Saturday, 30 November 2013

Jewellery Box - Part 2

After gluing the carcase I found that (despite the fact all four feet were on the assembly table and level, the front being all square and the drawer dividers level to each other) the top two sides were not co-planer to each other. I can only imagine some error has crept in during making the two side parts. Anyway the cure was to remove the thin veneer from the left hand end grain face and glue on a thick one (about 2 mm thick or just over 1/16")
When the glue setup I took the block plane and planed a slight taper from front to back. This resulted in a 0.5 mm veneer at the front gently tapering to about 1.5 mm at the rear on the left hand side as shown in the picture.

This will only be seen by fellow woodworkers (and of course you dear reader) but it does now mean the lid will fit without any obvious gaps that would have been seen by everybody!

I then glued in a milled piece of walnut at the back that will become the hinge board. This too was planed down flush with the sides. Everything on the top surface is now co-planer so the lid will sit flat.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Jewellery Box - Part 1

I am in full swing at TMCWoodworks Towers at the moment making Christmas gifts. One of the projects is a jewellery box as a surprise for my fantastic wife Elly. She never reads my blog so I'm safe to post it here (I hope).
Anyway the box is based upon a Norm Abrams New Yankee Workshop project. I bought the plans from the NewYankee Workshop website and adapted them to my needs. As ever I re-drew it using Trimble Sketchup.

This is what it will look like when it's finished.

Box closed - drawer pulls not shown

Box open


Some time ago I bought a whole raft of lumber and in the pile were some really nice pieces of American Black Walnut. I didn't have enough to do the entire project but sufficient for the exterior details.
The drawer interior components will be made from oak with 1/4" plywood bases. The design also has a hidden drawer which is a fun item.
The hardware will be all Brusso brass components.

Stock prep

I set to work milling all the stock for the carcase to size and glueing the walnut facing on the oak drawer dividers. The sides are made from solid walnut in two pieces. I used Titebond II dark wood for the glue so I didn't get a light glue line. Next the sides were cut to shape with their tapered legs.

Sketchup view of the side panel
The stopped dados (stopped housings) were cut at the router table and I milled some tenons on the drawer dividers. To finesse the tenons into the dados I used a combination of my Record 078 rabbet plane and my Stanley 93 shoulder plane. Both planes are tuned to perfection and produced perfect fits.
Sketchup view of the inside of the side
panel showing dados and rabbets.
BTW I forgot to take pictures while
I was doing the actual work!
The dividers were glued into the side panels and clamped overnight. I also took the opportunity to cut a thin veneer of walnut and applied it to the the top exposed end-grain of the sides.

Carcase clamped up

Carcase revealed.
A lot of work left to do and I have to do this surreptitiously so don't let the cat out of the bag wood fans.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Anna - one of my shop cats

Anna came to us as a young kitten along with Amber who is two months younger. Anna was 2 years old in September and Amber had her 2nd birthday November 1st 2013.
Anna loves my shop and finds all sorts of hidey holes. Her favourite position is on top, yes on top, of my dust/chip extractor. Needless to say it is not running at the time. The extractor has a metal insert to keep the filter bag in an upright position and is a perfect cat perch.

Anna up on her perch

"It's great up here!"

This table saw is a nice place to sit

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Shower Room Vanity Unit - Part 10 - Finishing and installation

I sprayed the cabinet with water from a handheld bottle sprayer. After it dried it had raised the grain and I knocked it back with 320 grit.
The cabinet was then finished in General Finishes Outdoor 450 and I hand applied it. There were 3 coats inside and out to the cabinet and drawers. The top was finished with the same finish buy this was sprayed on with HVLP.
I lightly sanded back between coats and the initial raising of the grain treatment had worked really well. The cabinet ended up with a silky smooth finish.
Cabinet after appling the finish.
The cabinet was then installed in the wet-room. The cut outs I had designed in to clear the water inlet and waste outlet pipes worked like a dream. The top was slid into place after disconnecting the waste water outlet pipe and the cabinet slid underneath. There is about 1.6 mm (1/16") clearance from the top to the underside of the wall mounted basin. I simply sealed the gap with some clear bathroom sealant and the top was secured to the cabinet with some shop made clips.
View showing those awesome
spalted beech door panels

The cabinet is now in situ
and being used.
Thanks for looking at this very enjoyable project.


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Record Power AC400 air filter review

I've had this unit for just over 12 months now and thought I would share my thoughts about it with the woodworking community.
The unit came is a large well protected box and was complete with all accessories.
The main unit
A remote control
Rubber Feet
Hooks and chains

The specification of the unit is:
  • Outer Filter: 5 Microns
  • Inner Filter: 1 Micron
  • Overall Dimensions: L514 x W431 x H258 mm
  • Sound Rating @ 1 m: High Speed 69 dB
  • Medium Speed 67 dB
  • Low Speed 62 dB
  • Air Flow: High Speed 409 CFM
  • Medium Speed 362 CFM
  • Low Speed 260 CFM
  • Motor: 120W, 230V, 50Hz, 1 Ph
  • Timer Settings: 1, 2 and 4 hours
  • Weight: 14 kg
                      As I live in the UK it is set to run at 230 V ac. In practice the unit is suitable for shops of up to 113 m3 in size. My shop is around 90 m3 so one unit is more than adequate.
                      Essentially the AC400 comprises a steel box with pierced removable covers on either end. The motor is directly attached to the impeller to make up an efficient centrifugal fan. These type of fans are extremely quiet in operation.


                      Record Power state that the unit is to be mounted at least 2.13M above floor level. I have mine mounted in between the roof trusses in my shop about 2.3 metres above floor level. There is a lifting handle should you want to carry it up a ladder. Rubber feet are provided should you wish to situate it on a high shelf.
                      AC400 in position in my shop as
                      seen from below

                      Sketchup view of where the AC400
                      is located in my shop

                      The unit is located above the table saw and hand-tool area in my shop. I have it positioned with the outlet 2/5ths away from the wall on the shorter axis of the shop. My shop is around 5 m x 6.5m so it is essentially about 2m away from the wall. This asymmetric positioning apparently creates a natural air circulation.


                      The unit is plugged into a mains electricity socket which is switched permanently on. You can control the unit in two ways:
                      1. Climb up a ladder and operate the controls on the unit
                      2. Use the supplied remote control.

                      The remote control appears to be an infrared sender unit as you have to point it at the AC400 at the outlet side. There must be an optical receiver on the outlet side somewhere. I must confess I cannot see it but my eyes are not as good as they used to be - my excuse and I'm sticking to it.


                      Controls on the remote are very concise, clear and easy to use.
                      Pressing the green button switches the AC400 motor on in low speed mode. Pressing the green button again changes to medium speed, once more into high speed. If you press again you go back to low speed and so on. The LEDs on the AC400 register the speed you are currently running at and are very useful.
                      The yellow button engages a timer function starting with 1 hour, press again for  2 hours and press again for 4 hours.
                      This is incredibly useful as it automatically switches off so you can leave the shop while it is still running knowing that it will eventually shut itself off.


                      What noise?? Seriously in operation the AC400 is really quiet. You barely know it is on. There is no hum just a gentle blowing. At high speed its noise rating at 1m away is 69db which is normal conversation level.
                      As the thing is up in the air you are not disturbed by it especially in a workshop which has much louder noises around.


                      Before I got the unit there always seemed to be a "fog" in the air which lasted quite sometime after the last machining operation. Now it is dispersed very quickly and the shop appears to stay clean after I have swept it. Sure there are still odd bits of dust on flat surfaces but it is much better now.

                      Filter cleaning/replacement

                      The filter cartridges are really easy to remove from the AC400 and it can be left in situ. There is a simply steel spring clip holding the outer filters in place. Once extracted these can be vacuumed with the shop vac or replaced. The inner 1 micron filter lasts a bit longer and also can be vacuumed.
                      The cost of replacement filters is not very high. I think dependant upon usage you may be able to clean them 2 or 3 times a year and then replace the 5 micron filters. The internal ones should last much longer before replacement. 

                      Five Year Warranty

                      Record Power stamp this on all their products to stand by the quality of their products. They will support any manufacturing faults that arise in that very long guarantee period. Not many companies offer this sort of warranty these days and Record Power need applauding.


                      I have had one fault with my AC400 and it happened 12 months into ownership. I don't use it 24/7 just when I'm in the shop doing machining operations. A couple of weeks back I had used it one night and then the next day it wouldn't start. I checked the batteries in the remote and also tried to operate it with the manual controls. This proved fruitless.
                      There is a 1 amp 1-3/8" long fuse on the control panel. I removed it and found that it hadn't blown but tested it just in case. All was OK. 
                      So I went onto Record Power's website and as I had previously registered all of my RP equipment serial numbers there I raised an incident.
                      Within 24 hours I had a response and they said they had identified a fault with the PCB controller due to faulty components on other similar units. A new PCB was despatched to me and I received it next day.

                      Disassembling the AC400 is relatively straight forward only requiring a #2 PZ screwdriver. I was easily able to replace the old circuit board with the new one and had it working within about 10 minutes of the postman handing it to me. All in all top marks of 5 stars to Record Power support department.

                      If you are not too certain of how to replace it yourself RP also offered to get one of their engineers to do it for you. All you had to do is take it to your nearest RP supplier.
                      Burnt out AC400 PCB
                      It looks nasty but was easy to replace


                      Record Power have made a superb, relatively affordable, air cleaner for use in a woodshop. I can heartily recommend this for weekend warrior usage or indeed semi-pros too. With the inclusion of an excellent 5 year warranty combined with superb customer service you can't go wrong with this unit.

                      Saturday, 2 November 2013

                      Shower Room Vanity Unit - Part 9 - The top and drawer pulls

                      Top Panel

                      The top is made from a nice piece of sapele that was thicknessed to around 22mm (7/8") thick. The front of the panel was designed to protrude 40mm beyond the cabinet and tapered down to around 12mm with a 10x30mm bevel.
                      The panel is made from two boards jointed and glued up. The glue joint was cleaned up with a combination of cabinet scraper and random orbit sander.
                      The taper was done by hand with a combination of jointer plane and smoothing plane. I must say sapele cuts like a dream with no tearout if you have sharp blades and observe the grain direction. Long whispery shavings emerged from both planes when nearing the completion cuts.
                      A beautiful pristine sapele top

                      The only thing to spoil this was the fact I had to cut a rectangular hole into is and a cutout on the rear to clear the water pipes. It really is a difficult to get your head around but I got out a battery drill and bored 4 holes. Then the jigsaw made short work of cutting out the rectangle. The rear cutout was easier once I had "butchered" the top!
                      The edges were smoothed and I veneered a thin sliver of sapele on the end grain. Once cured and cut flush the right hand edge and the front edge had a 1/8" radius ovolo router cutter run over them to create a sharp edge and radius.
                      When sanded back to 220 grit the top was sprayed with some tap water. When this dried the grain was raised and I knocked it back with some 320 grit lightly done with the ROS.
                      Cut-outs added

                      Again this panel was pre-finished with several coats of General Finished Exterior 450

                      Drawer Pulls

                      The pulls were made from a wenge pen turning blank I had in stock. I simply run them through the planer and then tilted the table saw blade to 17.5 degrees to make the cut-outs for the fingers. The piece was then run through the router to radius the top edge. I cut each pull to length using the cross-cut sled on the table saw and then finished each piece by hand.

                      These too were pre-finished with Exterior 450 after drilling some pilot holes in the rear of each.