Shelix Planer

March 20, 2022 4 comments

I have typically flattened one side of a board using traditional bench planes and used a Delta 22-560 Planer to flatten the other side. This has sped up my work process and kept me sane when I have limited shop time. I’m guessing the planer was purchased 20 plus years ago and I have been extremely happy. Sometimes I consider a larger planer but in reality the 12 1/2” has worked fine and it is very rare that I use a board that it can not handle. Over several years I have been watching many people install helical cutter heads in their planers and claiming better performance and lower noise.

Over the last couple of years the typical planer blades that I have purchased have disappeared and the blades purchased recently wear quickly. Many years ago Delta was the go to planer but this has quickly been overcome buy the Dewalt Planers. Subsequently knives are harder to find and I think most manufacturers focus on the higher volume sales for the Dewalt Planers. Where does that leave the owners of the Delta tools? Poor knives, new Planer or new cutter head.

Maybe I will look at larger pieces of equipment in the future but for now, I am content with the lunchbox planer. The Dealt planers have a good reputation but why change what I already have for a similar system. I opted to install a new Shelix cutter head and ordered it a few weeks ago.

I took about four hours to remove and install the new head and along the way I have a few observations. Tools the average home owner may not have….15/16 wrench, and a bearing puller. Most home wrench and socket sets stop at 7/8”, fortunately I had the larger wrench and more importantly a bearing puller. Why I have that, I don’t recall, but it has sat in the bottom of the tool chest for years. The instructions were a little shaky and there are none for my model, but between instructions for other brands I figured out what needed to be done.

Once complete I took it for a test run immediately smelling burning plastic and managed to locate a couple of pieces of plastic. And a hole in the pulley guard.

Obviously something wasn’t right and after a little search I realized that the nut that came with the nut on the new head was a different thickness and rubbed on the guard. I contemplated looking for a different nut but instead opted to put a couple of shims to push the guard above the nut.

Overall the installation process was ok, but I wouldn’t want to take it on without the right tools and some mechanical knowledge. The instructions definitely leave something to be desired. The cut quality is excellent and for that I’m happy with the product.

Categories: Tools

Tidy Shop

March 19, 2022 Leave a comment

The sound was normal, the swish of the plane communicating its sharpness and performance, air blowing through the vent with a sigh of warmth, a hammer’s tap as someone builds a garden shed. Turning around, looking for the source of my discomfort, it hit me like a sudden scent of danger….my shop is a mess!

There are three projects in different stages of production, boxes that have not been put away from a move a year and a half ago, drawers left open from hastily grabbed tools and a great need to sweep the floor, oh and a full dust collector and trash can.

I did not see it coming but my mind sounded the alarm through a sense of discomfort that something needed to be done and it need doing now. A couple of hours later the bench and table saw were clear and the floor swept but there was more that needed doing.

Categories: Uncategorized

Walnut Coffee Table, Chamfer and Finish

March 13, 2022 Leave a comment

Finishing is certainly not my strong point and not my favorite part of a project, however it’s the final step to seeing it all complete. I have been struggling with chip out on the edges of the table top and finally decided to chamfer them to remove the damage and prevent any more from occurring. Not sure if this is a Walnut normalcy, but I have not had this problem with other lumber.

The finish for the table is shellac, polyurethane and wax. Simple, and allows the wood to speak for itself.

The final step is attaching the tabletop to the base. Fortunately when I was cutting the side rails I remembered to cut slots for the

Filling Knots with Epoxy

January 29, 2022 4 comments

Trying a new process is always a great challenge and continues to grow the types of projects I can tackle. The Walnut that I used for the Walnut Coffee Table and Walnut Side table had typical knots, it seems like a great opportunity to try an epoxy fill

Wandering around the local home store I searched for epoxy and the only thing I could find was Gorilla Brand. It may be fine but I also knew that I needed to tint it black.

Perhaps a more professional approach and some research would be helpful. I’ve read many articles and seen you tube videos of the river tables and other uses so I went to my usual source of information and found an article and video clip, #194–Nov/Dec 2007 Issue of Fine Woodworking. I then decided that since I could not find any local epoxy, to go to Lee Valley and order the Epoxy and Tint.

The epoxy came as a kit and the tint was also available at Lee Valley, no, I’m not cleaning it up so you can see the brand just go to the web site and look up tint.

I grabbed all the prep material I needed, cardboard to protect my bench, mixing sticks, paper towel and a board to mix on. Next I cleaned up the knots and removed Andy loose material with mineral spirits.

The epoxy mixed easily and it only took a small amount of tint, then I left it over night to harden.

I used both a plane and scrapers to flatten the hardened epoxy. With a little work the knots were filled and I was able to move on with finishing. As the first time using epoxy I have no experience to compare with other products and would love hearing others experience.

Categories: Techniques

Walnut coffee Table – Top

January 26, 2022 Leave a comment

I have heard many people discuss whether to make the top first or last. I don’t see any reason to do one over the other. For this project the top was done last. Milling was typical slog of passing boards through the jointer followed by hand planing the edges and running the opposite edge through the table saw.

I used two planes to work the edges. Stanley #4 to rough the edges followed by a #7. I needed the longer plane due to the 48” length of the boards.

With the edges jointed and parallel I glued up the top and let it sit overnight. The next day was spent planing and smoothing. I did notice a couple of knots which will need to be filled.

Trimming the edges was done on the Tablesaw and hand planed with a very sharp plane. I also noticed a couple of Knots that needed to be filled, so as you read I am also reading about how to use Epoxy.

Categories: Walnut Coffee Table

Walnut Coffee Table – Side Rails

January 22, 2022 Leave a comment

Making the upper and lower rails was an exercise in planing boards and cutting tenons. I did most of the work by hand and forgot to take pictures.

Oops. The lower rail is just over an inch square, when I was test fitting the pieces I realized that I left one of the tenons longer than the others and when pulling it loose it snapped. I used the mortiser to drill out the broken piece and made another to fit. Lesson learned. Lower rails should have thicker tenons.

Finally I was able to assemble the table legs and sides.

The glue up was relatively uneventful.

Categories: Walnut Coffee Table

Walnut Coffee Table – Legs

January 15, 2022 Leave a comment

There comes a time in the woodworking journey that an epiphany occurs. As you look at the work of others and study pictures on line or in articles you realize that all of your hard work to make tight joints and smooth tops doesn’t make for the perfect piece. Suddenly you realize the importance of wood selection and grain, shadow lines and many small details. I’m not sure when that realization occurred,but i’m certainly aware and trying to work on executing on that knowledge.

Cutting the end of the 8/4 board it becomes clear that these are flat sawn. Reference the fine drawing that I made on the left. If I cut this board into the four legs as intended I will end up with two sides with intersecting grain and two with flat grain. Since I want legs that are 1 15/16” I don’t have a lot of options to cut diagonally across and make the grain similar on all legs but I am certainly becoming more aware and will consider where the legs are placed on the table. In the picture below you can certainly see the grain difference on the two sides of the leg and follow it across the bottom.

Back to woodworking. I used the sled to hoping the lumber and then cut the legs to size, hand planing each one to the same dimensions and ensuring they were square. Looking at the grain pattern I laid out the mortises for the side rails and lower rails and used my mortising machine to cut the mortises. This was the first time that I have used it on a project and it was very satisfying

Standing up all the legs you can see the grain and that I placed the flat sawn edges on the side of the table (right and left). Lot more to learn but it’s on my mind.

Categories: Walnut Coffee Table

Walnut Coffee Table – Lumber

January 13, 2022 Leave a comment

Procrastination is an art that I suppose could continue for ever. Today however was the time to begin preparing the material for a walnut coffee table. Walnut is a new species in my shop and I’m looking forward to learning about its desire to be turned into furniture.

All projects begin with a plan followed by choosing and preparing lumber. The dimensions for this table are roughly based on a previous table I made designed by Paul Sellers. It’s a simpler table but should satisfy its future owner. I used the same method for preparing the wood as I outlined in the Jointing without a jointer blog and it worked great. This is where I made the longer sled to fit the lumber needed for the side rails and top. Not long after the picture was taken I realized that I forgot to hook up the dust collector. The magical on off switch doesn’t work if the hose is disconnected.

Walnut milled nicely on the planer and I even milled several pieces by hand.

Categories: Walnut Coffee Table

Jointing without a Jointer

January 5, 2022 3 comments

Since moving a couple of years ago I never took the time to reassemble my jointer, perhaps not having the space, but in reality I have not needed it. For the last year I have reached for my Stanley #7 and flattened one side and then used my planer to finish the opposite side.

This month however I tried something totally different that I know several of you have done for wider boards. I built a Planer sled out of 3/4 plywood and a piece of scrap that was about 48” long and 11” wide. The lower board is made out of two pieces of plywood glued together to make it as rigid as possible. The smaller I assembled to handle shorter pieces.

Next I cut several wedges and placed the board I wanted to Joint on the sled and used the wedges to level it. Next I send it through the planer to flatten one side, then flip it over and now I have both sides flat and parallel. Works like a charm!

Dust Collector Switch

December 29, 2021 5 comments

Sometimes safety is all about making the right thing easy. Turning on my dust collector seems like an easy thing but when I have to walk around to the other side of my table saw in the middle of a project it often gets overlooked. There are a lot of expensive solutions, some that automatically start when a piece of equipment starts, some that even control ventilation gates. Perhaps the easiest solution is having a remote in your apron pocket that allows you to select what to turn on and at the press of a button you can turn the dust collector off and on.

A remote control and 5 plug in adapters, hopefully this is the cure fro my lazy streak!

Categories: Tools