Thursday, October 30, 2014

Turning Large Bowls on a Table Saw

This has been one of the most interesting projects we ever turned out on the table saw.  The video of doing this has won us awards on instructables and the bowl itself won awards at the fair.  Every once in a while someone will come up to me and say how they used to cut circles on a table saw, and occasionally I will see a small bowl turned in much the same way but never more than about 10 inches or so.  I am proud of this idea, not claiming I was the first to ever do it, far from it, but I can say that I thought it up myself independently.  There is some pride in that.

Some have raged against the practice, mostly on the side of either the saw is going to kick back/bowl explode, or that you can't see the cutters and might stick a finger into them.  I suppose those both have some validity but then they are true for nearly any other project as well.  As for not seeing the cutters, lots of tools, jointers, routers, plainers, even dado cutting on the table saw, obscure their cutters.  Why would this example be inherently any more dangerous than any other?  For the most part I dismiss that complaint as an internet expert.

The kick back... well this isn't something that can be feather boarded in place for each cut.  That would take days and I don't see an easy way to do it.  It is true that the project is captured only by that dowel but that is a substantial hardwood dowel and it would STILL have to lift and throw the sled on top of it.  I keep lots of weight on the sled and keep the sled contained in its tracks.  I have been doing this for quite some time now and other than blatantly forcing that dado blade to take huge cuts AND counter feeding it I just don't see how it could bite hard enough to blast that whole mess.  All woodworking is dangerous but I don't even see this as more dangerous than say ripping thin strips of figured wood.

Below you can find more videos of us using this unusual idea.

Building the Dr. Who 3D time table

This was a very neat project.  The mechanics of the table top are very simple.  I just used a but joint and wood screws covered with pegs to hold it together.  For the most part no one has a hard time figuring out how to make the table top but some were struggling with finding the other components.

You can find similar diffusers in most flat screen screens.  Now using the overhead diffuser is interesting because of the effect of its magnification but any diffuser would work.  As for the clock.  If you don't have a big broken clock around I would hit a store like pier one and but the cheapest big wall clock you can find.  Go head and have it tell the real time otherwise pull the batteries out of it and solder a 9v power cap to the two end terminals and have a clock that runs fast.

Children's Woodworking: Mother's Day Cutting Boards

This project was a blast and my little guy loved it.  The whole process is very simple and little hands struggling with dexterity can help with a lot.  I had an idea in my head of what I wanted but he got to make most of the decisions about wood selection.  My advice, encourage your little guy to make all the choices he or she can and as long as it has no effect on the functionality use them.  He is still proud when they get taken out and used and they have held up well.

On your wood selection I recommend sticking with woods that grow things humans eat for the most part.  A nice bland wood like maple, birch or cherry (as I used here) will not impart a taste to the food.  Some people can be allergic to black walnut and oak can leave a flavor.  I would avoid pine, fir or larch and ALL mystery woods.  Ceder would work well and would be gentle on your knives but it will show it's use more than others.

Filtering Used Oil For Reuse

People have asked me why someone might want to do this, well to save money and to help the environment  There are lots of applications, maybe not used motor oil, but lots of other applications where the oil isn't 'worn out' it is just contaminated.  Oil that comes from the rear ends or transmission of heavy trucks for instance is normally changed either because modern equipment mandates it or because it is dark/contaminated.  Older trucks and tractors just don't care as much about this sort of stuff.  My grandfather was always fond of saying you could use peanut butter in a tractor differential and it wouldn't care as long as there was something in there.  Now he wasn't serious about sandwich spread but there is still a lot of truth to it.  Our old equipment isn't very particular and rather than discarding this material this is how I get the chunks out and put it back to use.  I do this with gear oil and hydrolic oil.  I wouldn't put it back into a road vehicle but for mowers, tractors heck even chainsaw bar oil it works a treat.

Preparing your camper for winter!

The video does a great job covering the steps and it isn't very complicated.  People seem confused about the antifreeze, remember this isn't so you can use regular antifreeze, that is poisonous.  I simply want to use as little of the RV antifreeze as I can because I don't like the taste and I don't want to buy more than I need.

It is also important to drain your holding tanks either before or after you do this.  The little bit of water and antifreeze that might find it's way into those tanks as you winterize should not be an issue.  If you get a lot of water in the tanks and don't want to go and redrain them you will have to put antifreeze in there as well.

Lowes Fire Truck Build

This was a great project for my little guy as he got to participate so very directly.  I build things for him all the time but often that process is spaced out over several days.  This was kind of nice because we started with all of the pieces and he simply got to put it together.

The kit was what you would expect from something like this.  The pieces were all pre-sized, drilled and finished but didn't always match the pictures or directions.  Nothing split or chipped during assembly so that was nice.  I did have to pre-start some of the nails to prevent him from bending them over.  I didn't like how the nail head sit proud of the wood unless you really sink them.  I would advise doing that for your little carpenter as a few hard misses can really mar the finish.

You can find this kit here:

Making a Pirate Sword

This is a very simple project and not much can be added.  I would encourage you to use a good neutral hardwood for the blade.  I am not sure what this wood was as it came from some pallet lumber but it looks and works like a good hard maple.  Be sure to save a few cut-off or scrap pieces of the blade to fill in the part where the handle overhangs to make it a solid piece.  You can see that I did that in the video but I didn't mention it.