Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Few Awesome Tools

So I was going through the shop doing the big cleanup and I came across these awesome tools. Obviously they are awesome just because of the kind of tools, drawknife, froe and hatchet, but especially because of where they came from. Last summer I served as Chaplain (Padre) for the Greenwood Cadet Summer Training Center and the Cadet Padres from the Maritimes gathered for training in Halifax. Quincy, one of the other Padres, had been these tools at home and had not been using them, but we had been talking about wood working at the training during break time and realized we were not only friends but also kindred spirits. A while later he showed up at Greenwood with these for me. Wow! Now I need to find a special place for them so I am reminded of a good friend when I see them and use them.

By the way, I could not say enough good about the Cadet program and the summer camps. They too are awesome.

O, the cleanup is posted up with a few new pages here.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Questions About Recycling, Reusing In the Midst of the Big Clean

As I was cleaning off my old mono-tube lathe and its base, I of course came across my old oil tray. This is just a cookie sheet with a stand off to hold a wire tray. When I turn things like tops, mushrooms, spatulas and the like I dip them into a mix of vegetable and mineral oil and leave them in the tray to drip dry. These oils are not harmful to the environment, edible, an supposed non drying. They get absorbed into the wood and can be renewed easily. People with wooden cutting boards and spatulas or spoons in the kitchen are supposed to re-oil them once a month. It may not happen, but we should.
So now those non-hardening oils have hardened to a solid mass around the wire mesh and congealed to a disgusting slop with wood dust and shavings in the tray.

The only way to salvage this is to take it in the house and wash it in the auxiliary sink. There is no way my wife is going to let it in with the dishes and I do not blame her. I had to first scrape out the tray and use a wire scrub brush on the tray. Lots of cleanser later, it looks pretty good.

It must have taken a good hour or more, lots of elbow grease and too much cleanser down the drain. I am a recycle nut. The wood I use is mostly firewood and landfill with a bit of farm grown exotic thrown in for pens. The shavings are used for mulch and compost, mostly compost. Any leftover pieces of wood are kindling and firewood and the ashes go in the compost pile. We recycle plastics and paper and anything else we can. On the other hand, two minutes and two bucks in the dollar store would have replaced this setup easily. Sometimes doing what is right takes time and effort. Looks good though and kind of satisfying. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Winter in Nova Scotia as the Cleaning of the Workshop Continues

While I am still cleaning the workshop, the year goes on and the snow falls. It takes a fair amount of time to write up and post the activity in the workshop and some things are really delayed getting to the web. In this last section I posted I got to the corner of the shop where the lathes live.

This was back on January 27 and I finally got it posted. We had a bit of snow back then.
Since then I have shoveled a bit. This next shot was taken on Feb 15, say two, two and a half weeks later.
More snow coming they say. Looks like winter to me. I need the exercise anyway.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Just Keeping On Cleaning

Man alive there is a lot of stuff in this shop. No wonder my wife calls me a packrat. I would hate to think what it would cost to replace this mass of tools and accessories. Of course they were picked up one at a time or received as gifts. Some of them were inherited from my father-in-law who apprenticed as a lad as a wooden ship builder and was an amazing wood worker. A couple of years ago one of my uncles showed up with 3 lathe tools that had belonged to one of my grandfathers. I have an absolutely sweet double bladed limbing axe from my other grandfather and a peavy that my dad used as a kid. Lots of memories.

As I was looking at the assortment of pictures from this cleaning section I came across this lamp stand.

It is really a general purpose stand. It has a weighted base, a clip on lamp, and a movable platform, threaded for a camera, at the end of an arm. This is really handy and I have to do a better writeup on it for the tip section one of these days.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Lesson From My Shop Vac

As I was working my way through the workshop cleanup I used my shop vac a lot of the time. It is fantastic for getting at that fine dust that the machines especially kick up. However, I noticed that I was getting less and less suction from it and the motor was obviously working harder with fewer results. I opened up the machine.

Inside I found that the filter was a disaster. Shop vacs like mine and the vast majority of them out there in the real world are wet/dry machines. You can suck up dry dust or wet sludge with them and more than once they have been used to simply pick up puddles of water from the floor. So the interior environment tends to be damp.

My machine like most has a foam filter around the little cage inside around the motor. The filter was so packed with fine dust caked to it that was preventing air from flowing and the motor to work so hard it was in danger of overheating.

Enter your lungs. When you breathe in you pull in that fine dust just like your shop vac. The inside of your lungs is damp just like your shop vac. Fine dust cakes to the lining of your lungs just as it does to the foam filter. The more it cakes the harder it is for your lungs and therefore your heart to work. this is decidedly unhealthy.

I took the filter and washed it and dried it and reinstalled it. This is hard (I hesitate to say impossible with medicine these days) to do with a set of lungs. The better idea is to prevent the cake in the first place. Get a good cartridge mask and use it. Replace the air filters at reasonable intervals. Take care of your lungs, you only get one set and turning wood is a lot more fun if you can breathe.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Really, It's All About the Wood - And the Friends

Some new pages on the great shop clean are up.

As I was cleaning through the shelves, a long and reflective happening, I came across a bunch of flat pieces. Some of these were small sections of well grained log that should make decorative plates. Others were pieces that I will likely use for glue plates and the like. Some I will possibly thread as faceplates. Regardless, these are all hardwood sections and now well dried. These would come at a cost as there are more than a few board feet here.

I was reflecting on how good it is to have friends and how fortunate I am. I buy very little wood. Most of this came from friends who were going to dispose of it somehow and thought to call. Some others came simply because friends who cut firewood for a living found too nice a piece to be burnt and thought of me. Big or small, the thoughtfulness makes it worth a lot.

Friday, February 06, 2015

More Cleaning, More Wood, It's Coming Along

 I am continually amazed at the amount of wood we throw out in the province of Nova Scotia every year. The great stuff that get burned as firewood is at least firewood but still there is a great deal of wastage. I once watched a pallet mill make some bird's eye into pallets for shipping because that was the next wood in line. They would not let me buy the wood or the pallets.

As I continue to clean up the shop I continue to come across gems in the woodpile. Some of it is beautiful wood while other pieces teach me about the wood itself, how it moves and cracks and adjusts. We are privileged to play with such wonderful material.

I have found a super hoard on the next shelf as the clean up goes on.

There is everything from butternut to maple to ash and even some basswood to carve. Too bad I have to wait to use it until I am finished the great clean.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

New Beginner's Project - Make a Mallet

I am getting tired of cleaning the workshop, which is not to say I have stopped, just gotten bored with it. However, it does go on, and on and on and - you get the picture. Sometimes I think I could be a hoarder, but then the whole thing gets to me and I clean up whatever I can.

Anyhow, as I was looking through some of the stuff on the computer, I found some pictures I had taken a while ago on making a woodworker's mallet, one of those things we keep around the shop for swatting the piece of wood that won't move and that sort of thing.

Anyway the project is up at Workshop Mallet. This is one of the exercises in Milton and Wohler's book but there it is just a measured drawing. It is a good beginner's project although I find it a useful thing in the workshop as well. The jaws I make for my OneWay chuck are a neat rig for getting the handle set right in the head. Take a look.