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!!!