Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mini Lathe Extended Bed

  I'm still working on shop projects, as well as gifts and retail products. Busy, busy.  Wanting to get back to work on my plan for a tall hand tool cabinet, I was not keen on spending a lot of time fabricating a longer lathe stand for last winter's purchase of a bed extension for my Jet Mini lathe.
I'd purchased wide lumber, 20" maple at 8/4 thick. I wanted an S-curve, girdled looking leg on the outsides, but my bandsaw only has a 16" throat, so-o-o I was going to have to split the 20" width, resaw it and cut the arcs, then joint and dowel the two pieces back together.  The idea put me off a bit. I had drawn up a fine design, but could foresee two weeks working with it to accomplish what I needed. 
  Along the way I discovered  buyer's reviews of the metal-legged Penn State Industries lathe stand. It is the only one I've found that is adjustable in length. Previous buyers' main complaint seemed to be that the directions were incomprehensible....big surprise. They said it is 'rock steady once assembled,' and 'just be sure to align all the square holes on the outside, round holes on the inside,' and it's easy-peasy.  With that guidance, my new lathe stand was assembled in one afternoon. Sixty square carriage bolts later, with wood added, I had a very nice, solid stand for the extension bed, much more room to lay down the gouges I'm currently working with, and storage underneath.  It's a Win Win!
  Here are two pics, one of the the Jet Mini as it is now, and one of the right side of my garage, with the Woodfast Short Bed bowl lathe on the right, the Jet mini on the left, and the grinder within easy reach of both.  Now to find some showy woods for Long French Rolling Pins, comin' up!

  And, in the Fall of 2014, finally, the added storage drawer, side-hung, below the lathe table. This organizes all  my pen bushings and specific drill bits. Lots of room, and everything handy!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Breaking Down Slabs

  Winter had put the kabosh on my efforts at woodworking, as it had for many people without good shop heating, but now I'm started again, both on the hand tool cabinet and a new mini-lathe stand to accomodate a bed extension. With weight added. With drawers. With storage bins. My designs tend to evolve.
  As for the tool cabinet: first step is to break down all these big slabs into manageable pieces I can run through the band saw or table saw, planer and jointer (which is a only 6".)  I'm using a Black and Decker Skill Saw about 35 years old, but it works fine if I make two depth cuts instead of just one. It's crucial to have this heavy wood well supported on both sides of the cut, so I've jury-rigged two sets of saw horses under the workpiece, and I'm good to go. I wondered today why there is a term for 'man-handling' big heavy things, and no term for 'woman handling?'  I think I do pretty well for a weekend warrior nearly sixty-five years old. I don't know if I'll be able to move such things when I'm seventy, so I'd better get this project done!  Infirmity may sneak up on me when I'm not looking.

  What's done is laying on the back assembly table to acclimate before final milling...rails and stiles for the bottom unit of the cabinet. The upper, small pieces of Elm were coated with BLO to see what the overall color would be. I plan to cut mortises and tenons, then dry-assemble the bottom unit frame work before cutting and gluing the panel pieces to go inside them. That way, I won't have to depend so heavily on my fractional mathematical skills to judge cutting the pieces. The cabinet does not faithfully follow Megan Fitzpatrick's Step-Back Cupboard in PW, (see previous post: Megan's Step-Back) because it will sit behind my small work bench, and space is a bit different than she built for, so I can't use her cutting dimensions from the magazine.  Nothing like making more problems for myself!  But, it will be the way I want it, which is what matters.
  I'm cutting wood for two projects at once here, so I'll try to keep them separated and make clear what I'm working on at the moment.  I consider the lathe stand a necessity to get out of the way, and the floor-standing cabinet a labor of love.  So, for right now, I'm busy working and oh-so-thankful for Spring!