Friday, December 19, 2014

New Home New Woods

Alrighty there folks, A month ago this salty New Englander went down south to Asheville, NC. I've left my beloved corner of Peter Galbert's chairshop and moved into a shop with my two oldest and dearest friends in the trades, Johanna Smick of Monkfish Bindery and Seth Weizenecker of Weizwood Furniture. I've been a bit out of sorts getting into the swing of things in this new environment where everyone looks you in the eye and strikes up a conversation like its no thang. But! Finally with out further delay I have many exciting new woods to offer. First things first I'll keep it domestic and drop the new Cherry Bomb

I've now added Cherry to the list of 'ol faithfuls for travisher bodies. They will be priced the same as Walnuts at $245 clams.

And secondly I've been working with one of Australia's finest chairmaker's Glen Rundell of Rundell and Rundell Chair Makers, and now have a trifecta of beautiful Australian hardwoods to offer: Ringed Gidgee, Yellow Box, and Mulga. All three are gorgeous! But they aren't just a pretty face, they are dense as dense can be, which makes for far superior action from the tool. The extra weight in the body gives you more feed back while finding your position on the beveled sole, making it easier to keep your depth of cut consistent.

So yes, new things all around domestic and exotic. In the near future I will be testing out more different woods to see how they fare for travisher bodies, and will keep you posted. And, guys and gals, I'd loved to hear what you think of the new wood selection to keep me up to date with what you crazy kids are into these days. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Travisher Blades: Grinding and Sharpening

Okay now, I know taking any new blade to the grinding wheel can be intimidating, but despite the curved blade, the same principles apply as if you were grinding any other plane blade. 

First things first, dressing the wheel. Square your tool rest to the grinding wheel, doesn't have to be perfect, eyeballing is fine, this is just to keep your dresser steady. With the grinder on, come in with your dresser working it across the wheel to true up the wheel and remove remaining metal.   

If you've got a freshie wheel, you will to have to round over the outside corner. As you can see mine is rather extreme, the radius does not have to take over the whole wheel only about 1/8" is necessary. With your dresser in the same position as the photo, removing material from the front of the wheel, start easing the corner about 1/8" in from the side. As long as the radius on your wheel is tighter then the radius of your blade, you're in good shape.   

Setting up the bevel angle, I grind the blades to a 27 degree bevel. With blade fastened to the jig, set up and angle fence to keep the established angle. My process for setting the fence starts with sighting it by eye to get in the ball park. Once close spin the wheel by hand and scratch the blade, this way you can see exactly where the wheel is making contact on the bevel. With the tool rest slightly tightened, tap the fence at the front if the wheel needs to shift towards the top of the bevel and tapping at the back to shift towards the bottom.  

Once you see the scratch pattern spanning the entire width of the bevel you are good to go. For people like myself who are less visually inclined, take a sharpie and color in the bevel to make it easier to see the scratches. 

Now you are set to turn that sucker on and with a relaxed stance and steady but not overbearing pressure move the jig side to side on the tool rest grind away that bevel.

Now this takes time and practice to finesse, but you want to grind the bevel, coming as close to the edge as possible without a burr on the wheel. It's safer and protects the flatness of the edge to roll the burr in the stoning process. Will you ruin the blade by picking up a small burr in on the wheel? No way man! Its not the end of the world and you will still be able to get it sharp on the stones.  I only tell you this as proper practice to strive for. 

Water Stones, you got your: coarse stone (1000), hard stone (4000) and polishing stone (8000)

Starting off buy picking up a burr on your coarsest stone. Working the blade in a rocking motion along the stone. Putting pressure down with your thumbs on both edges, starting with your leading thumb down transferring the pressure to the back thumb as your arms are pushing the blade up the stone. Difficult motion to describe but it becomes highly intuitive once put into practice.  As a visual aid to help you out the next three photos depict the motion. 

Next switching to your hard stone and sharpening the blade

and finishing off on your polishing stone

This guy: DMT diamond cone. After working the back of the blade I use the diamond cone to to hone the bevel and work the burr back to the back side.

You will work the diamond cone back and fourth on the bevel with balanced contact to establishing a nice even hone along the top and bottom on the hollow grind. Pinching the cone directly, instead of holding by the handle gives you much better feed back on where contact is being made. More visual aids to help understand the motion in the next 3 pictures

Polishing the hone. Chuck up an 'ol peice of hardwood and turn it into a round around 2" dia.

 Mark off 1 1/2 " sections and smear on some diamond paste. I start with 5 microns working down to 2.5, 1.5, 1, and finishing off with green rouge  

Carefully with the lathe on, your hair safely in a bun, and the blade slightly skewed you will polish the bevel by working down the grits of diamond paste. I'm all about the visuals so again the next three photos will show the motions of this step. Keeping firm contact with the bevel to your round and pushing it forward against the rotation of your polishing blank. 

No lathe? No problem, you can take a dowel and apply the diamond paste or wrap it in wet dry sand paper. 

You will work it across the bevel with the same motion as the diamond cone

Now its back and fourth battle royal between the polishing stone and the strop to remove the burr. 

Working with the end of the strop making firm contact with the bevel pulling from front to back while moving side to side along the bevel. Don't use the strop on the flat back of the blade.

And of course more visuals to give method to my written madness

Within these last two steps you can watch the burr curl off, once all remainder of the burr is gone and you've shaved off all your arm hair, cause you just wanted to cut a few hairs to see how sharp you actually got it, then you are good to go my friends. 

Also friendly reminder: proper maintenance of the blade between uses will keep it from getting dull. I recommend the last two steps of the sharping process: a few passes on the polishing stone and working the bevel with the strop.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Travisher Blade Grinding Jig

Alright ladies and gents the mystery that is 'grinding a travisher blade'  will be exposed in one simple jig.

To get started take a trip to your scrap bin, because lets be honest if you are reading a woodworking blog you definitely have an embarrassingly overflowing shelf of cutoff's that repeatedly gets added to with the mantra of "someday i'm gonna need this". Well that someday is today. So get on in there and grab any ol' piece of hardwood and cut it down to 5"long X 21/2"wide and the thickness can vary anywhere between 1" to 13/8"

Now if you got a ding in your blade or its's just plain dull, you would, just like any chisel or plane blade, joint it first on your stones. However! jointing a travisher blade (pardon my excitement but this is the only time I will get to say this) is much easier then any chisel or plane blade, because it's curve keeps the blade from tipping every which way. And another plus, eliminating the dreaded nails on a chalk board sound. 

Once the blade is joined you are going to trace the back of the blade profile onto your blank. Its important to make sure the blade is joined before the tracing is done. As you can see my fingers are right on those corners so best not to have a sharp edge while handling a blade like this.

Got your line. Got your offcut. To the bandsaw.

And you should end up with something like this

When attaching the blade it is important the edge of the blade is parallel with the bottom of the jig. The bottom face of the jig will be your reference when setting up the grinding angle. To make sure of this I clamp the blade to the jig with 2 clamps (knowing that the top and bottom faces of the jig are parallel to each other) I eyeball a 1/16" gap down from the top face of the jig on each side. So you can easily see a 1/16" ledge from the top edge of your blade to the top of your jig.  And if it were to slide a bit after you screw in one side, no worries, just match that ledge clearance on the other side. 

After you've clamped the blade up into its proper position I like to make an indentation with an awl to mark dead center on the hole, this helps to prevent the blade from moving when I screw it on. When you come in with the awl, keep in mind you wont be holding the tool  vertical. You want to angle it so it is square to the tangent of the blade.

And end up with this

With the clamps still on I will come in with with my drill at the same angle used with the awl (square to the tangent of the blade) and fasten it on. I use 1/2" #6 screws, #8 will work. But, its best to start small this way if your holes start stripping you can move to a larger screw. I like to secure down one side then the next, this way I can account for any movement in the process.

And here you have it! The Travisher Blade Grinding Jig you've never dreamed of.  Welp, unfortunately that is all the information my ADD riddled mind can spurt out in one sitting.  I promise I wont leave you hanging for months on end, stay tuned and I will take it to the grinding wheel.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Claire Minihan Woodworks

Hello all and welcome to Claire Minihan Woodworks. 
My woodworking career has taken me along many different avenues. I started out in high school shop class before attending the cabinet and furniture program at North Bennet Street School. After finishing school, I worked for 3 years in a custom cabinet shop. Now I'm currently in the world of tool making and Windsor chairs. For the past two years now I've been making travishers and loving it! 
For information on travishers check out my Travisher Page.
I'll be sure to keep you guys informed of what's new with the travishers among other fun/interesting/awful/awesome shenanigans going on in the shop.

Here is a slew of travishers that came along on the trip to Woodworking in America.