Friday, April 27, 2018

All Dogged Up

I have a very basic, and not very good, vice that I installed as a tail-vice on the end of Workbench #01. Today I added some dogs — a hefty chunk of steel in the vice itself, and some sprung wooden dogs to go in the bench.

The steel dog would have been better in brass or copper, as it would be safer if a plane should hit it. However, I don't have a piece of brass of the required size, so steel it is. It's a piece of 1" x ¼" bar, so somewhat over-engineered for the purpose, but again that's what I had.

One advantage of making a housing in the vice-jaw for such a hefty piece of metal is that I could use a piece of wood in it quite safely — a quarter-inch thick stick of oak or ash should be quite strong enough for the job, and if the steel dog ends up making me too nervous, that's probably what I'll do.

The dog-holes in the bench-top go right through, so sawdust and crap will just fall through instead of clogging them up, and thus far I've bored pairs of holes out to about 450mm from the vice. If I need any further away, they can be bored as and when they're required. The springs in the dogs themselves aren't very potent, but sufficient to hold them in place when they're not under tension from the vice, and that's all they need to do.

Phone Camera — Accidentally Artistic Piece of Crap

My phone is a cheap Huawei of some description, and apart from the fact that Huawei never updates the OS on their phones, it's been an OK phone. However, its camera is complete garbage.

I took this while waiting for some friends at the Blue Duck cafe on Waitangi Day. I've cleaned up the sky a bit, but left everything else untouched. If you look at it full-size, the compression artifacts means that the pine tree foliage has been rendered in quite a painterly fashion, which I quite like.

That doesn't change the fact that the camera is a piece of shit.

Thursday, April 19, 2018


I inherited this nice little guillotine from my friend Robin Sutton, who was doing a great clear-out in preparation for shifting. I believe it was made by his father, or maybe grandfather (?)

Anyway, now it's mine. I've wanted a paper guillotine for years, but have never found one that I could afford.

It was a bit sad when it came to me, but a bit of cleaning up has made it quite cheerful again. I cleaned and polished all the metalwork, sharpened the blades, took a card-scraper to the platen, planed off all the edges of the platen, gave it some feet so that the blade doesn't hit the table when closed, and gave all the woodwork a few coats of shellac and/or oil.

Now it's as good as new (or old). It's much cleaner now, but it still has that patina of use that I like in a tool.