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…

My first week as a Fine Woodworker…

Well, following my completion of the Rosewood Studio Craftsman program, I commenced my first week as a fine woodworker….  First thing I needed to do was get my shop set up.  We’ve recently moved across the country and I had picked up a few new machines along the way, as well as my parents old kitchen cabinets, so a big re-org was needed.  I also wanted to do a tune-up on all of my machines since I learnt how in the “mastering machines” week.  So after everything was in it’s place, I proceeded with the tune up.

Something I discovered quite quickly was that good machines, are easy to tune up.  So while at school, adjusting the planer/table saw/band saw was quick work since they were top of the line machines.  At home, my bandsaw was easy since it’s a General and they make excellent products.  As for the table saw, let me say that I don’t have much nice to say for the people at Delta.   In their defence, it is a lower end model, however why you would place one of the adjusting screws on the table saw in a place where it can only be accessed by removing the blade, when you need the blade in place to see if you have moved it the right amount, seems absolutely ludicrous.  I spent 2 entire days just getting my table saw up to par.  My bandsaw took 15min, and that included installing the new fence.  As you can see in the picture above, a crow bar, likely shouldn’t be needed to precisely adjust a table saw…

Anyways, after a weeks work, everything is where it needs to be.  I still am without a dust collector/cyclone, however I’ll need to wait for some income before I can afford the one I need.  I was quite happy with everything I got accomplished this week, although my 3 year old couldn’t understand how I could spend an entire week in the shop, and “not make anything”?

Rosewood Studio, Week 2 – Mastering Machines

Last week was all about hand tools, mainly hand planes and saws, and boy are my arms sore.  This week we are on to the machinery, and over the week we worked with the band saw, table saw, drill press, thickness planer, jointer, mitre saw, horizontal mortiser, as well as various hand held power tools.

The week was broken up into how to use the tools properly and safely, and how to maintain them.  The maintenance part was particularly interesting for me as I have many tools that have never been properly setup, leaving them functioning sub par and even being dangerous in some cases.  We took apart each machine and made sure they were all perfectly aligned (down to the 1000th of an inch), replaced blades, sharpened others.  I really wish I could have video’d the entire week as it’s hard to remember everything we did.  Because it’s such a hands on experience, it’s hard to take notes when you’re in the middle of tearing a machine apart!

Biggest revelation this week was regarding band saw drift.  In short, it’s a total myth!  Most bandsaws have adjustable tables, and when the saw doesn’t cut straight, it’s because the table needs to be adjusted square to the blade, and not the fence to the blade as most fence companies would have you believe.

My only regret is that I hadn’t waited to buy some of my bigger machines until after taking this course as I now feel much better prepared to know what machine to buy (how big, how powerful), as well as accurately being able to tell if a used machine is worth buying.

As for a project this week, we made some “Krenov Inspired” saw horses (seen above supporting some pieces of Mahogany).  That is to say saw horses so beautiful, they’d put most of the furniture in my house to shame… Who am I kidding, ALL of the furniture in my house to shame.  The horses are made from maple, and use bridle joints, mortise and tenon joints, and wedged mortise and tenon joints.  Although the week was all about machines, I did have to hand plane the mill marks off the saw horses, and they were finished with several coats of shellac – not the most durable finish, but more used in order to practice for later projects.

I’ll be spending the weekend tuning up my old machines as best I can.  I bought a dial gauge on the way home and plan on squaring up my table saw fence (assuming the table is already square…).

Boat Week – Cedar Strip Canoe

Any outdoor enthusiast who also enjoys woodworking is guaranteed to have dreamt of building their own cedar strip canoe.  While there are many other materials to make a boat out of, some of which may even work better, a cedar strip canoe is absolutely beautiful yet lightweight.  The above design is from Peel Marine who make custom built canoes.

There are many steps involved in building your own cedar strip canoe. You can save yourself time by buying the cedar pre-cut into strips (especially handy if you don’t own a good quality bandsaw).  The strips are laid over a “strongback” and nailed/stapled/glued into place.  Once complete, you scrape, sand, and sand again.  Over top goes a layer of fibreglass which can be tricky without an extra set of hands, but rewarding in the beautiful and durable high gloss finish.  Plans are available from Green Valley Boatworks.

If you are interested in building your own cedar strip canoe, I highly recommend going to this site in order to get a feel for what’s involved. It’s an excellent resource and highly detailed account from start to finish of a canoe project.

I personally own “Building a Strip Canoe” by Gil Gilpatrick, and I found it to be an excellent book for the money. You get several plans and he has a great ability to make things as simple as possible.