Monday, February 25, 2013

The Dawning Of A New Box

OK, so here is the latest project in the WV Woodshed. It is my first attempt at creating an inlay/intarsia type of project. I admit there are more issues than I can count, but hey, its just part of the learning process and daggonit at least I am trying to improve and broaden my horizons.

The project consists of locally cut cherry, curly maple, red oak and walnut. On the exotic side; I've incorporated bubinga and purpleheart just for some additional color. The box will end up approximately 4 1/2" square by 3 1/2" tall. The walls of the box are about 3/8" and the bottom and top are made of 1/8" luan plywood. Originally I was going to keep my stock at 5/8" to 3/4" but the curly maple had other ideas after the initial milling. After seeing the lighter appearance of the 3/8" material I am actully very please the stock had a mind of its own.

Techniques I'm using include splined mitred corner for the box, grooves for the box top and bottom, the previously mentioned inlay/intarsia, a rabbeted lid and for the first time I am using boiled linseed oil (BLO) and shellac for the finish. I have used BLO with poly in the past but never shellac. After finishing the the inside of the box prior to glue up I have to say I could really learn to love shellac. It dries so quickly and secondary coats are very forgiving as the blend right into the initial coat. Nearly all these techniques are 1st attempts for me so I expect some challenges and less than perfect results.

Couple of things I've learned along the way, curly maple is more difficult to smooth and flatten than I actually thought. I do not have very good hand planes and I am not the greatest at sharpening the irons either, so tear out has been a significant problem. Cutting small inlay pieces with a 1/2" resaw blade on my 14" Rikon bandsaw is not ideal either. The advantage of a well tuned scrollsaw for this type of work became immediately obvious as I struggled to cut curves. While I made it through the ordeal unscathed there were a couple of moments where I had to remind myself to; Keep My Mind On My Fingers & My Fingers On My Hands.

So far I've really enjoyed this project and think I will most likely try another similar, all be it more challenging, project in the near future. Below are a few pictures for your snickers and giggles. Please let me know what you think and offer any advice you may have regarding design, materials, techniques or whatever. I will post additional photos once I have completed the project! Thanks!!!

Until my next post:



Thursday, February 7, 2013

Forget The Fear!

Get Woodworking Week 2013 - Tom's Workbench

Paralysis by analysis, fear of failure and cost of repairing mistakes are often used to describe the inability to initiate or follow through on a project. I am plagued with each and every one of these issues on nearly every project I attempt.

My friends and family say I am overly anal about the details and that I am too much of a perfectionist, which I openly admit to the latter. Not that I actually think I can achieve perfection, but more that I worry so much about not even coming close. I tend to sweat and sweat over minor things until a lack of patience overcomes rigor mortis, which usually results in even more mistakes and problems as I tend to rush just to get things done.

Fear of failure creeps in the mind when considering the use of new techniques, new tools or even new materials. Thoughts range from what if I mess the whole project up, lose grain continuity, break/chip/bend this new blade, to any number of possible earth shaking catastrophes. Again I realize the concerns are usually proven to be unfounded, but they still seem to find their way into every project at some level.

Lastly is the concern of escalating costs and ruining perfectly good materials in the pursuit of woodworking nirvana. Personally I find myself nearer to the national poverty level than to the financially solvent side of the ledger. While I am by no means seeking sympathy, it is what drives most of these concerns. When I purchase material to complete a project I need to maximize the ROI and complete the project with as little cost overrun as possible. Number one it is common sense to want to be successful in budgeting a project and secondly my wife is actually quite the accurate marksman, marksperson or markswoman (you choose). This cost consciousness carries over into purchasing of tools, as I tend to excessively review and analyze everything I purchase for the shop. On the plus side I am typically happy with what I acquire; not including the table saw, which was purchased early in my woodworking enlightenment journey.

Bottom-line, I think a lot of people experience these same issues at varying levels throughout their journey and we all learn to overcome them on our own terms. Woodworking is not a simple skill for most of us to learn and trepidation is only a natural part of the experience. This year I am focusing on overcoming these limitations and developing skills to reduce their impact on my projects. I encourage everyone during this “Get Woodworking Week 2013” to push through the thoughts and fears of something that limits their experience and savor the victory.

Until my next post: