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Monday, December 26, 2011

A tale of two boxes

I finally finished the project I was working on. I've deliberately hidden the lid, to preserve the surprise when it's published in SSW&C. However, I did take pictures to show you how much better the second box fit the lid than the first. (The first is the top picture.)

Retrofitting the box to the lid, which already had a liner in place, was time-consuming. I cut the inside of the box smaller than it needed to be so I could sand it to exact fit. I also cut the box oversized, so I could trace the perimeter of the lid for a good match. Since the lid came out well, I did not want to disturb it.

The result was a nicely matched box and lid, with a liner so precisely fitted that there is no movement at all with the lid in place. I'm glad I did it, but I'm also glad it's done!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

When is "good enough" good enough?

I'm about to spend the afternoon remaking the base for a box that will be appearing at some point in Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts magazine.

The lid, which was the tricky part, came out fine. The base, however, which should have been a snap, did not match the lid as well as it could have, had a weird curve at the bottom, and gave me a hard time finishing. It did not look awful, and could have been sold or given as a gift as it was.

I had hoped to be done with the project by now, but the thought of a published photo of a box that didn't look right made it a no-brainer to remake the offending part.

By contrast, when one side of an elaborate box for the new book did not glue up as invisibly as I would have expected, I just marked that side with tape, with instructions to photograph only the unmarked sides. There was so much work that went into that box that I did not have the heart to redo it, and the photography for the book turned out fine.

I'll post pictures of the original and corrected base so you can see why I made my choice. If you've ever let something go, and found that it bothered you long after, you'll understand why I made my decision.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

If you don't hear back, try again

I find that occasionally a perfectly valid email gets sent to my spam folder. Although I try to sort through the spam before deleting, if you've sent me an email and don't hear back within a day or so, please re-send your message. I try to respond the same day, barring problems with my internet provider, so if you don't get a response, your email may have been accidentally deleted.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Drill press alignment

Although I always check the alignment of my scroll saw, spindle sander, and vertical belt sander, it never occurred to me to check out the drill press. Since I never had any problems, the last time I checked for square was when we assembled the tool, about a year and a half ago. It was fine right out of the box.

The other day I needed to drill a deep 1/8" hole for the brass pivot rod of a box whose sides were 5/16" wide. A serious misalignment of the bit could result in its coming through the wall of the box, or at the very least, the pivot rod going in crooked. I chucked the bit into the drill press, and turned it on to see if it was inserted properly. Something didn't look right.

I re-chucked it, turned on the tool, and it still didn't look right. So I put my most accurate square (a 6" Starrett combination square, worth every dollar of its outrageous price) next to the blade, and was it ever off! When I checked the square against a larger bit, the discrepancy was even more pronounced. So, I took out the hex wrench that came with the tool (don't ask how I even remembered where I had stored it), found that the bolt had loosened up over time, and readjusted the table to level in the side-to-side position.

I've taken to aligning my tools by using my eye and the combination square, and find that it's quick and amazingly accurate. The picture shows my setup, as well as the monster wrench that was used for the adjustment. I also checked the front to back alignment, and found that it was still fine.

And yes, had I not checked, I would have ruined a box in which I had invested a lot of time, as well as some newly resawn exotic wood.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Interesting review on Amazon

I regularly check the bowl book reviews on Amazon to see what folks have to say, and to get ideas for ways to improve my work.

Yesterday, a review was posted, written by someone new to scrolling, who had the courage to start out with a bowl. Although his adventure wasn't without some difficulties, his excitement reminded me of when I cut my first bowl, and was totally amazed when this flat piece of wood turned into a three dimensional object. He had yet to sand it, but sounded really pleased with the cutting. I was glad he found the instructions clear and easy to follow.

I wouldn't generally think of a bowl as a starter project, but apparently it works out pretty well, and is a good way to get someone seriously hooked on the scroll saw.