Lawrence Brown

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Everything posted by Lawrence Brown

  1. I'd like to know where to get the magnetic latches. I recently finished something a lot similar for a customer where the side panels of the pillars of a fireplace mantel have offset pins that let you push on them near the back to rotate them open (I'll get pictures up here eventually). Not very sophisticated, but the client thought they were fun. The latches would be better. Then you could do actual drawers and things. Then there also these (there are places you can get them cheaper): Interesting thing is, if the batteries in the lock die, the recommended way to get in is to force the door and the plate will shear off. You then buy a new plate. Guess it's kind of the sawstop cartridge equivalent of the lock world.
  2. Are you trying to buy locally? Don't know if there is a woodcraft or Rockler near you, but you can order online. They're not the cheapest things in the world, but not horribly expensive. The quadracut bits here are nice: Also, a search of the net will turn up several good router bit manufacturers that you can order from.
  3. I'm with Rob. I hear "Midi" and I immediately look for a keyboard.
  4. That's pretty cool. I think all the platforms for mounting equipment on it are pretty neat, but as mentioned, unless I was really space-challenged I wouldn't want to have to constantly reconfigure for each operation. The idea of the attached tracksaw track is awesome. I'm thinking I might want to try adding that to my assembly table. That would replace about half of what I do on the tablesaw and be a lot safer. Other than the track, I recognize a lot of that hardware from places like Lee Valley. It was interesting that they also threw in an Incra fence in there. And the hand drill with the sanding disk was pretty funny, especially in front of the "wall o green", but of course it also showed just how much you can do with a bit of imagination. Now that I'm thinking about it, you could also turn that whole thing into a much bigger outfeed table for the table saw, putting the saw in one corner. Oh oh, I feel a shop redesign coming on!
  5. As Dlhunter said, LED's are a good option these days. They are still a bit pricey, but they fit just about anywhere. Rockler has a decent selection now, complete with a few different switch options and so on. I'm guessing Woodcraft has similar. Not sure where you're located, but if you don't have one of those near you, you can order from both places online.
  6. Thanks. I haven't used the T1-11 before, so I don't know it's characteristics. I was actually more concerned about the sheathing behind the Tyvek and the possibility of trapping moisture in it from direct rain on the Tyvek (I know it's not actually "waterproof", just resistant), but I guess that's the very reason why its used - so that the moisture can get out again.
  7. Okay, so this is more about construction than woodworking, but it's a question on building my shop, so I hope it's in the right place. For those of you that have built your own shops (or other structures), I've got the basic structure built. The sheathing is up on the walls and there is a roof. Now it's time to put on the siding. Trouble is, we've now hit the rainy season. I can't do everything in one day, so the easiest way for me would be to put on the Tyvek house wrap all at once, and then add the siding over that as quick as I can. The trouble is, I know it's going to rain in between these steps, so my question is, if I put the Tyvek up and it rains on it, as long as I let it dry off again before installing the siding (T1-11), will there be any problems or things I need to be concerned about? The walls themselves will be dry when the Tyvek is applied. The little info I've found suggests that it doesn't matter because the moisture just eventually finds it's way out (when everything is done properly), but I just wanted to get the advice of others with more experience. Any thoughts?
  8. Not at all. It's like getting a new tool or other new toy to play with Learning the characteristics of a new wood can be just as exciting as learning about anything else. There's always a challenge to master. I myself have been using a lot of hard maple lately in conjunction with birch ply for an entertainment center I'm building for a customer. Luckily, they wanted a very light "scandinavian" finish, so I've just been putting on a coat of shellac and then polyurethane, and the two seem to match pretty well. The only trouble I've been having, like others have said, is with a lot of burning. I've tried everything, but I've just resigned myself to sanding out the burns. And yes, I've noticed that I have to pay very close attention to grain direction on every operation. Still, the results are definitely worth it.
  9. I use a little app on my ipod called Pug. Yes, it's a weird name, but it works pretty well with lots of options for tracking projects, materials, clients, and so on, and I can export stuff from it if I need to. Most of the time though I just use the time clock functions sort of as an informal record for my own use. I tend to bid on projects based on the time I believe it should take me and then give them a set price rather than trying to charge by the hour and then worrying about every minute spent. That way if a job ends up taking me longer because I estimate wrong or I consciously decide I want to put more time in it, I don't have to worry about going back to the customer and saying it's going to cost more and they don't try to micromanage me. Getting into the habit of tracking project times and materials just helps me become better at estimating, so I recommend it.
  10. I'd stay away from pressure treated lumber, especially if you are growing anything you are going to eat, but even regular plants would be sensitive to the chemicals in it. There is also the problem that the chemicals will very quickly rust nails and screws unless they are hot-dip galvanized. The best thing would probably hardwoods with an outdoor finish and some kind of plastic inserts so that the only water coming into contact with the wood would be the occasional spill, which could just be wiped up. If you look at the link Fransikaner provided, they are basically heavy plastic. I'd just find some plastic pots in the shapes you like and build a frame around them.
  11. So what do you mean by a giant pen? Are you using one of the large pens or doing something on your own? If you're using a kit, is there a reason you can't just use the mandrel that's made for it? Mandrels take a bit more work and are fussier to make than you might think.
  12. As the others say, local wood is usually available from various sources, especially if you just want it for practice. Remember also that the wood turners want usually is what others would pass over or burn, like crotches, root balls, and burls. When I first started, the first thing I did was look on craigslist. It didn't take long before I found an add that said, "Just cut down a maple. Wood is out front and free to haul away." I'm still trying to use it all up. builders want clear wood, we want interesting wood, so you should be able to find lots once you start looking. Any turning clubs in your area you can join? They are usually happy to share and to teach. I think half the fun of turning is to experiment with different woods just to see what they will look like, so don't be afraid of that pine or anything else you come across.
  13. Try not to get too frustrated. It sounds like you are doing a fantastic job of what I'll call "organized" learning. I was being rather emphatic with my last post because a lot of times new people will try something out, have a really hard time of it, and not realize that it was the tools and not them. Clearly you have thought it through and know what to look for and how to qualify your results. Keep it up, and I hope you get the shop space issues worked out:) Couldn't tell from a quick look at your blog, but with you mentioning microbevels, are you using some kind of honing guide and a flat (ie: sandpaper or sharpening stone) system? If you haven't seen it yet, you might want to check out This. With that jig, it should be pretty quick to pop the skew in, give it a few strokes, and be back to the lathe. It should keep both the bevel and skew angle you want and also avoid any kind of hollow grind. If you already have a jig, I'd love to see pictures of it. Of course with how large that skew is, given time I'll bet you'll be able to just lay it on the sharpening surface with the flat and just do it free hand. Your methodology makes a lot more sense now. If you can take the worst tool you can get your hands on and get to the point where you're getting good results, then you've learned a lot and should get amazing results once you invest in better ones. A lot of people can get discouraged going that way. I've been a victim of that myself. Glad to see you're sticking with it. Oh, and I apologize for not reading your blog first. That would have answered several of the questions I had. That's what I get for not being able to read the site as much as I used to
  14. Hmm... If you are getting any discoloration at all of the metal and you're sure it's not from something like getting OSB glue dust or something on it, then you've probably got heat. You don't really need to measure it precisely or anything. A good rule is to just use the tool for a bit, especially if you can see that discoloration happen, and then immediately take it away from the lathe and put your finger on it. If it's "uncomfortable" to touch, then it's probably too hot for the glue. If it's so hot that you burn your finger, well, then you've got bigger problems. You might want to just try holding your hand near the tip first to see if you feel any heat. I don't take responsibility for burns! This is something you should do only if you are pretty reasonably sure you DON'T have heat buildup and are just confirming. Does that make sense? Your description about the sharpening of the skew is worrying me a bit. You say that you don't want to grind the bevel yet because you are afraid of changing the configuration. Does that mean that you've been using it all this time without any kind of sharpening, or am I misunderstanding? If the skew is from Harbor Freight and you've never sharpened it, then you absolutely do not have a sharp edge and it's no wonder things are exploding. You need to get over your fear of sharpening and just learn how to do it. Run a permanent marker over the edge of the bevel so you can see where you're grinding, then with the grinder off, hold the blade to the wheel, and while holding it in that position, try to move your head around and look at it from different viewpoints to see if it looks like the right angle. Next, with the wheel still off, practice the motion of moving it back and forth to at least get the feel for the motion. Once you are satisfied with that, then turn the wheel on, go through that motion making one pass, then look at the edge. the permanent marker will help show where you are grinding so that you can adjust your hold. Once you get this down, you will only need to make one or two quick passes to make it sharp again. Remember, you aren't trying to grind a new bevel, you are just running the wheel along the existing edge to take off just enough to bring it back to a point. Don't worry so much about ruining the current grind on the tool. turners change the edge all the time, either on-purpose or inadvertantly. The chisel you have is perfect for practicing sharpening on. It is Harbor Freight after all. I also hope you have decent wheels on the grinder. You definitely want to use the finest grit you can. And forgive me, but that brings up the point I'm going to make again: If you are using Harbor Freight turning tools to learn with, you must remember that you absolutely, positively, without fail, have never used a sharp tool. Not out of the box, not after you sharpen it, not ever. It is not quality tool steel and is incapable of holding an edge. If you were an expert sharpener, sure, you might be able to put an edge on it that you could cut a hair with (an actual test, by the way), but that is just an instantaneous test. Even with that edge, within a few seconds of putting that bad steel to the wood, it's going to be dull again. You might as well be trying to sharpen aluminum (which I've done, by the way). I say this from actual experience and controlled tests, not just heresay. Do you know any local turners? If you can find one that will let you try out one of his tools on his lathe, I think you will immediately notice the difference, and I think that difference will go a long way towards your success with the OSB, and everything else for that matter. Do you have a woodcraft near you? Most have classrooms, and I think if you went in and told them you were a beginning turner and just wanted to see what difference a quality tool would make, I think they would let you test one on one of their lathes for a few minutes. I think it would lead to a quick sale. Anyway, if I'm saying things you already know, then I apologize, but it sounds like you're just starting out, so hopefully I'm being helpful. These are just very important points and hard to stress too much. Either way, I'll just shut up now
  15. So, as I mentioned in a previous post, I'm suddenly looking for a miter saw. Trouble is, it seems that on every one that I've looked at, even the tiniest bit of pressure side to side on the handle will cause the blade to deflect a bit. coming from more of a machinist background, I tend to be a little overly picky about these things, but it seems to me that this is a bad thing. Does anyone else notice it, and/or does it seem to make any real difference? My thinking has always been that it would be good enough for framing, where "close" is usually good enough, but then again, you would also use it for molding, where you would want the angles to be dead-on, especially for a compound miter. Any thoughts or recommendations on this, or is it all in my head?
  16. Hehe. I was just going to say that I just answered my own question by going back a few posts and reading the "kapex vs. bosch axial" thread. So the question now is, has anyone else used it and how do they feel about it?
  17. I'm suddenly in the market for a miter saw. Recently I saw one in one of the magazines that had two hinged arms placed at right angles to each other that allowed the saw to go forward/back and up/down. This took place of the usual tube slides. Of course now that I want to check it out, I can't find the magazine. If my description makes any sense, does anyone know which one I'm talking about?
  18. My mistake was walking into a Rockler store for the first time because I had some time to kill and was curious. Unfortunately, the first isle I walked down was the pen kits. A couple weeks later I had a tiny lathe on my apartment balcony, which retriggered my memories of shop class, and it's all been "downhill" since then No more free time for me!
  19. The shellac/wax sounds about right. That was my thinking, too. Yeah, I'm not really looking for a heavy, solid finish. And maybe you're right: I might not need any finish at all. I guess it's just my natural reaction to "finish" anything I make, but I guess I should wait and see what the surface looks like once I plane and sand it. I use micromesh on some of my turnings, and they get glass-smooth without any kind of finish, so maybe I'll do something along those lines. The only thing I'd be concerned about is that I'm going to want to put some kind of sealer on the ends just to equalize the evaporation a bit, so it may or may not look odd with finish on part of it and not the rest. But again, if I polish those ends to a much higher grit, then it might not even be an issue. Thanks for the tip on the shrinkage. I'm definitely setting it up so that it floats enough so that it can do its own thing. I haven't noticed any pitch yet either. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something.
  20. Excellent posts. I think it's great fun to experiment. Even if they don't turn out the way you want, usually you learn something that leads to something else. Keep it up! A few thoughts: So OSB is basically a bunch of thin wood chips held together with a binder. The problem that causes is that basically every chip in the piece is sealed on every edge by the binder. This is great in that it keeps any moisture from getting in to the small pieces, keeping it stable, and the binder gives it more strength than from just the wood alone, but that also means that trying to soak the piece in anything will only result in a tiny bit of the solution getting in the outermost layers that have had an edge cut to expose the relatively small sliver of wood inside. That's probably why you were having a bit of success with CA on the "end grain". Speaking of end grain, I'm thinking that in a lot of way, that's more or less what you're dealing with. I guess it kind of has a direction like plywood, but with all the tiny pieces, I'll bet you have fibers sticking up in any cross section you could come up with, just more in the "long" direction. All that means is that you have to treat it like you would any other end grain, such as when turning a bowl, or a cross-grain piece. Scraping, as you had tried, seems to support this, and a long shear cut should also theoretically help. This may have to be done with a skew, like you mentioned, but not as a scraping cut, rather a long sheer cutting action, which brings me to my third thought... I, too, have that set of HF tools, or rather I should say "had". I'm actually a proponent of harbor freight for a lot of basic tools, but in this case I threw them away. I found that I could actually bend them with my bare hands. They say high speed steel on them, but you are very unlikely to ever get what would be considered a truly "sharp" edge on them, and in this case, you need the sharpest possible edge and an extremely light cut, even when you are doing a scraping action. And for that matter, a scraper should have a burr edge on it to function properly (at least most configurations do), and those harbor freight tools just don't "cut it". Sorry, couldn't resist Anyway, the blowouts you've been having fairly support the notion of dull tools. Believe me, I didn't know what a sharp tool was until I bought my first "quality" gouge. And even that isn't theoretically all that sharp from the factory. Grinding those harbor freight tools may make them look sharp, but I'm betting you're just smearing the steel around rather than shearing it off as happens with good tool steel. And even if you are getting them initially sharp, the binders in that OSB are a lot harder on your tools than the wood, so even with the best of tools you may have to make a pass or two, grind the edge, make a pass, grind the edge, etc. That's actually not that unusual of a practice for some of the harder, grittier woods. I'm having to do almost exactly that with some desert ironwood I'm turning right now. A couple minutes of work and it's back to the grinder. If you do a search on youtube, you can find lots of videos on sharpening that may help if you have more questions on that. So my suggestion would be to go to some place like Woodcraft, if you can, and pick up a very basic skew, or even a gouge, that's a name-brand and see if that makes any difference. (in this case, Woodcraft has better selection and prices than Rockler) That's just a guess on my part because I've never played with OSB, but that would be my next step if I were continuing exploration. Lastly, you say you turn it very fast. If you're turning pen blanks, that's probably good anyway because the diameter is so small, but are you feeling any heat buildup in the tip of the tool as you work it? It's surprising how little heat it takes for some of those binders to let go. You might not even realize it because it's in such a small area, but even if a tiny bit of that psuedo-end grain lets go and catches on the tool, that can lead to a big blow out. Good luck with the experiments. If you keep it up, you could become the OSB Master!
  21. Okay, so this is probably similar to the Cedar Mantel thread... I just picked up a fairly massive chuck of redwood that's basically 5x12 inches by 6 feet long that's going to be used as the top of a mantel. The problem is that it's still green and obviously I don't have 5-6 years to wait for it to fully dry before installing it. The client is very aware of this and does want the "rustic" look, so I'm not overly concerned about cracks and twists, but I would like to at least put some kind of at least basic finish on it to protect it and not have it look like a work in progress. So the question is, how would you prep the wood? My guess it to seal the ends a bit with something like shellac to even out the evaporation, and then put a basic breathable finish on it. I am going to be attaching it so that it can freely float on the pedestals, and since he's a long-term local customer, I can go back in a few months/years and resurface and level it for him. The sawyer was also nice enough to cut it so there's no heartwood, etc. So it's fairly stable. Any thoughts? So far I've been thinking either a simple sealing with shellac or polyurethane. I'm guessing both will breathe a bit, but I'm guessing I'll have more problems with the poly. Am I right in also guessing that since redwoods are coniferous, I could also have problems with pitch? Assuming that, I'm then concluding that the poly will end up being a cloudy mess. Anyone have experience with redwood?
  22. The next thing you should do is use your bench to make a "real" bench You may also want to try to push it against a wall. Even if you get enough weight under it to keep it from moving, you may still get wracking in the legs, which can get annoying. You could also experiment with attaching some thicker/heavier boards to the underside of that top. If I remember right, it's just some 3/4" oak boards with wider pieces on the sides to make it look thicker. Glue them to the underside and put screws in the sides. That'll help stiffen it up a bit and also give it more mass. Just make sure that you've got the right bit to bore the dog holes through the new pieces or you won't be able to use the bench dogs.
  23. I've got this big pile of oak cut-offs and whatnot and I'd like to use them on a project. Unfortunately, some of it is red and some white and I'm concerned that there might be differences in taking stain, etc. Is there any fairly accurate way of distinguishing between the two? Some of it has more of a pinkish tint, but there are also variations due to age, sun exposure, and so on. I've read that there are also differences in the pores and grain structure, but I'm not seeing anything obvious.
  24. Actually, those scopes come in handy when you're trying to fell one of the more skiddish rare trees that would run if you tried to get close to them with an axe: shoot it from a distance and then chop it down.