Thursday, August 28, 2014

Testing Sessions

I think I am finally going to do this.  My wife and I have talked about it for some time, but when ever we have a date planned something comes up.  So here is the deal.  I have always wanted to have other kids come over and play with the toys that I have made.  I think I am going to use Facebook and link this post to it to give the general details.  I hope to do this when I introduce new toys into the collection.
Here is the deal.  I will open the toy collection to 3-4 kids between the ages of 3 and 6.  Most of my toys are construction equipment and cars.  Play time will be between 10-12 noon.  We will have pizza for lunch around 11:30.  Here are things to note:
  • The toys are played with in sawdust/shavings in the garage.  The area will be dusty with dust in the air.  
  • Kids have to be potty trained.  Sorry I will change my kids' diapers but not yours.
  • Lunch is provided for the kids. Please make sure I know of any allergies. It is pizza so there there are many different ways to make it and the kids will have some input.
  • Kids will be expected to play some what nicely.  I will not tolerate the toys to be thrown or abused.
  • It is a first come bases.  Please email me your phone number and names of your kids and I will contact you if there is space for your kid(s).  My email is located in my profile on the right.
  • Each time will be a new list, so you will need to sign up each time.  There will not be a waiting list. 
  • Please pick up your kids promptly at noon.
I will post on Facebook each  time I am going to do this. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cubby Book Shelves

I was asked a little over a month ago to make a cubby shelf unit for a preschool.  The owner pretty much had the design they wanted which made it a lot easier than designing the unit from scratch.

 There was some pretty big huddles that I needed to overcome to make this unit.  The first was that I no longer have a truck.  5x5  birch sheets do not fit in a mini van.  I ended up tying them to the roof.  I really was scared that I would end up with 5 sheets of birch ply all over the street.
Although they did not fall off, the rope loosened to give the boards about a  1/2" of play in all directions.  This was enough to make me nervous and I will have to tie down better if I do this again.
I also worried about how I was going to put it together.  The largest claps I have are 48" bar clamps and these units were going to be 60" long.  I thought about stringing claps together but that used up clamps fast.  I ended up borrowing 60" pipe claps from work.  They worked great.
The next was the finishing.  There were a lot of areas that were going to be very difficult to finish after everything was assembled.  I decided to pre-finish the parts.  I went through an entire role of masking tape to mask off all the grooves and glue joints.  It took forever.  I did everything but the outside faces.  I probably should have pre-finished everything.  I will say it was a pain to mask everything off and then take all the tape off, but is was in the end easier to pre-finish than it would have been to finish the assembled units.
The first dry fit was not as good as I had hoped.  I did all the grooving on a CNC mill.  I could have done it on my own with a handheld router.  The CNC router saved me about two Saturdays and a lot of set up.  I messed up on the notching distance so I had to finish the cutouts by hand.  This was a minor price to pay for the time saved.
Overall it was a good project.  I only made a couple of mistakes and all but one was covered up well.  it is a pretty sturdy unit which should last a long time.  Everything is grooved into place.  I also arched the frame rails just because I could.  I am kind of tired of the square look so I wanted to try something different.  It was interesting to use the drum sander on the long arches.  There must be a trick to getting one smooth arch.  I think I would push too hard because the arched went bumpy.  It took a little while to sand out the bumps.
The build was fun, I think toys are more my thing.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Miter Saw Stand, Respirator and Sawdust

It has been a little while since I have posted.  I have been working on a commission job that I am almost finished with.  I tried a few things with it and I don't know if I have an opinion on it yet.  So on to the things that I have learned.
So I finished the miter stand cart and two weeks ago I was using it and must have lifted the wing to hard and ripped it pretty much off.  Particle board is not the best material to screw into especially if it is going to be moving.  I fixed it this past weekend and put in plywood inserts.  this is much sturdier.  I was also able to fix some of the alignment issues that happened on the first build.  My goal is to add at least one extension wing so that I can cut up to six foot lengths.

The fix for the poor strength in particle board

I realize that there is a big push on safety and it seems that more and more of the focus is on removing the dust out of the air.  I do not have a dust collection system in  my shop nor do I have a decent sized shop vac.  This is one of the next tools on my list.  I have a respirator.  However it is only good if it is used.  I use it for finishing and when I am using the belt sander but that is about it.  I figured the sawdust from my other tools was big enough that they pretty much just fell to the ground.  I was listening to a pod cast and the hand tool guy on the show is concerned about dust and uses a respirator when he is working.  I figured I need to rethink my stand on shop dust.
The nice thing that I learned was my respirator comes apart to be cleaned.  I have had the respirator for about 5 years and never cleaned - I did not use it enough either.  It was amazing how much cleaner the mask smelled after it was cleaned.
I have been a little more conscious of the dust that my tools have been putting out.  I am actually surprised how much fine dust is put out by my power tools.  There is a lot and it shows when there is light shining through the shop.  My palm sander was the tool that scared me the most.  Trying to get all the dust off of the long panels for the shelves I am making was ridiculous.  dry rag, wet rag, and tack cloth and still there was more dust.  I am going to be wearing my respirator a little more often.