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The Golden Age Redux

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 5:04am

I have long argued that we are living in two simultaneous Golden Ages, that of furniture making and that of tool making.  Never before in human history has a culture produced more superb furniture than we are right now, it’s just that most of the furniture is being made avocationally rather than vocationally, which is not to disregard the exquisite furniture being made by people who do it for a living.  It’s just that there are so many more “makers driven by passion” than those driven by income, a ratio I would  conclude is far north of 100:1.

The Golden Age of Tool Making is a bit different in that the purveyors for those particular narcotics in the marketplace are simultaneously driven by both passion and income.  Consider the upcoming Handworks event, where scores of professional woodworking tool makers will interact with thousands of woodworkers and tool aficionados, deep in the heart of the Iowa cornfields.  I am honored to count many of these toolmakers among my friends and acquaintances.

I am sure there are cranky toolmakers working under the nostrum of secrecy, but thus far I have yet to run into any of them.  My experience is that they are delighted that you are interested, and inevitably they will fill you with more information than you can digest at any one time.  They must understand this, as most of them have web pages that are archives of definitive and dispositive documents telling you almost everything you ever wanted to know about whatever it is that they make or do.  I keep several dozen of their sites bookmarked and visit them as often as I allow myself, knowing full well that the first click can result in an entire evening lost in pursuit of knowing more.

Occasionally one strikes my fancy or is so perfectly timed to a particular need that I find myself talking to myself in celebration.  Recently I have been doing some things with saws, some of which may eventually leak out into this blog, but most of which has to do with tuning up the saws that I already have.  With that in mind I was delighted to see a new (to me at least) offering over at Bad Axe on the care and feeding of  vintage back saws.  I am currently awaiting the fullness of time to get to a couple (four?  five?) of them hanging on my wall, and this page will no doubt serve as a valued resource once I get to that point.

In the service of full disclosure I should say that I have two Bad Axe back saws that I purchased from them, and have communicated with Mark Harrell fairly extensively on my two 4-foot late-18th Century frame saws, tools I use surprisingly often.  Someday I might show up on Mark’s doorstep with them in hand, and ask for a sharpening refresher tutorial.

tequila box.......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 12:37am
I didn't oversleep today and got up at my normal time at oh dark 30. Still can't believe yesterday that I one, I overslept, and two, did it for so long. In twenty years in the Navy I was late once very early in my career. An old Master Chief chewed on my ass so hard and so long, I didn't have to use toilet paper for 6 months. To this day, I am always early much to the consternation of my wife. And by early I mean if I have an appointment on Monday at 0800, I'm there sunday night at 2330, waiting. Well maybe I exaggerate a bit but I am always early.

$4 brush
I bought a wooden handled, middle of the road cost brush for painting the gallery spindles. I had one of these but my wife found out where I keep my brushes and  borrowed it. She became amnesiac when I asked her about it.

no problem getting behind the spindles with paint
The carcass of the paper towel holder is done. The rod not being done is stopping this from being complete. I keep forgetting that is hanging waiting to be worked on. I need to get one more coat of paint on it and a couple of coats of poly after that. I forgot it again tonight and only thought of it when I saw it as I was shutting the shop lights off. Maybe tomorrow.

out of the clamps
Double, triple checking that the bottle still fits in the box.

rabbets for the lid are next
The lid is about a 1/16 strong over in the width. I made the rabbets first and then planed the width to fit.

much better results
No hump in the middle, and I'm pretty flat and straight end to end. I wasn't getting these results with the LV rabbet plane. I think the 10 1/2 being a bench plane is helping a lot here.

the exit end
I usually slope downwards on this but I am looking pretty good, It is square and close to parallel to the lay out line.

the lead in
This looks pretty good too. I am a frog hair or two higher here then the other end but I'll take this. It is square, parallel to the lay out line, not sloped outboard nor sloped down at the lead in.

planing the shoulders
I just left a hint of the pencil line on the rabbet and planed it off completely on the shoulder.

if need be
I planed both shoulders going from right to left. If need be I could have reset the iron in the plane so I planed from left to right. Can't do that with the LV rabbet plane.

thin web at the bottom of the groove
I have been thinking of this for a while and I decided to plane a shallow rabbet on the bottom of the lid. This is only about a 32nd so I should be able to do it in a couple of strokes. I am shooting for getting the width of the rabbet to be the same as the depth of the groove.

wasn't that hard to do
 The only difficult part was when the toe of the plane went past the end I still had a couple of inches of rabbet left to plane. I was able to plane the rabbet and the pencil line from end to end.

fitting the lid is batting next
This is one aspect of making boxes that I am improving on. For the most part on previous boxes, I got the lid to fit but it was a looser fit in the width or the rabbet then I liked. Here step one is to get a snug fit of the rabbet on the left side here. The ever present step 1A is never take just one more shaving without checking the fit first.

repeat for the right side
Now that the rabbets are snug, I will concentrate on getting the width.

plane two strokes off of each side and check the fit

still too wide
This is where I usually run into trouble. I would go on trying to fit the width and ignore anything else.  I went back to shave two more strokes off of each side and checked the fit again.

fits about 1/4 of the way
I looked at everything here because if I trim the wrong part, on the rabbets or the width, I could end up with a loose, floppy fitting lid. The width looks good from the end of the box and also from the interior. The rabbets on both sides are fitting tight to the top of the grooves. All the trimming of the rabbets will done on the topside. I don't want to change the shallow fit of the bottom ones.

second trial fit
I took one shaving off of each rabbet and it advanced in another 1/2". Had a ways to go yet to get lid closed but instead of rushing it I took my time and evaluated it after each shaving and fit cycle.. Looking in the grooves I can a slight gap on the left and none on the right. I kept planing the rabbets and checking the fit.

getting there
The rabbet is still tight to the top of the groove and the gap I had in the width disappeared. I took one stroke on each edge for the width and couple off of the rabbets just on the back 1/3 of the lid. I had a gap at the front on the top rabbets.

After a bit more fiddling and planing the rabbets one last time with the bullnose plane, I got the lid closed. It's snug and hard to pull open but I'll do the final tweaking of the fit after the lid astragals and thumb grab are done.

bit of blowout
I got some blowout when I planed the back of the lid to fit the back of the box. I was hoping to get all the work on the lid done tonight but it didn't happen. I glued the blowout so I'll have to wait to finish this.

four holes to plug
and one chip missing from a tail

not my best work
These dovetails are some of the loosest and gappiest I've done in a long time. But it is hard to kill dovetails and the box will do it's intended job of keeping the tequila safe while it is in transit.

Putting the blog to bed early and me too. I got my Hayward volume IV yesterday and I'm going to spend some quality time with it before I do the light leak test on the peepers.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What was the original name of the game of softball before 1926?
answer - it was called kitten ball from 1895 to 1926

A George II Walnut Serpentine Chest – Part Five

Pegs and 'Tails - Wed, 03/01/2017 - 3:33pm
I prepared the triangular packers for the recesses in the canted corners and sawed the frets out of pre-sized 1/8″ (3.2mm) thick veneer (fig. 1). Fig. 1. Walnut packers and frets. Once the corner packers were glued in place, I … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Jewellery Box Finished

David Barron Furniture - Wed, 03/01/2017 - 10:29am

I managed to get round to finishing off the box with the mitred corners and dovetailed Dominoes.
See my first post here

The tray is a piston fit and the protruding top has been shaped to give a soft close lid.
The little brown oak stand with the shaped feet adds a bit of interest (and time).
The lid opens exactly where the board transitions from the white to the olive coloured ash, which is nice. The floating panel in the lid is some tightly rippled ash, which is not properly visible (I must get better with my camera).
A full article including all the techniques used will be appearing in Furniture and Cabinetmaking magazine later in the year.
The box will also be on display (and for sale) at the Celebration of Craftsmanship exhibition in August http://www.celebrationofcraftsmanship.com/

Categories: Hand Tools

Video: Building the Roman Workbench

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Wed, 03/01/2017 - 7:02am
This video shows the build process for our Roman workbenches. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos.

Categories: Hand Tools

Video: Building the Roman Workbench

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Wed, 03/01/2017 - 7:02am
This video shows the build process for our Roman workbenches. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos.

Categories: Hand Tools

Ash splint wall baskets

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Wed, 03/01/2017 - 6:23am
ash splint wall baskets A new pair of ash splint wall baskets, the same yet different. Which is your favourite? Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

Williamsburg Snapshot – Building A Table Chair

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 03/01/2017 - 5:36am

Ted Boscani’s crew from the CW Joiner’s Shop (I think at one time they were known as the housewrights) were the final in-house presenters as they had a Four Ring Circus in operation making a “table chair.”  I think in some circles this piece is known as “a monk’s chair.”

While Ted was demonstrating some of the joinery from the underside of the flip-top, most particularly the cutting of the sliding dovetail into which the hinging braces would be inserted, the apprentices were all working on the same bench on the opposite side of the stage fabricating the elements that were assembled into the chair’s base.  Their congenial sharing of a bench tweaked my self-indulgence of working on, in a typical day, anywhere from 6-8 different work benches in my own space.  I admit, I suffer under an embarrassment of riches.

Finally, after 90 very engaging and entertaining minutes, the table was assembled.  While I have my doubts about the interests and abilities of most of those in attendance to fabricate any of the chairs from earlier demonstrations, I can definitely see this fitting into the ken of just about everyone there.


Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 03/01/2017 - 4:00am

This past weekend, in spite of coming down with a cold, I needed to get out of the house and went to see A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde at MOMA. I should mention that if you are a NYC resident you can get a NYCID card which among other benefits gets you a free one year membership to MOMA. Which means in spite of being sick, I could pop in for an hour and a half, see the exhibit for free and not feel I had to spend all day because I paid a $25 admission fee (though it's free on Friday evenings).

I am a huge fan of Futurism in general so it was obvious I would want to see this exhibit before it closed. But while I was walking through the show I had a thought. Context! The exhibit consisted of pieces expressly made as "art" for gallery shows and other pieces - posters, books, and costume designs - that a century later are recognized as art and included at the show. I realized that I gravitated toward the posters, books and a dining set, my favorite piece, that I absolutely would love to have. I didn't get anything out of the pure art pieces (although a paper sculpture of a head was very cool).

What I realized is that the work intended for public consumption at the time had context. The artists and designers were trying to convey a message and they used the new vocabulary of the avant-garde to express the thought. And the works are POWERFUL. But the gallery material seems far more tentative and maybe experimental (and 15 years earlier, which might have something to do with it). They certainly doesn't hit me over the head. The context is different. The work was intended for a more limited audience that wanted to see "art" and was more forgiving and more indulgent. The message of the work is about the artist, not about some performance the artist was asked to promote in a poster.

Pondering this thought I went to test my theory.

The picture at the top of this blog is of a 1961 E-Type Jaguar, which is the centerpiece of an exhibit from the museum's collection of art from the 1960's. The car had the same impact as the avant-garde posters. First of all, the very fact the Jag was on exhibit shows us that it is now considered art. (To be fair, the car has been part of the MOMA design collection since the late 60's). It blows away everything else in the hall. While the works on the wall might define the 1960's for artists and collectors, for me at least the design vocabulary of the 60's was set by items such as this car. It influenced real world design much more than any art piece on display.

Maybe if I had to draw a conclusion, it would be that the art on the wall is commentary on what the artists saw and felt at the time, but the pieces from the outside world are what changed the world.

Just before leaving I stopped for a minute to see "Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh, probably one of the top five most famous pictures in the world. Many people stopped to look and take a picture of it. It didn't have to compete with any objects in the room, and it comes from a time when single paintings drew huge crowds (although not to impressionist work). My son, who is twelve and considers walking around a museum to be mind-boggingly boring, really had a hard time grasping that the picture behind the glass was the original painting and that was what was special about it. Times have changed and I think the ubiquity of electronic images make seeing the real thing less unique, less special. Seeing furniture in real life 3D on the other hand is still something the internet hasn't mastered. Although maybe with VR coming soon, maybe it will.

Modern furniture designers and makers are constantly being told that what they do is craft and not art. Woodworking certainly is craft, but as the Jag shows us, sometimes it's art. It's also pretty hard to make a piece of furniture that when people look at it they go "WOW."
But when they do: "WOW!"

How good is the four volume set of The Woodworker: The Charles...

Giant Cypress - Wed, 03/01/2017 - 3:38am

How good is the four volume set of The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years from Lost Art Press? Put it this way: these books have almost 1500 pages of woodworking information, and as far as I can tell, there’s not a single mention of a Japanese tool. I love these books anyway.

took a day off.......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 03/01/2017 - 12:50am
I hadn't planned to take the day off, it just happened. Monday night I went to bed at 1830 and I woke up at 0130 to do the toilet trots. I went back to bed and I didn't wake up again until 0855. I have never overslept like this ever.  I called my boss and told I wouldn't be in, but I was feeling better. Which was true. No more woozy feeling so maybe I just needed an equalizer in the bunk to feel better.

Since it was an unplanned day I put it to good use, mostly. I did some work in the shop and on the kitchen, ran some errands and enjoyed my unexpected day off.

glued the gallery rail on
I couldn't beat the spindles into place on the shelf without risking it breaking so I did it this way. I went down the line setting each one a little bit until I had them all seated fully.

tequila box glued up
After I cleaned up the insides, it was fitting a bit too loose for my liking. That is why I went nutso on the clamping. This will sit and cook until tomorrow. I'm hoping to get this finished and in the mail this weekend.

spring isn't too far away
I was coming back from the bank and Lowes when I saw this by my back door.  The daffodils might be blooming in the next week too.

need to fix this
The top switch is a 3 way (toast) and the bottom one is a single pole (ok). Nice neat job but who ever did this got lazy on the ground. Tied them together nicely but nothing tied to the box and it is too short pull out of the box and work on it. I couldn't get the ground from the new switch tied to it. I had to put a bare copper wire pigtail on it and use that to ground the new outlet. Fixing this was 30 minutes I'll never get back.

more wonderful cabinet rework ahead
I could rack this cabinet with finger pressure.  I had to screw the back into the 1/4" plywood filler to stiffen that up. I then screwed all the plastic corner blocks to back up the useless staples. I added a couple of screws at the top and bottom on sides at the back. The cabinet is a lot tighter now and I feel better about putting the sink on it.

drain and hot/cold feed holes
waste drain hole fix
The waste pipe has a 2" OD and the drilled hole is 3" and it was far to the left. I glued the disk to a scrap piece of poplar. I glued and screwed this to the underside of the cabinet.

quit here
I fixed the first hole and drilled the second hole too far to the right. I let go with a few choice expletives to let it know I wasn't happy and made a date to revisit this tomorrow.

Lie Nielsen side rabbet irons
I just ordered these yesterday and I got them today. And I went with regular UPS shipping.

LN and Stanley irons
The Stanley iron is a lot thinner and the edge that faces down is beveled. The LN irons are longer, thicker, and have no bevels on the long edge that faces down.

the Stanley iron is barely half the thickness of the LN
they don't fit
They aren't even a close fit. They are way too long to criss cross and they are too wide fit in the ramp on the 79. It's looking like I spent $80 for nothing.  Either LN made smaller irons or the guy selling the 79 cut these down to fit. If he did that he had to do the length and width.

curious fact
Both irons are slightly magnetic.

what I did inbetween drilling errant holes
I'm closing in on getting this sector thing sorted out. I break this out every couple of weeks and do a layout, find out it's toast and put it away till the next time. Each time I do a little better than the last outing.

dividing this into fourths
setting the sector at the fourth mark
second divider set to the 1 mark
Without moving the spread on the sector, this divider will be used to step off fourths on the board.

start at one edge and go to other down the square line
1 frog hair short
A lot of people have told me this is ok, but I don't think so. Sectors are a precision mathematical device and they were used to figure out canon fire and to navigate around the globe among other things. Being close in navigation can have you landing in the wrong hemisphere. I want this to come out exactly in four steps.

dividing the board in half
I did something different here. Instead of using the lines that went at an angle, I made another line right on the  inside edge. I first did the fourth division and that came out dead nuts. Here I got the dividers set at the second mark or 1/2 the width. The first step off landed right on the same mark as 2/4 did.

dead nuts again
My first time with getting two different step offs with both being dead nuts.

two lines
I am having better luck with precision with the straight line. With the angled line I get so-so results and I have yet to get repeated dead on results with it. I get close, oh so close, but still no brass ring. I like the angled line over the one that follows the inside edge. I find that one easier to set the dividers on.

erased it
Before I commit to doing this with ink, I want to repeat it a couple of more times and do more extensive testing with the dividers. I'll try it again in few more days to see if I can repeat it.

Two things I have learned so far playing with making a sector is the choice of dividers makes a difference (at least to me). For a long time I used flat leg dividers and got iffy results. They are good for stepping off dovetails but not doing precision steps. My results jumped up dramatically when I started using machinist's dividers. These have conical points instead of flats.

The second point is to step off on a line. Do not try to dance down the length of anything no matter how short, without a line to do it on. Any deviation off the line will throw off the accuracy.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
How long does a professional bull rider have to ride the bull to receive a score?
answer - 8 seconds (each ride is worth up to 100 points, 50 for the rider and 50 for the bull)

Who’s learning?

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Tue, 02/28/2017 - 3:50pm
Who is learning? Who is a student of woodworking? All of us, I contend, are, or at least should be, and almost always. Now, the healthy innocence of a student, not to be confused with a lack of confidence, is apparent when you start learning a new fundamental skill, such as paring with a long […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

March-April Issue is here...

James Watriss - Tue, 02/28/2017 - 12:10pm

It's as good a way as any to book-end the last decade or so.

10 years ago this month, I walked out of the North Bennet Street School. I was mostly done. My chess table needed to be finished, which took a little doing, but otherwise, I was out, and ready to take on the world.

Or so I thought.


For the last few months, I've been working for an insurance company, (Aflac) working as an agent, and beating the bushes for a sale. In short, it's the kind of job I turned my nose up at for years. Me? An insurance salesman? HAH!

Among other things, I've had to work hard to learn how to be a salesman, to beat the bushes for sales leads, and get out of my comfort zone and sell things. I was a very good craftsman, when I had a running shop, but I was a straight lousy business man. I'm not going to go any farther down the path of self-immolation, but it was what it was.

I've learned a few things, and while I'm not about to fire up a full-blown shop again, I've learned a lot in the last few months about what I'll do when I do pick up my tools again.


At this particular moment, I'm blogging, as a way to procrastinate, rather than study Anatomy and Physiology. I'm in the midst of the last prerequisite that I need, before applying to grad school for Prosthetics and Orthotics. The long-arching arc of my career track still involves making things, and so, for me, it makes sense. The insurance gig may or may not be a permanent part of the picture, going forward. We'll see.

Either way, something else has been happening lately. My second kid has passed the year and a half mark, and I realized the other day that my head is starting to clear. And I started having ideas about what my next shop will look like. Nothing concrete, mind you, but it was a strong enough whiff of an idea that it's clear that I'm nowhere near being done with woodwork.
Categories: General Woodworking

A small barn for the summer house 8, windows

Mulesaw - 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

Slow down

Northwest Woodworking - Tue, 02/28/2017 - 10:30am

It seems that life has many contradictions. When we need to be our smartest, perhaps as youngsters, we are at our most care-free, our most flighty, our most illogical. It is a marvel that most of us survive this time.

Another perplexity is speed. I am at the bench to work. But much like my exit from my home in the morning, I try to do too much at once. When I walk out the door, I grab as many things as my arms can carry. My bag work, my gym bag, that almost full cup of coffee, oh and the jar of birdseed, don’t forget that. So too at the bench, I try too many things. I start to accomplish one task, turn my gaze to another more lovely and start in on that and soon my bench is littered with the broken promises of a half dozen started projects.

I am slow in learning. I do learn, but I am slow. What I have learned is to tell myself, “Slow down, you’re in a hurry.” This way, I focus on the task at hand and no other. I get this one job done, heave a great sigh of satisfaction, look at the time, then I move on with a sense of completion and satisfaction. If only I could remember this dictum more often.

Join us for some slow work at the bench starting March 13th. The Hand Tool Shop is an exploration of woodworking at a different pace. One where our results emerge with each stroke rather than reveal themselves through the dust of our machines. Join us for all of the four weeks or choose the one that will slow your pace down but good.


The marquetry saw from 1676.

Categories: Hand Tools

Hand Made Cot

David Barron Furniture - Tue, 02/28/2017 - 9:38am

Mark sent me these pictures of a cot he has recently completed. It's well designed and attractive with a very useful drawer. It was made entirely by hand in an 8' x 6' workshop (garden shed) which is amazing. You can see more of the project on Mark's Blog

Categories: Hand Tools

SketchUp Classes For 2017

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Tue, 02/28/2017 - 8:31am
SCROLL DOWN FOR LIST OF AVAILABLE CLASSES Who needs to learn SketchUp? In my way of thinking everybody, or at least everybody who is involved with making things. I was trained to produce detailed drawings on a drafting board, then … Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

A Great Combination: Festool Kapex Miter Saw & CT SYS HEPA Dust Extractor

Highland Woodworking - Tue, 02/28/2017 - 7:00am

By Steve Johnson

A highlight of my visit to Highland Woodworking a couple of years ago was the chance to spend a little time with the Kapex KS 120 EB Sliding Compound Miter Saw and make a quick video review of the tool.

In short, I liked it. I wanted it. But, alas, I couldn’t afford it. More accurately, I couldn’t justify it. While my brief time with the Kapex demonstrated some apparent advantages over my current miter saw, what I had was working fine. I will admit, however, to prolonged disappointment like a kid with a long list of toys for Santa that finds nothing but clothes under the Christmas tree.

Click here to read more…

The post A Great Combination: Festool Kapex Miter Saw & CT SYS HEPA Dust Extractor appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Calling Simon Templar

The Barn on White Run - Tue, 02/28/2017 - 6:52am

If you have not already seen Konrad Sauer’s update on the restoration of the 1968 Volvo P1800 I disposed of in his direction, give it a look.  The car, of which there were only about 125,000 produced over a 13 year period, was made famous in the early 60s British television series “The Saint” starring the utra-cool Roger Moore.

Here’s just one of the dozens of pics.



Kitchen remodel Part 3

Oregon Woodworker - Tue, 02/28/2017 - 6:07am
This is about the process of buying, building and installing Ikea kitchen cabinets.

The purchase process is based on a CAD program that Ikea uses and makes available to its customers, which then feeds the ordering process.  However, I chose to draw my design on graph paper and then go to the store, where one of the kitchen specialists helped me to input it.  She was tremendous, tweaking my design in helpful ways and making sure all of the right components were in my order.  Very impressive and real value added.

A few days later, a delivery truck showed up at our house with 110 flat packs and packages!  It took us about a week to take down the wall, demolish the kitchen and remove ceramic floor tile in the hall.  The following two weeks were spent assembling the cabinet boxes, coordinating plumbing and electrical contractors, installing the range vent to the outside, and installing the wall cabinets and microwave.  At that point, we were able to get the first round of four inspections out of the way.

I was surprised at how easily the boxes went together and how strong they are.  Steel pins are screwed into pre-drilled holes in corner of one side and then cam locks go over them from the other side.  Surprisingly the boxes all came out square with no effort.

Ikea has an ingenious and highly effective way of installing wall cabinets.  You attach a steel rail to the wall and then hook a steel attachment on the back of the cabinets over the rail.  When they are positioned where you want them, there is a fastener that locks them in place.

As we were beginning to install the wall cabinets, my wife made a very important contribution.  I told her how difficult it was going to be to get the cabinets level around three sides of the room and, against my judgment, she convinced me to buy a laser level.  For $120 I got a self-leveling laser that sits on a tripod and projects a sharp line on three walls at once!  You just set it up in the middle of the room and turn it on, then move the tripod up and down until it's at the height you want.  OMG!  It made it so ridiculously easy to install the steel rails level I couldn't believe it.  After that the boxes went up fast.  The result is strong and secure.  One person can install the cabinets without difficulty.

The next step is to install the doors, again a simple process.  You just secure the hinges in a hole in the door, screw a plate into the predrilled holes in the side of the cabinet and snap the hinge onto it.  Put on the handle and you're done.  The hinges have three adjustments on them that make positioning the door easy.

We were just congratulating ourselves on how well we were doing when boom!  Big problem.  I held up the drawer for the diagonal corner cabinet and--it didn't fit.  There was a gap of almost an inch along the side of the door and, since the doors are gray and the boxes are white, it looked just awful.

A call to the support specialist at Ikea wasn't reassuring.  After taking me through a list of things I might have done wrong, she asked for pictures, which I sent her:

She called me back with the bad news that in some installations, including their own model kitchen, this gap does in fact exist.  She was previously unaware of this and found out that they had used some specialty gray edge banding to mask the problem in their display kitchen.  They don't provide it and don't even sell it, but did refer me to an online supplier where I could purchase it.  Perhaps my expectations are unreasonable, but I was not pleased.

Again my wife came to the rescue.  At her suggestion, we took one of our doors to the Home Depot paint department and asked if they could match the color.  The guy said he could and put an electronic device attached to the paint computer onto the door.  It generated the pigment formula to add to the base and, amazingly, it came out exactly correct, a dead ringer.  We went home, sanded, primed and painted the offending cabinet edge and now it looks much better:

In my opinion, this is a better solution than the one Ikea suggested and we are satisfied.  However, it was this experience that tipped me over the edge into wishing I had made my own fronts from the get go, rather than buying Ikea's.  Obviously, I would have made the door wider rather than relying on a standard width.  The actually remodeling wouldn't have taken any longer because I could have made the doors and drawer fronts in advance.

We're not finished with the base cabinets yet and I am hoping there are no further instances of problems like this, particularly ones we can't fix so readily.  I do think our experience is a cautionary tale.

The bottom cabinets are attached to the walls the same way.  In the case of a peninsula, you have to attach them to the floor because you can't use the rail.  The lower cabinets come with adjustable feet that make leveling them easy.  The toe kicks attach to the legs with clips.

Categories: Hand Tools


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