Week Ending 10 June 2018 Update

Guess how this week started out?  Yep, too much time spent with the day job.  But at least it's starting to slack off a bit and give me some openings again.  I hope work continues to lighten up, so, you know, I can get to work.

I am a bit worried about the iris drawer binding up in humid conditions, so one night I CNC'd out another set of parts.  That wasn't too long and while they are cleaned up they need a bit of sanding and fitting, maybe just another hour or so.  I figure this way I haven't a second set ready if needed.  My goal, if I need to, is to make a drawer that someone could open to repair if there are ever problems.  I wanted to do that initially, but thought I should lean towards just finishing instead of making it a little more perfect.  It's a real balance.  I might still want to make one out of acrylic but some research told me I need a new bit, probably single flute upcut.  Plus, using home store plexiglass isn't good as that is extruded, but there are other versions to buy that respond better to CNC'ing.

Heart Key.JPG

The engagement box lid got some nice work down over the weekend.  I made the two heart keys.  Doing these meant figuring out how to make some tricky cuts.  First was cutting the flat on the edge of a dowel.  I made a fairly simple jig that holds the dowel in a v-groove with a toggle clamp and then I can slide the whole jig along the fence to cut away a flat section (using a flat top bit).  Then, I needed to cut a notch in one end to hold a little heart section (just jigsawed out).  I tried several clamping scenarios that were all dicey garbage and then finally, I just drilled a 1/2" hole in a bit of MDF to hold the dowel vertical then aligned it on the saw to cut a 1/4" groove through the middle (using my box joint blades).

Lock and Key.JPG

With the keys wrapped up I started in on the locks.  I'm using a design from Tim Detweiler's book Making Working Wooden Locks .  I had to some drawing so I got to have fun with graph paper and ruler and a compass.  I'm planning on using a fairly standard wood spring.  I finished the drawing, cut out the two lock bodies and then realized I made a teeny mistake.  I made the slot to hold the spring 1/8" when I wanted it 1/16".  I figure I can either fill that extra at glue up time, or just re-cut them as they are pretty simple to make.  I need to make the wood springs and I know I have some nice flexible ash around.   These will sit inside the lid and I'd like to make sure the mechanisms are accessible.  

Setup Blocks (2).JPG

Lastly, I have to say again, I love setup blocks.  I am reaching for these more and more often for all my setups.  I think the main reason is that as I get older, well, I don't see so well and it's easy to miss a line on a ruler.  But stacking a few setup blocks together is almost foolproof - I just need to get the right blocks.  And it's so simple to those between the blade and the stop.  I really need to get a larger set and maybe a few more 1-2-3 blocks.  Combine these with digital calipers and everything is readable and easy to use.

It was nice to get some real time back in the shop.  You know, like a few hours in a row.  I look forward to finishing up these lid locks.

Till next week, stay dusty.

Week Ending 27 May 2018 Update

Boy, ever have one of those weeks where you you spend way more time dreaming about being i n the woodshop than actually getting to spend in the woodshop?  Well, I didn't even get that far.  It was a rough week with the day job which kind of stretched into the evenings too.  Couple that with a long holiday weekend and an extra day of vacation (in which you'd think I'd have more shop time) and a desire to get away a bit and my shop time was very slim.  But I saw Deadpool 2, so there's that.

What did I do?  Well, a bit.  I made a second top for the engagement box out of some scraps so I can work out the locking mechanism for it.  I tried one mechanism and while the movement would unlock it, it would re-lock itself.  That was frustrating as I had hoped it would work.  But alas, no.  So, back to the drawing board.  I think I'll switch back to more key driven ideas while what I was trying was a piece slid to the side when an angled wedge was pushed in.  A more traditional key would rely on the turn to move slider methodology.  

Having gotten stuck on the lock, I did spend a few hours fitting existing pieces of the engagement box.  I wanted to make sure everything was working perfectly and a few pieces movements were still just a bit fiddly.  Bit of sanding here, curve an edge slightly there, widen a gap just a tad.  The lock that holds the side door shut wasn't working the way I wanted.  So I decided to remake those pieces and change the mechanism just a bit.  At first I thought the new ones were a no go because they were too wobbly, but then I realized my gap was just a tad too large.  The gap was about .26 inches and the piece was around .238 inches.  I know, that seems tiny but it left a noticeable wiggle I didn't like.  Once I reduced that gap, it's snug but still movable.

I did some sort of woodworking.  I mean, I was working, and wood was involved.  I've had a stump from a pine tree that blew down over a year ago in the barn lot.  My last chainsaw died and I bought a nice shiny Stihl 311.  But, this stump eats chains.  I'm just trying to make the stump small enough to move, but these things grow around all kinds of rocks and dirt which means by the time you see the chain smoking in the cut, you know the blade is gone.  So, I got mad and picked up an axe.  It's going surprisingly fast, actually.  I just swing for 5-10 minutes when I'm free and I should have the stump cut down in another few chopping sessions.  Old School!

On the digital side of the business I added a new page to the cipher wheel section.  I didn't get time to record a new video even though I have an interesting one to do on a numeric rotation symbol cipher.  That should be fun!

Until next week, stay dusty!