Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Bulldozer

This is the third in the construction series.  I know I just finished it and there are three more still to do and another coming out in March.  This was a little bit of a challenge to make.  There are a lot of small parts.  Some of which I was scared to machine because they were so small.  Double stick tape was my friend in this project.  The bulldozer is symmetrical so there was a lot of duplicate parts.  Stick them together and do two parts in one pass.  The blade does lift and will scrape cheerios off the floor with out crushing them.  It is also very heavy.

From this project I learned to make sure I keep the plans close.  I was almost complete with it.  I needed to make one more part and dry fit it all together.  I could not find the plans anywhere.  I ended up having to buy the plans even though I already had them.  I still don't know where the original set is. 

On another side.  I still have one more bucket of blocks to give away.  If you would like them you need to be able to pick them up.  Email me, they are currently not at my residence.

I would like to also build a bed for my son.  So if any one would like me to make one for them please contact me for pricing.  It will be a twin with functioning drawers underneath.  If you wonder how I price my projects it is simple.  I double the cost of the lumber.  I make one for my family and one for someone else.  It is not a good business model but I am not in this to make money.

One more side note.  If anyone has an oscillating drum sander they are looking to sell, I am interested.  My drill press works but I am not a fan of the set up.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Going Postal

My life for the past few months have not been what you would call low stress.  I have a lot of people worried about me and there was a comment at work saying "remember I was nice to you when you go postal." I really do not plan on going postal and I do not think I will.  I have a couple of stress relievers for me.  One being a family who loves me, a wife who supports me.  The second is a hobby that I enjoy that brings smiles to others.  From these two bring challenges, adventures and joys that outweigh the stresses of life.
However if I was going to go postal I would have fun with it.  This is my latest project.  I made five and I am not allowed to keep any in the house.  So I really don't know where they are going.  Maybe one will end up at work just in case.  In case you were wondering.  They are trebuchets, or medieval catapults. 

These are all made out of scrap wood.  In fact, there is no two made out of the same wood.  There is pine and birch in all, some have walnut, or poplar, or oak, or beech
The fun part of this challenge is making them work.  I have been trying to launch caramel squares and they have been going about 4 feet.  This is clearly unacceptable.  So now the fun is what works and what doesn't.  I have tried adding weight and removing weight.  Adjusting the pin angle and removing the brad head on the pin nail.  There is also changing the length of the string.  I have manage to throw a Sees chocolate ball 10 feet.  That is better but not yet good enough.  I am running out of ammunition, candy has it downfalls, so I hope I figure out soon.
The other fun part of this project is that I do not care about finish or how they look in the end.  There are pencil marks and rough edges.  I do not believe they looked like works of art back in the time they were used so why should they now?
One note, Hersey kisses tend to fly backwards.  I do not recommend using them.
Here are the safety rules from Wood Magazine where I got the plans (Katie stop reading here):
Where eye protection - "You'll shoot your eye out." I did while constructing them, does that count? Check out the video.
Never aim at a person or animal - Tell that to the demo video!
Do not launch metallic or sharp objects - It says nothing about Greek fire (flaming marshmallows).

As soon as I figure the optimal way to launch objects, I will be ready to lay siege.

By the way I do consider this a toy but not for the kids.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Back from the dead

Update on the belt sander: It works!!!  The switch was dirty and thankfully wood dust does not conduct electricity.  Unfortunately I ripped it all apart to check the capacitor also.  It is not as tuned as it used to be but we will get there.  Just glad I do not have to replace it.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fire Starters

I tend to make a lot of sawdust when working with wood.  Most of it goes in the trash. I found an article in a recent wood magazine on what to do with the saw dust.  One of the ideas is to make fire starters.  They suggested using muffin paper liners I had a couple of egg cartons so that is what I used.  I had just done a lot of planing so I used those shavings because they were bigger and they were pine (hard wood would burn hotter and slower though). I melted a box of paraffin wax.  This is done by putting it in a can and then putting the can in boiling water.  Poured about 2/3 of the wax over about 8 cups of shavings and mixed.  Then packed the egg cartons while the wax was still warm.  Then evenly dumped the rest of the wax over the top of the packed shavings.  It yielded about 2 dozen and they work fantastic for starting charcoal in a chimney.  If you would like some, I need a box of paraffin wax and two egg cartons.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Year End

Another year comes to a close and looking back at it all, I accomplished nothing that I set out to do this year.  I was sidetracked.  All very good projects.  My goal was to finish the alien nativity.  It is not quite complete.  Last piece is minor but still I want to complete the project.  I also wanted to do the entire book of Marvelous Transforming Toys.  I didn't even start it except for buying a piece of wood.  However this year was very good to me.  I purchased some new plans and was able to complete some of them.  I made a really nice heirloom doll cradle.  I still have two to complete. I have a couple more construction toys to make form the construction series.  I am also excited that I was able to pick up some business this past year and it is carrying on into this year.  Now my only problem is that My belt sander decided to die on me today.  I hope it is only a switch and can be replaced.