My Tripot: Final Cleanup

Fascinated with the form of the tripot, and interested to see what was involved in making one, I started my own. I couldn’t think of a better way to understand and appreciate it than to make one myself.

In my first two articles about making my tripot, I showed how I shaped most of the interior and exterior. For the remainder of the shaping, there were no shortcuts – what was required was manual carving and sanding.

I removed the tripot from the lathe, then I used carving tools to remove as much extraneous material as I could between the bases of the three pots. I used only my fingertips as a guide to tell me where material still needs to be removed, since they were not only the most convenient measuring tools, but of the exact accuracy required.

My smallest veining gouge, a #11/1 (severity of sweep and width, in millimeters) was useful in helping define the separation between the two pots, and the joint was further refined with skew chisels which were better able to create a precise corner.

Because the center point where the three pots meet is recessed when viewed from the bottom, this means that to carve into this area is in fact against the grain. Of course, this makes it difficult to make clean and controlled cuts. My solution to this problem was to use micro scorps to shape this area. The scorps can cut on the draw stroke, so I was able to do much of the carving in the recess with the grain.

To blend the surfaces, I continued the shaping process with abrasives, starting at 80-grit and progressing through 180. Although hand sanding may be tedious it is a vital part of the process in creating a fine product and I actually find it relaxing and meditative.

At this stage, when it seemed like I was ready for finishing, I stopped and examined the tripot from all angles under my task light. I checked all surfaces again with my fingertips for any flat spots, high points, or defects.

I went back and fixed the deficiencies that I found. I tested a finish on a scrap of the same material, then applied it to the tripot using a foam brush, and rags to wipe off the excess.

Overflow, Part XIV

Sander Sitter

The Sander Sitter is essentially a round crepe pad in a tray, mounted on bearings.  The idea is that you set your random orbit sander down in the tray while it is running or spinning down and the crepe cleans the abrasive disc.

I no longer own a 5″ sander, so I’m giving it away.  It is in very good condition and I’ll even dust it off for the winner.

If you would like this 5″ Sander Sitter, please leave a comment below indicating your interest by noon of Thursday, August 29.  To qualify, simply state that you would like the accessory and tell me which of my creations is your favourite.

I will then draw a winner at random.  Even if you don’t get this item, remember that there is still much more I want to give away.

And if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to my blog so you can be notified as soon as I post something new!  Please tell your friends about my Overflow program.

Review the details of the Overflow program.

Sanding vs. Planing

One of the questions I am frequently asked is how I achieve such smooth, even surfaces.

Planing and sanding are two methods of removing material and smoothing surfaces. Each technique is completely valid and has its advantages and disadvantages.  When deciding which to use, consider the following.

Planing

Plane when:

  1. you want to achieve a flat surface and crisp edges;
  2. you are using a wood with varying densities and you want it to feel flat and even;
  3. the material tends to clog or quickly dull sandpaper, making sanding impractical; or
  4. the most perfect surface is desired.

Sanding

Sand when:

  1. the flatness of the surface isn’t critical or you need to blend curves or surfaces;
  2. you are using softwood and want the surface to simulate wear or create undulations;
  3. the material is too soft or difficult to work with a plane; or
  4. it is undesirable to have cleanly cut fibres and a highly polished, bare wood surface (e.g. to reduce the sheen).

Maple Trestle Table, Session 20 – A Little Sanding, then More Sanding

On the morning of Sunday, April 15th, Morton and I exchanged ideas about trestle tables, spurred on by a recent sketch of a table on which he was working.  That got me yearning to build a trestle table.

I documented my progress live on Twitter which was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.  Here is a list of the previous Sessions:

Session 1 – Flat Boards are Boring;
Session 2 – Playing with Slabs;
Session 3 – From Two Slabs to One Table Top;
Session 4 – Clamping Odd Shapes and Sketching on Wood;
Session 5 – Routing Pockets for Battens;
Session 6 – Making Battens and Installing Countertop Connectors;
Session 7 – Installing Battens and Flattening the Underside;
Session 8 – Make Your Tools Work for You and Flattening the Top;
Session 9 – Mortises the Slow Way (or Why I’m Buying a Domino XL);
Session 10 – Curvy Legs are Always Good;
Session 11 – Straight Lines on Wonky Surfaces;
Session 12 – Fitting the Mother of all Mortise & Tenon Joints;
Session 13 – Making Things Better, Worse, then Better;
Session 14 – Battens and Complicated Tenons, Again;
Session 15 – The Trestle Comes Together Session;
Session 16 – Angled Mortises and Tenons;
Session 17 – Two Feet for Two Legs;
Session 18 – Attachment Strips and Power Carving; and
Session 19 – Refining the Sculpted Base.

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username, being the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are preceded by a @ symbol and are people to whom the author is talking.  The other symbol you see is #, which serves as a category.  I try to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

FlairWoodworks Welcome to Session 20 of the Maple Trestle Table! #flairww -1:05 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s where I left off last night. I first have to decide if I’m happy with the shape or if it needs more. #flairww -1:05 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Have you checked out the slideshow showing the progress on the Maple Trestle Table? #flairww -1:10 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I want to round over the ends more. #flairww -1:19 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Much better! #flairww -1:23 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks From Abranet HD 40-grit sanding discs, I’m progressing to HD 60-grit. This should not take long. #flairww -1:36 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m halfway done with the Abranet HD 60-grit. The stretcher has some dings so it needs to be sanded too. #flairww -2:03 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Break time! #flairww -2:29 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Okay, back to work after a brief call with @GarthTW2. Yep, the toolmaking business is keeping me busy too! #flairww -2:49 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve sanded this leg with the 80-grit on the sander. Now I need to hand-sand the three tight areas. #flairww -3:03 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve finished sanding the first leg. Now I’m hand-sanding the leg/stretcher joint. #flairww -3:19 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve sanded the stretcher and am now working on the other leg/stretcher joint. #flairww -3:36 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Ok, I’m done sanding the second leg/stretcher transition. I get a hand-sanding break while I use my Mirka CEROS to sand the leg. #flairww -3:56 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Now back to hand-sanding to finish the 80-grit stage. #flairww -4:10 PM May 20th, 2012

GarthTW2 @FlairWoodworks Need another phone chat to keep the momentum going? :) -4:14 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Ha ha! I do hand-sand well when on the phone! #flairww RT @GarthTW2: @FlairWoodworks Need another phone chat to keep the momentum going? :) -4:16 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m finished hand-sanding with 80-grit but I found a low spot that was missed. I will use my random orbit sander to level this area. #flairww -4:31 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m done sanding with 80-grit. Lunch time now! #flairww -4:43 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Back from lunch, I’ll continue sanding the table’s base, this time with 120-grit Abranet abrasive paper. #flairww -5:41 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks For the 80-grit stage, I used one disc on my Mirka random orbit sander and one for hand-sanding. Each has a little more life. #flairww -5:45 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I first sanded the exposed end-grain surfaces using my sander without the interface pad. The interface pad is attached here. #flairww -5:53 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m doing some hand sanding while listening to @ravinheart’s live broadcast. #flairww -6:09 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve got one leg sanded with 120-grit abrasive now. Can you see any difference? #flairww -7:04 PM May 20th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks love me some maple! -7:06PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks With which woods do you normally work? #flairww RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks love me some maple! -7:07 PM May 20th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks still fairly new so I’ve been mixing it up as much as possible just to get them “under my belt” as of now, walnut is my fav -7:09PM May 20th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks readily available and cheap in eastern PA and it looks awesome with oil! -7:10PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster I’ll trade you maple for walnut! I have access to lots of maple! -7:11PM May 20th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks what’s shipping on one of those slabs? Hahhha -7:12PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster Expensive, probably! -7:12PM May 20th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks #crosscountrycolaboration -7:15PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Not to mention #CrossBorder @BCcraftmaster #crosscountrycolaboration -7:22PM May 20th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks can’t wait to see this table flipped right side up. -7:25PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster The base is right side up… -7:28PM May 20th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks you #flipped it???? -7:32PM May 20th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks or is it just not attached to the top yet? -7:32PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster It’s been upright since I started sanding. It’s sitting on the top instead of the other way around. -7:33PM May 20th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks ohhhhhhh.. how many more hours do you think you have left? -7:35PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Ha ha ha… lots! RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks ohhhhhhh.. how many more hours do you think you have left? -7:36PM May 20th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks well stop tweeting me and get back to work!! :-) -7:43PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster Well, after 5 hours of sanding, you can understand that I don’t mind taking a few seconds to reply to you! Okay, okay… :) -7:45PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I decided to reshape the feet. They are now more rounded on top. #flairww -7:53 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This is why I don’t sand one section to completion before another. #flairww -7:55 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This makes the feet appear to taper when viewed from above. #flairww -8:03 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I shaped the foot with my block plane, then started smoothing the facets with 120-grit paper. See the difference? #flairww -8:19 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The feet are reshaped and sanded to 120-grit. Now for 180-grit. #flairww -8:14 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It’ll be all hand-sanding from here on. #flairww -8:16 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Since I’m not using the random orbit sander anymore, I’m switching to sandpaper folded in quarters. #flairww -8:22 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Norton 3X is as effective as the Abranet and cheaper. #flairww-8:23 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks For hand-sanding non-flat objects, I have no at-source dust collection. #flairww -8:36 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I gave away my portable air filtration unit in an early Overflow giveaway because I never needed it. [Subscribe to this blog to be notified when new articles, including Overflow Giveaways, are posted!] #flairww -8:37 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks As a result, I’ve moved into the adjacent machine shop equipped with an air filtration unit, windows and doors. #flairww -8:38 PM May 20th, 2012

TheWoodBug thank you :) ! RT @FlairWoodworks I decided to reshape the feet. -9:06

FlairWoodworks This is why I am hand-sanding the rest of the way. #flairww -9:17 PM May 20th, 2012 Tumblewood Your ROS must’ve grabbed some grit. RT @FlairWoodworks: This is why I am hand-sanding the rest of the way. #flairww -9:34

FlairWoodworks I’m very happy to tell you that I am done sanding the base. #flairww -10:00 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks You’re welcome? RT @TheWoodBug: @FlairWoodworks thank you :) ! RT @FlairWoodworks I decided to reshape the feet.

woodshaver101 @FlairWoodworks its coming together.are you going to match the radius on the legs on the tops outside edge?looking good.

FlairWoodworks @woodshaver101 I haven’t decided yet! That decision will be coming up shortly though! #flairww -10:11 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Upon close inspection under the good lighting in my bench room, the base still needs more sanding. #flairww -10:31 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I drilled and counterbored a hole in each attachment strip for bolts to secure the base to the top. #flairww -10:39 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m thinking about an edge profile for the table right now. #flairww -10:42 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Not happy with my hand-sanding, I decided to try sanding to 320-grit with my random orbit sander. It seems to work well. #flairww -11:00 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks However, I’ve had enough sanding for today. It’s time for a shower, then dinner. #flairww -11:00 PM May 20th, 2012

uppercutwood @FlairWoodworks didya have a good one -11:02 PM May 20th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I made a lot of progress. I’ve still got a lot of work to do though! #flairww RT @uppercutwood: @FlairWoodworks didya have a good one -11:03 PM May 20th, 2012

I’m not quite done sanding the base, but most of it is done.  You know there’s more to come!  Care to leave a comment?

Maple Trestle Table, Session 18 – Attachment Strips and Power Carving

On the morning of Sunday, April 15th, Morton and I exchanged ideas about trestle tables, spurred on by a recent sketch of a table on which he was working.  That got me yearning to build a trestle table.

I documented my progress live on Twitter which was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.  Here is a list of the previous Sessions:

Session 1 – Flat Boards are Boring;
Session 2 – Playing with Slabs;
Session 3 – From Two Slabs to One Table Top;
Session 4 – Clamping Odd Shapes and Sketching on Wood;
Session 5 – Routing Pockets for Battens;
Session 6 – Making Battens and Installing Countertop Connectors;
Session 7 – Installing Battens and Flattening the Underside;
Session 8 – Make Your Tools Work for You and Flattening the Top;
Session 9 – Mortises the Slow Way (or Why I’m Buying a Domino XL);
Session 10 – Curvy Legs are Always Good;
Session 11 – Straight Lines on Wonky Surfaces;
Session 12 – Fitting the Mother of all Mortise & Tenon Joints;
Session 13 – Making Things Better, Worse, then Better;
Session 14 – Battens and Complicated Tenons, Again;
Session 15 – The Trestle Comes Together Session;
Session 16 – Angled Mortises and Tenons; and
Session 17 – Two Feet for Two Legs.

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username, being the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are preceded by a @ symbol and are people to whom the author is talking.  The other symbol you see is #, which serves as a category.  I try to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

FlairWoodworks And… into the shop I go! First thing I do: turn on the lights; then remove the clamps! #flairww -1:33 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ll cut the tenons flush. #flairww -1:38 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Because I want to do other things today, I’m not using my small, fine-toothed flush-cut saw. #flairww -1:41 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I then used a block plane to set the tenon flush. #flairww -1:43 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The base is assembled. It still needs to be sculpted. #flairww -1:50 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I cut two attachment strips which will be fastened to the legs and mortised into the battens. #flairww -2:11 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The purpose of these strips is to secure the base to the top and conceal the centre two bolt holes. #flairww -2:12 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks In the finished table, only the two outermost bolts will be used. #flairww -2:12 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It took some careful layout to position the battens. Next, I’ll fasten them with screws. #flairww -2:39 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used a 17/64″ transfer punch to mark the location of the 9/32″ clearance holes. #flairww -2:59 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The smaller punch is easier to use because there is no friction between it and the hole. #flairww -2:59 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The mark could be out by 1/128″ but I don’t care. #flairww -3:00 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks To guide the drill bit, I used my drill press to drill through a block of scrap wood. #flairww -3:08 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks E-mails are coming in non-stop today. #flairww -3:10 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks One attachment strip is mounted. #flairww -3:12 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I use my cordless drill/driver to install the screws most of the way but always finish by hand. #flairww -3:17 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s a picture of the base for you to look at while I tidy up my shop a little. #flairww -3:19 PM May 17th, 2012

CashFromCraft @FlairWoodworks I find setting the cluch to be helpful when driving a number in the same operation. -3:22 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @CashFromCraft The drill’s clutch can be helpful, but I don’t find it accurate enough due to density variances. #flairww -3:24 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @CashFromCraft I have a much greater sensitivity when using a screwdriver than a power tool. #flairww -3:25 PM May 17th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks why not adjust the torque setting on the screw gun? -3:31 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks A screwdriver allows greater sensitivity. RT @DyamiPlotke: @FlairWoodworks why not adjust the torque setting on the screw gun? -3:31 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Next, I’ll trace the position of the attachment strips onto the battens. #flairww -3:41 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ll remove the two centre bolts which are no longer needed and rout the pocket for the attachment strip. #flairww -3:46 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Ready to rout! #flairww -3:57 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks My router fence slipped and caused this gouge. I’ll have to patch it. #flairww -4:21 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks To fix the gouge, I first routed a straight-edged pocket. #flairww -4:31 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I turned the head of my marking gauge around to scribe a straight line. #flairww -4:33 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I cut a patch and scribed it onto the batten. #flairww -4:45 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I fit and glued the patch in place. After the glue dries, I’ll trim it flush. #flairww -4:59 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I need to finish the patch before starting the sculpting of the base. I’ll sand the underside of the table in the meantime. #flairww -5:15 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I simply unbolted the battens to allow uninhibited sanding of the surface. #flairww -5:26 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The first Abranet HD 80-grit disc lasted for almost half of the surface. The one on the bench is dull. #flairww -5:33 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This is the first time I’ve used the Abranet HD discs aside from testing. What’s nice about them is they’re either sharp or not. #flairww-5:42 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks That means there is no doubt about whether the discs need to be changed. #flairww -5:42 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I consumed three 80-grit Abranet HD discs smoothing the bottom. #flairww -5:49 PM May 17th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks that doesn’t seem like long. Mine last multiple projects. -5:49 PM May 17th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks wait, isn’t abranet the mesh ones? That’s what I was referring to. -5:49 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke The regular Abranet discs are mesh and seem to last longer but don’t cut as quickly as the Abranet HD. #flairww -5:50 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks If I only did horizontal, flat surfaces, I would have bought a Festool sander because they have less vibration. #flairww -5:52 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks But I find the size and balance (and weight) of the Festool sanders not as conducive to sculpting, especially with one hand. #flairww -5:53 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The Abranet HD discs are more agressive than regular Abranet discs. From the HD 80-grit, I could go to regular 80 or regular 120. #flairww -5:54 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks According to this twitter feed, it’s now been one hour since I glued in the patch so I’ll go back and finish the job. #flairww -6:00 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used my side rabbet plane to clean up the inside edge of the patch. My #4 bench plane flushed the surface. #flairww-6:06 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Do you know what comes next? #flairww -6:08 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Yep! The attachments strips fit in the mortised battens! #flairww -6:11 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Sculping comes next! #flairww -6:12 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I need to trim the end of this leg so that it does not cover the bolt. #flairww  -6:14 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Cancel plans for tonight – I’m power carving! #flairww -6:29 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m wearing a long-sleeved jacket, gloves, goggles, ear muffs, and a dust mask. #flairww -6:33 PM May 17th, 2012

MansFineFurn @FlairWoodworks tweet-along’s hidden side benefit: work timer -6:36 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Sculpting is going well so far. #flairww -6:51 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The legs are rounded at the top and transition into a rectangular cross section at the bottom. #flairww -7:42 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve finished power carving outside so I brought the base back inside where I’ll refine the shape with rasps and sandpaper. #flairww -7:57 PM May 17th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks what did you power carve it with? -8:02 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke I was just thinking that I should take a picture of my grinder and Arbortech disc. #flairww -8:05 PM May 17th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks How is it to control? Taking a grinder to wood has always intimidated me (concrete & metal I grind away on). -8:07 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke It is certainly easier to dig into wood and cause a catch (than with concrete or metal) but I have great control. #flairww -8:09 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The surface left by the Arbortech disc is far from smooth. #flairww -8:12 PM May 17th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks I’ll have to pick up an arbortec blade and try it out. Can you recommend one? -8:12 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke Arbortech and King Arthur’s Tools are two makers of power carving wheels. #flairww -8:16 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke I use THIS ONE. The carbide cutters last a really long time! #flairww -8:17 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke If you’re serious about power carving, it’s a great way to go. It cuts in all directions. #flairww -8:18 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The Lancelot and Squire wheels don’t cut well on the draw stroke using the cutter’s face.  The edge of the cutter does the cutting. #flairww -8:19 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Ready to refine… with 40-grit! #flairww-8:25 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks This sharp 40-grit paper doesn’t make dust – it makes little shavings! #flairww -8:28 PM May 17th, 2012

This video shows how I use my 6″ Mirka CEROS (Compact Electric Random Orbit Sander) and a 40-grit Abranet HD disc  to sand the sculpted legs.  I normally wear a dust mask while sanding, but I I forgot while thinking about camera angles.  Use a dust mask!  The CEROS is very good at collecting dust when used on flat surfaces but not as good when sanding rounded surfaces.  The Abranet HD discs are less effective at catching dust from the regular Abranet discs.

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks I’ll check on a PC [power carver] later, but is there a particular model (grit?) good for a newb? -8:30 PM May 17th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks excellent! -8:30 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke As far as an angle grinder, look for one that is compact and lightweight. Power isn’t really a factor. #flairww -8:54 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke Paddle switches are suppoed to be more reliable than sliders which can get clogged with dust. #flairww -8:54 PM May 17th, 2012

woodshaver101 @FlairWoodworks things are coming together nicely. keep it up. -8:56 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The sander does not do well on more severe convex sections. #flairww -9:01 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The foam interface pad allows the sander to handle curves like this but doesn’t fair the surface as well and is less aggressive. #flairww-9:01 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ll first fair the concave sections with a rasp, then use the sander with the 3/8″ foam interface pad and finer sandpaper. #flairww -9:03 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks When it comes to rasps, I like them as coarse as they come. I rely on them to establish shape, not for smoothing. #flairww -9:08 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I don’t use templates or layout lines. Instead, I trust my eye and sense of touch. #flairww -9:11 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks All I had for lunch was a slice of tiramisu, so I think I’ll need to stop for food soon. #flairww -9:14 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks A round spokeshave would work well to fair this concave curve. #flairww -9:26 PM May 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s where I’ll leave it for the night. #flairww -10:21 PM May 17th, 2012

Next comes more sculpting.  Care to leave a comment?

Maple Trestle Table, Session 2 – Playing with Slabs

On the morning of Sunday, April 15th, Morton and I exchanged ideas about trestle tables, spurred on by a recent sketch of a table on which he was working.  That got me yearning to build a trestle table.

I documented my progress live on Twitter which was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.  Here is a link to the previous session.

Session 1 – Flat Boards are Boring

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username, being the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are preceded by a @ symbol and are people to whom the author is talking.  The other symbol you see is #, which serves as a category.  I try to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

FlairWoodworks I like the split but it’s best shown on the side where the lower half protrudes further. #flairww -11:18 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The split is barely noticeable on this side. I’m going to change that by reducing the thickness of the top. #flairww -11:21 AM Apr 16th, 2012

cobwobbler @FlairWoodworks why do defects look so cool? -11:23 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m going to use mu angle grinder with an Arbortech wood-carving wheel. #flairww -11:23 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Because they are unique! RT @cobwobbler: @FlairWoodworks why do defects look so cool? -11:26 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I would normally do the outside but it’s raining today. I put up tarps to contain the mess. #flairww -11:26 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I wear tight-fitting gloves, goggles, ear protection and a dust mask when power carving. #flairww -11:27 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here you can see the effect that I’m going for. #flairww -11:40 AM Apr 16th, 2012

Morton @FlairWoodworks Tarp doesn’t look like it’s doing much ;) -11:48 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The shape is established. Now for sanding. #flairww -11:54 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s the pile of shavings I produced. #flairww -11:57 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Notice that they are shavings, not dust. #flairww -11:58 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks They actually worked perfectly! RT @Morton: @FlairWoodworks Tarp doesn’t look like it’s doing much ;) -11:59 AM Apr 16th, 2012

BillGriggs @FlairWoodworks Clean it up with a Dust Deputy. -12:01 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Nah. One scoop with the dust pan and it’s gone. RT @BillGriggs: @FlairWoodworks Clean it up with a Dust Deputy. -12:03 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I put the round blade of my convex palm plane in my flat palm plane to quickly even the surface. #flairww -12:08 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks To work a concave surface, either a short-soled plane works well. For more severe concave areas, I’d use the round plane. #flairww -12:09 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks A plane works more quickly than a sander and does a better job of fairing the curve. #flairww -12:12 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks With a sharp blade set for a fine cut, the plane even handles knots with ease. #flairww -12:19 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I have no problem working to within 1/16″ with the angle grinder which means less cleanup later. #flairww -12:22 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I follow up with 80-grit on the sander to further refine the surface and remove any tearout. #flairww -12:32 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It doesn’t look right. More shaping is required. #flairww -12:49 PM Apr 16th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks I like your saw horse set up. -12:50 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworksI can’t say enough about them. They are so versatile. RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks I like your saw horse set up. -1:00 PM Apr 16, 2012

FlairWoodworks My palm plane is too short to remove this hump so I’m switching to a longer plane. #flairww -1:17 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Perfect! #flairww -1:20 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks If it feels fair, it’s fair. #flairww -1:37 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I use a thin-bladed knife to clear loose material out of the cracks. #flairww -1:39 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I broke off the end of a hacksaw blade to clean out the cracks. It’s longer and more flexible than my knife. #flairww -1:48 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m using this wooden block plane. It’s less fatiguing to use than metal planes, especially one-handed. #flairww -2:00 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It was the first plane I’d ever made. It works well, but the body needs some shaping. #flairww -2:01 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks You should never hesitate to modify your tools if it makes them work better for you. #flairww -2:09 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I also rounded over one edge of the sole where my fingers curl over. #flairww -2:10 PM Apr 16th, 2012

CashFromCraft RT @FlairWoodworks: You should never hesitate to modify your tools if it makes them work better for you. #flairww -2:11 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks That feels so nice! #flairww -2:11 PM Apr 16th, 2012

CashFromCraft @FlairWoodworks especially shop made tools! – 2:11 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Especially! But by no means only. RT @CashFromCraft: @FlairWoodworks especially shop made tools! – 2:12 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used my block plane to begin rounding over the edges. I’m using my sander with foam interface pad to finish. #flairww -2:47 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The stretcher is done… at least for now. #flairww-3:04 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks And here’s a look at the other side. #flairww -3:04 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Time for a lunch break. #flairww -3:05 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Any comments or questions so far? #flairww -3:06 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Tumblewood They are tools, after all!! RT @FlairWoodworks: You should never hesitate to modify your tools if it makes them work better for you. #flairww

FlairWoodworks Now that lunch is finished, I’m looking for materials for the rest of this table now that the stretcher is done. #flairww -4:54 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Playing with bookmatches for the top (like @Mansfinefurn). I have three slabs with which to work. #flairww -5:21 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s one idea. All the outside edges are cut ad the inside edges are live. #flairww -5:37 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’d probably cover the gap in the centre with glass. #flairww-5:39 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Yikes – where’d all the space I had go? #flairww -6:07 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Three more pieces of maple for other table parts. #flairww -6:16 PM Apr 16th, 2012

MansFineFurn @FlairWoodworks I won’t ask where you had to stand to get that pic -6:31 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Not on the roof! RT @MansFineFurn: @FlairWoodworks I won’t ask where you had to stand to get that pic -6:34 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks And I begins… #flairww -6:21 PM Apr 16th, 2012

paulchinetti  Digging that! @FlairWoodworks: Here’s one idea. All the outside edges are cut ad the inside edges are live. #flairww -6:43 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @paulchinetti Thanks for the feedback! That’s what I’m going with for now. #flairww -6:45 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Does anybody know if there is a term form this kind or arrangement? It’s not a bookmatch or slipmatch. #flairww -6:56 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks kiss match? -6:58

FlairWoodworks I think I know what you want to say. RT @Brygidocious: @FlairWoodworks kiss match? -6:58

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks haha shush! i remember seeing the term “kiss match” in my IP [Inside Passage School of Fine Woodworking] handout, but it was never explained -6:59

FlairWoodworks Tip: bring a water bottle to the shop and take a sip whenever you take a pause. #flairww -6:59 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Brygidocious Really? I’ve never heard the term. -7:01

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks its some skull and bones krenov talk that no one knows outside of those circles… -7:02 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks i think its a slip match, then flip one sheet end for end – 7:03 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Brygidocious From my understanding, a slip match is just sliding the slices apart with no rotation or flipping. -7:04 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks yeah but this is a kiss match! -7:05 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks like a dis… -7:06 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Okay – I’m with you now! That “other” name is more exciting though. ;) RT @Brygidocious: @FlairWoodworks like a dis -7:08 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Surfacing lumber is a great core and upper-body workout. It even works your legs. #AllInOneGym #flairww -7:26 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Brygidocious Scott Grove calls it spin matching. -7:27 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks One side of one slab is roughly surfaced. #flairww -7:41 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Now I need to find a way to rotate these massive and heavy slabs in my small shop. #flairww -7:42 PM Apr 16th, 2012 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Tumblewood I don’t know, but it’s what i’ve been planning for the conversion table. RT @FlairWoodworks: Does anybody know if there is a term form this kind or arrangement? It’s not a bookmatch or slipmatch. -7:49 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Tumblewood 69 bookmatch? If it wasn’t, it is now!! ;oD RT @FlairWoodworks: Does anybody know if there is a term form this kind or arrangement? It’s not a bookmatch or slipmatch. -7:51 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Oh! The cat’s out of the bag now! RT @Tumblewood: 69 bookmatch? If it wasn’t, it is now!! ;oD -7:52 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I crosshatched the surface with chalk. Now I’ll start planing.#flairww -8:03 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Only traces of blue chalk remain. Dinner time. #flairww -8:35 PM Apr 16th, 2012

I set up my video camera to record in time-lapse the flattening of the two slabs by hand (nothing too exciting).  Watch the video below.  (Duration –  4:18)

Keep going and read about Session 3!

Maple Slab Build, Session 3

Friday night, I went down to the shop because I wanted to build something.  I started with a small slab of Western maple and designed the piece on the fly.  I documented the build live on Twitter and what you see below are the updates from the third session (see what I did in the first session and second session).  This was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username, being the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are preceded by a @ symbol and are people to whom the author is talking.  The other symbol you see is #, which serves as a category.  I try to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

FlairWoodworks This is how I left the shop. The table doesn’t look as tall from this angle. #flairww -12:30 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’d forgotten how hard softwood is to cut cleanly! #flairww-12:42 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here is one end radiused. Now I need to round over the corners. I’ll start with a rasp. #flairww -12:52 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Actually, a block plane is a better tool to start with because it works faster. I’ll switch to a rasp to refine the shape later. #flairww -12:54 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The wide chamfers look nice but I don’t think they suit this piece. Not here. #flairww -12:59 PM Apr 8th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks nice! -1:02 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used my plane to transform the chamfers into roundovers. My sense of touch tells me how fair the curve is. #flairww -1:06 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It’s getting closer. A bit more shaping. #flairww -1:11 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used a rasp to refine the shape. I am constantly using my left hand to feel for any ridges. #flairww -1:20 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks After some sanding, this is what I have. I love 80-grit!#flairww -1:54 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I removed the handle from my countersink and used it in my drill. It leaves a neat pattern. #flairww -2:29 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Time for finishing! #flairww -2:52 PM Apr 8th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks not to shabby for 2 days of work! -2:58 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster See what happens when I’m inspired?#flairww -3:00 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks When I set the table on the ground, I realized that it isn’t as sturdy as I’d like. I’m going to use larger fasteners. #flairww -3:02 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m replacing #10 screw with 1/4″-20 bold and threaded inserts. This is how I drive the inserts. #flairww -3:06 PM Apr 8th, 2012

TT_TPR @FlairWoodworks Great! #flairww -3:11 PM Apr 8th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks how many hours in the shop on this one? -3:15 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster I’m not sure. I’ll check when it’s done.#flairww -3:15 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It’s not often that I work with softwoods and this is showing me how much better real joinery is than metal fasteners. #flairww -3:24 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks With the 1/4″-20 bolts installed, there is a slight improvement. It’s passable but not rock-solid. #flairww -3:33 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I guess I should change out of my nice clothes before finishing… #flairww -3:35 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks One coat of finish applied. Now I’ll clean up the shop while I wait for it to dry. #flairww -4:26 PM Apr 8th, 2012

DyamiPlotke  @FlairWoodworks very nice, Chris. -4:30 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke Thanks, Dyami! This is fun! #flairww -4:31 PM Apr 8th, 2012

See the finished table HERE.

Stephen Gleasner – There You Are

There You Are by Stephen Gleasner

Artist Name:  Stephen Gleasner
Title:  There You Are
Details:  circa 2010 – Plywood, 30″ x 48″

Why It’s Notable:

While most woodworkers try to hide the layers of plywood, Stephen Gleasner embraces them.  He carves into the face of plywood to reveal patterns reminiscent of a topographic map, then applies dyes to the surface to enhance the design.

Overflow, Part VI

This time, I am giving away one Makita BO3700 Finishing Sander which has seen a minimal amount of use.  It uses 1/3 of a standard 9×11″ sandpaper sheet which is held in place by a spring-loaded clamp at each end of the pad.

The soft pad has eight holes for dust extraction.  The steel plate is used to punch matching holes in the paper.

Dust collection with the bag is not great, but some dust does make it into the bag.  The dust port is round, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to adapt a vacuum to it.

The sander runs on 120 volts, draws 1.3 amps, orbits 10,000 times per minute and is turned on and off with the trigger under the handle (there is a lock-on button as well).  The tool weighs 3.1 pounds and the cord is listed at 6.6 feet.

If you would like this sander, please leave a comment below indicating your interest before February 21, 2012.  I will then draw a winner at random.  Even if you don’t get this sander, remember that this is only some of the MANY things I want to give away.

And if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to my blog using the widget in the right-hand column so you can be notified as soon as I post something new!  And please tell your friends about my Overflow program.

Review the details of the Overflow program.

Bubinga Dining Room Table, Part II

Currently, I’m down in Phoenix, Arizona, working for Morgan Holt of EarthArt Landscape & Designs, Inc. on a massive dining table being made from one large slab of bubinga.

Yesterday was an edgy day, so to speak.  The previous day, I had carved the edges with the angle grinder equipped with an Arbortech wood-carving wheel.  My next job was to smooth the edges.  I started with a rasp, as I had done on the sample board.  However, the sample board was only about 3’x1’x2″, therefore I was able to position it in the best possible way, which was vertically, with the surface being worked on at elbow-height.

It was impractical to orient the workpiece in a similar fashion, so that was out of the question.  I tried various positions and grips on the rasp, but got fatigued quickly.  Reluctantly, I plugged in the belt sander and went to work.  As much as I detest sanding, I really was glad to have the belt and random orbit sander available for this table.  So I worked my way up from 36-grit to 120-grit.  Belt sanders are not light, and I found the best way to use it without straining myself was to sit down in a chair and hold the belt sander in front of me at about shoulder height.  I took frequent breaks to rest my arms.  When I finished with the belt sander a few hours later, I put the tool away and began hand sanding the edge with 120-grit sand paper, then up to 220-grit.

This morning, I started off by inspecting the work I had done yesterday and spent some time sanding any areas requiring additional work.  Around 11:00am, I applied a sealer coat of blonde shellac which we had mixed up yesterday and had been giving a swirl every now and again to dissolve the shellac flakes.  I wiped on a thin coat with a rag and let it dry for about 15 minutes before applying a second.  I applied an additional coat to the end grain, which has a tendency to absorb more finish than other parts of the board, resulting in a darker colour.

I monitored the drying process, checking every once in a while by sanding it.  If the shellac gums up the sandpaper, it hasn’t sufficiently dried; if the sandpaper stays clean and produces dust, the finish is dry.  I waited, tested, waited, tested, then decided to go for lunch.  An hour-and-a-half later, the shellac was dry in some areas.  Despite the thin cut and thin coat applied, the age of the shellac inhibited the curing process.  This is a problem with pre-mixed shellac and blonde- and super-blonde (bleached) shellac.  Orange, untreated shellac in flake form does not have this problem.  Anyhow, I proceded to sand away the finish.  The idea was to fill the pores with the shellac which would prevent them from absorbing the oil/varnish finish which we would apply later.  This took a lot longer that I had expected, but I trudged on.  I had spent three days sanding, so another two hours wouldn’t kill me.

Once complete, I could see an even sheen across the table. The next step was to apply the oil/varnish finish, which would be the top coat.  I read the label, which advised me that it needed to be stirred well.  Even though I could see no sediment that would need to be stirred in, I stirred, and I stirred well.

Just then, at the perfect time, Morgan came into the shop.  Together we decided that we’d wet-sand the finish.  We found a fine synthetic steel wool (Scotchbrite) pad that would work.  Morgan poured the finish over the table and I spread it around and sanded it into the wood with the pad.  Doing so creates a slurry of wood dust and finish which help to fill any pores or scratches or small knot holes.

Once the wood was coated, we stood back and admired how beautiful the table looked, all glossy with the finish still wet.  Then we grabbed some cotton rags and began to wipe off the excess finish.  As time elapsed, the finish began to thicken.  It took the two of us about five minutes to remove the bulk of the excess, then ten minutes to go back with clean rags and get the rest.  The result is well worth all the prep time I had spent the days prior.

The picture shows the table after one coat, about 15 minutes after wiping it clean.  We’ll allow the finish to dry overnight.  The directions on the can recommend 24-36 hours between coats, but given the lack of humidity and presence of heat in Phoenix, we feel comfortable giving the finish a little less time to dry.  We’ll need to apply 2-3 coats on each side.  Flipping the table will be a challenge for the two of us, but with some jigging and rigging, we’ll get it done.