuff...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Oh my

Barely had I left the blog and moistened the teabag in the mug before the jovial gentleman from Parcel Force turned up on the doorstep and cheerfully announced "Something from America. Makes a change from Screwfix". You can say that again...

Mr Wiley Horne, for from him it came, claimed on the customs declaration that these were "used". And you thought him an honest man... He also claims I'm deserving of them. Personally I think a saint would be required to take an exam to prove worthy of ownership of such immaculate tools, and secondly he must be confusing me with someone else. A Yankee 2100 brace, forsooth? The nearest thing galootdom, ever a group amenable to diverse opinion, can come to deciding is the best brace ever made? Wowsers. A complete set of Russell Jennings bits, with threads, as it says, used by the cabinet maker and barely touched since the day they left the factory? And in one of those oh-so-appealing tiered boxes? Oh my.

And "oh my", folks, is pretty much all I've been able to articulate since. With the occasional oh gosh for variety. Good voters of America; Wiley for president at your earliest convenience, if you'd be so good. I'll work on the Honary Knighthood from this end.

Gosh, darn it, I'm a fortunate galoot to have such friends. Somebody either pinch me or pass a hanky 'cos I'm getting all emotional here...

What a mug

Blog readers who also frequent the UK Workshop forums may be aware that I passed a bit of a milestone this week. Not that I thought that much of it except in terms of embarrassment that I should have wittered on so much, but others seem to view it differently and I've been greatly touched by their kind comments. However the parcel that arrived this lunchtime came as a total surprise:

Truly a tea holder that's one-of-a-kind. Very many thanks to Charley and the team. I shall treasure it and the thoughtfulness that prompted it. Cheers!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Squeaky clean

Could it be that cleanliness is next to atrophy? Only in a very peculiar dictionary and, it seems, in my workshop.

Spring has evidentally sprung. Not only did I do my usual post-project tidy-up, even unto sharpening a few blades before putting their respective planes away, but some sort of fit overcame me and I vacuumed the floor. Even after having swept it first. To be fair that's because otherwise the workshop vac's hose blocks with iritating ease, and it still managed to do so three times as it was, but even so... So now the damn place is looking so tidy and sparkling (kind of) that I'm loathe to mess it up again by using it.

It's not as if I don't have A Plan either. The saw till doors beckon me ever closer and I almost know what I want to do about them. Slightly depressed by The Powers That Be's reaction to my musings on walnut and sweet chestnut though. "What's that for? The saw till? The workshop?! What?!" Well it's all good practice, isn't it? Apparently that argument doesn't wash awfully well so I steered the conversation away before we got onto why the beech planks were still stored in the guest room... Sometimes it's a lonely battle being a woodworker.

Monday, April 02, 2007

That Touch of Blueberry

Ah, such excellent colours suggested, and what do I choose? "Blueberry Crush". And why? 'Cos it's the least anaemic colour amongst the pots of paint already skulling about in the garage, that's why. Laziness is sometimes a useful alternative to being decisive...

As it happens I already had the tin out for painting the Maxi-savaged experiment. I blame Doris Day for this one - in "That Touch of Mink" (with Cary Grant) there's that scene in an Automat where she's having an entire conversation through the drop-down doored boxes. At least I remember them as clear drop-down doors... Anyway, despite it being neither star's greatest film, it must have stuck in my mind. So I Automat-ed the #55.

Apologies for Polly there - she was waiting for me to stop mucking about with cameras and accompany her round the garden instead. The clear plastic front folds down to reveal the main body of the plane at the bottom...

...all being well, with room enough to store it in any possible configuration. Then at the top we have pull-out trays. One for the various add-ons and the manual:

And one for all the blades. The widest of which had to be stored on their backs if the tray's weren't to need too much height.

In theory it should be that much easier to grab the plane and use it than if it was stored in the traditional style of box, but we shall see. At any rate at least it's an improvement over the cigar and cardboard box combination it's been housed in up 'til now.