Progress Report

It seems like days of preparing components for the cot – lots of machining.  And that is pretty much exactly what it has been.  We have been working primarily with 190 x 45 Tassie Oak (kiln dried hardwood), although there has now been some pine thrown into the mix.  Each piece has been resawn, planed, thicknessed.  It really gives a sense of ownership of a project where every dimension is controlled by you, and not relying on standard timber sizes provided.

Clamping up the end-boards

The panels at the end of the cot are made from solid pine, so were reduced in thickness to 12mm, then joined with the Frontline Panel clamps.  With their unique action to cause the work to be held down, as well as together, they yield excellent results. More on these end panels later – we will leave them now while the glue dries.

Sorting out the components part 1

After machining so many components, it was useful to lay them out according to the parts they are made for.

Sorting out the components part 2

Lots of individual parts in one of these things!

Mortising for the slats

Cutting the mortises for the slats is made incredibly simple with the Festool Domino, and with the extension wings added on either side to get exactly the desired clearance between the slats (and in accordance with Australian Standards).  A job that could otherwise take hours completed in a matter of minutes.

Assembling the mattress section

The mattress section was assembled and glued, and there was a slight problem with the MDF sheet – it was not 6mm thick as it should have been, being up to 0.5mm out, which made it bind in the slot that was cut.  So the power of the Frontline clamps was bought into play – this time by converting to a standard panel clamp layout, then the Frontlines were closed up.  It took no where the full 4 tonne these clamps are capable of, and nothing can resist!

Now the observant among you will notice I have opened my Bessey account.  I decided to go with a brand that was readily available, so started my new collection with 2x 1000mm and 2x 600mm Bessey clamps.  Now I just need more (and more clamp sizes)

Assembling the sides

So once the sides were routered, it was time for it to go together.  The slats were not glued – easy to remove if they ever break (presumably not – we have already torture tested them).

Starting to really look the part

It is really looking like a cot now!

Routed end detail

Once the end panels were dry, it was time to add some details, so I chose to go with the 3D router carver from Carbitool.  One panel got a classic treatment. The other found something a lot more appropriate.

Adding 3d Routed Detail

So assembly has begun in earnest.  Hard to stop once the finish line is in sight!

Super Organiser Person

After getting a good general idea of the layout recently, I had a look around the shed on Sunday, and decided that instead of just doing a general cleanup until such time as I got frustrated, I thought instead to focus on an individual area and really get it to how I want it, rather than the constant compromises.

First area attacked was around the lathe. I didn’t have time to finish, but it is a good start (and that may be subjective, but it only has to be functional in the eyes of he who will be using it!)

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The chisels are finally organised, easily visible and in easy reach. A few years ago, you may remember I had a magnetic storage rail for the chisels, but I found the biggest ones (long handled ones specifically) were too heavy and slipped. So I created a stop-rail, with a coved area for each handle. I need a second magnetic strip, but the proof of concept is functional.

I used the Torque Workcentre as the easiest way for me to cut the coves, with a Carbitool router bit. It is a custom bit- Carbitool made it for a customer, and some additional ones while they had the setup. So this bit came from their sales table, just in case I found a use for it in the future. Guess I did!

The shelf doesn’t need to be load bearing- the majority of the chisel weight is carried by the magnetic rail, it is just there to discourage the chisel slipping.

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The resulting cavity is perfect for the chisel handles (I’ve deliberately lifted one so you can see it!)

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The earlier-created lathe jaw storage fitted in well. Now I just have to add the extra jaws to it (Cole jaws, and Soft jaws), and come up with a chuck storage (probably a shelf).

So small steps, simple solutions, functionality.

Surfacing Bits

Had an interesting revelation tonight about surfacing bits.  While Ivan was visiting, having a look over the Torque Workcentre, the discussion turned to surfacing bits.  I was thinking the 3 interchangeable flute Carbitool bit had its carbide tips misaligned from use or something – they didn’t sit flat on the table.  But when I got out my Granite reference block and placed each of the bits on top, they all had the same issue – the bottom of the teeth were not flush with the table as I expected.

Surfacing Bits

Now for one (particularly with interchangeable tips) to be out I could understand, but not all three, both Carbitool and Whiteside, and particularly the (fixed) 6 flute.  That one if no other should be the perfect form for a surface cutter, so if it has the same angle on the bottom of each tooth, then that is the way it should obviously be.

So then I was left with working out why it is that way, now my belief that the bottoms where flat had been squashed!

What I am thinking now is the tip of each tooth is the part that does the cutting, the rest is actually superfluous and is primarily chip clearing, rather than cutting/flattening.  If the bottoms were flat, then the tips would scrape, rather than cut.

It is surprising how long I’ve had surfacing bits that I have never realised that!

Surfacing Bits

The Ghost of Weekends Past

Not really sure what happened to the weekend – vanished in a puff of ethereal smoke (or was that just a cloud of MDF dust that got so dense it momentarily became self-aware?).  The workshop is covered in the stuff, despite 20 cubic metres/hr of air filtration, and the 2HP TruPro dusty.  Some of the tools are insufficiently (dust) guarded, particularly the router table, which, being under significant rework has lost connection to the standard collection system.  If all the MDF dust got wet, it’d probably papier mache together into to a mold that I could cast copies of Stu’s Shed from.

Come the end of the current project, there will have to be a major cleanup/dust-off out there, and a vow (which I typically can never stick to) of not starting any more projects until the proper systems are fully in place and working.

I was out there last last night (hope the neighbours are still talking with me!) fighting to get the kitchens close to completion.

Aaron from Torque Workcentres came for a visit yesterday morning (we started the day at 6:30am to get the maximum possible done), and we got my Torque Workcentre running like an impressively well oiled machine (or not, as the case may be – inside joke).  It is working exceedingly well – the main arm that supports the tool (router typically) now glides along the X axis with the lightest touch of a finger.  There are more adjustments for the machine than I was aware of – there has been a lot of thought put into the engineering, and it really makes a difference all the subtle tweaks that can be done.  I’ll document those in future articles.

I was going to have the MDF top flush with the cast iron router table, but late last night got sick of trying to get it all sorted, so decided instead to stick with how it was originally designed, and mounted the MDF directly to the workcentre.  I still maintained the cast iron router table at one end, and just accepted I’ve lost some working range.  It isn’t a huge amount, and it may not have any real impact on me anyway – time will tell.  I was using the router table, and the Torque Workcentre happily last night, so both router positions are well justified.  If you don’t have/need a cast iron router table, then cutting an opening for the router mounting plate at the right end of the table, directly into the MDF is a good solution.

I didn’t photograph it, but I set the pin routing guide into the table – this is a metal pin with a small diameter end (7mm) that engages into a template channel so the overhead router cuts identical items.  In this case, my “channel” was a single hole, and the router was offset to one side, resulting in probably the easiest circle I have ever cut or routed.  Ever!

In this case, I was only routing a partial depth pattern – a circle cut with a cove bit, repeated in 4 locations and with 2 different diameters to produce the stove ‘elements’

Kitchen Detail

I was quickly switching from tablesaw, bandsaw, disk sander, linisher, router table, torque workcentre, drill press and Domino, turning out component after component.  When a workshop is set up properly, it is amazing how easy and quickly tasks become.

Cut an opening for a sink? Done.  Duplicate the opening on the router table? Done.  Stack-cut a handle for the oven, then round the edges? Done.  Join it accurately and strongly to the project? Done. Elements cut, wheels made. Fun stuff.

Cutting Toy Wheels

Using the Carb-i-tool wheel cutter, scrap MDF was utilised to produce stacks of wheels.  Here the Lidwig Claw can be seen being used to good effect, holding the 4″ dust collection hose right at the point of shaving and dust creation.

So a profitable weekend – just don’t know where it went so fast. There is still a few small tasks to do to finish the cabinets off, then they can head out to their new homes for painting, and playing.

Melbourne Timber & Working With Wood Show 09 Day 1

Show Time!!

Had a great day one – still really enjoy wood shows.  The day absolutely flew past, so I have hardly scratched the surface of the displays that are there.  Good catching up with everyone who came along and said hi, and welcome to anyone who has now discovered Stu’s Shed because of the show.

I’m sure those who have taken the MagSwitch gear are already discovering why I like it so much 🙂

Vesper Tools, and the long expanse of Carrolls

Vesper Tools, and the long expanse of Carrolls

Got to say hi briefly to Chris (Vesper) and see some of his latest creations.  What I like about his display, is even though the tools he makes are works of art (particularly those in the display cabinet), there is a wide selection of his products out on the bench where you can have the full tactile experience.  I will get more photos over the next couple of days of Chris’ tools, and the other stands around the place.  Today, I almost forgot that I had a camera with me!

A very busy Tormek Display

A very busy Tormek Display

The Tormek guys are active as always, so a great opportunity to pick their brains about the finer points of show speed wetstone wheel sharpening methods, see the different jigs that are available (and pick up a T7, as quite a few appeared to do today – their stock levels where dropping noticeably quickly!)

SawStop

SawStop

Gabbetts machinery were there with the full cabinet SawStop, as well as the more recently released contractor’s version.  When you hear an airhorn (approx every 2 hours), you better hightail it to their display because another hotdog is about to put its life on the line for your education (and entertainment).  No matter how many times I see it, I still enjoy seeing the SawStop mechanism render the saw safe in such an incredibly fast manner.

Carb-i-tool

Carb-i-tool

Looking for a router bit? The the impressive range of Australian-made Carb-i-tool router bits is certainly worth a visit.

Impressive Burls

Impressive Burls

Some impressively large burls ready for finishing into unique furniture.

CNC Router from Carbatec

CNC Router from Carbatec

Looking a bit like a computer printer that carves, rather than prints on wood, this CNC router is running during the day, demonstrating how it created the Carbatec sign seen here.

That would certainly make routing rather easy!

Closeup of CNC-carved sign

Closeup of CNC-carved sign

SitCo Australia with Queen Ebony

SitCo Australia with Queen Ebony

I first came across SitCo in Brisbane, so it’s great to see them down here as well.  They have a really nice collection of Queen Ebony for sale, and you can get some really nice pieces without breaking the budget.  They also have some musical-grade timbers as well, but talk with Brian if you are after anything particular.  The end-grain of Queen Ebony is particularly impressive, and it is a very dense timber.  Lots of different shapes and sizes, so ideal for boxmakers and wood turners alike.

Turned Queen Ebony

Turned Queen Ebony

A couple of beautifully turned bowls by Guilio Marcolongo, which are being silent-auctioned off for the Royal Childrens Hospital.  Doesn’t show up here, but the Queen Ebony has gone an incredibly deep black.  This is not ebonising, but is the natural colour this timber goes once it has time to oxidise.  To speed up the oxidisation process the timber is exposed to household ammonia.

So that’s all I have for day 1.  Sorry – was too distracted by the wood show!  Will try to get more detailed photos etc from the show tomorrow 🙂

Multiform Router Bit

The router bit for this month is the Carb-i-tool Multiform Router Bit.

Carb-i-tool Multiform Router Bit

Carb-i-tool Multiform Router Bit

As you can see, it is quite a complicated profile, and it almost looks like a combination of a number of different profiles.  That is exactly what this router bit is!  It is designed to produce a number of different profiles based on the height of the router bit in the table, the depth of cut, and even (specifically on spindle moulders) the angle that the router bit is run at.

Cut Profile

Cut Profile

There is a classic profile, a bead, and parts thereof for different effects.

Storage Block

Storage Block

In these photos, I have cut the full profile rather than limiting which parts of the bit came into contact with the workpiece.  This block isn’t intending to be a permanent home for the bit, but it is a copy of the storage blocks used by Triton for their old in-store displays.  It is a good way to display and store the router bits as it provides the profile of the router bit as-cut, making it easy to take measurements etc from it, rather than trying to work out what they are from the bit itseld.

Upgraded Bandsaw Circle Cutter Jig

Way way back in the history of this blog (around Episode 6 if anyone cares) I did a video on a basic circle cutting jig for the bandsaw.  That jig was decommissioned and abandoned after a few years of service as part of the cleanup during the shed expansion, but it has taken from then until now for me to do something about replacing it.  I’ve had plans in my head for a new version for a long time, and finally I have realised those into a new jig (which is still a bit of a work-in-progress).

So let’s jump into what I have been working on.

I started by raiding the jig drawer, and found some useful components that looked like they would work with my mental image of the new jig.  My main thing I wanted to be able to do with the new one, was adjust the diameter of the circle without having to use the agricultural method of hammering in a nail and clipping off it’s head to form a point to mount the work on.  So a rail was needed.

The other ‘problem’ I wanted to solve was angled circle cuts, which have a different bandsaw blade path, and over time would end up with the jig rather chewed up.  Will still be working on this as the jig develops.

Jig Components

Jig Components

What we have here is some Incra Rule Track, the Incra Mitre Slot runner (not sure it’s real name), a mitre slot lock nut and some scale rule.

I wanted to use the mitre slot lock as the pivot point – setting its position along the track and it then locks down with a hex key. I needed to put a pivot point into it, and what I came up with was a threaded bolt through the track lock, which is then sharpened to a point to mount the workpiece.  As much as my shed is a woodworking shop, there is still a number of invaluable metal-working tools in there and one that is invaluable for jig building is a thread cutting set.

Metal Thread Cutting

Metal Thread Cutting

It doesn’t have a large range, but there is enough in there for the sorts of small-scale jigs etc that I need to make.  Jigs are, after all, one of the most useful things in a workshop, so making a jig is an artform in itself. (Not that I’m particularly good at it, but I do recognise their value!)

Measuring Thread Size

Measuring Thread Size

First step was choosing a suitable bolt that I wanted to use, and then determining what thread size it was to cut the matching threaded hole in the Mitre Lock. There is a tool in the kit to determine the thread on a bolt, and in this case I was able to work out that it was M5 0.8 pitch.

Drilling the hole to be tapped

Drilling the hole to be tapped

Next, using the pro drill press table’s advantages with the clamps etc, I was able to hold down (with the aid of some Vice-Grips) the small Mitre Lock to drill the hole to be tapped.  I used a 4mm bit for this, as it will be tapped out to 5mm by the thread cutter.

Cutting the thread

Cutting the thread

Using the correct thread cutters, I then tapped the hole, first with the least aggressive 5mm 0.8 cutter, and progressing through to the final cutter which produces the sharp crisp thread required.  Using one is pretty easy, and it is just a matter of taking it slow, backing the tool off every 1/4 turn to break off the swarf that is forming, then continuing deeper and deeper.  This is repeated for the next two thread taps until the thread is fully formed.

Formed Thread

Formed Thread

Here is the final hole produced, and all tapped ready for use.  You can also see in this photo the grub screw (hex drive) that is used to lock the Mitre Lock into the track

Inserting the Bolt

Inserting the Bolt

The bolt is then threaded through, and with the aid of the Vice-Grips again, the head of the bolt was sanded right down on the linisher. Then, with a combination of metal files, the Triton Rotary Tool and the linisher, the bolt was shortened, and sharpened to a point.

Ripping the Jig

Ripping the Jig

The body of the jig has been made out of this heavy ply I have held onto for years, waiting for a good use to put it to.  It happens to be the ply that is used around electrical cabinets etc, and is quite weather (and electrically) resistant.  It has a shiny, smooth side, perfect for jigs.  This is probably one of the first photos on here of me actually using my tablesaw, so have included it for that reason (I normally don’t remember to take a photo while ripping a board!)

Routing the Dado for the Track

Routing the Dado for the Track

I wanted a stopped dado for the track (in other words a slot that doesn’t extend the entire width of the board, so as much as I was hoping to use the dado blades on the tablesaw for a legitimate job, I still needed the router table for the task.  The Incra fence again came into its own, allowing me to accurately position the fence so the track was an exact fit. I did use the micro positioner to do a couple of final fitting runs, taking off about 3/1000″ each pass to get the fit perfect.

The end of the stopped dado has rounded corners as a legacy of being cut with a router bit, so I needed to either square those corners up, or round the track over to match.  I have a small tool I bought from Carb-i-tool years ago, perfect (and designed) for this task.

Corner Squaring Chisel

Corner Squaring Chisel

A few quick raps with my home-made redgum mallet, and the corner is cut square.  It is a cool design, and the tool has a rebate on two sides so it fits perfectly in the corner over the top of the round section that needs removing.

After testing with the track, I decided I wanted to set it a bit deeper, and rather than making more passes on the router table, I had the perfect tool for that job too…..

HNT Gordon Shoulder Plane

HNT Gordon Shoulder Plane

…..my HNT Gordon ebony shoulder plane.  Sometimes a hand tool is the perfect tool (and yes, I am sure there are many other there that would argue that a hand tool is ALWAYS the perfect tool, but I don’t mind murdering a few electrons on the way).  It can be set so fine to take of just a fine shaving, delicately thin.  You can’t beat the feeling of working with a fine tool.

Track in Position

Track in Position

The track and Mitre Stop is now in position, and the track is significantly longer than the jig so I can cut rather large circles if required.  The size of the base board was chosen to roughly correspond to the width of the bandsaw table (including the area between the blade and the riser (the throat)), so the workpiece has plenty of support.

Marking up slider position

Marking up slider position

Another tool getting actually used in a real job was the Woodpecker T Square, used here to find the track that the bandsaw blade will follow, and therefore where the slider needs to be located.  I’ve used the Incra slider here because it can be fine-tuned to fit in the mitre slot of the bandsaw table for a good, sliding fit which can be adjusted and finetuned while the jig is fitted to the table with a simple hex key.   It also means I can reposition the slider easily, if I want to use this same jig on another bandsaw.  In my case this is important, as I am designing this primarily for my Jet 14″, but will also want the jig for cutting circles on the Triton 12″ bandsaw when I run my toy-making courses at Holmesglen.

The first cut

The first cut

Finally, we are ready for the very first cut, the one that the blade will follow for horizontal circle cuts.  This is done with the slider in position, but no table stop is yet fitted, as I have not determined its position.

circle-cutter-15I’ve then fitted a stop to the underside, which catches the edge of the table so the jig can’t pass through too far.  In this case I’ve used a bit of Incra rail which is a bit of a waste, but it was the perfect size, so sacrificed to “the cause”

All ready

All ready

The track is in position, the stop is in place, the initial cut is made, the jig is ready to go.

Initial cut

Initial cut

A board is located onto the pin set to the desired radius, then (with the bandsaw running obviously), the jig is slid forward until the stop on the underside connects with the table.

Cutting the Circle

Cutting the Circle

The board is then rotated through the blade as it pivots on the pin until the circle is complete, and as seen here, breaks free of the outside stock.

Backing out of the cut

Backing out of the cut

You then back the blade through the initial slot cut until the entire jig is free of the blade, and remove the cut circle.

Circle Cutting on the Bandsaw

Circle Cutting on the Bandsaw

Circle cutting on the bandsaw – a simple task that takes a lot less time than it took to write this article!

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