Monday, March 23, 2015

The Fun Part

I'm sure most woodworkers have parts of a project that they greatly enjoy, and other parts they just slog through to get the project done. For me, finishing is the slog, and the the fun parts are those wher bits of wood fly in one direction or another. This weekend I had an experience that changed my thinking a little bit.

This is the fun part.

I was rearranging a room, and took the opportunity to clean up a few flaws emerging in the desk surface I made (with help) about a decade ago. I used a card scraper to level out some ridges and clean up where the finish was getting worn and dirty, then applied a few more coats of thinned polyurethane to renew the surface.

The scraping, for me, definitely qualifies as the fun part. A tool tuned to be effective, wispy shavings with intact gluelines, and the wood looking it's best--these are a surefire combination to get my satisfaction neurons firing.

The not-so-awful part.

What was unusual is that I did not find the finishing to be drudgery. I'm sure it helped that it was a simple horizontal plane. But I think the real reason is that I don't have to wait to see what the finished product will be like. My eagerness is tempered by having already enjoyed the desk for 10 years. And I have confidence it's going to turn out well, because I've already done it. This gives me hope that I can be a little more relaxed in the future, enjoy all stages of the process, and follow through with quality work all the way to the end of projects.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

oversized joiner's mallet

Here's something I made when I was riving a bunch of oak and needed a better way to drive the froe. I patterned it after a typical English joiner's mallet, since I like using one for driving chisels, but scaled it up to suit the task. It's made from home-center construction lumber (laminated 3x for the head). The handle is a tapered friction-fit, and it has leather on one face. I like the square face because it allows you to swing hard and get a solid hit even if you are a couple inches off the mark.

Best used outdoors

If you want to make one of these, you need a 2x6, a saw, a jackplane, a hatchet, drawknife, spokeshave, glue, and clamps. Oh, and about an hour (plus glue drying time).

A square look at the trapezoidal head.