Monday, February 21, 2022

Very Tall Steed


I bought a box of cheap black roller-ball pens, because I like drawing with roller-balls.

These ones have a much thicker nib than I'm accustomed to though, and I'm not sure I like them.

Still, they were cheap.

This quickie sketch is about A5 (210 mm tall).

Monday, February 14, 2022



This Zona razor saw arrived in the mail for me this morning. I had completely forgotten that I'd ordered it.

It's very fine toothed (42 teeth per inch) and with a very thin plate. It would be quite impossible to resharpen, I should think.

I don't recall how much it cost, but it was not expensive.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

El-Cheapo clamps — usability modifications


I have some bar clamps that I bought years ago from the Warehouse. They have the single virtue of being very cheap.

They're perfectly functional, but they do have several issues: the jaw pads were never much good, and have all fallen off and been lost. I've replaced the screw-jaw pad with bits of plywood, and I'll have to do something similar with the fixed jaw as well.

The main thing that dissuades me from using them is the handles, which are both thin and smooth. They're difficult to get a good grip on, especially for me now that my hands are becoming more decrepit.

I've modified them by planing the grips down square(ish) and glueing ribs of scrap wood to the facets. Just making the handles square would be a great improvement, but adding the ribs increases the diameter of the handle as well, which will make them easier to turn.

The amount of work required to make these clamps usable means that even though they're cheap to buy, they're really not cost-effective. Still, since I've got them, I might as well be able to make use of them.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Impromptu Moxon Vise


This is a Moxon-style vise, whipped up out of a couple of bits of 6x2" treated pine, a bit of decking timber, and some bar clamps. I suppose it would be nice to be able to make it out of nicer timber, but this stuff is perfectly serviceable.

Some day, hopefully, I'll be able to sort out a pair of hand-screws to provide the clamping force instead of the bar clamps. The clamps do a decent job, but they're more awkward to manipulate.

A Moxon vise is excellent for furniture making, as there's no obstruction to the work piece in the middle of the vise, allowing it to accommodate quite long bits of timber vertically for dovetailing and the like. Also, because the front face is more or less free-floating, it can clamp as evenly on tapered stock as on straight, and there's no risk of racking the jaws. This one has a gap between the clamp bars of about 600mm, which is quite a lot for my purposes.

This is a portable version, and it's just attached to the bench by a pair of clamps on tabs extending out the ends of the rear jaw. I'd normally mount the clamps with the handles downward, to keep them out of the way, but it is easier to mount them as shown here. If need be, I guess I could use a pair of long carriage bolts with hand-screws, for the lowest-profile attachment: it would be easy enough to arrange, since it's unlikely to be mounted anywhere but where it is right now.

The back jaw has a sturdy brace out the back to resist force pushing against the vise; it's probably not necessary, but it makes me feel happier.

Coupla Days Later...

The woodwork of the vise is essentially complete, and I've given all the non-meeting faces a few coats of shellac.

The photo demonstrates how it holds a tapered work piece; this would be about its limit in that respect while it's being held together with clamps. A proper screw system could probably manage a little more.

The threaded rods, when I get around to mounting them, need to be able to move a bit laterally to enable this tapered-thing-holding, but not vertically, so that they hold the jaws in the right position relative to each others' top edges. I have some ideas about how that might be able to be managed.

I think the holes in the wooden jaws through which the screws pass will need some sort of bushing, as otherwise the screws will chew the crap out of them.