Nearly Prefect Breadboard

December 5th, 2013

The holidays are a time when I bake bread, pies and rolls to share with my family.  To aid in preparing the dough a breadboard is needed and breadboards have gone the way of the buggy whip.  breadboardI was on my way to buy some hard Maple for a bread board when I stopped at the local Ikea for some Pastej Lax or as we call it, fish paste; when I stumbled upon the Lamplig Chopping Board.  For $10 this cutting board was turned over to make a nearly perfect breadboard.  The lip catches the edge of the counter and does not slip around when I am kneading the dough.  The backside is a little rough so you might have to clean it up with sandpaper.  For a real breadboard I would like it a little wider than the 18 inches and a little longer that the 20 3/4.  For only $10 I can live with it being a little on the small side.

Inside Glassed

March 27th, 2012

The inside of the canoe was glassed last week. There are a few ragged strands of glass at the stems but I will sand most of those out. I was pleasantly please with how stiff the canoe was when the epoxy curried. Only two coat of epoxy were used on the inside so there is texture to the glass that will make a non-skid surface. I am going to do scuppered gunwales as described at I cut 6 pieces of 3/8 x 3/4 out of a 2×2 by 16 foot Alaskan Yellow Cedar. My gunwales will be a little smaller than I wanted but they will still look great on the canoe. Most books recommend hardwood for the gunwales but I like the look of AYC and it will complement the Western Red Cedar well. There were some knots in the AYC that I will have to splice out. Since the strips are 16 feet long and the canoe is only 13 feet long, there will be at least 2 feet left over from each strip. I might have enough strips to double up on the outer gunwale. I estimate that I will need 10 feet of the 12 that will be cut off of the strips to make the blocks that are part of the inner gunwale. I think that I will have a 12 inch block where the center thwart will go and use 3 1/2 blocks with 3 1/2 spaces elsewhere.

For the thwart, deck and bulkhead I will be using Port Orford Cedar. I have 2×12 board that I have been saving for the canoe. I am in a quandary on the shape of the thwart. I could do a simple thwart or I could do a carved thwart that would be more practical for carrying. I will have to decide in a few weeks. Alaskan Yellow Cedar and Port Orford Cedar both have a strong smell when they are cut. The Port Orford Cedar is more spicy and the Alaskan Yellow Cedar is more musky smell. The boat shop was quite aromatic.

For the seats, I have a second 2×2 by 16 piece of AYC that I have cut into two 3/4×1 1/2 strips. I think that I will start with a woven cane seat using plastic cane. I talked to someone who cane’s at last year’s San Diego County Fair and he said that it was hard to get good quality cane anymore and he uses plastic cane for anything that will be outside.

Sanded and Sealed

January 21st, 2012

After two moves last year, the canoe in storage for 4 months and sitting 5 months in my living room; I have started working on the canoe again. I finished sanding the inside just after Christmas and finally was able to make time to seal the canoe. The idea of sealing the cedar strips is so that you have a uniform color when apply the fiber glass cloth. The process is simple and was recommend by a fellow canoe builder. Put a thin coat of epoxy on the hull and let it soak in, once is starts to set, scrap off all the excess. I then filled all the cracks and crevices with epoxy thickened with cedar wood flour. Once the filler has set, scrap off any excess and wait a week for it to cure before a light sanding with 120 grit. The next step it to cut the fiber glass cloth to size.

Oar Rack with Oars

January 15th, 2011

The Portland Boat Show is going on right now and I made an Oar Rack to show off the oars that were made in the Oar Class that I taught last spring.  The pair of oars on the very right are the ones that I made during the class, the next pair were made my Russel Smith, the second from the left were made by Michael Simmons and the oars on the very left were some that were in the shop that I used to demonstrate how to leather an oar.

We used Alaskan Yellow Cedar to make the oars and used Daly’s Seafin Aqua Spar Clear Polyurethane Varnish for the finish.  Russel put on more coat to give the oars a nice warm yellow color to the oars.

The oar rack is made out of kiln dried Douglas Fir that I picked up at Building Material Recycling and was build in an afternoon.

Scraping and Sanding

January 2nd, 2011

I have started the scraping and sanding of the epoxy on the canoe.  I used a cabinet  scraper to get the most of the lumps off and then went over the area with a random orbital sander.  I still have to make one more pass and then I will put another coat of epoxy on to fill the low spots.  I will try using the cabinet scraper when the epoxy is green to see if I can reduce the sanding later.

Resurrecting a Stanley Bailey #3 Hand Plane

December 26th, 2010

I picked up a Stanley Baily #3 hand plane at the local building supply junk store while I was getting some lumber for an oar rack that I will be building.  This sorry plane had been drowned and has a serious case of rust but is not terminal.  The rust looks fresh and the screws and the adjustment knob turns so it is not rusted solid.  The front knob is cracked and will be repaired or replaced.  The rear tote is in good shape except for a bad paint job.   The first task is to disassemble the plane and clean up the parts.

I use electrolysis to remove the rust on the steel parts.   Electrolysis is a method of using a direct current to drive the iron oxides (rust) back to iron and oxygen.  The iron becomes a black slug on the steel that is easily washed off.  Many proponents of electrolysis cleaning use a automotive battery charger to send between 4 and 10 amps through the part.   I built a constant current source that drives 100 milliamperes through my parts.  Although slower, I am more comfortable with the lower current and some suggest that it does a better job.  The part in the tank is the plane iron (blade) and will be left there for about 24 hours.  The electrolysis works in line of sight, so to ensure even cleaning, I have four pieces of steel re-bar as my electrodes.

When all clean and tuned up, this little #3 hand plane will be put to good use.  It will join ranks with other Stanley planes that I have and the wooden planes that I have built.

Philly Style Chamfering Plane

December 18th, 2010

I built a Philly Style Chamfering Plane to cut 45 degree chamfers and to 8 side spars, oars and paddles.   The plane is based on a 10 inch wooden block plane and has a fixed guide and an adjustable guide.    The adjustable guide is not shown because I did not like the first two that I made.  I have designed a new jig to cut the slots in the adjustable guide and will make it soon.

For this design I used a lever cap with a brass threaded insert and a brass knurled thumb screw.  The lever cap makes it easier to adjust the plane iron than with a wedge.  To adjust the iron, the thumb screw is loosened so the plane iron is held in place but can move when hit with an adjusting mallet.  Once the blade is set the thumb screw is tightened until snug.   The cross pin is 3/8 brass rod that is cut slightly longer than needed and then sanded to be flush.  I still have to heat threat the iron and then sharpen it.

Fiberglassing the Outside of the Canoe

December 18th, 2010

The outside of the canoe has been sanded,  sealed and sanded again in preparation for fiberglassing.   The fiberglass cloth is laid over the hull and trimmed to be at least an inch in excess on all sides.   I used clothespins to hold the fiberglass cloth in place while I apply the epoxy.  The intent is the just fill the weave of the cloth and not have any runs or puddles and not to have any spots that are starved for epoxy.  I am using a 3 inch chipping brush instead of a roller or squeegee to apply the epoxy.  It is the first time I tried one and I found that it worked very well.  There were several loose bristles that I had to go back later and clean up.

The only problem I had fiberglassing the canoe was with the stem reinforcing strips.  The stips are cut on a bias of 45 degrees to the weave.  The strips are had some runs in the cloth that I will have to sand out later.   I will wait until the epoxy has gone green before I apply the next layer of epoxy to fill in the weave.

Spar and Backing Out Plane

June 13th, 2010

I finished the backing out plane also called a hollowing plane.   I used a lever cap instead of a wedge to hold the iron in place.   The lever cap makes adjusting the plane iron easier because I tighten the brass thumb screw so that it just holds the iron in place so that I can adjust the depth of cut.  When I have it where I want I tighten the screw until it is snug.  Previously I had tried to harden the plane irons for the spare plane and it did not work. I modified the heat treating forge to use two propane torches instead of one.  I heated the irons up to a cherry red and tested them with a magnet.  When I did the spar plane the two tips on the sides of the iron were not hot enough and the magnet jumped to them.  I put the iron back in the forge and heated it up again.   This time the magnet did not stick to the iron so I knew that I got it hot enough this time.   The iron when into the vegetable oil to be quenched.  I then heated up the backing out plane iron to a cherry red and when it was non-magnetic it when into the vegetable oil also.  I tempered the two irons in a toaster oven at 400 F for an hour.  This should give me a Rockwell hardness of 61/63.   I shapened the spar plane using the scary sharp method and when I tried it out it cut very well.  When I tried to sharpen the backing out plane I had old glue on the sharpening jig so I was not able to get it sharp.  I am going to clean up the jig and try again.

Plane Irons

May 17th, 2010

In the continuing saga to build a spar plane from scratch, I cut out the planes irons from 3/16 x 1 1/2 x 18″ blank of 01 tool steel. Using permanent marker instead of Prussian blue and an scratch awl I marked the outline of the shape of the iron I wanted.  

I cut the rough shape with a hacksaw and then used a bench grinder to refine the shape.  I also knocked off the edges so the iron is easier to handle.   The iron on the right is for the spar plane and the one on the left is for a backing out plane.

The tools steel is in the annealed state until it is hardened.  To harden the steel it has to be raised to a temperature of 1450-1500°F.  At that temperature the steel is converted to austenite.  The steel become non-magnetic and can be tested with a magnet.  The color of the steel is cherry-red.  I built a propane furnace to heat treat the irons.  Unfortunately I was not able to get them hot enough to go non-magnetic.  I am going to add a second torch to the furnace and if that does  work I will borrow an oxy-acetylene torch.  If I could get the irons hot enough I would then quench them in vegetable oil.  Then I would need to temper the irons because they would be too hard and brittle to use.  To temper the irons I will put them in a oven at 350 to 400°F for an hour.