Wednesday, April 30, 2014

So many moving parts

You know that game where you have to re-arrange tiles to complete a picture and there's only one open space to maneuver? That's what the process of putting a shop together in my basement feels like.


For example (follow me here, this gets Game-of-Thrones-like in keeping up with multiple plots)... All of my tools, and other doodads that are to live in the shop, are still in boxes. To remedy this I am in the process of modifying a couple of bureaus to put them in. In the drawers of the bureaus I will add dividers and sliding trays. And so our story begins...

  • I want the stock for the trays and guides they will slide on to be a half inch thick. I don't have any half inch thick stock (or any usable stock), but I can get three quarter inch boards from the home center and plane it down (resaw maybe?). Should be easy enough with my table top planer. 
  • I haven't erected a wall or installed a ceiling in the basement yet to help trap noise (boxes are in the way), so using the planer will have to be done some time during rare, valuable, weekend, daytime hours as to not wake my wife or children. Maybe in June? 
  • I can start immediately if I plane by hand. That, and I have very much wanted to get more in to hand tool work. Hand planes it is. In order to plane by hand I need a flatter bench top. The top of my bench dips at each end and in the middle. I can't trust it to test even a short board for flatness.
  • So the bureaus are on hold until I can replace the bench top. I think the best bang for my buck will be to laminate 2x4's on their faces a la Paul Sellers in his bench building videos. Replacing the top will not make this the bench of my dreams, but it is probably good experience for when I figure out what that dream bench will be. 
  • I'll start by planing the edges until the rounded corners are gone and then face glue them together. The blades in my fifty year old number five and hundred year old number seven have seen "too many winters". Off to hocktools.com.
  • And to the home center to buy two by fours. I went on a Friday night and found a fresh stack of kiln dried fir. Not necessarily Douglas fir, just generic fir. I neatly picked through the pile and found eighteen boards with mostly clear and straight grain, at least on one edge. They'll give me the twenty seven inch wide bench top I am wanting. I let them sit in the basement for two weeks to let them dry out a little more.
  • And that brings us up to the present. With newly honed and sharpened blades I have started planing the edges that will be the bottom of the bench top. My hands, near my thumbs, are sore after only a few boards but I am enjoying using the planes to get the edges flat and square by hand.





Getting the bench top ready will take a while. Long enough for me to figure out exactly how I am going to attach it the base of my bench and what do about getting an upgraded vise for the shoulder. Stay tuned for the next chapter.

Thank for reading.
Jim