Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Gearing up the shop

As a newer woodworker, I got into this craft with existing tools and am working towards proper tooling and setup.
One thing I have learned is that having a tool in a particular category does not mean that you have a woodworker ready one.
For example, I have been given or inherited the following tools:
  • Craftsman miter saw -- this saw was so worn, the play made an accurate cut impossible. I gave this one away.
  • Skill Worm drive circular saw -- this saw has built many houses and taken a beating, nothing is at 90 degrees anymore. Plus it only takes 6 1/2 inch blades and is very heavy I am selling this.
  • Delta Benchtop drill press -- this thing is so not straight, that you can see the bit wobble with the naked eye. I tried removing the chuck and cleaning it and tried to knock it back into place but, no good. I need to sell this.
  • Craftsman 1/3 HP router -- This thing only had a 1/4" collet, and the base had play in it. The part that immobilized the collet to remove loosen the nut broke off. I gave this away
  • Craftsman 5 in grinder -- Being only 5 in wheels, you cant buy replacements. The hard wheels in this would only burn a chisel or plane blade. I sold for $10
Some tools that I bought over the years:

  • Craftsman 10" table saw -- this is fine for light home remodel but with a thin aluminum fence and non standard miter slots this thing was not made for precision. I sold it for $100
  • Black and Decker Jig Saw -- what an awful tool. The blade deflects terribly to the point that you get a random bevel on every cut. I gave this one away.
One fortunate thing about all of these lame tools is that they gave me time to play and learn before investing in tools. If I had jumped into buying sooner, I probably would have made poor choices, (I still might, just less poor).

I have started down the purchasing path and have already messed up some:
I bought a Lie-Nielsen Low Angle Block plane but the one without the adjustable mouth. Oops!
I thought that I could get by with just a shop vac for dust collection and got the Dust Deputy to keep the filter clean. What I have found is this is fine for sanders, hand held routing, biscuit joiners and other small things.

So far I have purchased the following based upon budget and reviews:
  • Dewalt Random Orbit Sander -- works fine for a ROS
  • Bailey/Stanley #4 with corrugated sole -- I tuned this up and it works really good. Very little rust was on it. The blade was in great shape. Everything flattened out nicely.
  • Ryobi belt sander that is a knock off of the Bosch model -- I like the low profile design that works well upside down and has plenty of power.
  • Porter-Cable Biscuit Joiner -- works great and is easy to use.
  • Kreg R3 -- not as fancy as the K3/K4 but does the job, I am not a production shop so I speed is not everything.
  • Veritas Mk2 honing Guide -- Works great
  • Rigid 6" Jointer -- Works real well
  • Rigid 13" planer -- I am very pleased with this, the preset depth gauge for dialing into common dimensions and the lack of snipe make me happy
  • Worksharp 3000 -- I tried the sandpaper method and the oilstones I inherited and they were real slow. With all the chisels I inherited, I wanted something to get me close to sharp faster. I am pleased with this tool. However, I plan on adding an 8,000 waterstone to finish the job.
  • Rigid 10" Compound Miter Saw -- does its job, I skipped the laser attachment.
  • Rigid 2 HP router -- Overall I like this router, it is light, the soft start makes it smooth. And having dual bases and compatibility with Porter-Cable Accessories are winners. My complaints are:
  1. The Magnesium tends to tarnish and whatever is forming on it makes it harder to move the base in relation to the motor.
  2. The plunge adjustment is awkward, would be better to have it built into one of the grips.
I ordered the following items in the last 2 weeks:
Penn State Dust Collector 1 1/2 horsepower Dust Destroyer, I was impressed by how quite this is and it runs on 110 power. The bag is a 1 micron.
Saw Stop Contractor model with the cast iron wings, professional fence and 52 capacity -- A well made saw that will meet my needs and if my fingers ever touch the spinning blade I could never forgive myself for not having a SawStop
Bandsaw - Grizzly G0457 14" band saw -- great reviews and a lot of band saw for the money
Dust Filter -- Jet AFS-1000B -- got a 1 micron filter and remote and not too pricey
Drill Press -- Rigid 15" Floor Drill press -- another review winner for accuracy and economy

I will try and post some pics and reviews in the future

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Guild class: Introduction to Handtools notes

Last Thursday, I attended the second class in the 10 part series. This one was on handtools. I found a lot of good information in the class. Especially when combining this class information with podcast, blog and magazine information. Here are some of the things that I found the most interesting.

  • The presenter prefers the Japanese style of marking gauge. With the wide fence and a knife instead of a pin for making the mark, this is better in his opinion. He finds the pin style to tear the fibers rather than slice them.
  • He also recommends Japanese chisels to Western chisels, he feels they stay sharp much longer. His suggestion is to go for a mid-priced set.
  • For old Stanley planes, he states that the chip breaker is really a blade stiffener. If it is tight to the blade and within a 32nd to the bevel that the original blades are plenty thick enough.
  • I learned what I was doing wrong when trying to put a cutting bur on my scraper. I was passing the burnisher along the length of the edge, whereas; I should have been performing a 'slide and pull' motion. This will pull the bur while rolling it.
  • Card scrapers come in different thicknesses. The thinner the blade the more gentle you can work with it.
  • He recommends the Lie-Nielsen Iron Miter plane for use with shooting boards.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Guild of Oregon Woodworkers

I recently joined the Guild of Oregon Woodworkers. In one month, I feel like my $36 of dues has been paid back. With discounts at local stores, low cost classes and seminars, networking with other woodworkers and a large library to borrow from. They even have a mentors you can request help from.

We meet once a month. Last one was at Cascade Specialty Woodworking which makes custom wood arches.

Next Month will be at Altura Furniture
I am also taking the Introduction to Woodworking class. More on that to come

Woodworking the beginning

I have got the woodworking bug of late. So it is time to start adding this topic to my neglected blog. Now for the back story.

How did I get into woodworking? A series of factors combined.
  • I grew up around wood. My dad was a contractor and my grandfather a carver. My childhood home was near the Vail Weyerhaeuser logging camp.
  • My father instilled a 'do for yourself' ethic. I have a hard time hiring someone to do work that I feel like I might be able to do it.
  • My 100 year old house is in need of a kitchen makeover
Combine all of these with the inheritance of many tools and the idea to make my own custom cabinets came easy. I created a plan to learn how to make cabinets, acquire the tools and practice the skills.
Upon opening up this door to woodworking, I could not leave it at just cabinets though. Shannon Rogers from The Renaissance Woodworker refers to himself as an ADD Woodworking, where he wants to try and do every aspect of woodworking. I would say that would refer to me as well.

The net is full of information on on the topic. Combine that with podcasts, magazines, books, DVDs and TV Shows and I have spent many many hours studying.

At this point my practical experience is low. Just when I was really getting going, I broke a bone in my hand while roller skating. Oopsie-doodle! I have one furniture project under my belt (which I will post as a separate article).

For this reason, I thought it would be good to chronicle someone as they really embark on the journey. I will try and post my learning, shop outfitting, successes, failures and projects.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Back again

Its been a bit, but time to return to this blog. The times I had to blog in the past were those times when it was impossible to do so. When I had access to the blog, it was at the times when riding, geocaching, rock-hounding and woodworking would lose what time I had to devote.
Now, blogging can be done anytime, so expect regular postings.