Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Two Cents

Thanks for all the great suggestions on the Centerline Challenge. I read them all and even took some influence from some of them.
 I think that the simplest and possibly most elegant suggestion was to keep the piece in the form and set the form on the bench and simply scribe a line using the bench as a reference. The only reason that I didn't adopt this method is that it only marks one side, and sometimes I need to mark the other. To which, I thought the idea of leaving a gap in the center of the form panels to allow a pencil was a great idea!

I also loved the notion of using a shadow line. While it may not apply here, I have a feeling that it will be used in my future.

On the wishful thinking front, I'd love a laser that could just burn in a line. As you will see, a great many of the suggestions hit on my solution. So here is my take,

Here are a few stills of the jig in action. I loved the comment that my solution would be elegant, but not so pretty, I guess you folks know my affinity for the grotesque.

Thanks again for all the brain power, I'll be tapping it again soon!

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Center Line Challenge

Recently, I had a brain storm about finding the straight axis of a bent chair part. In my recent work, being able to register the axis of a bent piece has become increasingly important. So to ease my way, I thought of a method for marking the center of a bent piece, quickly and accurately.

As you can see below, when you look at the  piece so that the line is closest to you, the piece is split evenly and looks straight.

But as you see here, the piece has a curve.

By aligning this line with my sight line, I can use it as a reference to get the angle correct and very importantly, the rotation. Unlike straight parts, the rotation plays a huge role in positioning a bent part.

Of course a chair like the one below has oodles of complex reaming and positioning. I hope to go into this more later.

So here's the challenge. Before I tell you my idea, I want yours. How would you go about accurately marking the center axis of a bent piece? Remember, some pieces are bent in more than one direction like the one below (but only in one plane, for now!).

So think it over, stay up all night, drink 12 cups of coffee, climb a mountain and meditate...Whatever it takes, who knows, your idea might be a lot better than mine! I'll post the top three (IMHO) methods.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Curtis has been Busy!

Here are a few more installments in the video series that Curtis has been making. Enjoy
You can watch it here or click on the title to go to Youtube to see the hd version.

Riving and Shaping the Comb

Carving the Volutes

Final Shaping the Comb

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New Scraper Saves the Day

For years, I've used a convex scraper on the "bowl" of my seats. It simply makes sense that the curved edge makes more contact and forms an even concave surface more quickly.

But on the convex front edge of the seat, I would reach for my flat scraper and work diligently to get a clean shape. The small contact area tends to leave "stripes" and makes a tough job even harder.

So recently I ground a flat blade with a concave edge and have been thrilled with the results.

You can see that it makes contact more fully and by slicing across the grain, I get a clean, even shape.

I actually look forward to working this area. To make the blade, I simply set my toolrest on the grind 90 degrees to the tangent of the wheel and slowly cut the shape. I'll be showing a great tip for filing and honing the edge next.