Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Workbench completed!

Finally complete, and already in use. It happens that our current TV stand which is a nice Stickley piece was broken. So, we decided to make a new tv stand. This may be a little more advanced than I am ready for but it is in need! So project one is already under way...
As far as the workbench, mounting the vice wasn't too bad but I suggest cutting holes much larger than you expect. Also, the first vice plate was too thin so now it is a laminated section (leftover from benchtop!) and much stronger with a bonus 3.5" benchtop space. So, more details to follow re: project TV stand

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Workbench Construction pt. 2

More progress, more lessons learned, including backing the wood you are driving a chisel into (so you don't go through the other side... for the second time), and as always, careful measurement and accuracy are rewarded later.  Bench now needs to have assembly completed, front vise attached, and then further planed flat. Getting close!  This is from Paul Sellers book (and now videos) and it is absolutely ROCK solid.  It doesn't move AT ALL in any direction.  I did thinner skirts than the plan (another lesson learned... don't do as I did, do as he says!) but compared to some of the pre-made benches I have played with at some of the stores, this really does not budge, wiggle, or rock at all...

I want to reiterate that I am a beginner, and this is absolutely my first real woodworking project.  As frustrated as I was at points, I highly recommend the approach of building a bench first because I have learned so many things about various fundamental techniques from layout to glue-up, basic planing and even measurement.  Before I approach a new "finer" project, my basic skills will at least be off to a good start.  I could imagine I would have cheated myself out of some of those basics by skipping to a pre-made bench and jumping right into the finer work projects.  I will likely finish the legs and skirts but at -13 F outside, I think it will need to warm up before I can realistically apply the finish in my garage...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Beeswax and Olive Oil wood finish

I found this being used on the number of websites for children's toys. It looked to be a pretty simple and straightforward recipe to try. Although I think it will require a fair amount of maintenance, I do think that it should be a good finish. I'm going to start out with this on the front-vise handle.  I am making it out of a poplar dowel with pre-made "toy wheels" for the ends.  I wish I would've taken in adequate pre-photo of these ends before applying the beeswax/oil finish, it really dramatically changed the appearance.

It really darkened up and brought out the grain. So, for now we will see how this does for just some basic sealing of the wood on the handle and a few other parts. The benchtop will likely remain unfinished. Hopefully, the bench will be finished this week...

Bonus Skills: Fundamentals are useful for new projects

I am by no means skilled at cabinets or carpentry, but having a little basic knowledge can go a long way. Our cabinet hinge broke and interestingly you can see that the bottom screw was in a knot. So basically the knot cracked out and took the hinge with it. Having started with this new hobby and reading as much as I could, this provided me with more options for fixing it such as moving the hinge. While some of you may find this sort of obvious, I was excited to try it instead of the various ideas of cutting away a small cube and gluing and re-mounting in the same place. And as a bonus, I had a reason to buy a Forstner bit.

This was done by hand without a drill press (but using a cordless drill, I don't have a brace yet) and though I read some people's concerns about using a Forstner bit >1" by hand, I would say with a 2 speed drill on low, it was no problem. I started with a practice run on pine to see how it handled. No skating, went right where I wanted. I would argue that the oak was a little more forgiving because it goes so slowly in the harder wood.

 Now, I am compulsive so I pre sharpened the bit because it seems that all new tools really aren't ready for use out of the box :) so maybe that made it easier. Staying vertical wasn't really a problem and the depth comes so slowly that you can stop and check to make sure. It may have helped that it was 9 F outside and the garage was pretty cold, so keeping the bit from getting hot was pretty easy (unfinished workbench underneath)

A few adjustments and we have a nice equal hang.  These "Euro hinges" are easy to adjust, to quote someone else I saw on woodworking forum, "you almost can't screw it up"