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Friday, January 30, 2015

Little Fill In Project - Turning Saw Build

While I am researching my new furniture project I thought I would make a bow or turning saw.  I only have a cheap coping saw the I think I paid less then $10 for may years ago.  Tools for Working Wood has a kit and plans available and there are lots of video available to help with the building process.  I purchased the kit with the handles but you could turn your own handles if you wanted. The kit contained two handles, two brass pins for holding the blades and three saw blades. The plans are free on their site.   To be honest the only thing you really need is the brass pins and the plans.
Doug Moulder left me some hickory boards when he was here last.  He had used my shop to mill some hickory for a small bench he was making.  Some of the hickory was quarter sawn so that is what I picked.

I printed the drawings full size from the Tools for Working Wood website.  Very helpful.

I traced the patterns with carbon paper on to the milled stock.  Then cut them out with the band saw.

With the pieces roughed out. The next step was to put a 1/4" by 5/8" tenon on each end of the stretcher.  Then make a matching mortise in each arm that was 3/8" deep.  I just used a bench chisel to chop out  the small mortise.  I used my dovetail saw to make the tenons.

Once I had a good fit to the mortise and tenon, I added a slight radius to the end of the tenon and the opening of the mortise.  I used a large circle template which matched the drawings.  

 As you can see in the picture the curve if very slight.   But this helps with the rocking that takes place as you tension the bow saw.

I also drilled the 1/4" hole in the end of arm to hold the brass pins.  I used my drill press.

I used epoxy to glue the brass pins into the handles and slipped them through the holes drilled in the end.  Now I wanted to attached the string and see how things fit prior to doing the shaping.  But I needed to make the toggle before I could do that.

I cut out as small piece of wood 5 1/4" long, 1/2" thick, by 5/8" wide.  This is a little wider that the plans call for but I thought it looked better.   I used a hand plan to put the taper on the sides and edges.  I used a file to round over the shape.

I purchased some jute string from the hardware store.  I made two loops and tied it with a double square knot.  I am not sure it will hold but I need to look up a better knot type.   Then I inserted the toggle and started to wind up the string to tension the blade.  Here you see it at about 4 to 5 turns.
I am going to test it out now and then do the shaping.

More to come.  Here is today's video:

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Odyssey of the Traditional 18th Century Finish - It was a Lot of Work

After practicing the finishing technique that Tim Garland has suggested, I think I am ready to apply it to the actual dressing table.
The first step was to apply the potassium dichromate solution to the top and case.  You apply it in a warm solution with a rag and let it dry.

The top looks good when it is still wet but you can see in the middle that it is starting to dry and turn yellow.  It looks real ugly after it has dried.  Yellow and dusty.
I rub off the yellow dust with a white Scotch pad which is like 0000 steel wood.

Looks a lot better after it has been rubbed out.  Now it is ready for shellac.  I spray my shellac since I am terrible with a brush,  I will be using dewaxed dark garnet shellac in a 2lb cut.

 After applying 2 coats,it is starting to look pretty good.  I like the color.

I sand it back after each pass of 2 coats with 400 dry sand paper.

Here it is with 6 coats of shellac prior to sanding with the 400 sand paper.

Here it is after sanding.  Ready for the colored hard wax.

Just after rubbing out the hard wax finish.  It has a nice luster to it. Not too shiny and the grain is mostly filled.

Now I am rubbing out the carcass prior to waxing.

All rubbed out ready to attach the hardware.

 I did not like the color of the hardware, so I decided to polish it using brass cleaner.  It cleaned up real nice.  Not real shinny like when they have applied lacquer to it.

I have to adjust the bails so they hang correctly by filing one end.

All done.  I'll have to get some good pictures yet.  But for now I think I finished.  The finishing was more work than I expected.   But I think I learned something.

Here is today's video:

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Bending and Mounting the Drawer Pulls - A Little Metal Working For Me

I received the drawer pulls today from Ball & Ball.  I ordered the antique brass color since I can make them shinier if I choose by buffing or brass polish.  I will see after I stain the drawer fronts and case.

I have to bend them to match the curves on the drawer front.  That is a 12" radius.   With the practice on earlier pulls,  I just bent it by hand.   But this brass is pretty thick and I can not bend it by hand.
I will need to make a jig of some kind to bend the escutcheon and bails to match the curves.  I tried to bend it on the drawer fronts but that did not work.  So I made a smaller diameter circle jig to bend the plates on.

It is a solid block which is 10 inch diameter which is slightly smaller then the curved fronts.
I placed the brass on the block and used my strap clamps to do the bending.

I can get quite a bit of pressure using these clamps to do the initial bend without kinking the brass plates.  Once they are attached and clamped I can use a hammer to pound them to shape by tapping on the cloth clamps and not dent the brass.  All set ready to remove the clamps.

Once the clamps are removed. The brass springs back to the larger drawer front diameter and fits very well.
But the bails do not match the curve so I have to complete the same process and bend the bails so they fit the curve.

Here I have this one fitted to the practice drawer front.  Everything seems to fit ok.   Now I have to bend the concave drawer front hardware.   This turned out to be simpler than I thought.  All I had to do was turn over the escutcheon plate and place the shinny side of the plate on the jig and the curve is reversed.  So I bent those two.

Now that they were all bent, I had to drill the holes in the drawer fronts.   I had made a jig for drilling in an earlier video, so I was all set to drill the holes in the convex drawer fronts.

That went well for the four convex drawer fronts.  But I needed a jig for the two concave drawer fronts.
I figured that I could use the same jig but need to adapt it in some way.  As it turns out it was pretty simple when you think about it.  I just mount them at the same angle and drilled the other side.  Worked perfectly!

I then attached all of the hardware and put the drawer fronts in the case to see how it looked with it all mounted.  It is looking pretty good!

One last thing, I did have to bend the bails on the two concave drawer fronts to make them smaller because the radius makes them closer together.

Now I have to remove all of the hardware and begin to finish the dressing table by staining the wood.  I have decided to use the potassium dichromate. So that will be the next step.

Here is today's video:

Friday, January 2, 2015

Continuing with the Traditional Finish - Making and Applying Colored Hard Wax

In the last post I had chemically stained the practice piece of mahogany with potassium dichromate.   I had also sprayed two coats of dark shellac on top to seal the color.  
Now I wanted to fill the grain.  Tim Garland has supplied me with instructions on how to apply colored hard wax to fill the grain and burnish to a great finish.

This finish was widely used in the later 1700's.  Both Roubo and Thomas Sheraton wrote about using it.  But I bet they had an apprentice to apply it so their arms would not fall off.  :-)

As you can see in the picture the color is good and consistent but the grain is open on the test board.   So this is what I want to fill.

The steps in making the colored hard wax are to mix bees wax, carnauba wax, turpentine, and earth pigments to make the material to be rubbed into  the grain.

I have the ingredients measured out here.  If you want the formula please let me know and I will send it to you.
I heated the turpentine and melted the bees wax in a double boiler and then added the carnauba wax and melted it.

Then I started to add pigments until I got the color that I was looking for.  It was definitely trial and error.

It got too thick so I added more turpentine. Then I poured it into the covered dish to let it cool.

After it had cooled I was ready to apply it to the wood and rub it into the grain with cheese cloth.

I put on a good amount and scrapped off the excess with a plastic credit card.  I tried to get it as even as I could.

Then I let it sit over night to harden by letting the turpentine evaporate.
Now the hard work begins.  Tim Garland instructed that I burnish the wax with a cheese cloth charged with more colored wax.  Wax on wax burnishing.  Continue burnishing until you get the deep shine that you are looking for.   Working in a warm area helps get the wax soft and melting into the grain.

I thought my arm would fall off.  It is definitely hard work.

This is what I ended up with....  There are still streaks which would need to be buffed out but the grain is mostly filled and there is a shine to the surface.

I don't like the color of the hard wax in grain, it is too light.   So I need to make some darker wax.  I will start over on the back since I need that practice.

The next blog post should have a better looking finish.  There are other ways to fill grain traditionally, Plaster of Paris and linseed oil, and of course french polish.

 I am always open to learn new (old) finishing techniques. Just another tool in the workshop.

Here is today's video: