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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: ,

Saw number two..

July 1, 2013 1 comment

Last Friday I took a day off from work to receive delivery of my new band saw. Right on time UPS Freight showed up at my house and I was there with my utility trailer. The saw came in two packages, the band saw proper weighing in at 200 lbs. and the base, packaged separately weighing in at 40 lbs. Compared to the 405 lb. behemoth table saw, this deliver was a piece of cake and everything went smoothly. It went so well in fact, I didn’t need to get the engine hoist involved this go round. I was able to slide the boxed band saw by myself and getting it off the trailer and in to the garage was easy. I then began the unboxing and assembly process.

Grizz 14" Band Saw Unboxing

The plan was to assemble the stand, then finish construction of the HF mobile base (see previous post). Although I could find the band saw stand dimensions online, I didn’t want to cut and drill the mobile base wooden stretchers until the base was actually in my house and assembled. I could just see that going badly and having to remake them by cutting one of pieces too short. And so the build started.

Stand Bolts Stand Lower Brace

This part was actually pretty easy and so far Grizzly has been perfect with respect to the number and condition of the parts. I’ve found it helpful to sort and group the parts together both to count them and as an aid in understanding which might go together and where. First impressions have been generally incorrect so this method really has been useful. Notice my tools and coffee in the background. I love that cart.

Stand Partial Assembly

I used the cardboard box that housed the stand as a work surface to protect the powder coat and my knees as I assembled the work. So far so good, this part went very quickly so it was on to the mobile base final assembly.

Stand on Mobile Base Stand and Mobile Base - Side View

OK, I have to say that the jury is out on my decision to purchase the HF base versus getting another Grizzly mobile base. I have no reservations about the parts quality of the HF version, it is very beefy and in fact I think probably stronger than the Grizzly version. The process of milling the wooden stretchers took a while and although, we are wood workers you might rather spend you time working on something else. In my case, I had to actually laminate two strips together and then using a jig saw and plane, rip them to 1 ¼” x 1 ¼”. Then I had to carefully measure the dimensions of the tool base before cutting them to length and drilling the 8 holes for the mounting bolts. The Grizzly came with steel stretchers and thumb screws which made installation much simpler. Now that it’s all over, I’m happy with my decision to go with HF and I’d likely do it again especially given that I can use my new band saw in the process.

I took a break at this point to spend the afternoon with my wife in town. Upon my return I enlisted Susan and my daughter Callie and the three of use lifted the band saw onto the base and I secured her to the base with the supplied bolts, washers and nuts. At that point Susan hung around and read out instructions to me as I completed the trunnion, table and fence assembly. With the bulk of the assembly completed, I proudly rolled my new prize into the shop.

Band Saw Assembly Completed - 2 Band Saw Assembly Completed - 1

Saturday, I was rested and ready to attempt the band saw setup process. Not only was I unfamiliar with this new saw, I have never used any band saw before so I took my time. In this instance the Grizzly manual was not perfect. Some of the pictures were a little different from my saw but after a couple of (very significant) misunderstandings on my part I was able to understand how pretty much everything worked. It took me several tries but I finally got it worked out and now I think I fully understand and could easily repeat the process as required to change a blade or tune. I’ll be learning how to use this gear for years to come, I know that.

I give Grizzly an overall A minus on my two builds. The product is very nice, fit and finish are solid “A”. Product delivery I would also give the grade of “A”. Everything was as it should have been. The only mark down I have is that some of the assembly instructions were incomplete, requiring the I make an assumption or two. For a beginner like myself leaving something out, even something very simple, can cause confusion. I can cite two examples but there were a couple of others.

To open the upper and lower blade covers, you simple pull the knob. It was a star knob and I had it in my mind that it was screwed on a bolt. After turning the knob by hand was too difficult, I muscled it off with a wrench. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why I need a wrench to loosen this and for heaven’s sake, why would they have put a lock washer on it to further defeat me? Because I’m a moron. At least I didn’t throw the lock washer away and I was able to reassemble the parts that much the wiser.

Second example was the orange-colored blade guard. No mention of a guard and it’s not shown in any of the assembly illustrations. I’m a computer guy and when I unpack a new printer, I know that I’m to pull the orange tape out of the unit before I use it. So do I remove or keep this piece on the saw. After seeing the guard didn’t interfere with its operations and realizing how this guard would contribute to my finger safety, I deduced that I should leave it in place. To me there should be a placard or instruction so the operator doesn’t have to guess. My rule of thumb with Grizzly products is now, assume they did it right and if it doesn’t seem to work, I’m doing it wrong.

One last complaint. As you can see from my unboxing picture above, the 200 lb saw is lying atop not only the other loose components but its lying atop the manual and assembly instructions. No instructions were included in the stand package (which would have been appropriate and a nice gesture). So I’m thinking that maybe I should have turned the saw over and maybe I opened the wrong side of the box, but in fact there are no instructions on the outside of the box to do so, I checked. Plus, the saw came on the pallet in this orientation and all the writing on the box was oriented in this direction. So the good news is that all manuals are easily accessible from the Grizz web site and I had in fact already downloaded them to my iPad so I wasn’t all that worried about it. But I did scratch my head and wonder why they would make it hard when they could easily fix this?? They do so many things right on.

Overall assembly grade “A minus”. I’ll buy more of their products, I’m sure of it. And the good news is, the band saw runs on 110v so I was actually try a couple of test cuts last night. The electrician has my paperwork so I’m waiting to hear back from him on when my 220v service upgrade will happen. Things are coming along now.

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

Just add power…..

June 24, 2013 1 comment

I pretty much tipped my hand in the last post so you folks know what I’m up to. I must say that for a while,  I was overwhelmed by what needed to be done but once I got started I felt better almost immediately. As I mentioned in my last post, the hybrid table saw was unloaded to my garage and unpacked. Saturday I pulled out the engine hoist one more time so that I could rotate the saw 90° in the mobile base. I originally installed the saw in that orientation because the mobile base was narrow enough to fit between the legs of the hoist. Later on, I noticed that every single picture of saws in their bases showed them in a different orientation so I decided I had better bring out the hoist once more. It wasn’t easy figuring out how to drop the saw onto the base when the base wouldn’t fit between the legs of the hoist; I had to use some creative engineering. After hoisting the saw I adjusted the mobile base dimensions to fit the new orientation then I strapped the base to the underside of the already hoisted saw. Lowering the saw, only one edge of the mobile base touched concrete with the other edge resting on the hoist leg. That’s when I pulled out my floor jack. I was able to insert the jack under this edge and jack the saw up enough to roll the hoist out-of-the-way. The final step was slightly less eloquent; I tilted the saw up on edge, kicked out the jack and (as softly as one guy can) allowed the saw to land. All things considered it was a relatively minor “thud”. Whew, that was a chore but finally the base is installed as it should be.

IMG_3391

The rest of Saturday was spent cleaning up the basement and expanding the footprint of my shop to accommodate the new equipment. A wall of boxes that blocked the side of my shop was moved allowing me to move the miter saw station into its place. A chest of drawers was moved to another location in the basement and the armoire that it replaced was moved up to my daughter’s room (she wanted it). This freed up the entrance to my shop space and is now where my new saws will reside. I also had to disassemble a monstrous 4-station weight training machine which consumed the corner of my shop space and of which I continuously hit my head on overhead handle bars. (Side Note: This thing was never used for training in the 5 years that I have been here so disassembly was a good thing. That said I couldn’t bear to haul it to the land-fill as it is a gold mine for bolts, pulley’s and tube steel. If I take up welding I just might make a brew standout of it!)

The shop is really cluttered at the moment but the space is now clear and I’ll be able to tidy up and get organized once all the new gear is installed.

Saturday's Work

I started the saw setup on Saturday but I wanted to take my time and read everything very carefully. I began by cleaning the preservative grease from the inside of the saw and re-lubricating with fresh stuff per the instructions. This was all new to me so this Step 1. allowed me to begin the study of the saw’s anatomy. Saturday night before bed I read most of the 88 pg. owner’s manual in preparation for assembly on Sunday.

I spent some quality time shopping with Susan most of the day Sunday and upon our return she took the girls to the springs for a swimming treat. I went down to the shop to assemble my saw and 3 or 4 hours later, just about the time my  girls returned home, I was finished. I am not an expert on saws but I was very pleased with the fit and finish. The parts were clearly marked, instructions were easy to understand, all the pieces fit and no parts were missing. And like most assembly projects, if I had to do it again I could probably do it half the time. So far everything has fit properly so I didn’t need to adjust the trunnions but I will tackle these procedures as the need arises.

Grizzly G0715P Assembled

Although it would never be recommended per se, I was able to move and assemble this saw by myself with the aid of an engine hoist, floor jack and shop cart. To install the cast iron wings, I supported them with my groovy free cart (see previous post) while I bolted them up. The front rails, rear rails and fence tube are surprisingly heavy when rolled up together but individually they were quite easy for one person to manage. I’m completely new to such tasks but by taking my and thinking things through, I was able to get it done.

So, one saw down and the other to be delivered this Friday. I have scheduled the day off from work so that I can once again meet the freight truck and trailer the unit to my basement. Now that I have a little experience and all the bits in place, I’m actually looking forward to it. Among other shopping chores, Sunday’s trip into town was to purchase a (different) mobile base for the band saw. Instead of steel tubing I’ll have to supply some wood stretchers but the parts look really beefy and at half the price of the Grizz mobile base I am confident it will easily accommodate the band saw.  If I have some shop time this week, I’ll go ahead and get it pre-assembled for Friday.

A Different Mobile Base

Now, just add power…..

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