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Adirondack Chair, Round 2 - Part 1

Life has gotten in the way of wood working for the past year and a half. Recently an opportunity arose that sees me making another Adirondack chair and supporting my local hospital. The chair I make will be auctioned off during a charity event called 'Chair Affair'. So the adventure of the Adirondack Chair, Round 2 starts.

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Newest DMT Product!

DMT Single Sided Diafold® Sharpener

Convenient, lightweight and portable 4" x 1" Diamond Whetstone™ sharpener works well on knives, garden and specialty tools, etc. Convenient size measures 9 1/2" long when open and 5" when closed. Folding plastic handles protect sharpener when not in use. Sharpens in a fraction of the time required by conventional stones. No messy oils needed -- sharpen dry or with water. Durable construction will provide years of consistent performance and reliable service.

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Newest DMT Product!

DMT Offset 2.5" Dia-Sharp® Mini-Hone - Kit of 3

For awkward, close-fitting spaces use this kit of three DMT® Offset Dia-Sharp® 2.5” Diamond Mini-Hone® Sharpeners. The offset, ergonomically designed handle provides comfortable sharpening, deburring and honing in tight spaces. Easy access tip measures .033” thick. The diamond surface measures 2.5" x .75".

This kit of three includes the following:
• Coarse (45 micron / 325 mesh) to quickly restore a neglected edge
• Fine (25 micron / 600 mesh) for a razor sharp edge
• Extra-Fine (9 micron / 1200 mesh) to polish and refine a razor edge after sharpening with a coarser diamond

View all DMT Products

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Split Top Roubu - Part 6 - Distraction

I was making such great progress with the Split Top Roubo bench build and then life hit. It started with preparing for the Kitchener-Waterloo Woodworking show in March and since then it's just been a series of little distractions... oh... and a complete kitchen replacement at my in-law's cottage!

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Split Top Roubo - Part 5 - Fixing Mistakes

I've read that what separates a beginner woodworker from an experience woodworker is their ability to fix their mistakes. With that in mind this project is testing my woodworking abilities. It seems as though this bench top wants to fight me every now and then.

At the end of the my last post I had just finished gluing the tops. After the clamps were all removed I inspected that tops and was fairly pleased with the results. Working on the bottom sides I did some checking for flatness, and thankfully my previous efforts paid off and only minor cleanup was required. Both tops went through the planer and were brought to a final thickness. The vise top half had a slight crook to it, so it required some passes over the jointer to ensure straight edges. Thankfully this was an easy fix and the only side effect was a slightly narrower top.

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Get Woodworking Week - Circular Saw Jig

I'm working on my Split Top Roubo workbench this week and I needed to cut the bench top ends square with a cirular saw. To make my life easier I made a T square jig for the circular saw and since it's Get Woodworking week... I filmed it to prove I was woodworking!


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Get Woodworking Week - Shooting Board

Tom at Tom's Workbench has created Get Woodworking Week to encourage people to get off the sidelines and out into their shop. If you're following me, you know that I'm knees deep in a Split Top Roubo Workbench build, but that doesn't mean I can participate in Get Woodworking Week! It was a Sunday morning when I glued the bench top pieces together, which meant there was nothing further I could do on the bench until that evening at the earliest. At lunch I was thinking about quick shop projects I could do that afternoon. Something useful. Something... A shooting board!

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Split Top Roubo - Part 4 - Glue... Finally!

At this point all the boards for the top are machined straight and to width. The width is kept 1/8" over size to allow for final thickness machining of the glued top. The thickness of the boards, which when glued together determine the top width, needed to be fine tuned. I determined the arrangement that ensured the best boards were the on the visible edges, then I clamped the assembly together to determine the initial width. I had plenty of material to remove on both top pieces to bring them to final width, so I used this as an opportunity to improve some heavily bowed boards. By straightening and reducing the thickness of selected boards, I minimized their influence over the final straightness of the top. After the final width was achieved, the assembly with clamped together  for inspection.

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Split Top Roubo - Part 3 - Or is that Part 2?

The last minute switch from Hard Maple to Soft Maple is proving to be worth the expense of time and money. I'm much happier with the finished product. I used the lessons I learned from the Hard Maple to improve the machining process.

Once I got the load of Soft Maple home, I stacked it up in the shop, complete with sticks for air space, to let it acclimatize. Since I was rushed I expedited the process by setting up a small fan to promote air movement over the wood. The Maple was all kiln dried and I was comfortable after a few days that it was ready to start machining. Starting to lay out the board on my assembly table to sorting, I quickly noticed how my prized board, once in my shop, weren't the objects of perfection they were in a dimly light barn. Funny how that works! Never the less, I was still confident they would work well.

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Split Top Roubo - Part 2 - What Wood You Do?

Part of the material selection process for me was based on availability. I have a relative that owns a saw mill and drying kiln, which results in good deals for me IF he has what I need. I decided fairly quickly that I wanted to use Maple for the top and Cherry for the base. There is a surprise in there, but you'll have to wait for that. I checked with my relative and he had both available in the quantities I needed. 'Great' I thought! I few weeks later I watched Marc's video on material selection which presented a nasty reminder... there is Hard Maple and Soft Maple. Soft Maple has the advantage on this project, so I quickly sent a text message to confirm the type available to me. The message back was simply 'Hard Maple'.

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Split Top Roubo - Part 1 - Time for an Upgrade

The Winter 2012 Wood Whisperer Guild build is a spit top Roubo bench using Bench Crafted hardware. I must admit when this build was first announced back in October I wasn’t excited. My first thought was ‘I already have a bench’. A true statement but the real question was ‘is the bench working for me?’ I bought my bench a few years ago because at the time I didn’t know what I wanted for a bench and the more I read the more I got confused. Over time one’s working style changes and the needs of one’s bench changes congruently. I’ve grown tremendously as a woodworker in the four years I’ve worked with my current bench. So is it still working for me? Although I won’t get into the details of why, the answer was ‘No’.

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The Rosewood Studio - Day 5

Rosewood StudioThe final day of the "Excellence with Hand Tools" workshop at the Rosewood Studio started right where day 4 left off. All the practice cuts for the dovetails are done, the real cuts are made, and the waste is chopped away using the chisels we previously hollow ground. Each new skill taught in the workshop builds on the previous one, and this is evident as we use all the acquired skills to complete our final tasks. Once the tails of the dovetails are cut, a lesson in making the pins is presented, then back to the bench to apply the theory. I must say I was very satisfied with my first effort, consisting of two tails and three pins, I an increased the challenge on my second attempt. I was pleased that my second ones turned out even better than my first.

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The Rosewood Studio - Day 4

Wood was the topic of the morning and the lesson included type of boards, kiln drying, wood movement, and appropriate applications. Real world examples and applications were sprinkled throughout the lesson to add context. Although the lesson was long, a great level of detail was provided and was appreciated. The morning ended with our six squared board being cut in two pieces so we could prepare the edged for gluing it back together. It's yet another reminder that this whole exercise isn't to create something, but to apply and practice the skills we are learning. 

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The Rosewood Studio - Day 3

Having sharp hand tools is extremely important for achieving successful results, so day 3 of the "Excellence with Hand Tools" workshop started with sharpening a low angle block plane in preparation for squaring the last two sides of our six squared board. Squaring the end grain is the most difficult step since end grain is so challenging to cut, but as always a few lessons proceed the task which made process simple. There is something very satisfying about about making long wood shaving from end grain, and this morning was a very satisfying morning.

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The Rosewood Studio - Day 2

Day 2 of the "Excellence with Hand Tools" course started the way day 1 ended - sharpening. Once the plane blade was sharp, it was time to make some shavings. The end objective is making a 6 squared board (a board that is finished, straight, and square on all six sides) using only hand tools. The process is flattening one face, then making a parallel opposing face, squaring up one side, paralleling the opposite side, and lastly squaring the ends. Woodworking is a series of steps and each step in this process is proceeded by a lesson full of techniques, tips, and tricks. Even an experienced woodworker would learn something new. 

The purpose of the exercise is to practice your planing skills with a specific end goal. At the end of the day the only tangible results are a 4 squared board (still two sides to go!), sore shoulders, and a blister. However, it's the intangible knowledge and personal growth that results from the lessons and practice that are most important. I know that I corrected some bad habits and solved some technique problems today. 

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The Rosewood Studio - Day 1

Today was the first day of a 5 day workshop I'm attending entitled "Excellence with Hand Tools" at the Rosewood Studio in Perth Ontario. The course is instructed by Rosewood Studio owner Ron Barter and from my initial contact with the school the experience has been positive.

After brief introductions around the room, day 1 started off with a tour of the school, which is well equipment for a class size of eight people. Housed in an old car dealership, the school is well situation in the quaint town of Perth. The rest of the morning focused on bench plane orientation, showing examples of different type and sizes of bench planes and their various construction methods. Even basic plane restoration was covered just before lunch.

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From Firewood to Project Wood - Part 2

Several months ago I started the exercise of cutting small logs into usable boards. The task got sidetracked when I started to investigate the various techniques used to saw lumber. The results of that research can be read here. The steps required to cut the small log on a band saw are simple and few tools are needed.

You might not notice right away, but logs are often really dirty! This was particularly true in my case, so step one was taking a wire brush and cleaning the bark. Next I established a straight line to follow during the initial cut. I started by creating vertical lines from the heart to the top of the log as it rested on the bench and connecting those points along the length using a chalk line. Depending on the log you have, you might actually be able to head straight to the bandsaw, but often more support is required.

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From Firewood to Project Wood - Part 1

Flat sawn, plain sawn, rift sawn, quarter sawn... what does it all mean? Cutting a small log it into boards on your bandsaw is a great way to get a better understanding of the different types of sawn boards. This process allows you to simulate what a saw mill does when cutting logs into boards, but on a small scale. And the best part is you should end up with some great wood for a small project.

For me this process started with a walnut tree my brother removed from his property. It wasn't a great tree, but it had some crooked sections that I felt compelled to see what they looked like inside. After cutting a few sections out with a chainsaw I started searching the internet for tips on sawing the logs. The process of safely running the wood through a bandsaw is fairly straightforward, but I'll go into those details later (acutally, in a future post). Then I said to myself, 'hey, I should quarter saw this!' My attention quickly turned to the different techniques of cutting a log. I was in for a surprise!

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Adirondack Chair - Part 5 - The Wood Whisperer Guild Build

The Adirondack chair is now complete (well, sort of). The one part of the project design that I never really loved is the arm support brackets. They just aren't for me, so I thought I would deviate from the design. I've tried a few mock up support brackets, but nothing has jumped out at me yet. Instead of settling on something , I'm going to let the idea percolate in my brain for a while. Hopefully that will result in something I love.

After the parts were prefinished using Cutek Green (a product I used this past summer on a Kayu Batu deck), the arm assembly was glued to the front legs using Titebond Polyurethane glue. I was uncomfortable using just screws to fasten the back slats and the butt slats, so after roughing the mating surfaces with some sandpaper, I applied polyurethane glue at each of those locations as well. Hopefully that will help prevent twisting of the slats. The last finishing touch was the ebony plugs.

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Adirondack Chair - Part 4 - The Wood Whisperer Guild Build

Lots of progress has been made on the chair in the past week. All the remaining pieces were cut out to final size and shape. No real deviations from the Wood Whisperers instructions. Once all the parts were dry fit, it was time to make the holes for the ebony plugs. I did deviate from the Wood Whisperer here. Marc suggested predrilling with a 3/8” countersink bit, then inserting a 21/64" drill bit to line up the square punch. This technique is problematic since the square plug is exactly the same size as the countersink holes.

I developed a three step process that yielded better results. I drilled a 21/64" holes with a brad point bit and a stop collar to ensure consistent depth. I then inserted a separate 21/64" drill bit, shank end first, into the hole and slide the square punch over the bit. Once the punch was properly lined up, I removed the bit and hammered the punch to a set depth. After cleaning out the hole with a small chisel, I used a smaller brad point bit, complete with a stop collar, to drill a countersink for the screw head. The final step was to pre drill for the screw.

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Adirondack Chair - Part 3 - The Wood Whisperer Guild Build

I decided that I procrastinated enough on machining all the material for the chair, so I dedicated some time to finishing it all off. With everything machined to the correct width and thickness, my attention turned back to the front leg details. Following The Wood Whisperers' instructions on building a jig to cut the details with a router, the process went quickly and smoothly. My only deviation from Marc's plan was using CA glue instead of wood glue to assemble to jig. I was feeling impatient and when I'm feeling impatient I grab a bottle of CA glue. The jig was built and in use in under 30 minutes.

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Rocking Horse - Part 3 - The Wood Whisperer Charity Build

Woodworkers Fighting CancerAfter all the parts and pieces of the rocking horse were sanded to 180 grit, it was time for a dry assembly. Everything went as expected with no real surprises. A couple of fit issues turned up around the saddle area between the horse sides and the seat. These were easily taken care of with a sharp chisel. From there it was a quick disassembly followed by finishing.

Time to stain the mane! I had a roll 12" transfer mask (think 12" wide masking tape) which I figured would be the perfect solutions. I placed the mask over the side of the head and traced the mane outline with a utility knife to cut the mask and score the wood. Using a antique cherry dye stain left over from a previous cherry wood project, I sparingly stained the area. The results were successful with only a few spots where the stain bled under the mask. A card scraper cleaned up these spots with relative easy.

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Rocking Horse - Part 2 - The Wood Whisperer Charity Build

Woodworkers Fighting Cancer

My second night of building the rocking horse had its highs and its lows. After cutting out one side, using the a bandsaw for most of the cutting, and sanded the edges to the finished shape. For me, a flush trim bit in the router table was going to make quick work of the matching piece, and my attention to detail made a perfect pattern to follow (a high point!). However, despite being cautious with the router, I ran into a tear out problem on some end grain (a low point…). I left both sides taped together as I finished sanded the all the edges… trying to solve the tear out problem in my mind while I worked.

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Rocking Horse - Part 1 - The Wood Whisperer Charity Build

Woodworkers Fighting CancerSo I just got started on building an Adirondack chair and I’m already distracted with another project, but I’m ok with my switch of focus. I’m building a rocking horse as part of The Wood Whisperers charity build. For every rocking horse that is made, Marc and his sponsors will each give a dollar to Team Livestrong. Plus my son will get a rocking horse!

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Adirondack Chair - Part 2 - The Wood Whisperer Guild Build

After choosing the appropriate section of the board to use for each chair piece, I roughly cut out each blank before machining them to the finished thickness. My impatience to start doing jointery meant that my attention switched to working on the leg details before I machined all four side of the other pieces. What can I say… I’m impatient!

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