Saturday, March 15, 2008

Media Magnate

Brian's Garage Workshop is stepping outside the garage (literally) to give you our first streaming video.Well, its really just a cool time lapse of me building a swingset for my kids, but I DO use wood, so it counts.

Since this is my first time doing this, I'm going to try a few different services to see which is the best.

Here we go...

...and heres the blogger player...

[removed.its crappy]

And i suppose we'll try Blip TV as well...

and hires..

another attempt at hires...

For those that are curious, this was shot with a Nikon D200 SLR and 18mm lens.one exposure was taken every 12 seconds and the pictures were simply strung together at 15 frames per second making 1 second of video time = 3 minutes of realtime.It compressed ~6 hours of working time into 2 minutes.I think i might try this technique in the shop when i am going to be out there a full day working on a project.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Skynet is self aware

Hi all.I came to a realization today thanks to quasi-anonymous commenter David (aka runningwood).

I was sitting in a meeting at work when a mysterious email came across my handheld device.It said "Anonymous has commented on your blog."I had only had one other comment in the entire history of my blog and figured that one came from somebody happening across my little corner of the internet by happenstance, or perhaps with the help of the "next (random) blog" feature at the top of all blogger pages.

I read David's comment and thought - "holy crap, people are actually reading this thing.I dont know how they found me, but they found me."then i read further on davids comment and he said he learned of my site from THe Wood Whisperer.

"cool" i thought.I had used this site as 'my website' when commenting on Marc's blog in the past. "somebody must have clicked on my name in one of the comments and found it" i thought as my meeting dragged on past 6pm.

A little more digging and i come to find that I was listed on the TWW Network webpage as a full on amatur woodworking blogger.imagine my surprise - i guess Marc is really on top of the whole woodworking blogger thing.I have been up there for a month almost and nobody bothered to tell me. (thanks for the heads up, Marc...)

Well, since people are actually paying attention i suppose i should be a little more diligent in putting up content.Here is an explination of why things have been slow around here for about 3 weeks...

1) I am in full on finishing mode.blogging about finishing sucks.I take all my pics with my cameraphone and try as it might, it really cant discern between wood that is fresh off the planer vs. wood that has been sanded to 320.

2) I have had to do some actual work at my job the last 3 weeks.this cuts into my blogging time as i was spending a couple hours a day writing about furniture-building instead of tending to my spreadsheets.I will hire someone tomorrow to do the spreadsheets so i can get back to this site.

3) I have been saving up for a massive finishing post that takes you through the process on the hourglass table from start to finish - it seems to flow better this way.

Here is a quick update in advance of the big finishing post.I pre-finished all the pieces BEFORE glue up on this one.this is my first time trying this and it worked pretty good.all the major components are more or less through their full treatment and the table is glued together and i am afixing trim over the next few days.

Here is the most recent pic.the thin pieces of wood you see lying on the table are the edge banding for the plywood shelf and for the underside of the apron.

I am having some cupping issues with the top, but i will address those in a future post.

thanks to everyone for reading.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Hourglass Table Dry Fit

It's all coming together now.With the mortises in the apron stock complete, all the substantial cutting for the table is almost done.Today I dry fit the table together and took the measurements for the lower shelf that I laminated up last week (it turned out fine - i will definitely use this method again.)

With those measurements in hand, sizing the shelf took about 10 minutes and I was able to see the table in its rough final form.Here are the pics:

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Thank God for Tivo

I have been gripping over exactly how I was going to cut this mortise in the 45 degree angled surface at the end of the aprons for the hourglass table.My foray into poker chip racks was really just my postponing the cut I had no idea how to make.Then, Tivo saved my sanity.

I have my Tivo set to record Woodworks every weekend and lo and behold, this weekend David Marks was working on a project where he made this exact cut.Here is my adaptation of his method--i built a jig that would hold the apron stock at 45 degrees to the routerbase.

First step is to create a box that can house the apron stock at an angle and accomodate a top that sits parallel to the floor.here is its skeleton, with the top removed.

Here is the entire jig with one of the aprons clamped into place.

The box is not a snug fit for the apron stock, so I wedge it onto place to keep everything square and stable.

And here is a view looking down through the opening in the top of the table at the mortise that is about to be cut.if you look closely, you can see where the mortise has been marked out.

Now cutting the mortise is as simple as using an edge guided router to make the plunge cut.I took special care to make certain that the reference edge of the top is square to the sides of the box, and therefore ultimately square to the piece being cut.Here is the setup:

And here is the result:

For those that are interested, here is David Marks method

Friday, February 15, 2008

Why Dust Collection is Overrated

Before I get to the dust collection commentary, let me update you on the Poker Chip Trays.  I spent another 2 hours tonite and drilled out the last blank and started gluing them up.Here is where I am so far, about 3.5 hours in.4 trays are glued up and 2 more are waiting for the final assembly.

OK, so much for the update.In making these, I used the bandsaw, the tablesaw and the drill press.I hook up a shop vac to my bandsaw when i am using it, and it does a pretty good job of collecting the dust.Here is what was produced from this operation:

The table saw was used to crosscut the racks to length and to clean up the bandsawn edges. I didnt bother to hook up my shop vac to the dust bag i have underneath the tablesaw.Here is the dust it created.

not bad huh?That leaves only the drill press.I have seen some god-awful rig-ups that people use for collecting dust from drill presses and lathes, but they seem clumsy at best.I bet in most shops WITH full blown dust collection the drill press is not connected to the central system.So while a fully plumbed dust collection system would have saved me the "hassle" of cleaning up the mess in the two pictures above, it would have done me no good cleaning this up:

are you kidding me?for reference, the base of that drill press is 4" tall. Here's some interesting math--i drilled 15 holes 1 5/8" in diameter ~2 1/4" deep.Thats a total of 70 cubic inches of material, which is just over a liter.

I learned 2 things building these trays.

1) it doesnt take a lot of material to make a really big mess (1L of wood = that big ass pile, which filled up my 5 gallon shop vac.)

2) Dust collection would have saved me about 2 seconds of clean up on this particular job.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Friends Are Dorks

I have a few friends (more than a few, actually) who are avid poker players.The recent popularity of televised Hold-em tournaments has only served to further fuel their passion for the game.They play a regular game every other Wednesday.Over the years, the game has gotten more and more sophisticated and we (royal we, I mean they) are now to the point where custom tables are being purchased and a dedicated gaming hall is being built at a friends place of business.

I had this piece of scrap left over from the pictureframe project and didnt know what I was going to do with it.It is basically an 8' bubinga 2x4.

I had thought to make it into another smaller frame, but there really wasnt enough stock to do anything or reasonable size.I stumbled across a picture of a poker chip rack on TWW and thought chip trays would be a great use of this scrap.Google quiclky turned up a design similar to Marc's.

Since the process for making them is already laid out, I will not repeat it here.I will say that my goal was to make 3 sets in 2 hours and this is how far I got.

The most time consuming part of this whole thing is drilling the large holes that comprise the channels in each tray.I bet I spent an hour doing just that and I still have one more group to go.I also have a very large pile of bubinga shavings around the base of my drill press.

I plan to complete them this evening.I'll let you know the total time to complete - it's a good quick project for your friends who love poker.I'm sure you have some.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Leg Construction - Blanks to finished product

The picture above shows the 3 steps I will be progressing through today.Start with the glued up blanks, then shape the curve on the bandsaw and router table, then taper the legs using the tapering jig.There are lots of ways to do this, and my ways are not likely the best but they work well for me.your mileage may vary.

The first step is to afix the template to the blank.I use double sided turners tape for this--it holds the pieces together well, but is not impossible to remove after use.

Next it is off to the bandsaw to rough cut the shape of the legs.I use this jig i built to make the process as idiot-resistant as possible (nothing, in my experience is truly idiot-Proof).

The jig acts like a poor mans bearing guided router bit.it allows the stock to pass underneath and keeps the bandsaw blade a constant distance from the template.here is a close up of it in action.

after the stock is roughed out on the bandsaw, i use a bearing guided bit (two, actually) to trim it flush with the template.Marc Spagnuolo, aka The Wood Whisperer, just posted a video on template routing curved table legs.One of the issues he adresses is the tearout that comes with trying to flush trim the 'uphill' portion of the grain on a curved piece of stock.He suggests sanding as close to the line as possible for the uphill sections, but i have found this to be time consuming and that it still yields imperfect results.My method avoids 'uphill' cuts altogether.Here is how i do it:

We will employ TWO bearing guided bits in this process.The first step is to determine which sections of the leg will be 'uphill' cuts when the template is on the BOTTOM of the workpiece.i have marked those 'uphill' sections in the pic below so i can avoid them in the first pass.Note that the bit has the bearing on the bottom, and the workpiece is positioned with the template face down.With the bottom bearing bit and the template facing down, i flush trim the DOWNHILL SECTIONS ONLY and then stop.

After that routing is complete, i switch to a bit with the bearing on the top and make the cuts with the template facing UP.the set up is below--note that the X's are still there, as i left these sections rough in the previous pass.through the miracle of Euclidean Geometry, the formerly uphill sections are now downhill, and are flush trimmed without incident (or unsightly tearout.)

the result of the above operations is a perfectly shaped, tearout-free leg.The final step in construction is to taper the planar faces of the legs.I will use the tapered sled i made earlier.First, I afix the leg to the sled with the top against the cleat.the cleat is on the low side of the sled, so i will be removing stock from the foot of the leg as it passes through the planer.

I mark the face of the leg with chalk and in she goes! (low side first)

here is the result, you can see where the taper ends--there is still chalk remaining on the top of the leg.It took about 5 passes to remove ~5/8 of an inch of stock.

once all 4 legs have had their first face tapered, i install a shim so that the opposite face will rest on the sled as though the first side had never been tapered.

I made this shim from a scrap piece of stock using the tapering sled.I passed it through until one end was about 1/16 thick.once the shim is complete, just rotate it end for end and screw it down. Here is it with a leg taped to it, tapered side down.

Pass the legs through the planer as before and you have all 4 sides tapering neatly from 2x2 at the top of the leg to 3/4 x 3/4 at the bottom.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Lower Shelf Assembly

For the lower shelf of the hourglass table, solid wood is not an option.The shelf is bound on all 4 sides by the table legs, and the inevitable expansion and contraction of a solid wood shelf would break the table apart.therefore, I need a piece of 1/2" walnut ply.

I went to my local dealer and of course all they had was 1/4 and 3/4.so i bought 2 pieces of 1/4 and am laminating them to an MDF core.I have never done this before but hear it works well.I'll update if there is any problem.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Final steps

The splines are glued in place. I wanted to post a view of the front of the pictureframe for you to see.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Pictureframe - Substantial Completion

The pictureframe construction is substantially complete.  I put the bevel on the back of the outside edge using this setup (the blade has not been tilted and the fence is not in final position):

Afterward, I hand shaped the front of the outside edge using a block plane.  The profile is now very pleasing to the eye and should look good on a wall.  After the outside edges were shaped, I cut slots for the splines using this setup:

I will probably finish (as in varnish, not complete) the Pictureframe and the Hourglass Table at the same time so look for the final pics of the frame when the table is done.
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