Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Good Wood

Hi Folks
Picked up a copy of Good Woodworking today and was rather pleased to see my ugly mug in a few pictures, as well as a bunch of my planes. Certainly made my day - cheers, Andy!

Been spending some quality time with the new mill. Such a pleasure to use - it always amazes me how large machinery often excels at doing fine work. My table saw is the same - a huge machine, yet perfect for tiny, accurate cuts. Of course, it also handles the big stuff too!
One of the things I wanted to experiment with is adding brass soles to some of my planes - lots of customers have asked about this. So I'm making prototypes as we speak and should have some shiny new models for you soon.

Scared myself earlier when I looked at the calender. I'm off to the US in just over two weeks for the "Woodworking In America" conference. I'm sharing bench space with hand saw supremo Mick Wenzloff, and yes, I'm very excited!! Needless to say, I'll be taking plenty of photo's and taking lots of notes. Expect a full-on Philly Report on my return ;)

Back to the workshop......

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Beast Is In.....

Hi Folks
Spent some time yesterday making a stand for the new Mill. 100mm square legs makes for a sturdy base, and it cost me about £20 to make.
Today was D-Day. Went to my local hire centre first thing (A1 - great guys!) and picked up an engine hoist. It was rated for 500kg so I was quite satisfied it was man enough for the job.
Spent an interesting hour manoeuvring the mill in through the door of the workshop (yes, after removing the door to give me more space) and then getting the thing safely in position on the new stand.
Once the heart rate had slowed down I was rather pleased with how it had went. Next - de-greasing. The mill was heavily coated in thick grease and paper. Good for keeping the rust off, a dirty job to clean off. Lots of towel and rags, with WD40 to loosen the worst areas and it came up pretty well.
After setting up the machine and installing handles, etc I was ready to test it. And it worked a dream out of the box - very smooth and quiet. Spent some time taking test cuts and I came away very impressed - a world apart from my previous mill.
Someone asked if I would be making infill planes? I don't plane to make infills at the moment but do have plans for some interesting new hybrids. Pics soon ;)

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Beast...

Hi Folks
For quite some time I've been considering upgrading my milling machine (Yes, sorry, it's a metalwork machine). I have finally taken the plunge, thanks in part to an Axminster "10% discount" voucher. Received a phone call from them on Friday to arrange a suitable delivery time and the van turned up on time first thing this morning.
I was expecting the packaging to be "sturdy" and just a little bit big. But I was still quite surprised at the size of the thing! Still, the delivery guy was kind enough to deposit the beast where I wanted it and left me to it.
Getting it into the workshop is going to be a squeeze, but, with the help of an engine hoist I should be able to get it in and sorted tomorrow.
More pics then....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

He's Back...

Hi Folks
Brace yourselves - I have actually done some woodworking! Yes, non-planemaking stuff.
Remember the acoustic guitar project I've been slowly building? It's a Weissenborn lap steel guitar, and I made pretty good progress until I came to making the sides. Yes, the tricky part......;)
A couple of weekends ago I made a small bending iron from some steel pipe and a blow torch. Worked fairly well but the pipe was too small a diameter to give me the gentle curves I required. Rather than purchase some suitable pipe I decided to go for Plan B - build a former and laminate the guitar sides in the vacuum bag.
So I built a one piece former from some poplar and laminated the sides from 6 pieces of veneer. It was simple work and the vacuum press did its usual amazing job of flattening things while the glue set. I made a pair and then set them aside to cure. Now I can get on with assembling the guitar, when it finally looks like a "real one"!