Saturday, August 18, 2012

Jigs and Things Part II

      This is a continuation of the first part.  Not sure what happened but after sitting here composing the blog all of a sudden things froze up and I got an error message.  I eliminated some of the blog and attempted to save it but it wouldn't cooperate with me.  So, looking at my notes I really don't have too far to go so will do this before going out to the shop --- too early anyway for a Saturday and with the cloud cover today may be a little bit cooler!
     The seeds for this meeting about jigs were planted when Jamie blogged about the hassle of making tapered legs.  They're for the bed you'll see towards the end of the blog, it's beautiful!  In her blog she complained about that crappy, two legged, hinged fixture that rides along the rip fence, I'd bet that at least half of you reading this have used that one.  Seems as if it's darn near impossible to tighten it plus it just doesn't feel safe.  Here's the jig I've used for many years that works great:

Tablesaw Taper Jig

     Although it looks complicated and has a number of parts, if you frequently build chairs, tables, beds, etc. that call for a tapered leg this is worth building.  Instead of riding against the fence this jig rides in the miter gauge slot on the left side of the blade.  If you look closely you can see a white runner under the jig made of UHMW polyethylene.  Every time this comes up it raises interest so here's a LINK to Lee Valley about it, I've bought some of it at Woodworkers Emporium too. In use, here's how the sled will look:

Mock Up of Jig in Use

     You draw a line for the starting point of the taper and also a line on the end to indicate the size of the leg at the bottom.  Then you slide the guide piece so that the leg extends over the sled that amount and tighten the wing nuts.  The beauty of this jig is that you can cut 4 sided tapers too.  If you are a subscriber to Fine Woodworking on-line you'll be able to get the plans and see a video from this LINK.  If not the article was in Fine Woodworking #178  on pages. 46-49.  This was the August 2005 issue.  Also, the author is Richard W. Beebe II so a google search may turn him up too.
     Here's the bed that inspired the sharing of jigs and our very successful meeting.  I don't know how many of you follow Jamie's blogs but this has been the focus for some time.  Here's the headboard:

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
     Two things inspired the carving.  One was that Dennis was teaching his class on carving at the time so she thought, hey, why not carve this thing.  If you check her blog she also carved the footboard with the saying of "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie".  The way she colored the carving was to use milk paint.  The surrounding area was masked with rubber cement to protect it from the paint and then top coated with oil to really make it stand out.

Close Up View
The other inspiration came from an artist she knows by the name of Judy Kensley McKie.  If you do a google search on her you can see the influence of her work in Jamie's.  I found a cabinet she carved and  now I'm inspired!
     The meeting wrapped up with a drawing for some gift certificates Kate brought in from Timbers.  I was pretty hungry but not lucky enough to get one.  The winners were Leroy, Rich, and Lupe -- Thanks Kate!
     Another last minute item was Rick telling us about a website called Instructables.  It's a site that instructs you in all types of things.  I checked it out and here's a LINK to that site.  I looked at the opening page and although it looks interesting I'm pretty much computered out by now.  Time to get into the shop and work on boxes, hinges, and anything else that won't find me sitting at a keyboard!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Wednesdays' Jig Filled Meeting

     I think most of us will agree that the meeting was a real interesting one due to the fact that so many of the members brought in their favorite shop made or purchased jigs.  As I was taking notes for the blog I noticed that several jigs for making circles or arcs were brought in and neither of them were the way I do that process.  Just goes to show how true the phrase "more than one way to skin a cat" is.  I used to have a pretty good time when I'd use that saying teaching the boys in the prison!
     As is a big part of our meetings, the time before was spent catching up on what we've been doing and discussing woodwork in general plus anything else of importance.

Just Waiting for the Show I
Just Waiting for the Show II

     The traditional yet not everyones favorite part of the meeting is the self-introductions go around the room and tell us who you are.  This time Jamie started it off by telling us we could say as much or as little as we wanted to and oddly enough, most folks gave more info! There were a few new faces plus some who have been absent for a while.  During the introductions Ed brought up and showed us the turned pieces he's made on his recently acquired lathe. They were really well done and seems he's well on the way to making wood turning part of his repertoire.

Ed's Turned Objects

     For any of you interested, the local woodturning group meets the second Tuesday of every month at Woodworkers Emporium located on Arville, just north of Russell Road.  They start their meetings at 6:30 and they're similar to ours except of course, the focus is on lathe work.  Then this Saturday they will have an open house from 9-12 but I can't guarantee getting this blog out in time for that so if you were interested I hope you took notes!
     Well, off we go to the jig sharing part of the meeting. Rich started out with a couple of interesting jigs.  This one:

Dado Guide
garnered a lot of attention.  If you ever use dado's to insert a shelf you'll know how rare it is for your router bit to match the thickness of the shelf exactly.  With this jig you put the shelf between the two sides then slide and lock the right side one over, capturing the thickness of the shelf.  Now, with a 5/8"pattern bit that has a top mounted bearing you'll be able to rout a dado that matches the thickness exactly -- pretty neat.  One other jig that he brought in was this one:

Threaded Insert Jig
    This would be used to install those threaded inserts we all use without breaking off their ears or putting them in crooked.  It was interesting that Jonathan, our resident jet mechanic, recognized the design as something similar to what he uses on the F-15.  This came from Lumberjocks and I found the link for it HERE.
     Next up was Leroy who showed the miter joint sled he uses on the tablesaw for his box making:

Tablesaw Miter Sled
If you're after a tight fitting mitered joint the pieces have to be cut accurately.  By using an Angle Cube to set the blade at exactly 45 degrees and then making sure the sled cuts an exact 90 degree edge this system is the way to go.  By using stop blocks you can insure the pieces will be the correct size and you probably won't even have to touch them up with a shooting board.  At the same time, Leroy showed a small stand that he made using inlayed and over-lapping circles.  Those of you that saw it will remember how nice it looked but we didn't get a photo of it.
     Next up was Lupe who first showed us a really nice looking circle cutting jig made by Delta and used on a bandsaw:

Delta Circle Cutting Jig
It looks to be very well made so I was curious to find out a bit about it.  Here is a LINK to what I found out but it may no longer be made.  Amazon lists it as well and I found a couple of listings where it was offered on Craig's List in other cities.  This one was a "slam dunk" but Lupe's next jig was a doozey!

The Mother of All Hinge Mortising Jigs
This seemingly simple arrangement of knobs, wood, and metal was taken from one of the PBS woodworking shows.  You know the kind, they build a solid wood dining table with four chairs in about 28 minutes!  My students could never understand why I wouldn't let them do the same.  Lupe gave her very colorful and detailed explanation of how this thing worked --- I'm sure we'll be seeing version 2.0 in the near future.  It's designed to quickly and accurately cut the mortise for inset butt hinges and although it did what it was designed to do the journey to get there sounded like a long and winding road.
     When we think of woodworking there are many directions you can go.  You can turn on lathes, you can carve, you can use power tools and hi-tech joinery methods, you can put your focus on hand tools, or; as most will end up doing, use a combination of those ways that appeals to you to do your work.  If you're wired for enjoying the quiet atmosphere of hand tools there are a couple of tools you can make to enhance that enjoyment.  Eric brought in a pair of winding sticks:

Winding Sticks

      These are extremely useful if you're using planes to remove the twist or wind from a board.  I believe that you can also buy them pre-made out of metal but it's such a simple tool why not increase your own skills to make your own.  On his, he uses a piece of duct tape on the far sticks but you can also use a contrasting color wood.  When you put them on the board, you sight over the tops of the two sticks.  If the board is perfectly flat you would see the same amount of tape all the way across.  It not you'll notice which edge is high, use a plane to remove some of that, move the sticks closer together, sight again, plane, etc. until the tops of the sticks are both parallel as you sight over them.  To go along with the winding sticks he also brought in his shop made, wooden straight edge.  I never knew why every example I'd seen has bottom edge perfectly flat while the top edge is tapered towards each end from the center.  He explained that this is to expose the end grain gradually and thus limit the effects humidity has on a piece of lumber.  Another good project to make to hone your hand skills.
     Something we're more concerned about here in the desert is the effect the sun has on us and our houses.  Jim brought in the fourth of fifteen shutters and showed us the system he got through Rockler, here's a LINK to that from the website.  If you click on that link you'll see there are a number of different jigs and bits needed to complete the project.  Here's some of the items:

Shutter System from Rockler

    Here is one of the shutters Jim has completed:

One of Fifteen
Just as with anything we do, the first one takes more time than the next.  By the time he gets done with the last one he may decide to go into business or else offer the system up on Craigslist!
     In keeping with the circle making jigs, Rick brought in this one which really looks substantial and well engineered.

Radius Jig
It's laying among some of the parts of the shutter system but the large, white circular piece he's holding is where the router is attached.  If you follow that to the left there is a black bracket which would be clamped onto the piece of wood that you're going to cut the radius on.  You can slide the router holding section on the arm coming from the bracket to adjust the size of your arc.  He very generously offered it to Jamie and the school to use.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pop Quiz before the Meeting

        I know what you may be thinking right about now -- Quiz, Huh you gotta be kiddin' me!!  Well play along with me, read these definitions and make your selection.  C'mon, after 30+ years in a class room it's hard to break some old teacher habits!

Definition of JIG

a : any of several lively springy dances in triple rhythmb : music to which a jig may be danced
: trickgame —used chiefly in the phrase the jig is up
a : any of several fishing devices that are jerked up and down or drawn through the waterb : a device used to maintain mechanically the correct positional relationship between a piece of work and the tool or between parts of work during assemblyc : a device in which crushed ore is concentrated or coal is cleaned by agitating in water

      So, how'd you do?  If you chose 3a as your answer you made the right choice and will fit right in to the meeting tomorrow at WooditIs.  If you selected any of the other answers either you should go to an Irish Bar, a fishing hole, or a rock plant.  A better suggestion would be to come to the meeting and learn about the jigs we'll be talking about there.

     As woodworkers we probably all make a jig or fixture when we need to do repetitive steps in a project where accuracy is important.  A jig or fixture can also be used to make an operation safer and easier.  Some of them may be that "quick & dirty" method used once but others may be something you reach for any time it's needed in your work. Like Jamie said in the announcement we're asking you to bring in a jig or fixture that you've either made or purchased that enhances your woodworking.  As an example, maybe you've drilled holes in the sides of a cabinet for adjustable shelving and painstakingly measured for each one.  Sure it works but it is time consuming and the results are often less than perfect.  You probably bought a jig similar to this one to simplify, streamline, and speed up the procedure.

       The focus of our meeting will be to bring in those jigs, fixtures, and shop aides that you've either made or bought and sharing them with the rest of us.  I'd suggest bringing some paper, pencil, and tape measure to get the details on something you may find useful for your own shop and work.  Of course you can bring in your current project to share if you'd like but we thought it would be beneficial to all by sharing something that makes your woodworking go easier, safer, and quicker.