Monday, December 23, 2013

Shop Tips - DIY Inspection Cam

I had a need to peek inside the tiers of Angle Madness tonight when marking out the cuts for the top panel.  In this short video, I'll show you 3 different DIY inspection cam ideas that you can likely use with things you already have.  The first time I used one of these ideas was to dig into a long wall cavity to locate some wiring; worked very well!

Top panels are dry fitted into the drawer tiers of Angle Madness. The next episode will cover a number of odds and ends before some interesting stuff I'm eager to get to!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Finishing, Simply Put"

I recently received "Finishing, Simply Put chemistry degree required" by Charles Neil in the mail. Weirdest thing happened: I read the first 120 pages right after sitting down with it. Finished the book the next night.  Not often a book on finishing keeps me glued to a seat.

What I liked about this book is the volume of photos to show what's going on. I've included some scanned pages here to give a feel for it (the grey shadow to one side of the scans is due to my scanner).

I've followed Charles for a number of years so some parts of this book were review of some of his own techniques. That said, though, having things I learned from him here and there all in a compact reference with photos is well worth it.

Other chapters included new ideas, like using water under oil to control blotching, or very old ideas, like the use of asphaltum over dye to create rich Mahogany colors.

Most finishing books fall into two categories: details on the chemistry of finishing, and cookbooks.  Both are very useful; certainly I have a couple in each category.  This book hits a practical stride between those two explaining how the parts build to the finish you want to achieve.

There's considerable coverage on how to avoid common pitfalls (with photos), how to recover if you didn't (with photos), and common repairs (with photos).  I love books that cover "when things don't go as planned".

The volume of photos and easy text make this a fast read. Since formulations for stains, dyes, and clear coats are different for every vendor, this book specifically references many products by name and even shows their differences in photos.

Oils, varnishes, and shellac are all covered along with water-based products with discussion of special issues with water-based products.

Here's a link to a PDF of the table of contents.

This is a self-published book so you won't find it popping up on your usual woodworking radar so I thought to give it some attention.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Angle Madness! - Drawer Webbing

Putting together drawers is like putting together mini projects in the middle of a bigger project :) At least it feels like it when you get little bits of time here and there to work on a project!

In this episode, which is noticeably lacking in action shots I'll warn, we go over how the drawer webbing goes into the drawer tiers. Webbing isn't very complicated, but there are a few considerations made for this particular project due to the angles and due to the lack of support directly under the lower panel.

Leaving the sanding of the drawer front to last as I do here is the best way to get a perfectly-matched front that is flush with the surrounds when doing an applied drawer front. I haven't gone through to sand those yet since I'd rather take advantage of this last day of the long weekend to get the top panels cut along with some of the glue blocks that will go inside each tier to strengthen the lower panel (all using offcuts that already have the correct angles!)

Not sure where the next episode will go yet; I have some materials to order for the metal rods that interconnect the tiers as well as some inlay material. While awaiting that, I can wrap up installing the top panels, glue blocks, and getting the base done.

The base?!?

Yes, waaay back in the design episode, I showed a square box as a base; all three tiers are supported over that box with the metal rods.  Yeah, that base...

Well, so much for more progress on the last day of the long weekend... neighbor came over with beer, but I had a growler of fine Winter Warmer. No touching tools after that!  Especially since I was in the middle of rabbeting the top of the diamond so I could install panels... it was back to the triangles and cross-cut sled with a 5/8" dado on an angle.  That can wait; yup...