Saturday, August 13, 2011

I'm Still Here -- Just a Waiting Game

     Ever find yourself busy but not sure where the time goes?  It's been about a week and a half since I wrote my last blog.  I've kept myself busy working on the plans and the bid/estimate for a set of bookcases.  They're based on the Barrister style where the fronts are glass and lift up to slide into the top recess of the case.  The purpose of them is to keep dust out and you know that we have plenty of that here in the desert!  I'm referring to this project as "faux" Barrister bookcases.  Traditionally they are separate units that stack on top of one and other.  Barristers (lawyers) would buy additional cases as they needed them to house their law book collection.  This unit is just under 7' tall but will be made in two pieces.  The largest section will be for a turntable.  I have some concern on having a door of this size; 25" wide and 18" tall, the mechanism that allows these doors to slide up and over is nothing more than some 1/4" dowels that ride in dados.  Even at their more standard height of 12"-13" they can bind if they're not pushed up evenly.  I've made a mockup out of MDF and we'll just have to see what happens.  I meet with the potential client next Tuesday morning to see whether or not they'll like my plans and price.
     I was asked to do a demonstration at the next meeting of the Sin City Woodworkers this coming Wednesday and agreed to do one on half blind dovetails.  It'll be good practice for my upcoming class in September.  In my preparation for that today I discovered that my chisels could be sharper!  Seems as if sharpening is a never ending process when it comes to working wood.  Without a doubt though, when your tools are sharp the work goes so much better.  It's a valuable part of woodworking and well worth the time and effort.  My general procedure is to look over my sharpening notes but here's a link to really good video on YouTube by Lie-Nielsen tool works .  Using his advice, I flattened my stones after using both sides once and just as advertised it went well.  In the past I'd only flatten after a complete sharpening session, this way is quicker and insures that the stone will be flat for each tool.  Here's a picture of all that action:

Left to Right: 4000/8000 Stone, 220/1000 Stone, Flattening Stone
     This is the messy part of the operation so it's done in an old baking tray to contain it to some degree.  I use a Veritas honing guide which works well for all but the smallest chisels, those need to be held by hand.  The stones are 3M that are fairly new and I do like them better than the old ones.  They had lots of spider web cracks that didn't seem to affect the sharpening but the 3M stones seem to cut faster and the scratch pattern is very easy to see.  The appearance of that scratch pattern changes whether you're using 1,000; 4,000; or 8,000 grit.  Once there is a uniform scratch pattern on the entire cutting edge it's time to change to the next grit.  This time I put a micro bevel by taking about five strokes, pulling back only.

Ready to go to Work!

     One of the things that always pops up in my head when sharpening is the phrase: "if you can see something then you have nothing".  Meaning that the cutting edge should be invisible, if you see anything at all it's probably a nick or blunted edge that needs to be taken care of.

The chisel on the far left is a Lie-Nielsen special they call a Fish Tail, kind of obvious how that name came about!  A while back I mentioned a pair of Japanese skew chisels that gave me some problems -- tips breaking off are a problem!  Those were sold on e-bay and I did show the damage.  This fish tail chisel replaces the pair and I really like using it to clear out the sockets for dovetails.  Decided to sharpen the marking knife as well.
     I still need to cut the taper on the legs for the contemporary designed tables for our family room.  Seems as if every time I start to do that something else pops up!

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