Hand tools and personal woodworking history

October 28, 2007

All began the day I got an old and crappy draw knife (“plane” in French).

I had to sharpen it before to begin to learn to use it. Then I took a raw piece of rowan branch (easily available from the firewood stock of the house), transform it into a nearly cylindrical bar, then into a square-section bar, then into a smaller cylindrical bar again … you have plenty of time when you’re young! Eventually I finished by transforming it in a mallet handle (and use the draw knife again to make the mallet head afterward).

The point is that I wasn’t doing anything, not working on purpose, was just cutting wood and learning to use a draw knife: this is how I discovered woodworking. The next big time was when I finally sharpened and set my hand plan correctly and was able to made a chip thin as a piece of paper! I enjoyed more making chips that making things!!!

That’s why I love woodworking and this kind of delightful stories like Stop worrying and learn to love the silence or My dovetail saw: an odyssey.

Now I wish I can learn more. I love this post How to saw Or how about cutting straight lines first? I like doing slowly but carefully and would love to find more like that.

Wooden chain

October 8, 2007

When I first saw a wooden chain in one single piece of wood, I was so amazed that I wanted to try by myself.

Here is what I did …

wooden chain Chain, 1997, rowan (part of a small branch!)

The result is not really nice … the links are too square-like (not rounded enough), and also I never took time to finish correctly. But as far as I remember, I had no aesthetic goal, and mostly it was a technical challenge. I did it with very few tools (even less than that) in my student room :). And if you wonder about utility … just stop wondering!

Recently I draw a model to learn SketchUp, so here is the process I used (… model should come before prototype, I kind of know πŸ˜‰ ):

  • Start from a square section.
  • Remove the corners: rabbets are larger than link’s thickness (this can be done with a simple saw).
  • Drill the links’ insides: vertical and horizontal drills are not aligned in the length direction (if you want to do it with a drill press or a router, this step could be done before the previous one to avoid building a complex jig; I did it with a simple chisel so it’s better to do it after the rabbets).
  • Links are nearly separated by drilling holes on the whole depth (as previous step, if you have access to power tools, better to drill those holes before cutting the rabbets)
  • Consecutive links are still tighten together by a small piece of material that has to be removed very carefully, and there is very little space for the tool to access those areas.

Maybe one day I’ll make a new one, smaller, using hard wood like pear or apple, and with rounded link … but this time I’ll use my Dremel drill! Still dreaming also to make a wooden borromean rings in one single piece of wood, by twisting each link toward the top and bottom … let see if I can draw the model first :).

But first I have to (finaly) apply some finish to the first one. Any recommendation? Can I go with shellac?

Free CAD tools

October 8, 2007

Being used to industrial CAD softwares (like AutoCad, SolidWorks or Pro-Engineer) and to 3D immersive environment, I was really interested by this blogpost about project conceptualization. From there I looked for free 3D CAD softwares and tested few alternatives.

I was looking for software easy to use and that could eventually run on my linux box … but I found nothing as easy as SketchUp, which is between a drawing software and a complete CAD system (hopefully they will port it to linux soon). That’s an amazing tool and woodworker seems to like it.

Running on both Windows and Linux machine, I also love to draw models with Wings3D: it has a lot of features of SketchUp (probably this is the other way around …), but the learning curve is a bit more stiff (it stays an amazingly easy to use system compared to some other 3D modelers). But Wings3D is dedicated to 3D modeling, not to CAD, and if it has more powerful modeling primitives which enable it to do complex models, it misses some CAD features like quotation or others.

When I will need to draw a complex plan, I may also give a try to Alibre XPress (its parametrized modeling may fit my drawing habits, see tutorial). But really, for most of the projects, SketchUp is the way to draw.

Tool list

September 27, 2007

Matt Vanderlist wrote The Essential Tool List on Wood Talk Online. This is handy for beginners.

Especially if you love tools, having a list help to choose and organize (and restrict yourself).

I created a Tools category for this blog, more to come and most probably about hand tools first (of course πŸ™‚ ).

Woodworking links

September 27, 2007

Before to blog here, I collected few links that may interest beginners, like the woodwork-101 serie with this post about woodworking books (thanks toΒ  the author!).

I’m writing yet another list of (useful) links about woodworking. I will try to keep it not too long (see the hub section if you want a lot of links!) so that it give an overview of available and popular resources. Any remark/comment/correction is welcome! I will especially listen to web site author’s comments and they can completely rewrite their entry if they want (and contact me)!

And as it is a link’s related blogpost: here is one for those not used to inch measures! (not sure it is useful, be it amused me).


September 27, 2007

After reading Howard Ruttan on Recording your work I decided to create this blog.

What is this blog about (what kind of record)
It’s all about DIY projects and related information, and mostly wood-based projects. I do not expect to post a lot (monthly?): goal is to keep an humble record of projects, ideas or any tips and info grab on the net.

Goal of this blog (why to record)
This should help to track any evolution and it will also help my very bad memory; By evolution I do not mean progress but rather mindset changes in the work’s approach as well as in centers of interest. Hopefully it will help to spot interesting kind of project to give them live.
I hope sharing my learning path can also help different kinds of reader: the curious, the beginners like me, and the experimented who like to help beginners :).

Special note
I’m deeply sorry for my “pseudo-English writing” as it’s not my birth language. By the way is there any other resource than the WOOD magazine wiki about wood/woodworking terms?