Saturday, June 20, 2015

Wood A-frame swing set

Emeline has long adored swinging, but we held off on doing anything about it at home out of fear of mosquitos and total immersion. This year ambition mounted and we went for it.

Of course DIY is the only way when one is dissatisfied with the configuration or robustness of commercial kits. Inspired by plans at The Design Confidential, among others, I drew plans in SketchUp, fretting over the height, angle, hardware, bracing, etc., until I was happy with it and ready to dive in. A weekend sans kids was enough to build it, then another weekend for the corner braces and a lunch break for anchors saw the job through.

We seem to have struck a good balance where they do want to swing every day, but not all day.

  • 4x4x10 treated posts, 18 degree angle front and back
  • 4x6x10 treated beam
  • Final height (ground to bottom of beam): 8' - 8'4"
  • 5/4 x 6 decking A-frame braces
  • 2x6 (treated) corner braces: 45 degree miter one end; 45 miter, about 33 bevel other end. Good luck with that. Glued with Gorilla Glue. I still need to trim the foam-out and probably should have skipped the glue altogether.
  • 1/2" galvanized carriage bolts, 8" and 10" through the beam, 4-1/2" through braces (McMaster has that length, and they end up perfectly flush)
  • 3/8" x 6" galvanized lag bolts and #10 x 2-1/2" galvanized deck screws through corner braces
  • heavy duty swing hangers and swing seats (of the big box stores, only Home Depot carries these)
  • 1/2" x 4' rebar anchors

Tinkerbell puts pixie dust on Emeline (she has another pixie dust bag that is yellow that she normally keeps closed):
Sylvie's drawing of Tinkerbell's friends, including angry-faced Vidia (not normally blue):

Safe-t-planer dust hood

This project has been done for a while, but only recently was I able to test it enough to determine that it does in fact work well enough to justify the setup: a dust hood for the Wagner Safe-t-planer.

Inspired by Jason Rodgers at MIMF, I went down to the Chinese restaurant and got a large order of egg drop soup. After the soup was safely and warmly in my stomach, the container was washed and cut, sewed to a strip of old computer mouse pad, and mounted to the quill of the drill press.

Here it is in place. Jason's setup is much simpler because he had a nice hunk of iron to attach to. I had to make a custom collar for the end of the quill, slide the hood around that, and then secure the hood with two smaller collar sections screwed to the inner collar. It's a bit of a pain dealing with the collar, but with practice I'm getting faster setting it up.

Here's a stack of eight boards, approximately 2x6x27, just off the planer.


One small pile on the floor from taking about 1/8" off each face of each board in the pictured stack. Some three gallons in the 6.5A 1-1/4" Bucket Max (half the bucket load came from the previous round planing similar boards). Without the hood, each pass of the planer would spray dust in every direction, coat my left arm and every nook and cranny within three feet, and leave chips on the table that like to sneak under the work and lift it. This is a very satisfying improvement. Maybe if I used the 12 gallon shop vac, the basement would even clean itself while I work.

Bonus: Adding this 1.5 ton scissor jack under the drill press table greatly increased the stability of my whole planing operation. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A small restoration project

This is my second woodworking project, some kind of shelf thing from 8th grade industrial arts. It's industrial, I'll give it that. Lots of heavy oak and wood putty.

Today's project was knocking the front trim off so I could use the lower shelf without scraping my hands on the overhang every time. Now it's perfect for storing my stack of sandpaper, which frees up a workbench drawer.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Belt sander tool rest

I made this tool rest for the 4" belt sander. First a prototype with plywood and plastic, then the official release from 1/4" mild steel. Both versions have a 90 degree arm bent from 1/4" aluminum. The second shot shows both arms together for comparison.

The intended application is grinding plane blades. Using a bevel gauge, set the tool rest to an exact angle to the belt and clamp the adjustable handle. Next pinch a plane blade on the tool rest with your opposable thumbs and apply light pressure up into the revolving belt. Try to keep it straight into the belt. The beauty of this method is there is no need to measure or mark any guide lines. In seconds you will have a rounded, cambered bevel roughly at the angle you set, ready for honing.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A new hat

It was time to mount a new head to try to get the tension hoop to ride a little lower.

Here's a Harbor Freight ring roller and new flesh hoop rolled:
New head mounted:
Trimmed and stained with TransTint Brown Mahogany sprayed in a very thin cut of shellac:
Banjo Hangout says nylon strung banjos sound better with a different bridge design and lighter weight, so I made a few:
It suits Sylvie: