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Friday, June 22, 2012

Wishing Well Planters

These flower planters look like wishing wells and stand close to four foot tall. To give you an idea of the other dimensions, the roof panels are twenty four inches long. I made these out of cottonwood and sealed them with Thompson's Waterseal. I plan on doing some more at a later date out of some better weather resistant wood, but this is all I had at the moment and could not afford buying cedar or cypress as I wanted.
The patterns come from the Berry Basket Collection. You can purchase them here. They are easy to follow patterns. You simply print them out, tape together parts that are larger than the paper using the easy to follow pattern lines and then go to work. I especially like patterns from this site because they are instantly downloadable. I hate ordering patterns and then waiting a week or more for them to arrive in the mail. I'm an inpatient man in that regard.
In the downloadable plans, you get the pattern for the tulip and the heart style side pieces. You also get a pattern to make a bucket to hang on the movable crank rod, but I opted to hang flower baskets there instead.
This is not a hard project to do. I completed both of these planters in three days. I cut all the parts on a scroll saw. I believe all of it could also be cut on a band saw though. I just prefer the scroll saw.

Monday, June 11, 2012

They Don't Make Them Like That Anymore

I love old tools. As a matter of fact, the older they are, the more they draw my interest. What I don't like it old wall hangers. These old tools, in my opinion, were made to be used. Usually, if I wind up with an old tool that cannot be made usable again, I can find someone who wants it. In order for me to keep it though, I have to be able to restore it to a usable condition.
So this is the state of disrepair of my latest find. This is an old Craftsman saw that, as far as I can find at this time through my limited research skills, was made maybe as far back as the forties. I do know that, based on the styling, it was one that was made for Craftsman by Walker Turner. It was a very interesting find for me and it seemed to be in a condition that could very well be made to run again.
One of the things I love about tools from this era is the fact that they're completely rebuildable. I was able to tear the saw all the way down to the bare frame. I cleaned it up and sprayed a fresh coat of paint on it.
The most interesting part of this particular saw to me was the gear box. The side cover leaked. So when I removed it, I found out it still had the, probably original, leather gasket on it. The inside of the gearbox, which I found almost impossible to get good photos of with my camera, works almost like a miniature cam shaft, with offset lobes that push the drive shaft up and down. On the side of the vertical shaft is a little cup that acts as an oil slinger. Each time it dips down into the fifty weight oil, it brings up a little bit of it and slings it all over everything, keeping things lubricated and running smoothly.
I tore the dust boot on top while trying to clean it and had to sew up a new one. The original was made out of some very thick denim. I didn't have anything that thick, but an old pair of jeans loaned some similar material to get it back on track again.
The only major part that was missing when I got the saw was a motor. I used the smallest motor I had around, which was a Craftsman half horse motor.
I painted the raised letters on the side white, just to make them stand out more. This saw has a twenty four inch throat. It will use blades from five to seven inches by adjusting the plunger assembly in the head unit. While playing around with it, I found it easily cuts wood three inches thick, something no modern scroll saw even claims to do. I think I'll be putting this old iron into service doing a lot of work. So far, it seems to be a real pleasure to use.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Unicorn Mailbox

This mailbox idea started out with just an idea to route a sign with a name and address on each side of a post. After doing so though, and standing back to take a look at my work, it simply didn't look good. I think I did a good job on the sign, but now the mailbox looked too plain.
So next I started bouncing around some ideas for making the mailbox more interesting. I thought about making the mailbox itself as part of a truck. I looked at the shape of the mailbox and thought it would make an interesting hood, with the front grill opening up as a mailbox.
The lady of the house has to be happy though, and she likes unicorns. So, my truck idea was put away for a later date and I started on this unicorn themed mailbox.
The external box and unicorn head is made of cottonwood. The mane is made of pine and mahogany. The eyes and nose are made of mahogany and Walnut. The base that the head sits on is oak. Then everything was finished with five coats of Hellsman Spar Urethane, which should protect it from the elements for a long time to come.

My original idea while getting started on this was to simply make the box out of wood with a wooden door. However, I thought about it and gave a call to my friendly local post office. They informed me that, although there are no rules about how to decorate my mailbox, the box itself did in fact have to be a postmaster approved box. So I made the wooden box that encases the regulation one.
Then I needed to do something about the flag.

So I built the box with a slot where the flag raises up and down. This way, it works as it's supposed to without interfering with anything else.
Do not fret though, I didn't forget about my truck idea for a mailbox. I found mailboxes cheap at WalMart. So I bought two. Soon, I hope to build a truck and a car themed mailbox and see if anyone would be interested in buying themed mailboxes.

I'm Baaaack!

Last night I sat, broken hearted, and typed up a post, which I have now happily deleted, about the end of this blog due to a non-supported operating system. I was not willing to let it go that easily though. I mean, almost everything I've done in my shop in the last few years is posted here.

So, it took some serious internet research, but I was able to get this old computer to update the way it was supposed to do. For some reason, my computer simply refused to update to newer software so that it would be compatible with this blog. I found out it was possible though to manually download everything and get it updated. So I am happily back to banging away at the keyboard for my blog. I hope to present you all with many projects in the future.

Actually, the next one is coming in a few minutes.