Welcome to my blog. Let what you see stimulate your imagination and inspire your own creations.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

SuperMax sander scores again!

I've been delighted with my SuperMax 19-38 drum sander from the get-go, and am especially pleased with their great customer service.  

Recently I developed a problem with lines appearing on the abrasive that were not from glue.  I didn't think the cherry or hard maple I was using were particularly resinous, so I was clueless.  Here are the photos I sent them:

 I contacted SuperMax, and here's the response I received:

These black lines are build-up on and in the abrasive. Usually caused by a glue line or resin line in the stock being sanded. Easiest method to prevent/reduce these lines are to angle the stock being sanded. A 30 degree angle is ideal. If the stock is too wide for that, any angle is helpful. Even a 1 or 2 degree angle can dramatically reduce build-up.

As for resin lines, Cherry and Hard Maple are the most prone to this kind of build-up. Again, angling is helpful as is less depth of cut and a faster feed rate than used with other woods.

These lines can be removed with using clear plexiglass on edge as an abrasive cleaner. Or the abrasives can also be soaked in paint thinner or mineral spirits, which will dry out the build-up. Then it can be brushed out with a stiff nylon brush.

If the lines are developing from Cherry or Hard Maple and are not from glue lines, the other option is using a cooler running abrasive such as the blue Zirconium… Please let me know if you have questions or if I can be of any service.

If you need a drum sander, I'd suggest you give this one serious consideration.  It's a little more money, but for a lot more tool, and you can't beat the customer service. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Work in process

I've been working on some new projects using a texturing compound that dries hard like wood, but can be applied with a piping bag and tip.  Before doing an actual project, I experimented with the compound, and also with fabric paints, to see what the limitations were.

Here's a picture of some of the preliminary effects I played with, and some wood that's been prepped for an actual project.  When I start off in this way, I never know where I'll end up, and I already have quite a punch list of things to try.  Those that work will probably end up as published articles for everyone to enjoy, and those that don't are still a learning experience!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Outdoor spray booth

Whoever said that spraying had to be a hassle?  At this time of year, I just tape some newspaper to a stool, find a shady spot, do my spraying, then move inside to let things dry.  Of course wind, rain, pollen, birds, etc. can be a problem at times, but generally, the ease and speed of this low-tech method can't be beat!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Blade update

Continuing my experiment with larger and smaller blades, I added the Flying Dutchman Ultra Reverse #5 (FD-UR #5) to see how it compared with the Polar #5.  It actually gave a smoother cut, and sliced through a little more easily, but couldn't clear out the sawdust sufficiently to prevent burning.

However, I am now convinced that the rule I've been following, to use larger blades with thicker wood, needs to be reassessed.  The importance of this for my work is that the smaller the blade, the smaller the entry hole, and the less sanding away of drill marks.

The lessons learned are that if your favorite blade isn't working, don't be afraid to try other options, and don't be afraid to go smaller if, like me, you've been leaning towards the larger blades.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Flying Dutchman #5 Polar blade

My latest project required cutting 1-1/2" thick hard maple.  My usual go-to blade, Flying Dutchman UR-9, left burn marks all over the place and cut with difficulty.  I knew that many people use small blades successfully with thick wood, so I decided try out the only Polar blade I have, a #5.

The picture shows the cut with the UR-9 on the right, and the one made with the Polar blade on the left.  What a difference!!  The cutting was slow, but dead-on accurate, and left no burn or blade marks.  I've since found out that this blade has become quite popular, and comes in many sizes.  I've used it for corian and acrylic, but never thought of using it for wood.

Hope my discovery inspires you to give this blade a try.  It was a wonderful and unexpected discovery for me.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

New source for veneer

I've been working on some new projects that require colors that don't occur in nature, or tend to fade over time.  I could not find them at Constantine's, my usual source, so I tried to find a place that carried them.

I'm pleased to report that my search located a site that sells dyed veneer  in colors that are absolutely eye-popping, like pink, plum, and two gorgeous shades of blue.  I've already used the blue for a holiday project that should be appearing in Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts, but also have some laminations planned out that will combine yellowheart and purpleheart with some of the new dyed veneer for a project I can't wait to start.

The pricing, customer service, and packaging were all first-rate, and I'm happy to recommend B&B Rare Woods as a good source to consider.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Fox Chapel Open House

Just returned from the Open House, held at the Rough and Tumble museum in Kinzers, PA.  For a first time at a new location, it worked out very well.

There were 80 classes given (40 each day, repeated), which was certainly an ambitious undertaking.  I enjoyed giving my bowl classes, despite the competition from tractors and farm machinery that kept passing by my tent.  It was great meeting people from the scroll saw forum, and also people who have followed me online and have seen my videos.  I also had a chance to meet John Nelson, whose excellent beginner's book taught me how to use the scroll saw.

But now that that's behind me, it's time to move forward and see how much I can accomplish before next winter.  Wood has been bought, a new supply of veneer has been ordered, and several projects are already in the planning stage.  I can look forward to many months of working comfortably in my shop and the opportunity to get a few more videos out, as well as enjoying other activities that take advantage of the lovely warm weather!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

New glue

Had to give Nexabond glue a try for gluing on loops.  It's touted as a next generation CA glue, with a  curing method that uses the salts found naturally in wood.

The glue set up quickly and held well on my sample loops.  However, I was concerned about shear strength, so I tugged on a loop to see what would happen.  I was relieved when the loop broke but the glue bond held.

Too expensive for general use, but when speed and strength is needed, it looks like a good product to have around.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Useful equipment for gluing

With many of my newer projects using veneer, I've been forced to face the reality that smearing glue with my fingers is probably not the best technique to use.  I was intrigued by a few pieces of equipment featured in a Rockler catalogue that looked just right for my purposes, and took advantage of a free shipping offer to give them a try.

I've long used silicon brushes for baking, and have been impressed with how easily they cleaned up.  This silicon glue brush is angled, and perfect for spreading glue.  The silicon tray holds just the right amount of glue securely, and although I haven't used the spreader yet, I'm sure it will help spread the glue on larger pieces of veneer.  It reminds me of how you spread thinset mortar for tiling.

So, although I tend not to buy the latest "gimmicks", this was certainly money well spent!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Back in the shop--hooray!

Well, couldn't do too much today, but I did manage to finish the laminated bowl that was featured in my latest gluing video.

The main wood is quarter sawn red oak, center ring is redwood burl, top and bottom rings are nogal (like walnut), and black and white veneer dress it up.  The construction was not difficult, but the slight warping of the veneered pieces is what led me to make the video.  I had too much costly wood invested to give up, and as you can see, the joints came out nice and tight.