Jet-tember!

If you are interested in Jet tools, there is a sale on right now for the month of Jet-tember that you will not want to miss.

Gregory Machinery (who were the previous importers of Jet Tools) appear to be selling off all their remaining stock given that CarbaTec are about to become the new importers/distributors of Jet Tools.  Not sure if the sale will be extended to other resellers of Jet (other members of the Woodman Group).

Jet-tember

Jet-tember

It is quite an extensive catalogue of Jet machines and parts on offer, from tablesaws, bandsaws through to clamps, fences, sanders and so forth.

JTS-600

JWBS-20Q

JJ-6CSDX

This isn’t your every day run-of-the mill sale.  There are some serious (and some seriously awesome) machines and tools on offer here, at excellent prices.

This includes 20% off one of my favourite bandsaws (the JWBS-14CS), 20% off the longbed 6″ jointer I use, etc etc.  Discounts range from nothing to over 60%, with the vast majority between 20% and 30% off.

The full catalogue, including pricing and the discount is here (in PDF)  JET_tember_Pricelist

The illustrations in this book have me hooked already – they have obviously done with such care, capturing the details wonderfully. From the handplanes to the workbench, you can really get an appreciation of Grandpa’s workshop. Thoughts then drift to aspiring to being considered in the same way by my future generations. Is it just me, or does the boy look like a young Tintin?!

Lost Art Press

In furniture-making circles, it is the highest compliment to say that another person has “wood in their blood.”

At Lost Art Press, we think that every individual has a deep connection to this incredible natural material. After all, the history of our civilization is so closely intertwined with that of the forest that it is almost impossible to discuss one without the other.

This connection, which is buried in both our genes and social history, needs only a spark of something to bring it alive into a flaming passion for wood – and building things with it.

And that is why we are particularly proud to announce the publication of “Grandpa’s Workshop” by Maurice Pommier, the latest title from Lost Art Press and our first children’s book.

This 48-page book was translated this year for us by Brian Anderson, an American-born writer and woodworker who lives and works…

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Lost Art Press

I think it was the besaigue that hooked me.

It was a cold February day, windy and damp, like you get in the season in the Touraine region of France. I had spent a couple of hours wandering among the craft masterpieces in the Musée du Compagnonnage (the Guild Museum) in Tours, France, near where I live. There was everything from micron-accurate models of impossibly complex wooden roof structures built by guild carpenters to castles built by bakers in meringue.

I am a booky kind of guy, and was spoiled for choice among the beautiful books in the museum shop when I stumbled across “Dans lʼAtelier de Pépère” (Grandpaʼs Workshop) A hand-tool woodworker, learning whatever I could about the history of woodworking, and woodworking in France, the cover had me hooked from the moment I picked up the book.

There was the besaigue, the emblematic tool of a house carpenter…

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Goodnight, Sleep Tight

It took pretty much two months to the day to build the cot, given that we were snatching half a day here, half a day there.

Friday evening was the final push, and we just kept at it until all the final issues were solved (making the side rise and fall, how to assemble it, etc etc).  Took us through to about 12:30 at night, but we got it done.  It isn’t sanded and oiled as yet (that’s a job for the expectant father!) and the final bit of time he has before his world becomes somewhat busier!  Looking back at the earliest posts, and we were a bit naive in our predictions on just how long/how many sessions it would take.  Just Friday night was a bit of a marathon – not that it wasn’t a good time, just that tasks always take longer than planned!  3 sessions?  More like 5 or 6 (really lost track!)

But first I’ll back up a bit, for a quick summary / overview, and then with more detail from the assembly of the ends.  As mentioned earlier, the focus was very much on the planning and construction of the cot, rather than documenting the process.

Session one was getting the bed itself made – the surround and base for the mattress.  Everything in the project was made from Tasmanian Oak, and machined down (and out of) large slabs such as seen here:

Tassie Oak Slabs

It was glued up in a later session (clamped up with Frontline clamps), with a rail under the bed supporting the MDF bed base.  This was also drilled with a series of large holes for ventilation.

Bed section clamped up

Session two involved making the slats (and some testing to get the distances between slats right, so it was even over the cot length.  Again, the actual glueup happened in a later session.

Making the slats

All the rail components

We also resawed, dressed and glued up the pine end panels in this session.

End panels

A month then passed while we both had other distractions.

Session three commenced with a glueup of the various sections.  The bed (as seen above), and the rails.

Rails glued up

Each end panel had the 3D routing done, and the rails for the cot ends made.

Session four was time for the legs to be made.  These were each notched so the bed rested firmly on them, transferring the load directly down the legs rather than through a mechanical joint.  A T Track was routed into the two front legs, using a slot-cutting router bit.

By the end of the day (including some extra work done afterwards), the ends were done.  This is where we pick up the story.

After producing the inserts for the ends (10mm thick pine boards, joined to produce a full panel), routing the 3D pattern into each end, it was time to cut them to their final dimension.  The question is, how to use the tablesaw to cut boards with uneven ends.

There are a whole host of methods promoted, sleds that clamp down on the piece, extension tables either built into the tablesaw (or added on, such as the Triton Extension Table) etc.  Actually, speaking of which, the Triton extension table would have been great for this project, if I had somewhere to actually put it!  This project really demonstrated how tight the shed has become. Assembly, and even moving around the larger components was a real problem.  Could really do with another shed, either to spread the overall load, or to use more as a project area / workbench area rather than the actual timber shaping/component construction.

Back to cutting the panel.  The solution I used was to attach a temporary straight-edge to the board, and it ran along the tablesaw fence, so the opposite side could be cut parallel.

Using a straight edge

In this case it was simply a piece of MDF and a couple of screws into what would become waste.  FWIW, I hadn’t set up the saw at this point, changing the blade to a crosscut blade and then replacing the splitter and guard.

The top and bottom rails were dominoed onto these boards (biscuits could have been used), glued and clamped, then the whole assembly glued and clamped to the legs to form the cot ends.  This was done over a number of days (availability of clamps, and time), ready for the final session.

Assembling the panels

Cot ends

(Yes, I know you have just seen this image – as mentioned, I was concentrating a lot more on the build than on documenting the process! Sorry 🙂 )

Session five – our late night marathon to finish.

A bed takes shape!

There was a lot of bolting and unbolting of the ends as we finished off the various components and steps, and the beauty of the cot is it can be flat-packed when no longer needed.  Just with the ends bolted on, the rigidity was obvious.  An extra stringer between the ends would be ideal, but with a combination of bolts and the corners being recessed into the legs is enough.

The back rail was added, again bolted to the bed itself, and with dominos into the legs.  These were left unglued – more than enough strength left just like that.  In time if it proved necessary, a small hole and a piece of dowel inserted through the leg and the domino as a pin would lock them together.

The final job was getting the front rail so it was functional.

At first it was pretty tight – a roof screw running up and down the track.  With quite of bit of trial and error, sanding the track a bit, adding some plastic tube to cover up the exposed screw threads, adjusting the height of the screws so they run cleanly in the track, and finally lubricating the track with Ubeaut Traditional Wax.  Whatever it was (and more likely a combination of them all), it went from being a bit average, to running as well as any commercial solution.  With spring-loaded catches at the top edge that automatically engage when the rail is lifted, the cot was finished (at least as far as my involvement).  Still needs a bit of sanding and oiling, but other than that, a really successful, enjoyable build.

Finished!

Side dropped to lower position

The final view

So the cot was done – getting it out of the shed was a mission – we took it out assembled, and it was a rather tight fit (leveraging it around the bandsaw).

Getting it into the covered trailer was also interesting.  Another 5mm in leg length (perhaps even less), and it would not have fitted.  Also in length – it was like absolutely built with the trailer dimensions in mind!

So that’s it – another successful project conclusion.  There is always that air of relief, satisfaction, remorse, disbelief when a project is over.  Fortunately, there is always more timber out there, and so many more projects to build!

Battle of Thermopylae

Rarely in history have so few attempted to conquer so many.

However, in this case the 300 were not the rear guard, but instead were the battle themselves.  And it was more 360, rather than 300.
A few years ago, I showed the Roving Reporter how to turn pens, and from there he got his own lathe, and started turning, (and turning).  Recently he picked up a commission for a few pens – 360 of them!  Wonder if he got writers cramp? 😉

There is no reason why hobbies can’t become self-sustaining.

The 360

The 360

In formation

In formation

The 300

The 300

The Schwarz is coming

MGFW

MGFW

Melbourne Guild of Fine Woodworking has managed to drag the Schwarz to our shores in 2013, to run a number of Master Classes.  These include The Anarchist’s Tool Chest, Hammer in Hand and Shaker Wall Cabinet.

The Schwarz

The Schwarz

Each course would be absolutely fascinating, and you’d learn a huge amount about handtools and techniques.  The cost for a 5 day course is $1760 (the first two), and the 2 day Shaker cabinet is $695.  Needless to say, I am SERIOUSLY tempted!

May the Schwarz be with you.

Small Steps

Probably seems like each ‘progress’ report is no different to the previous with the cot build, but there are a lot of small steps in between.

Lots of small other things too – floating tenons (aka dominos), holding everything together.  Little bit of thought required in setup for the Domino to ensure everything aligned, particularly where there were different thicknesses of materials, and offset joints, but once I got into it, the mortises were all cut in no time flat, despite there being about 40 to do.  They add so much

During glue-up, the Bessey K body clamps really started to shine.  The more I use them, the better I like them.   Increased my collection with a couple of 1250mm ones from Carba-Tec, along with a couple of Bessey extenders.

Ends

With all the components pretty much completed, what the final product looks like is becoming increasingly apparent.  And reflecting the multitude sketches of the various aspects of the project.

Building a project from pre-designed plans is a great way to learn woodworking concepts and techniques, but all the real problem-solving has been taken care-of.  It is not the best way to build, but I really enjoy building, designing and problem solving all at the same time, as in creating without pre-designed plans, and working out each step as I go.

Woodworking is a great mental exercise.

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