Thursday, March 23, 2017

The $400 dollar handle.

The damage handle on the right. My reproduction on the left. 

Restorers love dogs! Especially if they enjoy chewing on furniture.  This was the case with the handle seen above. Often when the damage has occurred there is usually no going back and saving what was left. A new handle had to be made to match the rest of suite of furniture in the home.  Like everything in this field having to reproduce one of something is more time costly than making several.   

Once I shaped the handle using the original as a pattern I was able to cut close to the shape on the bandsaw, sand to my lines with the Rigid belt and spindle sander combo machine, and than router cut the rabbets on the edge. Rabbeting the edges was easy but what about the ends?

If I was making more than one than I would make a jig and pattern and flush trim the shape. But again its just one handle. So I traced the bottom reveal from the original handle and pared down to the line with my Lee Valley Pm\M-V11 chisel, which works and cuts like a dream.  If you want to read up more on that please visit:

Once the rabbets around the whole edge was cut it was time to shape the quarter round. Sadly a router bit couldn't take care of this issue quickly so I had to use a scratch stock and cutter.  

Here is a view of the scratch stock and cutter working the ledge to shape. 

Another view of the cutter shaping the quarter round. The scratch stock made quick work of the lipping. 

Locating the cutter was simple because I had an original handle to match the location and desired shape. 

My favorite scratch stock cutters are old radius gauges. I own several that I use for its purpose in determining radiuses and for drawing. But one added bonus is to use them as scratch stock cutters. I know... I know this sounds crazy but these are often thrown away by many tool dealers. So why not give them another life.  

Once all the scratch stocking is done I proceed to further refining the edge with a carving tool. After a little sanding I am ready to cut the  groove for the banding. 

To cut the groove for the banding I used a straight bit mounted in a router table. I centered the groove to match the original. The banding I made for the handle came from old stock I had on hand and was the proper color. It may not be the same species as the original but its close enough.  I glued the banding with fish glue which is a protein glue, sets quickly, and dries in a couple hours.

Next comes the easy part, a little color, finish and wax. In the end this was a lot of work and I should of charged $400 but you live and learn. Just another day saving furniture. 


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Devilbiss HVLP Spray Gun

When finishing there are only 3 ways to apply a finish- by brush, pad, and spray.  While brushing and padding works perfectly fine, spraying is my preferred choice of applying most of my finishes.  The gun of choice is a (HVLP) High volume low pressure spray gun purchase TCP Global.

My newest gun which is about a month old is a gravity feed Devilbiss HVLP spot spray gun with Dekups system.  The Dekups system is nothing more than throw away or reusable liners that allows you to quickly change from dye, stain, or solvent base finishes. Since the gun is gravity feed there is very little solvent cleaning necessary. This is especially true if you are using carburetor cleaner. A couple squirts and the gun is ready for the next cup (The whole carburetor tip was given to me by the only and only Mike Mascelli, who happens to be the man behind the Groop. Groop is basically the word used to describe the professional refinishers group.).    

The reason why I am sharing this with you is simply because my finish work has been elevated to a whole new level. Not only is the quality of my finish even better, but my turn around time has increased significantly.  Now you can't do everything with the gun, but boy you can almost do it all.  What I also love about this gun is that I don't need a huge compressor.   The compressor I own was once made by Devilbiss from the 70's, its 110v, single stage, and I think about 40 gallons. The compressor is perfect for everything I do in the shop and its very quiet. 

The perks of the gun beyond the Dekups system is the control of air flow, atomizing, and balance. The gun is easy to use, to adjust, and a joy to use. So if you are in the market consider this gem. I wish I did sooner. 

The set up. A simple twist and the Dekup system is ready to go. 

The set up with cups, liners, and lids. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

When to hold an item ransom.

Lets talk business! In my business I have learned the hard way that you can't always trust every word or promise coming from your client. While this may be hard to swallow or even read by many, it is the truth. Sadly like everything in life a few bad apples spoils it for everyone else.  

When it comes to business I am now a big believer in having a small contract ready for all transactions big or small. The contract I use entails the contact information, the dimensions of the items, the species, the condition of the item, the work necessary, an estimate, an agreement and understanding that I am not responsible for fire, theft, damage, the payment schedule. Lastly in the proposal I roughly give them a possible date of completion. I always like to keep the client informed of my schedule just incase a job before theirs gets delayed, that way they understand their starting date may get pushed back.  The reason for this is that I am a one man shoppe and I can only do so much.  

For payments I now request 1/2 up front, a 1/4 of the payment three quaters of the way done, and 1/4 on delivery. I must get paid first before delivery even starts. If the payment is over a $1,000 dollars they can pay me in a check, with credit card, and/or cash. If I have a funny feeling I am going to going to get screwed or if this is the first time doing business with a client than a bank check and cash is the only option. As a business you must be aware that clients can cancel a check and a credit card payment. But the client can not cancel a bank check and this gives me the necessary control of a transaction. 

This leads me to holding furniture as ransom. Please note this doesn't happen often but when it does I must be prepared. There have been times that I set up a delivery, unload the furniture, and than client tells me oh I forgot the check book at the office or I don't have my wallet. Often clients are being honest but you never really know. There has been times that I delivered a chest of drawers and I have taken back the drawers. There has been other times that I taken the leaves of the dining table, or even taken the seats of a set of chairs but left the chairs. This is how I control the situation. This is business and I often compare myself to a car mechanic. If you drop off your car for repairs, than when come to pick up your vehicle the bill must be paid.   

In the same retrospect if something is wrong with the piece I repaired than I have the responsibility to take care of the piece at no cost to the client. That is of course if the issue was agreed upon in the contract. 

I hope this post is helpful for you and may it give you a better understanding what this business is all about. 


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Triton Lumber Rack

 I recently had the luxury of receiving (2) pair of lumber racks from Triton Tools.  The racks are made from heavy gauge steel. The information given by Triton states each bar can withstand $110 pounds each.  I decided to test the bars by hanging off them to see if I would be able to snap them. Well I am happy to say the bars can withstand me pulling on them and hold my 200 pound self without issue.

 I was able to assemble the racks in less than 5 mins per section and I had four sections. The screws were star decking screws for added shear strength. As recommended I wanted to use at least 2 1/2 inch screws and that is what I used. Each section had 3-4 screws to attach to the 2x4 wall that has been modified and strengthen for added weight.

Here I am leveling each rack on center of ever other stud. Each stud is about 16 inches on center. Again amazingly this took very little time at all to set up.  An added pair hands always helps but you can do attach these without issue by yourself. 

Once all four racks are up I start filling them up. I am very happy with all the new added floor space and storage. My approach was the lightest material on the very top, like pine, basswood, and poplar. On the bottom rack I got thick material like walnut, maple, Swiss pear, etc.  

In the end I wish I got racks up sooner. But I am happy I waited for Triton to supply me with the racks. Now I need to get more. To purchase the Triton Lumber Storage Racks click on me and this will direct you to home depot which appears to be the cheapest place to get them.  

Please note I only give high praise to items that deserve it. I am and will never be bought by a supplier. These racks are just too good not to share and won't break the bank.  

Modern Woodworkers Association Podcast

This past week I had the great opportunity to partake in a podcast with the Modern Woodworkers Association. Link: Modern Woodworkers Association.  Please take a listen, enjoy, and follow.  


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Portable bench inspired by Steve Latta


Finally the traveling/inlay bench is complete.  The overall bench concept is inspired from Steve Latta who is a furniture maker and teacher in Lancaster, PA. Steve also wrote an article on this very bench in Fine Woodworking Magazine issue #244 in the Tools and Shops Issue 2015.  

The bench I made is about 42 inches long without the vise by 10 inches wide x 12 inches tall.  For the bench dogs I used the Lee Valley brass dogs and are 3/4 inch diameter.  These are hands down my favorite form of bench dogs and I use them in all my benches.  The vise I am using on the bench is a quick action #52 Record vise but any decent vise should work. Really take a look at vise options for new vises aren't as good or plentiful as they once were. 

 The legs on the bench are made from 2 pieces of cherry and are grooved to accept 2 pieces of 3/4 plywood laminated together. The legs and plywood are glued together and should fit tightly in the groove. A pair of cherry legs on the same side of the bench gets notched for a clamp and each plywood is notched on the bottom to help the bench stay level in use. Lastly one plywood leg gets a section removed so the vise can slide in and out without restriction. Some of you may be wondering why not just move the leg in further from the end so you don't have to notch the plywood for the vise.  I did try moving the leg further in but the whole bench had the tendency of tipping. So that answer that.

The legs are connected with dowels and located with dowel centers. 

The dowel centers assisted in transferring the leg location to the top .

For added strength and insurance a block was added and screw to the leg and the top. 

Another awesome addition to the bench was the swivel jaw which allows you to clamp tapered items. The swivel jaw is nothing more than a thick block with a hole bored in it for a 3/8 inch diameter dowel. After the hole is bored the stock gets sawn in half at the bandsaw. After the block is sawn one jaw gets cleaned up and stays flat while the matching block gets cut on either side of center with a taper cut in thickness.  After that the taper get cleaned up a dowel is nailed in the tapered jaw with a few brads.

The overall bench took about 3 hours to make and its amazing it took me so long to make it. Not only is it good for the back but it is always good to have another bench in the shop.  

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dust and Chemical Gas Respirator

In the field of furniture maker and restoration there are many things you must learn.  But if I had to start somewhere it would be safety protection of you eyes,hand, ears, and lungs. As we all know wood dust and chemical vapors are dangerous in many levels. The use of respirator and constant air flow is key in every shop. This is why a respirator is very important and why replacing filter cartridges are important. There are many masks out there in the world, some dedicated to wood dust, vapors, and toxic gases.  The one I have really like is the Honey Well North Half Respirator and the series of cartridges that can be purchased when working with Dust Particles  or even Gases and Vapors.  I also love this mask because it comes in different sizes and the cartridges are easy to change.  Once done using the mask I highly recommend putting the mask in a ziplock like bag to help keep the cartridges in good order.

Take it from me this will be a great investment and one you won't regret. 


Book Recommendation on Furniture Care and Conservation

 Often I get asked if there is a book on furniture care, repair, and conservation.  Really the best response is to join GROOP other wised known as the Professional Refinishers Group. This group of individuals are all over the USA and overseas. The members are all professionals and range in age from their 30's to 60's.  Some are professional conservators, restorers, makers, upholsters, violinist, and woodworkers.  We as a groop are what we call family and all we want is to share information and ask questions amongst our groop and get answers.  This is a support groop and secrets don't exist.

But if I had to recommend one book it would Furniture Care and Conservation by Robert F. McGiffin, Jr. Its a great book with a ton information. The methods in this book still are standards in the repair world.  The photo below showcases the chapters in the book.