Sunday, March 30, 2014

Easy to construct marking gauge

Simple to construct marking gauge from walnut & holly. The only in-progress photo but a plan is included. 

A marking gauge has four main parts: fence, beam, thumbscrew, and a blade or pin. The four piece beam makes this gauge simpler to construct. Here it is three pieces of 1/4 x 5/8 walnut and one piece of 1/4 x 5/8 x 3/4 holly. Screws into end grain tend to strip so the holly is rotated 90°.

The fence can be one piece but I inlaid a strip of holly for wear resistance and because it looks nice. [note: the plan above has an error showing the holly wear strip on the wrong side of the fence] A hole is drill about 1" back from the fence for a 1/4x20 threaded insert. Thumbscrews can be purchased or shop made, I made mine from a 1/4x20 bolt and walnut scrap. The blade is an old jigsaw blade, the type attached with a screw, snapped off and sharpened a bit below the screw hole.

The blade was scored with a file, pinched in a vise along the score line then snapped. Watch your eyes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cap'n Eddie Lathe Parting Tool

A parting tool is used to cut through wood while spinning on the lathe. Credit to Captain Eddie Castelin who featured the original on his YouTube channel.

Start with a 9" x 2" universal edger blade, $5 at Home Depot. Scribe a line at some angle. I chose 30°, or 60°, depending on how you look at it.

Cut along the scribe with your tool of choice, I used a Dremel w/ cut-off wheel.

Again I forgot to take intermediate pics but you get the idea. Remove the paint and clean up the cut with a grinder. It was necessary to flatten the blade as it had a slight cup. Flattening can be done on a belt sander, disc sander, or 80 grit sandpaper glued to a flat surface. The blade doesn't have to be perfect but the flatter it is the better it will slice wood. Also flatten the top as this will be one cutting edge.

Cut 2 pieces of scrap wood approximately 5" x 2 1/4" x 3/8", the exact length and thickness is up to you. Drill a hole for the binding post which will fit through the existing slot in the blade. Drill a hole and countersink on the opposite handle for the machine screw. Secure the handles to the blade with epoxy or CA glue and secure with the binding post. If the screw protrudes on the back just grind it flush. Sand the handles flush to the top and bottom of the blade and apply a coat of oil or your finish of choice.

I didn't bother polishing the blade.

After thoughts:

It's ugly. If I were to do this over I would cut the blade to 1" wide because it doesn't need to be this bulky. That said, I wouldn't bother making another. This one works okay and I use it but there are better options for homemade parting tools. A thinner blade generates less heat and is less metal to sharpen. Sometime soon I plan on making a parting tool from an old carbide saw blade. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Maker Mark

No, not the bourbon. Craftsman sometimes use a mark to identify their work like a silversmith's hallmark, a trademark, merchant mark, or cattle ranch brand. Garret Hack signs his work in Morse Code; others use their initials, signature, a coin, or just stickers. Not wanting to be left out I pondered a bit then decided on this:

Those are my initials, RAM, in Ogham, the ancient Irish alphabet of the druids. Sometimes called the Tree Alphabet because many characters were named after trees, birch, alder, willow, etc. Ogham is written on a line either vertically or horizontally and sometimes even on circles or squares. The arrows (feathers) are the beginning and end of lines. Five slashes = R, notch = A, one slash = M. It's simple and can be adapted to different shapes and sizes.

An English to Ogham transliterator

More information on Ogham:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Favorite Woodturning Youtube channels

Tim Yoder makes turning videos for Popular Woodworking and they don't make them easy to find. Best bet is search YouTube for "Popular Woodworking Tim Yoder".

Cap'n Eddie Castelin tends to produce long, chatty, videos with a strong emphasis on teaching. Cap passes along a lifetime of tips, tricks, money saving ideas, tool how-to, skill building, finishing lessons and much more. He also runs a web store with sharpening aids, tool kits, carbide cutters, plans, all at very reasonable prices. Makin' Shavin's is his monthly newsletter.

Brenden Stemp is a highly skilled turner whose videos cover a range of subjects from wood selection, tool reviews, quick video tips and projects.

Mike Waldt shows turning tips, projects, and has a beginner series.

Robo Hippy covers many subjects you won't see anywhere else.

Gord Rock

Channels with more emphasis on projects:

Jake Gevorgian shows incredible control and skill with a skew, not really a how-to channel but entertaining none-the-less.

Carl Jacobson has 2 channels, one focused on answering questions while the other showcases projects.

Robbie the Woodturner demonstrates unique projects with many tips and tricks along the way.

Alan Stratton spins many unique and interesting turnings.

Miguel Sanchez has a good channel.
Update: Miguel has started doing videos in English!

Beginner Series

The series continues. I won't list them all but they are sequentially numbered. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Drawer front with inlay and chest of drawers to fund Wounded Warrior Project

Our local woodworking club, North Carolina Wood Workers, participates in the Wounded Warrior Project which helps service men and women readjust to life after the military. The club built a chest of drawers with each drawer front contributed by a member. The chest will be auctioned and the proceeds will fund the training program.

My drawer front was made from walnut, 
American holly, padauk, and copper.

Step one was shaping and gluing the dulcimer inlay.

Next I flattened the walnut drawer face using a hand plane.

Using a knife I traced the dulcimer shape and removed material using a Forstner bit and chisel.

Sometimes I forget to take pictures so we fast forward a bit. Below is the musical note pull I originally planned but it was too big and detracted from the inlay so I started work on something more elegant.

Holly and padauk glued and being cut to size for turning on the lathe. Shown is a handy feature of my Delta Unifence which can be rotated for a short fence.

Oops, forgot to take in progress pics again but here is the finished drawer front.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Making carbide lathe tools and handles

Carbide lathe tools are simple to make and substantially cheaper than commercial versions. I own a couple of Easy Wood Tools and my homemade versions work equally well. These are built with maple harvested from my property, 1/2" steel rod, and carbide cutters purchased from AZ Carbide. The ferrules are cut from copper pipe, fixed with CA glue and then polished. 

Tips were shaped on the grinder then holes drilled and tapped for 6-32 screws.

Diamond and radius cutters. The diamond cutter is handy but the back corners have a tendency to catch. The radius cutter gets less use than I expected. My recommendation is use square bar for diamond, radius, and square cutters as it will give more support and help prevent the tool from rolling in your hand. 

Finished handles. The size and shape is very comfortable but are front heavy, I may go back and add weight to the handle. [update: balance hasn't been an issue since the tool rest supports the front but I'll use a heavier wood on future handles]

In a former life this beading tool was a file, now it has a handle to match the others. Shape of the bead is cut into the handle so it's profile is known at a glance.

Long term update: In addition to these I also own Easy Wood Tools and a variety of gouges, skews, and parting tools. In general, I get a better and faster cut from gouges than I do from carbide tools but the carbide scrapers come in handy for very hard woods and roughing in general.  If I were to do this over, I would use square bar for square, radius, and diamond shaped cutters because they need the extra support and it will help prevent the tool from spinning in your hand. Round or square bar is fine for round cutters.

Spalted maple band saw boxes with paduak pulls

Spalted maple harvested from my yard; padauk pull. These were my first band saw boxes.

Spalted maple and walnut tea light holder

Spalted maple from a tree that went down in our yard, a bit bug eaten but that just adds character. It still needs spaces drilled out to hold the tea lights.

Mystery wood ball peen hammer handle

The old handle on this ball peen hammer was cracked, duct tape held for awhile but none of the local hardware (or big box) stores had one to fit. Whoever owned it before hadn't found a proper handle either and whittled a larger handle to fit. 

The new handle is mystery wood salvaged from a broken TV tray leg, almost certainly a poor choice for a hammer handle but this hammer is rarely used. 

The handle was shaped with rasps and files, the tenon cut on my table saw and rounded with files. The wedge was found in a pile of sawdust, a walnut scrap that happened to be the right shape. 

I buffed the hammer head with a wire wheel for good measure. Everything got a coat of linseed oil, varnish causes blisters. 

Special thanks to James Thompson for his article on making a hammer handle.
Making a Hammer Handle