Sunday, March 23, 2014

March Meeting -- The Start of our Sixth Year!

     With about 26 members present we officially started the sixth year of the Sin City Woodworkers and, to coin a phrase: "who woulda thunk it!"
The meeting began as most of them do, with groups of us standing around:

……. talking about things we had done since our last meeting.  Jamie, who is sitting on the table in the center of this picture, called us to order and the meeting officially began.

As you can see, we all immediately stopped our conversations and paid attention to her and began the round robin self introductions.

     First of all, one of Jamie's students has been going to California and coming back with different logs she's found in the Monterey area.  One was very intriguing and created a lot of discussion as to what type of tree it may have come from.  I spent some time doing a search to see if I could find the exact link that you can use to have the US Department of Agriculture identify a specific piece of wood for you I had to give up on it --- wasn't one of those quick searches.  Here's a LINK to their forest products laboratory which has a wealth of information.  One of those sites you can spend hours on I'm sure.  According to Jamie, all you need to do is send them a piece of the wood in question (preferred size at least 1" x 3" x 6") and they will research it for you.  That's what they did with the log in question and it turned out to be from a Eucalyptus tree.  This service is free of charge and generally takes about 3 weeks.
     Next up we had a discussion about using club funds to bring in outside speakers.  This turned out to be quite a lively discussion.  The conundrum is this:  should we pay a local person to do a demonstration for the entire group or should it be a separate event where only the people actually attending pay for the speaker.  Since we have many members willing to give their time freely for the good of the group (and an extra raffle ticket!) when do we deem someone should be paid.  The consensus was that we should bring in Nelson Cassinger for a regular meeting.  Here is the only LINK that I could find where it gives a short bio about him at the Utah Woodturning Symposium.  He has come up with a unique way to turn segmented bracelets and bowls and sells his special jigs and fixtures to make them.

Show & Tell Session

Show and tell was pretty sparse this time and there's only one photo to show you.  That's Ed with his first attempt at turning a live edge bowl.  It's a good thing that his son lives in North Carolina and Ed is able to go there and get wood (and antique tools) from him.  I got a little confused but one of them is Olive and the other he brought in was some Cherry from a log he was able to get on board an airplane for the trip home.
     Ted, our feature presenter at this meeting, brought in a few of his plumb bobs.  He has a fantastic collection of them that needs to be seen to believed.

Feature Presentation; Ted Warren and Cabinet/Card Scrapers

Cabinet and card scrapers are simply pieces of (usually) rectangular spring steel that have a burr shaped on their edges to smooth your wood.  Ted prefers a thinner, more flexible blade as he is showing in this photo.  Notable brands are Lie-Nielsen, Lee Valley, Sandvik, and Balco.  The metal used in them is tempered which allows it to be sharpened and hold a burr as well.  You could use a piece  of an old handsaw to make your own just as you could to make a scratch stock.  Pieces of metal available at your local big box store wouldn't have the needed qualities to make a scraper.

The primary difference between a card scraper and a cabinet scraper is that the cabinet scraper is held in some type of device.  In this picture you have a (probably) hand made device at the left that's often referred to as a Rams Horn.  The black one in the foreground is the Stanley #80 which is pretty easy to find on ebay.  Here's a LINK to the current listing of them and they range from just a few dollars to $30.00 or so.  The nickel plated one in the back is a Stanley #81 which has a Rosewood sole and the nickel plating, it's considerably rarer but occasionally you'll find them.  Cabinet scrapers have much heavier blades that are initially ground to 45 degrees prior to forming a burr on the blade.  Heavier body means a more aggressive cut plus you save your thumbs from the amazing amount of heat you'll create when using one of these tools.  There are a couple of holders available for card scrapers, most notably this one from Lee Valley.
One other scraping tool is the scraping plane.  The one Ted is holding is Lie-Nielsen's # 112, here is a LINK to that tool and as you can see, it's pretty expensive.  At the meeting I mentioned that there was one on ebay --- the winning bid was $212.37 plus shipping so that person could have purchased a brand new one!  This tool is patterned after the Stanley model and the main advantage is that you can adjust the angle of the blade to achieve the finest cut in various types of wood.  The angle will change depending on the grain.  If you work primarily exotics, highly figured, or crotch wood this may be your best choice for scraping.

 Although card scrapers are a simple tool, maintaining an edge on them so they produce a fine shaving may give us fits!  Ted brought this arsenal of sharpening equipment for the demonstration.  You can use traditional stones such as Arkansas or India, Japanese style water stones, ceramic stones, or diamond stones.  The goal is the same -- you want a highly polished 90 degree corner on the edges of your scraper.  Regardless of what you use to sharpen your tools, the process is the same.

Begin with first filing a square edge on the long edges of the scraper.  This can be done free-hand like Ted is showing here with a single cut, mill bastard file.  Single cut means there are a single row of teeth cut into the file.  You can also cut a groove in a block of wood and use that as a guide to maintain the file 90 degrees to the face.

If you don't have a vise to hold the scraper, this device is easy to make.

After the work is done with the file and you have a uniform, fine scratch pattern it's time to use your stones to refine that edge.  It's important to utilize the entire surface of the stone when doing the edge of the scraper.  This minimizes the risk of creating a groove in your stone.  Again, you could use a 2" square block of wood to support the scraper when doing the edge to ensure that 90 degree angle.

Stoning the Face
Stoning the Edge

Now we come to the mystery part of the scraper, establishing the 5 degree or so burr on the long edges you've just prepared.  This is done with a burnisher.  A burnisher is a hardened metal rod which can be round, oval, or triangular in shape.  The first step is to hold it vertical to "draw" the metal up:

After 2-3 passes on each side, you then take 2-3 passes on the edge.  First horizontally and then at about a 5 degree angle, you should be able to feel a slight, uniform burr the entire length of the blade as Ted is finding here:

If all went well, you should be able to get shavings like in this short video that Lupe took, here's a LINK to it.  I tell you what, Lupe is pretty good with hi-tech stuff and woodworking!  
 Last of all, don't just throw your now sharpened card scraper in the drawer; protect those edges.  Ted made this cool holder just for that purpose.  Another thing, to prevent rust on the metal use a Camilla oil or something similar on your newly sharpened tool.  Although we don't have much of a rust problem here in the desert we do sweat and if you used water stones the oil will prevent rusting on your tools.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March Meeting: Wednesday the 19th.

Can Your Card Scraper Do This?

  ……. or do you just get a bunch of dust?

     If you're like most of us woodworkers you may have answered that your scraper produces dust rather than a fine, thin shaving like in the picture.  Card scrapers are one of the simplest tools in our finishing arsenal and yet they give us problems.  Personally speaking, I've had a card scraper make shavings like in the picture but then, as it needed tuning up; my new burr only produced dust.  Frustrating to say the least!!
     At tomorrow nights meeting, Ted Warren will share his 40+ years of furniture making with us and show his methods for creating a burr on that finely tuned card scraper.  Many of you are probably familiar with the card scraper, essentially a rectangular or curved piece of metal.  Ted will also be bringing in a Stanley #80 cabinet scraper, a Lie-Nielsen #112, as well as what's called a "rams horn" scraper.  This promises to be a very informative meeting and I'm sure we'll all walk away with knowledge we can put to work in our own shops.
     As always, there will be a show and tell session and I'd like to ask everyones cooperation in limiting your show and tell to five minutes or less.  I know we all get excited about sharing our work with other members of the group but we need to leave ample time for the feature demonstration.  We will also be collecting the voluntary $20.00 yearly dues so that you'll not only be eligible for the year end drawing but also be able to say you're an official, dues paying member of the fabulous Sin City Woodworkers group!
     We will also have a raffle at the end of this meeting.  Let me explain the purpose and reasoning behind this new addition.  We have always had a voluntary dues of $20.00 per year which covers the cost of the MeetUp site, our Christmas party, and gift cards for random drawings and contest winners.  There have been requests to bring in outside speakers to demonstrate or hold workshops but these folks charge money!  Here is where the raffle comes in -- most of us have experienced buying a tool, book, or instructional DVD that we were sure we needed but then once we had it in our hands it really wasn't what we thought it was after all.  Maybe you have some extra parts, knobs, hinges, etc. that are just gathering dust and taking up space you could put to better use.
     Ted belonged to a large woodworking group in San Diego that used this concept to generate funds for things members thought would enhance the group.  If you have anything that you would like to donate, bring it in and give it to Ted.  He will also be the one selling the raffle tickets at the beginning of the meeting.  I'm sure there will be an opportunity to buy tickets just prior to the drawing if you notice a "must have" item you want to take a chance on.  In case there aren't enough items brought in for a particular meeting he'll hold on to them and we'll have the raffle at the next meeting.

   Last of all, the meeting is held at Studio: Wood It Is!, 2267 West Gowan, unit 106 in North Las Vegas. As always, the public is welcome to attend the meeting, so members - please feel free to bring a guest along. But remember that there are a limited number of chairs in the woodshop. Attendees might want to bring a folding chair if they wish to sit during the meeting. If you have questions or need directions, call the studio at 631-1870.