Monday, April 24, 2017
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I am trying to keep my promise to myself to get back to posting when I have made progress on some of my projects. With that said, I had a pretty productive weekend and wanted to share some of what I did with you all.
I spent most of Saturday working up in my shop. I had some orders to go out, and I have a large project that I am working on with another artist that I want to stay on top of and chip away at gradually. That way, by working it in with my other work, I hardly notice the time spent doing things and also can keep up while accomplishing my own work. This way of multi-tasking is really key to my succeeding in getting everything accomplished that I want to accomplish. Besides – switching gears keeps me fresh and excited about things. As each new project emerges, I love the excitement of seeing it progress.
On Saturday evening, I finished painting my third and final owl for my set of three owl designs. This one I call “Booboo”.
He was a challenge, to say the least, but I do like how he came out.
Now that the three main figures were done, I thought it would be fun to put them in a setting. This way they could be painted either on my own surfaces or on anything that my customers wished. I like offering the versatility of my patterns and designs. I hope it inspires people to use them in several different ways.
I choose my SLDPK141 - Round Pumpkin Bevel Cut Ornaments. I thought they would be perfect for what I had in mind.
First I created some cool backgrounds:
Next, I blocked in the figures of my three owls. This will give you a little idea of how they will look when finished.
Oddly enough, this took quite a while to get to this point.
I began painting the Broom Hilda owl first. This time I was taking step-by-step photos as I did each layer, so I could use them when creating the pattern packet. When I design, the first time around mostly consists of “trial and error” and it is rare that I can just paint something once and have it make sense for a pattern. I typically paint the designs a second or even third time in order to document the steps and put them into an order that will make sense to my customers. It is a bit of a process.
By the end of the evening last night here is where I wound up:
So far, pretty good.
I am going to continue to work on these for the next day or so and the pattern will be available as soon as they are done. :)
Keith has also been busy creating some new designs. He has a new Biblical plaque. (SLDK710 - Let it shine - Matthew 5:14-16)
He also has a beautiful new Eagle desk clock. (SLDK718)
Finally, Keith created a pattern set that includes three plaque designs (SLDK720 - Professional Grandparents)
We hope you all enjoy the new designs.
Today will be crazy/busy for me. I have to do my mail, take a jaunt to Yarmouth for some medicine for my kitty Richard (who is doing better, but on maintenance medicine) and then get back to my painting and creating my patterns. So many have shown interest in the new designs and I want to get the patterns and wood pieces done as soon as possible. It is never too early to work ahead for the seasons I am finding.
It is a beautiful day today. The temperature is warm and it is sunny and calm. A wonderful way to begin the week. I hope you all have a wonderful week as well and thank you all for your comments and encouragement on my new designs. I really do appreciate it.
Happy Monday to you all!
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Sunday, April 23, 2017
Friday, April 21, 2017
Now working on fitting the bifold doors to the client’s cabinet, adjusting door width at the sides of the stiles, as before:
A shot of one of the shavings through a tenoned area of the stile, just for kicks:
Planing is satisfying when it is going smoothly.
On a door-related matter, I purchased the door and drawer handles from Japan, and they come with plastic 2-part cups, as shown below:
The one half of the plastic cup, is like a washer under the nut. After the nut is tightened, the excess threaded rod is snipped off, and then the plastic cap is snapped into place.
I’m not too excited by the plastic bits for these cabinets, and started thinking about what alternatives might be worth a look. For the door handles, the threaded rods can be unscrewed, so it seemed to me that they could be replaced by a countersunk allen button head screw. I looked at a few online bolt supply sites and noted that the closest thread sizes to what I thought I had were M2, M2.5, and M3. I was suspecting these threaded rods were M2.5, however when I got to the shop and put the caliper on the thread, I got a different value:
That does not correspond to any known metric thread standard, including JIS metric thread standard.
I took the threaded rod and nut to a local hardware store to see if I could find something which was the same, and the closest I got was inch-scale #4-40 threaded fasteners. Checking into these later, the standard for diameter for #4-40 thread is 0.1120", which works out to 2.8448mm, pretty close to the caliper measure shown above.
I’m not however totally convinced that the Japanese handle threaded rods are sized to #4-40. It is not far-fetched to think that they might use a non-metric thread standard, as I’ve seen Japanese circular saws with a 25.4mm arbor (=1"), and found the lock cylinder on a Japanese temple lock to also be inch standard. But, I’m not sure in this case what to think. While a #4-40 threaded rod will fit the brass nut, and the Japanese threaded rod will fit a #4-40 nut, when I tried to fit the Japanese threaded rod to a #4-40 acorn nut, it wouldn’t thread in, while a #4-40 threaded rod would thread in to the same nut. So, there appears to be a minor difference in the threads between the Japanese parts and the #4-40 stuff. A bit of a puzzle.
In any case, the threaded rods going into the Japanese drawer handles are more firmly installed, and not easily removed, so it looks like I will have to go with them after all. The handles on the doors could be swapped out for allen bolts however, using #4-40 parts. I’ll give this matter some more consideration before doing anything further on this. Funny how some minor things like that can turn into more of a trouble than one imagines initially. Why one earth do they feel the need to use an odd thread size for something so mundane as drawer and door handles? The mysteries of life….
Setting that matter to one side, another hardware task needed to be dealt with and that was enlarging the countersinks on the Brusso hinges to accept #6 screws. I initially tried to do this using a countersink in a portable drill, with the previously-established drill hole in the wood as a guide, however this did not produce clean countersinks by any means:
The mill was the way to go, with a suitable fixture for the hinge the only hitch. I put the vise back on, trammed it into alignment, and then milled a pocket to accept the hinges by friction fit alone. This milling was done with a ½" down spiral carbide bit to leave clean sidewalls.
The milling was done from a 0-x and 0-y point, so I had a ready means of finding the offset of the screw holes without trying to measure them directly on the hinge.
I have a set of Weldon 82˚ countersinks to draw from for this task:
This is the ‘piloted’ set, though the 4 smallest lack pilots. I find these countersinks cut very cleanly. USA made and everything.
With the countersink fastened into a ¼" collet, I moved the table over 0.75" from the 0-x point, which brought me to the middle of the hinge. The DRO was then reset to make the middle the 0 point for x-travel. Then I simply moved over the y-travel to a point which corresponded to an even inch measure from my starting point, 0.3125" in this case. I strongly suspected that the hinge holes were spaced on some even imperial inch measure from the hinge edges. And they were.
Here’s the first countersink:
I moved the table over so I could put a fastener in to check if the countersink was deep enough:
It looked good I thought:
Once depth and positioning was set, all the hard work was done. I now shift the table on x-travel to the next countersink location, in this case, 11/16" away:
Then shift back to the other side, which is also 11/16" from the middle:
Next, shifting over to the other hinge leaf, using y-travel, the hole centers of which turn out to be 7/8" away from the first line drilled:
Similarly, the other holes on that side are drilled by shifting along the x-travel by 0.6875" each time:
The hinge was popped out of the fixture and it was time for a final check back at stile central:
Any further pre-drilling into the wood that was required was accomplished, as before, using a suitable VIX bit:
That process, without putting all the screws in mind you, was repeated for the other 11 hinges. The hinges are now all done, save for another bit of patinating and a final application of wax. Another tick off the list.
I set the bifold doors and their hinges aside for the time being and moved on to the bonnet components, looking to complete them and do a final assembly on that unit. First task was to give a final clean up on the curly shedua stand-offs, which I did on the super surfacer, then a last check for fit of those parts onto their sills, and then I could kerf the tenons on the intermediate pieces and mask off around the mortises in preparation for a glue-up:
Wedges also needed to be made - here I’m checking them for thickness at the tenon sides:
Wedges remain to be cut before the glue up, so I’ll tackle that next round.
Thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. Hope you enjoyed.
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It’s funny how we fall into and out of habits. There are times when this happens with little effort or thought, and other times (usually when trying to develop positive habits) that it seems like a chore to follow through with things each day. There are also times in our lives when things change unexpectedly and along with it, our routines. I suppose that is part of living.
For the past several months, it seems that every time I post here I am apologizing for not posting as often as I used to. For many years (and 1800 posts) I began nearly every day with writing a blog post. There seemed to be so much that I wanted to share with you all. Not only about creativity, but about life in general. I think that in doing so, I was finding my own way through this world and writing about not only my creative experiences, but the puzzle pieces of my life falling together was something that I found to be very beneficial. Not only did it ground my own thoughts and life, but it helped with my business as well. It was all good.
I like to be optimistic and look on the bright side of things. I feel that the focus we set our sights on truly helps us in achieving our goals. Waking up with a positive outlook helped me in a very positive way through my life and even when things were not great, having a positive attitude kept me in a good place. The good feelings usually won over the bad ones and life was good. It was a formula that worked for me for a long, long time.
But when I lost my little kitty Pancakes last December, things somehow changed. I know that some of you will say that he was “only a cat” and that it shouldn’t affect me as much as it did, but if I learned anything this winter it is that we don’t always have control over how we react to things. Emotions are not always controllable. At times, we are at their mercy.
I found that no words that I could write would make me feel better. There was nothing that I could say that would alleviate the pain. After over four months since he died, I am only just now feeling as if I am beginning to cope with things. The pain is still there, but it is at a more manageable level. Since Pancakes was by my side nearly every day, all day, I am finally beginning to cope with doing things (just about everything) without him here. While Richard has picked up some of the slack and is himself recovering from nearly dying in December, he is still not Pancakes. There was only one Pancakes and he will always remain in my heart and my life.
Fortunately, this year has been our busiest to date. Even though I haven’t been designing much, the building blocks that I have been putting in place over the past years and months have (fortunately) began to come to fruition. That is the good part of things being a ‘process.’ Nothing happens quickly. Things need to develop and gel at their own speed. This is the part where patience is the most important. I realize that sometimes people who have their own businesses are desperate for quick results – either for economic reasons or other emotional reasons. But this isn’t usually the case and I believe that it may be the reason why so many businesses fail. The key ingredient is 'patience’ and for whatever the reason, it is not added into the equation when someone starts out on their own. However, without it, chances for success are very slim.
As I get older, I realize the importance of patience more and more in many aspects of life. It seems that the eagerness of my youth has played itself out, and has been replaced with a calmness that has allowed me to step back and let life play itself out as it should be. I find myself not pushing so hard for things that I want to achieve. Perhaps I am just getting better at reading the signs that are laid at my feet. Is this what “maturity” is? Is it learning that being in tune with the world around you is the best way to head? That allowing your life to follow the path that feels the most natural is perhaps the best direction? Lately, that is how I have been seeing things.
As you can see, I have spent much time these past months just thinking. I am fortunate that I have had a ton of 'busy work’ to keep me moving and working, without really having to be too creative. There is a lot to be said for production work. It allows us to engage another part of our beings into doing something positive while our heads and thoughts are able to rest and sort through things in our lives. At least that is how I feel that this time has affected me. At the end of these work days, my body has ached but there had been large piles of wood pieces that I had cut and I felt accomplished. It has been a good shift for me at a time when I needed to be busy without thinking too much. A time that I needed to sort my thoughts and heal. A time for emotional rest.
I am so grateful to you all for sticking with me.
I know things are getting better because I am beginning to feel my creativity returning. Not only do I have some ideas, but I have lots of ideas that are just screaming to be implemented. I think there must be a little space in my mind that has stored them through these past months and kept them safe until I was ready for them. Little by little I have felt the desire to create returning to me and this past week or so I have started to draw and paint my own designs again. It actually feels pretty good. Although I kept busy cutting wood and painting things created by others, there is something that is very satisfactory in creating something from my own thoughts. By allowing this part of myself to rest while I was healing and coping with the changes in my life, I think that it did me much good. I have felt more 'normal’ lately and as if I am getting back on track. I still respect that it is a process, but at least I feel as if I am heading in the right direction. I am very grateful and excited for the first time in a while. Things will be OK.
With all that said, I will get to showing you my new designs …
I am jumping ahead a couple of seasons to Halloween. I had so many cute ideas in my head last year and I didn’t get the opportunity to implement them, that I thought it would be a good place to start so I would feel a bit ahead of things. I think I enjoy working half a year or so ahead. Perhaps it is because I had done that when I designed for the magazines for over 20 years. It is familiar to me and comfortable.
My first pattern of this year I am calling “Owl at the Moon”. It will include three owls dressed as different characters or costumes. I will have more than three owls in this series and will have several packets with this theme, but these are the first two of the group, as I need to begin somewhere.
This is “The Count”:
They will be ornaments and can be used on a Halloween tree, wreath or other types of decoration. I am still figuring out the best way to market them so that they can be utilized to the fullest. My usual problem of “lots of versions” is rearing its ugly head and I am trying not to make things too complicated. I will probably offer three or four sizes of the pattern in the packet(s) so that people can use them how they wish. But this piece is just a prototype and is about 5" tall, allowing the amount of detail that I wanted to have in it. I suppose by the time I finish the first three, I will decide what is best. I also appreciate suggestions from you all as to how you would use them. If all else fails, I am happy to cut custom pieces for those who want them a certain size and thickness. So many options …
The next piece is one I call “Broom Hilda”:
I love her brilliant colors! I didn’t photograph her in my light box yet, as I will do that when I have the first set of three completed. But this photo shows the pretty turquoise and black/gray mix nicely and she looks just fabulous in person. I am happy with her.
I will be creating the third piece today. My cutting is pretty much caught up and I want to take a day just to paint. I haven’t done that in quite a while.
Thank you to all of you who have been so encouraging and patient with me over these past few months. Whether you are new to reading my blog or someone who has followed me for years, I want you to know you are appreciated. I hope to come back here to post more often and present both painting and woodworking projects to inspire you all. I don’t want to give any set timeframe, as I am not sure of the frequency that I will be here. I would rather wait until I feel that I have something inspiring for you all instead of just coming here to ramble on. Although, I love to hear from you as well.
We are heading into another weekend here and this morning felt more like spring than yesterday. Yesterday I awoke to about four inches of snow. While it isn’t really that unusual to have snow here in April, after the previous weeks of warmer weather, it was a little bit of a surprise. By the time Keith and I went for our walk in the afternoon, it was mostly gone though. Maybe it was one of the last hurrahs of winter and Mother Nature was just playing a trick on us. One would hope so, anyway.
I hope you all have a great weekend. I know I have some fun and creative things planned and I hope to focus on getting my next little owl painted. It will be a good one, I am sure.
Happy Friday to you all!
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Doors, doors, doors…
Fitting the bifold doors has taken a fair while. Small adjustments were required to the frames of the doors respective of the carcase opening, as well as adjustments along the doors stiles to create suitable gaps between the leaves.
Here I’m giving my Genmyō plane a workout on one of the inner stiles:
After adjusting the inner stiles of each pair of bifolds, I set them up together with a slight space between stiles, shimmed with 0.01" gages, and then mortised for the three hinges using a router and small pattern bit followed by chisel work:
These are 1.5"x2" Brusso hinges, which are good quality however they come with rather tiny #4 brass screws. They provide a steel screw to pre-thread the holes, however in bubinga, even the steel screws are a tightrope walk in terms of fitting them without breakage, never mind the brass screws, which combine material weakness with a cursed Phillips head. Breaking screws off in hinge holes is a territory I prefer to avoid, having visited previously I will say it can not be recommended as a destination resort.
I dump the screws that come with the hinges and go for stronger #6 screws with a Robertson head. These require that the countersinks in the hinges be enlarged slightly, however for trial fitting purposes, a single screw on each side, although protruding, will suffice so long as I do not fold the doors completely up to one another:
I patinated the hinges using a gun bluing chemical.
At last the bifold arrangement can be mounted on the cabinet:
At this juncture the fit is a hair tight, as intended, between the pairs where they meet in the middle. I will make further adjustments of course until the operation is as it should be.
A view with the doors open a bit:
The green tape on the right set is to aid in opening the doors when together.
A closer look at the exposed surfaces of the inner stiles and hinge pivots:
Because bifold doors can be put together by swinging and sliding movements, or a combination, I will need to consider carefully how best to deal with the junction between doors in the middle, along with how the doors will latch into position. I’ve been mulling this matter over for months now, so I do have some ideas and there are various hardware options.
All for this round. Hope you enjoyed the visit!
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Friday, April 14, 2017
Final post in this thread - - just kidding!
Moving along, moving along. Before I could bore out for the hinge bushings on the support stand’s sill, I had to assemble the sill frame together. The corners on the frame are Japanese mitered box joints with shachi sen, and this corner you see next was the first to be done, and incidentally was the one shown in the previous post, with my assurances that the miter gap would be gone once the pin was in place:
I originally had fabricated ebony sen for these corners, however I found upon driving that first one in that it had an internal flaw which lead to it splitting. Not a particularly enjoyable outcome, and it took a good while to extract the split pin sections from the confines of its mortise.
That left the task of making new ones, which I chose to make out of bubinga. One of the problems with ebony is it can often have internal fissures and splits that may not be obvious after cut out is done.
Again, I turned to the milling machine for the task of tapering the pin thickness slightly over its length (about 1/32" over 6" in this case). The sen were affixed onto a piece of aluminum plate with double-sided tape, and the plate itself canted in the vise jaws by way of a feeler gage. The milling went very quickly:
The pins were then made into parallelogram sections and tapered for width using a shoulder plane, and fitted, one by one, to their respective corners and driven home. They will be left long for the time being – maybe for good.
With the bubinga sen installed the hinge bushings could be counterbored and bored. First, a pointer from a Starrett trammel set is chucked up and used to locate the machine spindle directly over the pricked mark:
Then onto the 7/8" Bormax:
A check to see that the bronze flange of the bushing fit the counterbore:
And then the 5/8" hole was bored to about 0.01" over the required depth for the bushing:
I’ve been talking a little bit in the past couple of posts about tool holders and collets, and thought a picture might be informative for some readers. On the left is an ISO40-taper tool holder with ER27 collet (10mm) and Forstner bit, in the middle is an 8mm ER27 collet, and on the right is a 444E collet, which fits, obviously, a larger tool holder:
Quite a size difference between those collets, eh? Of the two, I prefer the 444E, as when you loosen the collet nut the tool tends to stay put in the collet (though it is easy to slide out), while with the ER27, when you loosen the collet nut the tool can, and will, just fall out. That often means traveling down onto the work, making a mark in the surface (ugh!) or a clear perfect fall onto the cast iron table top, thus dinging the tool point or and edge (ugh!). I’ve learned to put a piece of scrap wood under the ER27 collets before loosening the collet nut, thus giving the tool a landing pad of sorts.
The next day I’m back at it on the mill, this time, after the usual preliminary milling steps, forming some ebony blanks into wedges:
This sort of job, for just 8 wedges, can be tackled in various ways, using hand saw and plane, with a jig to hold the wedge in place for planing, or by way of a tapering jig on the table saw or router table. I think the mill is the best way to do it however, as the piece is held absolutely rigidly, and can be milled at the precise angle required, and it is dead safe as your fingers never get near the cutter. Quick too: ll I had to do was cut a slice of MDF at the required slope and fit an aluminum stop into one of the vise jaws and cutting could proceed.
The roughed out wedge, number 1 of 8:
The wedges were taken down in size over a couple of stages.
Later, the wedges could be applied to the ends of the hammerhead draw bar pins, so as to fix the support stand sill to the bottom of the carcase:
At this point the wedges are left just a hair fat, so they don’t enter as far as they ultimately will. They are also over-length:
One side in a closer view:
A while later both cabinets were through to the same stage:
Then the cabinets could be stood up so the bonnet cornice pieces could be fitted on top onto their dovetail keys and slid into position, then bolted:
A cabinet back down again and - what’s this? - some hardware being applied to the upper end of a hinge stile:
At last, the first cabinet has its outer doors (trial) fitted!:
Just a check to show how the door can swing a full 270˚ with the offset hinge rods:
Now, I knew it would make the swing as I had designed it that way in CAD, but sometimes one feels a need to check that it really all works as it should once built., where the virtual meets the real.
The two middle panels could be just squeezed in to the middle, however a little bit of fine tuning will be required as there need to be slight gaps between door leaves:
And here’s the client’s cabinet, through to the same stage:
Another view of the first cabinet with a different camera setting:
I feel a certain milestone was passed today, and feel good about where the project stands. While the doors are not complete by any stretch, the end is in sight and I think I should be able to make the required fitting adjustments and install the hinges for the inner door leaves in the next couple of shop sessions. That will leave only a modest amount of construction work to do, and mostly a bunch of finishing and hardware installation. Nearly there….
Thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way - comments most welcome.
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