Monday, January 11, 2010

The "Half Ass" in All of Us

I don't know if it's excitement, impatience or just the flow of ideas, but I have always loved rigging quick and dirty solutions to the problems that arise in the shop. To me, an elegant solution to a problem doesn't mean that it has ebony inlay or articulating arms with lock stops. Normally the process goes something like this
1.Have a problem
2.Brainstorm a solution
3.Crudely make it a jig to make it work (always with the promise of making a refined version if it does indeed function as promised)
4.Never make the refined version

As I was talking to the students at The North Bennet Street School, which is known for the fastidious, refined work of the students, I encouraged them to embrace their "inner half ass", and to my glee, I guess that they heard me.

Here is a drawknife grinding solution that Steve Kinnane came up with because he lacked my grinding apparatus.

It's a lovely solution to the problem. The block can be clamped to the tool rest at and angle so that the handles don't bump into the motor and setting the angle is as simple as moving the block back or forward. The one limitation of the set up, as it is, is that the blade must be straight, but, with the slightest of extra thought and effort, a version that can handle curved blades isn't far behind. Frankly, I don't need one, so I'll let necessity be someone else's mother on this one.

On other business, I've got one coat of oil on the walnut chair so look for images of it soon.

And for those with interest, my teaching schedule here at my shop is booked full until September, so please contact me if you are hoping to schedule a class.

Finally, my current stock of Galbert Calipers is so low that I've disabled the ordering page on my web site. I am starting another production run, and will post when to expect the new tools. If you'd like to get on a list to purchase one, please email or call me.


Robert from Stow said...

Hey Pete - 1st on the class schedule we talked about Nov time frame and I e-mailed you back on open dates for planning purposes.2nd in response you posted in reference to chair design, what scale do you find works best when drafting at the table in relation to the actual chair being built. Thanks

Unknown said...

My style exactly. I've always wondered about the fancy jigs one sees in FWW. Those people usually have really tidy shops as well. Makes mine look like a sty.

I'd rather be making furniture than spending all my time making fancy jigs and tool shelves.


Unknown said...

Temporary fixes that work, tend to become permanent. Bob Glenn

Peter Galbert said...

I'll look at my calendar for the fall and get back to you. I like to draw at 3/16 inch scale, it's small enough to see the whole picture and large enough to detail.

I know what you mean, I was talking to an editor about photographing my shop and I realized that it will take days to get into shape!

thanks for writing in. One of my mottos is that I never argue with success, and apparently I don't care if it looks junky!