Getting going again…and catching up!

19 Aug

It apparently took me two weeks to recover from vacation. I was so tired going back to work and wow I didn’t realize how many responsibilities were awaiting me here at home. Now I’ve finally caught up on the backlog of items that needed immediate attention…

When I got back from vacation this was also waiting for me…

There was a shirt too, but that’s not for the shop. As it happens I have to go back to the shop and grab one of these products to glue a ceramic towel rack in my bathroom at home that is coming away from the tile in the shower.

Shop work

I finished the toy chest I had been working on before my vacation, but I haven’t posted about it yet. I’m waiting on a picture of it in its new home. My sister and nephew love it though. Apparently it will need a slight modification to incorporate a soft close piston because my nephew is 14months old and loves to open and close it on his fingers. So one last alteration and that chest is done! As I’ve mentioned before this is the last project I’m doing as a gift for a long while because I’ve been unable to work on my own projects since February!

So it was that this weekend I was able to return to working on some reclaimed wood tables I’d started during the winter…

I’ve had this stack of project parts squished on one end of the bench for months! I often needed to roughly nudge the pile this way and that to get at an organizer behind it that has odds and ends of hardware in it. I’m sure there are a few dings to show from my abuse.

It took a little bit of time to re-familiarize myself with the project plans I had drawn up and I had to sort out the parts which had gotten a little mixed up.

When I’d left off I had laminated my table tops, flattened them with a router, and I had cut all of my parts to width. I then started doing test crosscuts only to find my table saw wasn’t aligned. Over the past months I’ve finally resolved this issue

So actually the break in progress on these tables gave me the time to work out the kinks in my table saw setup and now I was ready to cut my parts to length finally! The one thing I was dreading was checking on the table tops to see if they had cupped with the changes of humidity over the spring and summer… turns out it wasn’t too bad, I’ll re-flatten the tops later.

And after some heavy concentration over dimensions I had all my parts cut to size! Next session I’ll start on joinery!

This is the base of the longest table roughly in place( it will be narrower when the joints are cut).

Here is the medium length table…

And here is the smallest table’s base.

I hope to get back to work on these during the week, before work one or two days this week. I’m revved up now and looking forward to making more progress!

Tools tools tools…

As ever I’ve been thinking of which tool I need most next, and the decision landed on a random orbital sander. I’ve been using an orbital sander that I bought for $12 which has done the trick but we all know that orbital sanders tend to leave pig tail patterns, and sand much less aggressively.  So I have been circling around the idea of getting a random orbital sander, but I’ve been avoiding it for a long while simply because I always dread using one. The vibration fatigue on my joints at each of the workplaces I’ve experienced is a big turn off. And these are professional grade sanders I’m talking about, while using anti-vibration gloves. Then I remembered an article I had read on a Bosch sander that has a vibration dampening mechanism built in.

I gave the internet a good search looking for comparable vibration dampening sanders and came up empty. The performance on this unit rated as comparable to festool in the findings that I read from FWW.

The thought of less vibration made it much easier to contemplate hours of sanding. I wasn’t worried about the weight of this sander as I generally like to sand my work while it’s laid flat. When I do otherwise, working against gravity, and the random orbital action, it takes a toll on my wrists. I also decided that the more compact sanders that I use at work made to fit in one hand make it much harder to control, so the extra grip on the front appeals to me. It’s of course variable speed, which will come in handy when  I don’t want to cut quite so aggressively. I’ve heard that the canister collects dust as efficiently as a vacuum hose (which I find hard to believe! But at work I’m constantly fighting with hoses so I might try the canister in action before ruling it out).
The other contenders were festool and mirka sanders. Festool was about the same price so I could have gone that way, and mirka was a fair bit more. I ruled out mirka simply because the sanders at work are very similar and I want to get away from that model. Festool from what I’ve heard is incredibly addictive once you buy one machine… so I found several reasons not to buy festool, but I’m sure it’s a comparable sander- but seemed to lack the anit-vibration mechanism.
So I made up my mind and a Bosch sander will be shipped to me sometime in the coming weeks- super excited!

Unexpected item of interest…

I just changed out my MANY years-old ink jet printer(ten years?!). I had been refilling the cartridges manually with a syringe for years to save on ink costs. This amounted to sputters of yellow where colour or even where grey(!) should be and inconsistent prints. Over the years the printer got harder and harder  to use which made me only print when I absolutely HAD to. So it got to the point where I dreaded having to either carve out time in my day to print or go to a professional printer to make prints/copies-super inconvenient either way you cut it.

Recently I caught wind that monochrome laser printers cost (on average) less in ink/toner for the same amount of prints than my stupid-head inkjet printer. And I was convinced ANYTHING would be faster than my old printer. So I made the switch!

It’s quite an imposing piece to add to a home office, but it sure has eliminated a lot of wasted time at the printer.

Since this printer is a decade newer I also have the benefit of wireless printing- THAT alone was worth $100. I didn’t realise until I got this that I’d been waiting to print many PDFs  that I’d downloaded from all of my favourite online sources for woodworking!

User manuals, instructional articles, ebooks, shop furniture, and project plans… I never look at them when they’re just a file on the computer- so I printed them all out. Now they’re no only going to see the light of day but the light of my shop.

I even delighted in double sided printing to save on paper and space in my binder

While fixing my table saw alignment I used some articles to guide me and I accidentally spilled some water on the pages instantly smearing he ink, making the article illegible- that’s no longer a problem! Laser ink is waterproof and perfect for shop abuse.

I know I’m probably way behind the curve here and none of this is news to you all, but I just thought I’d share how this addition unexpectedly had a positive effect for my shop.

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One Response to “Getting going again…and catching up!”

  1. Olly Parry-Jones August 20, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    It’s good to see that you’re getting back in to the swing of things.

    If you do need a soft-close lid stay, Rockler sell some brilliant ones (I imported some a few years ago) that I would recommend. They are ‘stays’, rather than pistons. But, you ideally need to know the weight and width of your lid, as I remember it.

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