Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sharpening Question

This post is more of a question than an actual blog entry, but this site is intended to be everything I am doing in the woodshop, so here it goes.
This evening I purchased a honing jig and my first 800/4000 grit combination Japanese water stone, from our local Rockler affiliate store. To this point I have been using freehand scary sharp for my sharpening system, with moderate success. I felt the honing jig may help correct some of the inconsistencies I’ve been experiencing with my results. The water stone is intended to expand my horizons, increase my final polish grit and admittedly because most everyone seems to feel they are the shizzal.
First off let me say that my current stable of chisels is full of sway back nags way past their primes and/or glue worthy steeds straight out of the chute. I have four (4) Stanley’s that my father purchased sometime back in the late 60’s or early 70’s. These chisels have been through quite a bit and are in need of serious restoration, but that is exactly what I am trying to do, if only for sentimental reasons. My newer chisels are Stanley Fat Max chisels straight off Lowe’s shelves. I have put these chisels through the scary sharp system a couple of times and have on occasion had them fairly sharp for a brief moment. As I am sure is the case with many of the lower quality chisels the darn things simply will not hold an edge for more than two (2) or three (3) mallet blows.
Anyway, on to the question…

Yesterday while beginning restoration of my father’s old 1” chisel I notice the cutting edge wasn’t square. In order to correct the issue I use a small file and squared the end of the chisel. As I expected, this process left a flat surface on the cutting edge of the chisel. As I began reshaping the edge freehand I got frustrated with my results, because the edge seemed to be skewing as I proceeded. While I’d wanted one for some time, this is where I got justification for the honing jig. There is no justification for the water stone, so I’ll probably pay double for that one when it’s discovered.

Let me say I think once I master the honing jig I am going to love it. It definitely makes holding the correct angle a breeze. I can clearly see the difference in consistency in the scratch pattern on the bevel. My problem and therefore my question, is that the bevel plane and backplane never seem to get closer to intersecting and the right corner of the bevel continues to maintain a visible flat. I know based on all the videos and positive discussions I have read online it is most likely not the honing jig and is more likely error on my part. Can anyone provide suggestions or scenarios that may correct or cause this issue? I am stumped.
I will not begin to use my water stone until I get this is figured out because I am afraid I may damage the stone if it’s a technique or knowledge issue. PLEASE! Any assistance, guess or enlightenment is greatly appreciated!!!

Until my next post,

Keep Your Mind on your Fingers and your Fingers on your Hands!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Not Another Shop Tour

I can hear your thoughts now; “Please! Not Another Shop Tour”!!! It seems that every blog or online community I’ve visited has to have at least one if not a multitude of shop tours for interested visitors to consume. Well there is no denying; I am guilty of wasting plenty of potential quality shop time ogling how others have laid out their workflows and equipped their shops. Being a complete noob in the hobby I find the shop tours extremely informative and filled with ideas I can utilize as my shop continues to take shape. Please feel free to comment (positive or negative) on this post, as I am very interested in what others have to say.

Before I kick this tour off I have a minor confession to make. While the name of my blog is WV Woodshed my shop is not in a shed at all. It is currently setup in the basement of my home and has been referred to by friends as the “Mines of Moria” and “Underworld” on many occasions. While ceiling space (headroom) is limited to approximately 6’2”, I am comfortably out of harm’s way at 5’8”. The usable floor space will eventually approach 500ft2, plus or minus a full frog hair. As with any basement shop the space comes with limitations due to mechanical systems, storage needs and access issues. Right now, the family storage needs are consuming approximately half of the space, so right now the tour won’t take more than a few photos. My long-term intentions are to convert our detached two (2) car garage into my permanent shop, but the budget for that project is quite a ways from being fully funded and receiving fiduciary (the Wife’s) approval. So until my dreams become reality lets head downstairs to the shop.

First stop, the heart of the shop, or in my case the Jarvik 7; the table saw.

In my first post I described how excited I was to rediscover woodworking and how I was consumed with desire to jump headlong (headfirst may be more appropriate) into the hobby. Well this is a perfect example of where my eagerness overcame my intellect and I purchased a tool that doesn’t meet my expectations or future intentions. In my next post I will detail this example as part of the topic, so I’ll spare the details here. In the final picture above, the dust collection shroud was a feature I added to the stand. The original dust collection utilized a fabric bag hung under the stand; frankly, the efficiency was only marginally better than an onion sack. While I complain and whine about this unit more than I should, it is what I have at this time. Other than quadrupling set up times and occasional accuracy issues it works.
As part of my arsenal for dimensioning lumber I have a 6” Delta Jointer and a 13” DeWalt Planer, model 734. I purchased the Jointer from Craigslist for $150.00 and bought the planer new from an online retailer for about $350.00, with an extra set of blades. One of the first power tools I ever received was my Delta Compound Miter Saw, which I use for cutting stock to length and angle cuts. At this point I am using a ShopVac and Dust Right Vortex for dust collection and clean up around the shop. I recognize this is not adequate dust collection and intend to remedy this situation as soon as possible. There is nothing more frustrating than spending a greater amount of time cleaning up than actually creating in the shop.

I also have a few low quality hand planes and handsaws. All these tools, except for the Stanley Block Plane and Bailey No.6c, were a part of my Father’s tools discussed previously. The condition of the hand planes varies significantly and I am hesitant to really put the money into reconditioning them. I think it may be money better spent to purchase new Lie-Neilsen, Veritas or for the budget conscience WoodRiver. As my plan is to hang in the gray, between power and hand tools; I won’t need a full assortment of planes to complement my projects. The total investment in new planes spread over time is justifiable, at least in my eyes.
Generally the same thoughts apply to the handsaws. Except for a Disston #7 crosscut panel saw none of the others are worth reconditioning and will be replaced over time. I have contacted Bob Rozaieski (Logan Cabinet Shoppe) a couple of times about sharpening services for the #7, but to this point the budget hasn’t been available.
The photo above shows my current bench configuration. The taller bench to the left was built by my father from crate lumber used when he and my mother moved to West Virginia from New York in 1965. While I hope to build a workbench down the road, right now I have more important shop needs to address. In a future post I will go into more detail on the current layout of the shop and future intentions to expand.

Until my next post,

Keep Your Mind on your Fingers and your Fingers on your Hands!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Obligatory Introduction...

Let me start by saying I am not a professional writer or photographer; any expectations for entertainment and informational value should start three notches below the lowest score on your personal grading scale. That being said, lets move on to the first post from the WV Woodshed.

Some thirty-two plus (32+) years ago, I presented my father with a discount coupon for "One Free Woodwork", which I still have tucked away somewhere in my box of important mementos. As with most young boys, my interest in the craft was sporadic and unfocused. The schools in my area didn't offer wood shop as a curriculum and there were no other avenues to pursue my youthful interest. "WILD" teenage experiences, unfocused college years and young family life and responsibilities soon made woodworking a distant memory. Let me be clear, "All roads lead to where I stand". In no way, shape or form would I change anything about where I am today or the experiences I have gone through to get here, even if I could. I just wish woodworking had been a creative outlet and a part of the journey along the way.

Fast Forward to the Last year...

A little over a year ago everything changed. My wife and two children moved back into my childhood home, in Bluefield, WV, to help take care of my mother, while I continued to commute to Augusta, GA for seven (7) months. Finding gainful employment in West Virginia can be a painstaking and patience testing experience. During this time, while I was in West Virginia on the weekends, I began looking through my Father's old tools. He had passed away in January 2000 and most of the tools were still sitting in the exact same place he had left them. While none of the tools were high quality or even moderately valuable, the sentimental value and inspirational impacts of being around his old tools was indescribable. During the week, while I was away from the family, I filled all my free time with seeking, reading and watching information about woodworking. The vast knowledge base available from online resources such as blogs, videos and vendor sites is enough to gorge a person, which I did with an insatiable appetite.

Finally in May 2011 I was fortunate enough to find an employer in West Virginia and move back with my family. While I wanted to immediately begin to put into practice all the things I had absorbed over the past year, several obstacles, mainly home repairs and remodeling projects, needed to be completed first.

I am still finishing up a few of the larger projects, but I have been able to free up some time recently to initiate a few smaller woodworking specific projects. In early September I threw together a tool organizer to store all my squares and other measuring tools.
While I feel the end product serves the intended purpose, I think I could have done quite a bit more to enhance the overall quality of the project. Time hasn't been my friend over the last year, so I tend to rush way too much and cut corners where I can, but shouldn't. I did the required end grain cutting board in late September, and learned quite a bit regarding grain direction and the glue up process. 
In mid-October I slapped together my first enclosed cabinet to house my 1970's B&D router.
Again the rush to get something up and functional overcame my desire to perfect everything, but in the end the router works and the cabinet is very stable. In addition to the router table I have made several adjustments to the shop area including additional counter space and shelving. My latest project has been a hand cut dovetail and box joint box with a purpleheart accent handle.

While I admit, epoxy saved several mistakes; generally I am fairly happy with the results. The biggest thing I've taken away from this project is the realization that all projects must be completed in order to actually learn from the mistakes and the methods to repair or disguise the errors.

If I’ve managed to keep your interest this long, I appreciate your willingness to suffer through the obligatory introduction. My current intention, so as to not over-commit, is to post updates twice a month. The updates will include information related to my successes, failures and everything in between. I will also discuss positive and negative experiences with woodworking related tools and products. Generally, if it has to do with woodworking and it passes through my woodshed, you’re highly likely to hear my ramblings.

Until my next post,

Keep Your Mind on your Fingers and your Fingers on your Hands!!!