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This Wheel Shall Explode

I’m back to putting wheels on things. A second wheel broke on my dust collector and I had been wanting to turn it over to replace it. But I couldn’t turn it over until I emptied it. The dust had risen to the window, so it was time. You can see that this is a serious filter; 5 microns! I have no idea what that means in terms of sawdust, but I can tell you that what goes in doesn’t come back out… until you have to empty it. Then it gets all over the room. So I couldn’t fix the wheel until I cleaned the floor. I got out the shop vac, and checked to see that there was a filter in it. Uh oh. First I cleaned the filter.

Next step: get the old wheel off. The wheel on the bottom is the original, and it’s broken. The two wheels on top are the ones I stuck into a block of wood, then onto the axle.

I cut a 2×4 to fit the width of the carriage. I notched it to go around the motor mount bolts. But I couldn’t drill holes until I repaired the end cap on the vice handle on the Sarcophagus! I hadn’t lost the piece while vacuuming the side effects of the dust removal. If the end cap has lasted this long, it can carry on for a few more years.

Same old wheels, new wood. Good thing I saved all those wheels and boards.

The dust collector now has four good wheels, and, by the way, I’ll be giving my Foredom grinder to my brother, who doesn’t want its brilliant rolling stand made of a desk chair, shovel handle, and curtain rod hooks! So I’ll just hold onto it, because I may just want to put something else on wheels.

Let it Roll, Baby, Roll

You can never have too many casters in storage. You’ll need them later. The good kind have metal plates to be bolted to furniture, but leftovers pulled out of office chairs and microwave tables will do in a pinch. For instance, here’s an old repair of the platform that holds my dust collector. A plastic wheel broke. The second one is cracked, and this project will be revisited.

The axle goes through a wood block, held up by two wheels.

Given lots of time at home, I put Mom’s old blindstitch machine table on wheels:

Oh, the joy of those wheels! The plastic will probably shatter in a few years, but so far, it’s a dream! The table rolls easily despite the weight of that solid maple top and steel legs. So, why not put wheels on other things?

This log is now a footstool. It’s not as effective; it wants to tip over, and may need to be mounted on a base. But if the whole thing fails, I’ll burn the log and keep the wheels.

Mom found this fine piece of Ashley furniture on a curb. Now it has wheels, and can live under a desk and hold up a scanner. And the sky’s the limit; I have more wheels!

Nightstand Revisited

Sondra Flite Artworks

I was so happy with the nightstand that I made for my sister-in-law that I wanted to use that plan again, but minus the part where I had to put a log through the band saw. Oh, and minus the part where I put it on skinny little legs. I had gone with the Central Jersey Woodworking Association (http://cjwa.org/) to visit the D.C.C. Inc. sawmill. Dane Enright operates this mobile log milling operation, and obtains very interesting logs. He kindly gave me a block of black locust. I had wondered about this stuff. It’s traditionally used for fence posts and boat knees because it’s hard and doesn’t rot. It’s color, when it’s newly cut, is a startling greenish yellow. Those are not great recommendations for furniture wood. But I wanted to know more. So…

I rounded the edges, and set the sides back about…

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Nightstand Revisited

I was so happy with the nightstand that I made for my sister-in-law that I wanted to use that plan again, but minus the part where I had to put a log through the band saw. Oh, and minus the part where I put it on skinny little legs. I had gone with the Central Jersey Woodworking Association (http://cjwa.org/) to visit the D.C.C. Inc. sawmill. Dane Enright operates this mobile log milling operation, and obtains very interesting logs. He kindly gave me a block of black locust. I had wondered about this stuff. It’s traditionally used for fence posts and boat knees because it’s hard and doesn’t rot. It’s color, when it’s newly cut, is a startling greenish yellow. Those are not great recommendations for furniture wood. But I wanted to know more. So…

I rounded the edges, and set the sides back about half an inch. This is a forgiving pattern. It doesn’t need to be exact. I drilled the finger holes and then cut across to create the dividers and spacers.When it came to cutting the drawers, I had to hold a cylindrical piece as I put it through the saw. The saw wants to spin a piece like this and knock it out of my hands, so I held it in a clamp. This was so handy that I now hold the square pieces like that as well.

Everything was machine cut and sanded so far on this piece. The wood is much too stringy and tough to carve, but I wanted some handwork, so I textured the edges with a gouge. You can just barely see it in this photo, on the side pieces. You can also see the awesome streaks of color in the wood, which is great in a piece like this but would be difficult for traditional furniture manufacture.

Here it is, with four drawers. I would certainly use this wood again, but only for simple machined shapes like this. This piece will be for sale as soon as there’s an opportunity, and I’m cutting a smaller one out of black walnut. I’ll be looking for new things to do with variations on this pattern.

We Remember Skip

Who wouldn’t?

I was asked to make a sign to signify that a butterfly garden within the local dog park was planted in memory of Skip, who graced our town with his succession of tiny sweet dogs. People would meet him in town, sit down for a cup of coffee, and hold a poodle until their blood pressure went down.

I chose the butterfly shape for the sign, and roughed it out to have slightly lifted wings. I cut the big angles on the band saw to save work.

I had the presence of mind to plan the mounting before I carved. This old dog can learn new tricks; I left the butterfly’s body very chunky so I could sink two screws into it. I mounted it to waste wood. Later, I used the holes in the waste wood to mark the holes in a three-foot post.

That block allowed me to clamp the work into the bench vise while I carved. I signed the raw wood although I knew that paint would cover it.

I modeled it on the Northern Metalmark because of it’s shape and colors. It’s a mostly dark butterfly, so the sign won’t compete with the flowers in the garden. The flowers are the point, not the sign. I left the top of the wings unpatterned for the lettering. My lettering was awkward. Next time, I’ll make a light-colored band, and write the lettering in sharpie, not paint.

I added a coat of acrylic varnish for shine and protection. I don’t expect this to last forever outdoors, being only basswood, but it should be alright for quite a while. It will be mounted in the dog park before it opens.