New headers

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I’ve been working on a new display stand to use at shows.  Above is the header which will have turned hangers fixed in the holes and it will be fixed above a new trestle table.  As you can see I’ve been having some fun decorating it with 17th century-style carving.  OK there are quite a few mistakes in the execution, but it is a learning piece.  These are only the second to fourth S-scroll designs I’ve cut.  I’ve been using Peter Folansbee’s excellent DVD on S-Scroll carving.  I’m going to have to do something about either my stance or the height of the bench, or the ever-changing depth of the floor shavings because I’ve been getting an aching back whilst carving.  I suppose this is partly because of it’s being a new thing and getting tense trying not to make mistakes, like especially when removing the background from around the last letter!.  The most tiring part was matting the background with a punch, even though I did it in four sessions.

I’ve made it from a piece of sweet chestnut left over from an epic milling session making feather-edged boards for a counter front in a cafe.  The big Stihl 66 I am running the Alaskan mill with gradually got slower and slower at cutting , even though I sharpened it, made sure there was oil in, and made sure the cut was level.  Eventually I gave in a bought a new guide bar (24″) and chain (3/8ths, chisel).  This improved matters amazingly, and no wonder. The new Oregon bar has a sprocket at the nose, like my little 18″ thinning 260 machine, it also has to be greased manually daily.  Whereas – the crappy worn out bar that came with the second-hand 66 doesn’t even have a sprocket – no wonder life was getting tough!

Here’s a picture of my newly discovered way of holding the thing in the vice whilst sharpening the blade, much better than trying to balance it on top of the timber I’m milling.
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So less of this mess for a while …

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I milled some oak for this job (while the old bar was working pretty well) a picnic table with benches (note the drainers at the rear of the seats).

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And this weeks quiz. What is the significance of this number sequence?
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It runs: 1,2,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,14,14,15,15,16,16,17,17. Hint: you may need to look back to an earlier post on this channel.

Horrid smelly job

I’m milling chestnut that I bought from the estate. It’s a lousy job. Bent over a hot chainsaw mounted in it’s milling frame, wrapped in protective clothing with noise and smelly exhaust fumes. The butt is quite big for my little mill, which could use a beefier saw with a longer bar but I can just about get by, but it’s slow work. I sliced off all the bark first as the butt had been dragged by contractors along the track from where it was felled studding it with gravel, which would be bad news for the chain on the saw. Then, to make it fit the mill, I sliced off two slabs from each side with the mini mill. This reduces the roundness and gets rid of a layer of sap wood which is too prone to beetle attack to use. Then it’s just through and through with the mill, very slowly. On the first attempt at cutting the side slabs I mounted the saw wrongly in the jig and got covered in saw dust! In my ears, down my shirt – everywhere, good lesson, won’t make that particular mistake again.

Meanwhile in the afternoons I’m turning legs (just like a bodger) for some stools I’m making. Two are commissons and the rest are for the shows I’m attending this year. I’ll be making the rungs today and seeking out some seat tops.