Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why You Should Never Wear Loose Clothes Around a Big Jointer: A Cautionary Tale

A CR alumnus came by the shop the other day. He's now a professional woodworker who lives in the area.

He was carrying a paper bag. He rang the bell in the centre of the benchroom (that's what we do when we need to get everyone's attention for an announcement) and said he wanted to tell us a story about what can happen when you aren't careful in the shop.

He had been working, wearing a baggy "crappy $1 t-shirt from the second-hand store," running planks over the jointer.

He said he thought about putting on his shop apron, but didn't want to stop and just kept working, contrary to his instincts.

The next thing he knew, he was being pulled into the exposed jointer blade (a vortex of spinning razor sharp blades made to chew through wood) and it was all he could do to do a push-up on the machine's table to stay away from the danger.

The entire shirt was ripped from his body, save for the cuff of one sleeve.

"And....I will admit I was listening to music," he told us a little sheepishly. As a result he couldn't hear his machine when it first grabbed the fabric.

In the end, he was fine. The shirt wasn't. As pictured below, it was a shredded mess. Scary to think what could have happened if he was wearing a more durable T-shirt.

Lesson learned.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Just a Quick Update on Vidar's Progress

Things have been coming along with my chairs and I'm on schedule to finish by my May 5 deadline.

You might remember that one chair has arms, the other does not. I wanted to mix it up a little.

I had been warned that the arms are one of the most difficult aspects of the chair, and I found that to be true last week and this week. Shaping the arms wasn't hard. Mortising the arms wasn't hard. Doweling the arms wasn't hard.

Fitting the arms to the back of the chair, however, was somewhat nightmarish.

Ok it wasn't that bad, but it was a challenge. The back legs of the chair, which come up to form the back rest, are pillowed on the front -- right where the arms connect. That means the arms themselves have to be concave, and curved, and angled, and tapered, to perfectly fit the mating surface.

Achieving this fit requires a round bottom rasp, gouges, double stick tape and sandpaper, and a lot of trial and error. But I finally nailed it and glued up today.

It was one of those glue ups where you walk away with a completely clear conscience knowing you didn't have to cheat at all to get the joint to close up just right. No crazy clamp pressure, no twisting or filling gaps with glue. It just worked. Beautiful.

Here are some pictures:
Here is the chair dry-fit and ready to go.
Close of up the nightmarish joint.
And here is the chair all clamped up!