Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wood Working

The woodworking (panel making) is progressing nicely. Now I have 8 panels done: 3 - 12x24 and 5 - 16x16. Today I ordered a sheet of birch ply cut by the lumberyard into 10 - 16x16 pieces (exact) with 3 leftovers: one piece 16x48 (approx) plus two 16x40 (approx). I also got 8 pieces of 1x4x8 to make the cradled backs. This will amount to 128 feet of 1 1/2" backs. This whole thing cost me $113 - a lot less than finished panels cost, even the cheap ones.

But beyond cost savings, there is a certain satisfaction in making the panels. I like the feeling of accomplishment in seeing them multiply, even if my carpentry leaves a little to be desired. I hope I get better with practice.

I'm a little behind the curve in basic knowledge because a long, long time ago when I went to high school, the girls went to home ec and the boys went to shop. I, on the other hand, being in the "business curiculum" went to neither - instead, we had an extra shorthand class or something. But I think that this detriment in my official learnin' in both the "boy skills" and the "girl skills" has allowed me to self school in both areas without prejudice even though I'm playing catch up.

So I'm going to show you my studio in its present state. You may wonder how the hell I work in there - and so do I sometimes. But here is the woodworking end of my studio right now. This is the end that I don't mind getting sawdust in because everything is wrapped or too far away to get damaged (I hope). (That black table with the wood on it may look fancy but I found the base in a dumpster, cut down a piece of old plywood for the top and hit the whole thing with glossy black paint. Voila!)

I have my table saw (this is the actual thing). See that dumb black bag underneath that's supposed to collect sawdust? And doesn't really.

Then I have my trusty chopsaw for cutting the lengths of wood for the cradle backs.

And here is the push stick I made for pushing wood through the table saw - impressive, huh?

These are some of the tools I use to put the panels together. Wow, a hammer and pliers! This is the table I paint my acrylic pieces on so the plastic is covered with old paint - time to replace it. It's at the point where the paint comes off on everything - including the new panels.

So there you have it. In the studio in living color, warts and all.


M said...

I think it's great that you are making your own panels. Pretty impressive machinery for a gal. I'm no slouch around the workshop either. I learned early from my father because I followed him around and did all kinds of carpentry things when I was a child. My husband is a woodworker with a fully outfitted workshop in our basement which makes me very lazy. There is satisfaction from knowing I could do it if I needed to.

I don't mind the chop saw, band saw or radial arm saw, but table saws cause me some stress. I'm glad you are being safety conscious on the table saw and using a push trough. Are you nailing and gluing or just gluing? Do you have the picture frame strip clamp to keep the "frame" together while gluing?

Nancy Natale said...

Hi Margaret,
Good for you in knowing how to woodwork!

I am both gluing and nailing. Each side of the cradle goes on separately and then nails (brads really) are driven through from the side. It's pretty sturdy. I am not clamping because the brads are holding the wood pieces in place until the glue sets. Then I nailset the brads, fill with wood filler and sand after that dries. I'd like to get a nailgun, which would save me nailsetting and be a lot faster, but I understand that one powerful enough to drive the brads in far enough is too expensive right now.

I followed my father around and learned auto mechanics.

Leslie Avon Miller said...

Oh I love this, wood working for artists! My husband has his wood shop right on the other side of the wall from the studio, so I just pop over there if I need a power tool, although I have my own sander as I love to sand my paintings. Since Kurt loves to make the panels he does that for me. We are up to 36 inches x 36 now. They aren’t finished, but will be soon. And I help run the birch plywood sheet through the table saw; its big for one person to handle. And to his credit he also is a great cook. No gender bias around here!

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