Monday 10 September 2018
I managed to try out my new router jig this evening. I had thought I’d leave it until tomorrow, when I will have more time, but the forecast is for rain in the early evening and, with the length of the wood I am working on (and the huge amount of sawdust generated by the router), it has to be done outside.
Anyway, I got the second set of seven slots cut much faster than the first lot although the fit isn’t quite as tight. For my purposes, it should be good enough though. Tomorrow, I can do some indoor work and see if I can get at least one of my side panels assembled. And, once the bookshelf is complete, I can do some tidying up in my study and perhaps get the paints out again!
Sunday 9 September 2018
With musical outings and various other activities packed into the weekend, I haven’t made much progress on my bookshelf project. This is doubly frustrating as, while I was waking up yesterday morning, I had a bit of a brainwave regarding routing my dado cuts.
I’d set up a couple of guides for the top and bottom of each cut and was clamping them in place for each slot. However, as I awoke, it struck me that I was wasting a lot of time on adjustments. Since I’ve got this one project in mind, requiring multiple slots of a uniform width, could I just fasten the template together with the necessary gap?
I managed to get that done yesterday morning; perhaps tomorrow evening I’ll get a chance to see how it works out in practice when I try cutting the second set of slots?
Saturday 8 September 2018
I will be headed out the door with my double bass in a little while, to play with Mudslide Morris at a community fun day at Risinghurst hosted by Collinwood Road United Reformed Church.
We’re playing from 1-2pm but the event runs from 12 – 4pm. The weather forecast isn’t great so I don’t think it will spill outside as much as it might have done but it should still be worth popping along to if you are in the area.
Friday 7 September 2018
Carl Sagan is quoted as saying, “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent [or ‘create’] the universe.” My bookshelf project feels a bit like that. Every step seems to raise new challenges so it has been slow going.
So far, I’ve managed to cut the plywood panels for both sides and the slots for shelf supports on one side. Lots of learning is going on. For example, if you want to rout a slot in a piece of wood without it tearing out at the edges, a straightforward solution is to put some waste wood strips down either side. Then, of course, each solution raises new problems – how do I clamp this all up?
Progress has been slow but, I suppose, at least it is progress.
Thursday 6 September 2018
I took the day off work today with the main purpose of making headway on my bookshelf project. Mainly I made sawdust, along with a few mistakes, but at least it was heading in the direction of progress.
I’ve been watching a lot of woodworking videos and, as I mentioned a couple of days ago, thought I could probably make economical use of some cheap studwork pine. It turns out that what I’d really need for that would be something like a tablesaw. I spent a while working on a jig to scribe a line down the centre of the piece, which didn’t work quite as well in practice as it did in theory, and then more time trying to work out how to clamp the wood down to try cutting it with my jigsaw. I finally got something that I thought worked only to be reminded that, if you try and cut wood that is too thick with a jigsaw, the blade is likely to flex and go off true.
More successful was using the jigsaw to cut some 9mm ply wood and using that to build a router sled (neatly trimmed down the edged with the aforesaid router). The sled can be set to run on parallel rails, allowing the router to move back and forward on a fixed level and level out a piece of wood. I managed to give some of my mis-cut lengths a more even finish but decided that, for this project, I’ll make do with things that are more within my current grasp to cut neatly.
By close of play, I’d picked up the wood I needed (based on the day’s experience and a bit more design sketching) and cut the bracing pieces I needed from a couple of lengths of stripwood. Those came out satisfyingly uniform, thanks to a combination square to help measure and mark lengths and several clamps to stop things moving when I was cutting them. I might get the bookshelf built by the end of the weekend but, with sawdust and mistakes enroute, I’m definitely improving my woodworking skills.
Wednesday 5 September 2018
Jane and I are having another stint of Netflix; they kept on sending me messages saying ‘come back for another free month’ and it would have been rude to keep saying no. Top thing to watch this time round is The Good Place (2016-), a comedy about ethics.
The central character is Eleanor Shellstrop (played by Kristen Bell), a vain and selfish woman who dies but seems to have been accidentally sent to ‘The Good Place’ of the title. Not wanting to be discovered and sent to ‘The Bad Place’, she tries to become a better person, learning about ethics from books but also through the practice of responding to what life in this place throws at her.
It is the kind of concept that could end up being either twee or offensive. It certainly isn’t a Christian conception of heaven, where everyone is a sinner saved by grace. Here, it seems there is a karmic principle at work, where actions add or remove points from a cosmic score which determines your eternal home (except when eternity makes mistakes). However, what the writers have arrived at is a fantastic vehicle to create humour and emotion (you have to love how Eleanor is making an effort) but also a fascinating way of working through a whole series of ethical concepts and choices.
We’ve got up to the end of season one and I highly commend it so far. I wonder if I can manage season two before my free trial runs out…
Tuesday 4 September 2018
How am I getting on with the bookshelf project I mentioned last week as being the reason I had picked up a router? The answer is a little. I’ve done some work on the design but it turns out there is a tricky dance between what I have in mind to build and what materials are available.
If I had even more tools and a big stash of lumber, I could design almost anything. In reality, I’m a bit more limited. I don’t want to waste money on materials but I can’t match the examples I’ve watched on YouTube, where people can easily cut and shape their lumber to precise dimensions. The nearest place I’ve got with some stocks of wood is Homebase and, having spend a bit of time perusing their stock, it is more limited and of less consistent quality than I would like. I think I might end up blowing £2.45 on a length of studwork pine and seeing what I can do working with that, including various kinds of cuts and trying to use the router for levelling.
Meanwhile, at least I’ve made a beginning on one essential task and my box of router bits now has the first coat of paint on the lid design that will help me easily identify it. Part of me is wondering if a starburst background with complex lettering over the top was too ambitious and part of me is excited just to have an excuse to get the paints out again!