Saturday, October 15, 2011

Behind the curve

I wanted to post this last week, but things being what they are, I haven't felt like or even had enough minutes to stitch together to pull together even a few coherent sentences. So. What I have told myself, rather than try to post something even every other day, weekly sounded like an achievable goal. Uh huh. We'll see what Sunday evening brings. But enough of that, what was I up to last week in the garage shop.

I had set out a couple of weeks ago to make a better miter gage sled, a small cross cut sled, and another small sled for miter cuts. I had got thru the miter gage sled and cross gut sled and stopped there. I've learned that pushing and rushing are my two main enemies in the shop.

I big reason I wanted a sled thingy (ya, I'm real good with the jargon, right?) is that the stop I added sat far enough up off of the table so that with even 1/2 in wood it had precious little contact with the piece. But a chunk of 1/2 plywood and 1/4 in hardboard, and viola a much more stable sled/miter gage that I feel ALOT more comfortable working with.

Just a simple cross-cut sled. I've really enjoyed the boxes I made for Yule last year, and want do more of that, and this is just the right size for that. I could have made it bigger, and probably will make a larger one, but for now I think this'll do just fine. I had seen somewhere (Rockler I think...) some clear, adhesive backed tape measure tape where the hash marks and number were printed in red. If I can find that again, I think that would make a nice addition along the base of the sled on either side of the kerf. I'm thinking that will make placing stop blocks that much easier.

When my wife got me the Ryobi saw to replace my original one, she also got the accessory kit (for this and a sundry other reasons I feel like the luckiest guy. EVER!) and part of that is a router table. The fence parts that attach to the rip fence didn't work out so well for me so I fashioned another.

Just some scraps glued together and held to the fence with some clamps. I noticed that when cutting with this fence, the chips and such piled up behind the fence towards the front. As a test, I crammed the end of my shop vac hose back there and it did an ok job of keep up with the dust and chips. But a more stable mount was needed. So with another piece of scrap and some left over plexi (from one of wifey's projects) I fashioned a cover/hose holder/guard thingy.

A new hole saw set (something I'd been meaning to add to my arsenal when the need presented itself) and a couple of screws later, I have a pretty darn efficient dust collection for my itty bitty router table. I'm brewing a scheme to make my own table that's deeper but it's down on the shop goodies to do list for the moment.

So I finally got around to finishing off the last sled I wanted to make, the miter sled. Taking some lesson from the previous (don't put the tracks over the screws that hold the fences in place, and a better arrangement to make sure the sled is square to the tracks and blade) I got the that one pulled together from some more scraps left over from a cart I built for wifey (realized I hadn't bragged, er, posted on that one yet!! Will save that one for Lumberjocks :) ) Anyways, that one came together nicely too. Now I have a couple nice sleds that will help me make some nice square boxes.

Last but not least is a redo project. Back when I didn't know squat (now I may know that much) I had cut, butt jointed and screwed together a small counter box for my wife for the scents and oils she used in her soap making. Over time it icky on the bottom and needed to be remade. I had thought I could just recycle the old parts with better joinery, but the basic pine I used, even after 3 years was still really sticky.

So I decided to use it for some prototyping. I like the look of rabbet joints and thought to try that out. I like the look, it gave me nice solid glued joints, and I think just for some added strength and a nice look I'll add some dowels to the joints; something darker I'm thinking.

So the main pieces are cut, that define the basic shape. I got a bit ahead of myself when I glued up the bottom, back, and one side as I had wanted to cut a dado for the shelf. So now I think I'm going to go the dowel route with that by putting a couple of dowels in each side, cut some slots for them on the underside of the shelf. So a boo-boo leads to trying something new. Like it when that happens.

Well that's it for last week. Next post, maybe not so long winded as I'm working some templates for this year's Yule gifts. Not going as all out as I did previously, but combining some stuff I made with stuff purchased from other folks who make stuff. I like that idea.

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