Author Archives: bkbiggs

About bkbiggs

Been a hobby woodworker for several years. Professionally a software systems architect I use both for physics, but the woodworking lets me do more hands on. I also enjoy electronics (though I've been idle for 6 months this year) and photography.

Fun Stuff for me…

Well I’ve taken to the next steps in life in general – I’ve started up (sort of) a new project at work, and I’ve built my first chair! Last year I had signed up for building a chair but as some of you are aware I had a issue that prevented my participation. However the class was offered one more time and I was able to get in. 3 days of seriously quick steps to 1) introduce you to the pieces parts 2) get you familiar with the process flexibility and 3) to actually get a chair done (but not with finish on it) after 3 – 8 hour days. Actually it was 2.5 8 hour days, but who counts 🙂

The class starts with the turned spindles pre-turned, the seat form cut out of 8/4 glued wood planks, and lots of regular spindles to be cut to length and trimmed with the spokeshave. Chopping, carving, sanding and trimming are basically the order of events. Drilling holes as dictated by the wood in the condition you have means that many holes are drilled by angles determined by eye – with primarily only the 4 leg inserts guided by a template. Once the four legs are in, the curved back, and the center back spindle determine where the arm spindles get mounted (and determine their angles). Most of the cuts are done with spade bits, to allow for more effective cuts. All the cutting and fitting is done just before assembly (PVC glue in this class) and since we’re inserting spindles into circular “mortises” we split and wedged the end points to ensure firm fits.

As you can see, I did finish the chair, but have also been swamped in classes and demo’s recently which surprised me, and kept me from posting! I’m trying to get back to 1-2 times a month going forward.

 

Pen Making (abuse)

There are two cool basic IMG_3727 models of pens that have the sensor tips for use on tablets/phones that I really like. I thought at first from the catalog shots that one version was better for males and one for females. Since I have had such a strong correct feeling all my life I was pretty sure I was wrong again – and was proved so by the folks that were receiving the pens. So, I make both types available and let receivers choose. I had backordered about 30 pens so I set down to do them in sets of 10 – however, I ended up ordering 40, and did a set of 10, a set of 15 and a set of 15. More or less. I distributed pens during the creation, but used the time to focus on prep and finish to optimize my production. And like the sex choice – optimize is not the right word here. Continue reading

Bottle opener without the lathe II

I kept making different shapes and trying different approaches to making the bottle openers using simple approaches. The following two actually did use the lathe to provide the body shape, but could have been done with a scroll or band saw (or any other curve cutting saw). The focus on these two is really on Christmas – so I used the basics for the idea – a snow man and a tree.
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Just being lazy…

Not that there is anything in particular going on — I’ve been puttering around but haven’t been updating the blog simply due to time restrictions due to work. I’m traveling again, but may be done for the remainder of the year now.

I have more beer openers to do, the book case for kindergarten is still waiting on the sewing portion to get done and I am lining up a bunch of pen gifts for the holidays. I have not started design of the cabinetry my daughter has asked for specifically for her dining area (she want’s a coffee bar type set up). I will be using sketch-up in detail there again and hope to get into that very soon.

Oh, and we (I) may be setting up a hand tool club at the Leesburg Va Woodcraft. I expect that will happen after the start of the year. A bunch of things will happen then – including bench and toolbox construction classes as part of the change to the class line-ups. I’m going to spread out classes, I hope, to let folks expand across the year, rather than just having me repeat the same intro classes all the time…

A pair of small bow saws… building a replacement

I had a small frame sawIMG_3440 from sometime back (from Gramercy Tools), that I had rushed through a build on (trying to shape it with power sanders) that was never really pretty. It did however work 100% so for several years now I’ve used it. The fact these break down with the removal of the suspension string and blade make them easy to pack in the tool box, so it’s a lot easier than porting the frame saw I finished a few weeks back. And these are for cutting curves, that was for re-sawing wide boards, so – not really a comparison hey?

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Bottle opener without the lathe

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Opener on the left is sawn and carved. opener on the right is shaped on the lathe, but with non-square material. (I think it works, but I really need to measure and mark the material to do this!)

I’d picked up aBottle_Opener_1.jpg couple of the bottle opener kits from Woodcraft a while back, and intended to turn some quick handles to make the openers available within the family parties. However, something occurred to me when working on the re-saw – how nice an easy “shaping” the wood for the handle was using just a rasp and spokeshave. And I started to think – what if I just wanted flat handle on the opener, rather than a fully round one?

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Building a ReSaw-Saw… from HTW semester 4

IMG_3370So a couple years back Shannon Rogers covered the creation of the Roubo style resaw frame saw in semester 4. And I purchased the metal and blades at that time and they’ve been moved around quite a bit since then. I recently got a spot between some projects, and decided to go ahead and do the Roubo style 4′ long, 4″ wide large saw to see how I can make do. I have lots of 8/4 cherry stock and my oldest daughter has asked for some wall units that would benefit from some book matched components. I figured since most of the stalk “could” be done on a bandsaw I’m covered if this doesn’t work out, but in the mean time it’s sure fun to try out these techniques. I’m pretty impressed to find out some manual operations are a lot faster than power tool operations – setup for hand tools is pretty easy sometimes, and sometimes a simple operation setup on the power tool is not.

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