15 June 2014

Dropping Ducks

I happened to be doing a little machining today on some odds n'sods and noticed that despite my best efforts,  the Camvac 286 wasn't quite producing as much suckage as it ought, which was mildly disconcerting to say the least….stuff was flowing, but not nearly with the same gusto as before.

Puzzled, I was….

I started to look at the joints between all the gates, 'T's and pipes etc and all seemed tight.  All nicely bound with duct tape, with a pair of plastic ties on each to make them air tight  Then I noticed a couple of gates weren't closing properly by around 3mm, allowing air to leak past….not much, but enough.

The gates in question opened horizontally, allowing a build up of grunge in the groove, so there was nothing for it but to remove the culprits , clean them out with a 2mm Allen key and re-assemble the system so that all the gates, including the two offending ones, now opened by pulling vertically downwards.

It's little things like this that make all the difference, so it's worth paying a bit of attention and getting all one's 'ducks in a row' when the system's installed.

Which I clearly didn't first time round.


11 June 2014

Normal service will resume shortly…..

Many years ago, if my ongoing decrepitude still serves me, the TV wasn't too reliable and seemed to me, at the time, to be always going 'off-air'.  You'd then here a frightfully posh, perfectly articulated, genuine BBC Queen's English announcer saying that …

…."normal service will resume shortly" or so I seem to remember at the time.

The delivery yesterday of this bad boy from Axminster...

….means that like the early days of the BBC, normal service will be resumed shortly in the 'shop.  At present, I've got around five jobs stacked up all over the place that need the services of this bit of kit. They include, in no particular order, a picture frame, a jewellery box, a big Alan Peters style cabinet, and a large chest of drawers as well as load of little boxes for the craft fair next month.

Onwards and upwards...

05 May 2014

Devious Dealings.

Those of this readership who've got nothing better to do with their time on this glorious Bank Holiday Monday will have, by now, have realised that…''summat's up"  Previous posts hinted that devious dealings were afoot, so it's probably now time to come clean and reveal all…as the actress said to the bishop.

I'm going to try out a couple of craft fairs in Salisbury at the Guildhall this year, the first on the 19th July and the second on 2nd Dec, just in time for Christmas.  To that end, the organisers requested some information and a pic for an e-flyer.  I duly obliged with the image below:

…and decided to use it as a cover photo on Facebook.  My friend Ian Styles, the MD of Axminster Tools & Machinery immediately replied that he'd have to 'unfriend' me as I was leaning against such a noxious bit of equipment, to which I replied that I'd buy one from him if he offered a suitable 'inducement'…which I subsequently did and for which I'm very grateful.

However, Ian's email to me dropped into my inbox at around 11pm and the first line consisted of less that ten words reading something along the lines of…

"Here's a simple question.  Do you want a job?"

Now I do like an occasional tipple of something, but this time I nearly fell of my chair without any assistance and suitably gobsmacked, I chortled all the way up the stairs to bed.

I replied that I'd love to work for him, subject to conditions of service so that over the course of several weeks, we sorted out the 'what' and the 'how' of my employment.  In essence,  Ian, being a long time 'dipper' into the Blog, liked my scribblings and offered me a job as a copywriter for the company.  Having just retired, I didn't want to take up a full-time salaried position, so we've agreed that I'll be working from home for 27 hours a week with one or two (as required) days a month at Axminster HQ.

As an aside, you'll note that the big grey lathe is a serious bit of kit.  You'll be equally pleased to note that as I'm a bit of novice wood spinner, they'll be few references to the 'dark side' as the cock-ups will happen with such mind numbing regularity I'd need a whole new blog to document them.

22 April 2014

Hell's Teeth!

Having past my 60th birthday a couple of years ago, I'm delighted and just ever-so-slightly bowled over to have been headhunted.   There can't be many folk who've started their retirement and then find that totally new career path opens up in front of them.

More details to follow. 

16 March 2014

The bloke.co.uk

I'm going to dip a toe into the slightly dubious world of craft fairs and to that end I've got a couple of gigs booked this year.  The first is in July and the next at Christmas, both to be held at the Guildhall in Salisbury.

I've no idea if anything I make will sell, but as part of the promotional aspect, it's been suggested that I have some business cards printed so that they can be given out at the events.  SWIMBO thought it would also be good idea to have my website details on the cards as well so a couple of weeks ago we nipped down to PC World and bought a package for less than £30 which enabled her (note 'her'…not me) to build a fairly respectable, four page site.  It's not uber-comprehensive, but there's enough information given for anybody interested to make further enquiries…I hope.

At last…a 'bona fida' sawdust producer!

11 March 2014

Anarchy and the Angle

A curious and interesting title for this entry, n'est pas?  Let me expound further.

I'm currently around two thirds the way through my signed, genuine, cotton pickin', geetar plucking', USA copy of Schwarz's tome, 'The Anarchist's Toolchest' and if you haven't dipped an eyeball into it over your breakfast muesli, then I strongly suggest you do.

It's a good and amusing read, even making allowances for the dang Americanisms that pepper the plot.  I agree with the man on around 98% of his observations, bearing in mind that we as woodworkers are all odd buggers and as such, approach the craft in different directions.

In the section on tools he mentions the ubiquitous scraper plane as being a desirable addition to the chest and in particular, the tried and tested No. 80, updated in recent years to a much superior (in my view at least) version by Lee Valley.  In the same breath, Schwarz also notes that an unnamed, large scraper plane is a more or less a complete pain in the arris to set up…the blade is straight and if not bowed or curved, the corner will dig infuriatingly into the job.

He also mentions that part of the issue with this unnamed, large scraper plane is setting the correct angle for the blade and on both counts, Schwarz is correct.

Not being a plane collector in any way shape or form, I happen, by the merest chance to own both of these scraper planes and knowing that the Veritas No. 80 is set correctly, I wondered how to replicate the angle in the LN 112.  The answer is, as always, very simple.

Place the LN 112 at the far edge of the bench and undo the adjusting screws then grab the LV 80 and place side by side with the 112.  On bended knee, squint across the two planes as you would do a pair of winding sticks and twiddle the LN 112 screws until the blade is parallel with the LV 80.

A swift test on a gash bit of oak showed that with the correct angle, the LN is a vastly different tool to use.  All I need to work out now is how to put a gentle curve on the blade at the corners to stop it digging in...

03 March 2014

Oh no…not ANOTHER box!

Back in the summer last year, I had a bit of spare cash and decided to splash out on some more timber to replace my somewhat depleted stocks.  Apart from buying some prime, clean, straight boards of English walnut, a couple of big slabs of elm and a rather tasty chunk of burr elm, I managed to persuade the proprietor (with a little bit of arm tweaking) to part with this uber-sexy, quite spectacular lump of Turkish walnut which was eventually destined to end up as a shotgun stock.

With some very careful planning and even more careful cutting, there was just enough material to make a small jewellery box with a Krenovian style panelled lid.  One of the dovetail corners is shown below:

…with the box dry assembled, also shown below.  The arrows indicate the two surfaces where the lid will sit, so it's vital that these are 'out of wind' or not twisted when the box is glued.

The components for the lid have been cut and I intend to joint them tomorrow with 5mm Doms but again, as with all the current projects, this one is going to come to a grinding, shuddering, halt as I don't have a router table to sort out the grooves for the panel.  That said, I ought to be able to sort out the interior tray from the odds n'sods that have been left over.

I'm now puzzling though, how to make one of those squishy things to hold rings…dare say I'll get it sorted somehow.

26 February 2014

A camera click in time...

After a hiatus of a couple of months, it's about time I resumed an account of activities in the 'shop…or not as the case may be.  Two major projects that have been started have come to a grinding halt, simply because I now lack a router table, having sold the Charnwood W650 table saw (where I'd built a router table into the extension side).

However, all is not lost, as I've had a UJK cast iron router table, complete with all the trimmings, on order from those lovely people at Axminster since just after Christmas, the only slight downside being that the expected delivery will be around mid-April.

This unforeseen break in proceedings has allowed me to concentrate a little more on my wood turning as I've decided to dip a toe into the craft fair waters and have a couple of events booked in July and December at the Guildhall in Salisbury.  Around ten days or so ago, the organisers were trying to sort out an e-flyer and requested some info and pics, so I took a couple...

…the first showing a selection of little odds n'sods that I'd turned (as well as a few boxes).  More importantly, they wanted a mug shot, so I duly obliged and took a….

…. 'selfie' leaning against my little Record lathe.  I thought it was quite a good pic, so decided to use it as the cover on my Facebook page, the result of  which had a couple of very interesting and quite unforeseen developments.

Now I bet that's left you wondering, init?