Friday, January 16, 2009

Final details

So, the bench was pretty much built, but I had a few other details to attend to before it's really complete.

First and foremost, I was having issues getting the end vise to line up squarely with the end. I found two problems:

One, the casting on the rear jaw was uneven, so it wouldn't sit squarely. It took some wrangling to shim this out, and I still should have done a better job of it. I'll revisit that when I have time.

And Two: the end of the bench wasn't actually square. I was surprised by this at first, but in the end, not so much. My finicky nature says the block should have been cut squarely. But really, it was mostly square, within a reasonable tolerance for most activities. And like so many other things in this world, if you're really going to be THAT picky, you're either going to have to pay more to get it that way, or you're going to have to do the modification yourself. No big deal, in the end. So, I squared it up with the use of a fancy saw and a router.

Last real modification on the bench for now, I needed a bigger chop for the end vise, and then to drill dog holes everywhere, to enable me to handle clamping and working with large panels. BUT, I wanted a lot of them, and I wanted them to be evenly spaced. So, I had to make a fancy jig to help drill them squarely, and regularly. The whole thing rested on the use of a very long drill bit, which would be going through roughly 6 inches of wood at the deepest, so I used a lot of paraffin to lube the bit when it got hot. As a result, the inside of the holes for my drilling jig (shown to the right) feel like a candle... there's a lot of wax in there.

In other news, my efforts to organize are beginning to bear fruit. I was sitting at the bench the other day, going over various lists I'd compiled, and for once, the way I'd compiled them enabled me to bring them all together in a meaningful way, and it sent me off, working happily and efficiently for most of the day. The only problem is that the list had an end... so now I'm making new lists. One for every project, and each potential project starts out the same way... with a page with the title of the project in sharpie marker across the top, and then tucked into a folder, to be fleshed out later... at home, or on the train.

In the immediate future, I have a couple of projects. One, is a set of shelves for my Dad. I have to go to his place soon to measure the space, and find out what he wants. Two, I have a trestle table to build on spec for a store that said they might buy them. Three, I'm working on building a shave horse, which is a work holding fixture that's very useful for chair parts. I've been wanting to build one for a while now. So, it's time to do so. Once the immediate, paying jobs are out of the way, I'll be moving on to making chairs, since my sister indicated that she's in the market for chairs... or would be, if I'd build some.

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