Friday, December 31, 2010

Inexpensive Recycled Clock

With New Years just about here and most of us thinking about time, I thought that this might be a good time to highlight this project...

I needed an interesting clock for the music room so I went to Goodwill and bought the cheapest and ugliest looking clock that they had that still ran.  I removed the hands and clock mechanism and recycled the rest.  I then made a design and cut it out of 1/4 inch plywood and painted the clock with black spray paint and the hands with grey.  I attached the clock mechanism and reattached the hands.  A series of white sticky backed cut outs were used to denote the hours and now the recycled clock once again accurately tells the time!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wooden Bookmarks

Here is a quick and simple project that makes good use of leftover lumber.  Take a piece of scrap wood and profile it to the size of bookmark that you would like to make.  Make a curved cut through the piece and glue a thin strip of a contrasting color of wood between the two pieces.  Once this has dried, make another curved cut through the block and piece together more contrasting woods.  The resulting block can be cleaned up and then cut into individual bookmarks.  Finish with shellac and you should get many bookmarks from each blank.. These make excellent presents and take little time and materials to make.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Lefse Sticks

This Christmas I made Norwegian Lefse flippers for all the folks that get together with us to make the large amounts we go through as a family during the Christmas season.  These are made from cherry and finished with food safe oil.  The blanks are cut out with a taper that goes from about 1/8 inch at one end to around a half inch on the other.  The width of the sticks is a little under an inch.  The handles are left square and the working end is rounded over.  I used a wood burner to make a design in the handle to dress them up a little.  We just used these for the first time and they worked really well.  The food safe oil finish didn't stick to the rolled out lefse and should make for easy finish renewal if they should need it in the future.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

How to make brass cannons without a metal lathe

Sadly the photos for this post were lost when the original Model Ship World forum went down.  You can still follow these directions and make fine cannon...

Start off with round stock of appropriate diameter and mark off the locations of the rings, steps and cascabell. Chuck up the stock and use the bed of the drill press as a guide for cutting slots of the appropriate depth with a file. Use a wrap of paper to protect the drill press bed from the file and check frequently with a calipers till the exact depth is reached.

Cut all of the blanks at one time and resist the temptation to finish a cannon off first. This will help ensure maximal uniformity between cannon.

Once all of the depth cuts are made, connect the cuts to form the appropriate inclines for the various steps. Leave the rings at full diameter.

With the rings at full diameter the cannon can be set into a "V-block" to drill out the trunnion holes as per the plans.

Finish off the rings, cascabell and muzzle of the cannon before making an almost complete parting cut with a razor saw while on the drill press. I did this because I didn't want to take any chances in messing up the muzzle.

Complete the cut off of the drill press and mark the center of the muzzle with an awl. Carefully drill the bore of the cannon paying strict attention to keeping the bore centered on the muzzle.

Here is the final product. It took about three to four hours to make these nine pounders (1:48 scale) by this method. These cannon will not be exact duplicates but turned out well. If you don't have a metal lathe but do have a drill press and some time, this technique can be used in a pinch.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spray Booth

This is one of my most used tools in the work shop.  It is a combination spray booth and dust extractor.  A section of steel dryer venting connects the unit to an outside vent when it is used as a spray booth and a second set of filters in inserted into the front opening of the unit when it is used as a dust extractor.  In dust mode the unit is not vented to the outside but rather recirculates the air in the workshop through the double filters and pulls all of the suspended dust out of the air.  Plans for designing a booth can be found at the Spray Booth Design Page.  There is a light on the top that shines through a piece of plexiglass to illuminate the booth.  One important point to bear in mind is that many of the paints that we use can be explosive if the vapors reach a spark so having the motor isolated from the air path is critical.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Minty Fresh Guitar Preamp Project

This is a pre-amp for my guitars. The new acoustic pedal that I plan on using in the praise band requires a pre-amp to boost the signal. As always, the Altoids tin gives this amp a minty fresh sound.

This amp is built using JFET so the signal is very clean and has a nice tube like sound to it. There is a boost switch on the board that enables a bypass capacitor that increases the gain by a factor of two so the output goes up quite a bit when this is engaged.


Monday, December 20, 2010

British Phone Box Model

My wife and I lived in England for around six months back in the early 90’s and she loves old British Phone boxes so I decided to make her one this Christmas. 

I found photos on the internet that I scaled to 1:12 so the model is around eight inches tall. There are over a hundred dados and rabbets in the model so a high precision table saw was critical. The top is carved out of basswood and lined with foil as a reflector. A master crown was carved out of basswood and a mold made for casting the four crowns out of resin. The “PUSH”, “PULL” plates and the front of the A/B box are made from etched brass. The door pull was made by drilling a recess in a piece of maple and using a matching ball bearing to deform the brass to form handle. The hinges were hand made to scale from brass and the lighting consists of four high intensity white LEDs. These have appropriate resistors to limit amperage and are powered by a six volt battery pack recessed into the base. LED’s were chosen to limit heat. The “TELEPHONE” signs are 10/1000 sheet styrene with homemade decals applied to the front. The phone is carved from basswood with a brass dial. The posters and emergency dial instructions were scaled down from artwork graciously sent by Tony from Unicorn Kiosk Restorations in the UK. The tops of the phone book stands were gilded with silver leaf. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kayak Construction Final Part

The cockpit combing is made up of three pieces (five actually since the lower two are half pieces that only cover the left or right sides of the cockpit) that are glued around the cockpit opening. The first two are extensions that build up the height of the combing and the last is a cover piece that acts as a rim on which to attach the spray skirt. Mustard consistency epoxy was applied to the build up pieces and they were nailed into the deck beam at the front of the cockpit. Every clamp in the shop was pressed into service to hold the lower pieces down. Any glue that squeezed out was cleaned up 

The cockpit combing cap was glued into place just like the other pieces with the exception that pads were used under the clamps to prevent damage to the plywood. The hatch opening trim pieces were also glued into place. These will act to help make the hatches more water-proof.  I ran out of clamps so I had to raid the clothes pins! BTW, the white color to the epoxy is because it has been sanded.


After the clamps were removed from the combing, the edges were cleaned up by sanding them.

A router with a round over bit was used to make a radius on the upper and inner aspect of the combing. The other edges were rounded over with sandpaper and the entire combing was smoothed up for finishing.

A couple of coats of epoxy were placed over the combing so that the entire kayak is now sealed in epoxy.

This is the scribing tool that I made to mark the deck for masking. After problems with the Mark I version I modified it so that the scribing screw is located next to a radius. This allowed the mark to stay the same distance from the top of the sheer even though the camber of the sheer and deck change over the length of the kayak. The screw is a nice alternative to a nail (as described in the manual) since it can easily be adjusted in or out to change the depth of the scribe mark.

Here is the painted hull as of now. I need to sand at least one more time to get the hull perfectly smooth before what I hope is the final coat of paint (there are still a few run marks in the paint from previous coats).

The paint is applied with a disposable roller and the bubbles are knocked down with a foam brush. The result is very glossy and deep finish. It literally looks like a yacht!  

I spent six hours hand sanding (wet sand 320 grit paper) the hull for hopefully the last time! Here is what the deck looks like with the masking on it.

It is finally finished!

Here she is on the car:

These are the car racks (Oak and swim noodle)

The Kayak rolls on this cart (Oak and swim noodle)

Which has detachable wheels so that it can be stored in the aft hold for portaging.

There is a roller mechanism that allows me to roll the kayak up onto the car top by myself.

I ended up adding two detachable lengths of 1/4 inch steel round stock that stick into holes on either arm of the roller assembly and look like old fashioned rabbit ears when in place.  These act as guides for the kayak as it rolls up onto the car top.  These were added after I almost lost the kayak over the side of the car while I was loading it in moderate winds

I've spent many hours over the last two years using this kayak around the state and it is a joy to  paddle.  It is fast, tracks well and is light enough for easy loading and portaging.  The wheeled carrier is a must and the roof roller mechanism works especially well once the stabilizing rods were incorporated into the design.  I am very pleased with the set up and recommend it to anyone who is interested in building a kayak.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kayak Construction 4

The deck now overhangs the hull by a couple of inches and needs to be trimmed flush. A special guide was used to mark the edge of the hull on the upper surface of the deck and a coping saw was used to trim the deck to within an eight of an inch from this line. A plane was used to bring the deck flush to the hull and a radius was sanded into the deck to make a smooth transition from deck to hull.

I added a couple of decorations to the deck to spruce it up a bit. The first was a marquetry compass rose. It came premade and is designed to be mounted proud to the deck. A thin coat of clear epoxy was applied to both surfaces and electrical tape was used to hold it in place and a layer of waxed paper was placed over it.

A jug willed with water gave even pressure over the curved deck surface.

Here is what it looked like after gluing

I also made on the computer as a logo of sorts. It was printed onto sewing pattern paper using a laser printer (as per some discussions that I saw on a kayak forum). The paper “disappears” when a coat of clear epoxy is applied and the end result looks like this.

Lighter weight fiberglass was used to cover the deck. A single sheet was cut at a diagonal and the two triangles were used to cover the bow and stern decks. These pieces were placed on the decks and trimmed so that there was one inch of overlap on the deck and about two inches of overlap onto the hull sides.

Clear epoxy was mixed and applied with a roller to the deck fiberglass. I made the mistake of laying the sheet of fabric on some carpeting to when I cut the angles. The fabric picked up some junk from the carpeting and I had to stop frequently to pull up the whetted fabric and remove various bits and pieces of material from under it. Here is the end result.

If you look carefully at the compass rose you can see a mistake that I made. I over sanded the edges of the marquetry and thinned them out so that the grain pattern of the background shows some of the lay-up epoxy through it

As you can imagine, I was very bummed to see the highlight of the deck not look up-to-par. I thought about removing it and then I came up with a possible solution. What about making a roundrel on sewing pattern paper that would make a clean transition between compass rose and deck as well as cover up the over sanding? Using the same technique as for the logo, I printed out an appropriate sized roundrel and applied it over the compass rose. Here is what it looked like after a light sanding to lower any ridges.

A layer of fiberglass was placed over it to protect the overlay. Now the rose looks much better with a crisp and clean transition marking its boarder.

Hatches are placed in the bow and stern sections to allow access to the areas in front and behind the bulkheads. A paper pattern of each of the hatch openings was laid out in the correct positions on the deck. A hole-saw was used to create openings for the saws that I used to trim to size. Stiffeners were epoxied to the undersides of the openings and were held in place with many clamps.

The fore deck access sits right next to the forward bulkhead so there wasn’t much flex there but the aft compartment access sits a couple of feet from the aft bulkhead. These stiffeners really help make this area more rigid.


The hatch covers were reinforced with three inch fiberglass tape and stiffeners were glued across them to bend them to shape.

Here is what the hull looks like now.


Go to Final Part

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kayak Construction Part 3

I wanted to get the holes for the foot rests laid out and drilled before the deck went on. I sat in the kayak and placed the rests where they would be most comfortable. Over sized holes were drilled and filled with epoxy.

By drilling and filling oversized holes, I can be assured that there is no way that water can creep in around the screws and get into the bias of the plywood. A layer of three inch fiberglass tape was placed and epoxied on the inside as reinforcement for the foot rests.

The main deck beam was laminated together and precisely trimmed to fit between the sheer clamps. This was glued in place with epoxy and screwed in through the outer hull and sheer clamp.

The foot rests were removed and will be reinstalled after the hull is painted. 

The sheer clamps need to be planed so that the curved deck lays flush over them. There are two guides that were included in the kit. One has a 24 inch radius for the rear deck and the other has a 16 inch radius for the fore-deck. Several hours and quite a bit of elbow grease later, here is what the aft radius looks like.

Here you can see the increased radius of the fore deck camber.

The area where the cockpit resides is a transition area between the 24 inch radius and the 16 inch radius. A rolling bevel was planed here so that the two angles smoothly blend together.

You can see from the amount of shavings that this process was a lot of work. It also took much longer than I anticipated but the end result was good.  

 A small beam was installed toward the bow. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the piece in my kit so I made one from pine.

A cardboard dam was placed in both the bow and stern and end pours of epoxy thickened with wood flour were made. These will increase the impact resistance of these surfaces.

Next came several test fits before the actual installation of the aft-deck. The plans call for installing both decks at the same time but I decided to do one a day to make the process a little less hectic. After a full day of work I don’t want to make a huge  mistake just because I am over tired!

The underside of the deck was coated with clear epoxy and mustard consistency epoxy glue was applied to the tops of the sheer clamps and bulkheads. The deck was put in place with straps and my son held down the edge while I drove bronze nails three inches apart into the sheer clamps. Small strips of wax paper were placed under the ends of the deck so that later removal of a small segment will be easy to do.

Once the last of the nails were in place the kayak was flipped over so that the epoxy that was running down the sides would resettle into the deck/hull joint.


Once 24 hours had passed, the straps were removed from the aft-deck and the fore deck was test fitted. Just as with the aft deck, a coat of clear epoxy was applied to the underside of the fore-deck.

Mustard consistence epoxy was placed over the sheer clamps, beams and bulkheads. The fore-deck was placed with ¼ inch overlap over the aft-deck and strapped into place. Once again bronze nails were spaced three inches apart and my son held the deck down while I hammered them in. A sharp x-acto was run down the aft edge of the fore-deck and into the aft-deck. This trimmed off the ¼ overlap and resulted in a clean butt joint between the deck halves. A small reinforcing block was coated with epoxy glue and clamped under the butt joint.

The fore-deck has substantially more camber to it than the aft-deck so the outboard edge of the plywood wanted to pull up from the sheer clamps. I flipped the boat over and applied blue 3-M masking tape to the edges to pull them down onto the outer edge of the hull.


Go to part 4