stevenbunn Sat, 01/30/2016 - 08:16

I happened to read a reprint of one of James Kernov's articles in the latest FWW issue. In his article, Kernov discribed the first wooden hand plane he built as a teenager, and the effect of that experience on the rest of his career as a woodworker. I was especially drawn to his comments about sharpening his plane blades. Kernov admitted that long periods of time pass between sharpenings, and he is/was not very fussy about touching up the blade. Everything he says about sharpening reflects my experience and practice. The small chair-makers plane I built and use may get sharpened once a year if it's lucky. My lathe turning tools get an occasional touch up on my belt-sander. Why waste valuable time at the lathe getting an over perfect edge on the tool when there is work to do. Years ago, I got a call from my then current editor at FWW, Zack Galken, asking about my sharpening techniques. The conversation was abruptly concluded when I discribed my frequent use of the belt sander. That technique did not make into the how-to article. I should found a school of heritical woodworking. Any way, it was facsinating that James Kernov mirrored my thoughts on sharpening. Vindication at last.

stevenbunn Sat, 01/23/2016 - 08:30
IT'S ALIVE!!!!!!!
Now I know how Dr Frankenstein felt when he powered up his monster. The lathe works! There is always a little trepedation when I switch from an old faithful tool that I've been very comfortable using, to a new one that I just bought. The queeziness is heightened when I've built a lathe based on someone else's plans, and hope, but don't absolutely know for a fact, that it will work to my expectations. Holding on to the tried and true means that I still find myself heading for the old Sears band-saw and ignoring the new Laguna band-saw sitting right next to the old one. A habit I am trying to break.
Anyway, I put the new lathe through a full day of turning yesterday and was very pleased with the lathe's performance. As I did on the Sears lathe set up, I used a pair of bungee cords to tension the drive belt and overcome the motor's tendency to kick back when I start the lathe.After turning the first leg, I noticed that the bungee cords weren't pulling the drive belt tight enough. So, I added a couple of old window sash wieghts on the outboard side of the motor to tighten up the belt tension and that fixed that problem. I also noted an unfamiliar thrumming noise coming from somewhere on the lathe. After sticking my deaf ears next to all the moving parts I discovered that the noise was caused by the wooden on/off bar that, loosely slotted and screwed to the front lathe bed rail, vibrated and created the unfamiliar noise. The on/off bar works better than I expected. I was wondering whether I might need to add some wooden knobs along it's length to get a good grip on the bar. When turning chair parts, I am always turning the lathe on and off so I can check the turning with my calipers. Thanks for dropping by. Have a good day. STB
stevenbunn Wed, 01/20/2016 - 10:36
The completed steady-rest mounted on the lathe bed

 The problem with fixing one problem in the shop, is that the solution to the perceived problem leads to the discovery of another unrecognized problem. The completion of the Carlisle Lynch long-bed lathe solved one problem, my long time reliance on an old Sears lathe. The Sears lathe did yeoman work for me, cranking out turned parts for over thirty years. I have used that lathe to make something over 500 chairs. And, the old lathe still has years of life left. The problem was/is an internal head-space one. Sears just says 'hobbiest'  to me, not 'professional.'  The other eye-sore was the original steve-built 2x4 bench holding the lathe. Again, that bench was the best I could build thirty-four years ago, but hasn't been something I would want to show off for a long time. Now that the new long-bed lathe is holding pride of place along the front wall of the shop, I am confronted by my jury-rigged lathe tool storage system, with the tools set on one of the window ledges behind the lathe. That has suddenly come into focus as both unsightly, and unsafe. Leaning over a long turning spinning in the lathe to grab another tool.....Hmmmmm!  I could make another wall-hung tool box and place it behind the lathe. But that runs into the safety concern I just voiced in the previous sentence, and since I have over a hundred sample turnings already hanging on the wall behind the lathe, no space to hang a new tool box without having to find another home for a lot of turnings.

So now I am working up drawings for a simple, rolling tool cabinet that I can set either to my left or right, but will stand in front of the lathe as I work. Then there is that stupid word again, simple. I have a history of over complicating things. As always the fun stuff has a way of intruding on the paying work. The box I have in mind will look a lot like the saw-box I built last year. It will sit on a base similiar to the one I made for the out-feed table for the jointer. Pictures of both can be found by scrolling back through this blog. Thanks for stopping by. STB

stevenbunn Sun, 01/17/2016 - 14:53
The completed head stock with belt driven spindle and  2MT spur center
The hardest component of the spindle assembly to locate was the 1-inch inner bore four step pulley. No one seems to be making them today. McMaster-Carr and Amazon only show pulleys of 5/8 and 3/4 inch diameter inner bore. I was lucky to find a one inch bore pulley on ebay, and paid the 'buy it now' price without complaining. The one inch diameter tubing, tolerence of plus or minus .0005 inch had to be filed down some on the lathe (the other lathe) until the pipe slid into the flange bearings properly. If I were advising someone else making a Carlilse Lynch lathe, I would recommend using 3/4 inch OD steel tubing. This diameter is sufficient to drill a MT seat for number 1 MT centers. And, the pulley and other components will be a little less expensive.
I am completing a steady rest to fit the new lathe. I will post photos as I am able. With the lathe up and running, I have three chairs to get started on. Thank you for stopping by today.
stevenbunn Sun, 01/17/2016 - 14:22
The tail-stock poppet with the bench screw/morse taper socket assembly
I drilled a one-inch diameter hole in the center of the 1-1/2 inch diameter threaded shaft of the bench screw. Into this stopped round mortise, I seated a one inch diameter morse taper socket. The socket has a #1 MT seat cut into it, I mounted a live center in the socket.
stevenbunn Tue, 12/29/2015 - 17:25
The adjustable tail stock poppet, with the bench-screw holding a live-center
I have had good luck with a sliding poppet and live-center mounted in a turned bench screw on my treadle lathe. For the work involved, I think this design is easier to build than the one shown in Lynch's drawings. I still need to turn and install a handle. I drilled and reamed a morse tapered seat for a live center in the end of the threaded shaft of the bench screw.
stevenbunn Tue, 12/29/2015 - 17:10
The Long-bed lathe's frame assembled
This is my version of the long-bed lathe built by Carlisle Lynch, and featured in a 1986 FWW magazine article. Lynch built his lathe using laminated 2X material to create 3 inch thick stock to create his lathe. That would be pretty inexpensive to duplicate even today. Luckily, I had enough left over 8/4 maple from a previous job to build my lathe. Twenty four-inch long lag bolts and washers and here we are. After thicknessing, my stock ended up 1-7/8 inches thick. The weight and mass of the maple more than makes up for the difference in thickness of material used by Lynch and myself.
I am re-using a tool rest and motor from my Sears lathe. One of the most innovative features on Lynch's design is the use of a sliding wood bar mounted on the front bed rail, which engages the electric on/off switch, to act as an emergency kill switch. When I first read Lynch's article, I misinterpreted the drawing and thought the bar was a routed groove in the bed rail. I spent a lot of time wondering what purpose it served. Having stood beside the 10+ foot long lathe, it is obvious that if I got a sleeve tangled in a turning while working at the lathe, there would be no way to reach the off switch. So one of today's tasks is to make and install this saftey feature.
The belt driven drive shaft is made up from components I have picked up on-line. I purchased one-inch diameter steel pipe from McMaster-Carr. The one-inch bore flange bearings came via Amazon. And the step pulley came from Ebay. All for around $100. I am having a local machine shop drill out a morse tapered seat and cut RH and LH threads on the 18-inch steel tube. The machine shop costs will end up being the largest cost involved in building the lathe.
Lynch specified the use of one-inch diameter steel pipe and components in his article. While searching for a one-inch bore four step pulley all I could find that were commercially available today were pulleys which were of 5/8 or 3/4-inch diameter. No one seems to carry one-inch bore pulleys any more. I was lucky to find one on Ebay, and happily paid the "buy it now" price to grab it. Something to keep in mind if you want to build one of these lathes for yourself.
One final note. Sizing and tolerences! When dry fitting the components I puchased, I found that the pulley easily fit the steel tube from McMaster-Carr. The flange bearings were a no-go. No amount of Steve force was going to make the bearings fit the tube. Massive frustration insued!  Re-checking the steel specifications in the MacMaster-Carr catalog I found a note telling me that the tubing was produced with a plus or minus tolerance of .0005 inch. My piece of steel was on the heavy end of the curve. I figured that my machine shop bill was going to get much higher as I saw no alternative but to ask the shop to turn down the steel on a metal lathe. A good night's sleep, and I seemed to remember that Lynch discribed a similar problem. He reduced the diameter of his pipe by turning his pipe on a lathe and using a flat file work down the diameter. Ten minutes work on the lathe in the morning created wooden plugs which fit the ends of a spare piece of cut-off steel tube. The plugs allowed me to mount the pipe on the centers of my wood lathe and some cautious turning while working the steel with a file resulted in a prefect fit. I am pretty sure that my former editor at American Woodworker would have had a case of the vapors if I had put that in an article.
Have a great day. Thank you for stopping by. STB
stevenbunn Thu, 12/17/2015 - 16:24
Maple stock picked out for my long-bed lathe project
The miniature Windsors are assembled. I took a break from final sanding the little chairs and dug a bunch of 8/4 maple out of my pile of left over extras from earlier projects. I found enough maple in the pile to cause me to change my mind about using ash for the lathe. I am just shy of enough 8/4 for the entire assembly. So I decided to use some 5/4 maple, which I will  laminate together to make the feet on the vertical posts at each end of the lathe, and the sliding poppet that will be the tail-stock. I will continue to post pictures as I work my way through the project. Lynch used glued-up 2x10's, and 2x8's for his lathe stock which he thicknessed to 3 inches. My stock is going to end up a shade under two inches in thickness after I clean it up. So I am going to alter Lynch's plans a bit as I go along. Stay tuned. STB
stevenbunn Tue, 12/15/2015 - 16:44

No one has complained that I haven't posted an update to the blog for several weeks. Never-the-less, I thought I should bring all of my imaginary readers up to date. So here goes. Nineteen plane bodies are sitting unfinished on my bench, because some one actually asked me to do some paying work. And other orders have come in, plus another of my hare-brained projects has intruded on my dim brain. Right now I am finishing up four of my miniature Windsors for a long time customer. Several other orders for adult scale chairs will start in the new year. Photos of the miniatures may be found by scrolling down through earlier posts.

I made the mistake of checking the latest issue of Fine Woodworking out from the library two weeks ago. Two articles grabbed me for different reasons. The cover article was on building a Shaker work-bench. Interesting, but painful to read because Popular Woodworking has sat on the Shaker Work-bench article I wrote for American Woodworker for two years. PW acquired my article when they bought American Woodworker. I think my bench is better looking than the one built by two of FWW's editors. But no one will ever know because, well because...A really great article that was only a few months away from publication disappeared into the uncaring maw of another magazine with a completely different editorial mindset. Now, even if by a miracle, PW decided that they wanted to publish the article, the wouldn't because a rivial woodworking magazine has just published a similar article. Bummmer!!!! And other words unfit for publication. Again if you scroll down through the blog to some of my first posts you will find photos of the Shaker bench. An earlier, larger Shaker bench of mine was featured in a 1994 FWW article. Check my articles published page for the exact issue number.

At the back of the latest FWW issue, the editors highlighted a number of earlier articles from the mid-80's written by woodworkers who had built thier own versions of woodworking machinery, because of cost. I loved Carlisle Lynch's home-made long-bed lathe. I remember the article. I had wanted to build one for myself at the time, 1986, but my metal working skills were nill. I kept that issue on top of the pile til they all migrated to the recycling barn. Re-reading Lynch's article fired me up to make my own version of his lathe. I have 10 foot plus lengths of ash sitting in the shop, and most of the hardware was available throught McMaster-Carr or Amazon. Four-step pulleys with a one inch bore seem to have became extinct since 1986. I snagged one on ebay. So as soon as the miniatures are shipped, I am starting on a long-bed lathe. I will post pictures along the way.

One more gripe with the modern woodworking publishing world. FWW used to sell back issues for a small fee. Now every article is available on line. Well and good, until you read the part about registering for an initial fee of $79.95, with a yearly re-newal fee of $19.99. I was immediately bemoaning haven taken all my past issues to the dump, urrr, recycling. Ebay came to the rescue again. There is a guy selling old issues of FWW, two consecitive issues for $9.00, no shipping charges. Three days after ordering the FWW issue with Lynch's lathe article, I was reading the magazine while sitting in front of the wood stove. Amazing.

Thank you for stopping by. STB

stevenbunn Sat, 11/21/2015 - 18:53
Medium chair-maker plane with tote, Stanley #2 bench plane for size comparision
After thinking about it as I wrote last night's post, I decided to go ahead and cut another 1/2 inch off the length of the plane. This would allow the front edge of the tote's foot to fall in line with the rear edge of the bed. The shortened body would also make it easier to fit the curves of the sole into tighter radiuses when scooping out a seat saddle. This morning, I tapped the tote back out of it's sliding dove-tailed channel. Then I cross-cut a 1/2 inch off the heel of the stock at a 20 degree angle. I reshaped the curves at the rear of the sole, then reset the tote in it's dove-tailed slot. The plane is exactly 7-5/8 inches in length, identical to the Stanley #2 bench plane as shown in the picture above. I have added a piece of 1/8th inch thick scrap to represent the plane iron, and the trial wedge to give you a clearer idea of what the finished plane will look like. I have not yet set a strike button in the nose of the plane, but I haven't forgotten it. And naturally the camera has picked up every sanding scratch on the prototype. Bother!!!
Have a good night. STB