Saturday, December 11, 2010

Estas Muy Fuerte? - Door#2 - in progress

The incas must have been smiling down on me. I was sure this was going to be the part of the movie where it ends in defeat & I drag a whole bunch of twisted expensive metal to the recyling yard. Stunned that it went together without a fight, & that it actually doesn't seem to want a spring loaded castor on the bottom (a canadian company Darcor make the sweetest machined gate spring loaded castors should it need one). Without any cursing, except for the forehead slapping colossal screwup of welding the top rail in back to front. It's been a long time since my last stupid screwup, so I guess I was just due.

1 week design time, 1 week fabrication time. Got myself psyched up last saturday morning & sat down at my welding table. I rose from my table on sunday night, in some kind of red-eyed inca trance, with most of the sub-assemblies scattered around the new fabrication facility. most ridiculous thing I've ever cobbled up. 7'X7'X4" (thick because I wanted as much insulation as a wall). folds 180. The idea was to keep the structural internal (with the exception of that one flatbar sticking out due to the aforementioned colossal screwup), & the lines as clean as possible. Combination of cold & hot rolled steel. lucked out on the hot rolled, clean & blue.

Not out of the woods yet, lots more weight to add, needs spray foam insulation, cladding on inside & also buffing up, finishing etc, but looking like it may fly (not seeing any sag yet). not the greatest pics, but snapped a few off during the inaugural test drive. A door this size called for the mother of all piano hinges. I mean the mother of all piano hinges.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Beach Time

There's nothing like a day at the beach to forget about your never-ending shop construction project. Great day out with Dan, his big rig & more Elm than we knew what to do with.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Benchroom Door #1

Is this thing finished yet? well there's still a gaping 7' X 7' hole that needs to be filled with door #2; insulation; lighting; the list goes on & on. i'm feeling quite tired. but at least i finally got round to cleaning & sealing the slab, & found a way to insulate the door, so a couple hard fought wins this month.

I sprayed on a water-based Lithium densifier to seal the slab. environmentally friendly, odourless (almost no VOC), scratch resistant & glosses with age/burnishing. Lithium reacts with the lime in the concrete to make silicate which is the good stuff. Epoxy would have looked good too, but besides it's toxicity, it scrathces easily & isn't breathable, so it's not suitable for slab on grade.

There's nothing like building your own doors to bring a construction timeline to it's knees. I riveted the 2 douglas fir panels (cut from my 4X6 stash) on either side of western maple frame (shop-made walnut dowels to peg it center & give me a coat hook, & aluminum spline joint making sure they had breathing room) & filled the void with rigid foam = R7.5. I made the hinges so the door can open 180 degrees & clear the 1" steel siding. Still loving western maple, a dream to hand plane. The front doug fir panel on the other hand wanted nothing to do with a hand plane, the grain was running in & out all over the place, had to bust out the scraper & sandpaper. unusual for fir to show that much disrespect.

Now if I could just figure out how to make a 7' X 7' steel door that also swings 180...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The bandsaw

1940's Crescent 20". They don't make them like they used to. There's no going back once you've made a cut on a bandsaw that isn't bouncing around the shop floor. Big thanks to Dan for helping with the relocation.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The new 'Wing'

ok she's up. can't wait to see her on google earth. The roof joists are 26' long. There's something primal about building a heavy & immovable object, something you can lean against. Still a long way to slide, roofing, doors, windows, sheet metal etc, etc. and we'll have to see what the building inspector thinks of all this. but the months spent drawing & shop prep'ing the reclaimed doug fir posts/beams/kneebraces paid off. She went together like a jigsaw puzzle, with the awesome help of a young keen carpenter or two. I recommend getting a professional carpenter in & signing on as a 'laborer/wood cutter/materials runner'; a super efficient way to go for the furniture maker. As expected, the minute we started the framing, the storms started rolling in, monsoon season is here.

a little bit of psuedo timber frame joinery, she was designed to go up quickly but still be bombproof, I'm calling her a timber frame hybrid. spent a couple minutes making a water level for measuring the heights of the posts, just like the inca's did, - worked like a charm, water is always parallel to the earth!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Contruction Time Again...

2010 is the year of the studio, but with all these summer distractions I was running out of time for garage #2. I would have to rely on machine tools rather than hand tools. The digger did an efficient job of digging a pit in front of the shop. The massive dump trucks did an equally efficient job of hauling dirt away. Then the concrete trucks did a good job of filling the pit. Then contractor Rick did an awesome job of power troweling the slab, while sipping on beers in between set-ups, until the wet slab looked like a sheet of glass. I've always had an issue with digging a hole then filling it with concrete, but at least I now have foundation walls & a very pretty slab to start building from. The posts & kneebraces have been prepped from my 4"X6" stash, & I've started prepping the 6"X10" beams which just came in. Just need to take care of one more summer distraction before i can get down to business, it's not quite Fall yet.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

el Patio

Summer could happen at any time now. So I need to build a picnic bench for the bunkhaus deck. Thought I'd try Krenov sawhorses in aluminium. with some red cedar on top.


Snapped a few in-situ shots of the Mr Smith table. Pour a coffee and check out the slideshow.

All Terrain Wood Wagon

Every woodworkers compound needs one.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Has anyone seen the marketing department?

Well maybe there isn't one. But sometimes you just gotta get out the fencing pipe and 2X3's and forge ahead. Here's the bunkhaus ghetto photo studio. to take shots of all those pieces I'm going to build.

Also knocked up a pair of krenov sawhorses as part of the shop housekeeping phase. Four mortise & tenon joints in each horse, perfect opportunity to test drive the mortiser; nice crisp clean mortises & the xyz table cannot be beaten for repeatability. Been meaning to find the time to build a set of these for the shop for a long time. Hundred & one uses for the krenovian sawhorse, great for holding up backdrops too. must build more of these.

Spent a morning setting up the metal work department to weld aluminium. As expected, the stuff is seriously weird to weld but really fun once I got the weld puddle under control, with a couple of pretty beads to show for my efforts. Something else that's been on the list for a long time.

Continuous lighting is the way to go for ghetto photo studios. 5600 kelvin (natural light) compact fluorescent with 1600W total power & soft boxes & stands for the cost of a single strobe. Which also means you avoid the super expensive light meter. Wish I could say the same for backdrops, pretty pricey. experimenting with black first & getting some challenging but cool results.

Besides the monumental task of shuffling the drying shed (while I was sunning myself on vacation, Dan harvested the mother of all Elm trees & kindly gave me a healthy load of death elm, real treasure, thanks Dan!)...I'm actually almost running out of things to do on the housekeeping list. Well I'm gonna need to build an all terrain wood wagon to move all this wood I've accumulated on my treacherously steep property...but I seriously need the engineer to sign off on my plans so I can bribe my way through the building permit process. Even sorted & mounted all my hand tools in their new location, all ready for Mr window. Can't wait to have a window in the shop.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Housekeeping Continues

It has been over 2 months since my last post. 2010 has been declared the year of the studio. So I've set aside all new furniture designs until I get the shop sorted out. Still patiently working my way through the diabolical district permit process for a small shop addition for metalwork, and a covered outdoor working area/carport. In the meantime, I stripped the shop, built insulated walls & finished the insulation/vapour barrier on the ceiling. She's holding the heat now, just in time for the mild weather. Ripped out a whole bunch of stuff, whatever wasn't crucial, like a big utility bench. The extra space allowed for much needed lumber/in-progress racks/sharpening station/dust collector home.

Slowly getting on top of the chaos that broke loose & putting tools & machines in their place. Loving the bunkhaus laboratory's new warm, white walls, as any self respecting studio should have. Looking forward to getting the metalwork department into it's own space, then I can run ducting for the dust collection, put in a window etc.

A few words about sharpening & the sharpening station i threw together. I've been using this precision ground granite slab for flattening my sharpening stones, & decided to use it as a bench top for honing too. Some people don't flatten their stones too often, but I prefer to keep my stones flat, it eliminates possible confusion, like when you start getting a weird camber on a plane iron & can't figure out why. It's also less of a chore when you stay on top of it. Also really like this 10" slow speed electric wet grinder, works well. I had been persevering with a cool hand grinder, but I couldn't fix the annoying run-out on the arbor, so made the switch.

Here's a link about all sorts of cool local species, going harvesting with Dan has introduced me to a lot of these:

Also a good clip, old school style:

I'm sure there's not too many people left in the world that can whittle a pair of shoes from a log. I'm also sure there's not too many people who can appreciate what it takes to set up & maintain a shop. Which brings me to a good book I read recently - 'Shop Class as Soulcraft' by Mathew Crawford, which questions the educational imperative of turning everyone into a cubicle/knowledge worker, and the resulting almost complete loss of craftsmanship in our society/economy. He also takes a close look at the merits of manual work, a great read from a pshycologist turned mechanic.
and in a world where we celebrate mama pacha day once a year, but continue to buy furniture that doesn't last long, a few wise words from a designer buddy of mine (a most entertaining blog with all sorts of goodies):

Food for thought...