Category Archives: Woodworking

Thanksgiving Day

We have so much to be thankful for!

We’re having our big get-together tomorrow so all the kids involved can also celebrate the holiday with other family members as well. We are all pretty much in good health at the moment. We’re looking forward to a fulfilling future. We’re grateful for the ancestors who survived, in spite of many challenges, to extend the familial pedigrees up to this day.

A  recent tendency is to “boo-hiss” the Pilgrims who came to America and displaced (a generic way of stating it) the Natives.  I don’t think I have any actual Mayflower ancestors, but Skip does. Some of our ancestors may not have done the right thing. They could have stayed in England, or France, or Ireland, or Germany, or (according to Skip’s DNA map) an obscure island out in the middle of the ocean, but somewhere down the line they made a decision to come to the New World. Did they ever imagine a time when someone could record their thoughts and instantly project them, electronically, to folks around the world, without waiting months for a letter in return? Thankful for communications, media, technology. Even though it will, at times, make me totally crazy.

puzzle Thanksgiving 2016 jennyskip
Thanksgiving 2016 wooden puzzle

Here’s the panel I hastily painted for Skip to cut into puzzle pieces–about 120 pieces.

back of puzzle jennyskip
cutting pattern on back of puzzle

We’ve made puzzles before that have the pieces cut out first, then we painted a picture on top of the cut-out pieces. He likes it better to have the image painted on first, then he draws a jigsaw pattern on the back and uses the pattern as a guide for where to cut with the saw blade.

Prior to cutting, he masked the image on the front with painter’s tape. Then, after cutting out, he removed the pieces of tape.

tape jennyskip
painter’s tape

Cutting the pieces generates some dust and small fibrous pieces on the cut edges, which we will deal with once the puzzle is reassembled.

puzzle in box jennyskip
in a lidded plastic box for safekeeping

Next step: printing a copy of the subject matter to attach to the box so the kids will know what the puzzle is supposed to look like.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pick Your Passion, 2nd Year in a Row: Quilting, Woodworking, Football, and Bluegrass!

Last year about this time, I blogged about the local Quilting and Bluegrass Festival, here. This year it was very similar, but more so!

Similarities: the Festival was held on a day when our college town had a football game. The Festival showcases 100+ gorgeous quilted works of art. One of the bands that played last year came back:  Patchwork. The vendors and store owners in the center had cool crafty eye candy to ponder and peruse, and the quilts were truly marvelous to behold!

Skip was busy helping out with an Eagle Scout project, which consisted of building some chairs for a community group home (he loves it when the younger generation wants to do woodworking),

Eagle scout woodworking jennyskip
Eagle Scout woodworking project

so I sashayed up to the local shopping center to see some quilts.

quilt raffle jennyskip
I entered three raffles, hope I win them!

Several of these pics include an information sheet pinned to the quilt, so you can zoom up and see the details, thereby crediting those who produced these amazing articles.

Celestial Soda Pop jennyskip
Celestial Soda Pop
Gator Life jenny skip
Gator Life by Lucy Goddard-Teel
craft corridors jennyskip
cool crafts in the corridors
smaller quilts jennyskip
gorgeous smaller quilts
hubby quilt jennyskip
The Hubby Quilt

 

I learned there are several quilt guilds in the area, holding meetings at various times, day or night. So there ought to be one that fits the schedule of just about any quilter or  wannabe-quilter in town.

 

 

Overshot jennyskip
This one features Overshot squares made with fabrics woven by the quilt maker
raffle Jennyskip
This quilt is to be raffled off in May…
australian dreams jennyskip
“Australian Dreams” by Charlotte Mason
hand quilted Lockward jennyskip
“The Bear Went Over the Mountain” HAND-QUILTED by Doris Lockward

 

Skinny Minnie jennyskip
Skinny MInnie table runner

I bought this cute mini-table runner from one of the vendors. It’s a great little project to place on a side table in the house during football season. Speaking of which, gotta go watch the game…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s no puzzle why ghouls like Halloween

by Skip

ghoul puzzle jennyskip
ghoulish ghoul puzzle

According to Dictionary.com :

“Come Halloween, miniature ghosts, ghouls, and goblins ring your doorbell. But each of the three freaky frights has a different history and personality.”

“One of the only features these staples of the supernatural share is their ghastliness. Ghosts are considered to be the souls of the dead. They are imagined as disembodied spirits, and are often visualized as vague or evanescent forms; hence, the white sheet routine. The Old English gast means “soul, spirit, life, breath.” A red blood cell having no hemoglobin is also called a ghost. ”

The details behind ghoul are far more malevolent and may have inspired a horror film or two. “

According to Wikipedia,

“A ghoul is a monster or evil spirit associated with graveyards and consuming human flesh.”

“In modern fiction, the term has often been used for a certain kind of undead monster. By extension, the word ghoul is also used in a derogatory sense to refer to a person who delights in the macabre, or whose profession is linked directly to death, such as a gravedigger or grave robber.”

This puzzle started with what I envisioned as a ghost.  However, my skill at drawing in a Word file is extremely limited. So, as you can see from the file I ultimately loaded into the Full Spectrum laser, this could have been anything; ghost, ghoul, goblin or even a skull.

After I cut out the puzzle, I glued on a back to make it a tray puzzle, and after sanding each piece, I put the puzzle together and gave it a white primer coat of paint.  I did have to sand each edge of the puzzle a little to loosen it up. The laser makes such a fine cut that it is very difficult to take it apart and put it back together.

After applying the primer, I turned the puzzle over to my wife to again use her artistic talent to make a pearl out of a pig’s ear, although a pig’s ear probably looks a lot better than my puzzle outline. My wife really got into this which really worries me about what goes on in her mind!!  After all, she use to work for the property tax collector’s office, so she is familiar with ghouls…which I think inspired her to paint such a ghastly figure!  Compare this to the sweet Jack o’lantern she painted last year for my Laser Jack puzzle.

Hope you enjoy the outcome!  Subscribe to our YouTube channel and our blog for more projects.

 

Display Cabinet Build #7

The display cabinet is finally (almost) finished! It’s been a long project, slowed down even further because of personal injuries, a hurricane, and multiple design changes during the construction, but we’re so happy with it.

display jennyskip
display

We ordered the glass for the shelves and mirror, and originally planned to pick it up ourselves with the help of our friend Ray and his truck. Then Skip wrenched his ankle, and we decided carrying glass around might not be a good idea, so we rescheduled the delivery and asked for the Glass Company professionals to install it.

Then—wouldn’t you know it—Hurricane Hermine blew in, and the delivery was postponed again.

display jennyskip
display
display
display

Once the mirror was epoxied in, we were able to mount the shelves on the brass rods.

display
display glass

We ordered the mirror backing to be 1/8 inch thick, and the glass shelves with a 1/2-inch bevel on the front edges.

case
case

We’re going to place felt dots on the undersides of the shelves at the points where they sit on the brass rods. And then Skip will add some molding to the outer perimeter of the mirror.

quilts jennyskip
displaying quilts

Shown above are some tentative display items. We’re enthused that we can vary the items we decide to display. According to proper fengshui, you shouldn’t place a mirror directly opposite a door, but I’m hoping that the friendly, creative, familial Qi of the objects we’ve chosen to feature  on the shelves will be retained in the home. Currently, nothing is on the lower shelf, because the kittens have been jumping up there and lounging on the shelf with great delight. They are able to reach their little paws up into the next shelf, so we must favor kitten-proof display items there.

display jenny skip
close up of display items

The lower shelf has two quilts my grandmother made, and an antique glass service plaque (see more about the origin of service banners and plaques here). BTW, we saw an awesome video recently  about making a wooden service banner, from Opa’s Workshop (click to watch!). As for the two quilts, the one on the bottom is chronicled here in a prior post. The top one is a Dresden Plate quilt that was probably originally made in the 1950’s or 60’s. I can see places where my mom tried to mend it with fabric that I recognize from my own stash, part of which I inherited from her stash!

The middle shelf has an antique quilt that my great grandmother made (see a prior post on this quilt here) to the left, and a woven pine needle mat that was made by my grandmother, circa 1960.

The upper shelf has several quilt mats hand-sewn by my mother during the last few years of her life, when much of her precise quilting skills and abilities were stolen by Alzheimer’s disease. But it is heart-warming to me, that she enjoyed piecing beautiful fabrics together into practical projects, even up to the end.

Here’s the You-tube composite of the whole process.

 

 

 

Early Morning Walking Before and After Hermine Made Landfall

Didn’t want to let a hurricane keep me from my morning walk, did I?

Yesterday morning as I walked in the neighborhood (Central Florida) it was sort of misty and drizzling–“mizzling” as they call it.

mizzle pre-Hermine
walking in the pre-Hermine mizzle September 1

We did all the usual hurricane preparedness things: (1) stocking up at the grocery store (other shoppers  were buying gallon plastic jugs of water and batteries, my cart was full of BOGO Klondike bars… #thugmormon) (2) making sure we had plenty of pop-top cans of Fancy Feast, the cats’ preferred food, and Super Clump litter, (3) located the car cell phone charger…

DSCN1657
pre-Hermine morning sun

Usually it’s a false alarm in our area, as we are sufficiently inland. But the power went off at two-something AM, and it’s still off at almost noon Friday. Rain bands are still swirling across the state. Right now it’s sunny; two minutes ago rain was pelting our roof like a barrage of bullets.

Hermine fallout
tree debris this morning, September 2

We drove around town charging our cell phones and checking to see which McDonalds’ were open, and saw lots of tree fallout and a fallen tree blocking a side road.

The mirror and glass shelving were supposed to be delivered today to finish the display cabinet, so we don’t know if the glass company will chance it.

display cabinet
display cabinet waiting for its final accoutrements

Hoping everyone is safe and weathering the storm as it makes its way north and east.

 

Display Cabinet Update #5

by Skip

Another display cabinet build update!  I’ll be so glad when this thing is done!

display cabinet jenny skip
major design changes

From our last update, there have been some major design changes. First, I decided to add lights to the underside of the cabinet top. I used a combination of LED light strips and LED puck lamps. Using a remote control, the LED light strip can be turned on and off, dimmed and can change colors. The pucks are controlled by a switch but I plan to add a remote control to these.

I then installed glass keepers on the inside perimeter of the cabinet upper rails and cut and installed a plastic lens from a fluorescent light fixture.

display cabinet lighting
lighting in the top of the cabinet

Second, I added foam weatherstripping to the top edge of the cabinet so when I added the top and fastened it down, it provided a light tight joint.  Third, I decided to add additional brass trim on the top rails and add corbels at each corner of the top. Fourth, I decided against adding glass to the cabinet sides. As I mentioned before, the design of this cabinet evolved during construction, bad idea usually.  Looking at the support rods for the glass shelves, it was going to be just too tight to try to install the glass panels with keepers in the existing 5/8 inch space.  Using 1/8 inch thick glass over the vertical span with no muttons was risky, in my mind. This change was also reinforced by the fact that I have many (emphasis on many) young rambunctious grandchildren.  Not sure the glass would survive a visit. So I punted and decided to go mission style and add vertical slats to each side of the cabinet, pinning them top and bottom with brass pegs. Maybe too much brass!?!

The cabinet has been moved to its new home where I will add the slats over the next few weeks. I’m going to wait to add the glass shelves and mirror after the grandchildren visit next week.

Display Cabinet Update

by skip

It has been several weeks since the last update on the display cabinet. Lots of other projects have taken me away from this project but I’m back at it again.

Since the last post, I have finished staining and top coating the cabinet framework, trying to give it an antique distressed look.  I planed the boards for the bottom shelf and cut notches on the corner so it would sit on the bottom framework of the cabinet.  I oversized the notches a little to allow the wood in the shelf to move.  This left some gaps which I plan on filling with black foam rubber to hide the gaps but allow for expansion.  When I had this tweaked and fitting in the cabinet, I then installed the leather veneered panels. Once these panels were in place, I set about cutting the brass rods to form a sort of molding around each panel. The addition of this metal was to complement the brass rods for the shelf supports.

The brass rods used for molding were set in place using thick CA glue.  I was going to try to miter the ends of the brass rods, but life is too short for this so I set the vertical rods first and then butted the ends of the horizontal rods into the vertical rods. To hold the bottom shelf in place, I used L-brackets underneath the shelf to connect the shelf to the bottom framework. Since I was too lazy to flip the cabinet on its side to set the L brackets in place, I used thick CA glue to set the brackets in place and when the glue had cured I could reach into the bottom cabinet cavity and secure the brackets with screws. Less frustrating than trying to stand on my head and hold the brackets with one hand while trying to navigate the screw in place!

display cabinet in progress
cabinet

I had originally thought of making the bottom shelf removable or on a hinge so that we could access the bottom cabinet cavity and use it for storage. But knowing our habits, I knew that whatever we stored down there we would never see again, so I scrapped that idea.

My wife would like to have a mirror back on the cabinet instead of wood, so I purchased some ¼ inch birch plywood to screw onto the back of the cabinet, to support the mirror back.

I called a local glass company to get some suggestions for the glass shelves. Looks like 3/8 inch thick glass will work for the shelves. I am going to install an extra set of brass bars next to each of the bars shown in the video just to provide a little extra strength for the shelf support.  I can also get the shelves with beveled and polished edges.  The mirror and glass sides will be cut to size.

The next step is to make the top of the cabinet, allowing for surface- mounted LED light fixtures.  I need to cut the molding for the side glass panels.  Hopefully by the next post, the cabinet will be complete!!

The Venerable Shopsmith Gets a New Home

For the last 20 plus years, I’ve had an old Shopsmith (Model ER, serial number R67374) in  my shop. I may have used it a couple of times when I first got it, but for the most part, it has sat in my shop against a wall, covered with miscellaneous stuff, basically serving as a shelf.  Two days ago my wife noticed the Shopsmith and asked me what it was.

Skip's shop smith
The Shopsmith

Now, she has had to walk by this thing every day throughout our whole married life…

I explained what it could be used for, and I shared with her its history.  This tool belonged to one of my neighbors, Mr.  Allen.  As a child (I think I was about 10), I was fascinated by his woodworking skills, especially since he had only one arm.  He had lost his arm as a soldier in WWII.  My Dad was also fascinated by woodworking: he had taken shop in high school and made this wonderful tilt top table which still finds use in our home.

Dad's table craftsbyjennyskip.com
Dad’s table

My Dad and Mr. Allen shared many woodworking experiences. When Mr. Allen passed away, he left his Shopsmith to my Dad. When my Dad passed away, I inherited the Shopsmith.

So my wife asked if we could move the Shopsmith into the dining room next to the antique Stanley workbench.  I ran to the bathroom to grab some Qtips and check my ears for ear wax interference.  But she repeated the same request!  I know my wife loves to talk to our cats, but I suspected that she had finally lost her mind.  After the idea settled down, I bought into the project. The move would free up shop space for more tools!

tools craftsbyjennskip
Space for new tools already filled!

I called two of my grandchildren into service.  We muscled the Shopsmith into the house and finally got it into place.

jenny skip Shopsmith
Shop smith in its new locale

I must admit that it creates a whole new ambiance in the dining room!  I will never question my wife’s mental condition  again!

Remember the Old NCIS episode The Namesake? The one where Gibbs finds a Shopsmith (and a Congressional Medal of Honor) in a pawn shop? For a refresher of that episode look here.

To Carve or Knit? That is the question!

by skip

After dinner, my wife and I settle down in front of the TV.  We really enjoy our companionship, so we find TV shows we like, and really find it somewhat easy to agree on the shows. Now, we have been good listeners to each other…I know Jennifer doesn’t like old Westerns, corny musicals or listening to the endless drone of cutting wood on a lathe, like you hear on some YouTube channels. We both like British murder mysteries so we tend to migrate to these shows. BUT (the eraser word) while I sit there with a glazed-over, mindless expression watching the TV screen, Jennifer is multitasking: listening to the program while knitting a beautiful creation. I NEED something to do besides totally wasting my last few minutes on this planet glued to the TV.  I could go to the shop but I like being close to my eternal companion!  Now don’t get me wrong, we do spend hours talking to each other… we love sharing ideas whether personal, working, political or hobby related. There are however (another eraser word) hours spent in our LazyBoys watching TV.   So I got the idea to try to develop a new woodworking skill, whittling or carving. I can’t drag the power carving systems into the TV room… too noisy and creates too much dust. It would have to be handwork.

So here was the plan: buy a box of basswood cutoffs and get a FlexCut starter knife and strop kit. So for under $100, I could be fully equipped to launch into wood carving. A large towel on my lap would be needed to catch the wood chips….. good light also necessary.   Artistic abilities? Whoa… where do I get that? I’m an engineer and need plans, a process, a base to build on. Thank goodness for YouTube! I found SharonMyArt!! Very talented carver of little people… step by step instructions, great results in a genre that I love. It has a historical background and with 21st century carving tools is perfect for me. Also lots of media available like books by Harley Refsal and Mike Shipley.

Now you will not only hear the clicking of knitting needles while Midsomer Murders are taking place but you will also hear the sound of that distinctive click as a V-cut terminates!

carving craftsbyjennyskip.com
carving

Sizing Up A Joint

I’ve been watching Rock-n H Woodshop’s YouTube channel, where he is trying out different ways of joining wood.

His recent video discussed the weakness of joining end grain in miter joints. This brought to mind a workshop I had done for some Cub Scouts where we built tool totes. In that workshop, I discussed the problem in assembling a tool box where end grain might join end grain. I mentioned a technique that I had picked up somewhere where you can glue end grain to end grain if you size the end grain with glue before your final glue-up. The object was to fill the end grain with watered-down glue and let it dry before you did your joining of the two boards. So I decided today to put together an experiment to test the strength of an end grain joint after sizing.  I used Titebond II for all the glue-ups.

For the test I cut several pieces of ¾ inch thick spruce into small rectangles. I applied the glue sizing to the end grain of two pieces and just for something different, I also applied the sizing to the side grain of two pieces.

wood samples craftsbyjennyskip.com
samples for experiment

After the samples had dried, I glued and clamped the pieces together. I took two other sets of the same wood and without sizing, glued and clamped these pieces.

end grain craftsbyjennyskip.com
sized and unsized samples, glued and clamped

After 10 hours, I attached a screw eye to each set of boards so I could hang weights from the screw eye.  The opposite end of each board would be anchored and weights added until the joint failed.  With some degree of accuracy, I could then calculate the torque in ft-lbs needed to break each joint.

Next day…… not very scientific procedure but interesting results. The long and short of the tests, I couldn’t get any of the joints to fail using this method. The video shows the “technique”.  A bucket was hung from the screw eye on each sample and weights were added to the bucket. My big concern was whether or not this flimsy bucket would withstand the tests.

I tested the two side grain samples first. I added up to 18 pounds weight to the bucket resulting in about 6 ft-lbf torque. Neither joint failed. When I pushed down on each sample, both samples failed, not at the joint but at the edge of the workbench, each sample splitting along the grain.

Next I tested the two end grain samples. This time I added 38 lbs to the bucket in each case (about 13 ft-lb torque). No failures. I even took one of the weights and struck the end of each sample and still no failure.

Without additional equipment, I wasn’t able to take the end grain glued joints to failure and measure any difference between the sized sample and the unsized sample.  So in desperation I put each of the end grain samples in a vice and attached a clamp to use as a lever (see last section of video) and pushed down on the end of the clamp until the joint broke.  I did this off camera so you’ll have to trust me but there was significant more force needed to break the sized glue joint!  Success!

sized joint craftsbyjennyskip.com
sized end grain joint, after lever action
unsized joint craftsbyjennyskip.com
unsized end grain joint, after lever (a cleaner, easier break)

For some excellent advice and glue tips take a look at YouTube videos by Jeremy Broun.

Hopefully some of the YouTube woodworkers who have used apparatus to measure joint failure will be able to duplicate this and put some numbers on the results. I’m satisfied from a pseudo-scientific observation that sizing an end grain to end grain joint adds significant strength. I guess this begs the question: is it worth the extra time and effort to use this method? I’ll leave that up to my fellow woodworking pundits!