Thursday, October 30, 2014

Modern Style Cremation Urn

A cumaru and padauk urn in a modernist style.

I joined two cumaru boards with a visible padauk spline. Never having seen this done I was a little concerned but in theory it should work fine in a box since adjacent sides will support one another. To make the groove I set the fence a tick over 1/8" from the blade and ripped two cuts on either side then reset the fence and removed the center.

The miters were cut on the table saw. (no pics)

My ratchet straps disappeared during shop renovations so I built this simple jig using wedges to clamp the bottom. It worked well. The miter joints have biscuits to prevent sliding around. What appears to be a snake shaped dent in the upper right corner below, is actually an unusual grain pattern, an optical illusion.

After taping the edges of 3/8" plywood squares, I inserted them into the inside groove to keep pieces aligned during glue up. Happily it worked. 

The same jig came in handy for gluing the padauk frame. Tape on the corners keep the miters aligned perfectly. This frame will overlap the inside and support the cumaru cap.

The cumaru cap will float freely inside the frame and is attached with a screw to an inside dust seal made from 1/2" lauan plywood.

Mostly assembled, awaiting the bottom. Here you get an idea of the final monolithic shape, to my eye it's stalwart, masculine. If you've never worked with cumaru, it's very hard but brittle and splintery. Like the board is made from millions of 1/16" long splinters (looks that way too) and I was constantly picking them out of my hands and repairing spots where bits of grain would break off the edges. A block plane or piece of sandpaper to (carefully) chamfer the edges is your friend.

The feet are made from 5/8" thick padauk. The legs are assembled by first gluing the butt joints, then reinforced with 3/16" maple dowels, the angles cut on the miter saw using a jig, and finally the dowel ends are colored with a shop made dye made from soaking padauk chips in lacquer thinner. After sanding, the feet will be glued in place. Two poplar cleats are glued to the sides for fastening the bottom lid.

The completed urn

Finish is oil and wax.

Final size is about 11.25" tall including feet, and 7" wide. Very close to the Golden Ratio by pure coincidence, I didn't plan it that way. Volume is approximately 250 cubic inches.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

More Crank Grinders

This green grinder, no maker mark, was my first, an average but decent quality crank grinder. After a short period I sold it and bought the GP and Prairie grinders. The gear ratio was 9:1. Looks very similar to common 1929 grinder below (red) but is of better quality.

An infamous Dec 29th, 1929 grinder in bright red. A freebie that came with the GP grinder.  If you've been around grinders much you'll know these are common as fleas on a fox. Judging by the wheel it got a lot of use but unfortunately there is no simple way to secure the arbor from turning as you try to loosen the arbor nut. Gear ratio is the common 9:1

Friday, October 24, 2014

Prairie Tool Co., model 85 crank grinder

Model 85 grinder from Prairie Tool Co., Prairie du Chien, WI.; made sometime after 1920. The 15:1 gear ratio = 900 RPM at one crank per second. Slightly less beefy than the Goodell Pratt but still a heavy duty and quality built grinder. Unfortunately mine is missing the tool post.

Sturdibilt Model 85

Before and after videos:

Looks like a grease zerk but isn't, it's for oiling the arbor shaft.

Before I removed 90 years of petrified grease.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Goodell Pratt model 485 grinder

Compared to most crank grinders, the 485 is massive at 11 lbs. but was the baby in the Goodell Pratt family of grinders. The 22:1 gear ratio spins the the wheel at over 1300 RPM with a leisurely 1 crank per second. The gears are beefy and run smooth. This is a high quality crank grinder, as good as you will find.

Grimy and neglected

The cleaning took it's toll on the badge,
should have covered it with tape.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Shop Remodel #3 - New Layout

My shop is 16×20 which sounds like a decent size except only about half is usable for woodworking, the other half is storage, lumber, etc.

Here is how I started the week.

This is where I’m at.

This is where I think I want to be. Anything outside the shop (except A/C) are things without a home. Anything in dashed lines doesn't exist yet but I might build. The red line is where I have electric, eventually it will run to the back half but at the moment there is none back there.

updated 9/29/14

I’m open to suggestions.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Shop Remodel #2 - Nails are tougher than they look, removing bench #2

Time for more ripping and tearing.

In the upper right of most photos you can make out my black Sony boombox (I think it’s a Sony). Once upon a time I had 3 exactly the same, all scavenged from different places around the same time and cost me nothing. This one is the only one that survives.

If you’re wondering where I put all that crap, stick around.

On the shelves above the workbench are finishing supplies, glues, and fasteners. And yes, I use all of it so it has to stay put or find a new home.

Just to the left in each picture, hangs my blue denim shop apron made for me by my (then) 9 year old daughter. It hangs off a Prairie crank grinder that I will talk more about in a future post.

At this point the screws were out and I was down to nails. Whoever built this bench (previous owner) did not want it removed. It was nailed in with a combination of 16p and ringshank nails. Ringshank nails are awesome for holding things together, so awesome they should be never be allowed near 14 year old boys.

Eventually I gave up prying and busted out the Sawzall. After bouncing on the bench a few times it popped free.

About all that crap that came off the bench—- uh, it’s atop and around my tablesaw. So it will have to be moved so I can patch the floor and build some cabinets. But that’s tomorrow guy’s problem.

Shop Remodel #1 - New home for my lathe + useless trivia!

Not a very glamorous project but I took pics for my own benefit so here they are. I've been wanting to rip out this workbench to make room for my lathe.

Fun trivia: That paper tacked to the wall under the hammer is a plan I drew for a set of tables made in 1999, it’s been there since. Shop art!

Trivia: the plastic bag hanging askew left of the auger bits has been there about 16 years. It’s a clear mounting plate for a router table. I built a router table without using it.

The towel holder was my first ‘shop project’. The sides were shaped using a template originally made for a Halloween napkin holder.

That giant hunk of brass and rosewood is a bad ass marking gauge made by Hammerthumb on LumberJocks.

The window has no glass but is covered with 10 mil clear laminate. It was meant to be temporary but worked so well I left it. It has been there almost 17 years. The wire was already there when I moved in.

The shop was built by two 14 year old boys, back in the 70’s, from lumber and materials scavenged during the building of the neighborhood. What they lacked in carpentry skills they made up for in ring shank nails. They used one about every 4 inches. To their credit, the building still stands and the roof doesn’t leak.

The concrete block ballast is replaced with a big wood box scavenged from somewhere that happens to fit perfectly. I will turn it on it's side and make drawers to hold all my lathe crap.

Next I need to rip out the other workbench but first I have to find a home for all the crap on, under, and around it.