Today’s the Day on Ebay

A bit of an era draws to a close today (although it is a bit of a soft ending). My Triton 2000 Workcentre and 2400W Triton saw will sell in a couple of hours time. Feeling a bit nostalgic about it.

Back in Christmas 2001 when my wife and I were married, I had a lathe on the wedding registry (little thing, but unbeknownst to me at the time, it was the key to a massive door that had been there in my periphery since almost forever). So I had this lathe, and I needed a bench to mount it to. Around our new property (bought 6 months earlier) there were a number of redgum sleepers, and I thought a couple of them would make a great lathe stand. I did have a handsaw, but no circular saw, and this was the justification I needed to head down to Bunnings and get one.

In Bunnings, I had long admired (from a distance) these amazing orange tools that looked to be for the professionals – workbenches that I hardly recognised what they were for (in hindsight, they would have been a Triton 2000, a router table, superjaws etc). But they looked GOOD.

So I went to get a saw. Dad’s had an Hitashi for a long time – serious looking tool, and so I had an idea of what I was wanting. While there, going through all the models, one that stood out was an orange beast – 2400W, 9 1/4″ blade (price tag to match), but it dawned on me that one day, I might, just might get one of those cool looking workbenches, so I might as well have the saw that matches. Boy, was that a good call.

Got home with this thing, and if you know me, you know I love toys (uh…..tools), and this thing looked mean. When I took it to the sleepers, I was in shock – it sliced the sleeper like butter, and that was it, I was hook line and sinker into Triton at that point.

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Burl Clock

After having a couple of inquiries, thought I’d post a brief description of the Burl Clock, seen in the Gallery.

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The burl (and clock mechanism) were purchased at the Working with Wood show. Total cost: $40.  The mechanism came from Jonathon Knowles Clocks.

The face has been planed and sanded to get it reasonably flat, then the sanding to produce the finish. Each sandpaper grade was used, between 120 and 1200, all on a Triton Random Orbital sander.  The ROS is used because its eccentric sanding pattern doesn’t leave the telltale swirls (scratches) of a normal orbital sander.

The finish was produced first by rubbing Ubeaut Shellawax Cream across the face until the cloth started to grab. It was then buffed with a Ubeaut Swansdown mop attached to a drill. Next, Ubeaut EEE Ultrashine was used to produce a satin finish, again with the Swansdown mop.

The cavity for the clock mechanism was made using the Triton Router (handheld), using a template guide and straight router bit.

One scary looking blade

Haven’t seen these blades on sale for a long time, but they are one serious looking blade. They are meant for scrub cutters, but I was looking at the packet earlier today, and noticed that it also suggested that they could be mounted in a circular saw.

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Don’t know about you, but there is something about that which bothers me. I think it is being anywhere near the vicinity! Talk about a wide kerf as well. On the other hand, there wouldn’t be a piece of green timber that’d be able to resist! If it was mounted in a scrub cutter, I’d hate to be the scrub!!

Anyway, just thought I’d bring that to you as a bit of an oddity.

Finishing

After spending time planning the job, spending good money purchasing the wood, etc etc, why would you then not spend the time getting the finish right?

A bad piece can’t be made good by getting the finish right, but a good piece can be wrecked with a bad finish.

I tend to find that you need to spend as much time on finishing (sanding, polishing etc), as you do on the construction of the project. And unfortunately, some areas of the project have to be bought to a reasonable degree of finishing before assembly, as it becomes very difficult to reach some places after assembly.

If you want a woodworkers ‘Bible’ on finishing, get “A Polishers Handbook”, by Neil Ellis. Read it cover to cover, twice, then keep referring back to it- there’s heaps to learn, and it is chock full of information

SSYTC002 Nostalgia – an early woodworking video!

SSYTC002 Nostalgia

Going though some old files, and came across this 7 second clip of a modification I made to the GMC thicknesser. Guess this actually qualifies as my first woodworking video (despite its short length).I’d forgotten the clip even existed!

Not sure of its vintage – probably 2004 – 2005. Not that long ago, and look how online video quality has improved

Episode 23 Wixey Digital Planer Height Gauge

Episode 23 Wixey Digital Planer Height Gauge.
Turning the planer/thicknesser into a precision tool.Available from Professional Woodworker Supplies.More detail in this blog entry Wixey Digital Planer Height Gauge.

Update: Since making this video, Wixey have updated their Height Guide, and it now presents the LCD panel at a better viewing angle.

Upgraded Tool Rest for Triton Sharpener

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Triton have upgraded the tool rest on the Triton Sharpener with a fully welded version, rather than the bent and welded version they were originally.

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The new design results in a much straighter horizontal bar, rather than one curved with heat stress. It also looks to be made out of a better grade of steel (although I have nothing to base that on).

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Closeup of the 2 designs – the lower left one is the new version.

Unfortunately, I still think there is a missed opportunity here, and the centre bar should have been threaded so a nut riding the thread could accurately set the bar height (Tormek style).

Some more moulding profiles

 These are some more of the 30 odd profiles available for the Triton 15″ Thicknesser

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Handplanes, a quick look

I’ve been avoiding this topic for quite a while, as much because there are so many knowledgeable people about there who live and breath these traditional tools, that I know I won’t be able to do them justice. But putting that aside, there is a surprisingly large learning curve to traditional tools and what they are capable of.

Woodworking has been around a lot longer than our planers and thicknessers, tablesaws, routers, drop saws etc etc. How wood was shaped and worked was often with handtools, and a group that has survived the ages are handplanes. Of the vast majority of traditional handtools that existed, at least you can still walk into a hardware store and buy one. How good they are is another matter entirely, but there are still some quality handtools around.

I said recently that I’m a bit of a strange fish where it comes to some things, and this is no exception. I came across a toolmaker at the Melbourne Wood Show a few years ago, and was really inspired by what could be achieved with such a basic form. He was (and is) Terry Gordon, and I really enjoy owning and using some of his planes. (HNT Gordon Planes).

So onto planes themselves. I mainly only have HNT Gordon planes to show you at this stage to highlight my points. In a roundabout way, this is another aspect of the start of the sharpening exposé. After all, when you are talking about sharpening, there has to be something that needs to be sharp!

It is said that there are the big 4 planes that all complement each other, and all fill different roles.

They are: the smoothing plane, the trying plane, the shoulder plane, and the low-angle block plane. In addition, I’d add the spokeshave, and the jack plane to complete the basic set. (And at this stage, I still need to add a spokeshave and jack plane to complete my set!)

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Now I know that what I have here do not look like the planes you normally expect to see, but other than quite a different looking form to the modern plane, they still perform the same function.

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I also really like the fact they come in such a traditional looking box…

The left-hand plane is the low-angle block plane. The low angle makes it very good for end-grain, and given it’s small size, is very convenient for a number of quick shaving jobs (like taking off the edge of a board)

The plane on the right is the shoulder plane. It is unusual, because the blade gets right to the edge of the plane itself, so planing the shoulder of a tenon is achievable (and where it gets its name from). It can also be used to cut a rebate, or a dado.

The last two planes really do complement each other, and as you can see, look quite like each other, just different sizes. They do have different functions. The large plane is called a Trying Plane, and is used to flatten a board. Because of its length, it rides across high spots, allowing them to be planed down, rather than following the rise and fall and just smoothing them. It can remove quite a bit of material quickly, and is the original version of what we know as a jointer (or planer) when talking about powered tools.

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The other is a smoothing plane. Capable of removing the finest of shavings, and leaving a surface so smooth and shiny, that only a light touch with 400 – 600 grit sandpaper is needed before reaching for the finish.

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The smoothing plane can cut so fine, that you can easily read through the shaving it produces.

So these are the 4 planes, and each needs a razor sharp blade to function. In the case of the trying and smoothing planes, I have a very thick chunk of high quality steel, and for the smoothing plane in particular, I chose a cryogenically treated steel. Bloody hard to sharpen (because it is so hard), but it holds a beautiful edge. I sharpen these on Japanese waterstones, using the Veritas Mk2 Honing jig. (The blades are so thick, you can pretty easily do it by hand, but I don’t get enough practice to trust myself.)

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Here in this final image, I decided to measure the thickness of the shaving I was getting off the smoothing plane. You might be able to see it, reading 0.01mm, or in other words approximately 4/10000th of an inch (ie about 1/2 a thousandth of a inch). I’m probably beyond the capabilities of the gauge to measure that fine. I think that is thin enough!

DVDs Went

All those Taunton DVDs sold, which is great…..is a start towards my shed upgrade budget!

Nothing else to add really – I did include a SuperJaws, lathe and Powered Saw Tabe, so again, anyone interested…..

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