Random postings

We are getting ready for travel tomorrow.  Susanna is trying to get over her cold. I packed most of my stuff tonight.  Tomorrow I’ll have to take the dogs to Mark and Jessica’s house.  Getting ready for a big trip means lost of miscellaneous chores around the house – packing and cleaning. Tomorrow afternoon we head to Boston for the flight to London to vacation with Susanna’s family.

I’ll try and post more pictures this year on the blog.  Today I ordered a printed book made from the 2010 and 2011 entries from the blog from www.blog2print.com. The book should show up in early March.  I’ll need to make sure that I upload higher quality pictures in the future, so when I print it the quality of the pictures is acceptable.

One of our family friends have started blogging about their life on a small family farm here in Connecticut.  You can read about their farm here. We’ll have to start getting eggs from them.

Tools that I like (Clamping Square)

I have a couple of clamping squares – they are useful for making sure that corners are perfectly square when I do glue-ups.  I have one from Woodpeckers Precision Tools.  It is a beautiful piece of machined aluminum:

Woodpeckers clamping square

I love the the tools from Woodpeckers.  All the ones I have used are high quality and precise.  Not the cheap tools one can get from the local stores.

I have two larger plastic clamping squares from Rockler.  They are plastic, and of course don’t have the fine feel of the machined aluminum.  However, they are a little larger (and easier to clamp), and work just as well for the projects I have needed them for.  They are also a little cheaper:

Clamp-it square from Rockler Woodworking

I only have 3 total clamping squares and have been able to get by with that many.  Another 2 would be useful at times.  I might recomment starting with a pair of the aluminum ones, on sale now at Woodpeckers.  The Woodpeckers tools are made in the USA as well.

Never Enough Clamps (or Bookshelves Part 3)

It seems in the workshop one either needs one or two clamps at a time for a project, or two shops worth of clamps for a glue-up.  Never anything in-between.  I’ve had to glue the face frame to the bookshelves in individual pieces because of my limited number of clamps.  However, the current arrangement of the workshop makes it nearly impossible to walk all the way around the case when it is on the saw horses.  So maybe it is good that I didn’t have enough clamps to attempt a big glue-up at once.

Attaching one side of the face frame to the shelves

The project overall is coming along pretty quickly.  It is amazing how quick a project can be done when using sheet goods (can you say no milling of lumber).

On the down side, the top that I glued up isn’t deep enough with the face frame attached.  Luckily, I have a spare piece of cherry milled and ready (hey, I do eventually learn – to mill up extra lumber) to cut and glue to the top to get it deep enough.  Now if I had more clamps to do the glue-up while the face frame dries.  I guess it doesn’t matter – I can’t get to the table saw with the case in it’s current location.  And I don’t want to move it with the glue drying…

I was able to finish two of the shelves (build, glue edging on, one coat of shellac, and 2-3 coats of spray varnish).  They turned out pretty nice.  Cherry is pretty light colored right after finishing.  A couple of months exposed to light and hopefully it will turn darker.

Shelves after spray finish (plus a table leaf that had been sitting in the basement for years just waiting for me to finish).

Writing in my blog – a good way to spend filling the time between the glue-up and when I can take the clamps off (and move the shelves).  I think it may be time to get more clamps.  Maybe a pack of 24-inch clamps from USA Clamp Company.  I have 5 clamps made by them, and I love them.  Plus they are way cheaper than the bar clamps purchased at most woodworking supply stores.

Low Cost Bookshelves (part 2)

Cherry Bookcase Carcase
The bookshelf carcase naked - needs back, face frame, shelves and top...

After assembling the carcase, I started milling and building the rest of the bookshelf.  I milled the face frame and shelf fronts from a single 72″ section of cherry. The shelf panels have a 1″ tall piece of 3/4″ thick cherry glued to the plywood.  I decided to use a little taller piece of wood than the 3/4″ thick shelf.  The wood will be flush on the top, and extend slightly below the shelf.  Having a thicker piece of wood will add some rigidity to the shelves so they won’t sag under the weight of books.

Cherry Bookcase Shelves
Two of the four shelves glued up with a solid cherry edge piece

I glued up the top from two pieces of the cherry.  I set it on the top of the shelves and it had a decent overhang and room to cut the board square.  However I forgot that the bookcase will have a 3/4″ cherry face frame attached (Duh).  Not sure if the top will be big enough.  Luckily I have another piece (or two) of cherry milled that I can add to the top panel if needed.

Top Panel Glue Up
The top panel glued up

The edges to be glued were jointed on the power jointer.  However the jointer didn’t leave the best edge for gluing (I think it needs new blades), so I used a hand plane to do the final jointing prior to glue up.  The trick is to make sure both edges are perfectly square to the faces (that they aren’t on this panel can be seen by the very slight bow in the panel when I hold a straight edge across it.   I’ll have to remember to keep checking the edges with the square when I use the hand planes…   I’m hoping that the slight bow in the top will just be a design feature (either to cause water to run off the front and back – if the the convex side is up – or a place to store tennis balls where Tucker can’t get them – if the concave side is up).