Today finished up the first of for weekends with Susanna and Isabella away in Sweden. But, with Ben over for the week, it isn’t as quiet as I suspect the next few will be.
We started our day with a visit to a new donut shop, Dixie Donuts. My friend, Mark, recommended it; it is much better than the usual Dunkin. To be fair, this morning wasn’t the first visit. Will and I stopped by there yesterday morning while we were out running errands before Ben came over.
After our second breakfast, we headed to Stonington for a short hike at Hewitt Farm and the surrounding trails. It was a good chance to get Hoagie out for a walk and practice some off-leash training.
After lunch, Ben and I worked a bit on my summer house project, repairing the sun porch roof. I’m working on repairing the soffit and fascia on the main roof in the area directly above the sun porch. That lets me get all the work and wear and tear on the old roof before replacing it. The roof has been leaking for a while; I think the roof pitch is too shallow for the shingles. Today we scraped and washed a section of the upper exterior wall and main roof trim. It is an area that isn’t very visible, and we didn’t paint it when we repainted the house many years ago. Tomorrow I’ll prime the area we prepared and I’ll paint it later this week and move over to the next section of wall/trim to repair. I took the gutter off the upper roof, so I’ll have to figure out how to install one if one is needed for that section.
This evening I milled the back board for the chisel rack that I started on Friday night. Again, I flattened the board by hand, but milled it to thickness on the planer. I jointed the first edge by hand, but didn’t have a good way to mark that wide of a width, so ripped it to width on the table saw. I marked out and started chiseling out the grove that will hold the rack (seen in the background). I’ll try to finish the piece tomorrow night after dinner. Ben and I are watching Westworld in the evenings this week, so I won’t get too much time in the shop.
It is much quieter around the house with Susanna and Isabella out of town. My evenings are pretty open without having to juggle getting Isabella to go to bed. Tonight I decided that I would be happier if I did something other than watch a show after dinner, so I headed out to the workshop. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of TV time over the next few weeks until Susanna and Isabella return. Yes my life is that exciting.
I decided that my next workshop project was to replace the rack I built to hold my chisels. Chisels stick in the current rack and can be difficult to get out. Plus it doesn’t look very nice.
I headed up to my loft and pulled out a piece of cherry lumber. I was in no mood to dig out a piece of exotic lumber after the pain of working with Yellowheart. Cherry is very nice to work with. Not too hard and not too soft and darkens to a nice color with exposure to the sun.
I decided to do as much by hand as I could. I cut a 25″ piece off of the board, and ripped (by hand) a 2″ wide piece off that cutoff. I flattened one face by hand, but there was no way I was interested in milling to thickness by hand, so into the planer it went. I used a handplane and scraper to finish the surface
I edge jointed the board by hand. It felt nice to get the handplanes out again. I marked out and then drilled the holes using the drill press; I had already setup the drill press for a test piece and don’t think digging out the bit and brace was really worth it tonight.. The slots were cut by hand and then shaped with a rasp.
Finally I lightly sanded the entire piece and softened the edges, wiped it down with mineral spirits and put a few chisels in it for a test fit.
The next step is to mill a backing board with rabbet to allow me to mount the rack to the wall and apply some sort of finish to the project. I’ll probably also put some sort of ledge below the chisels to keep hands from bumping into the sharp edge of the chisels. I also don’t think my mortise chisel (far left on top picture) will fit in the holes I made, so I may have to modify or add another spot for that chisel. The final step will be to acquire more chisels. Maybe make the set match better, because matching tools are always important.
Now I just need to think of a project to build for the house.
This morning, Will, Izzy and I drove to the Connecticut College Arboretum for a short photo walk. It was warm and humid early which elicited complaints about the walk early on from Izzy. However, for the most part, she was good company and a somewhat willing model for pictures. Will focused on the wildlife, and I tried to get Izzy to at least not look too grumpy for pictures. She did take some pictures of me, but I had a manual focus lens on, so they didn’t turn out great.
This morning I put the final finish coat on the Saw Till and hung it in the workshop. I made it from yellowheart lumber with some spare flooring milled for the back. I learned a few lessons from this project.
Yellowheart (Euxylophora paraensis) is hard to work with. It has a Janka Hardness of nearly 1800, so it is harder than Hard Maple and White Oak (1600 and 1350 lb Janka hardness respectively). It was certainly tough on the chisels, and the interlocking grain pattern made it difficult to plane. Next time I’ll stick to oak or cherry.
I also didn’t make the till tall enough for all my saws. The saw to the right of the till is about 1″ too long to properly fit on the till. I could probably still put it on the till; it wouldn’t fall out but would stick out the top.
Now to sharpen a few more saws and add them to my collection and figure out my next shop project (maybe improve my chisel storage).