Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Woodworking

I hemmed and hawed and finally decided to pick up a drill press this week. The glue joint on the prototypes between the angle block and the back piece is just not strong enough on its own. I managed to break two of them apart this week. The smallest "pins" I could find were 1/4" and since the back piece is only 1/2" wide its going to take some precision drilling, through a 45 degree angle no less, to make this all come together. While I could make my own pegs at what ever width I desire there is a point where the peg itself wouldn't be strong enough and I want to be able to buy off the shelf as much as possible. So enter the drill press. I was able to sit down outside this afternoon and enjoy a lovely autumn day and figure out how to make this work. The two that had broken were relatively easy to do, but the two that were still intact and the second side of the other two were going to present some problems. I did one by holding everything by hand and hoping that blocks didn't start spinning out from the drill. That worked but its not the safest and it kind of felt like a game of Jenga. 

A jig was required. It turned out to be pretty simple, just a little box the right size, a back piece and a 45 degree block and I was set. I need to calibrate the miter saw properly though its still cutting a slight angle when I should be getting a vertical cut. Rather than do that I went brute force and glued the box together and then pegged it as well. Not the prettiest work but it gets the job done and that's all I need it to do.

After I drilled and pegged everything I spent some time sanding everything down in preparation for a little finish work. I hit everything again with the 80 grit sandpaper, then followed that up with the 120 grit and finally a shot with the 220 grit. Poplar is a relatively soft hardwood so this only took about an hour to work through. Since my intention is to match woods with the miniature I went with a natural finish rather than a colored stain. I'm quite please with the final result. I still need to figure out what wood to use for the backdrops but I'm closing in actually finishing these and showing them off a bit. I'll definitely be using a couple of the better looking ones for my Genghis Con entries.

Here is the photo story for today.

Successfully drilled out the first display stand. A good combination square and a mechanical pencil are required tools.

This is a 1/2" fluted "pin" I have applied my favorite wood glue Titebond
See how much glue is forced out, hence why the peg is fluted to give it someplace to go. Use a wet cloth or paper towel to wipe up the excess glue.

The second peg is in. This should now hold up to just about any abuse you care to dish out at this point.

Ready to cut the pegs

Quick work with a hand held miter saw

Followed by more sanding to get them flush

Here one of the display stands that survived the week intact is now pegged from both sides. Working on this piece convinced me that I needed some kind of jig to hold everything while I drilled the holes.

Pegs cut and sanded

Constructed the jig. I couldn't find any rubber bands so I grabbed some hair bands instead.

What goes inside, one of the back pieces and one 45 degree cut block. 

Works like a charm. Note at this point I hadn't cut the excess pegs from the jig yet.

Finishing everything up with a coat of Watco Danish Oil, natural finish. I even did the jig. Since its going to get a lot of use I figured that it would be best if it had a protective finish as well. You can clearly see that the pegs are made from a different kind of wood. Since these are on the back side and will be covered by the backdrop I'm not worried about matching woods.

And everything put together in the right way.

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