Thursday, January 19, 2017

Making Miniature Furniture

Today's blog is a sequel to the last blog I wrote on 16th January. I made a miniature wooden chair last time, with plywood. It looked good but I wanted to make it with real timber.

I asked Juno and got some American Walnut which was good texture. I drew a chair in real size using a software ViaCAD and reduced it into 1/6 scale. I put a printing of the drawing onto the board and cut it using an electric scroll saw.

Then, I sanded the edge of the cutouts neatly. Putting every part in the correct position is difficult and I paid close attention to do the right work. I know this is just a hobby but I was doing it very seriously.

Juno gave me an idea to hold small timber with sticky tape. I don't know if it is a common way to do it, but this was a really good idea and worked well.

The first chair's backrests were glued on the frames of the chair, this time I caught backrests in the frames. This procedure is awkward and took time but looks better than the first one.

Luckily, we have lots of small clamps, they were just a good size to hold my miniature chair.
I took almost a day to complete the chair. Here it is, this is my second wooden chair of 1/6 scale. The tote bag on the chair is also 1/6 scale.

The next day that I made an American Walnut chair, I made a miniature outdoor bench because there were narrow pieces of offcut timber. I was going to cut the timber by the electric scroll saw as I did before, but Juno suggested that I use a CNC router. He imported the DXF data and cut the bench frames. It took about 20 to 25 minutes. It's easy and noisy.

After cutting the frames, as I did the day before, I sanded and made sure the size of each frames. Then, routed the edge of narrow timber, these timber would be the seats and the backrests.

The next step was the last step, putting the narrow timber onto the frames and then, I was finished.

I really enjoyed making miniature furniture. I would like to make 1/12 scale miniature next time.


Monday, January 16, 2017

The Effective Utilization of Timber Offcuts of Puzzles

In our workplace, there are plenty of timber offcuts. Silver Ash, Queensland Maple, Zebrano, Jarrah, each of these timbers is beautiful and I haven't wanted to waste them. I have been thinking what I am able to do with them and one idea came up in my mind. I love miniatures but haven't made any miniatures with wood. All right, let's make miniature furniture using those cutoffs!

I like chairs, I don't know why, I just like them. Therefore, I have decided to make one.
I asked Juno that if there were suitable timber cutoffs, then I would draw a chair by a software ViaCAD as Juno always does when he makes puzzles. It's very convenient software. I printed out the drawing and put it onto the board and cut it by an electric scroll saw. This electric scroll saw is my treasure, it's called "General." I heard this model is the same as "Excalibur," which is sold in the U.S. and Canada.

The size of the chair I made is 1/6 scale. I was at a loss at first to decide between 1/6 scale or 1/12 scale. 1/12 scale is the worldwide standard size of dollhouses but I thought it's small and difficult to make, then I chose 1/6 scale. Anyway, this time is a trial. I was going to make a prototype and am going to see how it will be, therefore I used plywood.

As you see in the picture below, there are some holes. If I compare plywood to a ham sandwich, some parts have no hum! (see the red circle in the picture)

I was a little disappointed but the prototype looked good.
 (Later, Juno fixed the hole! Thanks.)

I'm going to change the size and design a little bit and am going to make miniature chairs with real timber. I will show you when I have finished making them.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Making Checkouts of Puzzle Pieces Safely

Last time, I wrote about the safety measures of our table saws and this time, I'm going to write about the safety measurements again. You may think that my explanation is long-winded but you want to keep eight fingers and two thumbs, don't you?

As you know, puzzle pieces have complicated checkouts. Making these checkouts accurately and safely, we need a jig called a sled.
Here is a sled that Juno made and the next picture is a dado* cutter.

Dado cutters have thick blades and they turn at high speed, therefore it's important to make the working environment safe. Please take a look at the picture below. The red part which I circled is one of the covers for safety. Under the cover, there is a dado cutter.

As the next picture shows, if there is no cover the dado cutter can be touched easily and it's really dangerous.

The next safety measure to show you is a stopper. (see the blue circle in the picture)

In case of pushing the sled too far back, even if there is the safety cover, the dado cutter comes out and there's a possibility to touch it by accident. This board on the back end of the table saw acts as a stopper and you may not push the sled too far. Another point is to keep the sled moving the distance it needs. If it can cut the pieces as they are needed, it is not necessary to push the sled a lot further.

The next attachment is the panel which is fixed on the back end of the sled (see the green circle in the picture). As I wrote, the dado cutter turns at high speed and it scatters sawdust and debris. It is not often but sometimes the tip of the blade breaks and small metal piece might fly toward you at high speed. This panel prevents these things from flying.

The last trick to introduce is this small rectangular block with a handle.

This block is for holding puzzle pieces stably and also works to prevent touching the blade.

As you see, the dado cutter is just underneath these puzzle pieces. The blade is so close to fingers and it is extremely dangerous to hold these pieces by hand, therefore it is turned by using the holding block.

Juno makes holding blocks in conformity to a thing to make.

See you next time!


*Dado: A kind of wide checkout. It is commonly used by burr puzzles.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Safety Measures of our Table Saw

Happy New Year to all the puzzle lovers and woodworking lovers!

I have written about our workplace facilities on this blog for four times last year, "The Sanding Workstation", "A Handmade Branding Iron", "Safety Measures for the Jointer" and "A Handmade Router Table." Well, can you guess what will be the next subject? Oh yes, you already saw the title of this blog, of course. I'm going to write about the most powerful, useful and dangerous power tool, a table saw.

We have three table saws and they are customized by Juno. There are lots of jigs for the table saws and one of them is a zero clearance insert. Here are the inserts we use. Juno made two wooden zero clearance inserts and one for mitre cut, one for straight (90 degrees) cut and a splitter. On top of the picture below, there are a wooden zero clearance insert for mitre cut.

The reason he made these jigs is to prevent off cuts of small pieces of timber to be jammed between the gap of the saw blade. With the inserts that were attached to the table saw, there is a wide gap around the saw blade. If you want to cut small pieces of timber and use the attached standard insert, cuts off of timber might be jammed into the gap, and it will cause damage, for example, off cuts might scatter and hit you, and they might also damage the pieces you are cutting or damage the saw blade.

As you see in the picture below, there is a very narrow slit for the saw blade which barely passes through. It has only a narrow gap for the saw blade and it can support timber and timber will be more stable.

This zero clearance insert is made of wood because it is easier than making it of metal. Juno inserted grub screws on each corner of the zero clearance insert because it can be adjusted to the height easily by screwing. (see picture below)

There are other parts here, these are riving knives. The attached riving knives are big and they have to be attached to the parts to which the saw blade is attached, and it is physically impossible to use these metal riving knives when we use a handmade zero clearance insert.

Therefore, Juno made and attached this wooden splitter to the handmade zero clearance insert. This splitter is almost the same thickness as the saw blades and is fixed by glue and reinforced by bamboo skewers. Dependent on purpose, Juno changes splitters or riving knives appropriately.

The next picture shows lots of screw holes on the surface of the table saw. Juno made these holes for setting fences and jigs easily.

There is one more convenient thing, it's an extension of the table saw, out feed table. When you rip long timber, it would be a little difficult to keep it stable. The out feed table makes the timber stable and makes feeding easier to push. It's a very convenient function but takes room, so that Juno made it as a folding-out feed table.

Juno customized the table saws a lot and made them more convenient. The puzzles we are selling now were mostly cut by this table saw.

Well, we are working on Juno's new puzzle now.
Please look forward to seeing the next puzzle!