CNC at last…

I’ve been in love with CNC routers ever since I first heard about them over 10 years ago now.  I’m generally fairly impulsive, but for some reason this time I waited, and waited, and waited.

Over the years I bought a “how to build your own CNC” book, I’ve read countless web pages, and almost bought an X-carve from inventables last year.  But as the years went by my interest turned from hobby to business, and so my needs changed.  I have very little free time, and I can’t justify spending work hours to build a machine when I need to be making things to make money.  I know you can argue that building this machine would help me make money later on, but I’m not convinced the savings would work out in the end.  Another issue is I’m pretty impatient, and I might not follow every step, or complete each operation, and chances are the machine might not be perfect, and that will lead to less than perfect cutting, which will drive me crazy.  The Inventables option seemed better, but not so sure if it would put up with commercial work.

So last week I figured I had enough money in the business account, and there was an ok deal on a CNC.  After several days of emails I had just about bought the machine but started to get a funny feeling from the private seller, and was getting frustrated with his communications, so called it off.  The next day I found another machine, slightly different size, slightly more money, but still a decent deal.  Then today looking at old Kijiji listings, I saw a CNC for sale but I was sure it was long gone.  I contacted the owner in the off chance it was still for sale, and it was!  The price was better than the other two machines, and while a bit further from me, I agreed to purchase it.

Due to the distance from me, it’d take me 2 days to go there and back to get it, plus cost me a rental van, gas, food, accommodation, etc.  So I hired a shipping company, that way it gets to my door and I can spend those days catching up on projects that have fallen behind a bit lately.  We’ve had so much snow this week that I’ve spent more time shovelling that woodworking it seems.

Hopefully I’ll have the machine by the end of next week, then I have to figure out how to use it!

Paddles…

I took a great paddle making class a few years ago, but haven’t had the time since to make another one.  My 4 year old keeps growing so she was due for another paddle.  She is in love with the colour purple so I grabbed a bit of purple heart along with some poplar and walnut and made her a little paddle for our adventures.

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The second paddle was a present to my wife, after many years she was still using some junky old paddle lying around the garage.  Her’s is also in the picture above, it’s made from walnut and butternut and is very light.  Mainly used hand tools to plane down the blades and shape the shafts, worked out great. Both paddles were finished with spar varnish, wasn’t happy with the product and it smelt awful.  I’ve read many people say that poly is better as it is harder, and you don’t really need the uv protection for the limited amount of time it is outside, so on the next one I’ll use some poly instead.

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Up next I’m making a paddle for a local kids charity to use for their silent auction.  Hopefully it brings in some big bucks for the organization, it will be auctioned off at a canoe fundraiser so hopefully it’s a good fit.

Shop update

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The shop is just about all setup now.  I ran a bunch of pipe for the dust collector, made an extension table for the new to me table saw, and hung the air cleaner.  it’s so nice to get things moving along finally.  I still need to run pipe to the jointer and connect the last few cm’s to the table saw, but the hard bends and such are all done.

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I also picked up this little LED light from Ikea. I normally steer clear of the swedish mega store, but this little light was perfect for my bandsaw and a great deal to boot.  The orange colour didn’t hurt either!  Next week, back to making things…

Back on track…

Been a while….  After a busy spring with many different projects, I spent the summer doing non-woodworking work, mainly looking after my daughter.  She’s now in school so I’m afforded more time to get my woodworking business up and running.  I’m getting my stuff into some local stores and I’ll be entering in a few Christmas craft fairs (more details to follow).  Right now I’m focusing on smaller items like cutting boards and such, but furniture is in the future.

 

This week I am putting the finishing touches on a room divider which has taken far too long to be done.  As I assemble everything I’m becoming aware of how inaccurate my table saw is.  I’ve tried tuning it up numerous times but it won’t stay.  On top of all the adjustments, I believe the fence has a bow in it as well.  Luckily I found a replacement saw on kijiji this past week.  I’m still in the midst of cleaning it up, but hopefully it will be up and running in the shop by next week (pics to follow!).

 

I have added a few new items to my Etsy store, more to follow next week:

 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/craftcollective?ref=si_shop

 

 

Too busy woodworking to woodwork…

Typo? Nope.  That’s right, I was too busy this week woodworking and so didn’t have enough time to…. do woodworking.  I landed a job with a local furniture maker, which is super exciting and great for me to learn and get paid to do it, but at the same time, it means my projects (which are for once paying projects) aren’t getting done.

 

Basically I feel like Luke Skywalker, I’ve learnt a bunch at Rosewood (ie. Yoda), and now I see an opportunity to use my skills to do projects that people need (ie. saving my friends from the bounty hunters), but I have taken this job to learn more (kind like when Luke returns to Yoda, except my teacher isn’t dying… nor does he have big green ears and talk funny, well maybe a little).

 

I’ve been working on my projects after my daughters bedtime, which means only a couple of hours a day at best, and after spending 9 hours building cabinets and drawers, I don’t feel like I’m really awake enough to do anything to precise, or with power tools.  Speaking of power tools, one exciting incident this week with a panel saw, thankfully I still have all my fingers, and due to my short stature, the piece of wood hit me in the stomach instead of the family jewels…

 

Anyhoo, all this is basically a big fat excuse why I didn’t post the projects that I promised to post last week.  Next week isn’t looking much better, but we’ll see what we can get accomplished.  It’s a good problem to have, more orders than time to do them, but at the rate I’m finishing them, it might be Christmas before I catch up…

Captain Awesome

Some days everything goes wrong, and other days I feel like Captain Awesome.  Today was one of those days.  Part of the key was I was in the right frame of mind, but I also took my time, made sure the tools were set up ahead of time and everything was clean and organized.  But I’d like to think some was related to me gaining experience as well.  I guess in a way me learning to take my time and set things up first is due to experience.

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I did have one set back, 2/3 of the way through the day I was trying to rout a grove using the router table.  It’s not a good one, but it’s better than my old one (and it was free, so can’t complain).  But not only was the fence moving, but it wasn’t straight, or square.  I tried to bend the metal straight and it snapped in half.  Possibly it was a sign that I should make a fence (or maybe I should buy a router table).  For now I quickly put together a simple fence out of some old melamine.  Is it perfectly square? No, but it’s a lot closer than the old one, good enough for now.

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Anyways, many projects on the go, more than I can handle really, but it feels awesome.  I’ll be posting some of them in the future as they look less like piles of wood and more like something.  Hopefully some new stuff in the Etsy Shop next week as well!

Honestly I make other stuff besides cutting boards…

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So I do make other things besides cutting boards, just seems like that’s what gets posted most often.  The bottom two boards were Anniversary/Christmas presents for my parents and in-laws.  They were both well received, and unfortunately are rarely used “because they’re just too nice”.  The top board was meant to be the same as the bottom two, but since the glue up wasn’t as flat as it could have been, I had a few exciting passes through the planer (read “projectile cutting board”).  Anyways, the rectangular board got smaller and smaller, until it became a square board.  Worked out in the end.

All boards are made from maple and walnut, food safe glue, and some colourful acrylic accent paint.  Finished with food-safe mineral oil.  The small one was put on Etsy and sold a few weeks ago!