Thursday, April 19, 2018

Colgate EALL (5)

I've been working on the plant-on corners for the Japanese room, and that work forms the focus of this posting.

This week I took a trip to Colgate to check the room out, meet the parties involved, and take some measurements. I found that none of the room corners where the plant-on posts would be located had square corner. Not even close in fact - the angles were on the order of 86˚. i'm glad i waited to check this aspect before I had put the corner boards together at the shop.

The boards have a simple rebated and glued joint, which is configured so as to make the join between the boards disappear at the chamfer between the pieces:

To rebate the corner boards, I first used my table saw to remove most of the material, then set up the shaper with a Zuani 'jolly' multi-purpose cutter, here configured for rebating:

The cutter is surrounded by the Integral fence and is ready for cutting after some calibration cuts on a scrap piece have been completed:

One the rebates were done, using a climbing cut with aid of the stock feeder, I had a further cut to make to remove an approximate 4˚ slice off of the inside faces of the rebated sticks. The bandsaw table was tilted accordingly and I got to work:

Clamp-a-thon (donations now accepted!), corner #1:

Here's a square in place to show how far out of square I have made the interior of the corner after the parts are glued up:

After a couple of days, the four corners were glued up:

A little hard to see them, as placed side by side they look very much like a large avodire accordion.

In the above picture you can see a piece of cherry too, one of the recent stock arrivals for this project. it's the largest chunk of cherry I've bought, at 20/4 (5", 127mm) thick, and about 11' long. After an initial cut to bring it closer to finish length, I hoisted it onto the jointer:

Once jointed, a little trimming followed on the bandsaw:

And then it was planed, with a second jointing operation in the middle of that, followed by planing to near finish size.

A 4.75" (120mm) square was produced, and I was pleased to find it has some figure too:

I think the cherry and avodire will look great together.

Besides the cherry post, I also obtained this cherry slab, which will be used for the toko-ita and the chigai-dana, or staggered shelves:

I like how the wood seller gives some of the boards names, like 'Enoch'. That's a name you don't come across too often.

Next step is to chamfer the post glue ups, and for this I have obtained a set of chamfer knives for the corrugated knife head, a CGG Schmidt product. I'll detail more about that in a subsequent post. Thanks for visiting this time, hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Colgate EALL (4)

My focus so far on this job has been in building the furniture for the Japanese space. That furniture consists of three benches, of varying lengths, and a small table with compound splayed posts. This form of construction is near and dear to me, forming the contents of TAJCD Volume IV, however it had been more than a year since I last tackled this sort of work. With a relatively complex topic like that, the challenge upon revisiting is to see how much of previous study has stuck and how much needs a little re-study.

So far so good in that respect. The table top is a glue up using tongue and groove joints, exposed at the end grain surfaces. Once the top was trimmed to size, I laid out the mortises for the post tenons and got to work:

That's the new CNC chisel you're seeing there folks. I just position it and it works automatically, sorta.

A paring block helps ensure accurate results:

 A completed mortise - not so easy to photograph, but you get the idea:

A while later, the mortises were done, leaving finish planing and chamfering for a final step to be tackled later on:

I've made progress also with the stretchers for the benches, which come in two sizes, one set with through tenons and the other with blind tenons:

I chamfer tenons using the Zimmermann Profile sander:

The rails for the ends of the benches, 6 pieces total, have also had their haunched tenons cut out:

Tenoning of parts for the benches being more or less done, so I could move onto mortising of the rails after their layout was complete:

Ah, the Powermatic 719 - what can you say about such a crudely made machine? I have nicknamed it "better than nothing". It oozes features which prove annoying over time.

With through tenons in particular, I do not use a hollow chisel mortiser for anything other than rough hogging out of the mortises, as that is all I have come to trust such a machine to do. I use chisels which are 1/8" (about 3m) undersize as this leaves 1/16" (1mm) on the mortise flanks to trim out later, which I will do using a combination of the milling machine and manual chisel work.

It didn't take too long to work my way through the rough mortising of the rails for the two smaller benches:

I did not layout or mortise the rails for the long bench as there was a discrepancy on the drawings I had as to what the length should be, and that was important as the long bench fully occupies the width of the space. That discrepancy has now been resolved, with the added discovery that the room narrows in width as you draw back into the hallway, which means I should make the bench a little shorter than originally planned to ensure it can be moved in and out readily.

All for this time - thanks for your visit, and comments are most welcome. Post 5 follows.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Colgate EALL (3)

Have been working on the stock for the plant-on posts the past few days, and those are now fully dimensioned and finish planed, with just a few steps remaining. No pics though - sorry!

Today I'd like to share a bit about working on the benches for the Japanese room, the particular task needing completion being that of tenoning the leg stock. There are sixteen legs, and the tenons are 4.125" (105mm) deep, so this was a perfect task for my shaper and one of the two large tenoning heads I have in the, uh, vault.

The first step towards tenoning was to take the machine out of its current configuration with 1.25" spindle and fence mounted. I thought it might be of interest to some readers to show the steps in getting the machine ready for tenoning, followed by some tenoning work. So, here's a short video, sans narration and background music:

Not shown in the video is that once the machine was set, I placed a piece of scrap off-cut of the leg stock, and did a test cut to see how the tenon thickness came out:

The first pass by the post left a tenon which was too fat.

The tenoning head was disassembled, in place on the spindle, and some shims were removed.

The next test cut got me to the target of 5/8" - it's nice when you get there in one move:

All that remained was then to adjust the spindle height until the tenon was centered, and then to adjust the depth stop so as to produce a tenon of the required length.

The nature of shaper work in general is this: after a couple of hours of set up, the parts are processed in a matter of minutes. It's worth it when many parts are involved, though it is hard to say at what number of parts exactly one might select the shaper option versus other methods.

These tenons are also set back a little on each of the narrow faces, so, after using the sliding table saw to crosscut the narrow faces of the tenons a slight amount, I rough cut the tenons to width on the bandsaw:

Then a router table set up using the old model of Jessem Mitr-slide (cross-cut fence) in a fixed position, got the tenon width to the mark in short order. Here the cut is started:

The cut finishes once the part meets the fence, followed by a quick lateral motion of the sliding fence to clean the shoulder:

Sixteen tenons are thereby done, save for entry chamfers:

Love that shaper!

All for this round - thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. Post 4 follows.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Bandsaw Happenings

As some readers may be aware, I have a couple of Hitachi bandsaws, one being the li'l one, the CB75, and the other the big brother, the CB100FA. I've been very happy with these two machines over the years and intend to stick with them long term.

Recently I have made a key improvement to the smaller bandsaw in the area of dust collection. The machine does have a dust port on one side, but whatever it fails to collect has simply dropped through the machine's insides to fall out a rectangular hole on the bottom of the machine. Over time, a mini-pyramid of dust forms, and I have found it is a little awkward to clean up with any ease or speed. Usually I have to drag the saw out of the way to get at it all.

Last year, I bartered some antique Japanese carved ranma I had kicking around to the local sheet metal guy, and he fabricated a couple of items for me, one being an item for the milling machine, and the other a dust collector box for the bottom of the CB75 saw:

It fastens to the bottom of the machine with a few sheet metal screws, and in order to connect to the dust collection piping, an extra lateral was required from Air Handling down in CT, along with a short length of hose:

The fabricator added, thoughtfully, a little hinged hatch so as to be able to remove any wood slices or chunks that happen to fall through:

As for the larger bandsaw, I have been finding the blade situation a bit of a struggle of late. I have had one Hitachi factory blade, which came with the machine, however when dull the only recourse I have had for getting it sharpened on the entire eastern seaboard is a place up in Maine, and they only do a so-so job. A couple of years back I bought a couple of Skarpaz blades from the west coast, which cost about half of what the stock blade costs, and work decently except they have a much wider Stellite tooth size, which makes for a wider kerf, which sucks. And, the sharpening place in Maine doesn't do any better of a job with those blades. I asked Skarpaz about doing blades with narrower teeth, and that seemed to be something outside their wheelhouse.

A few months ago I ponied up the $400 it takes to buy a second Hitachi factory blade, but for some reason the one I got just wasn't as good as the original, and seemed to dull prematurely. I was unimpressed, especially given the cost.

A few months back a reader contacted me to discuss re-saws in general, and mentioned that they had found a supplier of bandsaw blades for re-saws in Romania of all places, an outfit called Metamob. They're sorta new on the scene, I guess, having been in business since 1994 - which is longer than I have!

A while afterwards, I contacted the company, and dealt with a fellow named Czeles, who has impeccable English. A very impressive company, all in all. They offer several different qualities and types of blades, both regular and tipped. After I selected the top of the line 'MetaPrecision' blade type, they asked me a heap of questions about my machine and work (size of wheels, profile shape of wheel surface, rpm of machine, pitch, type of materials I sawed, etc.). In the end I selected 4 blades, two configured for softwoods, and 2 configured for hardwoods. I hadn't planned to buy 4 blades at the outset, but the shipping for one blade was quite expensive at more than 300€, and shipping 4 blades cost essentially the same so it seemed the better choice. 

The stock Hitachi blade produces a 1.6mm (0.0629" (about 1/16") kerf, however Metamob were able to offer even thinner-toothed blades. I went with three blades with 1.5mm kerf (0.0590") and, experimentally, one blade with the narrowest tooth they could put on the 0.8mm saw band, at 1.3mm (0.0511").

The package of 4 blades arrived just the other day:

They were in good shape, however the packaging, in just a single layer cardboard box, was insufficient I thought.

The outside one in the bundle was the 1.3mm tipped MetaPrecision:

The 0.8mm saw band is made in Germany, and is the same one Skarpaz uses.

I did one last cut of some Burmese teak for a 3rd project currently in swing, and then opened up the CB100FA:

A thorough cleaning followed, and then the new blade installed without hiccup, or hiccough if you prefer. The machine has two gauges, one for positioning in and out:

The other is for blade tension:

All looked good after a test run, so time to see how the blade cuts:

That's a thin kerf:

And the finish was excellent - the only mark came from leaving it parked in the cut while I took the preceding two photos:

Works for me. We'll see how it does over time.

I still have a dilemma as far as bandsaw blades go. I cannot bother shipping the blades to Maine any more, as it costs $125 in shipping and the results have not been good enough. I could ship to Metamob, where I am confident they would do an excellent job, but international shipping costs make that a prohibitive option.

Seriously, without a solution I have to consider these blades as disposable, which is a little hard to stomach given their cost. I can't store dull blades indefinitely, they take up a lot of space. The Metamob product is about half the cost of the Hitachi, and seems excellent so far, so maybe I'll just have to order them in sets of 4 or more once every great while, and toss them when they get dull. It's a tooling cost, plain and simple.

Still, I have started thinking about whether it would be feasible to obtain a decent blade sharpening set up for tipped bandsaw blades. Definitely open to suggestions from readers.

All for this round - see you next time.