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Being old fashioned, the cool way.
Updated: 8 min 21 sec ago

I am hoping for nice weather.

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 2:12am

Two years ago I bought my older brothers motorcycle. The deal was that he could buy it back anytime he wanted to, and at the same price more or less.

He had an idea that he wanted to try a Honda Africa Twin instead of his Moto Guzzi. The Honda never really caught on, so he sold that after only riding it for about a month or so. I called him and reminded him that he could get his old bike back - so the bike went back to him again.

Now he has bought himself a Yamaha SR 500, and he seems to be pleased with it. He lives in a city, so an upright sitting position and a bike that is a bit shorter geared is better suited for his commuting than a 1978 Moto Guzzi Le Mans II (There is a Le Mans I fairing on it).
I on the other hand thrive with a bike that requires a crouched riding position, can do 50 mph in 1st gear and feel as stiff as a railroad sleeper to sit on.
So I have yet again bought it from him.

This time I am going to put in a new set of piston rings in it, because it spills out oil like crazy. It is a common thing for old Guzzis to do that since a lot of them were born without air filters, and instead they just had an open intake with a small mesh screen to sift out birds and stray cats etc.

Hopefully the weather cooperates, cause good motorcycle weather is also good weather for working on the small barn at the summer house.

The following motorbikes can also be found in the pictures (somewhat hidden):
Lambretta Li 150 series1, 1959
CZ 125, 1965
2 x JAWA 634 (350 cc), 1977 and 1978

Moto Guzzi Le Mans II 1978

Dual ignition and open air intake.

Not ideal for city driving, but for small roads it is perfect.

Moto Guzzi V7 Sport 1973 (US model)

V7 Sport

Something this beautiful has to come from Italy.

Categories: Hand Tools

Dutch tool chest build 6, painting and thoughts about the build.

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 11:06am
There are some adventurous woodworkers out there who will make their own paint, I have tried that before with various success, but I felt that there was no need to stretch my luck anymore on this project. So I decided to go for the sure thing and find a bit of grey oil based paint.
A small DTC doesn't take much paint, so if you need to buy or mix paint yourself, a small portion wil get you a long way.

Inside the chest, on the sloping part of the back, I have chiselled MMXVII, just like I normally do, but I felt like it could be interesting to paint some sort of decoration on the outside too that would show the world that this is my tool chest.
Brian Eve has got his Spanish bull painted, and that looks good, but if I made a bull it would be a shameless copy.
I like beavers because they are woodworking animals, but people might think that I was from Canada (which sadly I am not).
Termites are sort of woodworking creatures as well, but I don't like those.

I have wished for an exlibris stamp for my birthday, and my daughter Laura and I did a bit of brainstorming about that. I guess that brainstorming for my part is mostly keeping quiet, but we ended up combining two of my favourite things: Newfoundland dogs and gambrel roofs.

So I enlarged our stamp suggestion and used that as a decoration. Maybe someone will think that I actually live in Newfoundland in a house that has got a gambrel roof :-)

I am pretty good at sketching gambrel roofs, but I genuinely suck at drawing Newfoundland dogs. So In order to get by I taped the print out onto the lid. I then traced all the lines and the outline of the dog using an awl. I didn't poke through the paper, but the pressure is enough to leave a faint line in the painted surface. It is very similar to how I do when I mark out for the name signs for horses that I have made earlier.
The template was removed and I just had to colour inside the lines. This would most likely have been a bit easier with a smaller paint brush.

All in all, I find that the Dutch tool chest is an interesting and satisfying project to make. The project can be completed in a variety of ways, simple or difficult according to the abilities or the desires of the maker.

For a simpler version,  the chest can be made with rabbets instead of dovetails for the side to bottom assembly, and the fall front and the lid can be made with regular battens nailed on instead of sliding dovetails and breadboard ends.
Similarly the project can be made more complex e.g. by using stopped dados or sliding dovetails for the shelf, and using breadboard ends on the fall front or perhaps use a frame and floating panel construction for the lid and the fall front. 

As I have demonstrated, the chest can be made out of reclaimed dumpster wood or pallet wood. Using this kind of wood can give some challenges in preparing the stock, but after all, it is a tool chest, and not a jewellery chest, so I can live with a less than perfect surface, as long as the chest is sturdy.

I have to accept the fact that the project was a bit too large for me to do out here. I mean physically too large. I had difficulties planing the lid and the sides due to their size, and that pestered me during most of the project.
Having completed this project, I now remember one of the reasons why I normally make smaller items out here.

I haven't added any handles to the chest, but I think I'll do that once I get home, and can use some of the handles I already have in my shop.

Painted and decorated Dutch tool chest

Newfoundland dog and gambrel roof

Scrub planed back.

Precision paint brush.

Categories: Hand Tools

Dutch tool chest build 5, the lid and assembly.

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 3:27am
I had glued up 4 boards to form the lid, so in my mind I just had to do a bit of smoothing, mount some breadboard ends and be done.
The reality was a bit different. The lid had warped, so I had to struggle to flatten it. A thing that really didn't help was the size of the lid. I could barely fit it on the workbench, and it scooted around because I couldn't place it in a single position that would enable me to plane the entire piece.

After a lot of time and cursing I decided that it was flat enough. The problem was that it wasn't the same thickness all around.
The top of the workbench is not flat, and I didn't see any point in continuing knowing that it would hardly get any better, so the lid just had to stay that way.

I marked up for some breadboard ends, and the first one didn't fit very tight. I fiddled some time without any obvious improvements, I mounted it hoping and expecting that the second end would turn out better.

At first the second end really did fit better, but the first dowel that I drove in burst out a huge chunk of wood from the backside. I guess the board is a bit punky.
The second dowel broke before getting through the board, but the third one came all the way thoguh as it should.
It bothered me that the second dowel never went all the way, so I decided to remove it and install e new one.
A drift pin, a hammer and a smart blow Took care of the problem with the dowel stealing all the attention, Instead the new attraction was the 6" long and 1.5" wide chunk that separated from the breadboard end. And somehow the dowel managed to stay put.
More cursing..

I squirted some glue in the crack and put a clamp on it. There was no point in trying to do anything abut it until the glue had set and I had cooled down.

Next I turned my attention to the carcase and did a bit of planing in a vague attempt to level the dovetails and the ends of the backboards.
Again the work was obstructed by lack of workholding, a not completely flat floor etc.
The back was the last thing I tried to plane. I decided from the start that I would only use the scrub iron on the back, because there had been enough misery already. The back ended OK, with clearly visible diagonal strokes from a scrub plane. At least it will show that it is handmade.

A set of skids were mounted under the bottom, and this part went without any hick-ups at all (very strange).

The glue on the lid had dried sufficiently to continue with that part.
I used a saw to cut the lid to the correct length and to remove the parts of the breadboard ends that extended a bit. Some planing actually made it look pretty good, almost level and fairly square.
So I decided to make a bull nose profile on all the edges.
A bull nose profile is hard to mess up, unless you make the rabbet too deep, so it will terminate at the same depth as the groove in the breadboard end. If you do that the result is clearly visible.
If you also ad a some grain blow out due to rabbeting cross grain you will know why there was even more cursing.

Finally I installed the hardware which didn't cause any real problems compared to the earlier difficulties I had experienced.

Assembled Dutch tool chest.

First blow out.

Second blow out. 

Chest partly opened.

Dutch tool chest opened.

Categories: Hand Tools

Dutch tool chest build 3, fallfront and the shavings deflector.

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 12:28am
The panel for the fall front need something to keep it straight, and also something to catch the lower lip of the carcase. It seems as the traditional way of doing this is to attach a couple of battens using nails.
Another method that involves just a little bit more work is to insert some battens in sliding dovetails.
Now there is a plane that is designed for that specific purpose, but mine is at home, so I had to do it with my smoothing plane instead which means that my battens visually taper and don't cover the line up as they would have if I made them the other way.
Since this isn't a show surface it will be just fine.

A narrow board was divided to form two wedges. The surfaces were cleaned up with the plane. Each of the edges were planed at an angle, so the end of each wedge resembled had a trapezoidal shape.

I marked out where I wanted the pieces to go and clamped down the first wedge. Using itself as a guide, I sawed along its edge using my small dozuki. When I had reached my intended depth I loosened the clamp and shifted the wedge a bit to saw the other side of the dovetail dado.
Once the sawing was completed I removed the material with a chisel.
A router plane would have been the obvious choice, but the body of my small homemade one is so narrow that it would fall into the dado. And a chisel does the job fast and well enough in this case.

The wedge was marked out so I could saw off the lower part of the wedge, to enable the protruding end to grip behind the lower front lip. Finally the edges were chamfered with a chisel and the wedge installed.
The second wedge was negotiated in the same way.

A board was split and resawed and planed for making the locking pin. It was cut to length and a hole drilled in the upper part to give something for the fingers to grip when it has to be pulled out.
The bridge shaped piece that will hold the upper part of the fall front was a quick saw and chisel job.

Ralph asked about the shaving deflector for the Stanley No 50 combination plane (mine is actually a Record plane).
As you all know, taking pictures isn't my strongest side, but hopefully the pictures of the deflector mounted in the plane will give a bit of an idea on how it works.
The backside is sloped to match the blade.
The inside is sloped to that the lowest point of the deflector is positioned as far outwards as possible. This slope guides the shaving to the centre of the plane where it can escape without being jammed.

The completed fall front.

Sawing the side of the sliding dovetail dado.

Resawing the locking pin.

Shaving deflector seen from the side of the plane.

Shaving deflector seen from the front.

Shaving deflector seen from the top of the plane.

Categories: Hand Tools

Dutch tool chest build 3, tongues & grooves and assembly.

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 1:47am
Having completed the dovetails, I made a dry test fit of them. While the sides and the bottom were assembled, I measured the length of the shelf.
The shelf was cut to the correct length, and the parts were glued up. Oh yes, I made the rabbets for the shelf before I glued it up.

The lower front lip and the upper front each had a bead planed to soften the transition where each part will meet the fall front.
I mounted the parts a bit too long, and when the glue had dried I trimmed them to the correct length.

My Record combination plane has got a blade for making tongues, and I was really anxious to try it.
At first it was a complete and utter failure. I could at best take a shaving that was 7" long before the plane was blocked with shavings and I had to use a screwdriver to pry them out.

I stopped for the say and chatted a bit with Brian Eve instead.  He asked about the plane and did the smart thing: He visited Patrick Leach's Blood and Gore page. I have visited that page numerous times, but I don't know why I didn't think of doing it this time.
It turns out that there is supposed to be a "shaving deflector" that has to be used while planing tongues. Patrick also states that these are very commonly lost.
A bit of Internet searching and I had found some close up pictures of what it should look like. Since it looks a bit complicated, I decided to fabricate one of my own design instead. I think it took me roughly 20 minutes work, and I had a shaving deflector ready for testing.
The deflector was installed and I sort of expected the plane to jam within 5" this time - so I started out with a very short stroke. No blocking.
I got cocky and tried to do a 10" stroke. Still no jamming, Actually it seemed to work as it should. Finally I tried taking a planing the whole length of the 25" board. Two fat shavings ejected perfectly from the plane! I could even take fairly heavy shavings, so in a very short time all the tongues were completed.

On those boards I made the grooves next, and followed with some side beads.
These boards were all installed as the back of the carcase. I used a dab ob glue in the middle of each board, and two nails. so in theory the middle of the narrow boards will be fixed by the glue, and the nails closer to the sides will allow for some wood movement.

Chest assembled with fall front set loose in its place.

After the glue up.

Trimming the ends of the lower lip and the upper front.

Record No 50 combination plane tonguing.

Homemade shaving deflector for Record No 50 or Stanley No 50

Categories: Hand Tools

Dutch tool chest build 2, stock preparation and dovetails.

Sun, 04/16/2017 - 4:40am
There is a large dumpster filled with old pallets and boards used for packing materials just next to the ship, so rather unusual for me, I don't rely solely on palled sides for this build.
The sides are a bit less than 8" wide, so I only had to glue on a 4" board to get the desired width for my panels.
I found a nice 1x4" pine board that I have glued to the old pallet sides.

For the lid I have decided to try and make it completely out of pine, since it will be the most visible part of the project, and the pine I have found seems to be a bit more stable than the fast grown spruce used for pallet sides.

I planed the panels for the sides, the bottom and the shelf and decided which panel should go where.
The planing was kind of hard, because the panels took up all the space on my work table. I just had enough room to start the plane about 1" before the blade would get in contact with the wood. I can suddenly remember why I make mostly smaller projects out here.

I cut the sides to the required shape with a 30 degrees slop on the top and square bottom. The bottom was made next, and before I started on the dovetails, I tried to determine where to put the shelf .
The official plans have a suggestion, but given that I don't follow them anyway, I decided that I might as well try to figure something out myself.

I took my 1" chisel (the biggest chisel I have with me on the ship, and placed it on the dies board. I added a bit of air above and below it, so I could have a similar tool sitting in the future tool holder, and still be able to close the lid. When I later compared the position of my shelf with the plans, it was almost identical.

A bit of work with a divider and the dovetails were stepped off. I made a small template that had a bold angle to it, I just eyeballed it, so I don't know what it is in degrees or in proportions.
But it would at least make the angles the same for all the dovetails.
As per my normal routine out here, I do the pins first, because it is easier for me to transfer the layout to the tail board with the work holding that is available to me.

The dovetails ended up being nice and tight. Now I just hope that the dados for the shelf will turn out OK too.

Stock before planing.

jointing the sides of all panels at the same time.

Laying out the position of the shelf using a chisel.


Categories: Hand Tools

Dutch tool chest build 1, ageing hardware using an onion

Wed, 04/12/2017 - 1:49pm
I regularly participate in a panel for market research by answering a questionnaire online.
Often one of the questions is something like this:
Do you try new things or discover new trends sooner than your friends?
To which I always answer: "absolutely not"
This hasn't got a lot to do with woodworking, but it will mean that I can safely start building a Dutch tool chest now. A lot of the blogs that I read have already featured a DTC build, so I can in no way claim that I am a vanguard in this type of build which just suits me fine.

One of my favourite daydreams is to teach a small DTC class at home, it will probably be the boys who will have to attend it, but nevertheless I need to build one of those chests first to get the feel of it. It might also be that there is a little more interest in a build where you can see and touch an example of the end product.

There isn't a lot of hardware needed for a DTC. Technically you could get away with a couple of hinges and that is it.
Other pieces regularly involve a set of lifts and a hasp for a padlock.
I have a lot of chest lifts at home, and I was too cheap to purchase some locally here in Norway. So for this build I have settled for a set of strap hinges and a small hasp. Depending on the time frame and my mood, I might try to make a set of lifts myself, steel or perhaps some beckets.

The hinges and the hasp were zinc plated with a thin layer (electroplated). I decided that they looked a bit too shiny for my taste, and I decided to give them a bit of artificial age.

First the zinc was removed by immersing the pieces in a mixture of water and sulphuric acid.
Chemistry did its thing and in a short time the pieces were down to the bare metal.

My next plan was to give the  pieces a brown colour. So I experimented by using chlorine on the hardware. A thin layer of rust appeared almost instantly. The problem was that every time I removed the pieces and rinsed them the rust disappeared too. I guess I should have been a bit more patient, but after a couple of hours I grew tired of that experiment and decided to think of another interesting way of adding age to the hardware.

I have used a propane torch earlier, with very fine results, but I wanted to see if there was a way that someone who didn't have access to such a tool could also do a satisfying job of adding a bit of age to some hardware.
During my time as an engineer on a high speed ferry, I did a lot of cooking during the winter months when the ship was laid up. A colleague of mine once wanted to show me how soup was coloured traditionally, namely by burning an onion either directly on the hot plate or in the pot that you would later use for the soup. The result was impressive, the stainless steel pot turned as black as coal, and the fire alarm went off. I think we ditched the soup, but the experiment had been fun.

On this ship we have an excellent extraction fan for the galley, so I turned it to maximum and placed the hardware directly on the stove.
After some time it started turning blue, and I then rubbed the surface with an onion. The steel immediately turned darker. About three sessions of rubbing gave me the colour that I was looking for. After the hardware had cooled down I rinsed it with some water to remove a few fine particles of burnt onion.
To avoid the pieces sliding around during the rubbing, I used a regular fork to hold them and also to turn and remove them from the heat when I was done.

It looks as there s a bit of blotching for a lack of a better word, but that is due to my first experiment with the chlorine, which left some parts of the metal very lightly pitted after the rust attacks. I guess that after giving the hardware a light coat of oil it will be much less visible.

Onion coloured hardware.

After the first dip in the chlorine solution.

hardware in a chlorine solution.

Heating on the stove.

Blue colour means it is getting pretty warm.

First onion rubbing.

Categories: Hand Tools

I am a couch builder

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 1:14pm
I don't know if I am alone in this matter, but I have to admit that quite often I consider myself a couch builder.
Maybe you know the drill yourself.
You sit in a couch an read a woodworking magazine. Not just to get inspired, cause that would be fine. But somehow you more or less imagine that it is you doing the build. And boy I know that I am efficient in those projects.
A tool chest, 20 minutes maximum. A workbench, maybe 25 minutes, but that includes a cup of tea etc. In my mind I can build as fast as I can read the magazine. Actually after reading the articles a couple of times I don't even have to read the fine print anymore. I just look at the pictures and maybe read the text accompanying them. 
One of the really nice thing about building this way is that there are never any surprises such as reversing grain, knots, running out of stock, wood movement, bad finishing, overcutting lines, tear out, bad glue ups, twisted stock or dull tools.
Actually these builds are probably my best ones. They never go wrong and if they by some stroke of bad luck should, fixing them would be a piece of cake.

I can't quite remember the imaginary number if times that I have built the Roy Underhill joiners tool chest. But I have built it for real once, and it was definitely not as fast as the couch builds.

The same thing goes with a chimney cupboard.
Bob Roziaeski built a really nice version for Popular Woodworking some years back. And I have built it at least 10 times. It is such a pleasant project. It is guaranteed to turn out perfect every single time. And even the finish can't go wrong. A nice homemade yellow ochre coloured paint based on BLO. covers the perfectly hand planed boards in a jiffy. Drying is instantaneously. The dark paste wax is applied and buffed off, and after mounting the hardware without the screwdriver ever slipping, the project is once again complete.

In a way - it is very satisfying to build like that. There isn't a project that you can't handle, and the result is perfect every single time. 


In another way - building projects that way isn't satisfying at all. Once you look up from the magazine, they vanish into thin air. There isn't even the nice smell of freshly planed wood from your shirt. Those projects also tend to be difficult to show to friends and family. 

The problem is that if you leave the success zone of the couch, and head into the real shop, maybe you will encounter difficulties. Perhaps even set backs. You might find that you are not quite as skilled as you thought you were. And if the project was described as something to be done in "a weekends time in the shop" You had better be quicker than that because if not.. It must mean that you are not as skilled as you were in the couch.

The harsh reality of my own limitations and mediocre skills always strike me full force when returning home from the ship. 
For 5 weeks I have thrived as a very successful couch builder, and then suddenly I am just my own regular me in a workshop filled with all kinds of annoying problems that the professionals never seem to have.
Like the earlier mentioned reversing grain, knots, running out of stock, wood movement, bad finishing, overcutting lines, tear out, bad glue ups, twisted stock or dull tools.

A strange thing is that most people seem to like the stuff that I build in the real world better than what I build in the couch. So perhaps I should focus more on getting into the actual shop and stop couch building.

Categories: Hand Tools

Handling a hatchet

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 4:57am
Olav has made a new handle for a hatchet.
He was looking for a piece of lightly crooked ash, so he could make a handle that would swing out.

I had an old piece of ash just like that, and as you can see from the pictures, the wood has been put to excellent use.

I don't know the brand of the hatchet, but it looks as though it is sharpened and ready to go.

All pictures are courtesy of Olav

Categories: Hand Tools

Stealing someone elses work.

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 6:39am
Today I was searching the Internet for information on "The Milkman's workbench".
It was my dad who sold his old one to Christopher Schwarz, so I once in a while like to read about all the different places this little bench has been built.

I just random clicked on the hits that looked interesting, and one of them was from a site that offered an instruction in building a copy. I had hoped that they perhaps had found some novel idea to make it even easier or more user friendly to build etc.
Instead it was a copy of the original article as it appeared in Popular Woodworking Magazine a couple of years back. As it happens I have brought that issue with me on board this time, cause I like to read my older issues every now and then, so I checked to make certain that I was not mistaken.

A vague attempt had been made to incorporate a water mark from the site, but it was so poorly done it couldn't fool anyone.

My Friend Brian Eve told me some time ago that he had encountered a similar thing, and he had contacted Megan Fitzpatrick of PWM, to let her know what he had found.
So I thought that I would do the same thing.
Megan replied and thanked for the information which made me glad that I took the "trouble" to write a couple of lines and add a link to where I had found the information.

I don't know what can be done about it, but I guess that FW publications have got some sort of lawyer that might be able to approach the people behind the website.
After all they are the holders of the copyright to the article, so offering it like that is actually a way of stealing from them.

Most people have the courtesy to inform if they try to follow the advice of someone who has made a book or an article about it and this piece of work is being used as a direct source of inspiration during the build.
But is is still interesting to see how that particular person goes about getting the job done.

What I don't like is a downright rip off like what I encountered today, where another persons work was just copied and offered in a shameless manner, like the owner of that site had the right to do so. I am fairly sure that the only reason someone would do that is to get traffic to their site, and that way earn some advertising money.

I am a bit angry with myself because I couldn't spot the bad site while looking at my search hits, and I hate to think of that I might have helped generate 1 more click on some jerks page full of illegal stolen content.

Guess I just had to blow out some steam..
Categories: Hand Tools

A steam punk passive speaker for Lauras Iphone

Thu, 03/30/2017 - 11:39am
A weekend this home period where Laura was home, I asked her if she wanted to build something in the shop, because it would be a really nice father/daughter thing to do.
She thought that it would be fun too, so we started discussing what we should build.

I suggested building a passive speaker for her Iphone, and she was a bit curious about what that was. After showing her some made out of wood we tried to search Youtube to see if there were other passive speakers - and get some more inspiration.
One speaker was made out of an old hunting horn, and it looked kind of cool. It would also go perfect with the bookcases due to all the brass hardware on those.

Luckily for Laura, I had once bought a hunting horn in Poland, back in 1988 - so that model was within reach.

We immediately headed into the shop and found a piece of elm and got going.
Laura took some photos during the build, so all the photos are courtesy of her.

The idea of a passive speaker is to make some sort of channel that the sound can travel through, and then end out in something that will amplify the sound. In our case the bell mouth of an old hunting horn.

I started by squaring up a thick piece of massive elm, and then split it horizontally.

A long slot was made using the mortising machine, and a through hole was made at the exact location of the speaker on the phone itself.

A large hole was drilled in the centre of the top board, and on the underside of  this board, the large hole and the small speaker hole were connected with a channel, I think it was approx. 5/16" deep.

The two boards were then glued back together and while the glue dried we started working on the brass part.

Since the horn was soft soldered together, it took only a little heating with a propane torch to loosen the joint. After separating the bell mouth from the rest of the horn, I used a pipe cutter to cut of a length of the curved pipe that we would also use.

The curved piece was soldered back on in a 180 degrees twisted position, so the horn would end flowing in a bit of an S shape.
Some sort of disc or flared part was needed to be able to mount the brass part onto the wooden base.
I did't have any sheet brass lying around, and I thought about firing up the metal lathe and turn something. But I wanted to check if I had something stashed away first.
After a bit of searching, I found an old candle stand that I think was part of a mystery box I bought at an auction at some point. There were two holders for candles on it, and each one of them had a round "catch the molten paraffin before it reaches the table" thing. (I am sorry, but I don't know the correct English term for this part of a candle holder).
These drip catchers had some Art Nouveau ornamentation on the underside. And since we were going to solder them to the horn part upside down, this ornamentation would be visible once the speaker was done.
We drilled holes for three mounting screws and countersunk those. The centre hole was enlarged so the brass tube could slip on, and then I soldered it together.

The parts were washed and I lightly brushed the ornamented part with a brass brush to clean it up a bit.
Then we screwed the horn part onto the elm base and we were ready for the first test of the speaker.

I found some of the green felt that was left over from the travelling bookcase project, and it was glued to the underside of the base. Next morning when the glue had dried, I trimmed the surplus felt so it looked nice.

All in all this was a fairly quick project. I think it took a little less than 3 hours in total, including a bit of tea drinking during the process and searching for parts etc.
The sound quality isn't overly impressive, if you are testing it out on modern music. But for classical pieces such as "We'll meet again" with Vera Lynn, it is downright great.
Making projects with children is always high up on my favourite list, because they build memories as well as objects.

Steam punk passive speaker.

Firing up the band saw and looking if the small piece of string will hold the window from falling down.

The split base (and an auger that we didn't use)

Soldering on the flared bottom.


Categories: Hand Tools

A small barn for the summer house 11, windows installed.

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 2:50am
In the previous week, I went to the summerhouse for completing the floor. I had gotten the hang of it, and I really wanted to proceed with installing the windows as soon as the last board was nailed down.

When I brought the windows with me, I had only one floor board left to install. I had made some wooden shims to be used for the window installation, and I looked forward to doing it.
After completing the floor and celebrating this with a cup of tea, I discovered that I had left all the shims at home..
So no window installations that day after all.

I test fitted a window, and could see that I needed some slightly thinner shims, so I made those when I got home, and put them in the car straight away. I also made three boards with and angled cut on one side to mount over the window frames once these were installed.

The installation itself went really smooth. The outside of the window frame is installed flush with the outside of the exterior cladding of the barn. 
Some boards were then installed as trim, and on the very top is the board with the angled cut, now functioning like a very small overhang roof.

Since I haven't installed the floor for the attic yet, I didn't install the windows for the gable. My plan is to push the floor boards through the hole before installing a window, and thus avoiding to scratch the painted frame. A floor will also give me something to stand on while I install the window, making it a safer operation than balancing on a ladder or tip toeing on the rafters.

Gustav and I worked a few hours out there Saturday and Sunday too. Gustav downed a couple of trees with a chainsaw, and I cleared up a lot of the debris left behind from the floor installation, and swept the floor inside.

I also started on installing the corners and the trim for covering where the cladding meets the underside of the roof. 

There is still a lot that needs to be done before the barn is complete, but I am enjoying every minute of the project. In no particular order are: A new door including a frame. A floor for the attic, a staircase for the attic, insulate the walls. Install boards for the walls and ceiling. Install the remaining windows. Finish the outside trim. Paint the barn. Install the roof tiles. Etc.

Window installed and left corner covered.

The completed corner.

View through the door.

Categories: Hand Tools

A small barn for the summer house 10, laying the floor.

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 2:01pm
After I had painted the windows, I have been busy trying to get some work done on the floor of the small barn. My goal is to get the windows installed and thereby freeing some space in the workshop that will then be used for making some obstacle holders for horse jumping. But that is a bit into the future.
I sawed some 1/2" thick boards on the saw mill that I installed between the joists. These boards are only there to hold the insulation, so they won't carry a lot of weight.
The insulation was added (6"), and a plastic membrane was mounted on top. I am not quite sure that it is needed since there will not be much human activity in the barn to breathe out humidity, and besides it also shields the insulation a bit while I am working on the floor itself.

The floor boards are 1 3/4" thick and are joined by means of a loose tongue.
I have finally gotten around to using my Veritas BU jointer that I bought some years ago at a great price. I use it to joint the edges of the boards before I make the groove for the tongue.

The upper corner is planed off with two swipes of the block plane, so it is just a tiny bevel that will keep splintering to a minimum.

The groove is made with an electric router. A year ago I finally had it with my old router and forked out some real cash and got myself a more professional Makita router. That thing is so much better than the old one, it is easier to hold, it can actually retain the cutter in the desired position and it does a quick job of making a groove.

Due to the width of the boards I am installing them with nails through the top instead of using hidden nails or screws.
I would have liked to use headless nails like I used for the porch, but those are not available in 5.5" so that is why I am using regular nails. They look a bit crude, but it is a barn after all.
They are mounted 5/4" form the sides of each board, and if the board is very wide I also put a nail in the middle as well. To keep the heads aligned, I am using a piece of string to mark out the position.

Olav stopped by today and gave me a hand, and also took some pictures. So all the pictures of today are by the courtesy of Olav.



Floor boards on the right, Merlin half way hidden.

Veritas BU jointer with fence, now in use!

The board is clamped to a 5x5 to be able to stand on an edge.
Beveling the edges of the groove. 

Larch floor board prior to grooving.

Cross cutting. 

Grooving with the Makita.

A router is noisy and dusty but fast.

Merlin is supervising the project.

A finished board with grooves.
Categories: Hand Tools

A small barn for the summer house 9, painting the windows.

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 8:21am
After preparing all the individual pieces for the windows, they were assembled. I used a plane for adjusting the size to a pleasing reveal all around each one of them.
The flat parts of each window were also smoothed with a plane, to ease any small differences from the manufacturing.

I consulted Olav for some advice, and he suggested that the traditional way to go would be to coat the rabbet for the glass twice with shellac prior to painting and adding glaziers putty. The reason behind this approach should be that the shellac keeps the putty "soft" longer, because it prevents the linseed oil from migrating from the chalk and into the wood. 

While I am not be someone who dives into testing new stuff, I am normally ready to try out something old and tested straight away. So I took Olavs advice and used up the remaining shellac mixture I had left over from the travelling bookcases.
While I was at it, I also coated all the knots with shellac.

The hardware for the windows look good in my opinion, but it is the most traditional way to cover it in paint as well, that actually made painting a bit easier, since I shouldn't try to avoid getting paint anywhere.
For the painting itself I have strapped a frame to the workbench and mounted the windows on it. That way I didn't have to invent any work holding for the painted windows. The outside of each frame will not be painted since it will be hidden inside the wall. So it seems to be a fairly efficient way of doing it.

The biggest obstacle was Bertha who found it incredible interesting that I was mowing a small paint brush up and down, so she came close to have a look. I managed to get her ushered away with only a few white parts on her coat of fur.

Complete window.

one large and two small windows painted.

Inside corner with shellac applied.

Categories: Hand Tools

A small barn for the summer house 8, windows

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 11:23am
Last time I was home I managed to make the window frames for the total five windows that I planned for.
The three larger windows will be at the ground floor, and the two smaller windows will be for the attic. One in each gable.

For once this was a project that could benefit from my shaper. That thing is a beast when it comes to making large rabbets and long pieces of mouldings.
Traditionally frames are made with mouldings on the stiles and none on the rails. But I wanted to have mouldings all the way around.
I dovetailed the frames together, and in order for the moulding to flow around the corner I used a mitered dovetail for the outermost part of the frame.
The technique isn't terribly hard to learn or do, so it went together fairly well. My biggest challenges were that the stock was thick, but a bit of concentration during sawing helps a lot.

During the last couple of days I have been trying to make the window casements. There will be a total of 8 casements, so in order to make some progress, I am making it mainly as a power tool build.

The stock for the window casements are larch that I milled two years ago. It was originally intended to become a fence around the porch, but in the end we decided that a fence wasn't needed, so I could use them for this project instead.
I again used the shaper for making the rabbets and the mouldings. And this time I have tried to use it for making the bridle joints as well.
There is a special iron that is suitable for making tenons and the open mortises for the bridle joints. I have never used it before, because quite frankly it scares me a bit. The combination of the shaper and that blade is something that will eat a hand or an arm in an instant.
It is a interesting to note that when I have to make multiples, the machines are really fast despite the setting up can be a bit time consuming. A thing that is also interesting to note is the sometimes terrible amount of tear out left behind.
To be fair I think most of it can be traced to the wood. Larch is rather stiff, but it tears out easily.

The first window casement was assembled by means of drawbored dowels. The next one was just pegged after the glue had set. That route allowed me to put a clamp on the bridle joint which I think results in a better joint overall.
A project like this that requires a lot of pegs/dowels, is just what I have been longing for, because it gives me an opportunity to use my BLUM dowel plates. They are nothing short of impressive.

Mitered dovetail joint on window frame.
The spindle shaper with the scary Z blade.

Frames for the large windows.
Blum dowel plate.

Categories: Hand Tools

Making a small barrel 4, completion

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 8:34am
After discovering that the stock was not quite as good as it ought to be, I sort of lost interest in the project. So I guess it is a reminder that once in a while decent stock is a prerequisite for a success.

I tried to weigh the pros and cons of continuing or abandoning the project altogether. In the end I decided that instead of making a barrel for rum or brandy, I could make it for dog treats. Since they are not liquid, the barrel will work for that.

I had made a couple of ends/bottoms for the barrel out of spruce, and these were made into octagonals to fit the inside.
The hoops are made out of a piece of copper tube that was split down the middle using a hacksaw. After splitting , it was flattened on an anvil by means of a hammer. The hoop was riveted together using small pieces of copper wire from an old electrical cable as rivets.
Each hoop received a total of six rivets. five to hold the hoop together and one rivet for holding the eye that will allow the barrel to be attached to the collar of Bertha.

I had measured each hoop directly from the barrel, in such a way that it was a bit too small so I could rely on it to be stretched a bit and gain a good tight fit.
The hoop was first negotiated into place by tapping with a hammer on top of a piece of wood. Once it was level with the edge of the barrel, I switched to a drift wedge. A regular piece of flat bar would have worked equally well, but this was just at hand and had a perfect size for the job.

Normally I think the hoops are expected to stay put without any fixations, but I didn't want to take that risk with this project. I made four small rivets and attached each hoop with two of them.

Finally I sawed of the ends of the barrel down to the edge of the hoops and sanded the outside flush.
I didn't drill a hole for the dog treats yet, because I think a Forstner bit will be better than a regular metal drill bit like those we have out here. So I'll do that once I get home.

The barrel ended up being 6" high and 3 3/8" in diameter at the middle.

The barrel next to a standard can of mineral water.

Material for the hoops.

Coarse work with the riveting.

Setting the hoop.

Tool used for further setting the hoop.
The hose clamp is removed to go further.

Rivet head made on 1.5 mm electrical cable strand

Finished barrel.

Categories: Hand Tools

Making a small barrel 3, regrouping.

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 1:47pm
My barrel wasn't completely symmetrical, and I suspected the reason to be that the individual staves were not equally flexible.
I spent some time to get them all a bit more uniform in thickness and then tried to reassemble the barrel.
It still wasn't as I wanted it. After some time fumbling with the hose clamps, it suddenly detonated between my hands.

None of the pieces were damaged, but I could see two staves that had significantly more of a bend than the rest of them. I decided that it was time to regroup the project by only using 8 staves instead of the original 10. This will mean that the volume of the barrel will be smaller, so I'll probably have to either make it a short walk with the dog, or just walk the dog myself without any company.

Regrouping meant that I had to alter the angle on the staves, but that was a quick job. I had a bit of  a problem getting the barrel raised using the blue masking tape due to its unwillingness to stick to anything, so I upgraded to some duct tape.
I am fairly sure it isn't a traditional way of doing it, but it sure works great.

A hose clamp was mounted on each end, and the barrel looked OK.
I decided that I should make the barrel shorter due to its smaller diameter in order for it to look good.
I got the idea that if I kept the hose clamps on while I completed the work on the barrel, I could round and sand it also where the hoops would be attached. In the end I will saw off the part where the hose clamp has been.

The barrel was rounded and sanded. I measured the outside diameter of one end with a piece of copper wire, and used that to calculate the size of the corresponding bottom.
The oak has got a lot of cracks, so I was a bit uncertain if it would make an OK bottom. I sawed out a piece and marked a circle on it. Immediately after sawing the bottom out it broke in two.
More regrouping..
Spruce might not be the classic choice for coopering, but on the other hand, a Newfoundland isn't a classic barrel bearing dog, so a swift decision was made to use spruce.

After filing the disc round, I used a chisel to chamfer the edges so it could eventually fit into the groove that I was going to make.

I tried to use my router plane instead of a croze, but it didn't work very well, so I guess I'll have to do a bit of tool making to proceed.

Sanded barrel with a spruce bottom and the router plane.

Set up for sanding.

Broken oak bottom.

Categories: Hand Tools

Making a small barrel 2, getting by using standard tools.

Sun, 02/05/2017 - 8:12am
It seems natural that since coopering is a trade of its own, there are some special tools that goes along with that trade.
I haven't got any of those tools. But I have a lot of different tools and spare parts that can be used on board a ship. Some of those can often be used for other things.
Today I tried to use hose clamps for holding the barrel together before making the hoops.

Before I got to that part, I had made the last staves, and they were planed on the outside.
I planed the edges to an 18 degrees angle, so I would end up having 10 staves each with a total angle of 36 degrees.

This is where the challenges started.
At first I tried to hold the staves by hand inserting them in a ring that I had made from some old copper strands from an old electrical cable.
That didn't work.

The next attempt I tried to hold each stave in place using blue masking tape attached to the middle of the staves but with sufficient space between each so they could touch in the ends.
That wasn't a success.

Third attempt was to lay the staves closely together, so they touched at one end. Each stave was taped to its neighbour and finally put on an end and the last piece of tape held the stack together.
This seemed like the way to go.
I attached the copper wire ring, and made another one a bit smaller.

The assembly was rather flimsy, so I added another copper ring on the middle. That made it a bit more solid.
I found a couple of plastic cable tied and added those too. Then I removed the masking tape.

Getting the other end of the barrel closer together wasn't that easy. I was afraid to break the copper wire, and the cable ties weren't easy to tighten either.
That is when I decided to find some hose clamps.

At first I attached the hose clamps on the ends and tightened them up a bit. Then cam a larger model for the fat part of the barrel.
It started to look more like a barrel and less like a bunch of sticks held together with masking tape.

A thing that I noticed was that the individual staves didn't bend the same. I knew what the problem was, so there was no point in continuing with the hose clamps before I had fixed it.
The staves are not the same thickness.
I had gambled a bit that it probably wouldn't matter, but apparently it does matter.
Now I just have to find a way to make them a bit more uniform in thickness and then I can continue with the hose clamps.

The end result of the experiments so far.

Staves and copper wire.

This didn't work.

This helped.

Success is just around the corner.

Clamping using copper wire.

Moving into the plastic age using cable ties.

Hose clamps work great for this.

Categories: Hand Tools

Making a small barrel.

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 1:00pm
The other day we received some stores for our main engines. The stores were delivered on a single use pallet.
On this pallet the two lower stretchers were made out of oak. The top of the pallet was some other type of hardwood that I haven't been able to identify yet.

Not surprisingly, I disassembled the pallet to save the wood.
The problem with the oak is that the nails had penetrated rather deeply into the wood.
There was something like 8" between the nail holes, so I tried to think of a small thing that could be made out of short pieces of oak.
There are of course many things that would fit in this category, but I decided that a small barrel similar to those depicted around the neck of a saint Bernard dog would be interesting to make.
Bertha will end up having the same size as a saint Bernard, so I see no reason why she shouldn't be able to have a small barrel of brandy fixed to her collar for taking a photo.

I have never tried my hands out on coopering, so this will be a journey into the unknown in that respect.
The diameter of the barrel will be such that I can make the ends from the oak as well, I am able to make a circular piece of 2.75"" in diameter. The barrel will be 7.25" in length and probably end up having a diameter on the middle of 3.75" That is if everything goes as planned.

I have read somewhere that if you split the wood for the staves, you can reduce the risk of the barrel starting to leak. This makes sense if you use some sort of ring porous wood. I think that oak is ring porous, so I am going to try to follow that advice.

After sawing my piece of oak into the lengths between the nail holes, I split the pieces using an axe.

After splitting I used my plane to flatten the individual staves a bit on the outside.
My first idea was to make them exactly the same thickness from the start, but I changed the approach and only flattened the outside and then I marked out the shape and used a hack saw to make the curved shape.

Once all the staves are done I'll try to plane them all to the same thickness.

So far I have experienced that splitting stock is not a guarantee for a flat piece of wood.
It might have something to do with the fact that the grain isn't the straightest on the wood that I have at hand.
Some of the staves that I had split also had cracks running the entire length down the middle, so far from all my staves could be used.
I am also beginning to suspect that there might be a reason for coopers to use special tools for their job, cause a regular smoothing plane with a scrub iron doesn't seem to be the most efficient tool so far for this project. (Not that such a thing has ever held me back)

Split staves before sorting.

Flattish and shaped staves.

The selection of stock.

Categories: Hand Tools

Vegans and woodworking.

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 5:10am
My daughter has been a vegetarian for some time, to see what it is like. She is not fanatical in any way at all, so she eat meat when she is home, but at her boarding school they have a special vegetarians menu that she likes.

During the finishing of the travelling bookcases, she watched me apply some shellac. 

I have a hard time understanding vegans, but that might just be because I am not smart enough.
Laura knows more about that way of life than I do, so we ended up talking about that while I proceeded with the shellac.

Apparently vegans shouldn't eat or use anything that is made by an animal unless it is not supposed to be used by the animal itself.
I only thought that they weren't supposed to eat stuff, but Laura said that it was harder than that. 
So it made me wonder if vegans can use shellac as a finish at all?

If the beetle produce the shellac for a purpose, it means that they can't use that finish.
If the shellac in the other hand is a waste product that the beetle doesn't use for anything, it should be OK.

I guess bees wax as a finish is also ruled out if you are a vegan.

Technically it doesn't mean a lot to me, since I am not a vegan, but I found the subject a bit interesting.
A bit akin to imposing a 100% hand tool use on yourself, or Only to use domestic woods etc.

So does anyone know a vegan woodworker and perhaps through this know if they can use shellac and bees wax?

Categories: Hand Tools