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· In Loving Memory
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8,391 Posts
Grandpa's RAS gets a new top

Instead of adding a new project for the things I do around the shop, I thought I would start a blog about the upgrades as I make them. Over the past two years I have done a lot to convert the unfinished part of my basement into a woodworking shop. If you want to see some before shots you can visit the bt3central forums (probably need to register to see pics, sorry i'll post them here soon)

The beginning
Upgrade 1

You can see what it looks like now in My Workshop in my profile…

Anyway, the point of this first blog entry was to showcase the new top I put on the radial arm saw I inherited from my Grandpa. Until today I have used it as received but realized that the top was pretty chewed up and if I wanted to clean cuts without chip out I needed to start with a clean slate. I used 3/4" hardwood ply and a 1.5" jointed ash fence. I also extended it deeper, behind the post than the original to make it easier to attach a dust collection hood (in progress). After replacing the top, I tuned it up and now get beautiful cross cuts. I haven't messed around with 45 degree cuts or bevel cuts but with my table saw and some jigs, I may dedicate this for cross cuts for now.

Before
Wood Flooring Floor Gas Hardwood


After:
Wood Automotive tire Floor Flooring Hardwood


Thanks for looking.
Great job on the new table John. These tools must last forever. I recall my brother talking about them back in 1950 about how amazing and versatile they were. It seems there are still many RAS fans out there. Maybe you will be handing down yourself some day.
 

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· In Loving Memory
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The Entrance

Brown Rectangle Wood Font Wood stain


This fall I had several run ins with my chisels. The first one resulted in a 1" gash in the heel of my right palm. I was working on redoing some DC and had old carving chisels on a box on a shelf below where I was working. I didn't see it before hand but one of the chisels was sticking sharp end up and as I withdrew my hand….YOWZERS. Went to the doc for a tetanus shot but no stitches required.

My second incident was pure sheer stupidity. I was working on the inlay for my Dad's present, I was fitting one of the pieces that was a bit snug. I thought if I encouraged it with a mallet it would break. So instead I grabbed the nearest "pry" bar…(a very sharp chisel) and of course the piece popped out with no effort and the extra force drove the chisel into my left hand between the index finger and thumb. Another 1" gash :(. This happened Sunday night and since I didn't want to go to the emergency room I did the next best thing….I went to see my Vet…OK my brother in-law who is a vet. He looked at it and decided it probably didn't need stitches but he would throw a couple in if I wanted(without pain meds of course)....I choose to just get some butterfly bandages.

Fortunately both cuts were very clean and healed fast. They both split open a little while playing hockey a few days later but no major damage and that is the price you pay for not wanting to miss hockey :).

Needless to say I am going to be much more cognizant of how I use my chisels in the future….and as you can see by the picture….My wife decided to get me a sign to hang on the shop door as a reminder :)
Immediate punishment for chiseling John, sounds fair. When it comes to safety, awareness what would us guys do without our wives to watch over us? I wonder if the gals out there get the same concern from their husbands.
 

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· In Loving Memory
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8,391 Posts
Shop Face-lift Completed

Ok, is a shop really ever done?!? At least it is a major improvement over the last arrangement

You may recall that I solicited suggestions for a proposed shop rearrangement a couple of weeks ago. The primary reasons for changing things up is that I felt a) the arrangement was very inefficient to work in and b) I'm getting ready to build either the 21st Century or Holtzapffel workbench and really wanted to have good access to all sides of the bench

Since I'm going to update my shop pics I've uploaded the before state pics here for reference:
Table Furniture Wood Wall Luggage and bags


Wood Motor vehicle Gas Engineering Machine


Wood Tool Workbench Gas Hardwood


Cabinetry Wood Tool Saw Drawer


Tire Wood Bicycle Wheel Engineering


Wood Floor Flooring Gas Hardwood


Here are the pictures after the reorganization. I feel like I have a lot more room to move a round and that things are better organized and efficiency will be dramatically improved.

Looking in from the entrance, notice table saw and dedicated out feed table (no longer shared bench duty)
Furniture Table Building Wood Engineering


Plenty of room between TS and BS, and the bandsaw is on wheels so if I need more room for either it is easily accomplished (I plan on building a cabinet to put TS on to maximize storage space). Assembly table and clamps in the back corner with clamps.
Window Wood Building Table Fixture


Router table and RAS table are same height so have plenty of infeed support for both, I also have room on either side to for outfeed support as necessary.
Wood Cabinetry Drawer Workbench Building


Dust collection, small storage, belt disc sander and lathe on side wall, this is "cramped" by the pole and floor support beam. I plan on making a dedicated hand tool cabinet where the melamine shelving currently sits.
Cabinetry Shelf Wood Flooring Floor


you can't see it but just to the left of the drill press is my grinder in close proximity to the lathe. A floor standing drill press is next on my list for tools. I am going to build a cart for the planer to raise it up off the floor. The far corner has standard tools and storage. I plan on replacing all the wire storage racks (under cabinets) with more useful cabinet/drawer storage.
Furniture Wood Shelf Interior design Table


This is my sheet goods/lumber storage rack. It is to the right as you walk into the shop (past furnace and water heater). It shares space with other storage
Building Wood Shelf Shelving Interior design


This is more storage, mainly short boards and blanks for turning. The brown filing cabinet is filled with pen blanks and exotic wood cutoffs that I hope to make into something nice someday :)
Cabinetry Wood Shelf Shelving Retail


I still have a lot of things I want to accomplish including:
  • New stand for planer
  • Build a real workbench that actually weighs something :)
  • Better Wall storage (replace pegboard with french cleats
  • Add wall panels (leaning towards osb)
  • Replace wire racks with cabinets with drawers

Thanks for looking
A big improvement John. Your shop looks really well organized and efficient now. You are right about a shop never being finished. This is because the shop evolves with your evolving needs and all the good ideas which come along. The addition of new tools will also have a knock-on effect which may force you to make more changes than you expected.
 

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· In Loving Memory
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Inspired to do something new... Hand-cut Dovetails

Is it odd that every time I get a new power tool to perform a task, I get an urge to try and do it by hand as well? Anyway it seems to happen to me a lot. This year I received a dovetail jig for Christmas and was up and running cutting half-blind dovetails in no time. However, I have been wanting to learn techniques working with hand tools for a long time to expand my arsenal.

Over the past few weeks I've been eying some of the entries to the Winter Challenge, the videos of the Japanese master craftsman, and Mike Ogden's blog. The result… I finally got the fire under me to try something new. Hand Cut Dovetails

Like any good woodworker in the internet age, I quickly ran to YouTube to find a good how-to video. The first one I happened on was a video by Village Carpenter I watch her methodically cut out a nice tight joint and thought…No Problem! I ran out to the shop and started hacking away at some 3/4" pine I had laying around. My first product….

Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Composite material


Ok, this is not really your classic dovetail….in fact not really a dove tail at all!! An angled box joint perhaps? I was in such a rush to just get cutting that I didn't think through the layout or visualize what I was trying to create. So I glued it up anyway and just let it sit while I grabbed another set of boards, 3/8" in pine this time. I figured it would go a bit quicker…..

Wood Rectangle Hardwood Wood stain Natural material


Low and behold….same problem. Ugh I'm a moron. again glue up and quit for the night!

The next day I decided I would go back an do some more research and watch more videos. I also made the pledge to cut a dovetail a day until I got better. I remember reading about someone who did this a long time ago….I just looked it up and come to find the article was written by none other than Christopher Schwarz so how wrong could it be…Right?

I watched the Village Carpenter's video again found where I went wrong. I also found a video that used sliver pins (can't find source again) I got pretty excited because things were looking good but I realized that I was still rushing the process. I actually got a dovetail joint this time but it was pretty ugly and I think the sliver made it pretty hard to learn

Wood Natural material Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood


The next night I went back to the more conventional dovetail and got pretty good results.

Rectangle Wood Natural material Plank Wood stain


I tried to force the joint a bit and you can see the result. A nice split :(. You can also see that I got a little cocky and thought I could remember where the waste was supposed to be, but…. I wasn't :( I will mark the waste from now on :).

Encouraged that I actually cut a dovetail I decided to watch some more video. I watched Klausz and Cosman their battle for the fastest dovetails. I also learned about pins first vs tails first. I really am not sure if I understand the benefits of one over the other but I now know there are people that do it both ways, and there is nothing wrong with either

My next attempt so so.

Wood Rectangle Wooden block Natural material Hardwood


Brown Rectangle Wood Flooring Plank


Everything seemed ok as I was cutting it but I was way off in terms of fit and alignment. It was down right sloppy. I had been cutting these with a cheap Craftsman gentleman's saw that had been used to cut a variety of things other than wood. I decided I should try a better saw, I had heard that Japanese pull saws were pretty easy to learn how to use for dovetailing so I decided to get a Dozuki with a gift card I had received to the WoodSmith store in Des Moines.

That night I also ran across a video by Robby Pederson on Woodworking Online. He operates a shop just north of me and only uses tools that were available in 1875. I think this is one of the best videos I've seen because he offers a lot of technique as well as tips and tricks. Up until this point I had been cutting "tails first"...Robby cut "pins first" so I thought I'd give that a try. The result….

Wood Rectangle Beige Wood stain Hardwood


Not too shabby. This joint was VERY tight and you can see that several fingers were a good tight seal. I think I needed to cut closer to the lines on my tails. I had to use my chisel and a rasp to knock down some pinch points. There were also several cuts what were not too straight but overall I was very pleased. I will also need to stop up and see his shop sometime, maybe even take a class from him if SWMBO is feeling nice :)

Tonight I decided to revisit the "tails first" approach to see if there was any difference now that I had the Dozuki.

Wood Rectangle Dog Hardwood Tints and shades


Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Natural material


I think this is the best one yet in terms of intial fit without havning to tweak too much. I glued this one up and planed down the excess to see what the finished product would look like. Aside from a little gap here and there I think it is pretty respectable for my 7th one.

Now I have quite a few nights of practice ahead of me….I'll post if I see dramatic improvement.

Oh yeah, another great video resource I found tonight was from WoodTreks. This video also explains a lot of technique as they go.

I should also mention that when I got the Dozuki, I abandoned using a coping saw to cut out waste because the blade I had is too thick to fit into the thin kerf. I have been using Robby Peterson's method for waste removal.
Very good progress John. Here is the link to a little blog I did some time back on fixing the small gaps that sometimes show up on our not always perfect work. This is an equally great technique for the newly initiated as for the more experienced. It can be a heart breaker to get most of them perfect with just one or two with small gaps! I just mention that it is always good to make your pins long enough that they will be slightly proud after assembly so you can use the technique in the blog and also so they don't wind up to short. Another tip is that if the gaps between the dovetails are too small for a router shaft, then there will be no doubt that they are hand cut. That's why we hand cut dovetails isn't it?

http://lumberjocks.com/stefang/blog/13049
 

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· In Loving Memory
Joined
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8,391 Posts
Inspired to do something new... Hand-cut Dovetails

Is it odd that every time I get a new power tool to perform a task, I get an urge to try and do it by hand as well? Anyway it seems to happen to me a lot. This year I received a dovetail jig for Christmas and was up and running cutting half-blind dovetails in no time. However, I have been wanting to learn techniques working with hand tools for a long time to expand my arsenal.

Over the past few weeks I've been eying some of the entries to the Winter Challenge, the videos of the Japanese master craftsman, and Mike Ogden's blog. The result… I finally got the fire under me to try something new. Hand Cut Dovetails

Like any good woodworker in the internet age, I quickly ran to YouTube to find a good how-to video. The first one I happened on was a video by Village Carpenter I watch her methodically cut out a nice tight joint and thought…No Problem! I ran out to the shop and started hacking away at some 3/4" pine I had laying around. My first product….

Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Composite material


Ok, this is not really your classic dovetail….in fact not really a dove tail at all!! An angled box joint perhaps? I was in such a rush to just get cutting that I didn't think through the layout or visualize what I was trying to create. So I glued it up anyway and just let it sit while I grabbed another set of boards, 3/8" in pine this time. I figured it would go a bit quicker…..

Wood Rectangle Hardwood Wood stain Natural material


Low and behold….same problem. Ugh I'm a moron. again glue up and quit for the night!

The next day I decided I would go back an do some more research and watch more videos. I also made the pledge to cut a dovetail a day until I got better. I remember reading about someone who did this a long time ago….I just looked it up and come to find the article was written by none other than Christopher Schwarz so how wrong could it be…Right?

I watched the Village Carpenter's video again found where I went wrong. I also found a video that used sliver pins (can't find source again) I got pretty excited because things were looking good but I realized that I was still rushing the process. I actually got a dovetail joint this time but it was pretty ugly and I think the sliver made it pretty hard to learn

Wood Natural material Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood


The next night I went back to the more conventional dovetail and got pretty good results.

Rectangle Wood Natural material Plank Wood stain


I tried to force the joint a bit and you can see the result. A nice split :(. You can also see that I got a little cocky and thought I could remember where the waste was supposed to be, but…. I wasn't :( I will mark the waste from now on :).

Encouraged that I actually cut a dovetail I decided to watch some more video. I watched Klausz and Cosman their battle for the fastest dovetails. I also learned about pins first vs tails first. I really am not sure if I understand the benefits of one over the other but I now know there are people that do it both ways, and there is nothing wrong with either

My next attempt so so.

Wood Rectangle Wooden block Natural material Hardwood


Brown Rectangle Wood Flooring Plank


Everything seemed ok as I was cutting it but I was way off in terms of fit and alignment. It was down right sloppy. I had been cutting these with a cheap Craftsman gentleman's saw that had been used to cut a variety of things other than wood. I decided I should try a better saw, I had heard that Japanese pull saws were pretty easy to learn how to use for dovetailing so I decided to get a Dozuki with a gift card I had received to the WoodSmith store in Des Moines.

That night I also ran across a video by Robby Pederson on Woodworking Online. He operates a shop just north of me and only uses tools that were available in 1875. I think this is one of the best videos I've seen because he offers a lot of technique as well as tips and tricks. Up until this point I had been cutting "tails first"...Robby cut "pins first" so I thought I'd give that a try. The result….

Wood Rectangle Beige Wood stain Hardwood


Not too shabby. This joint was VERY tight and you can see that several fingers were a good tight seal. I think I needed to cut closer to the lines on my tails. I had to use my chisel and a rasp to knock down some pinch points. There were also several cuts what were not too straight but overall I was very pleased. I will also need to stop up and see his shop sometime, maybe even take a class from him if SWMBO is feeling nice :)

Tonight I decided to revisit the "tails first" approach to see if there was any difference now that I had the Dozuki.

Wood Rectangle Dog Hardwood Tints and shades


Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood Natural material


I think this is the best one yet in terms of intial fit without havning to tweak too much. I glued this one up and planed down the excess to see what the finished product would look like. Aside from a little gap here and there I think it is pretty respectable for my 7th one.

Now I have quite a few nights of practice ahead of me….I'll post if I see dramatic improvement.

Oh yeah, another great video resource I found tonight was from WoodTreks. This video also explains a lot of technique as they go.

I should also mention that when I got the Dozuki, I abandoned using a coping saw to cut out waste because the blade I had is too thick to fit into the thin kerf. I have been using Robby Peterson's method for waste removal.
This last one was really good John. It looks like you will be a master before you know it.
 

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Go Big or Go Home?

Two years after purchasing my last big tool (Rikon 10-325), I saved enough for my latest purchase, the Delta 18-900L 18-Inch Laser Drill Press. I've started putting aside $25 a month + any gift cards etc. to save for major tool purchases and it has worked really well and makes it easier to justify to SWMBO.

Since I'm relatively young and plan on doing this woodworking thing a while, I've decided to adopt the philosophy of trying to buy quality tools that will last a long time and leave me with few regrets. I debated about purchasing this tool for a long time since there are many options that are cheaper, however I really didn't want to be sitting around in a couple years regretting that I had compromised on some features. In particular, I wanted a large work surface, wide speed range, and large quill stroke. From all the positive reviews and looking at it along side the Powermatic and several other models at the Woodsmith store, I am sure I won't be disappointed. I'll post a review when I get it set up. In the mean time I'll be tracking it's progress across the country :)
I totally agree with your philosophy of purchasing quality tools John, and I am not a rich guy saying that. Good or top quality tools are the cheapest in the shop in the long run, and the satisfaction factor is priceless!
 

· In Loving Memory
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8,391 Posts
....Moving on....

Well I finally got my shop setup somewhat like I wanted…..now it is time to move. SWMBO and I built a new house and start moving in this weekend. Like my current shop, the new one will be in the basement. I will have windows and a walk out access that will make it feel less like a dungeon. The downside (or upside, depending on how you look at it) is that it is a completely clean slate, no framed walls, now outlets, no nothing. I look at my current shop as a test run for my next (hopefully final) shop. I learned a lot about what I like and do not like so I should be in good shape and excited to get to work.

I will be blogging about the progress over the course of the year. The space is approximately 20' x 30'
Congratulations on your new home John. I'm sure you will make an even better shop based on what you've learned from the old one. That said, a shop is never optimal as most of us find new woodworking interests and we have to constantly alter our shops to keep up with the changing needs.
 
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