Mortiser Adjustments

August 6, 2022 2 comments

It takes time to learn the tips and tricks of the tools we use and often if everything is operating correctly there is little need to explore manuals. When I acquired the Powermatic Mortiser last year, I spent some time cleaning it and browsing through the manual. The machine has performed well, until I noticed that it was not holding the longitudinal (best description I could come up with) setting and creeping as I made longer mortises.

My first instinct was to check the alignment of the drill bit, but it appeared to be correct. Next I compared the movement of both the lateral and longitudinal adjustment wheels and noticed a distinct difference. The longitudinal adjustment turned freely while the lateral was stiff.

It was clear that I needed to find a way of holding the adjustment and looked for a knob on the handle similar to those on table saws…not there. After a little thought, I discovered the gibs on the side of the table and then the wing nut.

Additionally I went back to the manual to see if there was any advice on how tight to set the gibs. Interestingly there is no mention of these adjustments and the although they are pointed out in the parts diagram and list, the purpose is not obvious.

I started writing this blog to share a little bit of information, however it has really made me come to realize that many of the tools and skills we acquire over time require a certain amount of basic knowledge of mechanics, a willingness to try and fail and access to information. Fortunately the internet can provide a great resource and if you are in luck there may be someone you follow or a neighbor that is willing to answer your questions.

Categories: Tools

Cherry Coffee Table – Prep

July 31, 2022 Leave a comment

Several months ago while picking up lumber for the Walnut Coffee table, I also purchased lumber for a cherry table. I’m glad I made the purchase at that time since prices have increased dramatically. My vision for the table changed at the last minute when I thought about how much I enjoined the joinery on the Paul Sellers table I made a few years ago. I used a similar shelf on the bar cart as well. I’m just a gluten for mortise and tenon joints.

When I purchased the lumber I had smaller legs in mind so was content with 8/4. Now I’m going to need to stretch it so that I can get 2 1/4 finished legs out of it. Several of you have noticed an increased use of power tools in the last year. I have always used power tools where it makes sense and hand tools where they are most effective or I get more joy. Most projects start with the break down of stock and I always reach for my hand saws. Today I grabbed the Bad Axe D8. It’s pure pleasure to use this saw. As I write this post I went back and realized that I have had this saw for five years and It seems that long enough to truly recommend it.

Since I am using rough lumber, I flattened one edge with my hand planes, in this case a Stanley #7. Then used the planer for the remainder of the dimensioning, I talked about the use of sleds in the planer rather than the jointer in a previous post.

In order to make the legs the correct dimensions I needed to glue a 1/2” strip before cutting the board into individual legs.

Now the hard part, which side faces out…….

Saw Blade Returns

June 26, 2022 Leave a comment

The saw blade that I damaged with the saw stop a couple of weeks ago has returned with the repairs complete and resharpened. I’m absolutely amazed with the speed of the service. It was shipped on a Monday and back in my hands 12 days later!

Categories: Uncategorized

Expensive Milli-second

June 21, 2022 3 comments

Often the worst part of a mistake is admitting it and the barrage of questions that follow. I’ve always believed that the only way to get better is to admit your mistakes, share them so others don’t make them and take your punishment. Today I packaged up my Forrest saw blade for repair and resharpening and purchased a new Sawstop cartridge, not due to a possible injury, but because I brought a tenoning jig too close to the blade.

A couple of changes since this event occurred. I have added a piece of plywood to the surface of my tenoning jig to move the cast iron further from the blade, I will in the future be cutting on the outside of the tenon not on the inside.

Categories: Tools

The Planes in my hand

May 13, 2022 1 comment

Watching YouTube and reading many blogs, it appears everyone has an opinion on the tools a woodworker should own. I much prefer to see a picture of someone’s bench to see the planes that have actually been used.

In my tool chest and cabinet are all the standard size bench planes with the exception of a number 1. Numbers 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 stand ready for use like chess pieces on a board. Obviously the project you work on often dictates the tool you should use, however there are three bench planes that will most likely find their way into my hand.

Sargent #409 – This plane is used on most projects and although officially a smoother has been used as a shooting plane, jointer, straight edge, and clamping caul. Occasionally if I’m doing a lot of work I’ll also have a Stanley #4 on the bench just to keep moving between sharpening. If you are asking why the Sargent before the Stanley , Ill direct you to another blog, but in reality it just fits differently and I like the look.

Stanley #7

A Stanley #5 is the go to plane for many people and I can’t disagree with the utility of the plane. It can handle most of the jobs of the #4 and many of the jobs of the #7, however I rarely find it on my bench. If I’m reaching for a larger plane it’s generally because I’m working a great length of wood of several feet and the bed length is critical to providing the surface I am looking for. It also has more mass. The #7 does not have the mass of a #8 which makes it easier to use and although I’ve used my #8 a few times I have not come across anything that a #7 can’t handle.

Finally my favorite bench plane is the Stanley#3 or Sargent 407. I may not use it as much as the Sargent 409 but I get a tingle when I reach for it in the cabinet. There is emotional magnetism with this plane that makes me want to use it. The lighter weight and slightly shorter bed makes it ideal for may of the small projects that I tackle.

Many people follow my blog and occasionally I get the question which plane should someone buy. It’s not something that can be easily answered, but I would initially get a #4 and if you are working with longer boards find a #7, I don’t think you would go wrong. If money is a driving factor you could get away with a #5. The other question that I’ve had is about the Lie Nielsen and Veritas versions. They’re great! When I started gathering tools the Stanley planes were widely available, very cheap and easy to repair. Today they are more expensive but still a bargain. It seemed like a low cost way to go and I’ve been very happy with my choice.

Categories: Tools

Walnut Side Table – Finishing the Top

May 1, 2022 Leave a comment

The Walnut side table has been a very enjoyable project. It was small had fun joints and is very useful. The top was screeed to the legs using oversized holes and brass screws, and once complete a final coat of finish was added.

A couple of features that add character were the use of the bridal joints and through tennons along with chamfering the top. I am particularly happy with the chamfer and how it lightened the top by giving it a thinner profile.

Thanks for following along, time for a new project!

Categories: Walnut Side table

Walnut Side Table Top Update

April 25, 2022 Leave a comment

As several of you pointed out the last post concerning the crack in the side table top was unclear and incomplete. I must have accidentally sent it out over the weekend before I finished writing. Here’s the full story….

The underside was chamfered to lighten the appearance of the top. While I was using the router clamps were used to hold it in place. Unfortunately I did not ensure that the top was fully supported and after completing the routing and putting the router away the top cracked. It is a clean break over most of the length with a jagged edge on one end. I do not have pictures of my poor clamping method which consisted of a couple of boards underneath to allow the router to travel around the outside without touching the table top. I certainly should have used a better method.

Categories: Uncategorized

Walnut Side Table – Top Cracks

April 24, 2022 4 comments

After gluing up the Table Top, rough sawing the circular outline, routing and then chamfering I guess the glue joint on the table decided it had enough.It’s a clean break most of the way down the glue line so I just added a little more glue worked it into the joint and clamped it up. Not a bad problem to solve!

Categories: Walnut Side table

Circle Jig for a Router

April 20, 2022 Leave a comment

I have on completed two circular projects, the first an Arts and Craft Side table and the second a similar design out of Walnut. The first attempt at cutting a circle was made using a jig and band saw and I was none to impressed with he result. Here’s a link to that blog post and If I recall correctly the limited amount that I write of that experience tells you it did not go well. When a similar project came up for the Walnut side table I took a little more time to research and come up with a plan that would have better results.

The jig I used was in a fine woodworking article, 4 Jigs for a Fixed Base, September-October 2014. It’s fairly simple and consists of a plywood arm with the Router mounted on one end and a pin that becomes the pivot point for the arm. Taking some 1/2” plywood I drew out the arm and cut it out with he bandsaw and drilled the necessary holes.

Making the Pin

The jog looks like this when it is ready for action. I wasn’t quite sure how to connect it to the table top and departed drilling a hole directly into the top. Instead I mounted a couple of trips of blue tape to the table top and another couple of strips to a block in which I drilled the pivot hole and used superglue between the tape. That way I could peel the block off the top and leave not trace. It worked great.

although the jig worked and I was able to make a nice circular edge I do think that the jig was a little lose around the pin. when i use the jig again I think I will reinforce the hole to ensure it remains steady.

Categories: Jigs

Walnut Side Table – Top

April 16, 2022 Leave a comment

Looking through various books and images I’ve been considering the impact of changing the edges of the table top. When I made the Arts and Craft Side table a few years ago the top was approximately 7/8” thick and I wonder about the impact of a different edge. Many authors discuss “lightening” the look of the top with chamfers.

Before we work on the edges let’s get the top built. Using the smaller jointing sled mentioned in one of my previous posts I Milled up stock for the top and glued them together.

Next I planed the top flat (one day I’ll do a better job in the glue up and have less work to do). Reviewing my notes from the Arts and Craft Side table it was obvious that I had a heck of a time with the circular top. There’s several ways that I could tackle it, Bandsaw, router, hand saw so I spent a little time researching alternatives and came to the conclusion that I will trim with my bandsaw and using my router to fine tune the circle. Using a Fine woodworking article a jig was made and the top trimmed into a circle. If you are a Fine Woodworking Member or have access to a library here’s the article: 4 Jigs for a Fixed Base, September-October 2014.

I trimmed the circle first with a flush cutting bit and then I followed along with a chamfer pit. The Chamfer posed a minor problem since the hole was smaller than the router bit. I had to make a quick base to take care of the problem.

I’ll write more details on the jig and how I attached it in another article.

Categories: Walnut Side table