Shop Notes #10: Almost Up to Speed?

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Blog entry by Steve posted 03-01-2018 05:36 PM 684 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Back to Work, Finally Part 10 of Shop Notes series Part 11: A Productive Week »

It’s been cold in my shop this week—temperatures hovering around the high 40’s or low 50’s. Those who live in cold climates will laugh, but with cold like this so rare, I don’t have any provision for heat. Even though the temps really aren’t that low, it’s not long before I’ve got numb hands (and a short temper).

Despite the weather, I spent a lot of time at work in the shop, though most of it was spent on actually finishing a lot of personal projects. First, I did a final sand and applied finish to this quilt stand, which was a gift for my wife last (ahem!) November.

I also put a finish on a medicine cabinet I started back in December. (Still need to make shelves for this.)

In both cases, I used shellac. In reading about it over the years, I’d gotten the impression that shellac is finicky to get right: hard to apply, prone to expire without warning and time consuming. Granted, I just used what I found in a can at my local hardware store, but I found it easy to apply, quick drying and a far deeper, much superior finish to polyurethanes or even Danish oil.

My last bit of shop maintenance was replacing the motor in my router table. The previous one, a 25 year old DeWalt router, was at the end of it’s life.

I built my router table using a cast iron top from an old Sears table saw. The underside is ribbed and rough, so the router has to mount to the insert. I found a way to get three screw holes lined up with the router base within the confines of the opening and made a new insert from oak.

On the first try, the router base interfered with the ribbing on the bottom of the table. There was some grumbling, serious consideration of cutting the router base to fit, then final acceptance that I would need to make a second run at it—which, of course, came out better than the first.

I had some sentimental attachment to the old DeWalt—it had been around a long time—but it was never meant to be mounted in a table. The Bosch replacement allows for height adjustment from above, through a hole in the mounting plate, which is a welcome upgrade for me.

With that done, it’s time to get busy. I ran out to the local yard and picked up some walnut and sapele, which should make for a fun couple of weeks.

-- ~Steve

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