Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Simple Shop Cabinet

I needed more storage, and found wall space to squeeze in a 24" x 42" cabinet in Doug Fir. I started with a 2"x10" that I resawed into 1" and 1/2" pieces. The 1" side became the dovetailed carcass and shelves, and the 1/2" side became a shiplapped back.  The bottom shelf is fixed in a rabbet and the upper two are adjustable. No doors at the moment, I'm thinking about that, not sure I want them. 

I'm happy to have something that is solid wood rather than plywood and MDF.  I put a home brew boiled linseed oil - Mineral Spirits - Turpentine finish on it, followed by paste wax.  I've blogged about this build previously, in Glue-Ups With The Right Clamps Are Boring and More Efficient Dovetails.

I also used a couple of the 1/2" resawn pieces to make some "Redneck Plywood".  Never heard of it?  It's cheap and strong.  I had two 1/2" pieces left over that were in sad shape, full of checks and knots, and warped all to heck.  Normally you would throw these away.  Don't do that - glue them together and glue a 1/4" strip on the front.  Makes a great, cheap shelf, and you can't tell it from a solid wood shelf.  

For now, it is being used to store some of my hand planes until I get the plane cabinet built, hopefully this summer.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Glue-ups With The Right Clamps Are Boring

And without the right clamps, they can be exciting. I have some 48" Besseys and one would think a 42" shelf would fit in there just fine. Nope. They don't. Of course I checked before I started, and had to improvise. The Thule kayak straps came to the rescue, and another tie-down rope with a ratchet was just the ticket. Tight and square.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

More Efficient Dovetails

Last week I scanned the walls of my crammed little shop, wishfully looking for space for a new shelf. Hmmm.....if I move the fire extinguisher......and shift that clock over.......maybe I can find space for a shelf almost 4' high by 2' wide. Yup, that'll work.

I decided to make it from Douglas Fir, as it's the cheapest best wood in these parts. I looked for poplar, but it cost twice as much. I like to do dovetails on the shop furniture, to hone the skills (and I use the term "skills" loosely).

The other issue was time. I didn't have much. So I wanted this to go quickly. And to complicate things, bad weather had delayed picking up the wood. It's in a big lumber yard, under a tarp. I pick through the piles, get what I want, cut it to fit in the 4Runner, and I'm on my way. 

I ended up picking up the wood on Friday, letting it acclimate in my garage for Saturday (while I was otherwise occupied with family stuff; i.e. what my wife makes me do), and building the carcass on Sunday. Even tho it is kiln dried, the 2 x 10s are not what you would call dry when I get them. So I knew as soon as I started milling it, it would start moving. Another reason to get the dovetails cut and the carcass glued up today. And I have my fingers crossed that it won't go wonky on me after it's been on the wall for a while.

Milling consisted of rough cutting to approximate lengths with a hand saw, then trimming up the edges with a bandsaw followed by jointing with a number 6. Then I resawed it to about an inch thick on the bandsaw, and ran it through the planer to just a hair over 7/8". Ran it through the shooting board using the BU Jack to square up the ends.

Then it was dovetail time. I wanted it to go quickly, and I wanted the joints to fit off the saw. If there were minor gaps, I didn't care. It's a shop shelf. Here are the steps I followed, with some pics for illustration. This was tails first. By the way, one of the best tips I found was in Chris Schwarz' blog, and had to do with gang-cutting the tails. 

0) (I had to make this step zero because I forgot to put it in) Use a Moxon vise or other vise that elevates your work.

1) Use one set of dividers. Don't measure, don't use two sets of dividers, use ONE set of dividers. First mark out how big you want the half pins to be - eyeball it. Then adjust the dividers to fit between these marks for however many tails you want. Fewer is better, I should have done one or two less than I did.

2) Gang-mark and gang-cut the tails. This is what I borrowed from Chris S. Here's a pic after marking and cutting.

3) I used the LV dovetail guide to start the tail cuts. This helped me tremendously as I used to fuss over this step, taking way to much time. My excuse for using a guide is "Why not? We mark the darn things with guides, why not cut them with a guide?" And I only did a partial cut with the guide. Also, if you are off even just a hair, the mistake is magnified because you are going through twice the thickness. Seemed like a smart thing to do when you are in a hurry. Plus it was a Christmas gift that I hadn't used yet.

4) After getting the cut started, I switched to the LV dovetail saw. It cut faster than the pullsaw - going through almost 2" of Doug Fir was a challenge for the pullsaw.

5) Gang-cutting the waste. Another two-for-one. And I worked a little harder to get closer to the lines, so there would be less chopping.

6) You can't gang-cut the pins or waste between the pins (or if you can, let us in on your secret), but you can mount two boards in your moxon at once, saving a few steps.

6) Size your pins and tails to match your chisel sizes.

So did it work? I'm happy to report it did. Every joint went together right off the saw, without any extra paring. They probably weren't my best dovetails, but they were my best fast dovetails. This is a dry fit, and they'll look better after clamping and glueing.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Thank You Mr. Buskirk

And who is this Mr. Buskirk, you might ask?  Why, I haven't the faintest clue.  But I want to thank him anyway, for passing on the finest little 26" D-8 crosscut saw that I own.  Mr. Buskirk's name is inscribed on both the handle and the blade.  Given the care and attention he gave this saw, I am honored to have his name on it, and I won't remove it if I ever get around to refinishing the handle.

It has 8 points per inch, and it's likely been cleaned up and resharpened a time or two.  It starts a little slow, but once in the kerf it picks up speed nicely and cuts faster than my other saws.  It probably has a little more aggressive set than my other similar saws, and it might need a little touch-up sharpening on the toe teeth.

The medallion dates it to the 1896 - 1917 time frame, according to the The Disstonian Institute.  This saw is approximately a century old, but it handles and cuts better than any saw you can buy at a hardware store or lumber yard.

I have been cutting up some Douglas Fir for shop shelving and cabinets.  I took my D-42 out to Lumber King when I picked up the wood, as I needed to cut down the 12' 2x10s to 6' so they would fit in my 4Runner.  I love my wartime era Disston saws, but when I got back to the shop I quickly switched to the D-8.  Here's the D-42 in action, but it is a lighter saw and I didn't use it long.  I don't have a proper saw bench, so I just use bench hooks and clamps and cut it on my benchtop.  I put a long thin scrap of wood under the saw blade to keep it from dinging my benchtop when the cut finishes.