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Posted: Friday, March 30, 2018 10:26:49 AM
Rank: Newbie
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Joined: 11/17/2006
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The Fabulous table

I'm always skeptical when a student throws out a random idea of an unscripted project, but with this young woman's determination, I simply had to say... let's give it a try. Now that we are into it, I'm a little late in getting photos started, especially now that it is beginning to look like something more than a pile of rubble.

We had to overcome a lot of issues... what else is new around here. It seems everything I do around this place has a whole new list of issues. I hope this description will help to understand how the structure of this piece of furniture was planned out in this crowded class of motivated students who all wanted to do something quite different, and in a limited time frame.

This class wasn't even on the schedule until our life skills teacher never materialized. Then a few teachers had to divvy up the students and at least in wood shop... they will get a few life skills.

Sammy wanted a round Yin Yang table top with a drawer if possible. OK, a tall order for a beginner based on our limited resources. I say beginner, not because she hasn't performed well on past projects, but beginner in the sense that this is really a high school age project. There is equipment we don't have and machines she won't be able to use.

How do we make a round table apron under these circumstances? Producing our own form for gluing up thin pieces would have been an ideal way to make a curved apron, but time simply was not going to cooperate with getting that done.

We have to use a different approach to make as much of her dream come true as possible. She has earned her way into this spot and we have to make the best of what we have.

I wish I would have known this project was going to turn out this way because I would have started photos earlier. To me, stopping for a few photos now and then isn't conducive to keeping the learning flow in class, if that makes sense.

The Yin Yang alone was quite a proposal as we worked to set up a paper pattern. Veneer... not being a good option here, means finding two contrasting solid woods large enough to fit the size she wanted. I had my doubts, but after coming back from the wood storage, or more like dumpster dive storage, the choices were narrowed down to oak and redwood. The two don't match well in terms of hardness and I had more doubts.

Sammy's Yin Yang table top

These were cut apart on the band saw with the Yin Yang curved cut. When the two pieces were glued together, it looked fantastic, and I could see hope for it even with my misgivings about our hard/soft wood choices.

A circle was cut using a center pin and spinning it on the table saw, slowly raising the blade with each revolution. Everyone always thinks it is so cool when I demonstrate this operation.

The next issue was making the smaller circles. For that I had to bring from home my harbor freight circle saw set. With little fanfare, the pieces fit tightly together and to help out, I did the first sanding with a small belt sander.

Not a bad look either with a light touch as I managed to keep from digging out the softer wood while bringing both into the same plane. However, it is going to take some extra light sanding in order for her cross sanding marks to disappear.

At the same time, with the year's end (about 39 days) fast approaching (but not including the 3 weeks of state mandated testing we just started so it's even shorter than you think..., we were figuring out a simple way to make the apron and the only way I could see accomplishing this was using a solid block salvaged from a construction site. Although a bit top heavy, it is quick, simple and timely.

Sammy was able to make the cuts, but changed her mind about the height of the block. Not to worry as we were able to send it through the planer. She did have to give up the drawer idea. Not only is time not on our side, but the integrity and strength of the project may have been compromised.

Using rubber bands as clamps, Sammy gets the first of three veneers in place as I manage to sneak a photo. These veneers were given to me by someone who saw us on the front page of the news paper. Publicity is always a great way to get community involvement.

After waiting overnight, another side is being made ready to accept a veneer, but we are running out of rubber bands. The darn things have so little shelf life and they will pop during the night. A few extras are always placed to keep pressure long enough for the glue to dry.

We had to come up with some thick material for the legs. 2" X 4"'s would not have been as nice, so I brought a piece from home that should do the job. The boards came from an unusual source with very little background information.

The legs are certainly not a species that I can place a name to and I was told it was cut by an amateur woodworker using a chain saw mill. The man I talked with had been dragging it around the country from house move to house move and now didn't have the room to take it yet again. I know I would have used it sooner or later he tells me. A diamond in the rough, we sent it through the planer and it came out looking beautiful.

Sammy cut the legs, rounded the corners, sanded, drilled, and screwed them to the apron. Calvin is helping Sammy choose plugs (by color) to fill the screws holes... and she installs them.

Overly anxious to completely assemble the table while I have the camera in my hands, Sammy fits the top in preparation of gluing.

Making a big production of removing her hair tie before letting me take this photo, Sammy now has the top glued in position and only has a short wait before she can apply the finish.

***UPDATE*** 4-6-18, It's simply too hard for her not to come to the shop every day to see if she can take it home yet. Sammy, we still have a little ways to go, but if you want to pick out a variety of sandpaper grits, you can take it home to go over the piece, remove router burns, break the sharpness off the lower edge of the veneer, etc.... and she is so happy to walk out the door and hand it off to dad. Don't forget to bring it back for the finishing. Two more weeks of testing to go.

Sammy brought the table in yesterday and put the first coat of finish and the 2nd coat today.

We have a pretty consistent climate for the most part, but I can't help to wonder what the table might do when the summer rains come. Our shop is not air conditioned and it has made it through a little rain this winter. If it is kept in an air conditioned space year round, the humidity might not be drastic enough to affect all these grains going in so many different directions. But if it is anywhere near a swamp cooler... or an open window... cross your fingers... it just might explode.

Look back at Sammy's last project.

Posted: Sunday, April 08, 2018 10:36:28 AM
Rank: Newbie
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Joined: 11/17/2006
Posts: 0
Dust control wish list

Supposedly I will have two afternoons free during testing next week when I should be able to lift the unit high enough to add risers and cut through over the door to get into the shop and continue the duct work. So far I have managed to get everything I've wanted for my whole shop dust control system. These are next on my list.

The X-Carve is one of the closest machines to the vacuum system and this dust shoe comes with it's own grounding wire. Actually, this has already been ordered and it should arrive any day now. It will also double as a guard so I should be able to take the machine out of the plywood box.

Removing all the portable dust machines I've placed around the shop is going to be great for removing clutter, adding a lot more work area, and I'm looking forward to the new system keeping everything much cleaner.

X-Carve® dust control from the Inventables website

When I ran across this next item, I had been trying to figure out what to do for the fine dust created when sanding on the wood lathes. I thought that... for our middle school purposes at least, this would do nicely. It is especially made for smaller turnings like we do here. It is currently on sale at Rockler, has good reviews, and even if I have to abandon the blue plastic pieces in the future, I will still be able to put a dust catch/hood on to what is left. This should hopefully be ordered this week.

Dust Right® Lathe Dust Collection System from the Rockler website

Since I won't be using a portable vacuum for this, with 19.5" of flexform hose, I might be able to go directly up to the dust collector and avoid having to clamp it where they show it in the photo. I won't know exactly how far that is until I get my ducts in a row.... pun intended. It is also possible I could give up one or more of my portable wet/dry vacuums which will definitely give us more floor space.

And this is the companion piece, also on sale, which helps direct or keep the chips moving towards the dust hood, while also doubling as a sort of fancy looking guard. Time will tell how well these work together, but it is certainly something to try. The fine dust is the biggest concern and it's bound to leave some chips behind, but isn't that where a broom and dust pan comes in, or if we decide to let the kids use... dare I say this... the floor sweep feature.

Dust Right® Lathe Chip Deflector from the Rockler website

If I let them use the floor sweep, I want to limit what can go through it so we don't end up with all kinds of garbage in the collector. I guess this one statement alone shows how long I have been around kids. They will try to put all kinds of junk into the system and a floor sweep is the perfect setting for that to occur.

I've seen a few good ideas on how to accomplish this. Maybe a small removable ramp with 1/4" slots that sits over the floor sweep. Kids can sweep up onto the small ramp and most of the small dust and debris can go through while the larger junk stays behind and if I design the ramp to be similar to a dust pan, it could be periodically lifted off and dumped.

Since my lathes are three to a stand, I will also need this. Of course that means adding some wire to keep the ground continuity.

3-Way Dust Collection Junction from the Rockler website

Adapt them down to 2.5" and add separate 2.5" blast gates...

Or I might decide to make my own 2.5" blast gates.

And while you might think I make these posts just for you, I don't. I also make these posts for me... so I can go back at any time and find what I need, whether it be scroll saw blades, wood burning replacement tips, or a 2.5" blast gate. As long as the suppliers don't change their websites, I can find whatever I need, and I can also pass this list on the the next teacher who takes over when I finally do leave. I have to say with each passing day that I just might last a few more years longer than I have been saying. All this cool stuff is really making things fun.
Posted: Monday, April 09, 2018 9:52:46 PM
Rank: Newbie
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Joined: 11/17/2006
Posts: 0
Eric Lofstrom comes to class

Like everything else that is happening right now, this story is also filled with complications, but well worth the effort. When the Prescott Area Woodturners called to tell me Eric Lofstrom was in town and they wanted to bring him over to the school for demonstrations and photos, I really wanted to make that happen for both of us, but with the testing that is going on, we went round and round to figure out a way to be Eric's host. It came down to being here by 7:30 AM and only presenting until 8 AM.

Eric was wonderful, and as a school teacher himself, he easily related to the kids telling funny things and getting student interaction. It was a marvelously simple presentation that held us spellbound. I tried to keep moving around the room snapping photos, and this one was my favorite.

Would the spinning top be finished in time? Will it work? With suspense mounting... he demonstrated through clever delay tactics that kept the story moving smoothly while making a quick cut here, more personal stories... a quick cut there... when suddenly, I handed him a board to use as a surface and he spins the top on it and it was cool as it would spin top side up or down.

Then as if previously rehearsed, the spinning top on the portable surface becomes an impromptu game that everyone is dying to play. What fun the participants had when they tried to keep the top centered while also balancing on one foot... now close your eyes.

It captured everything necessary to believe that each and everyone of those kids had something to think about and something to talk about during their day, and possibly also at home, and maybe even for many years to come. In fact, entire classes are wanting to make them Here is Caleb's top.

I would like to thank both Eric Lofstrom and the Prescott Area Woodtuners. The Prescott Area Woodturners have been very instrumental in the support of our program through tax credit donations, equipment, grants and demonstrations like this. We wouldn't be this far along in building this program without their help. Sometimes people say things without really meaning them, but I am not one of them. I am completely aware that there is no way our program could get this far without their help.
Posted: Saturday, April 14, 2018 9:36:34 AM
Rank: Newbie
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Joined: 11/17/2006
Posts: 0

Dare we start getting our ducts in a row TODAY!

It's my day off, and to move this project along I decided to spend the day working on the dust collection system. It is recommended that you build as much as possible on the floor and then place it onto the system. That works pretty well since I have a helper. I don't always have a helper, but today I am lucky to start out with one.

This branch comes off the main trunk and the drop will be for the X-Carve and the sanding box. As we figure out the suspension system, and try our best to line up the hooks, the first piece easily goes into place.

The top view of this branch end shows places where it appears that Oneida's designer's weren't thinking as they put sleeves possibly the wrong direction on at least three places on this and every other branch. If the sleeves are merely there to lengthen the branch 11", then I'm wrong in my assessment, but as I can see the actual placement, I want to shorten the run by a lot and there is where the plan has to change.

I can't shorten the duct with the sleeve on the furthest end as shown on the plan. According to their own literature, the sleeve has to be placed "with the flow" to eliminate drag. (Think of the shingles on a roof with the wind blowing. The air can sometimes flip unsecured shingles up.) I cut the duct to fit the actual location and placed the sleeve at the other end (down wind) to correct the flow.

My helper only works a half day and I'm finding that the hard part is not working alone, although I have been forced to build smaller pieces to set in place. No, the real issue is to the right and is hopefully our last obstacle but I think we may have at least one more later under the scroll saws.

But for now, I have to get through the beam and under the heater. It took a lot of extra time to do that. From this angle, you can see it was a little more than just the center beam. The center beam was less of an issue since we were right at the end of the beam and just before the steel post. It was the extra bracing... and the fact that I wanted to shorten the trunk at the same time. Changing it from making one to making two cuts on this side... just to shorten the main trunk and make the next branch run closer to the center beam.

The trunk line still has to be raised slightly with suspension hangers so it does not transfer vibrations to the room next door. Here's one way to find out how much vibrations can go through the wall. The classroom aide next door comes over to tell me I was shaking their wall (with the saber saw) and one of the light lens covers was starting to fall out. It's a half day, but classes are going on. I immediately stopped what I was doing and went over to remove the lens until we can get past that point. Friday the 13th horror averted.

In the photo above, the branch to the right will line up for the new SawStop and is also suppose to run over the lathes. It's a good thing I figured out how to make a custom sleeve since this modular system can't go less than 11". I may have to make another custom sleeve if this branch doesn't line up enough. A full sleeve might move it too far, and no sleeve might leave us short.

The other open end will go to the final branch where two sanders, a chop saw, and a band saw are located. The real fun begins when we have to figure out how to include the drill presses. Oneida declined to add that and never quite explained why. There might be enough left in the budget to buy the extra parts.

And that's how I spent my Friday the 13th.
Posted: Monday, April 23, 2018 8:36:57 PM
Rank: Newbie
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Joined: 11/17/2006
Posts: 0
We're making progress...

4-23-18 With the eighth graders gone on their trip, we have a little breathing room to work on the dust collection during class. I asked the couple of students who were here today if they could help me carry in the remaining items for completing the ducting. This is the remaining small parts, mostly the drop ends.

And this is what ducting is left.... and ready for the drops. Smaller tubes can be inside of these, and there are quite a few left to go. We have three drops completed and two in progress. Once those have been completed, we will be halfway done with the drops.

More on the way.

I'll be posting images of the lathes as we get them finished. Then I will continue by posting images of the drill press area, and also the X-Carve. I have a little work to get the jointer and planer on-line and the sanders and miter saw... then on to the scroll saws.

4-24-18 Here are some of the students who stepped forward to lend a hand. Carson is cutting straps for securing the ducting to walls where appropriate.

Scott wants in on the action and helps sand cut ducting.

Drop 1 is almost ready, only needing the hoses to make the final connection to the X-Carve and the sanding box.

This is drop 12 and will be the last one down the line, It will service the drill press area.

We returned a bunch of the green baskets to the kitchen today as they are getting emptied of parts. We are finding enough room to finally get the SawStop put into the shop tomorrow.

I'll keep you posted.

It's kind of funny that this thread started as a way to share project ideas only to end up being a running log of activity on building a school wood shop at a school that doesn't really have the money to do what we are doing. I hope you are enjoying seeing what we have been working towards, even as I begin to think it's almost time for me to retire again. Physical things as you get older can really bog you down and that's what is happening to me.

If you haven't taken the time to look back at some of the updates I have been making to each post, then you are missing out on some really great stuff. I figured out how to make links within this site, that will go directly to each post. Slow connections or Internet speeds might require a little patience to load, but using the back browser arrow brings you directly back to where you left off reading. For example.... here is a direct link to the crankyman automata post and the back arrow brings you back here.

These links help clarify or point out ideas without a lot of fumbling around on your part. Now this makes me wish I would have made the posts smaller, concentrating on a single concept/issue/project, but doing that creates more pages. However, I could further direct teachers to these concepts in greater detail... so maybe some day I will be able to break it up into smaller sections. Doing this as an after thought would not keep them in chronological order. That order is part of what I think makes it more fascinating.... to watch a budding program thrive from day to day, week to week, etc... and work within the constraints of the times.

It's also too bad that DivShare has messed up their site. If any of you have been trying to get material on the broken links, let me know. I found my stash of material on one of my external hard drives, so I should be able to send them over e-mail. As I have time in the future, I would have uploaded this material to photobucket and remake the links, however, photobucket changed the free user agreement and I'm unsure as to what will work and what won't. Contact me so I can send material directly over e-mail.

Here are some general page short cuts for you...

Go to page 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... 5... 6 ... 7... 8... 9

A message to new wood shop teachers who may have stumbled onto this site!

Because of spam... this site has been closed for quite some time now, but if you would like to join, we could use some new blood. The older guys have been retiring and thinning out the ranks. I didn't ask permission to post this, but I found out from a new member that he did this to gain access.... Send an e-mail to NOSPAM september_fleming. I've purposely mixed it up, so put the name first and make an e-mail address out of it without using the NOSPAM. I have noticed that this is helping new members get into the site while keeping the spammers out.

I've seen at least eleven new members have signed up since making this notice.
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