Tuesday, January 31

Work day begins: 7:15 AM Just a little e-mail to handle this morning, including a bid request for a custom doll house display table. A fire is going out in the shop, so we will be warm despite the grey, cold, rainy morning. The radio says the rain may turn to snow as temperatures drop off during the day. Today we’ll take another stab at completing and fitting the tenons on Iliff’s rocking chair. Lunch Time Things are going well. The back assembly is trimmed and dry fitted. This is the most complex assembly. No great challenges or disappointments so far. Workshop closes: 4:00 PM We got all of the tenons trimmed and the dry fitting done. The whole chair fits together nicely, and I see no problems to correct, so I’ve knocked the chair back apart and tomorrow we’ll proceed to the first sanding. Now I need to go update the project article and post these notes. To view the detailed construction article on this piece, click here.

Monday, January 30

Work day begins: 7:00 AM This is Day 5 for the Mission Rocker project, and today we will be cutting the long tenons on the seat rails and fitting them into their mortises in the legs. But first, I’m replacing the florescent tubes in most of my light fixtures. We made a supply run to Morristown on Saturday and found a good deal on good tubes. I made a mistake when I set up this workshop: I needed to add A LOT of light fixtures and didn’t have a whole bunch of money to spend on good florescent fixtures, so I bought a whole mess of ShopLight fixtures – because they were cheap. Hey, a florescent light fixture is a florescent light fixture, right? Wrong. The problem is that the tubes made to go in these fixtures are only 25 watts. Two tubes per fixture means it only gives out 50 watts of light, which is kind of dim. Regular tubes are 40 watts, 80 watts per fixture – much better. But most regular tubes say right on the box, “Not for use in ShopLight fixtures”, and if you use them anyway, they light up well – for about a week, then they burn out. Replacing them every week is costly. Lowes had some 40 watt tubes that say “For use in all florescent fixtures”. So I bought a bunch of them and will give them a try. I would have been better off to install good fluorescent fixtures as I could afford them than to get in a hurry and try to light the shop adequately all at once on a shoestring budget. I have since learned that if I choose fixtures with an electronic ballast, I can avoid the problem of the lights flickering and putting out low light levels in cold weather. Once regular ballasts warm up they work just fine, but in severe cold, this can take hours. Electronic ballasts however provide full power to light the tubes even in the cold. I was in the process of replacing the tubes when the power went out. That’s why I’m spending so much time blathering on and on about light fixtures. With no power, there’s not much I can do. It’s dark in there. But our computers have battery back-ups to protect them against power outages and I can type by the light the screen gives off. We get a lot of what I call power blips: the power goes out for a second, then comes right back -- just enough to mess up the alarm clocks, telephone, VCRs, and our computers if they’re not protected. Sometimes, the power will go out for a longer period, but usually not more than a half-hour. Today is one of those longer periods. If it runs true to form, it ought to be coming back any minute… And there it is: almost exactly a half hour. So, it’s back to work for me. Well, this turned out to be one of “those” days. I’ve had visitors dropping in all day long. One of them wants me to make the doors for a large kitchen island that he’s building for a client, so we spent a considerable amount of time discussing design details, trying to match stain, and producing a sample board for a color for which I had no sample board on hand. I was setting up to make 10 stain sample boards for a fellow in Massachusetts, so this was good timing. The power went out again this afternoon, then kept popping in and out – totally flubbing up any chance to get anything done with power tools. But I did get to finish the stain boards. In the afternoon there is enough light coming through the side window to see by, and all of my finishing was done by hand and with aerosol cans of lacquer -- no sprayer required. Then a weather front came through with a vengeance: very strong winds that were making the girls really nervous, so I relented, closed the shop early and we all went in the house. Workshop closes: 4:30 PM I have a few small web site chores to tend to, but they won’t take long. Then I’ll post my notes and head for the shower. We’ll just have to go for a do-over on Day 5 of the chair. To view the detailed construction article on this piece, click here.

Friday, January 27

Work day begins: 6:15 AM Getting an early start to work some more on this shopping cart problem. The problem seems to be exclusively with PayPal, all other payment forms work fine. The easiest solution would be to give PayPal the boot and not accept that payment form any longer. It’s quite cold out this morning. So I have to go get a fire going in the workshop if we are to work out there. Today I got all the mortises cut and most of the tenons made. Still have to cut the tricky tenons on the ends of the aprons, but all others are done and ready for final fitting. Workshop closes: 4:00 PM I’m still working on that PayPal bug in the Treasures shopping cart. I’ll work on that until dinner time, then quit and watch a movie with Marie. To view the detailed construction article on this piece, click here.

Wednesday, January 25

Work day begins: 6:45 AM Today I spent the day roughing-out the blanks I’ll need for parts. To start with I cross-cut the full length boards into smaller, more manageable pieces sized according to what part I planned to make from them. Then I surface planed the chunks to the proper thicknesses, edged the boards and rip sawed then into slightly oversized pieces; one for each individual part. I also jointed, doweled and glued up the seat blank. Tomorrow I will begin on the process of actually producing finished parts. This afternoon I also did some more work on those cherry trays that are in for repairs. They should be done now, as long as sawdust didn’t get into the fresh polyurethane. And I did some photography work on a couple of new products for the Treasures store. Workshop closes: 4:00 PM It’s a little early, but this is a good stopping point… and my back is still bothering me from re-stacking all that lumber yesterday. So I’ll go get my notes together and ready to post and work on web site stuff for a while. To view the detailed construction article on this piece, click here.

Tuesday, January 24

Work day begins: 7:00 AM Today I needed to pull the Hickory I’ll be needing to build Iliff’s rocking chair. But the hickory is buried under some Chestnut Oak, so I need to move that off to get access to the Hickory. I have been planning to put the Chestnut Oak on top of a short pile of Honey Locust, across the aisle from it. But I also need to stash some Aromatic Cedar in that stack, and the cedar is not going to be used for anything for a long time, so it needs to be on the bottom. That means moving the locust off first, then stacking the cedar and re-stacking the locust back on top of it. That occupied the morning. After lunch I opened up the Oak & Hickory pile and moved the Chestnut Oak over on top of the Honey Locust. Then I found Cherry, White Oak, Walnut and Poplar mixed in that pile as well. Rather than leave this a “mixed” pile, I decided to put these woods where they belong… might as well do it right. But that meant pulling the concrete blocks and sheets of tin off of most every pile in the yard, sort these boards into the proper piles and put the lids back on. That took most of the afternoon. Once I finally got down to the Hickory I selected the boards I needed and carried them into the shop. Here they will stand vertically for a while to see if they will tend to curl or warp. I saw a tag on the pile stating that this lumber had been stacked on 09/23/2004, so it should be good and dry and I don’t expect it to do anything unruly. Then I dug around in my patterns cabinet and located the template set for our Mission Rocker, sorted the templates out by thickness of stock and double checked to be sure I had enough stock standing by. I occupied the rest of my afternoon with a little cleaning up in the workshop. Workshop closes: 5:00 PM I have an assortment of web site maintenance chores to get caught up on this evening, I’ll get to those right after dinner. But first I’ll try to post these notes.

Monday, January 23

Intermission Work day begins: 6:44 AM The previous project has been completed and delivered, but before I dive into the next I’m going to take some time to tie up some loose ends. I have a couple of TV Trays that came in for repairs. These folks said they just love their tables, use them daily and will be lost without them. I want to get them done quickly so I can send them back. I also have some bookkeeping to do this morning. And, the first step of any project is pulling the lumber I’ll need, but it’s raining again this morning. It’s supposed to clear up and be nice tomorrow, so that’s one more reason to use today for catching up and cleaning up. It’s a good thing I didn’t go pull lumber the first thing this morning. I would have pulled oak for the quilt curios that are next on the list. But I got a message from Marie letting me know that there is still a problem with those, so I need to go on to the next project. That would be the hickory rocking chair for Iliff. Click Me The repairs on the trays are just about done. I want to put one more skim-coat of poly on these just to be sure, then they’ll be ready to box up and send back. Workshop closes: 5:30 PM This evening I’m going to proof-read and tweak the article we posted over the weekend covering construction of the Kitchen Island we just delivered. Then it’s off to bed for me. These rainy Mondays wear me out even when I don’t do much.

Thursday, January 19

The Final Day Today was spent reassembling and testing everything. But first the early morning was spent trying to re-establish communications with our e-mail server. That was an adventure! Click Me It all looks good to us. I had to wait for help to arrive before rolling the thing back over on its feet – it’s a little too bulky/heavy for me to do this alone. Workshop closes: 6:15 PM This evening I will be working on the pictorial article on this project, although I will not be able to post the latest pictures until this weekend when I have access to a reliable connection. BellSloth is still very slow and fluky. Then I’ll work on some bids. We have several piled up to attend to. Tomorrow I will wrap the island for delivery. Since Jim & Ruth live not too far from here, we will deliver it to them ourselves this weekend. So my next posting will be on Monday. Have a good weekend!

Monday, January 16

Work day begins: 6:45 AM Heading out to build a fire in the workshop heat stove. After breakfast and seeing Marie off on her appointed rounds I got started dismantling the completed island in preparation to staining. Then, vacuumed the shop well and laid newspaper out over my work spaces. Then we begin staining the all the parts. This will take most of the day. The drawer fronts, drop door and self are stained and looking good. I’ll let them set up a bit during lunch then should be able to safely move them aside to make room for the cabinet doors. Afternoon break time and the doors are stained and drying -- just the casework to go. Click MeAll the staining work is done, now it has to sit overnight and cure. Hopefully there will be enough residual heat in the shop to hold out for a few more hours. The curing process stops when the temperature drops below around 45 degrees. It’s around 60 degrees in there now, but the sun is going down and the outside temperatures will drop off quickly. Workshop closes: 4:00 PM This evening I will attempt to work on the Kitchen Island article. I may have to build the web pages here and wait to upload the files until next Sunday when I can sit in the Community Center’s Internet hot spot to upload them. We’ll see how it goes.

Friday, January 13

Work day begins: 6:30 am Going out to build a fire in the heat stove, it’s chilly and damp this morning. Rain is coming in later on. It will be a good day to be working in doors. I have some e-mail to answer while the shop heats up. Several inquiries, and an invitation to go to Hawaii to go lumber shopping with Stew. I’ll have to decline that I’m afraid… just can’t get away this year. Pity. This morning I’m making the raised panels for the doors. Then I’ll test fit them into the rails and stiles I made yesterday. If all is well, I’ll glue the frames together (with the raised panels inside). Should get that done by lunch. Lunch time. All went well and the doors are glued up and sitting in clamps. After lunch and a mail run I’ll remove the clamps, route the outer edges and sand the rails and stiles. I sanded the panels before gluing up the doors. This afternoon I installed the hinges, hung the doors and built the baffle above the trash can. This completes construction. Tomorrow I’ll take some time to put things away and clean up. Then Monday I plan to begin the finishing stage. Shop closes 5:30 pm. This evening I'll continue to try to update web sites. Our internet service from BellSloth has become pitifully slow: less than 1 kps of data throughput most times. taht makes wen site maintenance difficult

Thursday, January 12

Wednesday

Workday begins: 6:00 am

 

I’ll try getting my notes started this morning, then maybe I’ll remember to send it this evening.  I’ve been unable to post my notes using the on-line Blogger form because of the extreme slowness of our internet connection.  Since a couple of week before Christmas, this has been a problem and no one seems to know what the problem is.

 

Posting messages via e-mail is an alternate method that seems to work OK, except that I can do no formatting and embed no links or photos.

 

We are looking into the problem.

 

Today will be a mixed-bag of a day.  We have to be back at Lowes for the official grand opening at mid day, but I plan to work in the shop before and after.  That’s my plan.

 

This morning however, I need to get some urgent web site updates done.  And I found this mornings’ e-mail to contain a new order to be processed, and another bid request to get started.  I’ve been working on those.

 

Change of plans. – I have to go to the post office to ship out this order we received from on-hand stock.  Then, Marie tells me, we have an appointment with the Tourism Director prior to the grand opening at Lowes.

 

When we’re done at Lowes, we’ll be heading to Sevier County

 

So…

Wednesday

Work day began: 7:00 am

 

Yesterday I set up the rail & stile router but set and routed some test pieces.  Using the test pieces I calculated that the finished length and width for the door frame parts needed to be, trimmed those parts to their finished dimensions and routed the fancy grooves and ogees on the inner edges. 

 

These details not only accept the raised panel that will go into them, but make it so that the ends of the rails mate up with the profile on the stiles for a good strong corner joint using a modified stub tenon.  Except that the top mortise cheek is shaped to lay against the roman ogee.

 

You see this joint in most professionally made doors with profiles edges.  Flat panel, square edged doors can use a standard mortise & tenon joint.

 

The results were good and all four doors came out well.

 

Then I used the completed frame to measure the precise size that the filler panels need to be and trimmed them to that size.

 

Finally, I set up the monstrous panel raiser bit in the router table and installed the auxiliary fencing.  The bit is to large that it won’t fit inside the regular fence.

 

I’ll work on that phase tomorrow.

 

I had to quit a little early to get cleaned up, retrieve Marie and get to the Pre-Grand Opening party at the new Lowes in Newport.  Marie was representing the Tourism Counsel and asked me to escort her.

 

Work Day Ended: 3:30 pm

Tuesday, January 10

Finally

The router bits that I’ve been waiting on finally arrived, so I spent the afternoon building set-up blocks and auxiliary fencing for the router table.

 

This morning I worked on web site stuff and bookkeeping – closing out the year 2005.  I should be about ready for the tax man now.

 

Also got word from Jim on his stain preference, so I could get started staining the carcass and drawer fronts.  But of course if I do that, I can not do any woodworking until the stain is set.  We’ll see what the weather is like tomorrow to see which I work on first.

 

 www.SmokyMountainWoodworks.com

Your source for quality, custom furniture

 

Yesterday

Monday morning I went out to the shop and cut a 45° chamfer around the top edge of the butcher block.  I’ve never liked big hard square corners, but a round-over didn’t fit in this piece either.  Since the drawer fronts and door panels use a straight bevel d├ęcor, the chamfer “fits in” better.

 

Afterward I was starting to work some more on re-stacking lumber but threatening clouds moved in.  I decided to stop that project and put things back together before I got caught by rain with all that lumber laying out in the open.

 

I went inside to work on web sites and wait for the UPS truck – hoping that those router bits would show up.

 

They didn’t.  Sigh.  But I did hear from Jim with is stain selection that evening.

Friday, January 6

Work day begins: 7:00 AM Time to go fire up the heat stove, then will check and handle e-mail. Shop Opens: 8:00 AM This morning I continue the sanding: take the butcher block top down to the next grade, then do the casework as well. The top will go two more grades, 150 & 220, but because of the stain, I’ll stop at 150 for the case work. If I sand too fine, the stain will have too few places to lodge and the color will be too light. Most stains don’t actually penetrate the wood. Aniline dyes do; their molecular structure is so small that they actually sink beneath the surface of the wood and produce a wonderfully life-like appearance. But they are available only in a few colors that must be combined to create custom colors, they are supplied in powder form that it extremely concentrated, therefore mixing is done with measurers that are the size of a grain of rice. Their results – when properly used – are wonderful, but they are quite difficult to use, and can be dangerous. Normal pigmented stains consist of small globs of color suspended in a carrier. The carrier evaporates, leaving the globs to lodge in the pores and fissures of the wood. In most woods, the grain consists of alternating bands of early wood and late wood. The early wood is what is produced during the fast growth periods of spring and summer. It is usually lighter in color and a bit more porous. The late wood is the slow growth wood produced in the fall and winter. It is denser, harder, and darker. When stained, the more porous early wood offers more places for the stain globs to lodge than the harder, smoother late wood, so the natural light–dark pattern of the wood is generally reversed in stained wood. To the trained eye, this looks quite un-natural. Sorry for the side trip, sometimes I just flip into lecture mode. Before I sanded the case work, I rolled it upside down and installed the leveler blocks. This included drilling small holes through the bottom of the cabinet floor so the levelers can be adjusted from above with a small screwdriver. Click Me That is about all I can do until the router bits for making the doors arrive. They were shipped a couple of days ago. It is possible they could arrive this afternoon. Workshop closes: 12:00 PM Normally I’d use idle time like this to work on another project, but since this project is taking up all the available space in the shop – it’s not a large shop – I have no space to work on anything else. So I’ll go work on posting more inventory to Treasure’s new web store.

Thursday, January 5

Work day begins: 7:00 AM Handling this mornings e-mail.  I see lots of messages in there, we’ll see how many are really anything Click Me Today I am trimming the completed island top to finished size and sanding.  Lots of sanding. Workshop closes: 5:10 PM I'm going to bed early tonight, I don't feel well.

Yesterdays posting

Work day begins: 7:00 AM I need to take care of a little on-line banking this morning and look in on the e-mail. Shop Opens: 8:00 AM This morning I will be smoothing down the halves of the island top using a surface planer. Click Me The top has been surfaced, jointed and glued together. After the glue sets up I will be able to do the finish trim across the ends and it will be ready to begin sanding. I got the thumbs-up from Jim last night: the pulls I found are a match, so I spent the rest of the morning making a lay-out guide and drilling mounting holes in the drawer fronts for the pulls. I won’t actually mount them until after these pieces have been stained and finished. When I got back from my after lunch walk, I inspected the island top and saw that the two halves had slid about 1/4" out of alignment, so the ends are nowhere near flush. I could trim them flush again, but the top would be 1/32 inch shorter than I planned. I had left a little for the final trim, but not enough to cover this. Then I noticed that I had -- somehow -- managed to put one of the halves into the clamps upside down. That's bad. That’s very bad. It throws the grain color scheme off entirely. “Well”, I thought, “I'll just break them apart and do it again... It's only been a couple of hours, the bond can't be that strong yet.” Click Me I laid a couple of thick bar clamps on the floor, laid the top across the clamps with the clamps under the outer edges. I then proceeded to stand, then jump on the middle of the top, trying to pop the newly glued joint apart. No go. That Titebond III wood glue is really tough stuff! I'm going to have to run the monster through my table saw to separate the parts so I can glue them back together the right way. As Winnie The Pooh would say, "Oh bother!" OK, the booboo is fixed and all is right with the world once again. Workshop closes: 4:53 PM

Tuesday, January 3

Work day begins: 6:48 AM Checking e-mail, I find 4 inquiries to handle this morning. Shop Opens: 8:00 AM This morning I will apply the finish to the stain sample boards I made up yesterday and get them ready to mail out. The rest of the morning will be spent gluing up the other half of the island top. Click Me The other half of the top is glued up and will sit in clamps overnight. I lacquered the drawer box, installed the slides, and attached the drawer front. The drawer is now complete. Of course, I’ll have to take it apart again when I stain the casework. There is no more I can do this afternoon. Tomorrow I’ll plane the top pieces, joint them and glue them together. Workshop closes: 3:55 PM The rest of the afternoon and this evening will be spent working on web site stuff.

Monday, January 2

Work day begins: 5:28 AM I’ve got a lot of reading to catch up on, and some files to upload yet, so I’m getting an early start. Hopefully now that the holidays are over the reliability of our Internet connection will improve. During the holiday period our computer would connect at a speed of 47 to 52 K/sec but our data through put typically averaged 0.32 to 0.47 K/sec (about 1/2 of a K on a 56 K modem). This meant that the connection would time out before we succeeded in transferring files or even get our e-mail to send and receive. It’s been very frustrating. Shop Opens: 8:00 AM It’s about 60° degrees this morning, no need for a fire, but it is raining, so I’ll get nothing more done on my lumber stacks today. Just as well, though, Jim’s hardware has arrived so I can resume assembling the island. First, though, I need to produce some stain boards. Both Jim and Stew have requested samples, so I might as well get those done before I stir up a lot of saw dust. Then I’ll work on jointing the parts for the butcher block top of the island and begin the gluing-up process. Click Me It’s quitting time and I have half of the butcher block top glued up. I’m gluing just one half at a time because that’s all that will go through my planer at one time. Once both halves are glued up and surface planed to exactly the same thickness, I’ll joint the two halves and glue them together. Workshop closes: 5:00 PM This evening I’ll be printing out newsletters for all the Treasures artists, stuffing them into the envelopes that already contain their paychecks and inventory summaries and getting them ready to mail out tomorrow. If I have some extra time, I’ll continue working on the new Treasures On-Line Store, as I still have almost a hundred items to post.
Work day begins: 5:28 AM I’ve got a lot of reading to catch up on, and some files to upload yet, so I’m getting an early start. Hopefully now that the holidays are over the reliability of our Internet connection will improve. During the holiday period our computer would connect at a speed of 47 to 52 K/sec but our data through put typically averaged 0.32 to 0.47 K/sec (about 1/2 of a K on a 56 K modem). This meant that the connection would time out before we succeeded in transferring files or even get our e-mail to send and receive. It’s been very frustrating. Shop Opens: 8:00 AM It’s about 60° degrees this morning, no need for a fire, but it is raining, so I’ll get nothing more done on my lumber stacks today. Just as well, though, Jim’s hardware has arrived so I can resume assembling the island. First, though, I need to produce some stain boards. Both Jim and Stew have requested samples, so I might as well get those done before I stir up a lot of saw dust. Then I’ll work on jointing the parts for the butcher block top of the island and begin the gluing-up process. Click Me It’s quitting time and I have half of the butcher block top glued up. I’m gluing just one half at a time because that’s all that will go through my planer at one time. Once both halves are glued up and surface planed to exactly the same thickness, I’ll joint the two halves and glue them together. Workshop closes: 5:00 PM This evening I’ll be printing out newsletters for all the Treasures artists, stuffing them into the envelopes that already contain their paychecks and inventory summaries and getting them ready to mail out tomorrow. If I have some extra time, I’ll continue working on the new Treasures On-Line Store, as I still have almost a hundred items to post.
Already one of the nations leading importers of other people's trash, Michigan is now no longer protected by restrictions on new landfills, thanks to the Republicans who control our state legislature. Once again the worlds largest body of fresh water, the Great Lakes, is being treated like a toilet bowl. 2Farticle?AID=/20051231/METRO/51230073">