Sunday, October 10, 2010

Miniatures again

Astronomically, winter is still some ways away. But this is Alaska. Early morning temperatures below freezing. Time to move indoors and do winter projects. It is time to work on Christmas presents. Unfortunately I cannot mention the subject in full, because the recipient is all too likely to be reading this. So let us say that it is a miniature of my future woodshed, which happens to be true! It is not the done thing to tell lies on a blog. The woodshed is held together by mortise-and tenon joints. So after some trial and error, I decided I needed a new mortising chisel.
So off to the microforge, and out came a 3.5mm chisel, seen stuck into a future mortise. The calipers at the left are 80mm long, to give you the scale. The chisel turned out at 3.7mm but I do not mind this; too loose is much better than too narrow!

I am using round pieces of wood for the woodshed. I could square them. That is a lot of work. The "logs" are prunings from my lilac tree (no bush, that one; it is as tall as the house!) and from ditto Japanese Maple. The lilac has a nasty pith; Japanese Maple is better. But one's prunings are what they are; selection is limited. Anyway, it is useful to have a centerline on the "logs" and thereby hangs a tale. In real life, you take a chalk line or a Japanese india ink line and snap it. I spent a whole morning trying to duplicate this system. I used sewing thread for a line, a pin to anchor the works, and tried inking and snapping. Alas, my ink is alcohol-based and dries much too fast. Plus snapping -- well, your fingers are not to scale. Very difficult to snap a 10-cm thread. In the end, I went to water color on the thread, and rubbed the thread with a chisel instead of snapping.
You can just see the thread, you can easily see the brush I used to color the line, and the line down the log. Now, I can line my tenons up. If you don't have a reference line it is all to easy to get the tenons out of line. Then they don't fit the mortises, or if they do, the thing ain't coplanar. The shed consists of two "sides" which are called bents in the trade. They will be tied together by two beams. I have to think as to how I will do this.

I microforged a couple of holdfasts, seen above, and cobbled up supports for the log from a split birch twig. I have to say that microforging is wondeful. Need a tool? Make it! Harder, of course, at full scale.

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