Just a few moments ago I received my Vermont sales tax collection id number. This means that I no longer am limited to selling my wares in stores and at shows that collect and remit the taxes for me. I can collect them and pay them myself. I still have to get transient numbers for MA, ME, NY and probably CT but this is a big step for me.
I painted the trim on scrap table 10 today. It looks nice. I still have to fill the screw holes with dowels, do a second coat of paint on the legs and apron, and apply a couple of coats of lacquer. I kept the table inside the house for a little while to test the stability, I used it as a a place to charge the cell phones and store the mail. It worked fine for those purposes. I can’t wait until it’s done. I have been making lots of little scrap wood shapes and I have half the amount I need to start constructing another table top. My mom brought me a trunk load of scrap pieces from a retired wood worker in Dutchess County NY and so I have lots of new types of wood with interesting grain structure and color. The gentleman made cuttingboards and boxes so there are lots of pieces of maple, walnut and cherry. I do a lot of work with pine but I love working with walnut and maple.
It’s a good thing I make reclaimed wood tables, because I generated a ton of waste pieces attempting to make legs this week. Before even beginning my cuts I was forced to perform trigonometry and find the co sine in order to calculate the support brace angles. I had to go through so much effort because the dimensions are odd, the largest side is 3 times the size of the smallest side so it has a very steep slope. After all the calculations and math I discovered I had to cut a 57 degree angle. Unfortunately my miter saw only cuts to 45 degrees and the blade adjuster needs to be replaced on my table saw. . . After taking too long to calculate the cuts I spent the better part of the morning experimenting with ways to actually make the cuts. I was about to just use a protractor to draw the angle and cut by hand in a miter box, but instead I turned to the internet. I did a search for cutting a 60 degree angle with a miter saw and was inundated with results. As luck would have it there were several suggestions and many inventive solutions. I found two ideas particularly helpful. One idea is to turn the piece you want to cut 90 degrees on your saw. Subtract the angle you want from 90 and set your saw to the difference. Since I wanted a 57 degree cut and 90-57= 33 I set the angle to 33. The first time I tried to do this with a scrap piece of 2×4. It was hard to make the cut straight with the 2×4 perpendicular to the fence and sticking out at me. I adjusted by rigging a clamping system that allowed me to keep the piece in place and make the cut. The second idea is to make a jig to use so that the saw stays square (90 degrees) and cuts the angles without actually adjusting the angle of the blade. I have not tried the jig method yet. I got better at making the cuts using the first method but I am still not great at it yet. So I think I will be rethinking the design of the table legs. Right now they look like a pair of capital I’s. And they may stay that way. Each leg is made of a reclaimed 2X4 and 2 10” pieces of rough cut pine 1x2”s. I painted each of them white to match the frame on table 11. They have a rustic look, I will do three coats of white, sanding in between each coat and a complete the legs with a dusty lacquer finish. I normally apply the finish coat when the table is assembled to give it a uniform look, but I will lacquer the base and the top separately for this one.
I had to redo the legs to the table I assembled yesterday. Even though it could hold the weight of two cats and is designed as a hall table, I decided to change the design in the hopes of giving it more stability. The legs for my very first-ever- table were made from a 4×4 cedar post. I used lag screws to attach the top. I left the screws visible and incorporated them into the design of the table. On the next table I used 1×2′s as legs and used a forstner bit to drill holes in the center of each leg. Then I inserted dowels in each post. I also placed dowels in the apron. The hard part for this design is making sure every dowel is lined up exactly. It makes for a very strong table. I have used this design with a few modifications for almost every table since. For the table I assembled yesterday I simply screwed the legs into the apron, hoping that the dowel connecting the short sides would support the load and provide stability. It did not work as well as I hoped, so I unscrewed the legs and drilled a 3/8″ hole in each leg. Then I dabbed the dowel with small amount of glue and lined it up to bottom of the table top. I used the glue mark as a guide to drill a hole in the top. I re-enforced the dowels with screws. There is still a wee bit of wiggle but it is much more stable and now I won’t be embarrassed to sign it. I also glued on two pieces of trim to the long edge of the table. I don’t have wire nails so I will have to wait until I pick some up before attaching the short side trim. I would just glue them but the distance is a smidge bigger than my biggest clamp. All that’s left to do is nail the trim, paint the trim, and apply a clear coat.
I have had a half finished mosiac top sitting around for a few months. I had given up on finishing it. Since it was not glued yet I figured I might just use the pieces in another project but decided that I should finish it. I filled in all the shapes three weeks ago and began building a base for it two weeks ago. I made the apron from some scarap piece of cedar I had in the wood pile and made the legs out of some old oak star balusters that I painted black. For addied stabiilty I added a 3/8 ” dowel on the narrow side. I assemebled the base and apron today and it wobbles a bit, though it supports the weight of two cats. I think I need to add a dowel on the long side. The table stood over 3′ tall, I decided that was too tall and so I knocked about 7″ off the legs. I had an interesting time cutting the legs down to size, I marked the height I wanted on a dowel and used that dowel to mark each leg, then I cut it with a circular saw. I had to cut left handed so I could see the blade and the cut mark, good thing I am ammbidexterous. Somehow the legs ened up level, It wobbles less now that it is shorter but I still need to add some extra support. Making bases that will support the weight of the tops, and not succomb to vertical or horizontal pressure is always a challenge. It still may be too tall. I am not sure.
Since 50/90 is almost upon us, I thought it might be a good time to post my fawm 2014 songs. I managed to write 24 songs and 34 minutes of music. Since my songs are so short my goal was actually 30 minutes of music. Jess bought me a new usb mic for Christmas last year and it gives the demo’s a fuller sound. A few of the skirmish songs sound a bit muddy but that’s what you get for writing and recording in an hour. After the jump my 2014 fawm songs: Continue reading
I have been working on ways to simplify the mosaic table making process and I have come up with a couple of techniques that work. The process of arranging the pieces and cutting them to fit is labor intensive no matter how you do it, but I use to spend a lot of time getting the perfect fit. In order to speed things up a bit I drew out a 4″x4″square on graph paper. Once I had the square I drew triangles, trapezoids and parallelograms
inside the square, then I took scrap pieces and arranged them on the square. I don’t actually duplicate the pattern exactly it serves as a guide. Doing this allows me tomaximize even 20 minutes of workshop time and allows me to be creative and productive. When I have a large enough assortment of squares and other assorted shapes I make the frame. I take a base piece of pine, or plywood, and screw in four pieces of mitered wood. My most recent frame came from a shelf I pulled down in the workshop last year. I also add 4 screws to join the mitered corners together, this makes it much easier to apply the adhesive when I am ready. Then I fill the frame with the pieces, unscrew the frame from the base, apply adhesive, and clamp. It makes the process much faster and I can get a really tight fit. I use to spend a lot of time filling in spaces after adhesive application, and now I have very little fill time. The top pictured here needs edge trim and a coat of finish. I have it resting on a pedestal base that I painted black, my Mom thinks I should paint the frame black to match the base, and I think she is right, but I like the white paint on this one so I may build a different base or re- purpose an old stool, or I may paint it black. I will post pics when it’s done.
So this past December my Grandmother passed away. After the service those of us from out of town were asked to take a few things from her apartment to remember her. It always feels so weird to go through someone’s possessions. It feels like a violation of their privacy, but it also provides a chance to reminisce and can help carry the memory of the person who passed. My cousin Adam spotted a simple wooden object that had figured fairly prominently in our memories of Grandma’s house. We use to pretend it was a scooter and ‘jump’ it around the house. We always thought it was a poorly designed foot rest, but it turns out it is a gout stool. Due to years of abuse it was not in the best of shape, so Adam and his son stopped by the workshop this winter to take it apart and start sanding it. It is a simple piece, made from five pieces of wood. We sanded it and Adam decided that in place of the handle he wanted some mosaic work. I want to keep it as primitive as possible, since it is so simple, and I have never done a two sided mosaic before, so even though it is relatively simple, it has been a challenge. This winter was a difficult one for a number of reasons so I have just started the project again. I will post pictures when it is done.