June 22, 2017

Walnut Queen Bed - Part 4 - Complete

Persistence pays off. After nearly 3 years I'm excited to share the final update on the bed project.

After getting the new shop setup and heated after our move I finally shifted focus back onto getting the headboard assembled. I was happy that the main slab of the headboard had remained fairly stable but it wasn't perfectly flat so I resorted to a combination of a cabinet scraper, my block plane "mini-smoother", a card scraper, and some 220 grit to smooth the faces.

The edges were much easier in comparison and a few swipes with the smoother took care of the bottom while the spokeshave did a great job smoothing and evening out the curve at the top. This is also another great example of the versatility of the Roubo workbench... I can't imagine how I'd tackle tasks like this without it.

I gave the legs an initial smoothing prior to assembly but recognizing I'd need to touch up the faces after sawing the drawbore pegs flush I focused mostly on the side faces and the end grain of the angled tops which were much easier to work prior to assembly.

Once again, the drawbore pegs had picked up some moisture and were a bit to big to fit easily into their associated holes so I resorted to the food dehydrator "mini-kiln" discussed in the last update. Once the pegs shrunk back down I started assembling the headboard with clamps, liquid hide glue, and the drawbore pegs. Given the width of the main slab I applied glue to only the center mortise an tenon and left the drawbore pegs do the work on the outer joints to allow for seasonal wood movement I'm not sure if the heated drying made the walnut a bit brittle or the fact that I had used all of the best pegs in the footboard glue-up but I had a few issues with broken pegs as I drove them home this time, this despite having the assembly clamped up for extra insurance. Luckily I was able to drive the broke pegs out with replacements. 

Once the glue had dried I cut down the pegs with a flush cut saw using a business card for a bit of extra insurance to avoid marring the face of the post.

A few swipes with the smoother brought the pegs perfectly flush and smooth with the post.

One of my secondary goals for this project was to try out spray finishing so after touching up all the surfaces with the smoother and some 220 grit I setup a cheap harbor freight spray gun and did some practicing on some scrap.

Once I was somewhat comfortable with the gun I rigged up the pieces of the bed outside and sprayed on a coat of garnet shellac.

Overall the spraying went reasonably well and I really like the color that the garnet shellac added to the walnut. My lack of skill with the spray gun led to a couple runs that I had to deal with. Luckily shellac is fairly easy to repair and rework so after going through more than a half gallon of denatured alcohol, some very careful 400 grit sanding, and multiple touch up coats of heavily diluted shellac I was finally able to even out the color enough that it was difficult to find the challenged areas.

I was initially considering using another coat of two of amber shellac as the final top coat but given the challenges I had to work through with the garnet coat I decided to play it safe and put on two coats of satin Arm-R-Seal instead.

After much debate and input from the WoodNet community I decided to use the surface mounted bed rail hardware from Woodcraft. I ran into some issues with two of the cheap Menards #10 screws snapping off but with them breaking a half inch or so into the post I was able to drive in replacements at an angle.

Overall this hardware was easy to install and it seems fairly sturdy so far.

And here is the finished project shot that has been long in the making. Matching nightstands are now fairly high on the to-do list.

While this project did take much longer than I anticipated the timing did work out fairly well as I finished up the bed just in time for our 5th "wood" wedding anniversary.

December 29, 2016

Walnut Queen Bed - Part 3

It has been almost two years since my last update on the bed project and even longer since I started the project in September of 2014... what in the world is taking so long?

Well I did make some progress last winter but didn't get around to posting an update. I smoothed the faces of the bed rails and squared off the ends on the shooting board.  

I then ripped the long pieces that will be added to the inside of the rails to form a ledge for the cross boards to rest on.

To simplify the glue-up process I drilled and chamfered holes to screw the pieces to the side rails.

Next drilled the drawbore holes in the corner posts and the matching offset holes in the headboard and footboard. Due to the width of the pieces I made sure to elongate the outer holes to allow for seasonal expansion and contraction. I then had some fun experimenting with different smoothing techniques on the footboard. The cabinet scraper worked well but I also setup my Veritas block plane as a "mini-smoother" with the knob and tote kit and a high pitched blade which was more effective on this large piece that was far from totally flat.

At this point I was ready to assemble the footboard but when I checked on the drawbore pegs they had picked up too much moisture and no longer fit into the pre-drilled holes so I threw them into the food dehydrator (aka mini-kiln) overnight to shrink them down a bit.

The next day the pegs fit once again so I proceeded to assembly the footboard with liquid hide glue only on the center tenon to allow the outer tenons to float as needed with the seasonal changes in humidity. In theory the clamps weren't needed but after I experienced a bad blow out drawboring my workbench legs I felt the extra insurance was warranted. In the end the pegs pulled the assembly nice and tight just as they should.

After drying out the drawbore pegs there were actually slightly undersized within the holes and there were some slight gaps so I dabbed some water onto the end grain in an attempt to get them to swell up a bit to close the gaps. I also wiped off a bit of excess glue on the footboard before it set.

At this point (March 2016) all progress on the bed stopped as I shifted focus towards our search for a new home and finishing off a basement remodel. We ended up finding a new home (with a detached 26'x30' garage) and moving in May of 2016. Since the move all of my free time has been spent converting the extra garage into a real workshop.

The first priority was to get one wall re-wired, insulated, covered with OSB, and painted so that I could setup my lumber rack. 

Getting the lumber off the floor freed up enough space in the shop to allow me to work on the rest of the wiring, insulation, and OSB.

As I was getting most of those items wrapped up in the fall the priority quickly shifted to getting heat setup for winter. After an extensive analysis of options (mini-split, LP tank, gas line from the house, etc...) I made the call to WE Energies to install a new line with a separate meter. 

I then ordered a 75kBTU Beacon Morris unit heater and a separate combustion/concentric vent kit. Unfortunately by the time the vent kit arrived our mild fall was gone and I had to work through bitter cold (-30F wind chills) while cutting the hole for the vent and the rest of the heater installation.

Now that the heater is up and running I am forcing myself to get the walls and ceiling painted before I start setting up the rest of my tools. 

One other curve ball is that my wife surprised me with a G0766 lathe as a birthday/Christmas gift this year so I may end up taking a slight detour to turn some sort of token of thanks for my wife before jumping back in to finish off the bed project.

February 1, 2016

15" Planer Cutterhead Upgrade - Complete

As noted in the prior post it was going to take a few new parts to get my planer up and running with the new Shelix cutterhead. In addition to a replacement "standard" helical gear I also needed a gasket for the gearbox and parts to assemble a new gear shift handle to replace the one that broke during disassembly. After a careful review of the Grizzly G1021 parts diagram I ended up ordering the parts shown below. I was actually somewhat surprised at how reasonable the prices were and the free shipping coupon I received for creating an account didn't hurt either.

Once the parts arrived I dug into rebuilding the gearbox with the hope that the new parts would actually fit and mesh properly. Step one was to scrape off the mating surfaces of the gearbox casing with a razor blade to remove the remnants of the original gasket. Next I reassembled the gear selector handle and the yoke that engages with the moving gear assembly in the left side of the box below. Then I inserted the new cutterhead through the main bearing in the lower right corner. Lacking a press to do this the "right way" I managed to coax it in with a big hammer and a block of wood. Next I was finally able to fit the replacement helical gear and confirm that it fit and meshed properly - WooWhoo! The only hiccup was that the clearance hole for the mounting screw was not quite as deep as the original so I had to run to Fleet Farm and pick up a longer (1") M6 socket head cap screw. One point to note is that I did apply some Loctite "blue" to this screw as well as the screw that attaches the gear selector yoke as loose hardware and gearboxes seem like a recipe for disaster. The image below also shows that the gearbox only has one speed plus a "neutral" as it is missing the alternate gears that would engage with the gear selector handle pushed inward. 

Below you can see the gearbox with all the gears in place to get an idea of how everything works together to transfer power from the cutterhead down to the output shaft at the left which then drives the chain gears for additional reduction.

Once the gearbox was buttoned up I moved on to installing the new bearing on the other end of the shaft. This bearing went on easily by using the pulley, a block of wood, and a large hammer as a "poor man's press". I will note hear (in case I forget at some point years down the road) that I did not replace the main bearing inside the gearbox as that required the replacement of an oil seal which I did not think to order ahead of time. With the relatively limited hobby usage this machine will see I am not too concerned but if I have to pull this thing apart again someday to replace the other bearing so be it. At that point I'd probably order a replacement gear set and see if I could get the second speed working.

Re-installing the cutterhead and gearbox was straightforward as outlined in the installation guide and within an hour or so the planer was ready for a test run. I managed to find an oak scrap with some squirrely reversing grain that had suffered some decent tearout when planed with the original cutterhead. After a few passes with the Shelix head it was clear that the tearout was reduced quite a bit although not completely eliminated. It will be very interesting to see just how much this improvement will help reduce the time spent on surface prep during future projects. Despite all the comments from others that have upgraded I was still completely surprised and impressed with the level of noise reduction. I'm not entirely sure that I'll be able to get away with planing while the little ones are sleeping but it quiet enough that I'll have to setup a test run with my wife listening in the house.

Based on first impressions I'm happy with the upgrade and that the hiccups in the installation process were easily resolved. I was impressed with both Holbren and Byrd Tool as they proved that they took customer service seriously and were willing to do whatever it was going to take to get me up and running despite my planer being an odd-ball. At the end of the day I was just happy to get this resolved without the need for any custom machining.

Now I should probably get back to that bed I was building...