Table Saw Outrigger

I face a problem each time I have to make a final crosscut on a long board, typical of a bed rail being over 80″ long.  I don’t feel it is accurate enough (nor safe) to focus pressure downward as I push the material through the blade with a miter gauge.  There is still a chance of the board lifting or twisting leading to an inaccurate cut.  My first thought was to make a fence extension for the miter gauge.  This just ended up making the cut more difficult as I had to clamp the board to the fence making the piece even heavier at the end.  I decided support was needed somewhere toward the far end of the board.  I didn’t want to make another catch-all table surface so I made an outrigger.  I could have purchased a roller stand and set it parallel to the table but they are not long enough and I wanted to save some money and use up scrap material.  Thus started the 1 day build (really 2 parts of 2 days but it can easily be done in one afternoon).

The first step was to cut all the parts.  Below you will find a spreadsheet with the names and dimensions of all the parts needed to make the outrigger.  I made the parts list of the items I used but you can use what every you want if you would like to make yours look better.

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Now for a step by step process on assembly of the outrigger.  I assume that if you are making this you have some experience with the table saw, router, drill press, and their accessories.

  1. Start with the bases by cutting an angle on the sides 2 inches up from the bottom and leaving 2″ of flat edge on the top middle.
  2. Predrill and countersink holes on a center line of the bases to attach the legs.
  3. Attach the legs using 1-1/4″ long #8 screws.
  4. Set the stretcher in place on top of the base pieces and predrill and countersink from the outside of the legs into the stretcher.  Use 1-1/4″ long #8 screws to attach the stretcher to the legs.
  5. Route a 3/8″ slot through the center of the adjustable uprights leaving about 2″ of material at each end.  Do this incrementally at the router table.  I started by drilling the start and stop holes at the drill press as a guide.
  6. Attach the adjustable uprights to the legs with the 5/16″ bolts, washers, and knobs.  I would use star knobs over the 3-point knobs I used in the video.  You can get more clamping force with star knobs but it really isn’t necessary unless you plan to use this as a work holding saw horse (if you make 2).
  7. Add some glue to the sides of the legs and place the plywood channel guides flush with the insides of the legs and against the plywood bases.  5/8″ brad nails are all that is needed to fix them in place.
  8. Attach the gussets to the adjustable uprights by predrilling and countersinking 3/4″ long #8 screws.
  9. Attach the rail supports at the top of the uprights between the gussets and using a screw on each gusset, again predrilled and countersunk.
  10. Predrill and countersink 2 holes from the underside of the rail supports to attach the rail.  I used 2″ long self-tapping screws here because I had thicker material to screw through.
  11. After attaching the rail to the supports, remove the rail and rip a bevel on the top side of the rail.  Set the table saw blade to about 5 degrees, rip one face, flip the board end-for-end (keeping the reference side against the fence), and rip the other face.  If you have a bead in the middle remaining just raise the blade a bit more and repeat this step.
  12. Reattach the rail, sand the surface (optional), apply a finish (I used shellac because it dries fast), and rub on some wax.
  13. Set the height so the work piece is flat on the table saw and in contact with the outrigger throughout the cutting movement.
  14. Done.

Here are some shots from my model.

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Shop AC Installation, Part 3: The Mini Split

With the garage door insulated I noticed a decent temperature reduction and stabilization throughout the day.  Typically, the shop would reach 101-103 degrees at 4pm when the sun was in full force.  With the door insulated the shop was now about 10-12 degrees cooler at that same time of day.  Still hot inside but 92 degrees is better than 103 degrees.

Here is a chart of indoor and outdoor temps I tracked for a couple of weeks after sealing and insulating the garage door and then installing the AC.  Aside from looking like a penguin lying on it’s back, it helps to show what steps can be taken to most economically reduce the temperature inside your shop.  Not everyone has the luxury of shop AC but weather stripping, insulating the bay door(s), and attic space insulation and an attic fan can significantly help balance the indoor temperature.

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Now lets install the AC.  I installed an 18,000 BTU 17.7 SEER 240V Pioneer Mini Split.  It starts by clearing a space to work locating studs and hanging the indoor unit’s bracket.  The screws provided were so wimpy that I replaced them with longer, 2″, self-tapping screws for added security.  The indoor unit isn’t that heavy to begin with but I would prefer 1.5″ of holding power in a stud vs 5/8″.

With the mounting bracket installed I then chose the location for the outdoor condenser.  It am placing it directly on the opposite side of the wall so there is no need to run long lines.  I made the form, placed some rebar in the middle of the form, then mixed and poured the concrete.  Once the form was filled, I used a 2×4 on edge to screed it and then troweled it smooth.  The concrete was left to cure for a few days according to the manufacturer’s suggestions.

Wiring the indoor fan for power was an interesting process, which I’ll address in a moment.  First you have to flip the unit over and remove the back corner panel for access to run the wire.  Then flip it back over and open the front cover to access the electrical connections.

Run the wire through the opening to bring the wire to the connection bar.  This particular unit was different than others I had seen as they labeled the wires 1, 2, 3 and the instructions made no mention of which was which.  I just looked at the corresponding wires on the other end and attached them accordingly.  Now wiring the unit was interesting because the U-lugs didn’t fit into the connections.  I ended up cutting the connectors off, twisted the wires, inserted them, and clamped them in place.  Now we are ready to proceed.

The hole was drilled in the wall, the lines were connected to the indoor unit, and they were run through the wall.  The hole to be drilled for this unit is 2.5″ in diameter and should be drilled at a slight downward angle.  It is best practice to drill through the wall and when the pilot bit passes through the siding on the outside then you drill from the outside to have a clean hole.  Once the hole was drilled the hole in the attic eave is located for the power line.  When that was being drilled I went into the attic and fished the line through the hole for the installer to save time.  Now here is the difference between doing something yourself and hiring someone to do it for you: Quality of work.  In an effort to not micromanage an AC installer I left him to do the work as he normally would.  Big mistake.  After he drilled the hole (no problem), connected the lines to the indoor unit (no problem), he then pushed all the lines through the wall and hung the unit.  He didn’t bother using the plastic sleeve and bushing to line the hole and seal the insulation from the lines.  It was partially my mistake not to notice this until the installer had hooked everything up and was about to cover the lines with a sheet metal cover.  When I mentioned it he said “well, it’s too late now.  I would have to unhook everything to fix that.”  What an idiot.  Both him (because he was) and me (for not noticing earlier).  So I just filled the hole with spray foam insulation and hoped that would be ok.

The final step was to connect the copper lines and wire the outdoor unit for power.  The copper lines need to be connected with a flaring tool.  This is the main reason I had an AC installer come out to do the hook up for me.  Once the lines were connected the installer then used a vacuum pump and nitrogen to pressurize and test for leaks (the second reason for an installer).

With everything working it was time to turn the power on and start up the unit.  From the chart at the beginning of this entry you can see the temperature difference in the shop to the outside.  It has been a pleasure to be in the shop on the hot days not only to work but to get out of the heat and cool down in my castle.

Shop AC Installation, Part 2: The Insulation Installation

In part 1 of this series, I outlined what weather stripping product I used to seal my garage door.  Now it is time to insulate the oven, I mean, garage door for less than $150.  The afternoon sun beats down on the door as it faces west.  The heat that radiates from the inside of the door is a constant reminder, or question, about my reasoning for living in a desert.

Let me get to the work.  First, I needed to choose a type of insulation for the garage door.  There are kits available for garage doors but they are expensive, coming in at about $75 per box, which contains enough insulation for a single bay door.  That would cost over $150 for my double bay door.  Then there is the fiberglass insulation that is wrapped in paper, or a paper-like material.  These are usually pre-fit to the door panels or are cut to size and fixed to the door with “pins.”  Not wanting my garage door to look like a fluffy 1970’s headboard with buttons, I chose to pass on those kits.  4′ x 8′ rigid insulation sheets seemed to be the best option.  These come in a variety of thicknesses from 3/4″ – 2″ and some have a radiant “foil” side and a plain white “styrofoam” side.  My door panels are 1-3/4″ deep so I chose to buy 1-1/2″ thick sheets.  The R-rating, or value, is next to consider.  This doesn’t mean the inanimate sheets will start swearing at you randomly (though they should if you do stupid things in your shop).  The R-value is a measure of thermal resistance.  The higher the R-value, the better the insulation.  These ratings are also used with camping mats to insulate your body from the ground.  The inexpensive rigid foam insulation comes in at just over $15 for a 4′ x 8′ sheet and has an R-value of 5.78, which is better than nothing.  However, the polyisocyanurate sheets have an R-value of 9.4 and cost roughly $10 more than the former rigid insulation.  This was clearly the winner, thanks to Dyami Plotke for the suggestion.  Looking back at the cost of the kits ($150) and the cost of 4 sheets of the polyisocyanurate insulation at $26/sheet that is a savings of $46, which was spent on other materials.

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The down side of these sheets is that both faces are covered with the “foil” lining.  I didn’t want a reflective surface in the shop, for filming purposes, so I decided to paint the inside face white.  This was done with a rattle can of Rust-oleum Universal Spray Paint (affiliate link).  This stuff sprays on easy, thanks to its trigger but it didn’t last long.  I needed a case (6 cans) which cost me $35 and that covered all the panels with $11 to spare.

I cut the sheets in half to be more manageable at the table saw and then painted the surfaces.  Once dry, the sheets were ripped to width and cross cut to final length.  Half of the door had different length panels so keep that in mind.

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Now there are several different ways to install these sheets.  One is to cut them slightly oversized and rabbet the ends and sides to fit the door panel frames.  Another is to cut the slightly oversized and bevel the edges to allow you to slip them into place.  I used both and found both to be equally as difficult as they were annoying to install.  One thing I did to utilize the off cuts of insulation was to put the strips in the deep sides of the frames.

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After some serious finagling I got the sheets to fit into the frames and the door completely insulated.  I won’t lie.  It was a lot of work and it took a full day.  And at 115 degrees outside and 108 inside the shop it wasn’t pleasant but the end goal is in sight…A/C.

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Shop AC Installation, Part 1

My shop conditions are great 2 months out of the year.  That is early spring (April) and late fall (October).  All the other months the heat is miserable or the cold is not glue or finish friendly.  I have tried to combat the heat (108+ degrees inside in the summer) by running fans as the added air movement makes working a little more bearable.  Sweating on my projects isn’t something I enjoy doing, though it does show what the work piece may look like when finish is applied.  For the cold months I run a ceramic heater next me but the sheer amount of space to heat is inefficient and ends up costing more on the electric bill than the warmth it offers.

Now, in the space’s current state, the weather efficiency is very bad.  I have finished walls (insulated) and a ceiling but the latter is not insulated.  Furthermore, the shop faces west with a non insulated metal garage bay door.  When the summer sun hits the garage door the heat that radiates through essentially turns the shop into an oven.

The first order of business I am taking to make the shop a comfortable working environment is to seal the garage door.  I had the foam garage door seal nailed to the side and top frames of the door but it has since dried up and become more than useless.  Time to replace it with a longer lasting seal.  Enter the vinyl seal.  This stuff looks great, is easy to install, it’s paintable (latex or oil based), will last (so “they” say) forever (who ever “they” are don’t live where I do), and it comes in 9′ lengths.  Available on Amazon here: Frost King Garage Door Side/Top Weather Seal (Affiliate link).

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Step 1: Remove the old seal.  This is easily done with a claw hammer.  Just pry out the nails and toss the waste in the can.

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Step 2: Close the garage door and take measurements.  The height of my garage door fame is 84″.

Step 3: Cut the weather stripping to length.  I cut a 45 degree bevel at the end that will touch the top frame.  With the garage door closed, I place the stripping against the frame with the rubber flap against the garage door and slide it so it applies a little pressure on the door.  Not too much and not too little.  It should be just enough to flex the rubber seal.

Step 4: Nail the strips to the frame.  I use an 18 gauge brad nailer with 1-1/4″ nails but a 16 gauge finish nailer would work fine too.  Some folks would even pre-drill a few through holes in the stripping and drive some nails through for an extra hold.  I just nailed the hell out of it.  It ain’t going anywhere.

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Step 5: Place the top piece into position.  I left the end square as the seal will overlap with the 45 degree seal from the side.  No gap.  Hold the strip with one hand (though a helper is always good to have) and shoot the nails through the vinyl strip to hold it into place.  Work your way to the end of the strip and move the seal as needed to maintain good pressure on the door.  Nail it some more.  If the slight gap in the corner and the nail holes bother you (as they do me) just fill them with paintable caulk (I’ll be painting the house later anyhow).

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Step 6: Measure the remaining distance and cut the piece to that length.  I did it that way as I didn’t want a bunch of scrap pieces by measuring the middle point of the frame and cutting to that point.  It doesn’t matter to me, it is a seal not tiling…or a boat…or a piano.  I did, however, cut the end that meets the other strip at a 30 degree angle so it would overlap the seal on the other strip.  Then  repeat Step 5.

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With the door now sealed from the weather it is time to move on to the next most economical portion of this process…insulating the garage door.

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Stay tuned for the next installment of the shop insulation project and AC installation.

Bandsaw Blade Upgrade

Up until several weeks ago I had been using a Wood Slicer resaw blade on my 14″ bandsaw.  after making a rookie mistake while cutting a turning blank and bending that blade I decided it was time to up my resaw game.  Enter a carbide tipped bandsaw blade.  Which one would I choose?  What was the deciding factor that made me choose the blade I did?  The answers:  The Lenox Tri-Master Carbide Tipped Bandsaw Blade and (1) I could get it in 1/2 wide with 3 tpi and (2) I could get it cheaper at Highland Woodworking (shipping included) than the Laguna Resaw King (3/4″ is the smallest they make) on Amazon (affiliate link below).

After installation and proper tune up, the Lenox blade seemingly pulled the work piece effortlessly through the cut and I was merely guiding it.  The cleanliness of the resulting cut was blatantly obvious.  Very little needed to be done to prepare the sawn surface for lamination or what ever needed to be done.  This resulting surface could reduce time spent at the drum sander (if I had one) or the planer to prepare for veneer work or bent lamination.  When time to finish a project is of the essence, then the surface preparation from tool to finished product needs to be fast.  This blade achieves that.  The above photo is a 4×4 that was cut with a curve through a knot.  There was no touch up work done to the surfaces.  See how clean it is?  As Jim Cramer would say “BUY, BUY, BUY!”

A link to both the Lenox Tri-Master Carbide Tipped Bandsaw Blade and the Laguna Resaw King Bandsaw Blades will be below.  You choose which size you need.  I haven’t used the Laguna blades but based on my exxperience with the Lenox version it doesn’t matter.  Just make the upgrade.  You will be glade you did.

Standard 14″ Bandsaw use these lengths:

Lenox Tri-Master Carbide Tipped Bandsaw 1/2″ Blade (Choose the length accordingly)

Lenox Tri-Master Carbide Tipped Bandsaw 3/4″ Blade (Choose the length accordingly)

Laguna Resaw King Bandsaw Blade 93.5″ x .75″ x Variable TPI

Laguna Tools 1″ Resaw King Bandsaw Blade – 93.5″

If you have a 14″ Bandsaw with a riser block you will need this length:

105″ Laguna 3/4″ Resaw King Carbide Bandsaw Blade

Other accessories used:

Bandsaw Wheel Brush

Bandsaw Rounding Stone

 

Shop Made Router Table

About this time last year I was in the middle of building a new router table.  The router table I was using up to that point was less than accurate for anything other than profiling edges.  The insert plate opening was too sloppy for any accurate mortise or groove routing operations so a new table was becoming more and more essential to my progression as a woodworker.

After salvaging some old 2x4s from my garage, I found they were old growth Douglas Fir and they were 16′ long so I had a fair amount of this higher quality construction grade material.  Not to mention they were very dry and very straight.

I began by chopping the 2x4s to rough length and rough milling at the jointer and planer.  Once the parts were cut to length and milled I began laying out the frame parts and designating each piece.  Then the joinery was cut.  I chose to make this router table without using a router table so all the joinery was made at the table saw and with a biscuit joiner.

Legs and rails all milled and ready for assembly
Legs and rails all milled and ready for assembly

To cut the grooves for the side panels I installed the dado stack in the table saw, marked the start and stop points for the piece on the fence and began the cut.  To start this cut the piece needs to be firmly against the fence and the slowly dropped into the spinning blade.  This is a plunge cut of sorts.  When the work piece is fully on the table it can then be pushed to the stopping point marked on the fence and the saw is stopped.  Now the leg pieces have a stopped groove for the panels.  The top and bottom rails are done with the same blade at the same setting only they are through grooves.

To join the rails with the legs I set the biscuit joiner to cut about 1/4″ from the surface and I made the slots referencing from each face of the board.  This results in two evenly spaced biscuit joints.

Now I test fit the pieces and set the top on.  The top is from an office file cabinet.  It is just over 1″ thick and made from MDF so it is heavy and covered with laminate so it is smooth.

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IMG_2365Now it was time to install the panels.  I cut the panels oversize and rounded the corners because the stopped grooves take the radius of the table saw blade.  Then the sides are assembled, followed by the bottom, and lastly the back.  I added a bit of detail to the front top and bottom rails using a template I made from MDF, more on that at another time.

Bottom, sides, and back panels dry fit
Bottom, sides, and back panels dry fit

Now the front panel was added.

Front panel fit
Front panel fit

Now here is where things began to take a turn.  I thought I would use John Heisz’s router table lift idea using shop made wheels.  Only I was going to “improve” the design by pairing up wood gears on the back side of the front panel to raise and lower the router carriage faster than his version.  This turned out to be a bad idea.  The gears didn’t work well and the backlash from the bolts kept jamming and loosening the wheel from the front, preventing me to either raise or lower the router carriage.  In the end I scrapped the idea and bought a router lift and table top from Rockler when it went on sale.

The wheel and brake lever
The wheel and brake lever

I added a speed controller to the left side of the table and a on/off switch with a paddle stop to the left side.  I found an issue with right side mounted switches.  For most router operations the work is fed to the left and you are forced to hold the piece in place as you feed it through the spinning bit, which always put me further from the switch than I liked.  With the switch on my left this put me right at the position to power off the router with my leg so my hands never leave the work.  Much safer, for me at least.

All electric is ready to go
All electric is ready to go

With the electric all ready and the router table and lift installed it was time to start routing operations.

Router table, fence, plate, and lift.
Router table, fence, plate, and lift.

The table works infinitely better than my previous set up but the lift isn’t without it’s flaws.  I have noticed that the lift actually drops slowly during operation.  This is remedied by tightening a set screw on the lift but isn’t very convenient.  Perhaps a new version of a better router lift is in my future.  But for now I’ll make due.

 

Chisel Rack with Drawers Part 2

I made all the sides, fronts, backs, and bottoms from poplar.  The fronts were joined by half blind dovetails and then I glued a book matched pair (side to side) of spalted fiddleback maple to the fronts since I had limited amounts and thicknesses.

I started by resawing some poplar and cleaning it up with a plane (too small to run through the planer).  Then using the same jig I made for cutting the dovetails at the band saw, cut the tails in the drawer sides.

"Finchtails"
“Finchtails”
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This joint was my first hand cut dovetail with my new Dozuki. Nice tight joint.

I set up the side on the front and marked the location of the blind tail recess.  Two of these were micro half blind dovetail joints.  I used my skew chisels to get into the corners to clean up the recesses.  I did not make the other drawers with half blind dovetails since I was going to glue on a drawer front.

Cleaning up the sockets.
Cleaning up the sockets.

Now that the sides and fronts were ready to be joined I had to make the groves for the bottom.  I measured about 1/8″ up from the bottom of the tails on the sides, set up the table saw fence and blade height, and cut the grooves in the sides and fronts.  The backs were cut to the width of the top of the drawers to the top of the grooves so they can be slid into place and removed if necessary.

The bottoms received a bevel on three sides to match the grooves in the sides and faces.

Planing the bevels to slide the bottom in place.
Planing the bevels to slide the bottom in place.

Once all the parts were made and labeled properly the drawers were glued up.

Drawer box made sans maple front.
Drawer box made sans maple front.
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Drawer fronts rough fit.

The drawer fronts were made with air dried figured spalted maple.  I had three pieces to work with that were just the right width for each drawer front.  I resawed each piece and book matched them to each side.  I glued the smooth face to the drawer front once the dovetails were cleaned up and then sized the drawers to the opening.

For the handles of the drawers I wanted to keep with the maple theme.  I glued a few strips together with a walnut sandwiched between.  Then I ripped a bevel on each face at about 5 degrees leaving about a 1/4″ flat from the front to the bevel.

I cut each piece to about 1″ long and drilled one hole in the walnut strip to attach to the drawer front.  I initially was going to do two screws to keep the pull from twisting but I felt it would be easier to install a single brass screw versus to.  I choose 6 screws over 12 any day.

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The handle marks.

Once the pulls were installed, I could work on getting the fit more fine tuned since I had a way of removing the drawers.  I did this by removing a bit of material with a block plane and retesting the fit until I was happy with the result.

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Good enough for shop furniture.
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A coat of Tung Oil and here’s the look.

 

I have so many handled tools I made that I needed install a second rack to hold everything.  I used the same method as before in part 1 to make the second rack and I installed it with screws from the sides and plugged the holes using a tapered plugs from the same material, alder.

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The finished “chisel” rack.

Here is the finished chisel rack.  

Now I just have to have some wall space to hang it on.  Time to build a furnace/water heater closet.

Chisel Rack with Drawers Part 1

A fan and reader of this blog (Hi, Dad), sent a full set of Narex Beveled Edge Bench Chisels to me a few weeks ago.  Since I had not great way to store this many chisels, I decided to quickly build a rack to hold them all along with the 9 screwdrivers, 2 awls, and the burnisher I have.

I found a nice chisel rack with drawers in an issue of Shop Notes Magazine that I liked.  I needed a project to use up the scrap alder and some poplar left over from the Tatami Platform Bed and since this was just a small scale shop project it worked out nicely.  I also had a few small pieces of spalted fiddleback maple.  Pieces that were only suitable for drawer pulls on a larger project but I thought it would be nice to make a couple smaller drawers on this rack so I added them to the plan.  These small drawers will only have a depth of about 3/4″ to hold small items, such as nail sets, 4″ double squares, spare plane blades, tools of that nature.  The other four drawers will be deeper allowing storage of other various items.

The Case

I started out by milling the sides and bottom shelf to dimension and laying out the joinery locations.  I didn’t want to use dadoes with screws and plugs so I decided on dadoes alone for the shelves and dividers and I thought I would try my hand at dovetails for the bottom shelf.

The materials.
The materials: Alder, Poplar, Spalted Fiddleback Maple.
Layout.
Layout.
Dovetails cut in case sides.
Dovetails cut in case sides.

I first used my cutting gauge to scribe the base line for the tails and then cut the tails on the case sides at the band saw.  Next, I used the tails to lay out the pins on the bottom shelf.  Back at the band saw I adjusted the table angle and cut out the outside dimension of the pins in the shelf.  Then I removed the waste with a newly sharpened Narex chisel.  Flat backed chisels really make this a pleasure to do.  My previous chisels (estate sale Marples) did not have much of a reliable reference surface.  The result was a nice snug fitting dovetail joint.

Not bad but not perfect.
Not bad but not perfect.

After the dovetails were cut I needed to cut the dadoes for the drawer dividers and the top shelf.  I converted my old crosscut sled into a dado sled, only after making a new cross cut sled (which was the cause of my stitches in a previous post).  The dadoes were 1/2″ wide and 1/4″ deep.

Cutting the dadoes for the drawer dividers and top shelf.
Cutting the dadoes for the drawer dividers and top shelf.
Cleaning up the dadoes with the router plane.
Cleaning up the dadoes with the router plane.

Once the dadoes were cleaned up with the router plane, it was off to the router table to cut the rabbet for the back panel.  The rabbets were 1/4″ x 1/4″ from the back edges.  I used my shop made height gauge to set up the bit height very accurately.

Cutting the rabbets.
Cutting the rabbets.

There was a taper to cut on the case sides and this was done at the band saw and then cleaned up with my block plane and finished with the smoothing plane.

Smoothing the edges of the chisel rack  case side.
Smoothing the edges of the chisel rack case side.

No I had to fit the drawer dividers and shelf spacers into the case.  I set up the dado stack again and placed a stop block on the sled.  Four cuts on each piece made a tenon to fit into the dadoes.  I cut the dadoes slightly wide and fine tuned them for a slip fit with my rabbeting block plane.

Cutting the dividers.
Cutting the dividers.

A dry fit shows any fine tuning that needed to be done (which there was).

Here the case is dry fit.
Here the case is dry fit.

I did not have any 1/4″ alder plywood and I did not want to use any 1/4″ oak plywood in this project so I thought it would be a perfect time to try out making a ship lapped back.  I resawed a 3/4″ x 6″ x 6′ alder board (first milled and cut to 24″ lengths) into 3/8″ thick boards and planed them to 1/4″ thickness.  I arranged them into book matched pairs, drew a triangle across the entire panel, and at the router table I made the 1/8″ deep x 1/2″ wide rabbets on opposing faces.

Ship Lapped back panels.
Ship Lapped back panels.
Dry fit back view.
Dry fit back view.
Dry fit front view.
Dry fit front view.

The next order of business was the chisel rack itself.  I deviated from the plan just a little to accommodate the thick mortise chisels my making the spacers 3/4″ wide instead of 1/2″ wide.  This ended up allowing a 1/2″ gap between the rack to allow wider chisels to fit.  The grooves in the supports were 1/8″ deep and 1/4″ wide and the spacer bar was cut to fit loosely to allow for movement.

The chisel rack and spacers.
The chisel rack and spacers.

Now I could pre-finish all the interior parts and get ready to assemble the case.

All parts cut and ready to prefinish.
All parts cut and ready to pre-finish.

I chose to use the Cherry Danish Oil for a couple reasons; first, I liked the look from the Tatami Bed and, second, I didn’t have to go out and buy anything else.

Cherry Danish Oil applied to all interior parts.
Cherry Danish Oil applied to all interior parts.

When it was time for glue up, I used a trick I learned from David Marks’ Woodworks show.  That was to use small clamps as supports for the f-clamps when doing the glue up.  This eliminated the feeling of urgency when glue was applied to the joints since there was no fumbling to get the clamps in the correct place.  Also, Titebond extend helps too.

Clamp pads with a spring clamp to support the f-clamp.
Clamp pads with a spring clamp to support the f-clamp.
Clamp rack case all glued up.
Clamp rack case all glued up.

When the case came out of the clamps it was time to nail on the back panels.  I considered using small cut nail but in the end I just used 5/8″ 18 gauge brads nailed in the middle of each panel to allow for expansion and contraction over the seasons.  No glue was applied just three brads per board, top, middle, and bottom.

A glimps of the semi-finished rack.
A glimpse of the semi-finished rack.

Next I used the smoothing plane one last time to clean up all the edges and faces of the case sides, wiped on the Danish Oil, and let it dry over night.

Now it was time for the fun stuff: the drawers.

Heirloom Screwdrivers

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While cleaning out some of my shop drawers I came across my screwdriver shanks I purchased from Lee Valley (unfortunately, they have a limited supply and no longer stock the shanks, I believe) along with the brass ferrules and the 5mm brad point bit (I had a 6mm and 8mm already).  I purchased the screwdriver shanks after I saw a great video on youtube by Shawn Graham (wortheffort) called Screw the Skew.  If you want to make your own screwdrivers I suggest you purchase these.  The price is great (around $57 for all 9 shanks, ferrules, three drill bits, and shipping) and you will have them forever.  Shannon Rogers of The Renaissance Woodworker also has a great video on making handles for files and rasps.

Since I don’t use slotted screws often I chose to use the remaining cherry blank I used to make the Awl from a previous post.  I mounted the blank between centers and started making chips fly.  I used a carbide roughing tool by Harrison Specialties LLC to true the blank.  I have their rougher and finisher and I used both to make these handles but I can honestly say I do not like the finisher one bit.  I got more catches than I care to admit.  I prefer to use traditional turning tools but mine are all dull so I had to suck it up and practice.  Hence the slotted screwdrivers and the cherry handles.  I am saving my better turning blanks for the other handles.

Cherry blank, ferrule, and screwdriver shaft.
Cherry blank, ferrule, and screwdriver shaft.
Truing the cherry.
Truing the cherry.

One thing I have not quite figured out yet is the best way to part off and finish handles that do not have finials as the Awl did.  I just left about 1/4″ of material at the end, finished the handle, cut the handle off the blank with a saw, and pared the remaining material away with a sharp chisel.  Then, I sanded by hand from 150 to 600 grit and finished with the Hut Crystal Coat.

Shaping the handle.
Shaping the handle.
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Shaping the cherry blank.
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Ready to sand.

While the handle is on the lathe I sand and finish all but the small portion holding it to the blank.  I then part the handle off, sand by hand, and finish the end on the buffing wheel with carnuba wax.  This seems to work just fine but I will continue to seek out better options.

Finishing the parted end on the buffing wheel.
Finishing the parted end on the buffing wheel.

I am pleased with the feel and shape of this handle.

The finished small slotted Screwdriver.
The finished 3/16″ slot Screwdriver.
The 1/4"  slotted driver.
The finished 1/4″ slot Screwdriver.

Here are the three slotted screwdrivers with cherry handles.

Set of 3 slotted screwdrivers.
Set of 3 slotted screwdrivers.

The process was the same with the Roberts screwdrivers.  I used African Mahogany for these and changed the shape of the handles slightly.  Also, the smallest shaft was 6 mm vs. 5mm on the slotted drivers so keep note of that when making your own if you choose to do so.

African Mahogany handles on Roberts screwdrivers.
African Mahogany handles on Roberts screwdrivers.

For the more commonly used Phillips screwdrivers I used Curly Kamani I purchased from islewoods on Ebay.  They have a great selection of interesting turning stock from pens to bowls.

The Kamani (Calophyllum inophyllum) tree’s sap is poisonous and was used by the Samoans as a toxin on their arrows.  The wood was used to make the keels of their canoes.  While I was working with this wood it has a similar working property as cocobolo and bubinga.  It is slightly oily and polishes very well.

Kamani blank from islewoods.com
Kamani blank from islewoods.com
Kamani waxed and polished.
Kamani waxed and polished.
Handle finished.
Handle finished.

I am not entirely satisfied with the large Phillips screwdriver handle.  I feel it came out too narrow and had a bit of defects in the wood.  I may remake it some day but for now it will do.

3 Kamani Phillips screwdrivers.
3 Kamani Phillips screwdrivers.
Set of 9 drivers.
Set of 9 drivers. Kamani, African Mahogany, and Cherry.

 

Scrap Wood Woodworking Part 4

I really like the way the toolbox pencil turned out so I decide to use more of the same wood I stabilized using Cactus Juice from TurnTex.com.

Toolbox pencil.
Toolbox pencil.

I did not have any ferrules left for this tool but I did have 3/8″ aluminum rod, a file, drill bits, and a scroll chuck for the lathe.  I put a piece of rod in the scroll chuck and began shaping with a file at 500 rpm.  I just put a slight taper on the rod at about 1/2″ from the end then drilled a 1/4″ hole about 5/8″ into the rod.  This made for easy parting off.

Shaping the aluminum rod with a file.
Shaping the aluminum rod with a file.

I then used calipers to measure the inner diameter of the ferrule and then began working on the spindle.  I slowly approached the diameter required and then fit the ferrule onto the tenon I made. Then I drilled a 1/16″ hole about 3/4″ deep into the end of the spindle to accept the blade I made from a jig saw blade.

Turning the stabilized spalted figured maple.
Turning the stabilized spalted figured maple.

Once I got the ferrule on, I then turned the blank to a shape I liked and made it a comfortable length (again using a Blue Spruce Tool Works marking knife as a starting point).  Nothing to this really, just be careful not to push too hard on the spindle and keep the material thick as possible as you taper the blank to prevent the work from breaking.  Once the desired look is made, just sand (if not using a skew) and finish to your liking.

The marking knife and toolbox pencil.
The marking knife and toolbox pencil.

Ultimately, I am not entirely happy with the aluminum ferrule.  I may remake one with a slightly larger brass ferrule soon.  But for now this will do just fine.