Wood !!!

October 13, 2014 Leave a comment

So far my Fridays off work plan has been a great idea. I was fortunate to get shop time last weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (after church of course). These were not full (10 hr) days but they were significant blocks of time to get things accomplished.

Friday

After a walk with my wife in the morning, I made my way down to the shop to finish up the Work Sharp sharpening station build. Specifically I needed to come up with a method for leveling the Work Sharp with the honing table. After scrounging around my part bins I finally found some bolts and nuts that were of sufficient length to raise and level the unit. I even found some plastic caps that fit the bolts to serve as “feet”. This worked and I was able to get a serviceable fit however I’m not totally satisfied with the solution. The good news is that the unit isn’t bolted to the stand which allows freedom to move it around as needed for the task. The bad news is that the unit isn’t bolted to the stand which means that sometimes it moves on you during sharpening. I’m still working out what I can add so that I can clamp and release the unit as desired for the task. But as every tool in my shop was dull, had a marathon sharpening session for the rest of the day. There were some mixed results but on the whole, I’ve never had sharper tools to work with and this is a “good thing”.

Saturday

Me and my fellow cave divers used to have a saying we would use on occasion, “you don’t know if you don’t go”. What was the cave like, was it difficult to get there, did you like the dive? You’ll never know if you don’t take the “plunge”.

Until Saturday, I have exactly zero experience sawing lumber from trees but I have picked up a few logs off the side of the road. Completely inexperienced I wondered how I would do anything with them so some of them sat in the corner of my shop for months. YouTube and the Internet to the rescue when I saw videos of using your band saw to turn logs into small boards. In a previous post you’ll see where I finally installed my 12″ band saw riser kit so I was finally at a point to give this a try. So using an L shaped sled on the band saw my goal was to turn this:

Cedar Log

 

Into this:

IMG_3782 IMG_3780 IMG_3779 IMG_3778

Wow! Now other than the fact that pushing a rather large log through 12″ of exposed band saw blade seems like a really good way to get you hand cut off, it was incredibly fun! The unique smell of cedar filled my shop as these amazing book-matched pieces revealed themselves. I reiterate, I really had to be extremely disciplined and careful during these milling operations and it is a bit scary. I ended up sawing open 4 logs into roughly 4/4 and 6/4 sizes.

Success with the recent cedar harvest encouraged me to try some of the older logs I had picked up sometime earlier in the year. I really don’t know but I’m guessing these are oak.

Spalted Oak IMG_3785 IMG_3784

Whoa, these pieces are spalted! You don’t know if you don’t cut. I cut up the two logs that were of manageable size but I have a lot more of this tree that is too big and will need to be cut up first. I have a chain saw but can’t ever seem to get it started so I’ll have to regroup and come up with a plan to size them. One of the pieces is a large truck that I could probably split into quarters but I’ll need to obtain the tools first. I don’t have a functioning axe but I can remedy that. Because I had previously neglected to paint the ends of these logs, there were significant splits. Searching the shop for something to seal the ends, I ended up using sanding sealer. I don’t know how this fits into the hierarchy of  appropriate products to use but it was on hand and available so I used it before stickering.

Sunday

Sunday’s project was to replace a broken stretcher on an old wooden futon. This thing was cheaply made and heavily used and as a result the wood had given way.

Broken Futon Crappy Closeup of the Break

The plan was to use a single piece of home center lumber, an 8′-2×6 for the repair which I would rip into the two pieces required for the stretcher. Once I got it into the shop I realized that I was not going to rip this thing on my table saw, especially by myself and without any support rollers, etc.. It was pretty obvious to me that it wouldn’t have been safe so I resorted to using the circular saw. Other than the fact that I didn’t have an 8′ guide for the rip, it worked out fine. I would have to make two rips, one for the stretcher proper and one for the support that is glued and screwed to it. The support is what the slats rest on and are screwed to. Speaking of slats, another one of those is broken as well so I searched around the shop and found a scrap of cypress of the correct dimensions to replace it.

IMG_3790 

The rips were pretty rough and the board had a wicked twist so I made a whole bunch of curls getting the pieces closer to flat. I’m not a woodworker but I play one on this blog so from your perspective, I used my awesome tools and talent to make crooked boards straight and beautiful. The reality is, I winged it and it didn’t turn out too badly. At least my plane blade was relatively sharp following Friday’s efforts :-)

IMG_3791

Using the old stretcher as a model, I pre-drilled the counter sink for screws that would hold the support, then glued up.

IMG_3792

 

It was pretty obvious that 6 screws wasn’t going to get it done for clamping pressure so I followed up by grabbing all my F-clamps and was rewarded by an amazing glue squeeze out. Ahhhh…… much better.

Susan was starving and dinner and ready and I had a shop to clean up but before turning off the lights, I slathered on some lovely “golden pecan” stain. The cypress sucked it up like there was no tomorrow and it looked pretty good! The home center lumber did not. It looks bloody awful so I’m thinking about a small can of the stain/varnish combined. I’ve read they are awful but for this project, all I need is for it to darken the color and put on something that will seal the wood. It will never be pretty and that was never the plan in the first place. I just need to have it finished by this weekend so I can take it with us to Melrose. Susan and I will have 3 wonderful, private days at our Turtlecove retreat while the girls get a visit from their “real” dad.

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

Categories: Woodworking Tags: ,

Work Sharp – Sharpening Stand, Part 2

October 6, 2014 Leave a comment

I’ve been taking Friday’s off to use up some of my accumulated vacation and although our household has been quite busy, it has helped get me back in the shop. I was able to work on my sharpening station Friday and Sunday and I am pretty close to completion. What remains is important but shouldn’t be all that difficult to engineer and that is to rig up a leveling system. By design the Work Sharp is situated lower than the honing table so it must be raised. This allows the device to be leveled and made flush to the honing table.

Friday Build

I had already roughed out the dimensions and cut most of the stand components as you can see from my previous post. The top, what I will call the “honing table” still needed to be shaped and sized to fit the stand. Once I had double checked that everything was going to fit (as far as I could see), I set to work cutting the dado’s for the 10 media slides that would mount on the right hand side. Using 1/8″ ply from my previous build meant I already had the methodology and experience to cut these slots without a lot of retooling. Susan and I were heading in to town for shopping, a pre-birthday lunch celebration and to pick up our daughter after school so it was a brief session but enough to get me ready for glue-up later in the day.

Once back from town I got back to work. First I  finish shaping the honing table top. I was a little concerned about how to make a presentable half-circle cut-off for the media but I guess I’m getting better at it because it went fairly smoothly. I placed the WS up against the board and traced around the WS with a pencil. The resulting line was a little iffy so I made sure not to take too much off at the band saw. Then using the largest spindle on my sander I then iteratively sanded and fit the honing table to the Work Sharp. It turned out fairly reasonable so with all the components ready, I set about gluing up the stand structure.

I used my trusty corner clamps to aid in keeping things square and reinforced the glue joints with 3/4″ brads using my nailer. I was sure to use a couple of drops of oil in the nailer and set my pressure to 75 psi. This seemed to work out about right as I didn’t have any jams and the brads had enough energy to sink their heads without me needing to set them. Perhaps a record, I only had one brad pop out the side which stinks but hey, it isn’t rocket surgery, I simply used a nail set on it and patch it with filler later (or not). Last time using the 23 gauge pins, they were all over the place having difficulty penetrating the oak I was using so this is a major improvement. I decided the stand could use a back, so I cut one out of 1/8″ ply and attached with glue and nails. This would not only make the stand look better but would also add a bit of strength the structure.

While the glue dried I measured and cut 10, 1/8″ ply squares that would hold the media discs. The first cut, a tad smallish. The second cut, still a tad smallish. This third cut, tad to tight. Bollocks, they all fit so I’ll use them all!

Sharpening Stand - End of Friday

I was running out of day so before wrapping up, I contemplated how I was going to construct the drawer. 1/2″ plywood sides, front and back and 1/8″ ply bottom was a start. I haven’t built many drawers, but I have studied their construction as of recent. Fine Woodworking has had several very detailed articles on case and drawer construction methods. The FWW magazine also had an interesting Master Class section entitled “Carved pulls give a handmade touch”. Instead of drilling a finger hole in the front, I decided to try my hand at a carved finger pull. I knew it would be crude, but thought I’d try none-the-less. In order to try this, I was going to need to upgrade the front to a solid wood so I replaced the ply with 1/2″ pine. In retrospect it would have been easier to use a thicker stock but the drawer was small and I was thinking thinner would be more appropriate. My final design was to cut 1/8″ dados for the drawer bottom using butt joints to join the sides to the front and back. The back would be nailed but I would use small dowels to reinforce the glued front. Finally I would countersink a small screw in the center back to keep the floating bottom from coming loose. In theory the bottom could expand seasonally towards the front but I didn’t leave much room in that groove so I’m relying on the ply to be pretty stable. I’m hopeful but at least I’m beginning to think like a woodworker.

Saturday Build

The drawer took longer because I was doing so many things for the first time. All in all I think it all worked out great and as my wife keeps telling me, “It’s not a race”. There was a mention on the FWW Shop Talk Live podcast about trying to focus on what went right instead of what didn’t on the build. It’s a small thing but I think I have a different attitude now when things go unexpectedly . Some procedures go smoothly and some don’t but as long as you’re safe there isn’t anything that can’t be fixed (or simply overlooked). I refuse to get caught up in snobbery or competition. My work has gone from C- to B- and occasionally I get a B or B+. In time I hope to get even better grades but really, what does it really matter? I’m building, learning and having fun. Now don’t get me wrong, I want to build beautiful things and one day I will but I’m not going to get hung up on it.

Drawer with Through Pull

I still had a little time left in the afternoon so I worked on the media slides. I wanted to add short pieces of dowel to the center of each slide to keep the honing media from shifting on the slide. The only 1/2″ dowel I had on hand was one that had “been around” and had some nice mold, or rather spalting on it. I began by chucking that sucker in my hand drill and using sand paper to clean up a length then cut them by hand to approximately 18 mm in length. I counter sunk a small screw in the center of each slide then glued and screwed each with a dowel. Hey a miracle, they all fit. I did inadvertently drill through the top of a couple of the dowels mainly because the screws were pretty tight and I didn’t think I was drilling quite deeply enough but I was wrong on that count. Again I didn’t stress on this as it is shop furniture and I simply mixed up some glue and sawdust to fill in the small holes. Problem solved.

I was finished for now. The only thing left is to devise a leveling system for the Work Sharp so it can be made dead flat to the honing table. I have some ideas kicking around but nothing finalized, this will be for the next session.

 

Sharpening Stand - Sunday

The final act on Sunday was to slather on a bit of Tung Oil finish. During this process a couple of refinements came to mind. First I was thinking it “would be nice” to add a bit of cord management to the back. Strain relief and perhaps a cord wrap. While was put wiping finish on the back, I tipped the structure forward to get down low and rather stupidly dumped all my media slides out. Hummm, it “would be nice” if there was door to prevent those expensive glass discs from flying out. But that would happen only if you are moving the structure which won’t happen often. Still, I’ve already dropped those darn discs twice so I can predict trouble in my future.

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

Categories: Woodworking Tags: ,

Work Sharp – Sharpening Stand

September 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Man don’t you just hate copycats! Yet here I am, once again following instead of leading this time working on a Work Sharp 3000 stand a la Stumpy Nubs. The interesting part for me is that I’m building without any plans. I watched Stumpy’s video and subsequently watched Lance build a nice version in Lance’s Woodshop & Adventures. My sharpening regime is well, non-existent?!? I know the importance of sharp tools, I want sharp tools but I haven’t ever been able to get any consistency with my sharpening. I wrestled with getting a set of water stones but I already have a sand paper system and I also wanted something that would help me grind, every tool in my shop easily. Then if  I’m not happy with the honing I get off the Work Sharp, I can always go to sand paper on a flat surface. If I’m still not happy I might start looking into diamond paste. First I have to get close and this is why I bought the WS 3000.

I’ve spent very little time with it but I have done some rough grinding to set bevels on two sets of “beater” chisels. I will attempt to hone them next but first I was hoping to build this stand so that I could use my honing guide. So there is a reason why I want to build it but it is also a good exercise for me to build something on the fly. I didn’t get much time on Friday to work on other than to work out some dimensions and rough out my parts.

WS 3000 Stand Rough Out

I doubt it will be as pretty as either Stumpy’s or Lance’s but I have every reason to believe that one way or another I should be able to make my version serviceable.

A Turtlecovebrewer Shop Update

Categories: Woodworking Tags: ,

10-Drawer Small Tool Chest – Part 5

September 15, 2014 Leave a comment

As the saying goes, “There’s good news and bad news, which do you want to hear first?” The good news is that I’m taking a vacation this year, one weekday a week through the end of 2014. This means longer weekends and shorter work weeks for the near future and more time to play in my shop. The not-so-good news is that a fair portion of this “vacation” will be consumed dealing with chores and family matters. In balance I think it good news overall.

Build Day 8 – Routing the Corner Bead

So my piece-meal vacation began with a half day off on Friday and this granted me a few hours in the shop to finish up the tool chest I’ve been working on. With my groovy 1/8″ radius corner beading bit in hand I mounted the  1/2″ collet  and began the setup on my router table. I would be beading both the top and bottom drawer fronts and although the router scares me, I was cautiously optimistic that this would go alright. True, I was a little nervous about mangling the drawers that took me so long to build but we woodworkers must be brave if we are to progress. What could happen right?

Using a scrap, I carefully adjusted the fence on my router table, then tweaked the router bit height so the radius of the bead would be centered on the plywood drawer bottom with the quirk groove just above the plywood. Awesome, I was ready to give my first drawer a try. As I made a dry run on the route it was immediately obvious that I had a major problem. For those of you who happen to listen to the FWW Shop Talk Live podcast you’ll be familiar with the segment they call “Smooth Moves”, where the hosts share their recent shop foul ups and blunders. For this post mine would have to be the decision to install the pulls before routing the drawer front beads.  “What would you do with a brain if you had one?” Well I certainly wouldn’t do it that way next time! No way I was going to be able to use a router fence, I’d have to rely on the bit’s bearing….. OK I can do that, so far so good only half-way through the route, the bit bumps into the pull… Oh crap! Turns out the pull interferes with both the bottom and the top route. Darn. After wasting a lot of time in great thought I realize that short of cutting off all the pulls, I was going to have to route to the pull, then begin the route on the other side of the pull leaving chunks of wood to chisel out and shape by hand. Top and bottom on all 10 drawers. Fair enough I’m a woodworker, let’s get on with it.

Naively, I suspected the bottom route would be trickier than the top but I hadn’t accounted for the fact that without the drawer bottom to ride along, the top sides would glide smoothly until, they dropped off the edge of my small bench top router table, allowing the router bit to make an ugly gouge in my otherwise very pretty bead. OK make a note of that and hold on to the work piece accordingly which I mostly did yet still with some glitches. So I thought about placing the drawer on a piece of plywood as a carrier and this could have been done if had chosen to route all the bottoms first before adjusting the bit height to account for the carrier thickness. I chose to leave the bit set and route both top and bottom using the same setup. Next time I would probably use the plywood and change the setup.

After routing I had a lot of carving to do to form the bead around the pulls. I used chisels to hog out the quirk and shape the bead and various small files to fine tune the groove. It was trial and error but with 10 drawers to practice on, I finally got the hang of how best to do it. Remember this is a “hand crafted” tool chest and there will be no mistaking it from a manufactured piece. Because of this fact, I decided not to fix the bead defects rather I left them for “character”.

Traditional Bead on the Drawer Fronts

Traditional Beading Completed – Blemishes and All

Build Day 9 – Final Drawer Fitting  and Finish

Relieved that I had “completed” the beading (both mechanical and by hand), I surveyed the drawers for fit and final finish. I had two drawers that needed some work, one of the two was too wide across the front. I took a block plane and chisel to it removing wood until the drawer slid smoothly. Then one drawer at a time, I relieved all the edges and sanded the drawer bottoms so they would slide as easily as possible. It was a fair amount of work with 10 drawers but it was necessary for that professional, polished look.

IMG_3768  Build Finished

I was finally ready for a light sanding with the random orbital sander and 220 grit sandpaper.  A tack cloth removed the dust and I was finally ready for a coat of clear shellac. I’ll put several more coats of the undiluted clear Zinsser shellac on it over the next week knocking off the high spots in between coats with 500 grit sandpaper (by hand). I’ll take the advice I read recently and will dilute the shellac to 60% with alcohol for the final coats.

Tool Chest w/ Shellac

The build wasn’t perfect but overall I am happy with the result. I have learned many valuable lessons and many tasks did go as I had planned. Some things didn’t go perfectly and I have tried to give thought as to how they might be done differently (and more satisfactorily) next time round. Thanks for sticking with me…..

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

Categories: Woodworking Tags: ,

My Dad

September 8, 2014 1 comment
Me and Dad in NC

A younger Turtlecove Brewer with my Dad in North Carolina where they had a summer home.

To every thing there is a season,
And a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;

  – Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

This beautiful poem goes on of course but it seems that I am at the age where I have the honor to attend many funerals. Susan and I attended a service this weekend for my brother’s mother-in-law and even though it was a beautiful tribute with lots of humor and good cheer, tears can’t help but find their way round.

After the memorial my brother and I rendezvoused at my mom’s house for another difficult task. Mom is now officially in assisted living and now knows that she will never return home to her house. My brother and sister-in-law now live 150 miles from Orlando; I and Susan over 100 miles. The house can not be cared for and must be sold. Before listing the home however, a lifetime of my mom and dad’s belongings must be dispersed. There is a great deal that must be done and time is of the essence. My brother and I are blessed and we know it yet moving from room to room, sifting through closets decide what will be kept, by whom and what will be sold off for pennies at an estate sale. A lifetime sorted into tiny bundles, another tear moves down to the corner of my eye. Blessed but also a little bit stressed.

Hurriedly loading “my inheritance”, Susan and I return home physically drained and mentally exhausted. Susan decides that Sunday must be dedicated to cleaning our own house so more chores to do including unpacking the cars and putting up Mom’s gifts to us. One of the items that I laid claim to was a WorkMate Plus which for the last 15 years has been serving as a table in the garage. The WorkMate was one of the few items that I truly wanted and felt I could actually use. When I went to pack it up to put in the car I realized two things, 1) it needed lubricant and  2) I don’t know how WorkMates operate. Five minutes later and with the help of my brother, we had it folded up and loaded in the car.

After cleaning chores and unloading the car, I had a few minutes to lovingly fondle my new prize. I took a brush to the spider webs and tightened the bolts on the movable chock. I pulled out the WD40 and cleaned up the twin screws while lubricating the pivot points on the legs. I began to admire the design elegance and began to speculate how I would this compact bench inside the shop and out.

WorkMate-1

Dad’s WorkMate Plus and my finger. Hopefully the NSA won’t be able to pull any of my prints from this photo ;-)

Then it hit me, this WorkMate belonged to my Dad. Suddenly warm memories of him flood over me. This portable workbench is just a thing, but it was HIS thing and every time I use the bench I will think of him and of the times we built things together. Suddenly I felt better, my memories of him made me feel better. Dad’s been gone now for 3 years and we all miss him. Thank-you for everything Dad, I’ve always loved you and always will.

You have been sharing memories and tears with the Turtlecovebrewer.

Categories: Family, Woodworking Tags:

10-Drawer Small Tool Chest – Part 4

September 2, 2014 Leave a comment

I hope all my US friends had a safe and rewarding Labor Day weekend. I was able to get a couple things done around the house including a huge mowing job and some laundry. Better yet, I cobbled together a day of work on the tool chest

Build Day 6

Work has been slow but study with respect to gluing up the drawer bottoms to the frames. I bring two frames and two bottoms over to my bench and after applying glue to the perimeter of the frame, glue and pin nail. Then the bottoms of the two frames are placed face to face and I glued the assembly adding 10 clamps about the perimeter. I set the timer for 30 minutes after which I unclamp the drawers and slice off the glue squeeze out. This process is repeated until all the drawer bottoms have been glued. During the 30 minute glue setup period, I fit the previously glued drawers to the case using a block plane on the plywood sides. All but two of the drawers slide easily now with two that work OK but I’m still not happy with them.

Once I had the drawers completed, I could move to the next step, attaching the drawer pulls. The plans called for 3/4″ purple heart plugs made with a plug cutter. As I previously mentioned, I wasn’t going to use purple heart this time and although I could have made plugs out of pine, or oak or cypress, I decided the best course was to use the poplar dowel I had purchased for the job. This would save me time and I was concerned the plugs would not look good. Pine is too soft and the sides of the plug look would not be suitable for pulls. Using a hand saw I cut 10 3/4″ poplar blanks from my dowel and then trued them up on my belt sander. To give them a bit of character, I beveled the exposed edges by hand, to give them a “rustic hand-made” appearance. Right, well if I had cobbled up some sort of jig perhaps I could have made them a bit more uniform but being a novice, I opted to embrace the whole “it’s not perfect because it’s made by hand” theme.

Using a 1/4″ ply cut-off I made a template of the drawer face, drilling an 1/8″ hole where I wanted the pulls to be mounted. I chucked up an 1/8″ drill bit and a set a depth stop collar to prevent me from carelessly drilling right on through my drawer front (Yikes!). Pulls were attached using an 1/8″ dowel so  hole also had to be drilled in the center of each pull. Mr. Stack shows jig he used on the drill press, essentially a board with V notch cut so the plug can be held exactly in place. I tried this but my holes weren’t in the center of the pull. This has been a nagging problem in my skill set and I’m still looking for a good circle center finder tool. I have one but it doesn’t work. Anyway, the next time I do this I’m going to try drilling a slightly over-sized hole the size of the plug so that I know the plug can’t move, then dial in the center using test pieces. For this assembly however I worked a different solution. Even though my dowel hole wasn’t perfectly centered, I drilled all 10 pulls the same. During the glue up, I spun them all around so that the pull reached its lowest point and thus they would all be essentially lined up. Of course I just eye-balled it but I now repeat the adage, “if it looks fair it is fair” and it will just add to that “rustic charm”.

Build Day 7 – (couple hours)

The final step of the actual build phase will be to route 1/4″ beads along the top and bottom of each drawer. As I’ve said before, I have a love-hate relationship with the router and although I respect its capabilities, she scares me a bit. The first thing I had to do was to even figure out which router bit I needed to purchase to make the bead. I didn’t even know what it was called and when I searched for beading router bits I learned there were many profiles including the humble and venerable round over bit. I finally found this profile called either “traditional beading” or in other cases “corner beading”. Then I couldn’t decide which bit to purchase Amana, Whiteside, CMT, Freud, etc. and then I balked at the prices. So then I started looking at the possibility of making a scratch stock beading profile and found it entirely approachable. So much so that I’d love to try my hand at it, sometime but for this project I pulled the trigger on a CMT 1/4″ radius 1/2″ shank corner beading bit. Being a Prime Member (hey I’m special!) I promptly received the bit in 2 days and only when I opened it up did I realize the mistake I had made. Although the plans call for a 1/4″ bead I needed an 1/8″ radius bit to make that 1/4″ bead. Truly a Rookie mistake but one that didn’t really surprise me because earlier I had read a review about a customer complaining that he ordered the right bit but they had labeled it incorrectly and it was the confusion thing between radius versus full bead (diameter) being double.  So the good thing about being a Prime Member is I can quickly and easily order another bit, this time in the correct size. It should be delivered tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I chucked up my flush trim router bit and routed the leading edge of the drawer bottoms flush to the drawer fronts. I had left these proud both to leave me wiggle room but also to have something to grab so I could open the drawers before the pulls were installed. This only took me an hour or so once I removed all the lumber from my router table. The only trick here was to clamp on a couple pieces of ply to the sides to give the bearing something to track on. Remember these pieces extend beyond the drawer face and I didn’t want to round them over carelessly. With the fronts of the bottoms now flush with the drawer fronts, I’m ready to route the beads. I have a funeral to attend this Saturday but with luck, I’ll be about to complete this final step on Sunday.

Then it will be my favorite pastime – finishing! If I get some time prior to the weekend, I can get the case and drawers sanded. I’ll have to clean up the drawers after beading but in theory I could seal and coat the case ahead of time. I’m going with shellac.

Nearing Completion of the Build

Nearing Completion of the Build

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

Categories: Woodworking Tags: ,

“To FUTURLEC or not to FUTURLEC, that is not much of a question”

August 28, 2014 2 comments

I made a journal entry back on June 23, 2014 in which I noted that I had placed an order for electronics components from a company called Futurlec, LTD. So let me share with you the saga of my customer experience with Futurlec.

I discovered Futurlec quite by accident or I should say Google found the company when I was looking up data sheet information on various transistors I had salvaged. Now if you’ve ever looked up data sheets on electronic components you already know that there are many, many resources for this information but as it turned out I found the content and layout of the sheets hosted on the Futurlec site was of great value to me. A few days later when I was musing over which company to purchase parts from, I Googled “best place to buy electronic components” and found this Instructable, “10 Best Electronics Suppliers“.  At one point I also “looked up” Futurlec and the information that came back stated they were an American based company out of New York. This turned out to be totally misleading but I at least felt comfortable that they were a legitimate company.

The only other criterion I had was that I wanted the convenience and reduced shipping expenses of a single order so basically I was looking for a supplier where I could find all (or most) of the components and order them at one time. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Futurlec listed all the components that I had been searching for and more. The site was reasonably easy to navigate and I finding all the items I needed. I did notice for example, that all 6 colors of LED listed were not always In Stock, so I was very careful to limit my order to those items that were not shown to be on Back Order.

June 16, 2014

So after a week or two of confusion I took the time to place my first online electronic component order with Futurlec. The order was $33 with $6 shipping and I received a “Many thanks for your order….”. The next day I received an email, “Dear Sir…..We have been unable to clear the amount from your credit card. It appears the card number you have entered may be wrong as the number is coming up on our terminal as an invalid card number.” I was advised to “By the way, please place a new blank order on our website . Then, advise us the order number you received and we can match your updated card dettail with this order 2xxxxx” and “If you have any further inquiry, please feel free to contact us”. At this point it is entirely plausible that I entered my card number incorrectly although this hasn’t really happened to me anytime in the past that I can recall, still I don’t deny that I could have made a mistake.

June 17, 2014

I attempt to clear up the credit card error by following their directions to place a blank ($0) order but when I saw that I could be charged for shipping, even with a $0 order it held me up and I aborted the task.

June 18, 2014

Still intoxicated with the hubris of my first order and feeling the need for my next “bump” I reasoned I would go ahead and buy even MORE stuff because if I’m going to pay for shipping, I might as well go ahead and buy all those other toys I had spotted the last time I shopping. My second order was for $76.95 plus $9 shipping. I then attempted to match up the two orders as I had been instructed in the first communication and then ….

June 25, 2014

Having had no reply or communication from Futurlec I email to a different email address inquiring as to the status of my orders. I didn’t know if either order was still being processed and whether or not they had matched the credit card information between orders to proceed.

June 26, 2014

I received an email from “amp” the next day, “Only these seven parts below are unavailable from your order and are currently out of stock. ”  So let’s see, I guess I was to assume they had matched up my orders but wait, I made sure that nothing I ordered off their website was out of stock. Now I find out 7 items are in fact out of stock.  To be more specific, two were “no stock” and the other five were “ETA 2-3 days”. The only clue I had was the note “Would you like to cancel this and ship your order when others three arrived ?”.  So I reply, “Yes please cancel the two No Stock items and ship the remaining 5 items when they arrive.” as I didn’t want to hold up the order any longer than it already been in limbo.

June 30, 2014

Finally another email, “Dear Art, We remove POT1KBSHAFTD and 7FB5641AB from your orders. Currently, only these three items are unavailable from your order and they will arrive our warehouse end of this week when your orders are shipped.”  WTF, now only 3 items that our unavailable, I’m really making progress. I’m only 2 weeks in and I only have to wait until the end of the week before it ships. Good thing I’m not in any hurry. I reread the email, “will arrive our warehouse end of this week when your orders are shipped.” That puts the ship date around July 4, 2014.

July 23, 2014

No communication from Futurlec. I now begin to feel like this whole thing is a scam. Try to find a phone number on the Futurlec site and all you’ll get is a fax. The only customer service contact points are to send an email or to send a fax. It has now been over a month and I have received no product and damn little information from Futurlec. I now look through my credit card statements and find that Futurlec charged both orders against the card on June 19. From the looks of it, they billed me the full amount of both orders, so I now wonder what actual product I’ll get as I had ask them to ship and not wait for some of the components. Because they were paid in Australian Dollars a $3.77 foreign transaction fee was thrown in “just to sweeten my already awesome deal”.

I decide that I have been ripped off so I send an email to cancel my order and refund my money. I get no communication from Futurec.

August 22, 2014

I proceed to file a complaint with the New York Better Business Bureau, complaint  ID #10152853. Surprisingly there weren’t but a handful (maybe 3?) other complaints against Futurlec but not to my surprise they were all handled exactly like my orders. The positive news was that it looked like the company had resolved them, there was hope for my order yet.

Email from complaints@newyork.bbb.org indicates they have something that requires my action, it turns out to be the message from the business.

MESSAGE FROM BUSINESS:

Your Order 2xxxxx and Order 2xxxxx, have been shipped together with tracking number RG xxx xxx xxx x DE , this was shipped on the 18th of August. For the parts that have been cancelled, a refund has been issued for this amount.

August 27, 2014

My orders from Futurelec are delivered via standard post to my home.

Futurlec Finally  futurlec-order

August 28, 2014

I will accept the business response to the New York BBB and call it a day. Am I happy? Well I am happy that Futurlec is not a scam and I am glad to have received my electronic components. It only took 72 days for my order to be fulfilled. I have seen several customer experiences that were identical to mine but I am somewhat surprised to see more than a few Futurlec customer supporters. They admit that order delivery was slow but many had been very happy with the product and pricing they had received, enough so that they continue to order from them. Sadly for me and for Futurlec, I will not be ordering from them again.

Jameco Electronics

Due to the delay in receiving the needed components from Futurlec, I placed an order with a more customer oriented company, Jameco Electronics. I placed this order on July 17, 2014 and my order was shipped the next day July 18, 2014. Not only was my complete order fulfilled and shipped but I also received an email offering me free shipping on my next order as a new customer. I wonder who I’ll order from next time?

You have been reading yet another rant from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer. But I hope to get in the shop over the long Labor Day weekend and finish up the drawers of 10-Drawer Tool Chest build.

Categories: Electronics Tags: ,
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