Friday, May 7, 2021

Phase ll

 We'll begin Phase 2 after a few last Phase 1 pics.

The two halves of the tabletop right before glue up.

Let's just talk a bit about those pipe clamps.  I had a house in Berkeley back in the 90's that I put an outside deck on.  My son, Bryant, and I did it.  The neighbors eventually started it calling it "Kirchner's Folly."

I basically built it like a huge piece of furniture, it was big, it was a hyper intricate shape.  Most of it put together without nails or screws.  Used very complicated Japanese timber joints in Chechen wood which is a dense dense wood.

It all had to be sucked together a little at a time and I latched upon buying long pipe clamps that I could extend by joining ten foot lengths of black plumbing pipe with screw joints.  30' long.

So I used those here since the table top is quite long.

We sold the house and I ran into the man who bought it later on one day.  I asked why he wanted the house so bad, because he paid over asking.

"It was the deck."

Alright back on topic.

During the coarse sanding grits on something I like to cover the surface with pencil marks.  When you sand off the pencil mark, you know you're good to move on to another spot.

At the present moment, the top is standing up on edge while I fill in those damn beetle trails.  Early morning coffee light here.

Phase 2.

The legs will be two pedestal types.  Took my small scale drawings up to full size.  I don't do the full size drawing thing too often.  But I needed the curves to look right so this time I did.

The superstructure will be these 8"x8" Ash I glued up.  There will be a stretcher located slightly below mid point.  Laying out the mortise for that with the marking knife.

Drilled out from both sides since the bit wasn't long enough to go the full 8".

Was able to pop out the inside with some gentle persuasion.

 Then you sort of just pare off the high points.

And ready to be wrapped up with Walnut.  The mortises are at the same height, but the one on the left is upside down.  Also note the upright but bottom side of the top behind.

So I'm going from the big heavy pieces of the top to the much more manageable sizes of the pedestal.  Curvy band saw work ahead!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Captain's Log 0042521

 Do you know what this is not?

This is not good.  

Around cocktail hour, I will often pick out the dust in the bug roads in the wood.  I'll sit and talk with Annie if she's making us something to eat.  And dig out the bugdust.  One morning after moving the pile I noticed some piles of dust.  Didn't believe it could be, so I isolated that particular board as well as putting the whole damn pile under double secret observation and reporting.

Well, somehow after three days at 180F, that one board still had living eating wood bugs.  That's the offender above.  I suspended it to see if the cones appeared.  It was only that one board.

So if the fires of hell didn't kill them, I thought I'd show them zero mercy and freeze the heaven out of them.

60 pounds of dry ice, with 8" of insulation above and underneath.  Opened it after three days and there was still dry ice in my death trap.

Left the board out a couple days to have it come to it's senses.  I saw no damage from the -108 F of the dry ice.

And folks there's going to a bunch of pics here but I have an intermission for you.

A thin slice of one of the boards I was cutting to final width.  Yes, bug holes.

Between the life and cold cold death drama,  here's a recap.

Starting to layout final positions of the separate boards.  This shows my main visual.  The widest board was resawn and opened up to lay opposite each other across the middle breadboard.

Nothing's glued here, just looking at it together.

Gluing up the two large middle portions.

The two large panels are to joined to the three breadboards with mortises and floating tenons.

I wanted the mortises to be as deep as I could make them (with a machine!!).  Used this bit on the horizontal mortising attachment.  Not even sure what the name is of this bit.  It takes a deft hand, I tell you, to use it.  Straight flutes so sawdust doesn't evacuate very easily so the bit burns.  I almost cleaned it off after each hole was cut. But the straight flutes allows to cut as you sweep back and forth.  But it only likes to cut maybe 1/16" per pass.  Anymore than that and it'll squawk at you.  Also the size of the hole is different depending upon cutting into end grain (like here) or face grain.  And that makes fitting the tenons more difficult.

Does cut 4" deep though.

 A four foot board longitudinal in the mortising attachment racked the whole mechanism. Was a constant minute adjustment with the rolling device holding up the free end.

It was a half inch bit but I wanted a bigger tenon so everything had to be run through twice for a one inch tenon.

Although the mortises appear to be outside the lines, it's because I want to let the other board to expand and contract.  The bigger hole allows for the anticipated movement.

Ok.  Intermission time.  Take a break, See you in a bit.

Mmmmm.  That was nice.

The tenons and starting to fit them in the holes with the varying sizes.

Don't understand how the rest of you can get by without Apple Boxes.  Needed this many for a couple of operations.  

The large panels will have the tenons glued into them, the breadboards will be square pegged to allow for the movement.  Also they will be drawbored.  Just because I'm not sure of your knowledge, but a drawbore is when a hole is offset from another and the peg that drives through forces that offset into a tighter fitment.

Drilling out on the drill press.  Take a look at that chuck.  Chewed up pretty good.  From the first day I had the drillpress, it was hard to tighten up bits enough with the supplied chuck key.  So I started to use opposing pipe wrenches to tighten up the bit.  It is bombproof.  The bit just will not slip.

Squared off the round hole mainly with these corner chisels.  They can be fussy too. Real easy to cock them off square.

Tenons glued into the large panels.

Used the plunge router to cut the slots in the tenons.

And we're stopping here with the pegs being fitted, driven in and roughly sawed off.

Here's your bonus shadow of wire pic!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Allowing for the Process

The process of bugs eating wood.

 To start with nothing and go towards having something is a process.  It's never ever a straight line from here to there.  Wanders here, stops there, restarts over there, circles here.  I know this, it's a beautiful thing really.  To me, there's nothing better than thinking you know where it's going to end and you end up in a whole new universe.

So when my first round of sketches for the winery table wasn't exactly what they were looking for, it wasn't unexpected at all.  It wasn't a negative but a positive.

I really think most things in life are neutral in value.  It's how you view them that places the value on them.  I tend towards the positive always.  To do more thinking and sketching for a different direction of the table was nothing but golden.

 Please note that I said, most things in life are neutral.



As is the tradition, I start one part of the process with a hand tool.

And talk about a process.  Each and every piece of wood was it's own entity that required a comprehensive approach to it.  This wood was feral in the true sense.  Wild, untamed, attitude.  The bugs went positively medieval on it.  Infested heavily in the sapwood.  Not a negative in my mind.  Super interesting.  Chunks of wood were missing that required a surgeon's approach to fix it up.

The final three slim pieces came from the last board.

Some of the large cut off ends.

Finally the individual pieces have been massaged, stitched, re-sawed and glued back, and thickness planed to finally dimension.  Now to cut to length and cut the joints.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Le Terroir of El Paso de Robles

 How's that for three languages used in the title.

This notion, le terroir, that the totality of the environment is concentrated into each glass of wine of the region it comes from. 

It's the dirt and what made that dirt.

It's the fog and the rain and the temperature.

The Sun and The Moon.

In the flora.

And of course.

This is the first time I can actually see and feel the land that the wood came from.  I can feel Paso in it.  I can see Paso in the air when I work the wood.  Haven't seen dust like that come off of any other wood.

It’s pure Paso.

Not that I really have that much heft in Paso Robles but I've been photographing vineyards down there since 2006. I wasn't born there, I don't live there.  But I think when you have spent 15 years photographing a region it starts to implant in your DNA.  It's a lot time standing in pre dawn, in the morning, afternoon.  It's a lot of sunrises and sunsets. It's a lot of feeling the heat and the cool and the dust in the air. I sometimes sleep out in the vineyards during shoots just to get as close as I can to their essence.

So when I first opened up the wood it was like seeing the whole terroir of Paso right there.  It's visceral.

At this point I'm waiting to hear back on the sketches before doing any more.

Some process photos here.

12'x24"x 3" I screwed together as a base to run the slabs through the planer

The stack of base and slab had some weight for sure.  One of the nice things about this planer is it has (as an option) the ability to reverse the direction of the drive.  Normally on a planer you have to take the piece out the back and transport to the front to run it through again.  Here, I would turn off the blade and reverse it back through the machine without needing to muscle anything. On this machine, the cutting and drive are two separate mechanisms.  And the drive is infinitely adjustable in speed.  On a particularly knotty area I can slow down the drive right there to increase the cuts per inch on the knot.

I didn't like the factory's in and out arrangement tables on the planer so I got rid of them and put on these rollers.  My method of keeping them level with the planer bed.

A laser pointer on the bed.

Pointing at a level mark on a stick at the end of the rollers. I'm showing you the dot in the middle but I use it by pointing at each corner of the roller.

Alright folks.  That's it for the moment.

Oh.  Talk about how history and terroir have coexisted making wines in one region for 6000 years.  I'm almost though with a fascinating book (at least to me it is) of wines from Mount Etna in Sicily.  You can really get a sense of how everything, the active volcanoes, it's soil, the altitude, the distance from the sea all come together in a unique wine.

The New Wines of Mount Etna by Benjamin North Spencer (a transported Californian by the way)