Kinder Toys

I was down at my daughter’s kindergarten last night- after the cleaners and painters had done their thing over the Xmas break, all the rolls of carpet and kids’ furniture and toys had been stacked, so was doing my bit putting them back in the main room. (Furniture being play fridges, play ironing boards, play stoves, seats, etc)

While walking back and forth carrying various bits n pieces, it really drove home that kids’ toys should always be primarily wood based.

It is heavy, smooth, has a physical and visual presence, is not over decorated, leaving something to the child’s imagination.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to be a perfect facsimile of the original.

So some simple guidelines came out of my observations:

a. the furniture/toys need to be wood, plain and simple. Not MDF. Not plastic. Wood.
b. it needs to be repairable (designed to avoid breakage, but expect it none the less)
c. it needs to be storable. That doesn’t mean stackable (necessarily). Nor does it mean it must be portable (necessarily). But consideration must be given to the fact that the items will need to be moved by teachers/cleaners/etc, often.
d. if it can be carried, provide handles (ofen no more than an opening at either side, rounded over providing lifting points)
e. if it is too heavy to be lifted easily, it needs wheels (castors). Lockable so the kids cannot push them around.
f. colour is definitely not necessarily. Wood looks great as wood! It can be varnished, stained (and sealed), or painted. It coukd be mostly varnished wood with just some painted components. But I like wood.
g. the furniture/toys need to be wood, plain and simple. Not MDF. Not plastic. Wood.

My 2 cents.

Trek’in On

Chek out Barry Shield’s website, or his Etsy page for his USS Enterprise coffee table.

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Rather cool, although it might have a more limited audience, especially at $US3100!

You could also find something suitable for your cat, such as this scratching pole, pictured on Imgur by Hobbitron

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Live long and prosper

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Knee Deep in Dust

For regulars of this site, you’d know my preference for cyclonic dust collection. There is one time particularly, when a cyclone just won’t do it for you- when you’ve used it, and used it, and ignored it, and the bin has overfilled!

Sure, we can lift the lid and check levels, but that is often forgotten (or a matter of just one more small job following another, and each is just not enough for the hassle of checking).

How about a visual indicator that the levels have gotten too high?

Oneida have a unit that measures the level in the collection bin using infrared to sense the levels. Not only would you not rely on the unit giving a reasonable response midway through a dusty job, but infrared has very good dust penetration (ask any photographer from the old days who used infrared film).

When the unit senses the level is too high, it turns on the attached strobe.

I don’t know if the units are being bought into Oz (I doubt it unfortunately), but they can be ordered here

Personally, I’d love one of these units on my main, 4″ collector as well! Given it isn’t in the same shed as I work, it would stop me from ignoring the dusty until it makes strange noises and stops sucking when the dust levels block the extraction fan!

Thee may be other solutions out there, but this one looks pretty good, if not a bit expensive.

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Wood Feeler Gauge

In the automotive industry (in particular), the feeler gauge is an invaluable tool for setting precise clearances.  You can get a cheap one for a few bucks, or spend significantly more for ones with a huge range of sizes and smaller tolerances of error.

Automotive Feeler Gauge

I do use one in the workshop, but there are not many situations that such fine gaps are required, or at least measured.  More often than not you will find many people talking about using a sheet of paper, a bank note or a post-it note to check gaps.  Seeing as you can get a feeler gauge for $7, not sure why you’d bother with paper, but that is just me.

Woodworking also doesn’t need the precision that an automotive feeler gauge offers.  It doesn’t mean that the concept of a feeler gauge wouldn’t be invaluable in the workshop though.  And no – I don’t mean the feeler gauge has to be made of wood!

Woodpeckers make just the thing – no surprise there!  Available from Professional Woodworkers Supplies, there is the “7 piece set up block” (available in metric and imperial).

You can use them as a ruler, but better, you can use them as woodworking feeler gauges.

Metric Setup Blocks

The sizes are 0.5mm, 1mm, 2mm, 4mm, 8mm, 16mm and a precision block providing 25mm, 50mm and 100mm.

They are still precise to 0.0254mm (0.01″)

The more you use them, the more you find yourself using them.

Tablesaw blade height

By combining the gauges together you can measure blade heights with 0.5mm steps. This, for example is the blade set to precisely 32.5mm

Setting Fences

Or do you want to set a fence a distance from the blade (and in a very repeatable way)?  This is the fence set at 104mm from the right side of the carbides of the blade. You can slip the smaller gauge in and out in the same way as you do with automotive gauges, ensuring it isn’t too tight so something is potentially loaded up creating a false reading (such as the blade flexing), and not too loose so as to get a sloppy (and therefore inaccurate) reading.

Resawing on the bandsaw

Resaw

Setting the resaw fence on the bandsaw for 1.0mm thick veneers.

Setting up the jointer

Precisely measuring the gap underneath a rule to show the infeed table is exactly 1mm below the outfeed, irrespective of what the height gauge on the tool claims.

The set is equally at home on the drill press, and the router table, and that is just a few applications for the tool.

Stretch your imagination for others!

Available from Professional Woodworkers Supplies. These are part of the One-Time tools, so once gone, they are gone for good.

Testing social networking connection

WordPress to Facebook

Convert Old TV Cabinets Into State of the Art Play Kitchens

Convert Old TV Cabinets Into State of the Art Play Kitchens
The linked article proposes an absolutely brilliant idea for old entertainment (aka CRT screen-based) units.  Turning them into toy kitchens.

Stunning work, and worth reading the background articles.  Genuine congratulations to both for such amazing repurposing of old furniture, and irrespective, a couple of great toy kitchens!

Giggleberry

(photo from giggleberrycreations.blogspot.com)

Sutton Grace

(photo from suttongrace.blogspot.com)

Want a Woodcraft Franchise?

Woodcraft (in the US ( 😦 ) ) have created a site for you to become more inspired about starting up a Woodcraft franchise owner.

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Sure would be tempting!

$50,000 startup fee
Total startup investment around $500,000-$600,000
Currently 76 franchises and 4 owned stores

They take 5% Gross revenue, and you need to have at least a population of 350,000 within a 20 mile radius.

Some really interesting figures there!

Wonder if they have thought of coming down-under………

Australia Day

Let me paint you a picture.

It is 2pm in the afternoon. Sun is shining, sky is clear and blue, save a few of those small cotton-ball-like clouds that are a dazzling white, just to show you how blue the sky really is. The temperature is a balmy 28 degrees.

Just outside my shed door (open so the stereo music can be heard) is the swimming pool, with water so clear the bottom of the pool looks only a few inches below the surface. I’m floating on a thong decorated as the Aussie Flag (no- not in a thong – not thinking Borat

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More like Kylie at the Olympics

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Kylie ON a thong, not in….. Ok you get the point.)

The pool is warm, and a floating server holds beers around the rim. A copy of ManSpace floats just below the surface- where it fell when dozing overtook reading.

The beers are cold, the BBQ still hot after the steaks. The remnants of prawns sit piled on a plate. An occasional crack can be heard from the esky as the ice inside slowly succumbs.

This is Australia Day, the Aussie way.

Later, the family is heading into the city to watch a Disney concert- some all dancing all singing spectacular, then as the sun sinks and light fades across the Yarra, fireworks will again illuminate the sky, throwing the cityline into silhouette.

From there, home, and some Benedictine and Cointreau with cream over rocks (or perhaps with whiskey and some lime wedges).

Happy Australia Day!

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ManSpace Issue 3

Issue 3 (otherwise known as Issue 1, 2012) of ManSpace is out now.  Still a massive $6.95, or $5 for subscribers.  An interesting effect on the cover with selective varnishing to highlight details in the images and text.

I have a couple of articles in the current issue: (there are obviously a lot more articles for you to read from other contributors!) A third article has been held over till next time – there was so much content for the current one there just wasn’t the space!

Circle Work: Professing my dislike of a popular power tool, and demonstrating 6 different ways I cut circles in the workshop (excluding handtools, and drilling holes!), whether that be cutting a round disc, or cutting a round hole.

True Grit: which looks at the whole question of abrasives and just how they fit together – sandpaper, waterstones, diamond paste etc – they are all abrasive, and we know to work through the grits but what happens if you don’t have ten different grades of diamond stone?  To complement the article, the following table is what I use to compare abrasive systems.  I have taken a few minor liberties with the numbers, but then no table I have seen seems to totally agree with another anyway.  The other thing you will notice is my table is the only one I have found that places diamond stones in their correct location, and I’ve included some common items to give an idea just how fine some abrasives are.

Waterstones

Description

CAMI (USA)

ISO/FEPA (Europe)

JIS (Japan)

Mesh

Average functional particle size in microns (µm)

P20

18

1000 (1mm)

Beach Sand

28

700

40

P40

425

P60

269

Fine Sand

60

250

P80

201

80

190

P100

162

100

150

100

140

P120

120

125

120

115

P150

100 (0.1mm)

180

P180

82

Portland Cement

200

74

220

P220

68

P240

59

P280/F230

52

P320

46

Silt

325

44

P360

41

120 µm Diamond Whetstone Extra-Extra Coarse

40

Plant Pollen

400

37

320

F280

360

36

P400

35

400

32

400

F360

23

P800

600

22

60 µm Diamond Whetstone Extra Coarse

500

20

P1000

18

600

800

16

45 µm Diamond Whetstone Coarse

P1200

15

1000

14

800

P1500

13

Red Blood Cell

(1200)

12

1200

11

1000

P2000

10 (0.001mm)

25 µm Diamond Whetstone Fine

P2500

2000

8

9 µm Diamond Whetstone Extra Fine

F1200

4000

3

Cigarette smoke

F1500

6000

(4800)

2

3 µm Diamond Whetstone Extra-Extra Fine

F2000

8000

1 (0.0001mm)

P – Coated abrasives
F – Bonded abrasives

Tis the Season to Repair

Kindergarten is about to start again, so typically, I have a few jobs I promised that have been left until the 11th hour.

Not much to do – a few of my road signs from last year that need running repairs (turns out 4/5 year old boys are more into javelin or whacking things than I imagined, and the signs were not designed for such abuse.)

Couple of seats needing the seat rescrewed, and a few play trees that have become separated from their bases.

I made some new bases, rounded the edges, then glued the trees to the base. In the process, it occurred to me that pretty much every fix I do for the kinder of their wooden toys has involved the Festool Domino as my go-to tool. (And this is true of every kinder repair person I know 😉 )

Festool Domino

Sorry, but that is just the reality. When I’m looking to strengthen a joint – glued (hopefully), often doweled, (these are the joints that fail) I want to put in something more substantial, so the Domino gives all the advantages of the tenon joint- strength of the tenon, increased glue area, part alignment and accuracy of mortise position.

Three stages of repair.

First I needed to make new blocks. That was easy with some pine on the tablesaw, then through the drum sander to thin the blocks down a bit.

The edges were rounded using the 1/8″ Fastcap Plane from Professional Woodworkers Supplies. The actual plane is not currently listed on their site, but it is worth inquiring about – it is suprisingly useful. First seen on this site here. A very underrated tool. I use it a LOT!

Next, the Domino (Ideal Tools) to cut the mortises for the Domino floating tenons.

Finally, another Fastcap product from Professional Woodworkers Supplies comes to play – the glue dispenser.

Job done – next!@!!!!!!!!!!!

Dino hospital

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