Interesting Woodworking Link

Friday, January 30, 2009

Episode #92 - Scroll Saw Blade Holder

A Six-Tube Scroll Saw Blade Holder

This was a quick and fun shop project. The material came from a small 2/4 board of gum cherry that was left over from another project. It took care to wrap the grain with respect to the sides and back. I almost missed this and had a “T-Chisel” event which caused me to re-do part of the project. Well, actually I had no choice, as I know the recipient has a critical eye!

This is a six-tube scroll saw blade holder designed for a woodworker that will be doing a fair amount of scroll saw work for marquetry. It was specifically designed to accommodate a small assortment of saw blades, drill bits and an Archimedes drill necessary for efficient marquetry work at the scroll saw. I initially considered applying an antique patina to the copper drill holder. Given the sailing bent of this woodworker, I elected to leave a brightly polished tube reminiscent of the bright copper and brass work found on sailboats. All in all, a nautical theme and an excuse to incorporate metal in a woodworking project.

The small pieces were cut square with my new crosscut sled. I used SketchUp to make and adhesive drill guide template to accurately drill the ¾” holes for the scroll saw blade storage tubes. The copper drill tube was fashioned from standard off the shelf plumbing parts polished with a series of charged buffing wheels on the drill press. A small test tube sits in a ½” hole for drill bit storage.

The finish was my standard cherry finish, two ½# cut coats of clear shellac to prevent blotching followed by 6 coats of thinned WaterLox finished with two coats of hand rubbed clear wax. The final touches are my brass makers-mark and 4 thin silicone rubber feet.

This project is now in the mail on its way to an exciting shop! I’ve included a set of links for materials, supplies and inspiration for this project. Plans are also available to jump start your scroll saw blade holder. Organization and readily available tools always makes for more efficient shop production and, hopefully, more inspired work!

Useful Scroll Saw Blade Holder Resources

Six-Tube Scroll Saw Blade Holder Plan Set

Shellac Part I

Shellac Part II

Archimedes Drill – Garrett Wade

Sloan's Woodshop - " The Scroll Saw Store"


Episode #91 - Using SketchUp For Project Templates

Using SketchUp to Make Project Templates

I just finished a project that required boring a series of eight accurately spaced holes. I did the original design work for the project using SketchUp. Now, at best, I am a fledgling user of SketchUp. After all, I'm excited to say I just figured out how to use the "Follow Me" tool! It is a great tool and I eagerly soak up any information I can which helps me become a better and more facile user. One thing I do know, just like any other activity (i.e. cutting dovetails) the more you practice the better you become.

I used one portion of my SketchUp drawing to make a drilling guide template. I’ve done this before with great success, most recently using SketchUp to design the curve profile for a corbel that supported a cedar outdoor towel rack. Using SketchUp to make a project template gives me the chance to work out design options and accurately locate center point placement.

If you haven’t yet given SketchUp a test drive, consider doing so as it will most definitely become a valuable tool. Its great for doodling sketches of future projects and finalizing the design of the next project you take to the shop. Just remember, the more you use it the better you will become!

Some Useful SketchUp Resources for Woodworkers

Google SketchUp

Fine Woodworking's Design, Click & Build Blog

Fine Woodworking Article - A Quick Course in SketchUp: This powerful 3D drawing program is easy to use-and it's free. Tim Killen

Dave Richards Very Cool Lumberjocks SketchUp Blog: Dave's SketchUp Blather

The SketchUp Show Podcast

Steve’s Cutlist and Layout Plugin for Sketchup

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Episode #90 - Hide Glue Primer

I am interested in hide glue for a number of reasons. The first of which is the "romance" of using a traditional method that has its foundations as far back as Ancient Egypt and the cabinet shops of Colonial America. I also appreciate the pace of using hide glue . . . slow while getting set-up and quick when applying the glue. I also like the reversibility of hide glue and the fact that it accepts stain and finish without leaving telltale glue marks like that pesky spot of PVA that you missed during final clean up. All that said, hide glue is not the main glue in my shop, but I am adding it to my shop armamentarium. You can experiment with this fascinating and historic glue inexpensively. Trust me, you won't regret the adventure!

A Hide Glue Primer

Properties of hide glue

  1. Hide glue is thermoplastic - softens to a liquid state when warmed and solidifies when cool
  2. Hide glue is hydroscopic - in other words, it has an affinity for water which means, for wood working purposes, it responds to some degree with changes in relative humidity just as wood does and more importantly, a hide glue joint can be "reversed" with warm water
  3. Hide glue is an animal protein (collagen) - when hide glue cools (dries) the protein structure contracts (on a molecular level) which has the effect of clamping
  4. Hide glue grading - hide glue is graded in terms of "gram strength" (GEEK FACTOID: gram strength is a measure of how many grams of force it requires to depress a 1/2” plunger 4mm. into a 12.5% protein solution of the glue at 10° C). Hide glue gram strengths range from 85 to 379. The important point to know is the higher the gram strength, the quicker the set. The general recommendation range for for woodworking applications is 135 - 251 gram strength (192 or 195 is considered the all around glue for most woodworking applications).
Some Work Flow Considerations for Using Hide Glue
  1. Mix a large batch of hide glue and pour into a set of ice cube trays. Store the premixed "hide glue cubes" in the freezer. Add the cubes to the glue pot as needed to keep a batch of working hide glue ready at the bench.
  2. The general rule of thumb for mixing hide glue is one cup of dry glue to one cup water, vary the amount of water depending on the desired consistency. Add the glue to the water and allow to soak for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally while gently heating to 140 F°. Be careful to not "cook" the glue as this will weaken the glue by breaking down the protein molecular chains.
  3. On a day when you are planning on working with hide glue, the second thing to be turned on after the shop lights is the glue pot!
  4. Your glue pot can be covered with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator overnight. After a week of use (heat-cool-heat) it is best to discard and start with a fresh batch.
Modifications to Hide Glue
  1. To make hide glue liquid at room temperature (longer open time / slower drying) add approximately 5 tablespoons of urea for each cup of dry glue.
  2. To make hide glue be made waterproof add 1/2-1% aluminum sulfate.
  3. To make hide glue flexible add approximately 5% glycerin (based on the weight of glue), with increasing increments of 2-3% to achieve greater flexibility.
  4. To increase the " wetting properties" of hide glue add approximately 1% vinegar.
The Basics of Hammer Veneering with Hot Hide Glue

Both surfaces are brushed with glue and placed together. The top veneer surface is also coated with glue to act as a lubricant. The "hammer" is then pushed across the veneer surface from the center outward to force out the excess glue. The glue will begin to cool and gel immediately and holding the veneer in place. For large work surfaces, make sure the surface is warm. Have a heat source (heat lamp) nearby for a longer working time.

Hide Glue & Veneering References

The definitive hide glue resource and "hide glue guru" is Eugene Thorndahl of Bjorn Industries in North Carolina. Eugene has the most experience with hide glue. Bjorn Industries has the widest variety available of hide glue gram strengths.

Bjorn Industries
(704) 364-1186

This link provides a good photo essay of mixing up a batch of hide glue on the website.

Hide Glue Resources on Fine

A great source for the "gold standard" for glue pots . . . Hold-Heet Glue Pots
  1. The Best Things
Hide Glue Brushes
  1. Solo Brushes
  2. Tools for Working Wood
  3. Demco
  4. Indiana University
Make Your Own Hide Glue Brush!

Patrick Edwards - Old Brown Glue

Monday, January 26, 2009

Episode #89 - Make a Hide Glue Brush

Make Your Own (Non-Metallic)
Hide Glue Brush!

I have been gearing up for a particular project. In preparation I have been doing a bit of research on using hide glue. For the purist, it is best to use a glue brush without a metal ferrule. The reasoning behind this is the metal ferrule can potentially cause a black stain. There are brushes available for hide glue but there are rather expensive. For the time being, I am spending shop funds on materials and tools.

The focus of this blog is to show an inexpensive alternative to an expensive glue brush. Perhaps just enough to experiment before making a decision to purchase a brush or continue to make your own.

To make your own hide glue brush, all you need is an inexpensive chip brush, a sail needle, and some waxed sail cord. Start by removing the metal ferrule and drilling 3/16 holes in the indentations left by the ferrule. Next, sand the bristle bundle flat so it will mate up with the end of the brush handle.

The following photos show how to stitch the bristle bundle on to the end of the brush handle. It is pretty easy to do with a sail needle . . . just take your time. Tie square knots and keep everything neat and snug!

The next step is a bit more complicated. However, if you have the courage to remove the metal ferrule and sand a bristle bundle flat than you are up for whipping the handle end! Whipping is a type of knot that secures the end of a rope and is perfect for finishing your glue brush. For the sailors and Boy Scouts in the crowd this will be a snap!

This is the result when you are done . . . a perfect brush for use with hide glue. Now all you need is some hide glue and a glue pot!

Some Interesting Glue Brush Links

Solo Horton Brushes

Tools For Working Wood - Glue Brushes


Indiana University Libraries Preservation Department

Episode #88 - Wood Defect Repair

This episode features a quick video with some tips showing how to repair a wood defect with colored epoxy and cyanoacrylate glue (CA Glue).

Why do I need to do this you might ask. Well I am working on a small project from a single board of cherry with some really interesting grain. It is a small box type project and I worked hard to match the grain. As a result, I have no extra material so I had to push forward and make a small inconspicuous repair of a series if thin checks and a small crack. I think these features add character and interest to cherry.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Episode #87 - Crosscut Sled

This episode features a new crosscut sled built for the shop. The plan set and
SketchUp drawings are available for download.

I found inspiration for this sled in books from my library and countless Internet searches. This simple project can be built in a couple of afternoons. A crosscut sled will increase safety, speed and accuracy of your crosscuts on the table saw.

The construction starts with a 3/4 MDF base. Incra miter bars are secured to the bottom of the base. These bars have an adjustment from the top that allows for a nice way to take up any slack in the miter slots.

The fences are 10/4 Maple. The rear fence is fastened to the base with 1-1/2 Kreg square drive screws.

The front fence is mounted with ¼-20 x 4 hex head bolts to steel threaded inserts in the MDF base. Oversized holes in the front fence allow for fine adjustment of the fence square to the blade. This feature makes realignment a snap.

A piece of T-Track is inset into the face of the front fence providing an attachment point for a stop block and hold down clamps.

I still have to build the top and rear blade guards.

I got a significant degree of inspiration for this sled from Gary Rogowski's Fine Woodworking article Build a Simple Crosscut Sled for the Tablesaw: Essential jig ensures square cuts.

Hopefully this will inspire a sled for your shop!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Episode #86 - A Visit to Hardwood Components Inc.

I am spending the week off during some maintenance on our house in Sisters, Oregon. Every time I make this trip I pass by a small family run mill in Mehama, Oregon. This time I made a promise I would stop and check it out.

I bought a small load of wild Oregon cherry for a future project. The video was a last minute thought so very impromtu. You can visit Hardwood Components, Inc. on the web by clicking here.

The lumber is all locally harvested that is milled and dried at Hardwood Components, Inc. They have everything including native wood flooring, slabs, burls, crotch wood, and turning blanks.