Monday, September 24, 2018


You probably don't come here for this kind of nostalgia but bear with me. Its cold and wet outside so I took another day off. Posting the old picture of the flawed cradle yesterday got me looking through some of the old pictures I had. The older ones are becoming faded, not that they were of good quality to begin with. I decided to scan and save them before their quality deteriorates even worse.

I selected a few, recording some of my early projects, to upload. Some of the pictures include my children when they were young, they are all adults now, and I control the feed back, so I feel safer doing so.

The first 6 pictures are from 36 - 40 years ago and the last 3 from 29 years ago. Oh, to be that young again, lol. The first one is just self serving, ha, ha, actually it's my middle child's contagious looking laughter, that makes this one stand out.

Before going back to college for the Stationary Engineer program, I worked as a heavy equipment operator in a open pit iron ore mine. Equipment included haul trucks, graders, and bulldozers, but the most interesting was the 1000 hrs. I put in towards a hoisting ticket, operating one of these, a Buckyrus  Erie 150 electric shovel. 5 scoops to fill a 115 ton CAT haul truck.

When the company sold the trailer park off to it's employees, I took on my first large personal project and added a large addition, including the 0 clearance, heat circulating, corner fireplace, you see here. You can also see some of the first furniture projects I built, (now that I could afford my own tools, ha ha) in the coffee table and end table. When we moved, and I went back to college, the first bid met my asking price, I should have asked for more, ha ha. Wish these pictures had held up better.

Here is a closer picture of the corner of the coffee table. I had managed to get my hands on some nice mahogany, but the finish came out darker than I had planned, I learned to love it. The fortune teller you see, is just getting ready to go out for tricks or treats.

This is a doll house I built for the fortune teller, complete with laminated circular staircase.

So this is a big house I built in the Ottawa area.

The trusses for the garage/workshop were to heavy, so I got a crane to come lift them. Thats me up in the trusses, to fix them in place.

Like wise, the roof was more shingles than I wanted to tackle, so this is the contractor getting ready to do the job. Thats the contractor and myself leaning on my Ford (3 Ford's ago ha, ha).

So this house was supposed to pay for the kids education, and the big shop, to keep me happy into retirement, but as they say "Best laid plans ......". Anyway I live in a healthier environment now, and my shop is twice as big.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Chest Of Drawers

In Nick Englers words "This simple elegant chest is a true classic". So here is the plan for the nice chest featured in the previous article on case construction. The chest is designed and built by Tom Stender of Boston, New York. Tom who focuses on classic furniture, adapted the design from the traditional Queen Ann style, as indicated by the cabriole feet.

I would class this project as middle to advanced. Advanced due to the high quality dove tail joinery, the cabriole feet, and the matching of the rare curly cherry, for that beautiful look. I think this would also look stunning in less rare, curly maple, and now that I can saw my own wood, I would like to try a poor mans version, in my own birch.

I don't make a single penny from this site, in fact it costs me money to share my book and file collections. Popular Science is not going to republish yearbooks from 30 years ago, so the only way for people to access these plans is in the used book market or from online sites like mine and others. Building these plans for your own use is never a problem. The problem arises when/if a person claims the designs to be his own and/or sells the plans or finished pieces for profit. If you do this, you are responsible for the problems that may visit your doorstep as a result.

Case Construction

So as promised here are a couple more woodworking articles from Popular Sciences 1988 Yearbook. The first one today is an article on case construction by the editor of this yearbook Nick Engler. The second one, in the next post, is the design and construction of a beautifully done chest of drawers by Tom Stender.

But first if you liked the child's train plan last week, here is a train whistle plan to complete the child's enjoyment of the train.

So here is a great article on the development, and methods, of frame and panel, case construction. This method of construction is pretty much the standard today, in various degrees of quality, depending on how much you want to pay. I was surprised to learn it has only been around since the end of the Renaissance period. Previous to that furniture tended to be heavy and clumsy and didn't last, due to a poor understanding of the need for proper drying of wood and construction methods that aloud the wood to breath.

When starting out many of us are still finding these things out the hard way. Early in my woodworking explorations I built a nice A frame rocking cradle for the baby room. I made the classic mistake of supporting the bottom with a batten, glued and screwed to the bottom edge of the cradle end pieces, that were not evenly dry. The bottom of one end piece unable to "breath" developed a crack extending 4" up the end piece. The top of the end piece was not restrained and could breath so the crack did not extend any higher. The cradle lived longer than the child had need for it, but that crack was always there, to remind me that wood has to be properly dried and aloud to breath.

So for a well written and illustrated  article on case construction read on.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Belts / Pulleys / Motor Mounts

So powers back on , out almost 24 hrs., must have been a lot of trees down out there, I seem to have gotten by unscathed. Could have been worse, the Ottawa area got hit with two tornadoes that leveled a small neighborhood and knocked the power out to half a million people. It was part of the same storm system.

So here is chapter 37 from "Complete Book Of Home Workshops". This chapter covers belts, pulleys, and motor mounts. For the novice setting up a home hobby shop much of this information is must know, for the long experienced, much of it is considered basic, but basic, like "common sense", sometimes isn't so common. If you get your information from interactive sites, there is always that one character who gets joy from convincing you, the wrong answer is the right answer.

So here's 8 pages of motor and tool speed set-up, common sense information.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Shop Motors

It's been one of those days, blow trees down, and shingles off, windy, ( I am on battery power right now, power went out half an hour ago) wet, and gloomy. So I spent part of the day exploring one of my bookcases, in addition to the Home Shop Machinist books that I posted from earlier, I came across  a Popular Science published book by David X. Manners, "The Complete Book Of Home Workshops" published in 1969. It is full of good ideas and lots of good basic shop information,

Chapters 36 and 37 deal with shop motors, belts, pulleys, and motor mounts. Chapter 36 "Motors" is a very good basic explanation of shop motors, different types, and their characteristics. It covers the basics of trouble shooting in clear understandable language without going so deep that the average hobbyist is left behind. I have argued in the past that manufacturers HP ratings on motor plates can't be trusted, they don't seem to take efficiency into consideration. Mr. Manners explains this better than I have in the past.

So here is chapter 36, I will upload chapter 37 tomorrow. There are a few other chapters worth uploading from this volume in the future.

Hope this wind dies down, could be a lot of trees down and damage tomorrow. These unpredictable weather conditions and fire of course are the reason I cut back the forest as far as I did, though fire can jump 8 acres like it was hop scotch.

Tips And Jigs From "Projects Two"

So we had a very noisy and wet storm roll in yesterday, the Canada Geese must have sensed it and left before it rolled in.

So here are a few tips and jigs from "The Home Shop Machinist" magazine's "Projects Two". I have volumes one to eight. It has been years since I checked they may have many more out by now. This magazine and their popular sites is devoted to the hobby home machinist. In addition to machinist projects and information they also cover some casting and foundry equipment projects.

Here is a collection of three, one page tips and jigs, from the second volume in the series. The V block is a very simple and quick way to make a useful accessory for the drill press. Have you ever cursed a slot screw driver that keeps slipping out and damaging the screw head? Here is a grinding jig to properly grind the blade of a slot screwdriver. Cutting curves in heavier plate can be difficult, here is a drill guide to make it easier. Ever notice how drilling or turning aluminum is always a sticky process on the cutting edges, here is a tip for reworking a turning tool to produce nicer finishes on aluminum. Expand for best view.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Fresh Thanksgiving Dinner Comes Early

I mentioned the flocks of Canada Geese flying south earlier. Wouldn't you know it I looked out the front window after supper and there are three Canada Geese, feeding on my front lawn. Thats what you get for not cutting it, ha ha.

Wildlife has been slim pickings this summer, probably because of all the noise I have been making in the welding shop. I had the mother and bear cub early in the year, the herons dropped by once but left before I could get pictures, I have a fox occasionally drop in on his rounds, mice are becoming rare on my property, so pickings are slim. Moose are usually on the move during hunting season so I may get a chance for some pictures yet.

I have had a couple of Canada Geese spend a couple of days here on their flight south before, but these guys were not staying, just before the sun dipped below the horizon they took to the air and disappeared. There goes my thanksgiving dinner, ha ha, just kidding, I haven't hunted since I was a teenager, camera's more fun.

UPDATE: Sept. 19

Their Back
Got up this morning and the same three geese were back on the lawn, must be taking a break from their flight south.

This time of year, every time I here the geese I get a brain bug of Neil Young's song repeating in my head, "There is a town in North Ontario, big birds flying across the sky". I think the song refers to Blind River, a small town between Sudbury and Sault St. Marie. Some say it refers to a town in the Muskoka area, but thats not "in my mind" even North Ontario. It's where Toronto money goes for summer fun.

So the three geese stayed all day, they were obviously loading up for the next leg of their trip. Ha ha, it's a sad excuse for not doing my lawn today, but I let them go at it all day. It's going to turn cold and wet for the next couple of days so they will probably be gone tomorrow. They had it all worked out as they moved around the property, one always had its head up in the air while the other two foraged, keeping an eye out for that fox no doubt.

4' Cold Work Anvil Finished Up

So I finally got all my shops cleaned up and organized yesterday, the big V's of Canada Geese are starting to make a racket in the skies, hope that doesn't mean early snow. Next chore is a couple of days to cut the grass and cleanup the property but first I decided to take a day and finish the cold work bench.

On a suggestion from a forum poster I added another 3 or 4 lb's of welding rod to the underside of the RR rail and support joints. The result, hammer swings felt more solid and the ring was clearer and more even across the full length. For paint I went with two coats of Tremclad flat black enamel. Before painting I sprayed down the rail with WD-40 and went over it with a wire brush and sanding disc mounted in my 7" disc grinder. I painted the bottom flange of the rail and left the rest bare. Here are a few more pictures.

If your a knife maker, it is easy to see how a inexpensive bench like this could be your best asset for hammering out blades. Thats just one of many uses you can put this to.

So location, I placed the bench in the walk through area connecting 3 doors, in the welding and rough work shop. So you could say it takes up no space, ha, ha. It's now a walk around area instead of a walk through area. When you come into the shop it is right there so it should be a reminder to use it, and stop destroying vises.