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About mayhew

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    Apprentice Poster

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  • Location
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
  • Woodworking Interests
    Hand tools, traditional skills
  1. Thanks for the reply, and sorry for the delay in mine. After reading your post I did a lot of reading online about cambering a blade, and after some unsuccessful attempts I finally managed to produced a camber that gives me track-free planing. You clearly were right about the chamfer vs. camber thing - I think I confuse the terms a lot. Thanks!
  2. I'm currently tackling my first real project ever (Shaker-inspired step-stool, using spruce), and after using my #4 plane to do some smoothing, I've discovered a problem. It feels really smooth when running my hand over the wood, and visibly I see no imperfections. However, I can feel slight ridges left by my plane, despite cambering the iron as seen in Paul Sellers' video These ridges are entirely invisible to my naked eye, except for when I turned the panel at almost 90° to a strong light source. I had thought that I could use a smoothing plane to get the surface almost perfectly smooth - am I doing something wrong or did I have unreasonable expectations? The previous project I did as a sort of trial run had these ridges as well, but that was before I knew about cambering the iron and they were much more visible. I ended up sanding for an inordinately long time to get the ridges out and I'd been hoping to do a better job prior to sanding this time round so that I don't have to spend untold hours simply sanding.
  3. Thanks Charles! Lee Valley was where I was going to get any finishes from, and their main water-based top coats are all General Finishes, including Enduro Var, 450, and High Performance. I couldn't tell the difference between Enduro Var and High Performance, but Enduro Var is in their professional line so I figured it should be higher quality. I was thinking I'd use LV's "Japanese Varnish Brush" because it's their only synthetic brush and I don't trust Home Despot, plus I hoped it would have higher quality and longevity than the foam brushes (although the slanted handle seems strange to me). When people say that a finish has less water resistance etc. than another finish, what exactly does that mean for me practically? I mean, right now the stuff I make is gifts for other people, and if I give them something and say "you need to be careful about not getting water on this", they'll ask "how careful?" I can't exactly say "more careful than you would be with polyurethane", so how can I know how anal one has to be in terms of caring for a particular finish?
  4. Thanks for the feedback, Chris. I've been trying to do a lot of research on water-based finishes, but I'm pretty leery of a lot of the information I've found since it seems to come from the manufacturers themselves, and I never trust someone to provide unbiased information if they'll make more money by telling me certain things. I did get a chance to read the sections on water-based finished in Flexner on Finishing and Understanding Wood Finishing (2005), though I still have a few things I'm confused on. I don't know if I should open a new thread for the questions since they're unrelated to the original thread topic, but I'll post them here and open a new thread if you guys think I should. That being said, please note that I'd still love any input on winter ventilation - even if I do decide to primarily use water-based finishes, I'm sure it would be nice to use lacquer or varnish at some point, which won't be possible unless I can figure out how to manage the fumes (did a test run with polyurethane and my neighbours didn't like it one bit, oops!) So, on to my confusion: Flexner mentions that after a water-based finish dries, the finish won't be damaged at all by water. He then goes on to say that water-based finishes aren't anywhere near as water-resistant as a regular varnish. I was quite confused by this, but I then surmised that just because the finish won't be damage by the water, doesn't mean it won't leak through the finish and then damage the wood. Is this correct? If so, I'd assume that higher water resistance means the water takes longer to soak through the finish. If that's the case, then after you wipe up the water sitting on the surface of the finish, does the water then just pool there down amongst the layers of finish, or does it evaporate or something? My second question is that originally on the 1994 edition of Understanding Wood Finishing, Flexner states that you should use gloss for every layer except sealer/topcoat etc., and then use the final desired sheen on your topcoat only, or else the underlying coats of less-than-gloss will affect the clarity of the finish. However, I don't seem to see that claim supported by other, more recent information I read. Is this still an issue?
  5. Hi John, thanks for your reply. Most of my education so far (haven't had time to spread out my research through multiple sources yet) comes from the 1994 edition of Understanding Wood Finishing by Bob Flexner (found it in PDF form online, picking up the revised 2005 edition from the library tomorrow). In that book, Flexner states that water based finishes are much more difficult to brush and so are generally sprayed, and that they're also less resistant to heat, water, solvents, etc. - ie. a hot coffee mug will damage the finish, you can water rings, etc. Now, it's an old book so I wouldn't be surprised if advances in technology have rendered it obsolete, but from the impression I'd received from the book, water based finishes made me nervous because it seemed they'd be far more complicated to use and not abuse (don't put hot things on it, don't let it get wet, don't get nail polish remover on it, etc.) Is it possible to get a non-fragile finish for general house-hold objects via water-based finishes?
  6. I've just started reading up as much as I can on the art of finishing, because I've finally completed the woodworking on my first project ever, and it's now time to put a finish on it. The thing is, I've read in so many places that finishing needs to be done in a well-ventilated area, and after taking a whiff of some of the stuff used in finishing, I'd have to agree. Here's the problem: it's winter, and that means temperatures of up to -40° outside - not the sort of conditions you want to so much as crack a window in (in fact, a lot of windows end up frozen shut). So what does one do about finishing fumes and ventilation in winter time? We live on the top floor of a top/bottom duplex, and the only space I have for a work area is in the basement. I'm concerned that 1) the fumes will build up and be bad for our health and 2) the fumes will smell enough that our downstairs neighbours will be able to smell it in the hallway outside their suite (or worse, inside) and complain and I'll get shut down. I have a cheap oscillating fan that I could put down there, but presumably just pushing the air around won't really be much help?
  7. Thanks for the replies everyone! Sorry it's taken so long for me to respond - I had been assuming it would email me when I got a reply, but apparently I didn't have my settings done properly. I was going to get 8/4 rough sawn walnut, but when I got there they showed me some 4/4 S2S walnut that was half the price, and once I realized it was cheap my brain shut off and I forgot I wanted it rough 8/4, not S2S 4/4. I then thought I could achieve a rough look by putting the cut edges facing outwards when laminating it into 2x2s (approx), but then after doing so I realized I couldn't line the edges up properly without cutting or planing it down. My only power saw is a circular saw which left too clean of an edge, and I don't have the skills to take off a thin layer of wood with my ripsaw, so I would have had to take off a prohibitive amount of wood to achieve a rough finish without an obvious seam between my laminated pieces. TL;DR: Thanks to not thinking everything through properly before doing it, the rough look didn't work out, and my brother is going to have to accept a smooth look instead. Thanks for the advice though - now I know for next time!
  8. First of all, I apologize if this is in the wrong section of the forum - it's about both the wood and the finishing, so I wasn't sure where to put this. I offered to make something for my brother as a give for Christmas, and he requested a small (24"x16") cross he could hang on his wall. The thing is, he said he'd prefer for it to look more "rugged" than pristine. I've only just finished building a workbench so this is my first project ever, and I don't know how to go about making wood look "rugged". How rough is rough sawn lumber? If I leave the wood surface rough without sanding it down or using a plane on it or anything of the sort, will it still hold a finish? Does the wood need a finish, and if so, what could I use that would still leave the wood somewhat rough, rather than nice and smooth? I hope these questions make sense, thanks in advance for any advice!
  9. Thanks! Now that I know what it's called, I can Google solutions to my heart's content! How does one know which direction to plane in? I had thought that provided I wasn't going sideways across the grain I was going the right way?
  10. Hi everyone, I adjusted the depth of cut, waxed and flattened the sole, sharpened the blade again, and flattened out the cap iron a bit. I still haven't finished my workbench yet, but I recently got the chance to test out my plane on a friend's workbench, and it worked really well! Thanks for all the advice! The one thing that I did notice is that in some places it seemed to leave small pockmarks in the wood, anyone know what that's about? I was using construction-grade spruce, if that matters.
  11. Thanks for the reply! I haven't had the chance yet to try out any other suggestions because I have - coincidentally enough - been busting a gut to try to get my workbench done as quickly as possible. So I guess I will continue to make that a priority and check back in with you guys once I've had further time to troubleshoot.
  12. Hi guys, thanks for the responses! Today I briefly re-sharpened the blade and tried planing from the opposite direction. It was a lot smoother, but there are still some kinks that need to be worked out. Sometime in the next 48 hours I'll find the time to try out all of the other suggestions as well! Oh, I also noticed that the blade doesn't appear to be square with the mouth of the iron. Here's a (crappy) picture to show what I mean (click for larger image): Is this a problem?
  13. Hi there, I'm totally new to the world of woodworking, particularly hand tool woodworking. I've been trying to get started with it, though, and one step in the process is to get my smoothing plane working, which is a Millers Falls plane probably from the 60s that I inherited from my great-grandfather. I cleaned it up a bit, sharpened the blade, flattened the sole, and followed instructions on how to get it set up properly. However, when I tried to practice using it on a spare piece of 2x4 spruce stud I had lying around, things didn't go so well. The blade would often seem to stick in the wood, or else it would skip along the surface and leave me with a sort of ridged and dented surface, and instead of getting nice long curly shavings like I see in the pictures and videos, I'm getting these weird, tiny, almost cone-shaped ones instead. In one place on the board I even managed to leave some sort of gouge, though I know not how. So the question is, what am I doing wrong? After sharpening my blade I tested for sharpness via the "does it cut paper?" stunt, I brought the tip of the cap iron to within about 1/32" of the tip of the blade (see picture below), and I tried to bring the frog forward to keep the plane mouth under 1/16" (see picture below), which is what my research indicated I should do. Oh, I should note, however, that the blade iron has somehow been bent, though the curvature is only really noticeable above the part where the blade contacts the frog. Other than sharpness, improper setup, and the bent blade, the only other factor I can think of that might affect things is having an unstable work surface. Until I can get a workbench built, I'm working off of a rickety old kitchen table that wobbles when I do just about anything. So, does anyone know what I'm doing wrong, and/or have any advice for how to get around to using this plane properly? Thanks in advance!