29 January 2010

Combination Square

The Dan's Shop minimal toolset description of measurement equipment is as follow: Framing square w/ Veritas square fence  (I like this fence, but wish it was thin on both sides, so I could use it on 3/4 stock in left and right orientation ), 6” square, 6” combination square  ... Worth drawknife; ... marking gauge (cutting)

Dan's framing square w/ Veritas square fence  is functionnaly similar, but bigger and from different origin  than my only square, a Sandvik (now Bahco) 250 mm (10'') square.  The Sandvik square is a fully metric as the fence is exactly 10 mm wide,  making it easy to switch from internal to external measurements. The fence only protrudes 4 mm (<1/4''),  in that aspect it is an improvement on the Veritas fence.
Thinking about it, having a bigger square could be more comfortable when marking panels and Bahco squares come in four sizes. On the other side of the spectrum,  a small (combination) square is also an improvement when drawing out cut outs and hole positions, or checking depths.

I looked on ebay and found the Bahco 400mm squares in the UK, but also Bahco combination 6'' squares. Those are possibly end of series, as they are unmentioned in the catalogue.  So I went for a, now cheaper, Bahco combination square and added a Wolfcraft 500 mm fenced square found in a DIY shop

27 January 2010

Minimal toolset

Where to start with woodworking? When looking at high profile woodworking blogs it is more probable (according to Paretto) to find a page discussing the 7th plane in a personal collection, than a page discussing the first plane.  So in some ways blogs knowingly present a distorted view of necessities.  A first step is to hunt down blogs and sites for the needed tools.  With needed tools I mean, that there is no excuse to start a project once those are bought.

Modern Woodworking
Popular Woodworking implemented the idea of a 'minimal' toolset thoroughly with the I Can Do That projects and toolset.
  • (combination) square 
  • tape measure
  • jigsaw
  • coping saw 
  • miter saw
  • (circular saw)
  • drill (corded or cordless) 
  • rasp and file
  • random orbit sander + #120 #150 #200
  • block plane
  • two sided oilstone + oil
  • biscuit joiner or pocket hole kit 
  • hammer and nail set
  • bit screwdriver with bits: small, medium and large slotted, #1 and #2 square drive and Phillips 
  • workmate
  • clamps 
Minimal Hand Tool Sets
For hand tool sets there is some choice although 'minimal' is mostly a problem.  Dan from Dan's Shop works out the toolset problem by proposing  (1.) the toolset used to make a shaker cupboard, (2.)cleans up doubles to have a minimum toolset and finally (3.) the tooolset that could build a similar cupboard less some more advanced tools or techniques.
  • workbench
  • sawbench 
  • 8” brace
  • auger bits
  • twist bit
  • claw hammer
  • nail set
  • Phillips head and flat screwdrivers
  • 6” square
  • framing square with Veritas Square Fence 
  • awl
  • pencils
  • marking knife 
  • 6’ folding rule
  • marking gauge (cutting)
  • Stanley # 5 jack plane
  • Stanley #18 block plane
  • drawknife 
  • card scraper 
  • half-round single cut file
  • 1/4" - 3/4" chisel
  • 20” cross-cut panel saw (12 tpi)
  • 26” rip saw (5 ½ tpi), 
  • cross-cut back saw (12 tpi)

24 January 2010

Tenon shootout

I looked at the Fine Woodworking Tenon Shootout: Hand vs. Power Tools  to get a few ideas about tenon and mortise technique.
I pass for the power tools part as it was done with a dado blade on a table saw.  For now the only item that is not on my buying list, is a table saw, as it looks scary, although it has a great sound compared to handheld power tools.  Unless I put the dado blade on a radial arm saw?  No, no no I .... have not enough room.

The hand made tenons where made slowly.  I had expected some Rob Cosman speed and focus on the task, to match the power tools cutting speed, but no.  Much time was refining the tenon with a shoulder plane.  And possibly most of it pushing and pulling the tenon in and out the mortise as the tenon was fitted deeper and deeper.
I looked for older texts to get a better overview of handmade tenons and found some.  Frank Klausz probably summarises it best, in a more recent text,  by saying that no finishing is needed on a tenon as rough wood presents a better gluing surface. So the saw marks can stay, as they improve the gluing process.  The fitting should be between feather light and mallet fit-able.  Fitting, when needed (as it is beginner stuff), is done with a rasp.  The good news is that I can cross those expensive shoulder planes of my buying list, and just use my rasps.

The next question is it possible to simplify fitting?  The tenon shootout used machine made mortises,  what means they are already similar and straight. This means that something with the same dimensions as the mortise profile can be used.
- A first tool to help fitting could be using  a profile gauge. This allows to control the profile of the tenon.  A lockable calliper can be used as a profile gauge.
- A second tool should be able to control the alignment of the tenon.  Here a combination square can show if he tenon is in line with the rest of the piece.

22 January 2010

Assembly table

Looking for working surfaces in my chop, I found the assembly table of Garry Katz. It is based on the Smart Table  I think it can be interesting as it offers something like an assembly table combined with a cutting table.  By lack of a table saw, a cutting table that is extendible to the full size of a piece of mdf or plywood is interesting.

Shopnotes proposes a lightweight wooden folding worktable.  That could be a good starting point for the base of an assembly table.  I want to conceive one that is build with a single sheet of 12 mm plywood and a few extra's, like the base of the legs for example can best be made of hardwood. With 12 mm plywood I think it is just possible to use a biscuit joiner.  The most difficult part seems now to make the folding legs working correctly.

For the top rails I think that inversed T's cut as a french cleat system can deliver a cheap solution,  without the need of a large amount of hardware.  

18 January 2010

The workshop

I have a workshop. Years (the decades type of years) ago I levelled the dirtfloor , dug out a grease pit, added a door to close the entrance, and spent a week on the roof to realign the roof tiles. My problems are now the cold in the winter, birds in the spring and the disappearing floorspace. As I always have a few open projects in my mind, that stay open. I have decided to go for a new start, clean up the workshop, learn in books and on the internet, get 'some' new tools, realise a few projects and start a blog for accountability and focus.