Workshop Improvements #2: Experience, The Right Tools, & a Little CA

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Blog entry by ChrisCrafts posted 05-17-2011 01:41 AM 1266 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: New Helical Cutterhead Part 2 of Workshop Improvements series Part 3: Lathe Sharpening/Storage Center »

I started this little adventure into Woodworking just over a year ago. It has been quite the God send as an escape from the mind numbing boredom that can result from permanent Disability. In that time I have learned enough to fill an encyclopedia, although I have just scratched the surface in terms of overall knowledge.

In the beginning I tried to get it done on the cheap with a mixture of Shopsmith & Harbor Freight Tools. After 6 months of “practicing” the craft I realized that there is no match for a few good quality, accurate tools. Now I am sure that many people with far more skill and experience than I can create wonderful projects using a cheap assortment of tools. But there are trade offs. For instance, if you want to buy cheap S2S hardwood it is going to be difficult without a jointer. Not that Harbor Freight is all bad, I have used their 5” ROS almost daily for the past year and it is wonderful!

But no amount of ROS Sanding is going to do what a 18/36 Drum Sander can do in a few minutes.

Here is a picture of part of the Cutting Board that Broke the Camels Back. It looks much better than it used to but it was clear that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do with crappy tools.

It was that and my crappy HF Lathe with the randomly self adjusting Tool Rest that sent me off on my mission.

Now when I screw up a Bowl it is all on me. The first bowl was cracked when I brought the tool tip up before I pulled it fully out. Luckily I wear a face shield cause it bounced off the bowl onto the tool rest and bonked me in the face shield. The smaller bowl was the result of a brain fart, I had completely hollowed out the bowl then thought I would make a quick shearing cut on the rim. Without any of the core to support it the bowl cracked like an egg. I can live with mistakes I make. I have a display of some of the finest wood “funnels” you will ever find!

One thing I have learned from all of my mistakes is that a little (LOT) of CA can cure some pretty bone head moves!

But when it all comes together right, there is nothing as fine. I just found out I will have prime location as the only woodworker at a 2 Day Christmas Bazaar that draws over 3,000 visitors. Between that and several other selling opportunities I will have this fall I figure I will need a huge inventory of products. The “plan” is to have 200 cutting boards, 50 Salad Bowls, 500 bookmarks, and numerous other “trinkets”. I have already started the cutting boards. The first “Test” Batch is complete and I am sending them to friends to test them out. I used Doctors Woodshop Walnut Oil & Wax finish. It looks fabulous before it is used, but I need to know how it holds up under heavy use.

This past weekend I was reminded of the lifetime of use my products may get. In 1977 my dad moved the family out to Redmond Washington from Wichita Kansas. He moved us to take a position at O’Brien Water Skis. The next Christmas he brought home several cutting boards the “Guys in the Factory” put together for all the employees. I was 5 at the time and don’t remember what they looked like when he got them. But my parents weren’t big on caring for their wood kitchen wear. So as long as I can remember they have been a pale gray, and getting paler and grayer by the day. So last week I was over visiting and my dad pulled them out and asked if I could bring them “back to life”. I wish I had taken a before picture because the after pictures are spectacular!! In all it took me less than an hour of working time and the dull gray, scratched up boards were turned into these beautiful boards!!!

-- Chris, Washington The State!

1 comment so far

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810 posts in 3744 days

#1 posted 05-17-2011 05:28 AM

Nice blog! The boys in the factory knew what they were doing, huh? Those are some noce loking boards. Good luck with your endeavors.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

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