New (Old) Lathe

It’s been a running joke in the family up until a few months ago that I should have a lathe, and that every time a project was mentioned, it required a lathe.

Well, my wife had some connections where she managed to happen upon someone trying to get rid of an older Craftsman 12″ Lathe with tools. She asked me if I was interested, and we drove out to see it in person. It was in fair shape, but the motor ran, and it came with basic tools that looked like they hadn’t even been used (still sharp). It would need some work. So for a discount (it was missing a tool rest) I managed to pick it up after a short amount of haggling, and we took it home. After cleaning it up and getting some new centers, I made a board mount for it, and away I went.

Now the problem is that I can’t figure out what I want to do next.

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Workshop Twin Screw Bench Vise

While doing some shop improvements, I got the idea to create my own DIY vise to use for projects and so forth. After much deliberation and research, and my wish to keep the project budget low, I decided on mostly wood materials with store bought hardware. I purchased a length of 3/4″ threaded rod, some threaded coupler nuts, washers, a 23/32″ tap, a 3/4″ drill bit, and some lengths of steel rod. I milled the necessary parts down, and used the new Lathe (see this post) to make the lead screw “heads” that would take the threaded rod and the handles. I also had to turn the handle ends. I figured while I was on it, I might as well be creative so I carved the Bushwood logo onto the front of the vise.

I’m pleased with the results. I finished it with 2 coats of Tung Oil and 2 coats of Johnson’s Paste Wax.

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Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event

Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool EventA friend of mine recently let me know about a Lie-Nielsen hand tool event that was sponsored nearby in St. Petersburg, Florida at a local sculpture studio called MGA Sculpture Studio. I had heard about Lie-Nielsen tools before, as they are one of the premier hand tool manufacturers along with Lee Valley’s Veritas line, and a few other fine tool makers. I have never had the opportunity to see find hand tools of this quality being used prior to this, being mostly a power tool woodworker up until this point.

I arrived a bit before 10AM at the studio, and everything was already mostly set up by the on-site Lie-Nielsen staff. I had a chance to ask about Lie-Nielsen’s A2 tool steel vs the other types (O1, PM-V11). Deneb Puchalski, a staff member and expert on Lie-Nielsen took the time to explain the differences in tool steel and why Lie-Nielsen’s philosophy is geared around A2. As other people started to trickle in, I got to browse around the displays and touch and feel the tools that Lie-Nielsen manufacturers.

As another gentleman in the group also had the same questions I did, Deneb took us as a group through the basics of getting started with Lie-Nielsen tools (and hand tools in general) and what types of hand tools we should start out with. This was valuable information for me, as I have very little experience with hand planes, and Deneb’s explanation helped to guide us in the use of a Jointer plane, a Smoothing plane, and a Jack plane. He also explained a bit about angles of the various types of irons in planes, and how to sharpen them using his recommend method – involving waterstones and a bevel honing guide.

Coming out of the presentation, I must say I learned a great deal about hand tool use and selection – and a little more about sharpening. Lie-Nielsen’s tools are well known to be among the very best in the industry, and after experiencing them first hand, I can see why. They are solid, well-built, and very precise. The staff there was very knowledgeable about the craft and their tools and it seemed like they enjoyed what they do for a living, which is important. I highly recommend going to one of these if you’re a novice, and I have to say that Lie-Nielsen is high on my list of tools to buy as I progress to more accomplished woodworking in the future.

Workbench Vise and Mount

IMG_20140119_160147I did a little shopping around, since I needed a workbench machinist’s vise for my workbench – as I plan to start doing some light metalworking (hush hush secret project) in the near future. After looking at Harbor Freight’s poor showing for vise options (mostly due to poor quality), I found a suitable 4.5 inch vise made by Record (Irwin) at Home Depot for a very affordable price. It’s a light duty workbench vise, so it’s not going to be a heavily used item. Once I got it back to the shop, I dreaded drilling holes directly in the bench and permanently mounting it – so I came up with a mount for it so I can clamp it to the work surface without permanently affixing it. I also made a front apron on it so I can use a leg vise I’m planning for in the very near future. The surface of the mount is 3/16″ hardboard over 3/4″ plywood, with a skinny wrap of cherry for edging to make it look nicer on the bench. It should come in handy. I also ended up purchasing a set of magnetic soft jaws at Lowe’s made by Bessey (a popular clamp manufacturer), so I can clamp oddly shaped items.

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