Sunday, December 25, 2016

Gift Wrapping

I made this box thing for a Christmas present. It is made from a square of heavy manilla paper. A thinner piece of paper would have been easier to work with.

I drafted the pattern directly onto the paper using the drafting machine and compass. While drawing the dozens of arcs, I discovered that my 70's(?) Alvin Speed Bow has slop in it! I had previously assumed it was moving due to operator error. You can see the resulting double lines in the image below.

A really good compass is hard to find, especially now. Ebay is ripe with vintage ones, but few look inspiring. The Starrett 92-6 looks nice with the exception of its threads. It might just be the sort of tool I have to make myself. I just want one that's quick to adjust and SOLID when set.

Maybe like this. I already want to re-draw it... the side view is ugly. Important parts are: Big ol' sharp knurled thumb nut to lock adjustment, mated with shoulder screw going through a tight slip fit in the arms. Greasy O-ring to provide some resistance when adjusting. Thoughtful clamps to lock the graphite and center point in place, maybe only one per side, but not with the standard pathetic 0-80 locking screw. While we're dreaming, the arms should be hardened tool steel with the sliding surfaces ground.

Sorry, I got distracted.

Wish I would have figured out how to make it hold itself closed, some sort of interlocking flaps. Maybe next Christmas.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Waterstone Holder, Snowflakes

I've gotten a lot of sharpening work recently, which is why I haven't been posting much. I do most of the sharpening with waterstones and oilstones. I have a makita wet grinder which is great for jointer knives, but it is less aggressive than a coarse 'unpowered' stone.

It's been a test of patience to take nicks out of hundreds of knives by hand, but a belt grinder is finally on its way. Although it will take me a while to put together, it'll be dressed right up with a VFD, coolant mister, and purpose-built stand. I may sort out some dust collection as well.

I just made this adjustable waterstone holder to hold the stones properly above a tub of water.

Also made some paper snowflakes:

Below, a part of a wooden prototype done on commission. I'm making prototype parts out of wood, which is a really great material for low-budget design testing. The rejected designs work great as firewood, unlike plastic or aluminum.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Pulaski Axe Sheath, More Spoons

I finished sharpening this pulaski axe for a customer. When I get items to sharpen without any edge protection, I generally return them with a sheath or similar. I started making a cardboard sheath for this, but it seemed too nice a design to be cut off and thrown away. I traced it onto a piece of leather to make the sheath pictured. I'd normally sew it together, but this tool leads a rough life in a garden shed. Rivets will do.

A recent wind storm gave me a maple and a mystery wood log. I started carving spoons from them. Both around 10" in length. The maple spoon is my favorite one yet.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Mora 163 Hook Knife Modification

I have a Morakniv 163 hook knife, which isn't the best knife but it does work. I thought I'd try to improve it instead of buying or making another. Above and below are pictures of the knife more or less as it came new.

Below, the re-ground blade. It's less prone to catching and more predictable, though the handle is still too short and the blade ought to have a thicker profile. It definitely does the job though, and better than before.

I did the grinding with a Makita 9820-2, a 220 grit aluminum oxide stone, 320 and 600 grit sandpaper, and Metal-glo on a piece of balsa.

To sharpen it and all my carving tools quickly I just use a 1200 grit aluminum oxide stone with sewing machine oil, followed by dia-paste on a strop. A light touch with the stone keeps a large un-strop-able burr from forming. I could (and sometimes do) use finer grits to get a sharper edge, but it seems counter-productive when the edge loses that extra sharpness after 30 sec. of use.

Maple spoon blanks:

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Mattock Handle

Shown above with the Rathkamp Tool + Box texture pack.

My dad broke the original mattock handle mining sandstone, and asked me to make a new one. I made it quickly so it's not all symmetrical, but it does the job.

Below, inching the head up the handle. See where it sticks, file away the spots, repeat-

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Business Card Cases (drawing)

I've been thinking of business card case designs I could make. I set out to design a wooden one, and this was the simplest idea:

There are many ways to arrange springs, wood or metal, to hold in the cards. A steam bent thin wooden spring would be simple and elegant. It would hold them in by friction.

A wedged lid could also be used to hold in the cards. Without a hinge, the wedge would be easily dropped or lost. This is avoided by putting a pin through it, which slides in grooves machined into the top and bottom plates. Although it's a little bulky compared to the others, it is repairable and looks unique. The top and bottom plates would best be made of sheet brass or stainless, and the rest made of hardwood. The side edges are convex to be gentler on the hand, and the bottom is flat so it can stand on its own.

I think stainless would look good with ebony or black walnut, and brass with cherry. The side pieces and wedge could even be made of micarta, for an especially modern appearance.

The third idea could probably be made the slimmest. For an even lighter design, the hinged lid pictured below could even be removed entirely, and the sprung catch could hook onto the corner of the cards themselves. This design would probably be the most fragile of the three.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Taig Lathe Bar Feed Steady Rest

I didn't know what to call this, but it's basically a pair of steady rests for the Taig lathe. Each has a PTFE bushing with a 5/8" inside diameter. I am about to make a few hundred brass drawer knobs, and normally the bar stock would be fed through the headstock into a collet. The Taig has a tiny spindle bore (5/16") so I had to figure out something different.

Using this set-up, I can part off knob blanks without cutting the bar beforehand. The rests keep the long bar from flapping about, and 'catch' it when it disconnects from the end held in the chuck.

I made sure to oil the bottoms of the rests well, which will hopefully keep the ways from corroding where the wood makes contact.

Here it is in action:

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Positioner (drawing)

I started thinking about how to make an easily adjustable wooden arm, in the style of an indicator holder. The original idea was to use it for holding a dust collector tube at the lathe, so the tube could be moved right where it is needed. On further thought, a strong and easily adjustable arm is useful for many things: a camera mount, a lamp or flashlight holder, a 'helping hand' for soldering or welding, a microphone mount, to name a few. I've seen them speckled around the international space station in photos, as laptop or clipboard holders. 

The Noga style holders are a great design, but would be difficult to make of wood. They're also not particularly suited to larger sizes. So I instead took a hint from a milling machine vise stop I once saw.

This style is much better suited to being made of wood. They keep some of the multi-axis locking magic of the Noga style. Two screws will quickly lock the working end anywhere within the reach of the arm (as opposed to just one on the Noga).

I drew a sketch of what a wooden one would look like. The body of it could fit in a hand or be a meter long. The pivot pins would be brass or stainless steel. The lower pivot could be locked with a thumbscrew on the underside, or a hex key from the top side. Multiple arms could be connected to reach around in tight spaces. Tubing could be used for the 'forearm' segment, to allow wires or air or whiskey to flow through.

As with all the drawings on here, if you want one made I'd be glad to make it come to life-

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Panel Alignment Clamps, Operational Bandsaw

My dad often glues together large thin wooden panels to make boxes, drawers, and the like. They range from 1/4" thick to around 1". With panels so thin, they are prone to misalignment while gluing. The panels are typically 3-6 feet long; any bow in the wood will definitely create a step between the pieces. Biscuit joints are a potential solution, but in our application they make more problems than they solve.

Seeing how much material and time was wasted by having to sand down the steps between boards, I decided to make him some clamps which would center the boards across the thickness. I wanted them to be strong enough to be able to bend thinner boards closer to straight, and quick to use. Time is of the essence when gluing many faces together at once.

This end (above) has a rod end which pivots up into the slot on the top, to apply pressure. The nut is temporary and will be replaced with a knob/thumb nut.

This end has a wedge, which almost instantly sets that end of the bar to the thickness of the boards being clamped. I only used a wedge on one end so that the operator can use the wedged end as a pivot and apply the most pressure with the threaded end.

You can also see the profile of the clamping faces. They have round silicone rods pushed into the grooves. This accommodates slight variations in thickness of the boards, and the glue doesn't stick to them when it dries. The sides are bevelled to help keep the glue off.

Above is clamping a few pieces for illustration, a cross-section if you will. Below, the clamp is disassembled. The rod-end end slides under the clearance below the panel to be clamped, which is held up by the beams of the 'regular' clamps. A picture is worth a very confusing description... hold tight-

Below shows how the clamp interacts with the beam clamps. It can be applied and removed without moving the beam clamps, by sliding it in underneath.

Now for odds and ends-

A dust hose clamp-

 The operational bandsaw! Not the safest but it's already being used a lot.

I attached the motor with this sliding/locking sub plate. It slides in and out to tension the belt.