Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life.

Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life. Sunset at Telegraph Point.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012

........... and a safe 2012 -  where you and yours find peace and contentment.

After love, forgiveness is the greatest act we can perform.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Building the Wall Mirror - Part III

It seems an age since my last shed visit, and I have the joys and excitement of the festive season to thank for that.  BBQ's, grandkids, boardgames, poolgames, chess, and time with family - all the best things.

Home alone today so was able to put in some time on the Wall Mirror.

Before final clamp-up, it is important to establish that the frame is square.  Measuring each of the diagonals will determine this.  Each diagonal must be the same length.  I use two offcuts to each inside corner.  Place a mark across both pieces and repeat the measure for the other diagonal.  If there is any difference, then the frame has to be clamped across the diagonal and adjusted so that the measure is half the difference.

Mine was slightly out so a long pipe clamp did the trick.

Once the glue was dry, it was time to cut the rebate on the back to hold the plate glass of the mirror.  I used the trusty Makita with a small straight bit and a fence with a roller bearing.

The only problem in doing this with a router, is that it leaves a rounded rebate in each corner.  This can be cleaned up quite easily with a paring chisel.

This paring chisel is a long handled Japanese chisel, and is a delight to use.

The longer handle is usually used as a fine control in the angle and direction of the cut, where small movements at the handle end are translated to even finer adjustments at the blade.

The other advantage is that you can really lean on the chisel when necessary.

Once the corners were complete, it was time for a trial fit of the mirror.

Not too shabby at all!

I have cut a shallow groove at each corner to take a contrasting timber in the style of the great architects - Greene & Greene.

Well - maybe not quite their style - more like Greene & Greene via Telegraph Point.

That's all I had time for today.

Hopefully I can finish this over the weekend.

(If New Year's doesn't get in the way too much!)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Building the Wall Mirror part IIa

I really thought that I would be finished this project by now, but the fates have had other ideas.
A solid stint of babysitting with the grandchildren as well as the things that needed to be done by Xmouse, have all contributed to the delay.
As Old Blue Eyes would say ... That's Life!

I briefly re-visited the shed today on my way to other chores, and found a solution to my clamping problem.

I have been tossing around various ideas to solve the short clamps dilemma.  I just don't have enough clamps long enough to span the length of the mirror - essential for the glue-up.

Here is what I came up with:

This is a long mirror, so the table saw and router table were pressed into service as benchtops, and the gap between them became the pivot point for the solution.

I clamped a pair of cauls across the middle, and used my longest clamps from this point in both directions.
 The clamps pull against each other - with the top caul in between them to keep them straight.  One happy side effect is that I have adjustable clamping pressure at every corner.
I only had time for a dummy run this morning.  The real thing will have to wait until after Xmouse.

I do hope that you all experience the love and fellowship that family, and this time of the year offers to us.  And remember ... nothing comes before family!

Happy Xmouse to all!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Building the Wall Mirror Part II

We have been clearing lantana from the front paddock near my shed, so the wall mirror has taken a back seat owing to my general knackered-ness at the end of each day.

However, today provided some shed time so I picked up from where I left off.  Here is the finished mortise that once housed a couple of dowel holes.

Next step is to measure the dimensions of said hole and transfer these to a suitable offcut of matching silky oak.

  1. I used a set of vernier calipers to measure the cavity and  ....
  2. Transferred that measure to a marking gauge before scribing the block to be cut.
  3. Spear & Jackson did the honours, and ....
  4. Stanley cleaned up the plug and brought it down to a snug fit.

Here it is in place waiting for the glue to dry.
Once that happens it will be planed flush.

Time to cut the mortises ... in the top and bottom rails that will make up the frame.
The sides will have tenons top and bottom - I'll get to them shortly.

I decided to use my router to cut the mortises, as I had a router bit that was approximately 1/3 of the thickness of the timber. I mounted both top and bottom pieces together, and by setting the router fence once, both mortises can be cut by simply turning the router around and placing the fence on the other side for the second cut.  Doing it this way also provides a wider support base for the router to sit on.

  1. Each slot was cut using three passes of the router at a greater depth each time.
  2. Do the same with the second cut by rotating the router to the other side.
  3. The completed mortises side by side.

 There is a reason that I always think twice before cutting mortises with the router.

Yep - it throws wood dust everywhere.

Never get this problem when I cut mortices by chisel.

Truth be told - for a handfull of mortices, there is little difference in the time it takes - only in the mess that it leaves.

Time to cut the tenons.

  1. A tenon saw cuts both sides.
  2. Measure the tenons to suit each mortise.  This keeps them snug and tight by allowing for any variations in the sizes of the mortises.
  3. After cutting off the little nibs from each end, clean up the tenon shoulders and the tongue with a shoulder plane.
  4. I like to cut a small chamfer on both leading edges of the tenon tongue - helps it slide home more easily, and allows a little volume for the glue to pool inside the mortise. This helps prevent squirt-out.

Next time in Part III - I'll complete assembly and add some finishing touches.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Building the Wall Mirror

Once again, I have sifted through my stash of recycled timber to find suitable lengths from which to make the mirror.
It will be a simple affair with a touch of Greene and Greene in the design.
I found some lengths of well aged silky oak that had once been the frame of a cupboard door.
It was either originally made with unseasoned timber, or it was made none too carefully.
The lengths were neither straight nor evenly dimensioned.
They needed truing and squaring.

This piece had a hollow edge and had to be jointed before it could be ripped to width.
To help the number 8 plane remain at 90 degrees to the side during the cut, I used a Stanley jointer fence.  Because of the depth of this fence, the board had to be planed before ripping or it would foul on the vice on the way through.  Jointing before ripping also provides one true edge to run against the table saw fence.

Once ripped, the four sides are cut to length and the ripped edges are also jointed. Not as simple this time because the wood is too narrow for the jointer fence to pass the vice, so it must be removed.

Without the fence, it is important to continually check that the edge is square.

It is too easy to tilt the plane during the cut, creating a rise on one side.

All four boards need to be squared and trued in this way.

Some of the scars left over from the board's previous life.

The cupboard door had been assembled with dowelled joints - and just like tattoos, the marks are there forever.

These are unsightly and I will remove this section and fill it with a piece from a suitable offcut.

First step will be to cut the mortise.

Once the size of the mortise is established, then the appropriate sized filler piece can be cut to match..

This will be glued in place and planed back flush.

Before banging away with the mortise chisel, it is best to cut the sides with a paring chisel, so that the possibility of tear-out is minimised during the mortising operation.

This is an old Stanley - perfect for this job.

Righteeo - here we go.
The mortise chisel matches the width of the mortise for size.
Go at it and clean out that hole.

Next steps will be cutting the plug to size and gluing it home.

More next time.

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like ....

 Christmas Bush - planted many years ago by LOML, and it has finally graced us with some flowers. These start out white and turn a lovely red as they mature.

The red blossom at the base, is crucifix orchid flower.  An amazing plant that grows profusely and seems to thrive on neglect.  Just the thing for our garden.

Looking past these there is the last of spring's jacaranda blossom in the front paddock that adjoins my shed.

The shed is some ways from the house, and the hill walk is a great mini constitutional.  Time was, when I used to run the uphill leg as part of my I feel alive regime.  Not any more.  Tried it once or twice when the phone was ringing - never again.

Now, I know I'm alive when I get to the top because I'm still conscious - and usually panting.  

What's that old saying - 
...........the older I get the faster I was .......
One advantage of aging and its enforced pace, is the opportunity to see things that we hurried past before.

Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Another surprise greeted us this morning in the form of mama jill and young joe not more than a metre from our front verandah.  They had been feeeding here during the night.

They normally keep their distance from the house, but the grass must be extra sweet right there.

Joe found the bull-ant nest and near went into orbit.
What a sight!

The next shed project is a full length wall mirror for the walk-in wardrobe.
The frame will be silky-oak ala Greene and Greene.
Should be fun.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together ...

The ladies have arrived and are settling into their new home.  All are quite young and none of them seems to know how to perch for the night as yet. Maybe perching kicks in as they get older and start to lay.
They also don't seem to know what to do with fresh greens - laying pellets ... yum!  - fresh greens .... what the?  It's the same everywhere - how to get kids to eat their veggies ......!
And - yes - that is where I dump my sawdust and wood shavings. The girls seem to love it.

 Meanwhile back in the shed, work proceeds apace on the planes cupboard.

There were a few details to attend to before the carcass was ready to assemble.  Since the sides and middle would be resting on the benchtop, they needed some "feet" to give them stability.  Normally there would be a base, but I wanted the benchtop to be level all the way to the back, so feet would suffice.

These were made from old 2x1 radiata pine.  It needed to be reduced in size to fit the existing dadoes.  It was quicker to do this with my jack plane. It has a generous mouth and a radiused blade that takes nice thick shavings. Done in no time.

These were then glued to the sides to create the feet of the cupboard.

Next, the shelves needed attention.  Much easier to do this before assembly than afterwards.

Assembly comes next. If everything is prepared well beforehand, then assembly is quick and easy.

Like I said - I love it when a plan comes together.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Officially Summer

One of the beautiful things about the Australian landscape is the way the native vegetation changes its moods.  We have just transitioned from late spring to early summer, and some of the eucalypts are flexing their re-invigorated trunks and sloughing off their old bark.  The bush is bursting with vitality. I find myself energized by it.

This tree is on the way to my shed - It is a passing acquaintance.

It was shelf preparation time in the shed today, and I cut the particleboard to size before adding the facings.  These act as cosmetic covers to the laminated board end grain - if it can be called that.
The shelves are deep, and the facings are around 50mm wide.

The facings need jointing to ensure they are completely straight and square.  On short pieces like these, a number 6 sized bench plane is just about perfect. This is a Millers Falls 18C - look at those lovely shavings.

There are several methods for attaching these, but I decided to use biscuits.  Dowels would work fine, and perhaps even a tongue and groove joint.  Biscuits are easy and quick.  The facings and the shelf are marked together so that the slots line up after cutting.

Give the assembled edge a dummy run before adding the glue and clamping up.
Then - glue, clamp, clean up and set to dry.
Carcass assembly comes next, but that might have to wait.
Tomorrow is the big day when the grandkids and I pick up the chookies - Doris, Florence, Edith, Esther and Sarah (the chooks - not the grandkids)
Family time - yippee.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bubble and Squeak

When I was a little tacker, I recall Mum cooking up leftovers in the frying pan for Sunday night dinner.  It was always called bubble and squeak, even though it was never the same recipe twice in a row.
All I remember was -YUM!
Well, the leftovers that are coming together to make this cupboard will likely never be repeated, so I am thinking of naming it my bubble and squeak cupboard.
I have settled on one shelf divider-cum-mullion, as this makes the best use of the materials that I have available, and generates the least waste.
A couple of daggy old boards were glued together to create a panel wide enough to serve, but these needed some serious cleaning up afterwards.

I pulled out my low angle block plane - it's a little Millers Falls 56 - to clean up the glue line, and was enjoying the experience so much I just kept going - using it as a small smoother.  The timber is sugar pine and meranti, so is as soft as butter.

Trimming to size comes next. While Disston Keystone saws were not exactly their premier line, this one is lovely in the hand, and cuts sweetly.  Disston's advertisement for Keystones reads:
In Keystone made by DISSTON Hand Saws, the
Merchant has a good utility product - a line made in
grades that will appeal to home owners, farmers, stu-
dents and all others who are willing to pay only from
$1.00 to $2.35
for a hand saw.
........Hmmmmmmm, it says something about the quality of manufacturing at the time (c1935) when a utility line product is as good as this.
What the heck - I like mine.

The shelves will be supported in the middle of the cupboard by this mullion.  It is too narrow to cut dadoes in both sides, so I have decided to use the time-honoured technique of adding cleats.
Measuring both sides is easily done by transferring the measurements from one side to the other.  These have to match the dadoes that already exist in the two side panels.

The cleats are nothing more than some left over rippings from timbers used in making the bench.  Because they are hardwood, and in thin strips hardwood is prone to cracking when nailed, I pre-drilled the nail holes. I used cut nails that I found deep in the nether regions of my collection of screws and nail-type things. I think that these were a legacy of an estate bundle acquired somewhere along the way.  I know that nailing isn't even considered as a serious fixing method by some, but there are plenty of occasions when it works a treat.

A little of the woodworker's friend - old mate PVA - on the back of the cleats, and we are good to go.  Clean up the excess glue with a damp cloth.
A simple nosing piece will cover the front of the mullion and hides the cleats from view.  It also adds some visual width to the mullion - and you can't have too much visual width I always say.

Next steps will be the cutting of the shelves, and adding a facing to tart up the particleboard from which the shelves will be made.
Can't wait.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

What You Can Do With Leftovers

Shed time has been hard to find this weekend, as the rain-caused problems needed attention yesterday, and a trip to and from Coffs Harbour took up most of today.
As well, the tomatoes needed staking and the climbing beans had gone skyward without support. I was reminded of Jack and a certain giant. (Interesting little colonial story that one - use up all your own resources then go to another land and steal all the possessions of the inhabitant, before scarpering home and living happily ever ...)
I digress.
In trying to be more resourceful than Jack, I am pressing into service some re-cycled timbers collected from demolitions.
The bench is near complete. Last tasks were to panel the back for bracing, and to strengthen the unsupported particleboard shelf underneath.  Nothing fancy - a scrap of old masonite for the back and a piece of roughsawn roundback for the stringer.

The glued and screwed roundback stringer clamped to dry.

When I glued the nosing piece to the bottom shelf, I thought I had on hand more wood packers than were actually the case.  The glue was drying and I didn't have time to go cut some more - so - I did what every self deluding woodie does from time to time - I told myself that - just this once - it wouldn't matter, because the clamps would probably not mark the timber anyway.  
The evidence is before you in the next picture.
After I removed the clamps, I sent myself to the corner to write out a hundred times - I must not listen to the little voice of stupidity that lurks in the impatience zone of the cerebral cortex
Gnats with lobotomies don't make this mistake. 
Double Doh!

 The near complete bench.

Next step will be to construct the carcass for the cupboard that will sit atop the bench.
I have a couple of demolition panels that I thought were meranti (pacific maple).  Turns out they are veneered solid pine core.  Good and solid with plenty of stability. 

veneered solid pine core

These will form the sides of the cupboard, and as an added bonus, they are already dadoed.  
The spacings aren't what I would have chosen, but they are close enough.  
There will be a shelf divider-cum-mullion, (or maybe two, haven't decided yet) in the middle, which will need dadoes on both sides.

Pre-dadoed panels  - eeeh ha!

This week in the shed is going to be interesting.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wet, wet, wet!

Hard to believe we are in the same season of the year as we were a few days ago.  Wet and cool!
Lovely weather for getting things done, but PVA doesn't like it and refuses to dry or cure.  Activities in the shed have slowed down a bit as a result.
Nonetheless I did make some progress on the bench.
The front rail was attached and supports for the top installed.  Particleboard has a nasty tendency to sag if not supported, making these supports essential.
A nosing was attached to the front of the bottom shelf for added stiffness and to protect the edge.
And that is as far as I was able to go until the glue dries.
What's that clamp on the top I hear you ask - the world's oldest pipe clamp - Noah lost the other one during the great flood.

In the meantime here are some pix of a couple from our our back yard menagerie.  Since the covers went over the veggie gardens, this jill will have to teach her joey to eat grass like all the other kids instead of lettuce, beetroot, peas ..........................................

Just how joe fits inside jill's pouch is one of life's wonderful mysteries.  And she thought pregnancy was uncomfortable -sheesh!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wet Weather = Shed Time

It's wet, it's cool, and it's just the weather for spending time in the shed.
The bench and tool cupboard project is coming together nicely.  Today, the rear rail was mortised and tenoned, the top was prepared with a nosing piece, and the carcass took its first steps towards assembly.

First step was to cut the mortises in the legs with the trusty Makita. Unlike a traditional mortise, these will be open at the top because the brittle old hardwood disintegrated at that point when the router approached it.  No matter, the particleboard top will be screwed in place and covers this quite well.

Next step was to cut the tenons in the rail. This is a very old Blakeley Tenon Saw that still cuts like a dream. Check out that kerf.

 The roughed out tenons were then finished with a Stanley shoulder plane. This is an English made 93, and even though some poo-poo the quality of the English blades, I have found them to be fine in practice, and a joy to use.

With the rail glued in place and firmly clamped, it was time to add the shelf.  This will be an open cabinet bench, where the shelf will keep things off the floor and out of the way.  The front and rear have had a second thickness of particleboard added as stiffeners.  These were offcuts anyway, and better used than discarded. Glued and clamped with spring clips, they will dry overnight.

The particleboard top needs a nosing piece across the front to both protect the edge and to stiffen it.  I have cut a rebate in a length of matching hardwood, and glued this to the front edge.  Since this has glue faces at the front and underneath, it needs clamping pressure in both directions.  Tighten the clamps gradually, a little at at time, working along the row of clamps in sequence to pull it in snug in both directions.

An end view shot shows the rebate, and the directions that the clamping pressure needs to move in, to snug this up good and tight.   Good old PVA - what a great adhesive.

I can hear the rain tumbling down outside, and I am looking forward to tomorrow afternoon when I'll be ready to continue assembly.
Life is good!