Friday, October 2, 2009


    I have a few things I've been working on in the past week that I'd like to share with you.

    Ever since I saw pictures Wiktor Kuc's restored hand drills I've been wanting to restore one of my own. I've found quite a few in local antique malls but they've generally been in very poor working shape. I found a small Japanese-made hand drill last year that I tuned up a bit and it worked surprisingly well but for small holes. Then, about three months ago, I found this Miller's Falls no. 2  that was actually in decent working shape but was in need of a new handle and paint job.
    After removing the handles (quite an ordeal) and the chuck I took the old paint off with a small sand blaster. I masked-off the gears and filled the lubrication holes with bits of paper. Then I sprayed on a few coats of primer. It sat in my car for a month or so until I recently got the gumption to spray on the gloss red and black. Now I just need to turn another handle on the lathe and find a suitable ferrule. I'm thinking about using either walnut or crab-apple for the handle. For the ferrule, I'm thinking about using a brass nut which I would turn on the lathe. This restoration would probably turn a collector's stomach, but I'm not a tool collector. I'm a tool user. And I likes me some purty tools!

    I finally got around to rearranging my hand saws a bit to accommodate my new dovetail saw. I really want to make a proper saw till like this one by Dave Anderson. I'm not sure if I want one with doors or not.

    The next big project for me is a six drawer dresser for Ryan. I've been working out the measurements in SketchUp and have been researching my joinery options. I went out yesterday and got to sift through my walnut that has been drying for over a year now. This is the first time I've dried my own lumber, so I'm not sure how this will go. I found more than enough boards for the dresser and laid them in the barn. Today I may run them through the planer on each face to expose the grain pattern so I can determine what boards I will use for each part of the dresser. There's a lot of advice out there for using grain pattern   in designing furniture but I've never really gotten to that point. Part of the reason is that, until now,  I haven't had my own lumber pile to sift through and ponder over. I did use a hand plane to check a few boards out of curiosity.
    Before I mill any parts I'll probably cut some boards to rough length and stack and sticker them flat in the cottage to dry out a bit more to discourage additional warping. I don't have a moisture meter so I'll just hope they're dry enough. I do have a dehumidifier that I may put in the cottage to help out.

    The dresser project will be quite a challenge for me for a few reasons. This is going to be my first significant piece that I will have taken from rough cut lumber. It is also going to be made entirely from solid wood. Joinery is much different when solid wood is used when compared to using plywood. Speaking of joinery, while all of the dimensioning will be done with power tools I intend on using hand tools for much of the joints and final surfacing. So far I'm estimating I'll be cutting about fifty through dovetails, fifty half-blind dovetails, sixteen sliding dovetails, four bridle joints and twenty-four mortise and tenons. On second thought, I'll probably use my mortiser and tenoning jig for the M&T's. I do have to get this done someday, ya' know. The toughest part of all of this may be applying the finish. Definitely not my area. I gotta get it built first so I'll worry about it after that happens.
    I'm planning on updating you as I progress. This could be a very educational journey for us if you are interested in joining me. Feel free to leave any comments or advice. I could definitely use good advice and words of encouragement.
    Another "Thank You" to Kari Hultman, a.k.a. "The Village Carpenter" for these nice gifts I received on my front porch yesterday. I won them in her last reader contest. I got a copy of Roy Underhill's new book Working Wood with Wegde and Edge which has been a great read so far. "St. Roy" has a lot of valuable experience and rare wisdom to share. This is obvious in just the first  couple pages. Also delivered was scratch stock and a housing hand-made by Kari herself. There's a good possibility of using this somewhere on the dresser project.

    Well, them are the irons in my fire, along with preparations for a fire safety demonstration for 200 Cub Scouts in a week and another small sign job. And sign jobs = more tools!