Monday, November 26, 2012

Pre-Thanksgiving Meeting 2012

Beautiful Cherry 
     The two pieces you see here are the featured, and rightfully so, projects that Lupe discussed with us at our meeting last Wednesday.  Before we got into this beautiful rocking chair and table we had our business end of the meeting.  As is customary, our round robin introduction of the 17 people who attended revealed that there were 4, brand new first timers!  This is really great, Jamie and I had considered the possibility of not having a meeting at all since it fell on the day before Thanksgiving.  Glad to see that interest keeps growing for the Sin City Woodworker group.
     Our next meeting is the end of the year, Christmas edition.  This is a time to bring a guest/spouse/significant other but probably not your pet canary.  What we do is cover the tables with some festive Christmas paper and then bring in a small project you're working on or want to show off and share.  It's a great way to start conversations and get to know one and other better as we mingle around the room, asking questions, getting tips, etc. about our work.  There will be drawings for gift cards and also for various items brought in for raffles.  Feel free to bring in any goodies that you'd like as well.  That meeting will be on Wednesday, December 19 so mark your calendars.
     Before Lupe's presentation a few of the members brought in some show and tell items.  First off was Jonathan with his bench hook:

Jonathan and his Bench Hook
     ….. these are great shop items to have around whether you're working on your bench or off the tailgate of your truck when installing some trim work at a job site.  Reminded me of my teaching days, it was a project my students would do to learn basic squaring skills.
     No, that's not our version of Thor and his mighty hammer.  It's Dave showing off the mallet he made out of basically scrap materials he had in his shop.

Dave aka Thor
     He had come to my shop for some dovetail lessons armed with a rubber, dead-blow mallet. After trying my wooden one decided that was the way to go and created this beauty, here's a close up of it.

Hard Maple, Walnut, & Brass Accents
     Ted brought in one of his many plumb bobs, he actually has a Plumb Bob Tree at his house with several hundred of these brass beauties hanging from it.  These are beautiful tools that unfortunately have been replaced by electronics.
Woodworkers Sobriety Test??

     On the bench besides him is a 3" wide Crown Molding Plane.  He's promised to bring it and possibly some others to the Christmas meeting for us to try out.  Molding planes like these have been replaced by routers and shapers but they still have a place in small scale work.  Using them requires some muscle and straight grained materials.  From what I understand, when a crew came to build a house "back in the day", the finish guys would immediately pick out the straightest grained lumber to form all of the baseboard, crown, wainscot, etc. needed for the job.

     On to the evening's feature presentation by Lupe.  When Lupe began her talk, Jamie gave her a great introduction.  For those of you that are fairly new, her husband Norm, is a well known magician and the two of them collect magic posters and create magic tricks for others.  Here's a LINK to their website, it's well worth checking out.  Also, go to YouTube and put Norm Nielsen in the search bar to see quite a number of video's featuring his work.
     Something Lupe said struck a chord with me, she said that her goal was to learn a new skill on every class or project she does.  That's a great way to keep ourselves motivated and not become complacent in our craft.  These projects were an off shoot from classes at Jamie's school.  Another thing she mentioned is that she has learned that wood is an imperfect material and every project becomes a process -- boy, isn't that the truth!

Warming up the Crowd
   The material for both of these is Cherry that she bought at a fantastic price of $2.25 per board foot from Toys for Smiles.  Here's a view of the table with the top removed.  It features mortise and tenon construction.  Lupe's impetus for this project is that she wanted to use the Hollow Chisel Mortiser in Jamie's shop so a table making class fit the bill!  Another new Do-Hickie she learned to use was a tapering jig needed to taper all of the legs.  If you check out her rocking chair you'll see she really likes that Do-Hickie because nearly every surface has been tapered.  This table will serve as a computer/printer stand in their office and mounted on casters so it can be moved as needed.  Adding the drawer to keep needed supplies is a great touch.  This was her first attempt at flush fitting drawers and that's a good technique to use.  By cutting the drawer front out of the apron board and then gluing it all back together you achieve a continuous grain pattern that's much nicer than the random one found in most mass produced furniture.

Computer/Printer Table with Drawers

     Let's get into the rocking chair.  It began life as a child sized rocker and the plans needed to be re-sized to suit adults.  She employed the design process of making cardboard patterns to visual and measure the angles required when you make a chair.  I think you'll agree that the seat was a really nice feature, it's made in a tambour style which you most commonly find in a roll top desk.  I like the process so much I may just have to steal it!  It began with making a pattern and adjusting it so that it was the perfect match for an adult sized, human butt!

Ah yes -- the Butt Rest

     Once the cardboard was perfected a Baltic Birch template was made.  Here's where she learned the new technique of pattern routing.  Pieces were selected for the left and right side of the seat, cut out on the bandsaw and then the template was attached so a router with a pattern bit could cut them both exact.  The pattern bit was swapped out for a grooving one, the pattern was unscrewed, and then re-attached lower so a groove could be made to slid the tambour pieces into.  To make the tambours a router bit formed the edge first and they were then cut to the required size on the tablesaw.  Many of the members  tested the chair and all agreed it was a real comfortable one to sit in.
     Another aspect of the chair design is figuring out the exact arc of the rockers.  Lupe found a chart on line that helped with this dilemma.  Needless to say, both rockers need to be exact and located under the center of gravity to work properly.

Rocker Arc Chart
     Both pieces were finished with Watco Danish Oil, hand sanded with multiple coats applied.  Lupe's number was 6 coats or until your finger tips are gone!  Here's a few more pictures of the chair.

Real Life Testing -- It Passed

     Notice the grain pattern on the crest rail?  This is where custom work really shines, being able to select the wood to enhance the piece.  Tapering the slats and adding a Walnut inlay is another very nice touch.

Front View

Very Graceful

Seat Close-Up & Arm Detail

     So, that brings us to the close of another great meeting.  Mark your calendar for our Christmas Meeting and end of the year party.  That's the 19th. of December --- see you then!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Forget Basting the Bird --- Wednesday Meeting

     Several of you have contacted me as to whether or not there would be a meeting this Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.  The definite answer is YES!   So forget about scrubbing the toilets, vacuuming the rug, polishing the mirrors, and all that because this will be much more fun, informative,  and entertaining!  Usual time, 7:00 until we get done shooting the breeze.  If you have something you'd like to share as well bring that too.
      If you're in the habit of bringing a chair make sure it's a comfortable one because our featured presenter is Lupe Nielsen.  She really set a high standard for presentations a while ago when she gave us her talk and slide show (powerpoint for you up-to-date guys) dealing with the presentation table for the book about magic.  She took advantage of the Cherry that Toys for Smiles was selling and after buying a hundred board feet, wondered what the heck to do with it.  She first made a rocking chair which was loosely based on plans from an early issue of Fine Woodworking Magazine.  If she can pry her husband, Norm, out of it she'll have it at the meeting.  I'm told it's such a favorite of his he may be part of her presentation!
     Along with the chair she's been taking additional classes with Jamie learning skills such as pattern routing, tapering, drawers, and building tambours.  If this presentation is anything like her previous one, we'll be in for a treat.  So, get your pre-Thanksgiving chores done early and plan on being at WoodItIs tomorrow night -- See you then.

By the way, here's a link to a video I got this morning.  You may find it helpful after Dennis did his demonstration on cutting coves on the table saw.  That technique created lots of interest from everyone there and this video may refresh your memory and help you try it on your own.

Let me add this, I've done this using a dado blade of about 1/4" wide and it works well too, no flexing to score the wood as much.  As a teacher I always had chalkboard erasers which made a great sanding block but those may be hard to come by these days!  You can also vary the size of the cove by using different diameter blades.