Monday, June 28, 2010

Back in Business

The New Calipers are Here!!! I don't even want to go into describing the effort that went into creating these new calipers, suffice it to say, I'm happy that the development and production is over and I'm ready to ship the tools. I worked closely with all of my U.S. manufacturers on every detail from the edge quality of the molded parts to the clarity of the printed scales and I can honestly say that I'm very happy with the results. I also have an interchangeable Metric Scale available.

The calipers are available right now through my website and also through Soon they will be in many of the catalogs that land on your doorstep.

I'll be making a video later this week that shows off the new tool and gives tips for use. Thanks to everyone on the wait list for your patience.

Now, to get back in the shop and make some chairs!

And because I promised a reader, here I am in a moment of pure joy with my kids

Everyone in the pasture is doing beautifully, the kids are robust and Maggie is giving us 1/2 a gallon a day. The kids are now being weaned and seem to be happy munching on grain, grass and hay. We've expanded the paddocks by a couple of acres and the whole crew seems thrilled with the new space. I plan to enclose more in order to rotate the grazing and allow the pasture to regenerate. Putting my field into service and working to improve its quality has opened a new awareness for me of the solar power that this piece of land harnesses and my goats ability to transform it into usable protein and better forage.

When Maggie had her kids, we separated our wether Mike to protect the kids from his rough housing. He immediately took a downward turn. These are herd animals and separation leads to stress which leads to illness. Luckily, our friends loaned us one of their prized fellows to keep him company. But as time went on, he seemed less like a loaner and more like a part of the herd, so the other day I bought him. Here is Sue with her Joseph. He is incredibly gentle and affectionate. Some ladies love the diamonds, what can I say, my gal swoons for animals, score.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Bismarck

Summer is usually a busy time, but this is ridiculous! Luckily for me, things are finally slowing to a humane pace as my teaching is subsiding and the Galbert Caliper 2 is in assembly.

My recent trip to Maine was a success in more than one way. Teaching away from home can be a huge amount of work, but sometimes I come upon things in the large classes that might never happen in the calm of my own shop. One of these things is the new bit that I call "The Bismarck" (for reasons that will soon be apparent)

Here's the how and why. A couple of students drilled the holes in the seat to the wrong sightline, not too uncommon or that big of a deal. I made a couple of pine plugs with my Veritas tenon cutter and glued them in with CA glue. When it came time to redrill the holes, the brad points that I grind and love wouldn't do the job. The issue is that brad points don't drill well into end grain, which now stared at us at the end of the plug. As much as I rail against twist bits, they are the tool for the job.

The main trouble with twist bits is that they are made for metal and best used in a drill press, but they eat end grain for breakfast. So in the heat of the moment, with 10 other students in a flurry of action around me, I chose to grind my lovely 5/8" bradpoint into a twist bit, but slightly different. This one has a horn.

The long center point now only guided the bit without the "wander" of a normal twist bit, but kept the bit spinning cleanly without a drill press. It worked great.

Then I started to take a closer look at the potential of the bit in other applications. One of the downfalls of my bradpoints is that student new to them often sink the center point into the soft pine while getting their position set, this can cause the side spurs to make contact before the drilling begins. Once they gun it, ouch, major tear out. Of course this is easily avoided by getting the drill up to speed before allowing the side spurs to touch, but experience has shown that it's easy to lose focus on the bit while learning to drill at angles.

The Bismark also works great drilling at extreme angles into the legs without any surface damaging issues. I am going to continue exploring this bit, most likely using it where folks tend to chunk out the holes.

To make the bit, simply follow the instructions in my brad point grinding posts, but omit the notch in the grinding wheel. You'll end up with a rather flat brad point. Then change the angle of the fence on the tool rest to make the wings fall away from the center. Perhaps a video is in order!

Besides tending to my lovely goats (Tee, I promise some pictures soon!), I've had a lot of students pass through,

Here's Bill,



and Bill, and then I was off to Maine.

One of my students, Kenneth, is Amish, and road five hours in his buggy to take the class. Here is his horse Melody. She spent the week quietly grazing on the school pasture. Watching her graze helped soothe my homesickness.

Here is Kenneth's buggy. Just being around him had a calming effect.

Here's Paul working away while I went to lunch!

and the whole class, tired but not beaten!

I plan on announcing that the new calipers will be available as of next Monday. Thanks everyone for your patience!