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Thread: Adventures in DIY

  1. #661
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    Turning that vase on a lathe is a particularly good hobby for people who don't really like wrists anyway, but the result is very nice.

  2. #662
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    Years ago I bought a unique "vase" turned from a birch burl that had partially rotted after being somehow damaged.
    There's a goofy little corner where my living room wall accommodates the flues that exit my furnace/hot water utility room.
    I decided to use this space to display the vase, so made a corner shelf from some birch scraps left over from a half-round table I built five years ago.
    Classy!
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. ó Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  3. #663
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    I know next to nothing about working a lathe, but I've always been impressed by the things that people make on them. When I did my stint in a sawmill, I was amazed at the machinist's ability to create custom parts on pretty short notice.

    The elementary school my children attended hosts an annual Christmas craft sale, where people pay a small amount for a table to display their creations. I still go most years and get the majority of my Christmas baked goods there, as well a jams and other unusual homemade products. Every year there are also people who are selling a variety of wooden creations and honestly, I can't stand to look at most of it - joints that aren't square, or are loose fitting, ends of different sides that don't meet evenly, and so on. But one year there was a fellow with a whole lot of things made on a lathe, and that vase was one of them. I kept coming back to his table and looking it. He told me he liked going into the woods and looking for burls, and that he'd found this partially rotted one that represented a challenge. He said it was "a bit tricky", and I have no idea what that means compared to working with completely sound wood, but I was in awe of the item. I'm not normally so acquisitive and needing to own that new shiny thing, and especially not so with art, but I couldn't leave the building without it. People always comment on it the first time they see it.

  4. #664
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    Nicolas - By "loads of red dust", I assume you will be chiseling at brick walls? Ugh.

  5. #665
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    Yup. Chiseling, cutting, whatever works with the least amount of dust. I plan on going for drilling a few holes and then manually chiseling them together. It are small patches, so any approach that results in limited dust is fine.

    The problem with having a piece of wood like that vase on your lathe: on a wood lathe, you have the chisel in your hands. There normally is a constant equilibrium between the cutting force of the wood, the raction force on the support, and partially in your hand. However, with this vase every turn suddenly the cutting force drops to zero. At that moment, you must make sure your hand doesn't push the chisel forward or you'd get a brutal whack in your hand a fraction of a second later. So you need perfect hand control on the chisel: don't push too hard, but don't hold too loose. And then there's the unbalance in the vasae while turning, the uneven wood strength...well, it's a bit of lathe hell.

  6. #666
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    On metal turning lathes, the cutting tools are held in mechanical fixtures which can be controlled in or out. I wonder if he had something like that. Then again, pretty much everything you turn from wood is going to start out square which will have the same kind of problem.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  7. #667
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    On metal turning lathes, the cutting tools are held in mechanical fixtures which can be controlled in or out. I wonder if he had something like that.
    For the inside turning, it's possible, in a manner of speaking. There are hollow-forming jigs that constrain the chisel vertically. I scored one with the used lathe I bought a couple-r-three years back: the OneWay Laser Hollowing System...worth more alone than I paid for it and the lathe together.

    For the outside, it's unlikely that the chisel was fixed. I'm no expert mind you but the videos I've watched of turners making open hollow forms shows them taking controlled light cuts so I think there isn't that great a difference in force on the cutting tool. None of them looked the least bit troubled by it anyway.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. ó Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  8. #668
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    Busy day in the shop. Before starting on the top of the urn, I needed to make a small miter sled. Nothing fancy, since Iím not set on the design.



    With that done, I mitered the top panel trim pieces, sneaking up on the length little by little. Here it is after glue up and an initial smoothing.

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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. ó Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  9. #669
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    For the outside, it's unlikely that the chisel was fixed. I'm no expert mind you but the videos I've watched of turners making open hollow forms shows them taking controlled light cuts so I think there isn't that great a difference in force on the cutting tool. None of them looked the least bit troubled by it anyway.
    That's because they're good at it. If you're not, you might break a chisel or worse.

    When starting to turn any wood, it will likely not be round indeed, but at least it will likely not have a hole in it. I'm a (very) amateur wood turner, and I wouldn't like to have something like that vase on the lathe. In my hands, it's a disaster waiting to happen. Then again, in my hands most things are.

    That said, I've managed to increase the size of the doorway in the brick wall without coloring the entire house red. The door frame is now put together, and I'm waiting for the glue to dry before starting attempts of mounting it square in the doorway. I'm using glue because it's a cheap frame and it cracks so, so easily with just screws.

  10. #670
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    I just looked at the last miters I did, and man, are they sloppy-looking compared to that. Lesson: Careful preparation is worth the time!

    The following could also go into the "Happy" thread. I commented upthread that the fittings for my shop vac hose were broken and I hadn't been able to find any replacements in town. I could have bought an entirely new hose with attachments included for C$40, but I can't bring myself to pay that for cheap plastic. As luck would have it, in a box of plumbing odds and ends was a 4" long chunk of ABS pipe and a couple of elbows (22.5 and 45 degrees). Using my router and a jig on the router table to hold the pipe, I was able to reduce its outside diameter to fit the various attachments as well as the vac itself and the reducer for the dust collector as here:





    For getting into tight places or using the floor attachment, it does indeed work better attached to the vac than to the DC. I had forgotten how well the vac works when the connections are tight!

    And now those pieces of ABS have found a purpose instead of wasting space.
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  11. #671
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    Did you just use a router table as a lathe? DIY win of the day.

  12. #672
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    Did you just use a router table as a lathe? DIY win of the day.
    LOL. I guess I did!

    I made a dew shield for my Meade ETX 20 years ago by routing about 2 mm off the inside of a piece of 4" ABS. I still have it.

    The inside cutting was quite tedious, because the ABS chips if the cut is too deep, so the set up had to be repeated several times. And the way I set it up was by clamping several blocks at just the right position to hold the pipe steady while I spun it in the jig. Doing the outside reduction was much easier because it only required two blocks be clamped down, and successive deeper cuts were achieved by filing away one corner of one block.

    I was concerned that it may be hard on the tools, but the carbide seems to stand up and I've subsequently used those same bits to work oak.

  13. #673
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    "Adventures in DIY", or "Mishaps in DIY"?

    A couple of years ago I wrote "I fear getting very deep into a project and then destroying it in some way." Here's a story...

    My living room is very small, and for years I haven't been satisfied with the way the TV is supported on a cheap stand in one corner. I've had this notion that I could make a built-in shelf in the same theme as the half-round table and that last corner shelf I made - simple flowing curves cut from birch plywood. Being a corner shelf, the location of wall studs would again allow a design without legs or visible supporting gussets. I didn't want any other shelves that would take up volume, just a simple surface.

    It was a good start earlier this week. I was able to cut the piece from a corner of the sheet and only lost about an inch off the end due to defect. So there was lots left over for another project.



    Of course the walls aren't straight, so it took some time to get it to fit with no visible gaps and also to smooth out the rough jigsaw cut curves so that they'd take the veneer edge strip and just look sleek.

    This morning I was routing the 1/4 inch channel on the underside into which I'd glue the skirt that hides the bracing and adds substance to the appearance. The routing progress slowed and slowed and I sensed the wood was burning. So I stopped, but it was too late. Can you see it?



    Yes, the bit slowly pulled out of the collet but still had enough grip to cut. I cannot believe that I let that happen. After some cursing, I realized there might be a chance at a do-over without buying another sheet of plywood. The damaged piece is lying on the leftover piece in roughly the position that will allow a surface without knots or other defects to be cut.

    It didn't take long to feel better about it, but I think I'll wait a bit before starting over...
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  14. #674
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    In spite of the difficulties, it looks like a good start. The plywood has a little character, I think.

    I made a lot of visual progress on Krogerís urn box this weekend. I cut and assembled the box bottom yesterday and shaped it and the top on the router table today: chamfered corners and edges where they meet the box body, and a bevel on the topís upper edges. I chamfered the box corner edges as well, then scraped and sanded all pieces separately. To call it a day, I glued the top in place and after cleaning shop, I took care of the squeeze out.



    After I drill and countersink screw holes in the bottom, itíll be time for finishing.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. ó Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  15. #675
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    You guys make me ashamed of myself. Today I managed to install the corner piece to make my desk into an "el" shape. Using mostly the original hardware and screws. Even then it was a bit of a struggle.

    But hey, I was able to pay someone to build me a house!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  16. #676
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    So, I'm building a photo storage rack thingy for my wife and I needed to drill some 5/8" holes in some 2x2's. No problem - I'll just pop a 5/8 bit into the drill press and I'll be off and running. Except I can't find a 5/8 bit. I have like a hundred 1/2" bits, but no 5/8"*. Off to the hardware store. While there, I see these Irwin Speedbor spiral bits and think that's the ticket - probably will cause less tear-out than the standard flat spade bits. I buy it.

    Here's the problem. The Speedbor spiral 'self-feed' bits have a small screw at the tip, which I hadn't noticed. When the bit contacts the wood, the tip tends to screw itself into the wood and will draw the piece up into the bit if not held down. Which it wasn't. Normally, for something like this, I'll just hold the piece by hand because the force of the drill will press it down. But that tip caught me by surprise and the wood raised up off the drill press table, with the bit chewing away off line. Doh!

    Never too old to learn something. Not sure what the utility of the self-feed feature is.

    * I do have a Forstner bit set, including a 5/8, but I didn't want to use that.

  17. #677
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    Quote Originally Posted by geonuc View Post
    Here's the problem. The Speedbor spiral 'self-feed' bits have a small screw at the tip, which I hadn't noticed. When the bit contacts the wood, the tip tends to screw itself into the wood and will draw the piece up into the bit if not held down. Which it wasn't. Normally, for something like this, I'll just hold the piece by hand because the force of the drill will press it down. But that tip caught me by surprise and the wood raised up off the drill press table, with the bit chewing away off line. Doh!
    Been there, learned that with the same bit.

    Not sure what the utility of the self-feed feature is.
    It helps me in tight spaces and positions when I can't easily apply feed pressure. One example is drilling studs for wiring with a right-angle drill, especially overhead.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. ó Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  18. #678
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    Quote Originally Posted by geonuc View Post

    * I do have a Forstner bit set, including a 5/8, but I didn't want to use that.
    Why not? Even though I got them at Harbor Freight, I love my Forstner bits. Although perhaps that's a bit of a deep hole for them.

    You know what else I like? Set of Sears spade bits. Had them for at least 40 years and still ok. At one point I bought some Irwin (I think) ones and they wore out almost instantly.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  19. #679
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Why not? Even though I got them at Harbor Freight, I love my Forstner bits. Although perhaps that's a bit of a deep hole for them.

    You know what else I like? Set of Sears spade bits. Had them for at least 40 years and still ok. At one point I bought some Irwin (I think) ones and they wore out almost instantly.
    I didn't want to drill a dozen holes through 1 1/2" wood with the Forstner. I'd rather save those bit for finer woodworking, which is not what I'm doing here.

    I thought I had a complete set of spade bits probably bought at Sears. Over time, I've picked up multiples of various sizes but alas, apparently not 5/8".

  20. #680
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    It helps me in tight spaces and positions when I can't easily apply feed pressure. One example is drilling studs for wiring with a right-angle drill, especially overhead.
    OK, I can see that. I don't have a right angle drill but I've punched many holes on studs for wiring.

  21. #681
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    Quote Originally Posted by geonuc View Post
    OK, I can see that. I don't have a right angle drill but I've punched many holes on studs for wiring.
    I only have one because I ran into the need during our long-ago master bath remodel. What with plumbing and narrow stud spacing in a couple of spots, there were places I couldn't even get a compact drill and bit into without an extreme angle. So I picked up a hand cordless model. I haven't used it a lot since but when it's handy, it's really handy.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. ó Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  22. #682
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    I only have one because I ran into the need during our long-ago master bath remodel. What with plumbing and narrow stud spacing in a couple of spots, there were places I couldn't even get a compact drill and bit into without an extreme angle. So I picked up a hand cordless model. I haven't used it a lot since but when it's handy, it's really handy.
    That's a common thing with tools. You may not need it often, but when you do, you really, really, do.

    Speaking of drill bits, another thing I picked up at HF (they were on sale!) was a set of step drills. Not of much use for woodworking, of course, but those have been really handy for holes in steel and aluminum. I learned fairly soon that it's not a bad idea to go almost all the way through with the final step then flip the work over and finish from the other side. Make for less deburring.
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  23. #683
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Speaking of drill bits, another thing I picked up at HF (they were on sale!) was a set of step drills.
    Yep, I keep a couple of those in the electrical tool box...although I donít have a Harbor Freight anywhere close.
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  24. #684
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    Quote Originally Posted by geonuc View Post
    Here's the problem. The Speedbor spiral 'self-feed' bits have a small screw at the tip, which I hadn't noticed. When the bit contacts the wood, the tip tends to screw itself into the wood and will draw the piece up into the bit if not held down. Which it wasn't. Normally, for something like this, I'll just hold the piece by hand because the force of the drill will press it down. But that tip caught me by surprise and the wood raised up off the drill press table, with the bit chewing away off line. Doh!
    This is the reason why you should not ever, EVER, use those drills in the tailstock of a wood lathe. They can pull the wood out of whatever it is you have it clamped onto and guess who's standing in the line of fire then.

  25. #685
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    This is the reason why you should not ever, EVER, use those drills in the tailstock of a wood lathe. They can pull the wood out of whatever it is you have it clamped onto and guess who's standing in the line of fire then.
    Yikes. I may actually grind down the screw tip on the bit I just bought. Make it a point instead.

  26. #686
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    There's not a lot of room on my drill press table to make clamping easy. One time I was drilling holes through multiple small sheets of metal and I tried to hold them in place by hand, only to have them spin on me. Ouch. And every time I do something silly like that I tell myself that I should know better by now!

    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    ... and a bevel on the topís upper edges...
    I hadn't noticed that you'd written about that detail, but then I saw it in the photo. I really like the effect it has, just like the way the edge of your bow table got that treatment.

    In spite of the difficulties, it looks like a good start. The plywood has a little character, I think.
    I guess the photo didn't make it clear that I'd actually routed right through the upper surface. My mentioning the smell of burning probably suggested the dark spot was charring...

    But your calling it "character" made me reassess this, um, "event".

    I took some time to think about how I could repair that surface, and whether I had the coordination and patience to do it. The quality of the veneer is not that great to begin with, so I reasoned that
    1. if I didn't get it quite right, it probably wouldn't look that much worse than the natural defects in the surface, and
    2. I could always start over with the other large piece of plywood. At worst I'll have used up some time.

    So after two practice attempts, I chose a small scrap that had similar grain to the damaged area and did this:



    I still need to firm it up from below before I continue routing the rest of the channel. Maybe tomorrow...

    (Interesting how the different angles/height of the table lamp affected the colour in the image.)
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  27. #687
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    ... and a bevel on the topís upper edges...
    I hadn't noticed that you'd written about that detail, but then I saw it in the photo. I really like the effect it has, just like the way the edge of your bow table got that treatment.
    Funny you should mention the table. I used the same panel raising router bit to create this bevel. I replaced the stock guide bearing with a larger one to eliminate the stepped edge it normally creates for door panels.

    I could have used kind of ogee profile bit to reduce the visual ďweightĒ of the top but I like the simplicity of a bevel in this case.
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  28. #688
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    Well, it's installed, but not necessarily done.

    Some underside detail - there are only two stiffeners to prevent sagging because it is well supported by both walls. The back supports are deeper in the corner where they can't be seen. I glued in some small blocks to buttress the skirt in case it gets bumped.



    After five coats of Varathane, it was attached with seven 3" screws.



    I'm thinking about suspending the Blueray player from the underside directly below the TV to eliminate those cords and have room for other stuff on the shelf, but I'll wait a bit to see if I feel the same way about it in a few days...
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  29. #689
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    That's nice!

    I'm done installing the door in the crooked doorway. 4 doors to go, 9 done.

  30. #690
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    Thanks!

    Are the rest of the openings in interior walls, and not make of brick?

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