难耐相公狂野A journal of projects, lessons, and thoughts that occur within the Homemade Workshop.

Friday, March 1, 2013

New name, New Site, Same Blog :)

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about changing the name of this blog (read it here). After much debate, We have decided to go with the name:

Along with this name comes a dedicated website and blog. Starting today, all future post will be on that site. You can find us at:

So what is changing you ask? Mainly just the name. The new blog will still focus primarily on woodworking but will also include other ramblings and discoveries as well as a continuation of the Combat Carpenter article.

Also, you can now follow us on facebook. So click right here and give us a "like"

Come check us out, bookmark us, and give us a like. You won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mr Murphy and his pet gremlins...

Segments Part III: Anafter action review

In part 1, I talked about the cutting of segments and gluingpairs and quarter rings. In part 2, I completed each of the rings and thenscrewed up the stack. Wanting to get the most out of the project (from arefresher / learning perspective) I decided to press on. Well the finalstopping point did not yield a beautiful bowl. Instead it showed all the flawsand structural failures. From my perspective, it was a win! A lot of times,people tend to stop a project and start over when they realize they have messedup. Makes sense if you are on a time crunch. However, my objective was moreeducational. So I wanted to see how these early screw ups would affect thefinal product.

These two shots are opposite sides of the same bowl. Above, you can see the rough edges of segments yet to be turned true. Below, all segments are nicely rounded (and some were too thin). This is the result of the ring shift.

I have since gone back and reviewed Lessons in Segment Woodturning, as well as my small library of bookson the subject. Several things could have been done different. One of theobvious is an adjustment to my cross cut sled. Despite a dead on measure with adigital protractor, the angles were slightly off. Instead of 18 segment rings,the sled cut 17 segment rings! This put the angle at 10.58 degrees instead of aneven 10 degrees. Looking back at the protractor instructions, it says +/- 0.5degrees. Note to self – DOUBLE and TRIPLE CHECK EVERYTHING & TEST EVERY JIGBEFORE COMMITTING!

You may have notice the vertical glue joints, on one side, don’t lay in atypical brick fashion but rather a stair stepped pattern. This was due tomistake #2: aggressive sanding. At least one segment in every ring was significantlyshorter than the rest. No two short segments were the same length. I spottedthis during the first three ring constructs. A slight correction and the restimproved. Too bad it was the primary or “theme” rings. The cause was excessiveexposure to the disk sander. A modification to the sanding jig made this flawgo away. Note to self: TAKE THE TIME TO BUILD THE PROPER JIGS

The third and most deadly flaw was the stack. This was theone thing that should have stopped the project cold. The cause, you ask? It was“Impatience”. In other words, I let myself get rushed. I know better. I knowthat this type of woodworking takes EXTREME patience. Rushing any aspect ofthis NEVER ends well. I actually made two separate errors here. Either one, byitself, may have been mitigated. However, committing both doomed the project tothe fire pit. First, since the project was too large for my vertical press, Isimply clamped the stack as seen below with the first set of rings.

Instead, I could have used any of a number of centering jigs(more on that later).  The second wasjust a bad case of cerebral flatulence. During the stack of the second set ofrings, I opted to glue all three at the same time in order to save time duringthe drying stage. This provided a “slick” surface on either side of three rings(wet glue). As individual clamp pressure was applied by the above clampingmethod, the rings began to shift in various directions. The result was a set ofrings so far off center that recovery would not be possible. To save 12 hours,I destroyed the work that took 30+ hours to complete. Note to self – NEVER GLUEMORE THAN ONE RING AT A TIME IN THE STACK!

The shift occurred between the base and first 3 rings

At this point I knew the project was doomed. Yet, I wasquite curious if a change in profile could salvage the part. I even consideredreversing the project by making a base for the wide part and a lid for thesmaller section (instead of a bowl with the small section as the base). Ipowered up the lathe one more time to see how far it could go. After about 3minutes I stopped to check and saw the show stopper.

One side of the segments was barely touched while the otherside became so thin it tore a hole. I decided to stop right there. No sanding,no more tools. I conceded defeat to the infamous Murphy and his gremlins. I went ahead and applied a light coat of friction polish to helphighlight the flaws. 

One thing that really bothered me was the centering jig. Iwent to the Segmented Woodturners website and (after renewing mymembership) did some research. A few things have changed since I last worked onsegments. Somebody found an easier way to make every ring perfectly centered! Seevideo below

I have a feeling woodturnerpro.com is going to get an order from me soon :)

If nothing else, this was a great learning project. Iinvested about 35 hours in it. It could have been done more efficiently but atthis point that is the least of my worries. When I first started segmentturning, my very first project was a stave constructed vase. Made of 8 staves,I had messed up one stave and set it aside, then cut a new one. Later I cameback to the project, picked up the 8 pieces and started gluing them together.However, when it was time for the last stave, I realized that number 7 was theone I was suppose to have tossed. This resulted in a failed project. Thatlesson was “note to self #1: MARK ALL SEGMENTS / STAVES.” The very next segmentproject was an 7 ring bowl that turned out very well. So if history is anyindicator, I’m on target for another successful project!

my second ever segment project

Until Next time

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Combat Carpenters

Over the course of my military career, I have had severalopportunities to travel to strange lands and live in some less than idealenvironments. Sometimes, we lived in tents, ate cold rations out of a foilenvelope, and utilized “facilities” that would make one yearn for the “Porta Potty”that bakes in the summer sun. Other times we lived in plywood huts thatprovided a little more protection from the elements but was still smack dab inthe middle of hell. Once, I even stayed in a “subdivision” complete withconcrete houses and a cul-de-sac with a basketball goal. Regardless of what theliving conditions started off as, they always got a little better. This was notbecause the Army or the Marines suddenly felt sorry for the troops and airdropped a sofa, but instead was directly due to the fortitude of the Marines,Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen located there. 

See, no matter where one goes, there is an innate need thattells us we have to make it better. We have to make our surroundings more “homey”.As such, the Combat Carpenter is born. He or she rises up out of the grains ofsand and scours the area for anything which could be used. Suddenly that stackof wooden pallets disappears. An old crate once used to package litters movesto a new home as it transforms into a desk or makeshift entertainment center.Nails are pulled and straightened out on rocks, as screws back out with thehelp of a multi tool. What look like the makings of a good bon fire becomesbench swings, desks, loft beds and so much more. The combat carpenter findsthings to trade with and acquires a few sheets of plywood which have been inthe desert far too long. Before being used, glue (or similar substance) must beapplied to prevent the layers from peeling apart. Soon lumber and plywoodbecome more valuable than cash. A box of straight, unused 16 penny nailsbecomes the mythical treasure under the rainbow. As down time comes, the soundsof hand saws and hammers can be heard. Occaisionally, an experienced CombatCarpenter, with multiple trips under their belt, will produce a cordless circularsaw and drill. Sometimes, these experienced ones produce a box of nails orscrews, a carpenter’s triangle, or even a tape measure. 

Other items get repurposed as well. The old, warn out cargostrap suddenly becomes the webbed weave for a chair or bench. Dispensed casingsfind themselves hanging to form wind chimes. Discarded tangles of 550 cord(paracord) shape an intricate web to build makeshift shelving or even a hangingseat or hammock. Then there are the decks. Dimensioned lumber comes in from along forgotten requisition, submitted by a previous unit, and a deck is bornfrom which more ideas and comforts of home spawn forth. 

By the time the next unit arrives, small sectors of comforthave taken hold in the form of morale areas / tents. As the new unit settles inand the old unit leaves, a new generation begins to dream of how they canimprove their surroundings. Once again the sounds of hand saws and hammers fillthe air as saw dust joins the never ending blowing sand. 

Dispensed aircraft flare casings are cut to various lengths to form a wind chime

Contractor built, plywood fire station

Deck and benches (car seats too) built at Camp T.Q., Iraq
The little stuffed animal is "Lil B" my version of a traveling gnome

Notice the seat is a web of old cargo straps

How do you put 4 men in a 2 man room? Build a 4 man bunk

Have you been deployed before? Do you have pictures anything built by our troops? Send them to me and I’ll post them in future editions ofCombat Carpenter.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Flawed but worth Saving!

(segments part 2)

 The weekend started off great. I stacked all the rings Fridaynight for final glue up. I got the clamps applied and walked away. Saturday, Ispent with my beautiful bride as we enjoyed the Broadway play, “Billy Elliot”.Sunday was spent with church and friends and I had Monday off. So Mondaymorning I walked out to the shop, released the clamps and mounted the projectto the lathe. As I rotated the spindle by hand, I noticed something. One sidewas heavy. I rechecked the mount. It was centered. Then I looked a littlecloser at the rings…

Call it fatigue, call it forgetfulness, or just bad luck.Whatever one calls it, I did it! The problem with picking up a skill that wasonce mastered and then forgotten is that one tends to remember the steps butforgets the techniques that go with each step. I should have remembered that Ibuilt a clamping jig for projects greater than six inches in diameter. But, Idid not ... until it was too late.
During the application of multiple bar clamps, 3 of therings slid out of position. This shift caused the stack to be lopsided. Had Iused the jig, singular pressure would have been applied on all points at once.DOH!

What to do? This project was, from the beginning, a skill refresher.During the ring build, I made a few mistakes but overcame them. What to do now?If this was a commission piece or part of a production run, I would have set itaside, possibly even tossed it into the burn pit. However, neither of thosescenarios applied. So far, about 33 hours has been invested. I decided tocontinue, to see this project to the end. I think it can still be salvaged. Ifnot, I have learned and re-learned some useful techniques. 

The lathe came to life. A noticeable wobble sound filled theroom and reverberated across my garage workshop. Quickly I began making light cuts untilthe wobble slowly turned into the sound a something spinning true. A light humfilled the room and washed out my tinnitus. Ribbons of wood peeled off and fellto the floor.  I stopped the machinefrequently (every 2 to 3 minutes) to check progress. One side was ready forsanding, but the other side looked like it had not been touched. Although thetop and bottom rings were good all around.  

When I started this, I planned each segment to be an inchwide with a ¾ inch overlap. I wrestled with that as a lot of wood would bewasted. Now it works to my advantage. I went back to the graph paper drawing.In theory, this might just work. There should be enough wood overlapping tooffset the shift. There is another issue, the profile is changing. The anglefrom the top to base is becoming steeper. As I stared at the project, thethought of tossing it in the burn pit became more prevalent. Maybe I shouldjust start over. 

As a sigh of disgust washed over me, I saw something out ofthe corner of my eye. The project, still on the lathe, not as the bowl I haddesigned, but as something different. The lathe came back to life as I pickedup my gouge and once again began peeling away the layers of wood. Shavingspiled at my feet, as their aromas filled the air. The original profile is allbut gone. A new purpose for this project is born. It will never be a show pieceas it is far from perfect and yet, as I look at it, I can already see morecharacter then many “perfect” pieces could ever have. Oh it is so very flawed.But peel away a few layers, sand a few more, add a little polish, a littlebuffing and maybe even a slight modification and I am betting it will shine.People are a lot like that. You have perfect pieces that shine but have nocharacter. Then you have others that are full of flaws but just need a chanceto show how much character they really have!

This project continues. The piece is still on the lathewaiting for my return. I have already drafted the plans for the modification.With any luck, it will all get done this weekend!

Until then,

P.S.  I took severalpictures during this process and even shot a short video. As I went to downloadeverything this morning, I found the memory is empty! Only the two pictures Iuploaded to Facebook still exist. I am not sure what happened.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Segments take time...

Part I.

I first talked about segment turnings back when I started this blog, here.

Given my absence, it has been quite some time since I didany segment work. As I looked for my last segment project, I quickly realizedthat it’s been over three years! So I can’t really blame it on the deploymentas that doesn’t cut it with the timeline. It is funny how that happens. One daywe try something new, then next thing we know its’ been a few years since wedid the old stuff. Well as I sat in the barracks each night looking forsomething to do, I realized that this would be the perfect time to work onsegment projects! So, during my weekend time, I pulled out the cross cut sledand proceeded to spend about an hour at the table saw running just over 100 cuts. Theresults were several bags of segments.

Back at the barracks, each night I would take out a bag ofsegments and begin the process of building rings. The first run involved 3 full rings. Each ring consisted of 18 individual segments.

A single segment. 18 segments make 1 ring

Pair glued together and "clamped" with rubber bands

Pairs of segments are glued together to make quarter rings (or close to it).
The two in the back are half rings

Before the full ring could be assembled, all pieces went to the disk sander for final shaping. As I currently do not own a planer, thickness adjustments were also accomplished on the disk sander. Individual rings were then assembled with glue and rubber bands. I then waited 24 hours for the glue to cure.

Set time vs cure time. The instructions on Tightbond II state to allow 24 hours before "stressing" the joint. However the product fully sets in 4 hours. So basically, if the next step was to just add another section, I waited 4 hours. If the piece were to go to the disk sander, I waited 24 hours, as the torque from the sander would "stress" the joints.
Full ring after clamps

With three rings completed it was time to begin stacking them

Three rings stacked.
With all three rings completed, it was time to return to the table saw to start over. The second set would include 72 segments (enough for 4 rings). Unlike the first set, in which all rings were the same diameter, the second set diameters will reduce by half an inch with each ring. So we will have an 8", 7.5", 7.0", and 6.5". The base was also cut and prepped.

As this is more or less a practice piece, I wasn't as concerned with the visual appearance of the wood used. Therefore, I used what was in stock which is primarily Cherry and Walnut with a Bubinga base.

For part 2, I will stack all rings and mount to the lathe. I may even experiment with my first video for the turning part...no promises though. :)

Until then,