Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Second Wind Blows...

As more and more space begins to “appear” in the workshop, we finally have some room to start working on some real woodworking projects.

Take these two dressers…

OK, so I’m sure you can tell that these aren’t new dressers that I just built.  These are actually pieces that were handed down from my lovely bride’s grandmother to her parents, and then down to us.  We've used them in our bedroom for over 15 years and have carted them all over the country in our travels.  At each stop (and many times in-between) I would make several repairs to keep them patched together.  Drawer runners and supports were the usual suspects, but the dovetail joints on the drawers and the carcasses themselves have received quite a bit of attention over the years.  Today it was finally time to free these well traveled bundles of 60’s oak from their current confines and help them find their second wind.

Today’s task was to dismantle these pieces and salvage as much of the wood as possible.  My plan is to make something for my wife, her parents and her grandmother from the wood…all three generations that stored their underwear in these drawers will soon have a hand crafted memento to remind them of how heavy these things are to move…and we all moved a lot!

As I began the demolition process earlier this afternoon Danger Boy came down into the shop to check on my efforts.  I explained the plan to him and after securing his approval he chimed in, “If we take these apart and keep all the wood, we can add it to our other wood and we’ll have more to use and we’ll save lots of money!”  He’s a Second Winder in the making…or he’s as cheap as his Dad…or he likes pulling things apart…all good things in my book!

After giving a hearty thumbs-up to the plan Danger Boy then proceeded to do nothing whatsoever to help me.  Where is that little guy that used to follow me around with the brush and dustpan?

All was not lost though as he headed over to his workbench and clamped up a scrap piece of 2X4.  I could see where he was going with this, so we paused the dresser demo to work on some hand sawing practice.

Last week we had watched an episode of The Woodwright’s Shop with Roy Underhill, and the guest on the show was Christopher Schwarz, of Popular Woodworking fame (   He and Roy talked about various sawing techniques and we picked up some great tips from these masters of woodworking.

Notice Danger Boy’s hand placement on the work piece and his positioning that allows his arm to swing freely and in-line with the cut.  He’s also got his index finger pointing in the direction of the cut on the saw to train his brain and body how to work together in making straight cuts.

Here you can see how he’s turned his hips and opened his legs a bit to keep himself stable.  As I watched him cut it became apparent that we’ll need to build a couple English Saw Benches (a la Chris Schwarz) as his workbench is a little high for him to exercise proper technique…hence the wide stance to keep himself from falling over.

The sweet prize of victory!   (I didn’t even clue into the fact that he was still wearing his hearing protection until he was done cutting.  I had been running the jig saw just before our practice session.)

Chris and Roy would be proud for sure!  I’m sure he’ll be guest hosting with Roy in no time.

After the cutting was done, it was back upstairs for one of Mom’s homemade blueberry muffins while Dad got back to work on the dressers.  Still no mention of the dustpan…

Once I removed any screws and really got going, the dressers came apart pretty quickly.  The strongest joints were the ones I had repaired in just the past few years.  I had to cut through those few, but the rest of the joints came apart with a little bit of coaxing from a heavy mallet.

Behold the fruits of my labor…

There is some scrap that isn’t going to be usable and will find its way into the kindling bin, but this pile is all solid oak and should yield some good project stock.  Fortunately I’m due to replace the blades in the thickness planer, so I think I’ll let those old blades do my dirty work of removing the old finish and streaky globs of glue.

And there you have it folks, a blog entry that didn’t have anything to do with shop set-up or organization…it has been a while, eh?



Brad said...

Love this blog...Know nothing about woodworking but you always entertain me Pete..

Pete said...

Thanks Brad!