Saturday, May 24, 2008

Stickley #913 Harvey Ellis Dresser, Part Last

Well today was the day, this project if finally done. I have to say that this has been the most complex build I've even done. It was my first dresser and I learned some important lessons about making drawers. I had done my research on drawers and dressers and most of the experts said to cut the drawer faces to fit the carcass, then cut the dovetails, and plane them to fit. I think next time I am going to cut them to the size I want which would be the opening minus 1/16th of an inch all the way around for clearance. I ended up having to plane the sides of each drawer, spending about 6 hours fitting the drawers. They do fit nicely now, but while cutting them smaller to start won't give you that "piston fit" described in the literature it would save quite a bit of time and inches of plane shavings from the shop floor.

I ended up not needing center drawer guides with the snug fit of the drawers but I did install stops on the rear drawer rails to keep the drawers closing flush to the frame.

One more coat of Danish oil tomorrow and let it dry for a few days, finish with a coat of clear wax and its ready to be crated and shipped off.
The contrast between the dark, rich cherry and the light highly figured curly maple make this a very pretty piece. The cherry knobs bring it all together, tying the drawers to the carcass nicely. The knobs on the bottom drawers will darken to match the top ones that have been getting sunlight for a few weeks while the bottom knobs sat on my countertop in the back of the shop.
This piece was originally designed by Harvey Ellis in his short but fruitful tenure with Gustav Stickley and has been produced by the Stickley company in its various itterations since then. The original was made in Quartersawn White Oak with a back splash on the top. This version is closer to the modern product produced by the Stickley Company.
I hope it finds many years of use in its new home, it was fun to make and quite the learning experience. Now for something less complex and a little easier......

"Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product." Eleanor Roosevelt

A Quick Little Push Block

What do you do with a nice piece of hard maple that's only 12 inches long but its 8 inches wide and a full inch thick? Not enough to make a cabinet, certainly not enough to build a bridge out of.

I need another push block, maybe I could make one out of this. I like the feel of an enclosed handle that pushes down on the stock so instead of reinventing the wheel I used this push block as a guide.

After tracing the hand hole in its proper position I freehanded the shape I had in mind and added some ears to make the handle more like a saw handle.

A trip to the bandsaw cut out the shape. I cleaned up the saw blade marks with the disc sander for the convex part and the oscillating spindle sander for the concave parts. I used a 1 1/4 inch forstner bit to bore out the hand hole.

Some clean up with a chisel and a trip over to the oscillating spindle sander leaves a nice smooth finger hole, just the right size for a safe grip.

Using a 1/2 inch roundover bit I eased the inside of the handle and the palm side, I was careful not to go past the ears with the bit.

Who says that even totally utilitarian things you use in your shop shouldn't be beautiful, and I had a cabinet full of router bits, so I put a decorative beading on the edge of the push block. You'll also notice the foot I cut into the push block, at first I was going to glue on a block like I did on my other pushblock. But once the beaded detail was in place I decided to keep it simple and cut the foot on the band saw. If the foot becomes chewed up cutting thin strips I'll just slice it off and cut another one the same way, there is enough material on this push block to do that a few times before I have to replace it.
A few coats of Danish oil and its done, all in all I spent 45 minutes on this pushblock. It will keep my fingers away from the tablesaw blade and look good while its doing it.

"The smell of wood in my shop is more pleasing than a desk in an office." Sam Maloof

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Stickley #913 Harvey Ellis Dresser, Part 6

Its funny how life sometimes interferes with the things we want to do. I was really hoping that this weekend would see the final touches for the Harvey Ellis Dresser but as I said, life has a way of getting in the way. I won't laundry list the things that kept me out of the shop last weekend and today but I wanted to tell you about a good friend of mine that left us last weekend.

Griffon was my 15 year old Australian Sheppard and he had been suffering from an inner ear infection for two weeks, his vet did everything that they could but he just didn't recover from it. Finally last Saturday he started refusing all food and water. He had lost 15 lbs in two weeks and couldn't keep up on his feet. Griffon was a very kind soul that was loved by everyone that met him. I have never had a more gentle dog. He loved cats and little kids, and anytime he met a dog he would pull to go over and say hi. His very favorite thing was to get his belly rubbed, and amazingly enough he would go out on the screened in porch through the cat door. I'm sure that right now he's rolling in the grass up in doggie heaven.
I did get some woodworking done since my last post, I planed the maple for the drawer sides to 5/8 inches thick and cut the sides and back for the two smallest of the large drawers. I had to glue up the sides for the 9 1/2 inch drawer. I cut the dovetails for the 8 drawer and today I sanded the inside and glued it up. Maybe tomorrow I'll get the other two drawers glued up but then I'm off to San Francisco for a week for work, so that shoots next weekend all to heck too. But I promise you that this thing will be done, oiled and waxed, and shipped off before Memorial Day. I wonder what I'm going to make next. I haven't really given it much thought yet, but I think its time for something small. This has been the longest, most complex build yet, but its coming out great.
God will not look you over for medals degrees or diplomas, but for scars. Elbert Hubbard

Friday, May 2, 2008

Safety Week Post Safety Glasses for us that wear Glasses

"Be sure to read, understand, and follow all the safety rules that come with your power tools. Knowing how to use your power tools properly will greatly reduce the risk of personal injury. And remember this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these-- safety glasses."

Well if you wear glasses anyway do you need safety glasses? Well.... yes, your glasses may help you see better but are they designed to protect your eyes? Here's something you should consider when thinking about eye safety.

  • Consider frames with side shields, which protect against objects coming at the eyes from an angle, as well as from the front.

  • The frames should be made of impact-resistant plastic or polycarbonate.

  • For cold weather wear, look for frames made of nylon, rubber or propionate, which do not become brittle in the cold, hold their shape, and are less likely to injure the face in a fall or when something strikes them.

  • Titanium is an unusually tough metal used in some sports eyeglasses.

  • Wrap-around temples keep the frame more firmly in place.

  • Spring hinges allow the frame to flex without breaking

When considering which safety glasses to purchase keep the ANSI Z87.1 standard in mind. The ANSI Z87.1 standard sets forth requirements for the design, construction, testing, and use of eye protection devices, including standards for impact and penetration resistance. All safety glasses, goggles, and face shields used by employees under OSHA jurisdiction must meet the ANSI Z87.1 standard. The eyewear standard includes the following minimum requirements:

  • Provide adequate protection against the hazards for which they are designed

  • Be reasonably comfortable

  • Fit securely, without interfering with movement or vision

  • Be capable of being disinfected if necessary, and be easy to clean

  • Be durable

  • Fit over, or incorporate, prescription eyewear

Now your safety glasses no longer have to look like the ones that your shop teacher wore along with his short sleeved plaid shirt and bad tie probably including pocket protector that he never seemed to take off even when you saw him outside of school. They can look just as cool as the ones sported by your normally sighted friends. You can even order them online, all you need is your prescription and pupil distance from your last eye exam. I would highly recommend getting some comfortable, cool looking safety glasses because you'll wear them, I tried all kinds of "over glasses" type of safety glasses before I got my prescription and none of them were comfortable so I ended up not wearing them.

My regular everyday glasses do have plastic lenses but they are small and there is no side protection. They offer more protection than wearing nothing but they are not safety glasses. Many woodworkers would spend thousands on a Sawstop and you have ten fingers, loose a few and you can still build nice furniture, but you only have two eyes... Safety Glasses are cheap.

"It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself." Eleanor Roosevelt