Thursday, August 30, 2007

Introducing.... Well I don't know what to call it.

I spent this weekend just mad with hay fever. Down here in the southern hemisphere we are entering spring. And all the flowers are blooming and the weather is getting really nice. But man was I out of it this weekend.

So I started to think what I wanted to do this week. Our guest lecturer is now gone. I finished my project what was I going to do. I received a request from my mother in law for a piece of furniture. She specifically said a stool or a chair. But I don't have the time for either of those at the moment. But the request also came with the desire for said item to be made with a Tasmanian timber. So I thought about what wood I had left in my personal stash. I had a really nice piece of Huon Pine.

So I set out to build a hall or sofa table. Why, because they can be done pretty fast. My design once again was a simple one. It actually carries on from my little cabinet table. Two frames for legs and a top that runs through those frames. Well here it is:

The top is Huon Pine. And it was really that wide. It's one solid piece that is about 1200 mm long by 300 mm and 20 mm thick. Which translates to those that don't speak metric about 4 feet long by 12 inches wide by 3/4 of an inch thick. The frame legs are made from Peruvian Walnut. It's a beautifully dark timber and really nice to work. If you can see in the pictures the design is very simple. The frames are all hand cut dovetailed together. And there is a rail that runs in the same directions as the top and bottom, under the top. Now I know what some of you might say, " Man I bet that this racks or wobbles?" Well I have attached the Huon Top to the frames with slotted screw, as to allow for the wood movement. The top acts as it's on rail and stabilizes the table. I have to say that I am really stoked about this little table. All said and done it took 10 hours to make. Which I think is really good. Especially with hand cut dovetails.

Anyways, I haven't thought of a name for this table yet. If you have any suggestions let me know. Next week is Uni break week. So I don't think I will be doing much at the shop. Just playing with the boy and wife and relaxing alittle.

So until next time all... I can't hear you because I'm to busy working.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Examiner Article #2

Last week I was interviewed by the local paper. The last time this happened I was only in the picture. This time I am actually in the small article.

You know what they say, any press is good press. Just another little thing to put on the resume.

Soon to come more or nicer pictures of the cabinet table and some shots of a new end table and hall/sofa table that I hope to get done this week as a side project.

Friday, August 24, 2007

32 years young...

Well today was my birthday, I am 32 years young and getting older as we speak. It was a really good day today. I started the day out with a special birthday breakfast picked out by my 3 year old son. Yes that's right Fruit Loops. Then a great lunch was brought to school by my wife and son. After lunch came the critique for our cabinets.

We had a guest come in to help with the critique. His name was Rex Heathcote. He is a local furniture maker here in Tassie. He does really nice work and supplies all the galleries in the state and galleries interstate as well. But he was very helpful, sometimes as students we forget about the real world and leaving this environment and trying to make money. He reminded me at least of that. His comments about my table were all positive. He really liked the design and the fact that I had thought about making it a production piece. He told me that what makes the cabinet table is all the exposed joinery. Because it sets it apart from anything that you could from China.

Afterwards I had the chance to talk to him one on one. I asked if he might have any temporary jobs available between December and March. Because we are going to be here anyways, I might as well try to make some money. He told me when school is done to come by and see him. I told him that I would sand for 8 hours a day, if it meant working in the furniture industry and making some money. So let's hope that works out.

I will be taking some better pictures of the table on Monday. So I will post them then. But to tide you over until then- I give you The Gingerbread Haka

The Haka is a ritual dance done by the Maori people. At the beginning of all the rugby games in which The New Zealand All Blacks play in they start the game with the Haka. This is the what they do, but only done by gingerbread men.

So until then... please to be enjoying the Haka

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Drawers, Dovetails and Headaches

I spent the entire day working on one drawer. Yeah I know that is crazy. But it goes to so you when you don't plan well things don't happen the way you want them to. This morning I was flying. I cut both sets of half-blind dovetails by hand in alittle under an hour. I thought man that was sweet. They came off the saw and slip right together. That was the first problem. Because I got cocky. So I decided I better get the drawer bottom ready. I have a nice thick piece of Western red cedar. So I sliced of a couple of pieces, edged them together and let them dry for about 30 minutes. Came back to find that I had glued them in the wrong direction.

Fixed that problem and then started to make my drawer slips and drawer back. Those went fine, I then cut the dovetails on the back and sides. I did those by hand also with through dovetails. Once again straight off the saw they fit together beautifully. I was quite proud of myself, since I had not cut a dovetail in about a year.

Went to fit the sides and back in with the base to find that it wasn't going to work. So I came up with a solution to use a plywood base so that the wood doesn't move so I don't have to leave any extra room anywhere. Then I am going to glue a nice piece of leather on the top of the drawer bottom. That should give the drawer a nice smell.

Anyways tomorrow is the hinge and stay fitting day. Wish me luck.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Wood Talk Online...

Well it's official, the great guys and women over at a have published an article that I wrote for them. It's an article about my adventures and what brought me and the family here.

So thanks to Marc, Matt, Gail and Tom. Check out there website, Marc and Matt have a great show that you can download. They both have there own shows also. So Check them out also.

Updated shots...

The shop was open this weekend, so I got to spend a few hours there. Finally got my second base glued up and sanded down. Put the first coat of oil and cut the table top to size. I actually put it all together to see what it is going to look like. So here it is...

What do you think. I have taken pictures with it in different set ups. I actually like it a lot. I guess I should since I designed and built it. I think that if I ever built another one, it will be significantly wider. Maybe as big as two of these one. With that said, I really like this version.

Today I got the whole thing level so that the table sits level and doesn't rock. I glued up my drawer carcass and cut all the timber for my drawer. So hopefully tomorrow I will be able to get the drawer made and get the hardware on. I'm going to use some knife hinges and some stays and some magnetic catches. The stays say they have a brake on them, so I took that to mean that they are self lowering. Which I hope they are, but if not that would be OK. What I would love the door to do is, you push it in and the magnetic catch releases the doors and it just falls open gently. So we shall see. I'll tell you about that when I get there.

Until then....

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Not much time left...

Well we are closing in on one week left to finish the cabinet. I think I have things under control. Let's see what has changed since the last time I posted about this.

1. I finally glued up one of the bases for the table. The one that doesn't have any frames or doors. I put the first coat of oil on that piece. It looks pretty good. Like I said I cut all the fingers and the tenons and mortises by hand. So out of the 60 mortises that I cut, I think about 40 of them are pretty good, 4 of them are ok and 6 are terrible. But live and learn.

2. I finished making the frames and the panels. I have to say here that the festool domino is the greatest. Instead of cutting a traditional mortise and tenon, I used the domino. Which meant I had to cut the frames pieces exactly to size and then zip-zip with the domino and there you have it, FRAMES. With the router table I cut the grooves for the panels to sit in and also rebated the panels so that they sit in flush.

3. Today, I struggled to figure out how I was going to layout the inside of my cabinet. The only stipulation is that we must have at least one drawer. So with my door folding down I am going to use stays to support it's weight. That meant that the drawer could not go from side to side. Because it wouldn't open because the stays would be in the way. So I devised this:

This is a miniature version of my table. Although the proportions are different. I made these 2 little frames that look just like the bases of my table. I used a off cut from the top itself to make a shelf. The shelf will sit inside the frames just like the table top will. The drawer will be housed inside the frames. The drawer will run on guides that will lift it off the bottom of the cabinet. This is because when the door is open it sits 20mm (3/4 of an inch) above the base of the cabinet. So the drawer wouldn't pull out.

So what's left. Well I have to glue the second base together, which I should get done tomorrow. Then I have to make the drawer and glue the frame into the cabinet and sand and finish the piece. If all goes well that should all happen by this time next week. I'll keep you all posted as I know you are on the edge of your seat.

By the way a few new things, I added a map at the bottom of the blog called Frapper, check it out. It lets you know where people are looking from. Sign up and you can see your name there along with all the other readers.

Next, if you don't already know there is a great audio podcast called Wood Talk Online. They have a website that I will put a link to on the side bar. I mention them because I was asked to write an article on my adventures here at school in Australia. It should be coming up on there website any day now. So I hope to become a contributor to this show and website. So check them out.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Lazy weekend...

Well this week was just crazy. I spent almost every night out at the Uni try to get everything ready for a project that was due on Friday for my elective class. All went really well so I am happy. So this weekend will be a nice lazy one spent with the family.

Yesterday I got to spend some quality time on the overhead router. I think they are called pin routers in the states. It hasn't been a tool that I have spent much time on. But I needed to rout out all the mortises in my side pieces to accept the top shelves for the table top to sit on. Wanting to have the finger joints at the bottom I wanted the through mortises to match. Needless to say that cutting and paring 15-20 mortises per side of the cabinet has not been fun. But it is a good hand tool learning experience. Well I hope to have some updated photos early next week.

So until then... always leave them wanting more.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Just thought you might like to see this...

I found this online the other night. It is the catalogue from the exhibition that I was in down in Hobart. The exhibition just ended with an invitation to put my work along with the rest of the makers into another gallery in Hobart. I declined only for the reason that I do not have any time at the moment to handle any orders. But it was nice to know that someone else liked my stuff enough to want to display it in there gallery.

So the link is to a PDF file that you will have to download. I tried to put a direct link in here. But it didn't seem to work, so I will put the address and you'll have to copy and paste it into the search bar.

It's only a small thing, but I think it is a really nice catalogue. Until next time...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Giving you a whole lots of Fingers...

Here are the pictures that I told you all I would put up tonight.

Number 1: Here I had to saw the individual fingers out.

Number 2: After that I used my coping saw to saw out the waste. Well actually I first chiseld out a little waste down to the base line, in order to give myself a small shelf in order to be able to clean out the bottoms.

Number 3: See the fingers going together. They are going to look pretty good for being hand cut.

So hopefully by the end of the week I will have a couple of bases done and ready to be glued up. At least that is the goal.

But I have this project due for my elective class. I am taking a computer rendering and animation class. And needless to say it is kicking my you know what. I am barely keeping up with what is going on. With that said here is one of many renderings that I have done.

I've done about 6 of these. THey are small and each one takes about 5 to 20 minutes to render. So it's been a long day first at the shop until 4:30 and then at the University computer lab until 8:30. So I'm going to bed.

So until next time... do something good for the world, plant a tree.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Man I hate the Flu..

For those of you reading this in the northern hemisphere you should know that we are in the dead of winter here in Tassie. With that said, it's not all that bad. I mean it does get down to 0 or -2 overnight. But that's about it. But last week I had a flu that knocked me out for about 3 days.

So needless to say not much happened on my cabinet table. But things were good today I started cutting the finger joints that will hold the sides and the bottom. Along with the finger joints that well become through tenons on the top shelf where the table sits. I'm doing this all by hand, and I know what most of you would say. Why not make a finger joint jig and use a router or a table saw. Well, the school has a Gifken's dovetail and finger joint jig. But I have found out that that jig is made mostly for boxes and not much else. It's a really good jig, I actually made a small box to test it out. It took me longer to dress the timber than it did to make the box. The thickest it can take is about 16mm which is about 5/8 of an inch. And my sides and tops and bottoms are all 20mm which is just a hair over 3/4 of an inch. So that ruled out that jig.

Next I wanted to use the table saw. I spent 2 days making a jig and then testing it. Finding out that it wouldn't work, then making another. I did this 3 times. And came to the conclusion that if I was at home and had my Delta X5 table saw with my shop made crosscut fence I could have had this cabinet done already. But because the school has a really nice sliding panel saw that doesn't accept a stack dado blade, that it is virtually impossible to figure out a way to cut these things. And I started to think I could do them all by hand by the time I figured out and made a jig to do them. And if I ever want to make this table again, I will be home on a table saw that I already know how to make a jig for.

So I will post a couple of pictures on the finger joint cutting process by hand tomorrow night.

So until then my friends... finish your Harry Potter book, I don't want to spoil it for you.