Thursday, September 21, 2017

Making a handle for a pocket knife 2

I shaped the handle using a round and a half round file to get close to the shape that I wanted.

Before sanding I needed to drill the recessed holes for the heads of the screws.
I ground a drill like a router bit and mounted in our drill press. I had marked out where it should go and then I drilled very carefully. The first result was perfect. But in the other side f the knife, a small chip broke off, and I had to glue it back on with some super glue. I have ended up making the handle just a little bit too thin in the forward end of the knife, because the screws are setting against the threaded piece inside before reaching the wood. It is maybe 1/50" too shallow, so I doubt that it will have any effect on the general use of the knife. But the problem is that I know it..

After that I sanded with the different available grits that we have out here, ending up with a purple and a green scotch brite pad together with some olive oil (because that is what I could get my hands on)

Finally I sharpened the knife and put it back in the drawer where I found it.

It has been a quick little project, and there are lots of possibilities for improvements, but The important thing was to get a feel for how this Bubinga is to work with, and I have a better understanding about that now than prior to the project.
The knife itself seems to have been constructed so it would fit a plastic handle. That made it a bit difficult and necessitated the addition of an aluminium piece in the back of the handle. both to act as a distance piece and as a way of securing that end of the blade/spring unit.

I am pretty sure that there are pocket knives out there more suited to re-handling than this one, so if anyone is interested in trying it out for themselves, I suggest getting something that was meant for a wooden handle.

A positive thing about making handles is that it can be done with a very limited tool set, and it doesn't require a lot of shop space. But I am not quite as attracted to that sort of woodworking as to e.g box making, so I doubt that I will turn into a full time knife maker.

Glamour shot of the end.

Before oil and final sanding and without screws.

Small blade and large handle.

Oiled and finished.

Oiled and finished on the other side too.



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Making a handle for a pocket knife

As Brian Eve once noticed, whenever I am at home, my blog is pretty much dead. I don't do it on purpose, it just happens. I like to all sorts of things but to sit in front of a computer.

My family have given me a smart phone and I have accepted it, because they claimed that I could use it to take pictures with, and these would be instantly accessible on my blog.
Now it seems as though it is not the entire truth.
Brian told me that in order for the pictures to go automatically from my Iphone to Google, I needed some sort of app.
The problem is that I distrust app-stores of any kind. Technically I guess I distrust smartphones as well. So in order for me to get my pictures I have to email them to myself and then download them, save them in a folder, and then I can use the picture on my blog.
It is not that much easier than a digital camera in my opinion - but at least I have my phone with me most of the time, so perhaps there will be an increase in land based blogging in the future.

Enough abut modern technology, lets get to the interesting part:

I have been assigned to a different ship, and my schedule has changed at the same time, so that is why there has been a 9 weeks period without any real activity instead of the regular five weeks.
This new ship is currently in Africa, more exact Ghana.
As any sensible person reading this blog would do, the first things to investigate when knowing the job site is A) find out what vaccinations are needed for the area, B) find out what wood is available in that area.

Ghana Forestry Commission has an excellent site that tells you the name of the species in the local language and a lot of other information on the different types of wood that are native to the country.

I browsed their list and asked one of the local stevedores working on the ship if he knew where I could get some Bubinga.
He had a friend who did some woodcarving, and a after a bit of time I managed to explain to him that I wasn't interested in buying a carved figure of an elephant, but I would like to get some raw stock.
A bit more phone work, and I was presented with two really nice pieces of dense reddish hard wood.
I think it is Bubinga, but it could also be something else. I am not an expert on determining exotic wood species.
The two pieces each measure 3.75" x 4.5" and have a length of 24 - 28". I paid a total of 15$ for them, and I have no idea if that is above the market price down here, but I am happy, and the guy selling them seemed happy too. So I guess it was an alright deal for both of us.

In order for me to find out how this wood is to work with, I decided to make a wooden handle for a pocket knife that I found in a drawer in the engine control room.
The process itself was fairly straight forward:
I sawed off a thin piece of wood and flattened what would become the inside of the handle.
I placed the internal part of the pocket knife on the new handle parts and traced a handle shape.
A piece of aluminium scrap was filed to the same thickness as the internal part of the knife. That would become the back part of the knife.
Holes were drilled for the blade fixing screws and some 2 mm brass nails that were glued in like some sort of rivets and also for a 6 mm copper pipe that will eventually serve for a small line if needed.


My newly purchased Bubinga?

Plastic handled pocket knife.

Scrap aluminium.

Assembled and ready for shaping.



Thursday, August 3, 2017

A small barrel for a Newfoundland dog

After the barrel sitting idle on a shelf for a couple of months, I finally took the "trouble" of getting it onto Bertha for a quick photo.

I removed the barrel immediately after the pictures were taken, but Bertha actually didn't seem to mind the small barrel hanging by her collar.

Getting a dog to pose is not that simple..

Bertha with a small barrel.

Now with her eyes closed.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

What's the magic word?

Well, the magic word will surely depend on the situation.
Quite often the correct answer will be please.

But sometimes please just doesn't do it. A stronger more magic word is required.

Back in 1992 I spent some months in Minnesota, and I had the privilege of being allowed to help out at auctions held by the then oldest auctioneer company in Minnesota: "Fred Radde and sons, auctioneers and realtors"
Fred the main auctioneer knew the magic word for Minnesotan auctions was "Fish house". If an old crappy sofa or chair was unsaleable, calling it a fish house chair would instantly spark the interest in the crowd and someone would buy it for their fish house for the coming winter season of ice fishing (a great sport by the way). Fred's next comment would usually be in line with: "buy it now and leave it on the ice, in the spring it will be gone".
He really knew how to make a good atmosphere and that stimulated people to buy, and all in all it contributed to a nice event with lots of laughter and good deals.

Now in my case "fish house" wont do it. "Please" works sometimes, but "HORSE" works every single time.

If I need to start a new project:
"Honey, I'll go mill some wood to make some saw dust to spread in the stable for the horses to sleep in".
Such an approach will be greatly appreciated, in contrast to e.g.:
"Honey, I'll start building a new workbench"

There are a number of situations where you can use the magic word, tool purchases, classes etc. the imagination is the limit.

In reality you want to say: While I don't really need this tool, I am sure it would impress someone reading my blog.
Chances are that my request will be frowned upon and quickly be discarded as not essential for the household.
If I on the other hand say something like this:
"If I buy this tool, I could make a really nice cupboard for the saddle room, so you can easily organize the tendon boots for the horses."

I am sure you get the idea.

So I am thinking that a lot of the advice offered for aspiring woodworkers start in the wrong place such as:
Advice for a beginners tool kit.
What planes to buy and when.
The first saw you should get.
And so on....

A much better place to start would be by finding the magic word. The very word that will allow you to invest time and money in your hobby and being thanked for it. Now that is something that isn't described in a lot of "how to posts" for people wanting to get into woodworking.

We are not talking complicated psychology here, a good look at your wife's hobbies will most likely give an idea of what the magic word could be, Here are a couple of suggestions that might work, but remember like in Harry Potter, there is always the risk of a magic spell backfiring on you, so be careful!

Sewing room.
Interior decoration.
Gardening (this one is dangerous because you could end up using a shovel all day long instead).
Bespoke baking supplies.
Wickerwork
Shoe cabinets
Doll house (this one might make it difficult to justify getting a portable saw mill)
Art supplies.

Finally, you shouldn't feel bad about using a magic word, because I am fairly certain that we are under their spell most of the time anyway.


Friday, June 30, 2017

A project for the local kindergarten (maybe)

In the village we have a small kindergarten. Our youngest son went there, and though it is some years ago now, I still help them once a year by providing some discs of wood for when they make Christmas decorations. These are just sawed with a chainsaw and the children slap a lump of clay on top and insert spruce twigs and a candle etc.

I talked to one of the staff quite some time ago, and she asked if I ever had any small scraps of wood, because they had a small workbench, and the children liked to saw and hammer on something.
So a couple of times I have driven by them to drop of a load of small scraps of wood.

For some time I have been toying with an idea that perhaps I should make X number of sets of wood that could be assembled into small ships.
Nothing fancy, just a hull, a superstructure, a funnel and perhaps two masts.
I am well aware that most ships today don't have masts, but I know that children think they belong on a ship, and who am I to argue with that?

It won't be an immediate project, because the stock that I have in mind are scraps of the roof boards used on the small barn. I will order a bunch more of those for finishing the inside of the barn too, and I know that I will be getting a lot of leftovers from that.
The wood is spruce which is a lot easier to nail than larch, and given the age of the children that will be an advantage.

If I drill pilot holes in the superstructure and in the funnel, It should be easier to drive the small nails home, and that will definitely be an advantage. Also they can still rearrange those pieces as they wish on the hull.
The hull itself I plan on making complete with a bow and two holes for a mast to be inserted.
Then I'll just have to purchase a bunch of dowels and cut those into fitting lengths of masts.

A small ship like that could be painted when complete, and unless things have changed a lot, children usually like to paint stuff.

Of course I need to check with the kindergarten if they are at all interested in receiving such a set of kits first before I make them, and I also need to start on the interior of the barn to get some stock for the eventual project.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Arms dealers

I continue my description of the moral decay of Denmark with a mixture of child labour and arms dealing.

The local shop in the village once a year hosts a market day where there is a social gathering with coffee and socializing with the other residents of the area.
The important thing for our children though is the market part, which allows you to have a booth at the parking lot and try to sell stuff. This year Gustav didn't feel like participating, he is a teenager now, and won't risk compromising being cool by being seen selling odd stuff in a parking lot (at least that is what I believe is the reason)
Asger likes the idea of selling something that he has made himself, and we have earlier sold stuff like apple crates, a home made soap and old no longer used toys.
This year I returned home from the ship some 2 weeks prior to the arrangement, and Asger wanted us to think of something new to sell this year. He takes pride in that we never sell the same products two years in a row.
I quickly had to think of something that would look the part and not be too overly difficult to build, I would of course help, but I wanted parts of the project to be such that the kids could do it themselves, in order for them to feel more of an ownership of the project.

This year we decided on making a small production of wooden toy guns.
I sawed out the stock on the band saw, and after some initial sanding and planing, I used a router to round over all the edges.
Asger sanded the stocks and then we helped each other applying some walnut stain.

We decided to make a few different models of guns, but all using more or less the same stock:
3 shotguns O/U
3 shotguns S/S
2 small carabines (stock shortened by approx 5" for very small kids)
14 sub machine guns inspired by a Thompson.

I made the barrels ready by gluing up those for the shotguns and flattening those for the sub machine guns and the carabines.
Asger drilled holes in all the barrels for mounting and the he painted them all.

I made some magazines for the "Thompsons" and Asger tried to use the router mounted in a router table to round them over on the edges before he sanded and painted them.

The triggers are a screw that has had the end cut off and filed round, and the trigger guards were made out of some zinc plate that I bent into shape.
Finally the barrels were mounted and the guns were ready to be sold.
Asgers friend Andreas helped in selling the guns.

All photos courtesy of Olav.

Andreas (left) Asger (right).

The sales table is a small Sjöberg workbench.

Me taking a small break and enjoying a cold beer.

Andreas contemplating about why sales are so low.

The shopping cart of Bonnie and Clyde.




Monday, June 12, 2017

A terrible tale

Luckily this post does not have any pictures!

One of the things that happened this home period was that Gustav (14) finished his test exams from 8th grade.
He and his friends all thought that it had been exhaustive, and they wanted to celebrate that it was over and have a get together at our place.

I am fine with that, because they are all nice kids, and an added bonus is that I can keep an eye on them while they are here.
In Denmark it is legal and normal to drink at a fairly young age compared to a lot of other places, and 8th grade is a typical starting point. So this get together involved alcohol.
Each kid brings whatever he wants to drink, usually in cooperation with his parents. That way they will normally get a fitting portion with them, Gustav will normally be issued with 3 beers and a breezer plus perhaps a bit of vodka equivalent to two beers worth of alcohol. He'll consume that during an evening and have a great time.

One of the kids at this party had fairly long hair, and after just one hour or so he exclaimed that he wanted a haircut.
None of them were drunk at that time, and I didn't really think they would go through with it. They found an extension cord and my hair trimmer and headed into the garden to start.

Somehow this kid had managed to sneak a huge portion of rum and coke with him, and he had gulped it all down at once. So within 20 minutes he was regularly drunk. While he was sitting on a garden chair and having his hair cut to a length of 3/8", He lost his balance and pulled the buddy who was controlling the trimmer with him in the fall.
None of them noticed that during the commotion the distance piece of the trimmer had fallen off, so after mounting the chair and restarting, suddenly the trimmer now made a length of 1/16" instead!

I had left the scene for approximately half an hour to tend to the horses, but when I came back he had started getting sick and throwing up. I managed to get a phone number from the kid and called his mother. - She came around and picked him up about 15 minutes later. The time was just half past nine.

The guy who had handled the trimmer must have been inspired, because according to the other kids he had smuggled half a bottle of vodka with him, and he impressed them all by drinking it in one long swallow.
Needless to say, 15 minutes later he was as drunk as he could be, and started throwing up too..

Again I called the parents, and when his mother came to pick him up, she surprised me by saying that: Oh she had noticed that he had smuggled half a bottle of vodka with him. That actually made me kind of irritated. If she knew that he had exceeded the amount of alcohol that they had agreed upon, she should have stopped him from taking more with him. But I wasn't in the mood for discussing that. She was the one who was going to have problems with a drunk 14 year old inside a new car.

A sad thing is that those two kids are not part of the group that normally comes to our house for those parties, they had just been invited because Gustav didn't want to exclude anyone from the celebration. so I felt bad that they couldn't behave as nicely as the others.

The next day we had a little chat about the event, and we agreed that the next time we would just stick with the regular group of 7-8 people.

Mette contacted the mother of the kid with the hair cut the next day, and believe it or not, the kid was real happy about it, and the mother did say that they had discussed the idea of a crew cut for a long time, so at least that wasn't a problem.

Bertha was probably the one who had the best time of them all. Part of the evening involved a bonfire and a bunch of sausages that were to be roasted over the camp fire.
The remaining part of the sausages were left on the plate on the ground, so she kind of helped herself to most of what was left.