Friday, May 18, 2012

I took a walk today...

Actually, I try to walk every day during my lunch break.  I walk with a couple of coworkers, one of whom walks faster than most people run!  She challenges me everyday just to keep up with her!  But, today, I walked by myself.  It was beautiful, not too hot, not cold at all.  And, flowers are in bloom everywhere.  I have a new fancy, schmancy phone and it takes much better pictures than the old phone that took a swim in the loo!  So, I snapped a picture of a pretty yellow day lily.  I love these flowers - they just scream springtime!  Wouldn't you agree?


And, since I was on the move today, I decided to continue the theme when I got home.  I wasn't happy with the hinges on the legs of my movable table.  So a quick stop at Home Depot and I had a different type of hinge that works much better than my initial choice.  I was able to attach the legs, finish the edge banding (I had to get more of that, too.), and here she is all ready to stain.

(And, speaking of better pictures, the Docs gave me one of their old cameras.  You might have noticed that that last several pictures I posted are much, much, better quality!  And, one of the high tech gifts I got for Christmas inserts into that camera and sends the pictures directly to my computer!  I was taking pictures just to watch them pop up in the "My Picture" folder!  Such fun!!)

So, here it is all closed up...  Perfect space to store a sewing machine, right??

And opened up...

Isn't the grain in the top interesting?  I can't wait to see it all stained!  I'll post some pictures then of the finished product!

If I make another one of these I will adjust the plans a bit so that I can use locking leaf hinges instead of the fold-up legs.  Unfortunately, I had this built before I realized that you needed a 1-1/2 inch overhang on the top in order for that type of hinge support to work.

But, I'm pretty sure that this will work just fine for Camper Daughter's wonderful neighbor.  Sure hope so!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

More Sewing Stuff...

Sew, ah, So, I'm making a movable, expandable table for Camper Daughter's neighbor.  It will be additional workspace in her sewing room.  The plan is that it will  function as an accent table or end table until it's needed for spreading out quilting materials.  Closed, it's about 32" by 15".  Open, it's about 32" x 72".

The cabinet portion will offer storage space for her sewing machine and/or baskets of sewing notions.  I've only see pictures of this at my favorite DIY site,, so I'm hoping it really does turn out as nicely as I'm expecting it to, and that it's as functional as I'm thinking it will be!

This is upside down - see the wheels at the top of the picture?  Only one of the castors is locking - what do you think?  Is that enough or should I add another locking castor?  Hmmmm...
I have one of the folding leaves attached with hinges and have added one
of the legs - it's that piece of 1x2 at the very edge of the leaf.
Waiting for another fold-up leg on this side and for the other side leaf to be put on.
I tried to add a locking hinge to this, but heck if I could figure out how to make it work!  I finally gave up.  I'll just add the hinged legs and tell her this is one table that she can't dance on!

Trash Bin is Finished!

Way back in November of last year I started a projected at Logger Daughter's house.  It was the one thing that she asked me to build for her, and I was not able to finish it during that visit.  Then, I wasn't able to finish it on my last visit there either.  Truth be told, I didn't want to work on it - it wasn't square and I couldn't get the darned door cut to fit the opening!  But, the last time I was up there, I was determined to finish it.  I did, and it works.  That's about all I can say for it.


Here it is, still in the garage, but put together.  The trash can sits on a bottom "shelf" that is attached to the door, which is hinged (you can see the hinges in next picture).  I added stops so that the door doesn't just drop to the floor when the kids open it!  The back is open so that it's easy to clean out the container.

I know I've mentioned that I don't like finishing projects.  I don't have the skill or the patience for it.  But, I tried  to finish this for Logger Daughter.  Here it is in all it's glory!

First coat of stain with poly.

And, this is what the finished product looked like.  
I wonder if she still has it in the kitchen or if it's made its way to the burn pile???!!

Turning, Turning, Turning...

Pens, that is!

I signed up for the pen-turning class through Tri-City Adult Education.  It was just 5 weeks, and it ended earlier than the woodworking classes I'd been taking.  I thought "What the heck, it's two hours of something to do".  And, I'd been thinking about using a lathe to turn blocks of wood into interesting designs.  Pens, I thought, would be an interesting way to start.

And, guess what, it was!  It is!  The last class was last week, and I missed a couple of classes when I was in Hawaii, but still I was able to create a pretty decent looking pen!  I liked that I could start the evening with a small block of wood and the innards to a pen, and within two hours I had a finished product.

I think I'll make more!  (I'm taking the Thursday woodworking class and don't have a project to work on, so my instructor is leaving the lathe out for me to use!)

Here's how it works.  You purchase the innards (aka: a pen kit), then you buy the wood block, or you can select blocks of resins, or other materials.  Some of those are really cool!.
This is an example of a resin block - these look amazing when they're turned a polished!
Then you measure how big the two pieces of wood will need to be to hold the innards and you cut them to just over that size.  Next step is to use a drill press to drill a hole through the center of the block - the hole has to be just big enough to hold the innards.

Wood being drilled through the center

Next you use super glue to glue the metal inner pieces into the hole you've just drilled.  After that, you trim & sand the wood to the exact size of the inner metal piece that you just glued inside.  Now you're ready to start turning that block of wood into a cylindrical shape.  You slide the wood and bushings that match the size of your pen pieces (center piece, end piece and tip) onto the mandrel of the lathe.  The mandrel is what turns.

This is the lathe.
This is the mandrel, and it fits into the lathe.
Once you're ready, you turn on the lathe and holding a special chisel you start shaping the wood.  You want to get it to match up to the bushings you added so that the wood will match up to the pen pieces. 
Pen Turning Tool Set

When it's close to the right shape, you start sanding.  As the mandrel turns, you hold sand paper on the wood.  Very quickly the wood is smoothed.  Then you use finer and even finer sandpaper until the wood is really, really, really smooth!  Now you're ready for finish.  I suppose you could apply a stain, but all I did was rub in a wax and as the mandrel turned I buffed the wood to a shiny, smooth finish.  I added several coats, and then a special finishing coat that kind of hardens the finish.

Then, you assemble the pen.  There's a special piece of equipment that you use to push the pieces into the openings in the pen.  After you screw the piece that holds the ink into place, shove the two pieces together

A.T. Cross 8514 Ballpoint Pen Refill, Fine Point, Black Ink
These are called "pen refills" but if it's original to the pen kit, I don't  
And voila!  You have a pen.
Here's pen #1:

Slimline pen, I don't know what the wood is - cheap stuff!
I used a stainless steel colored pen kit (pieces/innards).
 And, here's pen #2:
Another cheap block of wood, but this one is thicker, it's called a "comfort" grip and has a rubber tip.
The "pieces" are gun metal in color.
I should just let you think that I'm a natural at this, or a darned fast learner, but I have to admit that the comfort grip thing is the result of a major "goof".  The wood cracked and broke off while I was turning it.  It was figure out a "fix" or start all over.  I went for the "fix", that rubber piece at the tip - and I liked it!

Here they are together - cute, huh?
And, the bonus - they actually work!