Saturday, January 24, 2009

Shop made Bowsaw

What do you do on a rainy Saturday when you don't want to start a project that is going to take weeks? Why make a shop tool of course. I've made a couple of wooden planes and upgraded some saw handles but I thought it was time to attempt a Bowsaw. I found a great article on the Fine Woodworking website listed under specialty skills, making shop tools. I'm sure that you've all seen Frank Klausz cut dovetails with a bow or frame saw, of course I don't think that having a bowsaw will make me cut as well or as fast as Mr. Klausz.
My inspiration for this was a broken 1/4 inch bandsaw blade, here's something that you can do that costs you nothing and lets you recycle that broken blade. All you need is a 14x5 inch piece of 4/4 hardwood, I had some beautiful curly maple boards that I thought would be prefect. You'll notice two boards and two sets of arms, I decided that it was just as easy to make two as to make one and maybe I'll have a nice gift for someone when I'm finished.
Using the template that is in the article I made a template out of 1/2 MDF to make it easier to transfer the marks. I ripped two 1 3/4 inch pieces out of each board and one 1 inch piece out of each.
I transferred the shape onto each 1 3/4 inch piece and then layed out the holes that need to be drilled. One 1/2 inch hole for the handle and knob on the bottom and the start of the mortises that will receive the stretcher.

Once the holes are drilled I cleaned out the waste from the mortises with a chisel. I then could take the arms to the bandsaw and cut out the shape. After cleaning the saw marks off on the oscillating spindle sander I used a 1/4 inch 1/4 round router bit in the router table to ease the edges, leaving the area in front of the mortise and the bottom where the handle and knob will go square. I then used a combination of block plane, spokeshave, and sandpaper to taper the "horns" of the arms. I then formed the tenons on the ends of the stretch to fit loosely so that the arms could move freely. I also rounded over the edges of the stretcher on the router table.

Using a left over piece of curly maple I resawed it to 1/4 inch and cut a little flapper that is used to tension the saw.

I went over to my friend's shop down the street and used his lathe to turn a handle and knob. I don't use lathe's and this was the very first thing that I've ever turned. I had planned on turning two handles and two knobs, but really close to finishing the first handle the tenon from and the handle went flying. Oh well, the next handle came out great and I learned to go very easily with the scraper when forming the tenon. When I went to setting the second knob into the center it split, so I had one handle and one knob.
Taking those pieces back to my shop I cut a slot down the center of each tenon on the handle and knob to receive the blade and drilled a hole at 90 degrees to the cut through the tenon. I cut the blade to length and drilled hole at each end. I slipped the blade into the slot and pushed a 4d finish nail through the hole. Then I tied a leather boot lace around the horns of the arms and used the little flapper to wind the lace and tension the blade.
Once I was sure that the saw was working properly and cutting nicely I took it apart and applied a few coats of Watco natural Danish oil, after letting it sit for an hour I wiped everything dry and trimmed off the excess leather laces.
There you are, one afternoon and I have a new tool that costs me nothing and will let me use that broken blade. Hope you make your own, there is nothing better than tools you make yourself.

"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions." ~Dalai Lama

My Newest Toy

Well friends, I did it. After taking the doublebevel inlay class with David Marks I had to get a decent scrollsaw so I could add inlays to some of my upcoming projects. I got the DeWalt variable speed scrollsaw with stand and light. Yesterday the saw and light showed up and this morning the stand came, so like a five year old on Christmas morning I couldn't wait to unwrap it and put it together. Assembling the stand was just a matter of bolting the legs to the stretchers. The saw only required attaching the table to the saw, while two screws on the side of the saw came off to hold the light in place.
After all was said and done I had one last thing to add, that's right, I had to put a WoodWhisperer sticker on the leg just for kicks.

Enjoy the pictures, I'm sure that very soon I'll have some doublebevel inlays to show you.

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” - Buddha

Monday, January 19, 2009

David Marks Class at Woodzone

Today I had to good fortune to attend a workshop day with David J. Marks , craftsman, artist, teacher and former host of DIY networks Woodworks. Today's class focused on router template inlay and double bevel marquetry. We also learned about sharpening card scrapers using water stones.
The class was held at Columbia South Carolina's Woodzone. David had taught 4 classes over the weekend and Monday was listed as an all day workshop. This is the second year that the nice folks at Woodzone have brought David to Columbia to teach and give workshops.
David is in the process of building a school of woodworking in Northern California and spends the winter months travelling the country teaching classes at events like this one. From here he was on his way back to California for one day then off again to Houston for more classes.
Many of you know that our friend Marc Spagnuolo spent time with David when he was planning to leave the world of lab science and move into full time woodworking. I had on my The WoodWhisperer T-shirt , David recognized it right away and asked about Marc and The Woodwhisperer website. While setting up the router inlay bushing on the router provided by the store David noticed that there was a screw missing on the base, I was standing there talking with him at the time so he used my Dewalt plunge router instead, (I may never wash it).
After the template routing David showed us his double bevel marquetry technique that gives you a perfect fit inlay every time. Instead of my trying to describe it here click on the link above for a video David has placed on Youtube of the technique. I have to say, that I've never done any inlay other than a few dovetail butterfly's but using David's method I was able to create my own design and put it in wood in just a few minutes as was most of the class.
I haven't taken many woodworking classes but I have to say that this type class with this class of instructor is something I plan to repeat. I feel that I've reached a plateau in my skill level and classes like this are pushing the bar higher.

Thank you David for your time and talent today and for opening up new avenues for my woodworking, I plan on incorporating some Harvey Ellis designed inlays into a piece in the near future.

Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.
Steven Wright