December 31, 2001 -My brother-in-law (BIL) has been battling MS for several several years and asked me if I could make him a cane sometime when I was putzing around the shop. So this is my attempt at granting his wish.
We just got back from our annual trip to Kaua'i and I shipped an 84" length of 6/4 KOA to the shop for this project. If used entirely for this purpose I should be able to get a minimum of 4 canes from it and maybe more. I have started the project but am currently waiting on the handle that I ordered from Lee Valley. I will update this section when it is complete. Here are some photos of my progress so far.
Rough Stock Turning Jig Attached to TS-III Fence 1/2" Roundover Bit
Processed Stock Updated Jig Final Sanding First Coat of Tung Oil
After Several Coats of Tung Oil Handle Rubber Tip
Thanks to Rusty and Ron, aka RIP,from the WoodNet forum, for providing the concept and a link to an on-line seminar from Wood Magazine for constructing and using a jig for turning stock with a table mounted router. My BIL told me that the finished length including the handle needed to be 36" for him. Since I needed twice that length I made the jig 82" long. I used a piece of poplar for the main fence, 1/4" hardboard for the base and some scrap pine for the clamp board and dust collection assembly. I also added a couple additional pieces of pine to the clamp boards to allow me to attach the jig to the fence on the TS-III system. I first tried to use the jig on my stand-alone router table with my old 1/4" collet Craftsman router. The router bit raised up during the operation and the first piece of KOA was basically ruined........but I used a scraper and spokeshave to reduce its diameter to a little less than 7/8" and will make a wooden handle, using the brass handle from Lee Valley as a pattern, and keep it for myself. This was after successfuly turning a prototype from a doug fir 2x4. My solution was to purchase a 1/2" roundover bit with 1/2" shank for use in the TS extension wing with the Freud FT2000. The operation was much smoother with the setup in the photos above. Safety Note : The plans for the jig didn't incorporate a guard around the bit area and I got tunnel vision and didn't think to incorporate one into the jig during construction. So before cutting the prototype I attached the guard from my stand-alone RT with a spring clamp.
Stock Preparation - My objective was to arrive at a 1" diameter dowel for the cane. For this I cut, jointed, and planed a piece of stock to 1" x 1" square. By choosing a roundover bit that is 1/2 of the desired diameter I will end up with a 1" dowel. I added approximately 2" to each end of the piece to allow a section to remain square to ride against the router jig fence. This method does not require the round disks and straight bit as described in the seminar. The first piece I processed released the wood's internal stesses and the piece bowed quite a bit. That was the piece that got ruined. The second piece of stock I cut about 1/4 wider to allow enough room to work the bow out on the jointer. The board still bowed but I was able to get about 98% of it removed with the jointer and planer. So it looks like I will not be able to get as many canes from this stock as I previously had thought. Oh well........ I'll just resaw what I have left over for some small jewelry boxes. The process yielded a little tearout and some burning in the KOA but a little scraping and sanding and things smoothed right out.
The hardware arrived and so I have continued the cane project. The handle required that the diameter of the top be reduced to 15/16 to thread on the brass ferrule. Getting it to thread on was not as easy as I thought. After some shaping and sanding I widdled away at the end to get it small enough to thread on comfortably.
Since I liked the results I am getting from the jig I decided to keep it for future use so using a T-Slot Cutter purchased from Rockler I routed a T-slot in the fence to accept accessories. I made 2 stop blocks from some of the poplar left over from the fence and made a router bit guard from some scrap oak and 1/4" plexi-glass. To make it easier to cut the T-slot I used a 3/8" straight bit set to the final depth to make a first pass. Then I chucked the T-slot cutter into the router and set to the same depth and it made the cut smooth as silk.
The KOA prototype is complete and I will keep this one for around the house. You can see in the photo of the handle that I scratched up the brass trying to remove the handle prior to finishing. That won't happen on the next one. I am awaiting another handle and I will complete the second one that I will send back to Ohio for my Brother-in Law. This was an interesting and fun project ........for me that is.
Dizzy's Jointer Jig
I am going to be changing the knives on my Jet 6" Jointer real soon. I have access to one of those magnetic jigs but I decided to take a crack at making the jig that was designed by Dizzy, a participant in the WoodNet forum. The jig was straightforward to make. I used some scrap maple I had left from when I replaced the fence on my RAS.
I had purchased the superbar and master plate a while back for tuning up my TS. I have since went back to the basic methods described by Mark Duginskie and Howard Acheson. So I thought I would put the dial indicator included with the superbar into use. The superbar comes with different lengths of rod for reaching various lengths based on individual setups. Using the shortest pieces, I needed to make my stock 2 1/4" wide. I made the length 12". For the end resting against the table where the indicator tip comes through, Dizzy milled this cuttout on the jointer. I did not want to have to change my current 1/32" cut depth, since I may do some jointing yet before I change the knives, I cut the relief out on the BS and then smoothed it up and shaped it on the Spindle Sander. The part on the top, that needs to be cut away so the indicator can drop into the hole and still have clearance so the bezel can rotate, I just shaped on the Spindle Sander.
You can see Dizzy's how to build one by following the link above. You will also notice at the end of his article he has a picture of a jig he made for TS alignment. I am going to attempt a prototype in the near future. The problem with the superbar is that it seems to rock back and forth a bit even with the miter gauge adjustment set right. I think I can make something similar to Dizzy's to mount the dial indicator to that will be stable when moving it in the miter slot. I will post info on it when that day arrives. So you folks that have a superbar can make Dizzy's jointer jig and I think you will like it. Dizzy provided me with a two page writeup on how to use it. If you are interested just email me and I will pass it on.
I played with the jig a little and I can see that it is going to work great.
Crosscut Sled Stop System/Magnet Wrench Holder
When I finished the jointer jig I decided to replace my old crosscut sled that I made many years ago after watching Norm on the New Yankee Workshop. I had stumbled onto a plan while surfing the net. Here is the PLAN I chose. It isn't anything really fancy but will serve my purpose. I used 1/2" birch plywood for the platform and had a piece of maple laying around for the fence. I also routed a T-Slot in the fence and built a stop block (for use on pieces up to 25" or so in length) just in case I needed it. I also added the extended stop block as indicated on the plan which will allow for a 50" crosscut length. Insead of using a hardwood runner for the miter slot I used a 24" Miter Slide from Woodpeckers. This allows me to adjust it for a perfect fit in the miter gauge slot. The only additional thing I did was drill a countersink hole and installed a rare earth magnet (with epoxy) to hold the allen wrench to adjust the Miter Slide. That way I won't have to go hunting for it when I need it.
Table Saw Alignment Jig (1/16/02)
After work today I decided to head for the shop and make the prototype of the Tablesaw Alignment Jig. Like the jointer jig, the inspiration for it came from a picture I saw on Dizzy's site and I am using the dial indicator from the Superbar. My objective was to produce a tool that was stable in the miter gauge when sliding in the miter slot from the front of the saw to the back of the saw during the alignment process. The superbar wobbled from side to side more than I was comfortable with. The prototype proved to work just fine. I used a piece of 1/2" birch ply cut 8" x 8". For the runner I used a piece of maple to fit the width of the miter slot. Don't worry if the runner seems a little loose when you first cut it because if you attach it with screws as I did the screws expand the wood fibers and make for a snug fit. After attaching the runner, I made a mount for the dial indicator by cutting a piece of maple 1" thick (height) by 1 1/4" wide by 3 3/4" long. Using a 1/4" bradpoint bit I drilled a hole through the width of the mount 7/8" from the end. and approximately 7/16" from the top. You just need to have clearance so the indicator isn't actually sitting on top of the mount. Makes for getting the drive screw installed much easier with a little room for adjustment. Speaking of which.......since I already had the dial indicator all I needed to purchase was 98 cents worth of hardware. I got a 1/4-20 x 1 1/2" Hex Drive Screw and a pack of 1/4" Bonding Washers. The Bonding Washers have rubber on one side to keep from maring the plastic mount on the dial indicator. I installed a 1/4" T-Nut on the opposite side to accept the drive screw. I did some checks on my TS and everything was within accpetable tolerances. I set my fence so it trails away by .002 to .003.
The prototype works well but I will make another one and use the shortest Miter Slider that I can get which I think is 18". I will just cut it to the desired length. That way I can adjust the fit in the miter slot as necessary. Once again, Superbar owners can make this jig for less than $1.00 and some scrap pieces of wood or you can buy a dial indicator at Woodcraft for around $26.00 (item #128397).
Dutch Door Conversion (1/21/02)
My wife wanted a Dutch Door between the entry hall and the kitchen and the extra day honoring the great Martin Luther King Jr. provided me with enough time to knock it out. We thought about purchasing one or making one from scratch but then she asked if I could just modify the existing door. I figured what the heck.......can't hurt to try. I removed the door, took it to the shop, and removed all the hardware. I removed the TS-III carriage and fence system from the TS. I applied double stick tape and 1/2" plywood on the extension wing to build it to the same height as my crosscut sled. With my wife spotting the right side of the door I cut half way through, stopped the saw, flipped it over and finished the cut. Much to my surprise there was no overlap in the cut. Guess the crosscut sled is square after all. The following photos show the process. The photo of the original door is one of the guest bedroom doors which is identical. I had already cut the door before deciding to document the process.
Original Door Hollow Cavity/Bottom Door Sill with Base Attached
Bottom Door Sill Installing Sill Sill Installed
Hardboard Strip on Bottom of Top Door Bottom Door Complete Completed Dutch Door
Since the door was hollow in the center I decided to attach a base to the ledge that would fit snuggly in the cavity. I used a piece of poplar for the ledge and base. I only made the ledge 2 1/2" wide because my wife did not want to hit her hand on it reaching for the knob. Two small notches were required on each end to clear the inside door jam. The top door required cutting and additional 1/2" off of it to allow for the sill and a 1/8" piece of hardboard to cap the bottom. The raised panels mold entering the cavity was such that a 1/4" strip of MDF fit perfectly to seal the gap. I then glued and (believe it or not) used a brad nailer to attach an oversize piece of 1/8" masonite to the bottom (just until the glue dried LOL). I knew that brad nailer was good for something. Using a flush trim bit I routed the excess off and prepared it for paint. I hate painting........that is the wife's job. I dug out the trim paint and set her up in the game room and turned her loose. The last thing to do was make a run to the big box for a brass barrel latch. Here is where we found out that the ledge should have been a touch wider. It worked however, but the mortise was a little close to the edge. I think it will be fine but if we find out otherwise I can just pull the sill out and make another one. It is not permanently attached. All in all........a pretty good 3 day weekend around the shop. I got the knives in the jointer and planer changed as well as completing the Dutch Door project.
Coffee Table #2 (3/16/02)
You might remember that back before Thanksgiving I had started the first coffee table to match a fern stand and end table I had previously built. I was all gung ho and created the leg pattern in my head and when I took the frame in the house to see how it matched up. Well............it didn't. So my wife created a pattern from the leg on the fern stand and I went back to the drawing board. A friend of mine just went into business on his own and said that he could use the table when I got around to finishing it. Since I knew I was going to be on the road for a while I decided to attempt to finish it before I left. So Bill and I headed for the lumber store and got the oak needed for the top and the outer aprons. I went with the same Tung Oil Varnish by Minwax for the finish but used a roundover instead of a bead on the top since I thought that would be more appropriate for his office setting.
A couple of weeks back I helped a friend of mine build a sandbox for his 4 year old son. My friend sells heavy construction equipment for a living. His sons enjoys climbing on all the tractors in the yard. Last week while taking a dip in the pool the little guy said he wanted something to dig sand with in his new box. I told him that I would see what I could come up with for him and the result is this little sand excavator. I had a plan in an old issue of The Familiy Handyman magazine. I dug it out and had enough oak scraps around to put it together. Took a couple of days to knock it out and it was a fun project. Bill painted the parts with official John Deere Construction Yellow and brought the parts back over for final assembly. Next on the list just might have to be a dump truck.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me. Here is a link to another site (vintage projects.com) that has a similar plan for a backhoe/excavator.
Have fun, and safe woodworking.