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

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Double-sided tape discovery

I typically use double-sided tape for stack cutting and double bevel inlay.  I had been using turner's tape, which is extremely strong, but sometimes overkill for my purpose.

When I discovered a thinner tape with adequate holding ability that was easier to remove, called XFasten Double Sided Tape, I started using it instead of turner's tape.  The down side was that this tape cut poorly with scissors, and the backing tended to separate prematurely when small pieces were needed.

The solution was quite simple: attach an end of the tape to the workpiece, unroll the amount needed and press it down, then cut the tape with a razor knife.  The wood stabilizes the tape, but you need to be careful not to score the wood as you cut.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Kreg bench clamp adventure

A few years ago, I purchased a Kreg 3" bench clamp, with an adapter that allowed it to be used with a drill press.  Unlike visegrip type clamps, it self-adjusts to the wood thickness, and the thick pad doesn't damage the workpiece.

Unfortunately, the underside of most drill press tables is not flat, so although you can tighten down the clamp, you have to keep checking to be sure it doesn't loosen.  Recently, while using a moderately sized Forstner bit, the clamp loosened just enough so that the pad got in the way of the bit.  Nothing was damaged, except for the pad, but it could have been worse.

I wanted to replace the pad, but replacement parts don't seem to exist for this type of clamp.  Fortunately, when I called Kreg and explained the situation, the person I spoke with was able to locate a pad, and sent it out without charge.  It's a pleasure when a company stands behind its products, and even more so when it's a company as large as Kreg.

Score one for the good guys!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Forstner bits for tea light candles

I've been having some fun trying out different uses for tea light candles, and needed a Forstner bit that would allow easy insertion and removal of the candle without excess play.

I got the best results with both 40mm and 1-9/16" bits.  The amount of extra room, using a candle in a clear plastic case, was about 1.5mm for the 40mm bit, and about 1mm for the 1-9/16".

Neither size bit is likely to be included in a set, but if you plan to make tea light holders in any quantity, it's worth the small investment for a more attractive project.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Mini press for small glue-ups

Most people think of presses as something used only by bowl makers, but they are very useful for any situation where precision gluing is required, along with evenly applied pressure.

I decided to add a small press to my collection, sizing it at 6" x 6".  I used 3/4" thick plywood to prevent flex, and 3/8" carriage bolts, each 4" long.   I'm planning to use it for smaller pieces that can be fidgety to clamp.

My main reason for making one, however, was to facilitate the removal and re-clamping of the workpiece in order to clean up glue squeeze-out, which I find easier to do with a press than with conventional clamps.

Good use for a small scrap of quality plywood!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Easy angle tutorial

Although all instructions for making scrolled bowls provide cutting angles, it's sometimes useful to be able to compute your own.  You might, for example, have wood that's a little thicker or thinner than used for the project, or might prefer to use a wider or narrower ring.

While the computation of the angle is not difficult, the Angle Calculator at scrollmania.com is not only a calculation app, but a self-contained tutorial that clearly shows how the three variables--wood thickness, ring width, and cutting angle--are interrelated.  Enter any two of the variables, and the third is automatically calculated.  You can even enter fractions, and they are automatically changed into decimals.

Even if you don't plan to design your own bowls, it's interesting to see just how the interrelationship actually works, and this is the clearest presentation I've ever seen.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Revised and Expanded Edition of Wooden Bowls from the Scroll Saw coming soon!

The materials are due to go to the printer by the end of the week, and the book should be available about mid-May.  I've completely rewritten the first chapter to bring it up to date with new tools and techniques.  Some of the original projects were removed to make room for nine new ones, which include three that have never been published.

I was pleased to have been given the opportunity to share my new projects and techniques in an organized and systematic manner, and hope the material in this new edition gives readers many hours of pleasure at their scroll saws.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Woodworker's Journal now has a scroll saw department

It's very encouraging when a high quality, mainstream woodworking magazine like Woodworker's Journal decides to add a scroll saw department to its lineup.

All too often, woodworking magazines are quick to assume that their readers don't regard the scroll saw, or projects made with the scroll saw, as something worthy of notice.  By contrast, Woodworker's Journal has long been receptive to projects made with the scroll saw, and recently confirmed the interest of their readers in a survey taken by publisher Rob Johnstone.

Ironically, when I've shown highly skilled, professional woodworkers some of my work, the response is often amazement, and the comment, "how did you do that?" is typical.

The first article of the new department, which I was pleased to be asked to write, included some of the less well-known uses of the scroll saw, as a way of saying, "Hey, folks, maybe it's time for a second look at that dust-covered tool hiding in a corner of your workshop".

I'm hopeful that this new department will translate into more interest in the scroll saw and its uses, and help provide years of pleasurable woodworking for a larger audience.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Some Christmas cheer

While holiday ornaments are not my usual type of project, I fell into these quite by accident, and am delighted with the results. All are made from rings or discs cut at an angle, then glued and sanded as though they were bowls.

Some of the orbs contain a large jingle bell, others are just decorative. The insides of the orbs can be made into shaped ornaments, or the shaped ornaments can be made as a separate project.

Instructions for the orbs, with and without bells, are available in the November/December 2018 issue of Woodworker's Journal, and instructions for the shaped ornaments are in the Holiday 2018 issue of Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts.  They are both great ways to make maximum use of colorful scraps of hardwood and veneer.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

SuperMax maintenance completed

Well, it turned out that I needed a new conveyor belt after all!  The old one was stretched too unevenly to track properly without over-tightening.

I replaced it with the same type that came with the machine. Although it was a little more expensive than aftermarket ones, it had given me six years of good service, and you can't really complain about that.  The benefit of my attempts to rescue the old one was that the replacement and adjustment procedures were now familiar, and I had the new one up and running in no time.

Happy ending, and the pleasure of experiencing really top-notch tech support!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

SuperMax sander maintenance

Although I'm pretty careful with my tools, it's hard to do what you don't know needs to be done!

I had noticed a slight rhythmic rattling noise when I used my SuperMax 19-38, and was concerned that it might indicate a part wearing out, or other serious problem.  My conveyor belt appeared to have stretched over the past five years, and I wondered if it needed replacing.  The noise disappeared if I loosened the belt tension, but that resulted in the belt slipping, leaving ridges in the wood.

The source of the noise appears to have been dirt--black, slightly sticky residue that coated the rollers and inside of the conveyor belt. At the advice of a tech support person at Laguna (where SuperMax now resides), I removed the conveyor assembly and belt, and cleaned them as best I could.  Once reassembled and tensioned, everything seems to be working properly.

Since I'm always wearing my hearing protection whenever I turn on the dust collector and sander, I have no idea how long ago the noise started.  I don't even recall how I happened to be operating the conveyor by itself, but I'm very glad that I did!