Welcome to Woodworker++

This blog is intended to be a journal of my progress as a woodworker. Grab a drink, maybe some popcorn, sit back and enjoy a glimpse into my woodworking projects, both failed and successful. Why should you care what I do, or what I have to say? You shouldn't, but just maybe I can keep you from making the same mistakes that I had to learn the hard way.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sometimes the work is not the reward...

Quilt Rack
I've put in around 40 hours making a quilt rack for my sister-in-law and niece.  That sounds like a lot of time, but it's not when you enjoy the work.  One reason it took so long was because woodworking is my hobby.  Like most hobbyist I get a few hours here and there to work on a project, which means I have to context switch each time I come back to the project.  I like woodworking because, unlike developing software, I create tangible items.  Something that a person with a history degree, the history majors I know wouldn't understand Dijkstra's Algorithm, can look at and understand.  The building of the quilt rack was only part of the reward.  The best part was seeing my sister-in-law's reaction when I gave it to her.  Gifting in general is fun.  When you can gift something that you created, that's where the real reward comes in.

I forgot to take a picture of it before giving it away, so please forgive the clamps.  Oh, and I hate the look of the stained poplar, but wifey liked it and wouldn't let me paint it.  For those that are interested I'll list out the finishing process.

  1. Sanding with 180 -> 220 grit
  2. 1lb cut spit-coat of shellac
  3. quick sanding with 220 grit
  4. stain with dark walnut stain
  5. swearing
  6. stain with dark red mahogany stain
  7. more swearing
  8. 1 coat of polyurethane
  9. sanding with 600 grit
  10. another coat of polyurethane

Shaker Table
I've been busy with the Shaker table build the past week.  The task was to build the drawer and attach the drawer rails.  I've cut half-blind dovetails before, with disastrous results.  This time things went much smoother.  The picture you see below is my bench vise. I'm thinking of patenting it. None of this "quick release" expensive screw vise stuff for me, no way. Counting the 2x4 I think I have a total of $20 in the vise.  That said, I get about $5 worth of performance.

While my vise isn't ideal, I was able to layout the tails, and start sawing.  I took my time and followed the sawing advice from Chris Schwarz's re-print of, and guide to "The Jointer and Cabinet Maker".
While my sawing techniques have drastically improved in the past weeks., my chiseling techniques have not.  One problem, as I found out after finishing the drawer was that my chisels were extremely dull.  Schwarz, at point in the book mentions (paraphrasing) "If your chisels compress the fibers of the end grain it's time to sharpen".  Yup it's time to sharpen.
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Two things are not pictured in this update. 
1.  The bent corner of the drawer front where I dropped it
2.  The top being cradled by clamps for glue up.  

When I find the camera, which I put in a "safe" place, I'll post pics.

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