30 May 2011

Cunning conversion...

The last technical article has been written for F&C, which was supposed to be a two page piece on ramped shooting boards. Two pages in the mag though, isn't a whole lot of space to describe how to make one, so having one of my frequent latteraly thinking brain waves, I decided to modify my existing one. The advantage of the ramped shoot is that more of the blade is in contact with the timeber, whereas in the ordinary version, it's only one small section that's in constant use.

The first pic shows my old, battered, tatty and coffee stained shoot... a bit worn but still accurate.

The simplest thing to do to modify the shoot was to saw off the plane runway and re-attach a new one, at an angle of round about 10deg or less. The bench hook end has been chiseled away to the right angle and then it's been fixed in place with a hefty couterbored screw...

...and the addition of a couple of wedges on the under side to level the whole thing up was the final little bit to do. The runway has been extended by around 60mm so that wider boards can be shot in without the No9 falling off the end of the shoot.

It's not happened yet, but with my track record, it's going to happen one day!

28 May 2011


Workshop activities have slowed down somewhat of late, due in no small way to the horticultural activities taking place in the garden, but amongst all the frantic activity, I've managed to get the next project under way...a tall Japanese floor standing lamp

As usual there were elements of the design that were a trifle perplexing, not least of which were the four the side panels. These have to be made from shoji paper (a translucent material) which tears quite easily...so how then to remove a panel easily so that the offending torn section could be replaced? I'm not sure how it's done in proper lamps, but I've decided to use rare earth magnets with four to each panel. The pic shows some of the rails, with a section cross-hatched, one piece of which will form a quarter of a panel. The rebate sits on the outside of the carcase and the frames then fit into the rebates...the holes that can be seen are for the rare earth magnets, as it's much easier to mark out and drill before the timber's been machined away.

Sounds complicated?...not really. The whole piece is fairly simple with straight forward m/t joinery and the only curvy bits in it (and I like curvy bits) will be in the handle. There are though, one or two interesting features of this little project that will be further elaborated on as I make it...so watch this space!

The second pic shows two of the four stiles with the mortises cut as I always do them...with a router. These have been left with round ends from the router bit and have yet to be squared out, an enjoyable half hour with small chisels. You can also just see the pencil marks for the long sections of the rebates which will eventually hold the shoji paper frames.

More to come, provided I can find time 'twixt shredding a mountain of branches, digging out tree roots out and interminable trips to the dump.

C'est la guerre...or similar.

14 May 2011

The Geat White Hunter...

The jungle that was the bottom of the garden is slowly being cleared and the hole where I'm now standing will eventually be part of a rather tasty 8x6' greenhouse.

After a hard slog in the hot sun, I've finally bagged my prize...this stump which is all that remains of a 25' high juniper tree.
Many weapons were brought into action on the day...spades assorted, an axe and one of two mattocks, but as this a woody blog, it might be of interest to discuss the edge on one of blades.

So just what is the most effective angle to hack through the tree roots? For many years I've favoured a triple bevel on some plane irons...23deg primary grind, 30deg honed bevel and a micro-bevel at 33deg so I thought that this sort of regime would be just the very ticket for my mattock, with the extra heft of the tool enabling me to take really nice, dainty chippings.

The mallet, made from a fencing post and an old cricket stump is a much treasured tool liberated at the end of my teaching career, and is so finely tuned with such a delicate balance that the Blue Spruce offering pales into the merest insignificance.

And what of the saw? A progressive rip tooth cut with just a smidgen of fleam or perhaps not quite so an aggressive cross-cut, with maybe just a tad more set? Or maybe I should have gone for the Japanese option and opted for a pull cut blade?

Who knows...my own opinion is that this entry is one big bit of fleam and if you've taken any of even half-seriously you're in desperate need for a glass or four of the good stuff tonight.

I know I will!

08 May 2011

Hellena Handcart

Having had a little break from woody activities in the 'shop (as I usually do once a piece has been finished) the material for the next job has been prepared...a floor standing Japanese lamp which has one or two features that might pose some interesting problems.

Such as how do I bend 6mm acrylic into a 90deg bend? I think I know to do it, but it's going to be an interesting exercise none the less. Material for this one is again in the last remnants of my original consignment of air dried English Oak which has lasted very well as a quick count-up in my head last night revealed that no less than five projects will have been made from it...good job I've got some more then!

This morning I've got a break from gardening duties as I'm taking the pics for my next technical piece in F&C which is honing using the Kell III guide. It's bound to set the cat amongst the wotsit's because when wasn't sharpening and honing a contentious issue amongst woodies? The truth be told...

...I ain't bovvered!

More astute readers might have noticed that the frequency of these dubious meanderings has slightly tailed off recently. The reason is that during quiet spells at work (which is most of the time) I used to get a Blog entry done during the week. However, such is the appalling IT system that we have to use, it won't really support the Blokeblog any more...the spellchecker (essential for me as you might have guessed) doesn't work, I can't upload pics and entries simply appear as one giant paragraph and have to be edtied when I get home, so all in all, it's intensely bloody annoying.

Clearly, the word is going to Hell in a handcart...tsk.

Things must be getting bad.

02 May 2011

TP on FB

SWIMBO and I had just had a very pleasant weekend staying at my brothers...nothing very unusual there, plenty of brothers do exactly that. We watched the royal wedding in the morning and then around twoish or so, set of for Norwell, near Newark, which I estimated to take us around 4 hours or so, taking into account a stopover for a brew.

My brother Rog has been on his own for years (though it's fair to say that there have been one or two ladies around at certain times) and I thought that this was pretty much the 'status quo' and likely to remain so for a long time to come.

However, things don't always work out quite how you expect and can sometimes take a very unexpected twist...not for the worst, but very much for the better in this case.

You see, the very nice lady in the second pic is called Theresa Paradise, or at least that's her maiden name and was when Roger last went out with her...

...in 1971 and even I, being an absolute bloody genius at sums, can work out that it's forty years ago!

Oh deary, deary me, the wonders of t'interweb and Facebook in particular!

Sometimes, even for a grumpy old sod like me, life can turn up some very pleasant surprises...