Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Deltacraft: 19 Charming Chairs

This is a cross-post to my Magazine Scans blog - up for grabs is a scan of the 1940's Deltacraft publication "19 Charming Chairs" - this one includes measured drawings.

Deltacraft: 19 Charming Chairs

-- John

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tools Explained: Definition of Tool Terms

This was posted to the Old Tools list (I think I've seen it on as well - not sure but this list has been going around for a while and I thought I'd make it part of my blog).

Tools Explained

DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, "Oh, shit!"
SKILL SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.

BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle... It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course the more dismal your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads.
If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub out of which you want to remove a bearing race..

TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

BAND SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut good aluminum sheet into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.

TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids or for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.

STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.

HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to make hoses too short.

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent the object we are trying to hit.

UTILITY KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.

Son of a Bitch TOOL: Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling "Son of a bitch" at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.

-- John

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Using Evapo-Rust for Tool Restoration

I've been using Evapo-Rust for about a year to clean up rusty tool parts. I've had a gallon that I would re-use and it's finally died on me - what happens is that it gets to the point where it's not getting into the pits (if the metal is pitted) and after wiping the part flash rusts pretty quickly. Looking back over the documentation it states that a gallon will treat 300 pounds of metal. I can attest that I've put way over that amount in the gallon I've been using (I filtered the liquid when there was too much sediment). When it starts to fail it creates a yellowish/greenish slimy sludge that sits on top of the part in the bath - this stuff wipes off and I'm assuming that it's a mildly sulfurous compound (no eggy smell though).

Some tips:

1. Make sure you have enough to submerge the part completely or you get a watermark from the dip - this is almost impossible to remove.

2. When not using, reseal in the container as I believer there is some dilution with exposure to air.

3. My process is to dip, usually overnight as most of the parts are heavily rusted, remove next day and wipe down - if there's a lot of rust I'll hold it next over a garbage can and scrape a bit, which removes the heavy stuff - use a wire brush, sandpaper or razor blade. If it's still rusted put it back in the wet. When you're satisfied that the rust is off, re-dip and let air dry - it keeps it from flash rusting (says 2 weeks but it actually lasts longer).

4. For irregular shaped objects I place 4 mil plastic in a plastic over-sized tub, then shape the plastic to conform closely to the part - put a couple of blocks of wood underneath so the plastic isn't sticking to the part or you'll end up with water marks areas not derusted.

5. Best price I've found is at Harbor Freight - they have gallons for $20 and you can use a coupon (I get 20% off coupons in the mail or via email).

6. More info here:

-- John

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wine Rack for Joe and Kathy Black

Wine rack based on some dimensions taken from racks at Winter Haven's Bean and Grape. Design changes include back panel (original had vertical rails on front and back) and addition of reinforced face frame (desire to add doors at a future date needed the reinforced face frame). Also original only held 10 bottles per shelf, this version holds 11 ("Mine goes to 11!" - Spinal Tap) for a total of 110 bottles.

Dimensions are 84 3/4" Tall, 48" Wide and 12 1/4" Deep. If I were to build anohter I would have spaced the shelves slightly further apart (1/4") to accomodate larger bottles.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Originally uploaded by johnnyapollo
My woodworking club was having a bird house contest. I started thinking about a bird house I built with my dad as a kid - he came home one day with a few cedar shakes someone had given him and we built a small bird house together that hung in the yard for many years. I looked through my collection of old magazines and found one that I liked in a 1940's issue of Home Craftsman. After deciding that I hadn't done anything worth showing lately, I thought it would be something I could bang together quickly but wanted to add the challenge of building the whole thing using hand tools.

All the cuts were made using a short stanley tool box handsaw - I found the teeth too aggressive for all the cuts so I also used a cheap pull saw with finer teeth (this inspired me to find and begin learning more about handsaws and techniques - I'm still in process there). Everything was assembled using wood glue and small brads and it's very close to what I originally built with my dad, other than this design being "stretched" upward for a woodpecker. The hole was drilled using a brace and adjustable bit.

If I were to try doing this again I would figure out a way to remove the bottom for easy cleaning - otherwise the whole thing was very quick to build - took about an hour to cut into pieces (had to re-cut a few things - I also drilled the hole in the wrong place the first time so the front was made twice - second time I got a chip out on the back as I was getting impatient to finish). The main pieces were glued and clamped over night and small brads added the next day - no pre-drilling on the nails and you can see where I got splits on the roof shingles (those shakes are a lot more brittle than I remembered). The only sanding was done to round-over the hole a bit. I did some light planing on the edges.

So anyway, nothing super special about this but it was all done with handtools and surprisingly I got second place in the "most functional" category. The contest was held on 3/21 and I built this the two days previous in the evenings.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Atlanta Woodworking Show 2009.01.23-25

I'll be attending the Atlanta Woodworking Show this weekend and manning the GWA booth from 10-12 - come by and say hello.

Info here

-- John