Took the weekend off

So, my jobs list is to finish the fence at the lower lock and to get into t’Other Bit to do some weeding. However, a damp Saturday gave me an excuse to stay in the shed, playing with my new toy and getting some joinery projects out of the door.

First, I stained and polished the new kindling box. This was originally intended as a frame carrier for Monica but the fancy construction proved too heavy. Darkly toned to match the farm’s furniture and polished with Monica’s beeswax, it has a handle to match the Lydgate fire place and the frame is arrased in Ralph’s style. I think it looks OK by the fire and I’m sure we’ll get used to using it.

Next, I finished the last component of Monica’s beehive order: a roof. It was awaiting some galvanised sheeting to make it waterproof but that didn’t seem to be happening. I hunted about and found some white PVC that Uncle Bob had left over from his boat-fettling. I cut out a square that would cover the lid and overlap the sides, then used a wad-punch to make dozens of discs out of the waste. With a disc as a prevent under each stainless staple, I fastened the PVC on and I think that roof will be waterproof for quite a while. An interesting test, anyway.

Finally, I milled the timber to renovate the blanket box. Ralph got his box from his Dad—his only other inheritance was a black bicycle—who probably got it from the Grandmother that cared for Ralph. As I was also cared for and loved by my Gran when no-one else seemed to bother, the box is a valued possession for me. The legs have obviously failed many times so I’m morticing a frame into them, made from some recycled oak. I’m also replacing the floor, which was worm-eaten plywood, with some old pine boards.

Monica called me away from the workshop to Hebden Bridge to watch Mad Max: Fury Road which was a blast.

This job continued today when I re sawed the pine and milled it into 10mm boards. Then the new spindle moulder was carefully setup to cut a ship-lap joint into the edges of the boards. Its cast iron table and fence allowed me to add to its guards by sticking magnetic finger-boards to hold the pieces down and against the fence.

The next task in the box refurbishment was to cut mortises into the cabriole legs. I decided it was time to get the hollow chisel morticer working; it’s been here for a couple of years but previous experiments have proven it needs quite a bit of fettling. I have bought some decent, smaller chisels for it and today cut the shaft of the ½” to suit. The adapters needed smoothing to prevent them getting jammed in place; I made a sacrificial base and fence; the clamp needed some filing; and still it was a trial. The machine lacks stops to control the length of the mortice, hold-downs and something to locate the material. I improvised these with clamps and am now thinking of ways to make permanent additions to perform these functions. I also chose a difficult subject: the legs hardly have any parallel surfaces so I had to clamp them carefully. Still, I failed to realise that the rear fence is the reference surface. So, eight mortices took me over four hours and they’re not the most gorgeous ever but I learnt lots about machine-made slots.

So, no jobs ticked off my official list but a happy time spent in the joinery, growing in confidence when using the big, old, green machines.

Next time in the shed, I’ll be learning about cutting tenons with the moulder. There isn’t a slot in the table to reference from or a carriage for the material but I’ll enjoy the learning and jig-making. I’ll make the tenons fat, anyway, to allow hand-fettling to match the odd mortices.

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