29 May 2013

Shoji stuff

Shoji panels simply consist of sticking a translucent paper to a frame...very, very easy to do and just about the quickest process in the whole of the lamp built.  Begin by making the frames which is fiddly as the material is 7x7mm, but if a 2.5mm wing cutter is used in the router table, the mortise for the bridle becomes easy enough to make, whilst the tenon is made using a straight forward parallel cutter.  The benefit of making them using the router table is that once complete, the frames will be flat and out of 'wind'.

The frames are finished with a couple of coats of Liberon Oil, then waxed, but it's crucial that the underside where the rice glue is applied is sanded clean afterwards.  Cut off a piece of paper well oversize and...

...tape it to the bench, 'show' side down, with the clean underside of the panel uppermost.

Apply the rice glue with the special adaptor on the bottle.  This ensures that an even bead is applied along the centre of the wood, then simple role the paper onto the frame and press down.

All the panels were done in exactly the same way and then left in a stack...

...between a couple of boards to dry overnight.  A little gratuitous plane gloatage adds some weight on top....

...after which the panels are sprayed with ordinary tap water and left for a couple of hours to dry.

 This has the effect of shrinking the paper and pulling it 'drum' tight.  Trim off the excess with a scalpel...job done!

23 May 2013

The 'Goldilocks' Syndrome...Deux

 A little more's been done on the Japanese lamp, namely the internal lamp fittings which have been made in 6mm acrylic (Perspex).  The reason for doing it this way is that any shadows cast by the lamp will be kept to a minimum.  This stuff is easy to work but doesn't like edge tools so a disc or belt sander is the best thing I've found for smoothing edges...then finish with a bit or sandpaper and a cork block.  The fitting consists of two 'L' shaped pieces with a bridge across the middle with all three bits being bolted together with 4mm nuts and bolts.

Firstly, assemble all the bits and pieces that are needed.  A bending jig (left) and a heating mask (right) with cramps set to the right opening, together with a chinagraph pencil (excellent for marking plastic).

A better shot is shown below of the heating template.  A standard hot air gun (paint stripper sort of thing) is best to apply localised heat from underneath...

...so that once the plastic has come up to about 140degF it goes straight into the bending jig.

If it's too hot, the acrylic will start to bubble (bad) and if it's too cold it will crack (even badder) when it's bent, so a little practice enabled me to find the 'Goldilocks' temperature when it was just right.

Once everything had cooled down and had been cleaned up, drilling the holes for the nuts and bolts was easy...no more than a couple of hours work all told for the whole exercise.

Shoji panels next...

21 May 2013

A Question?

Naturally enough, I like wood...and for anyone who does a lot of work with the stuff, who doesn't?  What I don't like...in fact I detest it, is throwing the stuff away, so I've developed a few devious strategies to organise the storage of 'the good stuff'.  The first pic shows the bigger boards stacked on end and held in place with a couple of cords tightened with camping guy ropes...having a big lump fall out (and it has happened, frequently) and also where it unfailingly seems to launch itself at your head is guaranteed to cause some sucking of the teeth together with some very rapid foot shuffling. 

Some nice boards in there though...English Walnut (the big one near the ceiling) together with American Cherry, lots of Elm, Teak and English Oak.

During my time with the MOD, I acquired several very handy, large storage crates, on of which is shown above for my collection of short, fat bits and another is shown below...

...which contains all the bigger bits of 'exotics' that accumulate.  African Blackwood, Teak, Indian Ebony, Cuban Mahogany, Purpleheart and one or two bits of Aussie burr timbers all live in here.  

Yet another box stores all my oddments of 'crap'...bits of mdf, small oddments of ply, which are useful at some point during a making process.

Anything too small for the green boxes lives in a drawer under the bench.  Stuff in here is usually small, maybe a bit longish and often a bit skinny, but always useful for all sorts of little jobs.

Under the sharpening table is a rack with all the fatter, shorter lumps that won't go anywhere else...Greenheart, Indian Ebony, a bit of Ash and one or two pieces of Mahogany.  Another rack...

...is positioned under the pillar drill, this time specifically for bits of Elm.

Storage for timber that's been roughly cut to condition is on yet another rack, just under the oil filled rad so there's a reasonable amount of heat there when it's on.  Shown on this rack are bits of English Walnut (top) recently cut for the new stand on the Double Square Cabinet, a large bundle of long thin bits of Oak for shoji lamp panels and one or two bits of Elm (bottom) which might form the basis of a cabinet later on.

Once the timber has been on this rack for anything up to six months, or even more, it's moved... 

...to another rack under the take-off table ready for use, as this will be the next project to be made.  Shown here is a pile of English Oak for a wall hung cabinet with a thick board at the bottom which will be a curved door.

A puzzle...and one that I've never been able to solve. 

 The answer isn't 42!

But it might be......

18 May 2013

Gimme me a break!...

Sometimes stuff just isn't 'right'...end of, full stop, period.

I finished the walnut cabinet on a stand a while ago and positioned in the lounge.  To begin with, it looked great and I couldn't see anything that looked out of place.  The cabinet itself was fairly chunky...as it was intended to be and the doors lined up perfectly.

Happy bunny so far...but the more I glanced at the stand, the less enthusiastic I became about it...it just didn't look right.  The colour contrast was too great, but the most annoying thing is that the legs (at 32mm square) are just a mite too chunky.

The more I glanced at it, the more certain I became that something had to be done.

So last Saturday, some more legs and rails in English Walnut were cut (well over size) and are now quietly conditioning in the 'shop.  With any luck and a following wind, the new stand will be a nice little project for next winter.

In the meantime, I have to finish off the current Japanese lamp by making the shoji panels (frames are already made) then repeat the performance by re-making the panels on another lamp (this time in English Oak), then make a curved door, wall hung cabinet in Oak...

Wish I had a Kit Kat.

08 May 2013

Ipe Ki Yay...

There's been a fair bit of progress on the Japanese Lamp project, without, I'm happy to report, any dire or assorted 'cock-ups' , which for me, dear peruser, is a bit of a bloody miracle!

The first pic above shows the various smaller components hanging from a line and if you've ever been to Naples, you'll know exactly what they remind you of.  Masking off the pre-glued Doms and suspending them from a cord means that I was able to finish all sides in one hit, using a couple of thin coats of matt Osmo-PolyX (great stuff by the way)

Once all the interior surfaces were dry and waxed, it was time for a trial assembly of the lower panels, made in Ipe, or Brazilian Walnut (band sawn veneers over 4mm ply).  No real Doms used here, but 5mm bits of ash cut to the right size.

Having checked it all, there were three gluing stages to get to the point above, where a long 22" jointer was used as a 'super-smoother' to level each of the sides, after which the....

...router could be used (with an extended base) to make the rebates all round for the shoji panels.  With the corners squared out, the exterior frame was polished and waxed.  The eight little stubs were then individually marked with Roman numerals using a 3mm chisel...

...and if you click on the pic to enlarge it, you can clearly see the markings.  This means that by aligning the 'III' on the shoulder with the 'III' on the frame, the stub, once shot in and sanded, will fit...

...exactly with no 'step' or overlap.

Clever, ain't it?

Once the stubs were hung out and polished (as before) they were glued in place...

...a pair at a time.

However, that's not quite the end of the saga, because I had a small parcel of Ipe left over and I found that it's one of the nicest cabinet woods that I've ever used in a long time. Being somewhat of  a parsimonious old git I decided not to waste it, so I made a small...

...box out of it.

Delving through my off cuts drawer under the bench, I discovered a bit more, so there's a very good to middling chance that I'll make another even smaller box...

Next on the lamp will be internal electrical fittings in acrylic (bending thereof) and making the shoji paper screens, using 7x7mm cherry...an interesting little exercise in itself.

01 May 2013

The 'Right' Angle

For a number of years now, I've been using a Kell III honing guide,  which in combination with a few 'bench hook' projection boards, enable a particular honing angle to be repeated each time.

So far, so good.

This is a shot taken a while ago and you can see that there are a couple of boards for Bevel Up (BU) and the one in the foreground is for Bevel Down (BD) blades.

I've also been exclusively using LV BU planes, with a bed angle of 12deg, so in theory, to get more or less the correct honing angle or around 45deg, I should have been using the BU board, top right.

Except I wasn't.

Some while ago, those boards were replaced with others and I never got around to making the correct individual board for the BU blades...I kept on using a 30deg one, which of course meant that my effective pitch was now 42deg, which for practical purposes is a mite too low.

So how did this wondrous discovery come about?

I've recently been using some American Cherry, which is pretty benign stuff, but there's a tendency for it to 'tear' on the quarter sawn face...which was happening quite alarmingly as I was merrily planing away.  I then went back to the honing station and had a look at the projection board I'd  been using...

...and then the penny dropped!

I've now made another little board with a projection of 40deg, so now my effective pitch on all my BU blades is 52deg...

...and no more 'tear out'.