FLORIDA WESTCOAST WOODWORKERS CLUB
serving Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte counties

Month: September 2014

September Meeting – Harps by Doug Fay

By way of introduction, Douglas Fey harps on us about when he got laid off and decided to make something.  He apprenticed to a cabinet maker and then moved on.  He later found a connection to someone who wanted a harp made.  There was a learning curve but many skills were a crossover from cabinets to harp instruments.  He brought a harp with him and at this point, Laura Kiley was introduced and played the harp for us.  Words do not describe!  Thanks Laura.Gen meeting 010

The harp is a very old type of instrument; some purported to be over 3000 years old.  They range in size from over six feet tall to one that fits on a lap.  Doug would like to expand on the range of harps that he makes.  The main vertical (more or less) part is called the sound board and is made of laminated veneers to withstand many thousands of pounds of stress.  He builds his harps on a form—a skeleton, and then attacks the wood with a duplicating router.

Gen meeting 015He uses six layers of veneer formed in a vacuum press glued all at once and his favorite for a soundboard is spruce cut so that the grain lines run perpendicular to the edge.  The soundboard ranges in thickness from top to bottom because there is more stress at the bottom than at the top.  He has just started using carbon fiber in the sound board, but has made 70 harps that were all veneer.  The veneer quality is very important.

He has also experimented with using epoxy, mostly West System from West Marine, but it can bleed through the veneer hampering any possible stain, which he prefers not to use.  He likes the look of the maple for an outside veneer.Gen meeting 017

The top structure is piano pin block and is called a neck.   In appearance, this part resembles a premium laminate like plywood.  Previously he glued this up himself and had problems with glue cold creep, and thus the upgrade to the piano neck block.  He uses a jig to cut the hand holds in the back of the soundbar and the holes influence the sound of the instrument.  He estimates he uses 15 routers to build one harp!  Once he has a bit fine-tuned as to placement in the router, he tends to leave it exactly there.

He uses an upgraded 1970’s Shopsmith to drill a very important structural hole in the bottom of the soundboard which must be parallel to the bottom the soundbar.  He uses Woodhaven screw blocks in his router insert plates to level his routers (they are available at http://www.woodcraft.com.)

Some harps have small levers that change the pitch of the strings, as opposed to a pedal harp.  His harps use seven levers for this purpose.

Gen meeting 007So far he has little competion to hand build harps in the way of factory building and like any woodworker, he wishes he could charge more for his work.  He attends harp shows to attract customers and some harpists sell or recommend him to others.  He is also on Facebook .  Go like him!

On the web at www.Douglas HarpCo.com  Email available at: dharps@juno.com

 Thanks for a nice presentation Doug.

Club Business

 The annual Christmas Party is coming so plan your gifts for the club fundraiser.  Every year, club members are encouraged to make two gifts for the fundraiser.  Too busy to make a gift?  Attend anyhow, as there is enough good cheer to go around.  Last year, spouses were awarded one gift, and the other gifts were auctioned off.  Last year, the club provided the main dishes and members brought in side dishes to make it a meal.  Here is your chance to show off your culinary art.  Mike Swart is the organizer this year and he promises there will be another announcement next month.
John Phillips announced that  Kimal Lumber on Fruitville Road has our 2 by 4 contest display board in support of the club.  This is a brand new store for them.  There web site is:  http://kimallumber.com/.   John asked if someone would modify the display to make it more general and not just limited to the 2 by 4 contest, to broaden the appeal to more woodworkers.  He also notes that the contest entries are not permanently attached to the board, so that anyone who volunteers their contest entry will get their entry returned to them.
The next shop meet will be at Ed Columbo’s and a map will follow on the web site. Jigs and fixtures will be the topic for November’s meeting.
John and Sue Darovec went to Tampa for a meeting about the State Fair.  Fair workers can get unlimited tickets this year, and entries can be constructed in any year as long as it was not previously entered.  The club has numerous winners at this event.

Show and Tell

 

1 Cabinet:            David White;                      David showed us his cabinet that featured some unique construction that originated when Europeans when to Asia and found that their furniture came apart due to humidity.  To combat moisture changes, this cabinet’s top is frame and panel construction and the doors move on dowel hinge pins instead of conventional hinges.  David was encouraged to enter his work in the state fair.

2. Jewelry Box: Ed Columbo        (Photos on USB) Walnut with through dovetails and hidden compartments and decorative touches from his wife.  He used torsion hinges purchased from Rockler.  These hinges are designed for a specific weight lid and he says they can go anywhere.

3. Lamp:               John Phillips;     John drilled the bottom of a ceramic vase and fitted both a cap and foot out of rosewood to the vase with an eye to making a lamp for his wife.

4. Wooden plane:  Mike Swart brought in a cordless plane made out of mahogany with a Sheffield iron.  He also brought photos of his own design of a Kreg table on locking swivel casters.

5.  Junque wood:  John Slezak;  These pieces came from the large bin of Woodcraft’s wood by the pound.  He glued the two pieced of black and white ebony together and then bookmatched them.

6. Lidded Bowl:  Fred Damianos;  From crotch rosewood that ended up a bit smaller than he wanted due to a catch while he was turning resulting in him losing center.  We would not have known had he not told us.

7. Table:  Larry Simmons;  Larry met Jeff Miller on his latest trip to Chicago and had some slides of him and some of his furniture. He showed us photos of a dining table he made for his sister out of walnut and curly maple.  Photos on USB.

8 Tall Goblet:  Denny Wetter;  Denny showed a tall goblet along with a much smaller one that seems impossibly thin.

9.Tools:  Sid Mann;          First was a  square from the Starrett company from his home town, followed by a protractor and a caliper.

10 Portable lamps:  Ed Frazier     Ed made a portable lamp clamped on some blocks of wood for use in his shop.

Text and pictures by Andy DiLorenzo

 

August 2014 Turners meeting – segmented bracelets

Denny Wetter once again proved himself the ring master as he demonstrated turning wooden bracelets using segmented pieces, in much the same method used to make wooden bowls.  As usual he starts with a drawing.  The purpose of the drawing is to firm up the original idea for a bowl or bracelet and to determine initial lengths to cut the segments.  Some trial software is available here :

Use a drawing to calculate how wide each segment needs to be.

Use a drawing to calculate how wide each segment needs to be.

http://woodturnerpro.com/downloads/76-trial-software-downloads-version-3-software-version-2-1-software.html

Other sources are available on the web, either for free, as a trial, or for licensing.  Denny’s favorite pattern has twelve segments, and one may come close to finding segment lengths by drawing a circle slightly larger than the diameter of the base, all the way  up to the diameter of the top of the bowl.  Of course the diameter needs to be larger that finished dimensions, to allow some room to true up and turn the piece.  Denny pads his diameters by at least ¼ “.  His favorite is to use ¾“ thick stock, even using cutoffs of some unique wood species.   A twelve sided segment will show segment joints that correspond to the hour marks on a clock, as a point of illustration.  Where segments meet, the pieces form a 30 degree angle, meaning each piece is cut at 15 degrees.

Can you count the layers in this one? Wow

Can you count the layers in this one? Wow

Table saw sled for cutting 12 segmented circle. Once you get it perfect, don't change it!

Table saw sled for cutting 12 segmented circle. Once you get it perfect, don’t change it!

Denny uses a custom made jig to insure the same segment length for each of the same segments on each layer.  Progressing up the bowl from the bottom, the segments get longer to accommodate the lager diameter of the upper layers of the bowl.  Also, Denny’s jig allows very small adjustment of the angle cut on the end of the segments.  The angle adjustment can be a trial and error process until suitably tight wood joints are achieved, but an initial setting of 15 degrees is the place to start.

Back of sled has two runners

Back of sled has two runners

For those who have attended the Tampa Wood Show and watch the “Dubby” being demonstrated, that is an indicator of the repeatability needed to produce segments.  Jerry Cole has placed a video on You Tube that can give a good indication of what is attempted in explanation here:  

//www.youtube.com/embed/t8yiXydcQN4

Denny uses a zero clearance insert to help prevent chip out.  After cutting, the pieces are gathered, glue applied, and the pieces are clamped with ordinary hose clamps (think radiator hoses) joined end to end until a sufficient length is reached.  You may get lucky, after your first twelve test cuts, or like most common people, your angle may a little adjustment.  Test cuts may be made on squared up scrap and later used as kindling if needed.  A small variation can be concealed by gluing up two sets of six pieces—a half of the intended diameter, and then sanding the remaining mating pieces on a disc sander to make it fit!  Mark both the top and bottom of each piece and place one half on top of the other and sand together, so that when the pieces are correctly aligned, any variation in sand angle of one piece will cancel out with the other.  One may need to try this to see how it works.  Glue will fill some gaps, but keep the gaps tight if possible.

Denny cautions that segmented bowl bottoms can crack and shrink with changes in humidity and through drying.  An alternative is a bowl bottom made out of strips keeping most expansion in one direction.  Use contrasting woods if desired.  This bottom piece needs to be sanded flat.

The glued up segment pieces need to be flattened as well.  Denny showed three methods.  One way is to sand the pieces flat on the sanding disc, being careful to hold the entire piece against the spinning disc.

Stack up each layer after sanding top and bottom flat.

Stack up each layer after sanding top and bottom flat.

Use large hose clamps to hold glued segments.

Use large hose clamps to hold glued segments.

Alternatively mount a melamine work disc to a faceplate and hot melt glue the segmented diameter to the work disc and turn it flat or sand it flat using sandpaper glued to a flat working board.  The third method is to mount the rough segment all the way against the face of the chuck and then flatten with the bedan tool.  Also, pencil lines can be marked on all the segments and one can sand until all the lines are gone.  In any case, put a straight edge against it and check it for flatness by looking for light between the piece and the straight edge.

Now, since this meeting is actually about turning wooden bracelets, but by point of illustration includes a generalization about cutting segmented bowls, Denny proceeded to show how to make bracelets.   He begins with a 2 3/8” forstner bit at 500 rpm.   He mounts the bit in a chuch in the tailstock and slowly advances it into the bracelet.  (Lathe tip; remember to hold onto the chuck as it is being withdrawn as it is only held in place by the friction of a morse taper.)  Then he cleans us the outside with a bedan.  Next it is back to the inside with a round nose scraper.  This first piece was made of contrasting cedar and pine and he sands the inside and outside.  Then he removes the piece with a chisel against the hot melt glue.

The free piece is remounted on the expanding Nova chuck, or it can be mounted on a custom fitted nylon soft jaw accessory to the Nova chuck.   Denny’s expanding soft jaw has a grove in it to hold the bracelet.  Once mounted, he matches the other side.  For this one he burned rings on the pine.  Steel wire can be used to burn rings, but don’t hold the steel wire by wrapping it around your finger.  Not only does it get hot, but a catch can pull your whole hand and more into the lathe.

Denny shared his secret of very thin bracelets.  First one make rings as described, and then ¼“ thick sections are parted off.  Hollow out just slightly wider than the parting tool.  After the pieces come off the lathe, flatten the remaining part with a sanding board.  Thin pieces can then be glued together in interesting patterns and turned to make up the bracelet.

Can you count the layers in this one? Wow

Can you count the layers in this one? Wow

Five layer bracelet.

Five layer bracelet.

Three layer bracelet.

Three layer bracelet.

So many beautiful variations.

So many beautiful variations.

Stay tuned next month for another lathe episode of “As the World Turns.”

Pictures and text by Andy DiLorenzo

August 2013 Meeting – finishing

Joe Mathis was first and his method of choice is to finish project pieces individually before assembly.  He uses Old Masters Gel Stain and pickling white applied with a foam brush and wiped off.  He says usually three coats does it and he does not sand between coats.  This product is thinned with mineral spirits, which means one should remember to soak used rags in water to prevent spontaneous combustion as the finish oxidizes.

 

Joe spends some of his quality time as a volunteer at Mote Marine
Joe spends some of his quality time as a volunteer at Mote Marine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Larry Simmons selects shellac as a finish.  He favors Zinsser Seal Coat as a universal sealer.  Locally available in cans, the ready mix product is a two pound cut that has already been dewaxed.  New layers burn in to previous coast and dry quickly.  Rub out with steel wool.  For an extensive story on the production of shellac, consult Fine Woodworking’s index page: http://modules.taunton.com/apps/magazine_index/fww/headline/1/100?keyword=shellac

and refer to the Nov/Dec 2010 issue’s article, “Shellac’s Amazing Journey.”

Also consider the private blog at:http://foldingrule.blogspot.com/2008/09/episode-71-shellac-can-you-make-cut.html which provides a handy chart for modifying cuts of shellac and saves me creating a table for you as originally intended.  And as any chemist can tell you, once one starts modifying shellac cuts the actual cut you  end up with will be close to the desired cut and not exact.  However, it should be close enough!

Larry says he likes shellac more and more for a finish.
Larry says he likes shellac more and more for a finish.

Shellac is not suitable for bar tops, as the solvent is alcohol.  Also please note that if one mixes their own shellac cuts for sealer coats, then once the shellac dissolves, the wax needs to be poured off as it interferes with adhesion of the top coat.

John Slezak included a demonstration with his presentation of Watco Danish Oil.

John power sands Watco to create a slurry.
John power sands Watco to create a slurry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bandsaw Box finished with Watco.
Bandsaw Box finished with Watco.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ed Goldberg’s favorite finish is Hydrocote made by Hood, with information available here: http://hydrocote.com/about-us.html

For the jewelry box project, Ed selected a water based lacquer in High Gloss.  He says there are no fumes and he applies 3 to 5 coats and allows several days before rubbing out the finish.  He says the finish is non-yellowing.

Ed's Hydrocote finished jewelry box in high gloss.
Ed’s Hydrocote finished jewelry box in high gloss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Phillips presented his favorite, Odie’s Oil, a food safe wipe on finish that is an alternative to some solvent based finishes.  More information is available here: http://www.odiesoil.com/ .

John with salad bowl finished with Odie's Oil.
John with salad bowl finished with Odie’s Oil.

Sue Darovec presented another food safe finish, Walnut oil.

After a coat of walnut oil, Sue applies Minwax wipeon poly, which is regarded as food safe after it dries.
After a coat of walnut oil, Sue applies Minwax wipeon poly, which is regarded as food safe after it dries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural edge bowl finished top coated with wipe on poly.
Natural edge bowl finished top coated with wipe on poly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denny featured the Beall Buff System.  In sort, this finishing method is a series of cloth buffing wheels that are charged (loaded) with Tripoli (fine) and white diamond (very fine) abrasives.  More information is available here: http://www.bealltool.com/products/buffing/buffer.php

Anyone who is familiar with this system can explain to my significant other why I consistently mispronounce the name of the local department store.

Denny used the Beall Buffing system to finish this bowl.
Denny used the Beall Buffing system to finish this bowl.

Denny says the buffer should spin no faster than 1725 rpm and the work Is brought to the spinning wheel.  He purchased three bars of finishing compound and in his experience, they will last years.  The three wheels are 1. Linen ; 2. linen cotton mix; 3. cotton.  He cautions that the buffs can dig out soft portions of open grain wood.  The buffing system will also polish metal but he suggests a new buff for that use.

 

 

 

 

 

John Darovec show cased a product called Polyseamseal, which is a caulk.  It can be worked (smoothed) with water and turns clear when dry.  It is also useful as a glue.

 

Polyseamseal on boot.
Polyseamseal on boot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents of this post provided by Andrew DiLorenzo.  Original photographs pr