Thursday, August 24, 2017

High Chair

This year I have been trying to improve my skills in joinery and bring in hand tools into my skill set.  With this goal I have purchased some new equipment.  The first was a sharpening system so I can have sharp tools.  After this project I have upgraded my set of chisels to better steel and longer blade for ease of sharpening.
The skill set on this project was hand cut mortises for mortise and tenon joints.  I usually do not use this type joinery because it means hand cut mortises (I am not going to buy a mortising machine) and I have not really been very good at them. I have only done them twice before and both were machine made.  The high chair had 16 mortises.  I attempted to make two.  Only one made it to the end.  Here are some of the things that I learned and took away from the experience:
I set myself the best I could for success.  I watched videos and read information.  I created jigs to make sure my measurements were all the same.  This was a simple block with a groove so I could mark the location to all the mortises and they would all be the same.  All the mortises were the same and only four were in a different location.  Just as I started pounding nails in a 2x4 with my name on it I had 32 mortises that were all the same to practice.
I had sharp tools.  I have previously used chisels and have a set.  They were only sharpened recently for this project.  This is why I had purchased a sharpening system.
I learned that mortises could be cut crooked.  That was the fate of the second one.  I could not square to save my life.  So it turned into blocks.
I understand now what a marking knife is for.  It creates a small cut in the wood that allows the blade of the chisel to sit in.  I am sure it has other purposes but this is the one that I realized.
I learned that a wobbly table is not the best to chop out mortises.  I would love a work bench but I need something that can get out of the way of a car.
This was a challenging project and took a longer than normal time to make.  The plan will not be up for sale at this time.  I will be making one with doweled construction to put on my plans page.  I am glad I did it and a little more confident in making and cut mortises.  I might use them a little more often now.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Plan Sales

A couple months back I contacted a couple of plan vendors to see if they would carry my plans on their website and catalog.  The Winfield Collection was the only one that contacted me back.  It took a few weeks to work out an arrangement. Then I never heard from them again until I asked if the plans had made it into their catalog.  They did make it.  I checked on their website and they were not there so I was a little confused. 
The next day I received a check from them.  They had sold 18 of my plans.  The most popular was the car carrier.  It appears their website is not updated. 
I am grateful for them trusting my plans and I hope that I can get more published.  I am waiting for there catalog so I can actually see them in print.  Now I have to make more plans.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

AWFS Las Vegas 2017

This year I was able to go to AWFS again but there was a twist.  Normally my company sends me and I am working with to see new innovations and machinery.  This year they did not send me.  This was not entirely a surprise to me.  I had said when we had the discussion that I would like to see some of the new engineers go even if that meant me not going.  Well I didn't make the list.  I secretly still wanted to go and then I won the Triton contest and found out that April Wilkerson and Matt Cremona were going to be there.  They are two content producers that I follow. I decided to go.
We left my kids at my parents and my wife and I took a day trip to Las Vegas.  The  drive was kind of boring, but uneventful.  The show was interesting for the following reasons:
  1. I was not going for work.  Yes there there were things that was looking at for work but the primary meetings were ones that I wanted.  Work was secondary.
  2. My wife was able to interact and see some of the woodworking community.  It is a side that she does not usually see.
  3. I did not "walk the show" row by row like I would have normally done.  I targeted areas of what I wanted to see.
The first area that I hit was Lee Valley.  I wanted to up my skills and that next step was some hand tools.  I was warned to use a properly adjusted hand plane before trying to restore one to working order.  This is the reason I went there.  I tried out a couple of shoulder plans and so I new how they felt.  Right now I am looking at cleaning up  rabbets, tenons and grooves.  I realize that I will need to get a more versatile jack plane.  I also wanted to look at chisels.  I need to upgrade my bench chisels I bought from a box store.
I then went over to Triton tools and talked with April and Matt.  They are both very nice and had a lot of encouraging things to say.  My wife commented that is was nice to see younger people in the craft.  I had a brief look at the tools that I had won.  They are a lot bigger then went  than I had thought.  We also looked at the Festool booth.  Looked at their new line of battery operated sanders and there dust collection system.  They do have some really tools, still a little outside my price range.
We then headed over to Uneeda.  They are a great sandpaper supplier and have been very generous and helpful.  I have to say "Hi" and talk about new projects that we are each working on.  There was also several vendors that I went and visited.  Largely because I like talking to them.  They are beneficial to the community and they always have something new to show off.
This year I found I was more vocal and able to talk to vendors about projects and tools that I would normally not visit because work was footing the bill.  I was able to talk about my hobby and where I was in the skill level and where I was going.  My wife also found it interesting when I would change from my hobbyist hat to the "I work for one of the largest manufacturers of retail cabinets in the US."  Depending on who I was talking too and what I was looking at I would change.  I didn't really even know that I was doing that.  I was also talking to vendor that had connections to my father.  Not really any connections to me.  It was their first booth at AWFS.  Their feedback on the show was positive.  They mentioned that the right people were there to do business, sourcing agents to owners of companies.  I  never thought about who attended and who I talked to. 
It was a good show and I came out with a lot of information.  We did it a day but did not see all of it.  I saw and did what I wanted to.  I am glad I went.