Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Basement Shop Progress Pics 2010.12.12

I figured it had been a while since I posted images of the shop - at this point I guess the shop is really an ongoing effort - I'm not sure if I'll ever get it to the point where I'm totally satisfied. From the last group of images, I've put in the central pipe for the dust collector and started placing my workbenches - but it finally hit me that I've got too many tools, so many of my project tools will need to go - some I'll put on CraigsList while others I'll part out an put on eBay (or list on the Old Woodworking Tools org site as sale items).

This first image shows how I tied in the Grizzly Cyclone into the over-head duct system. I tried to minimize what was overhead and did so by running a main trunk line down the center of the room with "y"s leading to each side (one exception was a duct running along one end with drops to a long bench which I'll show below). There are also two floor standing drill presses shown, both 14" Deltas (the one on the left was probably from a school shop with "DRILL PRESS" stenciled on the side. The one on the right is a very old 1937 Delta model with split-phase motor and round cast iron stand - got that one for $15 (it's in an earlier post). They both run but that older model needs a tug on the belt - need to figure out that motor soon.

 Here's a shot of the duct work - note that to maximize space I've suspended my longer clamps from the ceiling using "J" hooks they sell at Home Depot - it's very effective. I added some additional "y"s for future expansion with covers mounted over them. The cover you see will go above the bench mounted on the wall to the left.

This is the main trunk looking towards the back of my shop - note the old turning tool display mounted on the door - I was given that during one of the GWA shop tours and thought it would be a cool way to display some of my older turning tools (they're old Buck, Walker Turner Driver Line and Delta - non-HSS).

Towards the other side the ducting runs next to my ambient dust collector - I got this brute during an Amazon sale for $130 - it has both a remote control and timer and works very well in clearing all the airborne dust - I can set the timer for 30 minutes and the dust is gone by the next time I come into the shop.

Now on to the "new" workbenches - I originally had planned to build a long bench along the far wall next to the dust collector. Last year I went to an estate sale in the neighborhood (a neighbor was relocating to Florida for a job) and got these two Craftsman all-metal workbench cabinets (no top) for $10 each - I wish I had taken a photo before I cleaned these up - they were basically a rusty heap from being stored in an unconditioned storage building outside. I treated the rust, sanded, then shot these with primer and rustoleum. I didn't spend too much time on them since they were going into the shop - I think they turned out looking nice (there is a little pitting on the lower drawers but you have to get in close to see them. Here's the left 8 drawer cabinet:

And here's the right 10 drawer cabinet:

I put a few chisels into the left to see how they would work out - all of these are users:

You can see some of the over-spray and the drawer glides - like I said previously I didn't spend much time doing these and just wanted the rust gone. I used some 1/4" nuts and bolts to mount the two cabinets together.

Next I had to figure out what to do with the top. I wanted to mount a radial arm saw in the middle but wanted a base for it, as well as some work space before elevating the ends to support stock. I was driving through the neighborhood and spotted some open cardboard boxes with wood sticking out on the curb - it ended up being two boxes of pre-finished maple flooring. The ends were slightly "dirty" and weathered - I believe they were exposed a bit to the elements and probably left-over. In any case, I'm glad the neighbor was throwing them out as I think they'll make a fine workbench. Not bad for free. You can see my Dewalt MBF on the table behind the stack - that's going in the middle of the workbench.

I spent some time getting the cabinets as level as possible - those are cedar shakes custom cut to be hidden yet provide the leveling I needed for the benches. I marked the floor in case I needed to move the unit (which I probably will need to in order to attach the top).

So I next needed to figure out the top. I decided to cut tongues along each cut end so they will fit into a groove in a skirt - the skirt will be made of maple and would attach to a sub-frame made of 1x material - I wanted to get the base as low as possible so it's just slightly larger than the cabinets. There are some holes in the top of the cabinet that are used to attach a top. This is the sub-frame with a piece of maple flooring to illustrate the overall idea. Each board will extend from back to front.

I built the sub-frame using pocket screws - it's amazing how well those guys work - each joint is also glued with Titebond 1:

Since I wanted to be able to take everything apart if needed, I had to devise an assembly/disassembly plan. Bolts would come up through the cabinet and into nuts/washers in the sub-frame. The top will be one unit held together with the skirt, then screws would be used from the skirt to attach to the edges of the sub-frame. To pull this off, the sub-frame needed to have counter-sunk holes. I did these using a forstner bit in a hand-drill. Note, to start I first marked the holes using the actual hole placement from the cabinets then drilled for the bolts with the frame upside-down - that way they would align from the bottom. I next flipped over the sub-frame right-side up and used a spade bit to start the counter-sunk hole (if you've ever tried to hand-hold a forstner you'll know why I did that first) - once the hole was started I switched to the forstner and drilled down to a depth that would allow the bolt to clear and still have room for a washer and nut. Here's what that looked like.

I'll take additional shots when I finish the top - the weather was nice this fall so I got back on my Unisaw restoration, media blasting parts and getting primer, and in some cases some finished coat on them. More pics soon.

-- John

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rust Hunting in Georgia - August Estate Sale

 Have you ever been to one of those bittersweet estate sales where there's tons of wonderful items but most have either been sold or are out of your price range? I actually like those as there are many possible gems to be found. In this case, a member of my woodworking club (GWA) passed away and another member was helping to liquidate the tools and clean out the basement. There were some great vintage items there including an old Delta drill press, a Powermatic 12" planer in unbelievable condition, a Dewalt RAS, an older Delta Shaper and an amazing Rockwell Gap-bed lathe. By the time I had gotten there the better items had already been picked through and were gone (including an old Delta mortise sled) - the better stationary tools were either pricey or I already own an equivalent so I couldn't justify purchasing. What was left were many of the handtools hanging on racks or pegs on the walls - good thing I like those sorts of items as well (actually I've gotten to the point where I prefer handtools over power).

The great thing about those items I ended up with is that because no one being interested in them, I was able to pretty much buy the "whole wall" or the "entire contents" of cabinets and drawers. There were a couple of interesting hand saws, in really great shape with very little use (still sharp!).

Also included were a big pile of chisels, all very well honed with protectors on the edges...

And I'm always on the look out for sharpening stones...

And check out these rosewood handled putty knives...

And old American made screwdrivers...

This is a pile of steel American made clamps...

And just to add to the mix are these machine bits (that's a Delta mortiser and several Delta spindles)...

One of the real finds were these carpenter rasps - all carefully used and sharp, and of course American Made! There's an interesting brass level (plumbers probably?) and a Brown and Sharp 1" micrometer in the back along with a couple of Tap handles and brace bits to the left...

Better view of the spindles and some super large/heavy mortise chisels...

Some awls, a burnisher and a couple of combo-rasps, a bearing scraper and metal file holder...

Close up of the micrometer and level (that's also a Dewalt RAS planing attachment in the back left)...

Boxes of misc hardware, motor pulleys, belts and machine handles...

I did score this great Delta grinder with sharpening fence (dirty paper too!)...

And finally, this really cool deco metal cabinet - hard to believe all this stuff fit in my SUV...

The cabinet has ended up being my storage container for finishing supplies. All in all, a good haul of items I really didn't need but couldn't leave behind...

-- John

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rust Hunting in Tennessee July 2010

I had the occasion to visit my hometown of Clarksville, TN for my 30th High School Reunion (Northwest High School Vikings 1980). While there for the weekend I visited a few antique stores and the local flea market. At the flea market I found this over-sized Heller rasp which appears to be unused. Most files and rasps now on the market are now made out of the US - you'll need to either find some old-store stock (I occasionally still see some Nicholsons on hardware store shelves) or spend the money on an Auriou (look at Tools for Working Wood as a source for these - excellent but a bit pricey). I was quite excited at finding this unused Heller - at $7 it was quite the bargain. When I paid for it the guy asked if I had horses - seems these flat rasps are used to shape down the hoof or some such.

I next found this really huge and awesome rosewood-handled Try Square - it's the largest I've ever found "in the wild" and only needs a light cleaning (the images make it look worse than it really is).

Tool Group

I then found the rest at  a local antique store, at very good prices. The Disston backsaw has two medallions but otherwise is in good shape with sharp teeth. The Millers Falls plan is the equivalent of a Stanley #4 with rosewood tote/knob and red painted frog. Finally the brace is a Stanley 10" also with rosewood handles.

Disston Backsaw

Millers Falls Plane

This final image is of my Try Square collection - many are Stanley, the others are unmarked.

Try Square Collection
-- John

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rust Hunting in Georgia - July Estate Sale

Like any old tool nut, I like to visit estate sales that show images of interesting tools. In this case it was a well-advertised sale up in Cuming Georgia - the images showed several pieces of equipment and many hand power tools so I thought I would give it a go. When I got there the prices were fairly high - there were several larger pieces of equipment and each was listed at $800 or more - included from memory were: Delta 14" floor standing drill press, early Delta scroll saw (with retirement lamp), late 40's Unisaw, very early four-footer Delta Heavy Duty Shaper, early Delta 14" Band Saw (with retirement lamp), Delta 6" Jointer and a nice early Delta Lathe. There were parts and attachments hanging everywhere, most weren't with the tools they belonged to. There were also many hand tools piled on tables, a fairy decent saw till full of hand saws (no super early - more like post 1900), old routers, hand drills, etc and piles of veneer, scraps and hardware. It turned out the guy used to restore antiques, so everything he had was geared toward that task.

As I moved around I slowly accumulated a pile - the problem was that everything was priced fairly high and I'm basically a cheap bastard (or bottom feeder if you will). I already have so many tools it's hard to justify buying unless the price is fair to super cheap. Anyway, this is what I ended up with:

1. Rosewood, brass bound level priced at $30 - this is the nicest level I've ever run across "in the wild" and the price seemed very fair - obviously used but not abused. Marked Stratton Brothers, Greenfield Mass dated late 1800s.

2. Two rosewood handled gouges.

3. Two Split-nut Tenon Saws (one at about 15 tpi, the other around 12) at $15 each marked Sheffeld England

4. Large Starrett compass - got this as it was well made and one of the largest I've ever seen - got home and then noticed the manufacturer.

5. Two 14" Delta Drill Press spindles (mortise and shaper).

6. Extra Long Delta Lathe Rest (this was $10!)

7. Delta Motor condom (never know when you might need one!)

8. Stanley aluminum bodied min-router

9. Jacobs chuck key

10. Wire and thickness gauge

11. Small bag of ebony and rosewood scraps

12. Small pile of teak (looks to have been salvaged from a bench or something but already cleaned up/planed to 1/2" or so)

Like I said, I got the stuff relatively cheap but not totally bottom-feeder priced - the pile was $130. The most interesting thing in my opinion was the level, but the extra long tool rest isn't something you come across every day.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

GWA Field Trip to Hardwoods Inc

On May 1st, 2010, my woodworking club, the Gwinnett Woodworkers Association (GWA for short), visited Hardwoods Inc. in Mableton Ga. Hardwoods, Incorporated is a wholesaler and retailer offering one of the largest inventories in the Southeast of specialty hardwoods and related products. GWA members were exposed to a guided tour of the kiln facilities and lumber yard that lasted a few hours and afterwards were able to purchase lumber at discounted pricing - I managed to score three sticks of Honduran Rosewood for an upcoming project at about 50% off. These are the photos I took as we were shown around the gigantic facility - if you ever get a chance to go to s similar kiln/lumber yard facility you should go - for a woodworker it's like going to the Holy Land...

I'm not sure if you can get the actual scale of the building from this shot - at the beginning of the tour we were in the retail space - the racks behind the speaker are all full of retail sales items

The warehouse buildings are quite massive - most of those stacks are 8/4 sticks about 12 feet long.

These conveyor type contraptions help to move sticks as they're graded - quite a job

These stacks were all of 8/4 poplar getting ready for the kiln (so what you see is all wet) - quite a site seeing so much hardwood.

These shots are of the kiln - the control stations in the back let you set the temperature and humidity.

These massive doors slide apart so the pallets of wood can be moved in or out - the smaller door allows the kiln operator access to check the moisture content of the wood - something that's done multiple times as the wood is dried (usually over a period of many days).

The plan re-uses saw-dust as fuel for the kiln - this shows some of the furnace with valves to control the mix.

That's about it - thanks for looking in.

-- John