We have in our possession a Major 8 radiogram which was originally purchased by my in-laws around 1960s. It hasn't been used for years and kept largely for sentimental reasons. When I first saw it a very modern (for its day) stereo cassette player had been patched in not sure how but it worked. I have not been able to find any information online about this or any other radiogram. I did find a website that that does repairs Resurrection Radiograms. They hadn't heard of a Major 8 either. They did however suggest that it could be a rebranded Astor 8. I visited another website bakeliteradio it lists the Astor brand but doesn't really help my cause. The radiogram is now part of history as cassette players, 8 track cartridges and compact disks. The radio still works but it only has AM as this unit predates FM radio and there is little call for short wave theses days. So there it sits the AM band works but doesn't cover the full bandwidth that is available today. I can tune in some stations the sound is a bit crackly befitting such an on old radio. Sadly the turntable is no longer functional too hared to fix. The cabinet is made from veneered plywood which needed repair. That however is a story for another post. Major 8 RadiogramMajor 8 tuning on light
I have been absent from the blog for a bit. I keep thinking that I will post some woodworking but I never seem to get around to it. As the title suggests I have delved into some leather work. I was prompted to make some covers for a range of spoon carving knives that I have. Being new to leather working I have got diverted from what the original idea of making covers for spoon carving knives. Theses will require wet forming which is a little more difficult. The first thing I had to investigate was saddle stitch. But before I could do that I had to make a stitching pony. I made the stitching pony as it was a fraction of the price of buying one. Then of course I needed thread and needles. Luckily I had been given some leather work tools some years ago so this was a starting point. Laying out and cutting hasn't been too difficult. The skiving knife and saddle knife pictured below were laid out using the tool. By the time I did the axe sheath I made a pattern which in hindsight was a better idea. I'm still coming to grips with the stitching. They say the tread should be four times the length od the stitching, I have found this to be an underestimate. Thanks to YouTube there are many channels out there some better than others and a local leather supply shop DS Horne I have managed to get on the bandwagon. There will be some YouTube video when I get around to editing it. The images below are some of my first attempts at saddle stitch and finishing leather with neatsfoot oil.
The Kreg K4 jig is very handy for setting up and making pocket holes to accept screws. It is quick and easy making relatively strong joints. The only downside is a rather cumbersome clamping mechanism. It has to be adjusted to timber thickness and is fiddly. There is a more advanced jig called the K5 but for my needs the K4 is perfectly satisfactory. Currently the K4 can be purchased in Australia for about $140 and the K5 for somewhere between AUD $220 and $299. I bought my jig some years ago and paid around AUD $100. The Aussie dollar was stronger then. I was very pleased to to see that a company Armor Tools offered an upgrade to the clamping mechanism. A quick and easy upgrade that really works. It was less than $50. even better the K4 still fits in the original box. I have included a video link to the company video on this product. It is available in Australia from Timbecon KReg 4 with upgrade https://youtu.be/f48HUeYUOdw
The Shaker Inspiration by Christian Becksvoort is another excellent publication by Lost Art Press . The book has great style and is very readable even in some of the dryer parts. The book itself is great albeit with a North American focus. Then again it's about the inspiration of the Shakers. The link in the previous sentence is to an article about the last active Shaker community in the United States. They are all celibate which is self limiting. The Shakers were or still are a religious sect who are probably best known for their furniture making simple elegant and functional. The book itself has lots of stuff about timbers and timber movement. Differences between hardwoods and softwoods and so on. Then delves into the hows and whys of furniture construction. There are lots of great photos throughout which add to the excellent text. Timbers are for the most part not easily accessible in Australia. The book is rounded off with some measured drawings which would be a great help for anyone who is inspired to build one of the projects. The Shaker style is appealing for its simplicity . Shaker Inspiration does highlight some great problem solving and innovation in this type and style of furniture. I was disappointed that Lost Art Press don't ship to Australia. I was prepared to pre order the book and PDF. Alas I have had to settle for the PDF version only. International buyers are directed to local businesses. There was no option to preorder or even by the book. That's my only whinge.
An old school chair probably form an infant school. I think infant schools are now called junior primary schools. Our Grand Daughter can't even walk yet so I got in early and renovated the chair. Not much to it really a bit of sanding some spray paint and some off cuts of plywood. I shaped the seat with a slight taper front to back and a similar idea on the back rest. Because we are so safety conscious and that hardware is cheaper i used dome nuts on the back. This way little fingers won't be able to fiddle the nuts off the bolts. I added some Loctite threadlocker just to make extra sure I replaced the the stoppers at the end of the legs as well. The new chair stoppers are rubberised so the chaori cannot be pushed about easily.
Well after years it finally happened I got to feel the full force of kickback on my table saw. The reason is my riving knife. Rather the absence of a riving knife I took it off while preparing turning blanks. The result was a lump of red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) about 300mm long and 75mm square. It hit me straight in the sternum and it hurt! Luckily I didnt break anything and only had a small reddened area with a minor cut to show for the indignation. I have never given riving knives much thought. I took it off as the cuts were less than the height of the blade. In order to make a full cut the timber had to be flipped over. I had this idea fixed in my head that the riving knife should sit higher than the top of the blade which makes bling cuts impossible. What I mean by a blind cut is that the timber is thicker than the full height of the blade. I have watched many YouTube (and I have forgotten who made the video) videos where a blind cut has been made and not thought about how this was achieved. This was until I watched a video where someone was talking about setting up a table saw, I nearly didn't watch this as it seemed too basic. There is was set the height of the riving knife just below the height of the blade. Now I can blind cut to my heart's content and reduce the risk of another piece of timber flying off the table.
I bought these three planes from an online site the sale included three planes at $30 so that's $10 each. I really wanted the No 7 so the two No4 planes were a bonus. The No4 planes are a Stanley /Bailey made in Australia and an English made Record. All are rusty and dirty but otherwise seem to be in basically good condition. The No4 Stanley has a crack in the tote or handle. The No7 has a plastic tote but the forward handle is timber so I will make another. I have bought these to use rather restore and stick them in a cupboard. I found some websites that were helpful and interesting Hans Brunner Tools has lots of information about the Bailey / Stanley handplanes. I also came across a site dedicated to Record Hand Tools which is full of useful information about theses tools. Additionally there is this video from Jay Bates shows how he tackles a hand plane restoration. Finally if you want to make your own tote there is a template available from Lee Valley tools which includes a diagram and instructions.
This was my last woodworking project for 2016 completed on New Years eve a storage box for sheets of sandpaper. It only took about 2 hours from start to finish. It all made from offcuts left over from recently completed projects. The carcass is constructed from 12mm construction grade plywood and the shelves are made from 3mm mdf. I used the sheet size of the sandpaper to lay out the internal dimensions an added about 10mm width to accommodate placement in the grooves. I cut all the groves on the table saw spaced 25mm apart. I cut both sides in one piece to make sure that everything would line up. Top, bottom and back are also from the same material. I glued and nailed the carcass together. The shelves for the sandpaper were a little tricky because the kerf on my saw is 2.8mm and the self material is 3mm. I dealt with this by planing a low angle bevel on each side and sanding. So thats all for 2016 and my sandpaper has a home for 2017.
An out of the blue request from SWMBO to tidy up the walk in robe. The storage unit is approximately 1800 mm high and 900 mm wide with a shelf depth of 295 mm. In order to save time I decided to build the storage unit out of precut material all the sheets are 295mm wide. I bought melamine covered particle board 3 pieces at 1800 mm and 7 pieces at 1200mm. A sheet of 3mm MDF serves as the back of the storage unit. Cutting was straight forward 2 of the 1200mm boards were docked at 900 for the top and bottom. One 1800mm board was cut to 1768 as the centre divider. The carcass was assembled on floor with the bottom top and sides assembled first. The storage unit was screwed together with 32mm 8 gauge chipboard screws. The divider was put in next and followed by the shelves. I measured the width of the shelves after the carcass was constructed to ensure accuracy. Two offcuts of melamine was used to space the shelves at 295mm. This saved time as I did not have to measure and mark for each shelf. On one side I had to use pocket holes to attach the shelves to the central divider. This was not so successful because some of the pocket hole screws pushed through the adjoining shelf. I did this because I wanted a single piece in the middle. I did try an model the unit in Sketchup prior to construction but a pencil and paper was a much quicker way to draw up plans. The unit is now installed and awaiting the arrival of clothes.
Lots of sanding today #saw