Stories from Artwalk, Part 1

During Artwalk, I showed my work in Gallery Bistro (2411 Clarke Street) with three other artists:  Bronwen Belenkie, Clive Tucker and Mandara Lebovitz.  Our exhibition will continue through April 28th. The gallery is open 10am-3pm Tuesday through Sunday.

Background

The building in which I exhibited was recently bought by husband-wife duo Rainer (pronounced Rye-ner) and Helen Daniels.  There is a cafe in one half of the building and an open gallery space in the other half (behind the white bars which were removed before the show).

Gallery Bistro

Moving Day

The Thursday before Artwalk was our set-up day.  It began with a knock on the door from Rainer Daniels and together we moved Relationship Study in his pick-up truck, upside-down.  The table fit neatly between the wheel wells and was a few inches of the closed tailgate.  The rest of my work, including one of my latest pieces, There is Not Always Light at the End of the Tunnel, was loaded into another vehicle.

There is Not Always Light at the End of the Tunnel Front

Setting Up the Gallery

After we got my work into the gallery, Bronwen and Mandara arrived with their 2D art and begun to install their work on the walls with nails.  There was a moment when we all watched as Bronwen’s young son, who was helping, set down his claw hammer on Relationship Study in what seemed like slow motion.  Luckily, there was no damage and we decided that it would be a good idea to cover the table with moving blankets.

Centre

Last to arrive was Clive.  His colourful ceramics filled the large shelf unit and a table at the end of the space.

Together, our work filled the floorspace and shelves and covered the walls.

Left Wall

The Front Windows

Gracing the left front window and enticing passers-by were Clive’s Triceratops, Bronwen’s Looking Up At Alders and my shelf Deconstructed.

Left Front WIndow

In the opposite window you can see Mandara’s Dragon River and my sculpture Something Like That.

Right Front Window


This is the final slide from my PechaKucha presentation.

C.Wong-20

I had hoped to have the video of my PechaKucha presentation by now, but I do not have it.  I will post it when I get it.

Flat-Top Ripping Blade is King

Freud’s 24-tooth Heavy Duty Rip Blade (LM72M010) is what is installed in my table saw 90% of the time.  The blade has 24 teeth 0.126″ wide, ground flat on the top and pitched forwards at 20 degrees.  These characteristics make it the most versatile and most used saw blade in my shop.

Heavy Duty Rip Blade - Technical Specifications (from FreudTools.com) K= Kerf; P= Plate Thickness

As you would expect, this blade excels at ripping.  The 20-degree forward (positive) hook angle makes feeding stock past the blade easier and the blade leaves two clean surfaces requiring little, if any, further clean-up.  This blade also does a formidable job with cross-cuts too, especially when freshly sharpened.  (When I need a super-clean crosscut, I take the time to switch to a dedicated crosscut blade.)

For a 10″ circular saw, 24 teeth is not very many (they may have as few as four or as many as 90).  Having few teeth allows quicker, more aggressive cutting.  The trade-off is that the blade will tend to leave a rougher cut than a blade with more teeth.  In some cases, using a slower feed rate increases the quality of cut.  In other cases it only causes burning.

Freud Heavy Duty Rip Blade

The flat-top blade is useful for joinery.  Non-through cuts have square shoulders and flat bottoms, making cleanup unnecessary.  The blade has a regular kerf that is 0.126″ wide, just a little over 1/8″ (1/8″=0.125″).  This is 20% thicker than a thin-kerf blade which typically removes 3/32″ (0.09375″).  While a thicker kerf means it turns more wood into sawdust and requires more power to spin, it also means that only three passes are required to cut a 3/8″ wide groove versus four with a thin-kerf blade.

In addition to making joinery more convenient to cut, set-up is also quicker and easier.  Because each tooth is the same, the top or edge of any tooth can be referenced for accurate set-ups.  Another benefit to the tooth shape, which distributes the cutting duty over a wider surface, is that the teeth are also very durable and as a result, I need to have the blade sharpened less often.

There is a lot more information on saw blades on the Carbide Processors Inc. website.

Review of the Mirka CEROS

Background

I have had the 6″ Mirka CEROS (Compact Electric Random Orbit Sander) for about a year.  Although I have not used it in a production shop environment, I used it extensively for sanding sculptural work and, to a lesser degree, for flat surfaces.  I have had absolutely no issues with it.

When I purchased the Mirka CEROS, it was only available as a 5″ or 6″ sander with a 5 mm orbit.  The 5 mm orbit is for general work.  Since then, Mirka has released two more 6″ CEROS models – one with a 2.5 mm stroke for finish sanding and one with an 8 mm stroke for more aggressive sanding.  I do not believe these are currently available in North America.

Mirka CEROS in Systainer

Details

The sanding action is very smooth and the DC motor is powerful and reasonably quiet (68 dB, which is similar to a piano practice).  It is lightweight and well-balanced, making it comfortable to use with either one hand or two.  The power cord is quite flexible and permanently attached to the sander.  Mirka sells a hose for the sanders, which is more flexible and lighter (for improved ergonomics) than the Festool Anti-Static D27 hose.  The Mirka CEROS has a round dust port with female threads to accept a 1-1/4″ diameter threaded hose.

Although the Mirka sanders closely resemble pneumatic ones, they are powered by a maintenance-free, brushless DC motor and do not require a large air compressor.  The sanders have a 14′-long power cord that plugs into one end of a 8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ x 3-1/4″ transformer.  A 6′-long power cord runs from the other end of the transformer into a standard AC outlet.

Mirka CEROS Package

Sizes

The Mirka CEROS is available with either a 125mm (5″) or 150mm (6″) diameter pad.  The smaller sander weighs 870 grams (1.9 pounds) and the larger weighs 920 grams (2 pounds).  I think the 6″ version is more practical not only because it can sand a larger area more quickly, but because the larger pad has a greater distance between the edge of the pad and its body which is useful when working in tight quarters.

5″ and 6″ Mirka CEROSs

Speed Control

The speed of the sanding pad can be adjusted from 4,000-10,000 RPM in 1,000 RPM increments using the buttons on the top-rear of the sander.  Between the speed control buttons is a power button for safety to prevent the sander from starting accidentally.  The paddle switch on top is pressed and held down to operate the tool.  By feathering the paddle, you can control the speed as well but it is very sensitive and not a very reliable way to run the sander at a lower speed.  Instead, it functions as a soft-start feature, of sorts.

Mirka CEROS, Top View

Critique

One addition that I would like to see is a pad brake.  After releasing the paddle switch with the pad turning at 10,000 RPM, the pad continues to spin for about 19 seconds.

Video Review

This first video explains and demonstrates some of the features of the Mirka CEROS.  (Duration: 10:19.)

(Note:  Since recording this video, a reader has pointed out that the CEROS set to run at the lowest speed will indeed draw enough current when under moderate load to run a Festool Dust Extractor set to auto-start.)

In these two posts, you can read more about how I:

  1. combined the Mirka CEROS’s transformer with my Festool CT26 Dust Extractor; and
  2. modified the Festool D27 hose’s tool end to fit the Mirka CEROS’s dust collection port.

Video Demonstration

This second video is a demonstration of the Mirka CEROS.  In the first part, I sand the flat top of a bench with 80, 120, 180, 220, and 320-grit Abranet discs.  In the latter part of the video, I demonstrate how I sand contoured parts with and without the foam interface pad.  (Duration: 13:43.)

Summary

Consider this sander because it:

  1. is powerful and easy to control;
  2. runs quietly and smoothly;
  3. feels good because it is compact and well-balanced;
  4. requires very little maintenance because it has few wearing components; and
  5. does not require a large air compressor to run (as a pneumatic sander does).

Warranty

The Mirka CEROS comes with a 3-year warranty.  You can download the warranty information as well as manual from the Mirka CEROS website.

Accessories

Also, check out the Abranet abrasive discs made by Mirka.  The discs last a long time and don’t require alignment of any dust collection holes.  I would recommend getting the 80-, 120-, and 180-grit sanding discs as well as a Pad Saver (I called it a platen protector in the video).  If you work with non-flat surface, I would also recommend looking at the 10 mm (3/8″) Multi Interface Pads

Suppliers

(I do not receive any compensation for what I write and the list of suppliers is by no means an exhaustive one; I’ve simply listed some to get you started.)

Mirka Part Numbers

*Some dealers sell these parts individually.
**8295610111     150 mm (6″) 67-Hole Pad Savers, Pkg of 5 work with the 150 mm CEROS as well.

Squirrel-Tail Palm Plane

I have many hand planes, but this Squirrel-Tail Palm Plane is among my most-used.

Squirrel-Tail Palm Plane

This plane is a very simple tool.  The investment-cast steel body incorporates a squirrel-tail handle that nestles in my palm and a divot on the toe where I can set my index finger.  The mouth width is non-adjustable.  Both the plane’s sole and blade’s back are lapped flat, making set-up of the tool easy.  Adjustments to the projection and skew of the blade are best done with light hammer taps and it is secured with a cogwheel screw.

I use this plane exclusively for rounding over and chamfering edges, so I set the blade of this plane much like I do for my spokeshave when working on rounded parts.  Instead of setting the blade so that it projects evenly on each side, I intentionally skew the blade, giving me a variable depth of cut.  This way, I can quickly begin to establish the round-over or chamfer using the left side of the blade.  Then, by simply sliding the plane sideways to engage the other edge of the blade, I can fine-tune the shape.  No adjustments are required.

I chose this plane for the task because it is small and lightweight, which allows an easy, one-handed grip.  This is how I grip the plane.

Having a small plane dedicated to chamfering and rounding over edges is certainly not necessary, but it is very convenient.

Jon Siegel – Elliptori

Elliptori by Jon Siegel

Artist Name:  Jon Siegel
Title:  Elliptori
Details:  circa 2001 – mahogany, glass 56″ wide x 26″ deep x 16″tall

Why It’s Notable:

I like the design, but to me, what is most notable is the process used to make the base.  Instead of laminating the rough shape, then refining it with carving tools, planes, and sanders, Jon Siegel took another approach.

“When I make the turning, which is 4′ in diameter, I am only making 1/2 of the profile, and the back is flat.  Then the ring is cut in half along the diameter and “folded” and glued together to make one table.  This method has two advantages:  it is easy to mount the work on a face plate because the back is flat, and it assures that the form is symmetrical.”

How did Jon develop the process of making the base?

“I never had a drawing of this table – the idea went from my brain directly to a scale model made on the lathe.  My first experiments were in doll-house scale (1:12).  Then when I thought I had the proportions right, I jumped up to 1/4 size scale.  From that model, I measured how I was going to glue up the blank in three layers – three band sawn rings were stacked and glued up.  About a year after I made it I realized that somewhere in the back of my mind I was probably inspired by the work of Stephen Hogbin that I had seen 25 years earlier!”

The glass top makes the table functional without hindering the view of the unique cross-section of the base.  Very interesting!

For the curious, this is the lathe Jon used to turn the table’s base.

Jon Siegel's Putnam Lathe

“Restoring 100 year old machinery (both woodworking and metal working) is a passion of mine – especially lathes.  The lathe was made in Fitchburg, Massachusetts by Putnam who made mostly metal lathes, but they also made some of these pattern maker’s lathes.  These are woodworking lathes that have a carriage.  This type of bed was used on their metal lathes too, which is why they are so heavy.  But the headstock and carriage are greatly simplified from their metal working cousins.  This type of bed is called ‘extension bed’, and by turning the large handwheel that you can see below the bed, the upper half of the bed slides away revealing the large ‘gap’ which is thus adjustable in width for the particular job at hand.  Of course this also extends the length of the bed when needed, hence the name.  It extends to allow 12′ workpiece length.  It swings 24″ over the bed and 50″ in the gap.  I used this lathe to make ‘Elliptori’.  The rough blank weighed over 100 pounds, and the finished turning about 70 pounds.  Work of this size is turned at about 120 rpm (2 revolutions per second).  The largest piece I have turned on this lathe weighed 500 pounds, and it handled it easily because that is only 10% of the weight of the machine.”

I’d like to extend a “thank you” to Jon Siegel for his help writing this article.  Jon has been turning for over 45 years.  He co-founded Big Tree Turnings, LLC., and is a member of the Guild of New Hampshire WoodworkersNew Hampshire Furniture Masters Association, and president of Granite State Woodturners (a chapter of the American Association of Woodturners).

WoodRiver #5 V3 Bench Plane Review – In Use

My LAST POST showed what the hand plane looked like out of the box.  This post shows what the plane was able to do.

While setting up the plane, I took note of the slop in the lateral- and depth-adjusters.  The depth adjuster had 3/4 of a turn of slop and the lateral adjuster had a little side-to-side play.

Lateral Adjuster Play

I honed the bevel up to 15,000-grit on a Shapton stone.  This process took about two minutes.  I then reassembled the plane and surfaced a board of beech.  This was the reflection I saw when I looked down the board’s length.

Beech, After Handplaning with Honed Bevel

The plane made shavings like these.

Shavings

To further increase the performance of the plane, I then lapped the back of the blade.  It took 12 minutes to bring the blade to this degree of flatness.  At this stage, the blade was flat enough to be usable, but there was still a large hollow in the center.

Adeqately Flattened Back

Six more minutes of lapping erased the hollow and I was able to bring up the polish.

Completely Flattened Back

I then reinstalled the blade and surfaced the beech board once again.  The polish of the planed board after having lapped the back was noticeably better.

Beech, After Handplaning with Honed Bevel and Lapped Back

I took this shot for fun.

WoodRiver #5 V3 Handplane

Remember the grease I wiped off as soon as I got the plane?  Within a week of returning home to the Westcoast, I found that the sole already had rust spots.  I cleaned the rust off and applied a coat of Boeshield, something I should have done right away.

WoodRiver #5 V3 Bench Plane Review – Unpackaged

A couple months ago, while visiting some friends in Arizona, I went to a Woodcraft store and bought a WoodRiver #5 V3 bench plane.  While I don’t need any more bench planes, I was curious to see just how good the much-talked-about WoodRiver planes really were.  From what I have read, Version 3 (V3) is drastically better than the previous two versions.

The purpose of this article is to show what the V3 plane looked like out of the box.

After taking the plane out of the package, the first thing I did was disassemble the plane and wipe off the grease applied to keep the plane rust free.  I carefully inspected each part, made notes and took photos along the way.  In general, everything seemed well-machined.

I noticed that the burr from tapping the hole in the cap iron had not been removed.  I used a mill file to remove the burr.

Cap Iron

The cap iron, which appeared to be very similar to the Lie-Nielsen design, was ground to a fine edge.

Cap Iron Edge

The blade was also ground to a fine edge.  The machining marks were finer on the blade than on the cap iron and the blade was sharp, though not as sharp as I keep my blades.

Blade

The parts of the lateral- and depth-adjusters that engage with the cap iron and blade appeared to be well-made.

Top of Frog

I spotted a cosmetic defect, a scratch, on the right wing of the plane.  It did not concern me in the least.

Scratch on Side Wing

The body was machined very uniformly.  The text on the box was clearly reflected in the plane’s sole.

Sole

The frog rested on this ramp.  The small machined edges on either side of the bed were helpful in keeping the frog from twisting as it was adjusted and locked down.

Frog Bedding Surface

The bottom of the frog was finely ground.

Bottom of Frog

All the moving parts moved smoothly.

Back of Frog/Depth Adjuster

There were two of these “rivets” dropped through the slots in the frog and into the body of the plane.  In the rear of the ramp (on which the frog rests) was a pair of slot-head screws with pointed tips.  The points engaged with the conical recess in the rivets and as the screws were tightened, the rivets were pulled down to secure the frog.  The dimple on the top indicated the location of the conical recess so that it could be properly aligned once it was dropped in place.  (Side note:  When removing the pointed, slot-head screws for the first time, they backed off freely then bound up snug.  By applying a little extra torque – but by no means an excessive amount – I was able to remove the screws.  When I ran them in and out afterwards, there was no resistance.)

Frog Rivets

My biggest complaint about the plane was that the front of the mouth opening was a little uneven, making it difficult to set the mouth evenly.  A little work with a file solved that problem.

Mouth Opening

The left wing appeared to be perfectly square.

Left Wing and Sole

The right wing appeared to be a little out of square.  I e-mailed Woodcraft Technical Support about this and they informed me that if I was able to fit a 0.002″ feeler gauge between the square and the plane’s sole, they would be happy to replace the plane.  This gap was well within that tolerance.

Right Wing and Sole

The NEXT ARTICLE shows how the plane performed.

Blasted Blast Gates

When I first set up my dust collection network, I purchased some of these blast gates.  The blast gates were used to control air flow by sliding the gate in a track, either allowing or blocking air flow.  I closed gates to block airflow to tools not being used, thus increasing the suction to the tools in use.

At first, they worked well.  Then, as dust accumulated inside, the movement of the sliding gate became impeded and the gate would not close.  This meant that the blast gates were unable to effectively control air flow – their sole purpose.

What’s more, one broke.  The blast gate consisted of three parts – the gate and two halves glued together.  Well, the glue failed.  Now, the good thing about that broken blast gate was that I was able to clean it out thoroughly and easily.  Since I didn’t have any spares, I clamped it together with four C-clamps (double-sided tape didn’t work).

The blast gate on my table saw wouldn’t close completely.  I didn’t think this was a problem until I hooked up my DeWalt planer.  The planer’s blower used to clear chips pressurized the dust collection system and blew chips through the hoses and up out of my table saw, raising a big cloud of chips and dust.

I’m going to replace the plastic blast gates with metal self-cleaning blast gates.  They cost twice as much, but I’m convinced they will be worth it.

As shown on the Lee Valley Tools Ltd. site, the design of these self-cleaning blast gates avoids the problem of the plastic ones.

New Category: Beyond Hype

When I write an article for my blog, I file it under one or more of the following categories:

There is now a category called Beyond Hype.  The articles under this category are based upon my experiences with woodworking-related tools, accessories and supplies about which I have used enough to generate an educated opinion, beyond the buzz and marketing hype.

I shake my head at some of the things that you can buy these days.  A lot of these items sell.  I’ve bought a couple.  But the purpose of these articles is not to tell you if something looks gimmicky.  What I want to offer is my honest opinion of things with which I have experience.  I will do my best to be fair and unbiased and provide good detail.

As always, I appreciate your feedback.  Do you like this idea?