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Thread: From timber to Jewelrybox, nothing but headaches.

  1. #1

    From timber to Jewelrybox, nothing but headaches.

    I'm just getting into fine woodworking, though I've volunteered building scenery and the like for my local theater for years. I found a honey of a design for a jewelrybox that I'd like to give my fiance for Christmas. But some problems keep popping up.

    First, my materials. I'm using castoffs and scraps since I can find cheap hardwoods this way. But I need to be able to take roughcut boards and straighten them well enough to be able to glue and pin if need be. Normally that would require an 18" planer, but I haven't seen on of those lying around since I was little. The hand models look too small to be able to cut off the humps and bumps they would encounter rather than ride them, and an actual freestanding planer machine isn't in the budget and I don't have room for one. If anyone knows how to straighten lumber on a budget, please let me know.

    Next, concerning what tools I do have. I've got a little Ryobi table saw. Blade cuts fine, but the table surface is so small it's difficult to keep large pieces of wood balanced there. Anyone know where I can find plans for building extensions? Same thing goes for the adjustable miter gauge. It runs in a depression that's barely two feet long. How the heck am I supposed to make an angled cut from six feet away using that?

  2. #2
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    Welcome to a wonderful journey. There's so much to be said in response to your post that this discussion will probably go on for an enjoyable while and probably consist of several threads. There's always more than one way to skin the cat and by starting now, I think Christmas will be an easy target.

    Using "found wood" has its ups and downs. I have, more than once, spent much more in time and supplies, wear and tear, etc. by trying to make "free" material into what I am after. This is fine for me as I am primarily a hobbyist. Given your tools I would recommend going to the local lumber yard and ponying up the dough for the properly milled and dried material you want. Just decide where you want to spend your money because you will spend it.

    You mention a planer as if it will flatten material and this is a common misconception. Planers make surfaces like the reference surface used, jointers make surfaces flat. A motorized hand planer is great for fitting a door on your house but, has little value in the jewelry box department. Sometimes a local cabinet shop will mill material for a fee. There is little that is so frustrating as trying to make a delicate little box with material that is out of square.

    I'll go ahead and mention hand tools since someone undoubtedly will. A good jointer, smoother or other bench plane can help with flattening if you practice a bit. I'm a hybrid woodworker and while I have a till of hand tools, I generally rough mill my material on machines using the typical face joint, opposite face plane, edge joint, rip to width and crosscut to length method.

    Back to materiel and striving for success; my local yard has a shorts bin that often has some interesting material in it suitable for smaller projects. The board-foot price is still the same but, I don't have to buy a 12 foot board to get what I am after. The smaller the project, the more forgiving the irregularities of the material. That is, a bow of 1/8" over 48" is not so problematic once I have cut an 8" length of this material off to make a part. This goes to your question of how to cut a 45* angle on a 6 foot board . . . the answer there is arguably a slider . . . seriously though, reduce your parts to rough, over-sized pieces before you start cutting things to finished size.

    I'll let someone else chime in with more and once again, welcome aboard.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 06-20-2015 at 03:35 PM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  3. #3
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    Welcome to the Family, John!

    Glenn covered all of the basics pretty well, so I can't really add much there. I started small and added tools as budget allowed. Ease into the world of sawdust and enjoy yourself!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  4. #4
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    John, Welcome to the family. Glad you found us. In addition to what Glenn said, you might consider building a router planer sled for flattening wide and irregular stock. That should give you sand-able surfaces to work with.

  5. #5
    Glenn, thanks very much for taking the time to reply. I really appreciate it. Budget is unfortunately an issue since I'm in the middle of moving. The plans I've got require some very precise widths; the jewelry box ideally will have a tray that rises up when the lid opens, and there is no lumber yard in the state that can accommodate me within my price range. I was taught some basics way back when by my granduncle, who was a master carpenter, and I remember his tools fondly. Sadly they are gone now. A jointer or bench plane sounds ideal; from what I understand of them, the longer the plane the more effective it can be in smoothing out irregularities. Is there a handtool you can recommend for this job that won't break the bank?

    Fair point on cutting the stock for smaller parts. There will be some wastage, but oh well.

    Question: when a board is not square, to the degree that you're looking at a parallelogram, how do you establish a point of reference to get your edges back to 90 degree angles?

    I'm being ambitious and hoping to use finger joints for my corners. I've got some practice in attempting different methods but have yet to find something that works every time. Is there a tutorial you can point me toward that you find reliable?

    All the best.

    Also, Bill and Ted, excellent!

    Seriously. Ted, I'm still enough of a novice to not be able to envision what you're talking about. Can you point me in the direction of a good router planer sled so I know what you mean?
    Last edited by John Albers; 06-20-2015 at 10:05 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Albers View Post
    ... Also, Bill and Ted, excellent! ...
    Party on, Dude!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Albers View Post
    I'm being ambitious and hoping to use finger joints for my corners. I've got some practice in attempting different methods but have yet to find something that works every time. Is there a tutorial you can point me toward that you find reliable?

    All the best.

    Also, Bill and Ted, excellent!
    I have an i-box from Incra but, just as often find myself doing this instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Arnold View Post
    Party on, Dude!
    That one got me too Note my sig line.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  8. #8
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    What kind of wood and what lengths/width you looking for?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Albers View Post
    Glenn, A jointer or bench plane sounds ideal; from what I understand of them, the longer the plane the more effective it can be in smoothing out irregularities. Is there a hand-tool you can recommend for this job that won't break the bank?
    Yes a number 6 hand plane it was my first bigger plane. Made for carpenters as a hefty but not to heavy plane to be carried in a tool box. Not sought after as much as the #7 so it should cost less. I really like my plane a Miller Falls #18C same as a Stanley #6.

    Miller Falls is numbered according it's length so a #7 as in Stanley becomes #22 in Miller Falls as in 22" long. Here is a chart... http://www.oldtoolheaven.com/bench/benchtable.htm#7
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  10. #10
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    Hey John,

    Welcome aboard.

    You might want to check out Paul Sellers online videos, he starts truing up a piece of stock in this one, and has a fair number of other hand work videos. I don't agree with 100% of everything he does, but he's pretty practical and generally gives pretty solid advice for hand work and you won't go to far off following his instructions.



    Another piece here with a bit of discussion on other plane types.
    https://youtu.be/m231_HKCOWs

    You'll also note after watching his videos that you don't need a longer plane to get stock true but it does make it easier for the final truing. The trick is really just to work the high spots, the second video talks about setting up a smaller #4 as a scrub (or sure) plane to do bulk material removal for initial truing. The longer try or jointer (depending on the size of the piece) plane spans the humps a bit easier to get it absolutely flat and true at the end but is somewhat inefficient for initial material removal.

    More generally it might be useful to share a bit more of your design. Designs that require large single pieces of wood are usually harder to do with hand work that pieces that are built up a bit because its easier to true a smaller piece than a larger one. Its also harder to cut large thin pieces accurately with hand tools.

    As for making the angle cut, I'm going to suggest maybe back to hand tools There's a lot you can do with a hand saw and then true up with a hand plane in a shooting board.

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