Monday, August 28, 2017
Friday, August 25, 2017
Google is your friend here because there are tons of free plans to use for just about anything. Just make sure you makes those plans your own by redrawing them on graph paper. That helps me "see" and remember the details and also figure out if I want to make changes.
Theres so much information on the web it can be very easy to become just a virtual woodworker - always planning, watching your tube videos but rarely doing. Go at your own pace but when you try something (and fail) the learnings are really helpful and make a lot of the terminology start to make sense.
What's the setback? I used very cheap 2x4's from Home Depot and was a bit careless in my selection. If you look closely at the picture you can see the right side of the bench is level with the floor but the Upper left corner lifts off about 1/2 inch from the floor. The wood I used for the stretchers (the 93 inch long pieces) weren't perfectly straight and I was both too lazy to plane out the boards (straighten them) and just didn't notice. As Lasergunpacker pointed out in a comment to the previous post, the wood you purchase at big box home improvement store really isn't top quality and you need to take your time in selecting the wood. I'll do a post on wood sourcing and selection but it looks like I need to do some more research!
To repeat myself, woodworking is essentially a series of mistake corrections and I think the weight of the bench top and saw will force the frame to be square. If that doesn't work I'll need to add some more braces and there will be some swearing, lots of swearing - the magical incantations of woodworking.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
The first picture shows my brand new Festool track saw all set up and ready to rip (cut length wise along the grain) a 8 ft x 4ft sheet of 1/2 inch plywood. The resulting 2, 8ft x 2ft sheets will form the upper and lower decks of the workbench.
Looking at that gleaming festool straining at the starting line makes me think "Gentlemen, start your engines" - varooom!
I needed to use 2 of the eight foot long 2x4's to cut the 6 31 inch lengths (3 from each). So how can I really tell if their the same length? Eyeballing isn't always that accurate, but I could....
SAFETY TIP: just behind the cut-offs you notice that my table saw blade is fully retracted. Whenever I'm not using the saw I fully retract the blade to prevent damage to it AND me. I also unplug the unit. The protruding "shark fin" is the riving knife which is stationary and not sharp. It's there to help prevent kick back. Some people take these off their saws as they can limit the things you can do. Almost invariably, those people acquire the nickname "Stumpy". Leave the riving knifes on your table saw.
As you progress in woodworking one of the first things that change is your tolerance for cut accuracy. When first starting out its 1/4 of an inch +/- is fine but as you get more experience that gap reduces. I'm a mid skill person so I'm in the 1/32 on an inch range.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
I am awaiting delivery of a new band saw (my old one broke and the new one's price was less than its repair cost. I really hadn't planned on a new band saw but then the whole "accidental" click into my cart on Amazon and well I thought it would be rude to cancel the transaction.
I've been listening to a great book on Audible from by Nick Offerman (who also narrates) entitled "Good, Clean Fun, Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop" which is his thoughts woodworking. It's very funny and a light listen. I didn't know Mr Offerman was a woodworker / stage builder before becoming a actor. He does have a quirky style, which I find funny but he does make fun of consumerism and fru-fru coffee swilling. I heartily approve.
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
In the background is the rather brightly colored orange rubbish bin I've rented. Orange is the color my wife hates the mosts and there have been accusations of me deliberately choosing this color to tease her. Honestly, you're really not given color choices when renting a rubbish bin.
Friday, August 18, 2017
The uses of some of these tools may not be that obvious but, hopefully, over the series of post I can explain how to use them.
I really need to get my work space organized which will be next weeks project.
Here's a list of all the hand tools I think you should have. Other's may have different opinions but these have worked well for me.
|Eye Protection||$5.00||Home Depot|
|Dust Mask||$5.00||Home Depot|
|Ear Plugs||$2.50||Home Depot|
|Measuring and Marking|
|2 Tape measurerers, 16 ft or greater||$10.00||Home Depot|
|Combination Square||$10.00||Home Depot|
|Wheel Marking Guage||$17.00||http://www.rockler.com/rockler-wheel-marking-gauge|
|24 Inch metal Ruler||$5.00||Home Depot|
|Framing Square||$12.00||Home Depot|
|Level 9"||$5.00||Home Depot|
|Screw Driver set||$15.00||Home Depot|
|Chisel Set (1/8, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 inch)||$14.00||Home Depot|
|File set||$20.00||Home Depot|
|Push Saw||$10.00||Home Depot|
|Coping Saw||$8.00||Home Depot|
|Japanese Pull Saw||$48.00||http://www.rockler.com/dozuki-dovetail-saw|
|Block Plane (#4 size)||$20.00||Home Depot|
|Cordless Drill w bit set||$75.00||Home Depot|
|Clamps (you'll never have enough)||$75.00||Home Depot|
Thursday, August 17, 2017
It's really not that different from miniature wargaming which has an array of scales and play styles plus all of the stuff one needs to stock up a painting work desk (paints, brushes, scenic materials, etc...). It can all be a bit intimidating at first but once you dive in and get started things start to gradually make sense.
I have developed a set of goto video channels on youtube which you may find helpful. These are personal favorites who I've chosen because I like the style of the video presenter as well as the technical details they are trying to convey. You may not care for the particular individuals I've selected so look for others. There are a zillion of them and a lot seem to be making a good part of their incomes doing these videos. At least they seem to be getting free tools to demo!
One of my decision criteria for the following list is that I have chosen video channels where I think the presenter is demonstrating good shop safety skills. You'll hear something about shop safety in every post because its the most important thing I can try to teach you. Good safety skills means you'll have more time to practice woodworking. Bad safety skills means you'll likely spend a lot of time outside of the shop in rehab. There are a lot of videos where the presenters don't demonstrate safety skills and I've seen cringe worthy things like people reaching across a spinning table saw blade, not using push sticks and the worse offense of all - not wearing eye protection. I realize I may sound like an over protective nanny but it's important. Yeah that and I do like to lecture.....
Enough moralizing from me
Here are my favorite YouTube channels:
Dave is an Aussie who has a very inviting style and a deliberate pace that allows you to follow along in the shop. I may even wear a blue T-shirt in my workshop (watch the videos you'll understand). My new goal in life is to get to Australia to buy both Dave on Paul O'G (of the Man Cave blog) a beer together. Australia's a small island so I'm sure they live close to one another.
Steve makes videos that are aimed at the beginner and he uses a limited set of tools. He also has a quirky sense of humor that I like. He has a really good series of posts titled "wood working basics" which I highly recommend.
The Wood Whisperer
Marc Spagnuolo's video channel. This is a full fledge business with a supporting webpage and some really good books (that I have bought and use constantly). Marc's has honed his teaching skills so this is a great channel for more complex projects. Marc also does exceptional tool reviews that cater to both the beginner and power user.
Jay is a young guy who's an exceptionally talented wood-worker and also a very skilled video editor. Jay uses CAD (Computer Aided Design) program sketchup to create his projects and I'm using his videos to learn how to use the program. My son is a CAD expert and laughs at my feeble CAD attempts. I also really like the design of Jay's shop.
Paul is the Mac-Daddy of hand tool users. He doesn't use power tools and proves that anything can be made with just hand tools. His skill level is off the chart. Every time I fire up my table saw, I wince a little because I know somewhere in England Paul Sellers is looking down upon me in a disapproving manner.
That's enough to get you started - there are a lot of others so find one that you connect with and use it to both learn and gain some confidence.
Next Post: Suggested Hand Tools to start with
Monday, August 14, 2017
Dark times, indeed.
Now these proclamations were delivered in the "I'm not kidding" voice which compels my obedience.
As a result, I have scheduled next week off from work, ordered a 20 foot long rubbish bin and purchased a pallet load of Aleve pain reliever.
Cleaning commences next Monday.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Pictured at the top is a game table I built for my friend Steve MacLaughlin. I really enjoyed building the table and every warmer should have a table as a house warming present, shouldn't they?
First, a few caveats.
(1) I'm not an expert woodworker, My skill level is, at best, moderate, having started just a few years ago. That means I may have some techniques that are just plain wrong or not that effective. I'm very open to constructive criticism from all of you as I'll likely be learning along the way.
(2) I'm a cautious woodworker. Workshop safety is both a skill, a mindset, and a hallmark of a quality woodworker. It's the most important skill to develop. Modern power tools create huge efficiencies and improve accuracy but they must be respected at all times or they will cause gruesome injuries. Remember the only measure of success in working is starting and ending projects with the same number of digits AND their all at original lengths. Anything else is an EPIC FAIL.
Your most important safety tool is your brain and you really must have it tuned to a safety first attitude. Please don't attempt any of the things I will be trying without a safety first mindset. Lastly, If you do follow any advice I may give you are doing so at your own risk. Remember, I'm pretty much a standard issue moron.
(3) The pace of the series will ebb and flow as my work/life balance does. I do move at a deliberate (OK, slow) pace with woodworking - pretty much due to item 2 above. You can always spot fast woodworkers as they are the ones with less than ten fingers.....
(4) To be honest, one of the reasons to do this series is to create excuses to give to my lovely, yet fierce, wife to buy new tools. Those of you with spouses understand and value the benefit of appropriate acquisition cover can provide.
(5) Power vs Hand Tools. There is nothing than can be built with power tools that can not also be built with hand tools. The trade-off is time and skill level. It's kind of like the trade-off between Muskets and Longbows. Where I can, I'll try to demonstrate how something can be accomplished with just hand tools vs power. This series will be gauged at the beginner so I'll be assuming you don't have a lot of tools.
(6) I'm going to try to make some video how-to's as well as my normal "wall of text with blurry pictures". Who knows?, maybe I'll start my own YouTube Channel and become a major star in the wargaming woodworking circuit and garner all the fame and fortune that ensues. Then again this aspect may die in editing as I tire at looking at my edifice and throw it all out. We shall see.
For those of you who have made and posted video tutorials, any advice on equipment and "how-to's" is greatly appreciated.
Here's my list of potential post/video topics. These will change and likely right after I hit the "publish" button in the upper right of my screen.
- Information Sources
There are a lot of really interesting websites and Youtube channels dedicated to woodworking which I get a lot of value out of. So will you. All of the sites/channels I'll refer you to are way more experienced than me. If their advice contradicts mine, ignore me!
- Shop Safety
See item 2 above, this really isn't something to take lightly.
- Shop Layout and Basic Tools
Having some form of a workspace is really important and knowing how to scale your projects to fit that space.
- Cutting and beveling MDF for terrain and troop trays
A bit simple, but there are easy ways and hard ways to cut and bevel MDF and we all put off doing it.
- Types of wood
Woodworking has a similar tradeoff in wood species as we have in plastics vs metals.
- Lets build some dice trays
Ohhh joinery - joinery is the how two pieces of wood are joined together. There's lots of different ways and I mean lots......
- Wood finishing
How to make an ordinary job look extraordinary.
- Dice Tower Project
It's just a dice tray with a superiority complex.
- Storage units for miniatures
OK this is a fancy way of saying shelving, but we all need more storage.
- Terrain Panels
Who doesn't want to hear the "oohs and ahhhs" from passer by's at a con?
- Travel cases with display tops
'Cause we all like to show off just like in "Show and Tell" in grade school.
- Organizers and player aids for various game systems
I'm taking suggestions for what to build here and for which game systems.
- Basic and High End game tables
I feel like building some game tables and likely retro fitting mine. There will be a charity auction for any tables we build at the end of this series.
EDIT / ADDITION
- Painting Desk
Why not have a custom layout that meets your specs?
Well there you have it. I really open to other project/topic suggestions (as long as they facilitate my main goal of having an excuse to buy more tools). Please let me know if there is something you'd like me to cover.
Hey Tango! Since I'm banned from TMP can you cross post it over there?
(OK I just couldn't resist that one)
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Mary Beth took most of the good pictures - we bought a few disposable cameras for snorkeling. I'll post those a bit later. It was a wonderful week.
One of the many blessing I have is my wife who knows what I like and what I need and manages to combine the two into really cool gifts. This anniversary is no exception and see got me some really nice Festool power tools, like the TS-55 track saw pictured above. Festool is a german company and they make the Mercedes Benz of power tools - both in terms of quality and pricing. I also got a certificate to get a few more Festool items like their Domino DF-700 Joiner system. Oh my, I'm in tool heaven.
People either love Festool (because they have them) or hate them (cause their super expensive). I'm at that stage in life where I just don't care what others think and I can put these tools to good use. Bring on my shop's Festool conversion!
and this brings my to my last point for the 5 of you who have waded though my ramblings above. I'm thinking of doing a series of posts centered around basic to advanced woodworking skills for wargamers. Essentially a series of how to articles that may range from:
- basic woodworking skills and shop safety tips
- cutting and beveling MDF for terrain pieces
- building dice trays
- building dice towers
- organizers for specific game systems
- display trays
- storage units
- terrain panels
- basic and high-feature gaming tables
I'll do a more specific post about what I'm thinking of doing but would love to hear any ideas from others on what they would like to see.