Friday, August 31, 2012

Welding practice

With my winter clear out program well under way I thought I would do some welding practice with some 3mm plate I have had stashed away.  The sheet was 200mm wide and I thought I would weld a small wood stove.  I cut the sheet with my jigsaw which was surprisingly easy.  Restricted by the size of the material I welded a 200mm square x 600mm box with an exhaust baffle in the ceiling.  The test burn went well enough with air drawing through the fire and up the chimney.  I was happy with the welding but I learnt that if I wanted a portable camp stove 3mm plate is too heavy and if I wanted a wood stove for my workshop 200mm square x 600mm is too small to be practical.  An interesting experiment and another stove will be on the drawing board soon.  This stove went to my local friendly scrap yard in exchange for more materials.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

H.M.S. Recalcitrant

This little project has reminded me why I'm fascinated with sailing.  You would imagine a 12 inch toy boat would be a fairly straight forward project.  Three trial rigs later and some unplanned brass ballast has finally meant I can hand this over to its new 7 year old owner.  The boat should be able to sail in a straight line across a pond and should provide hours of entertainment when video games loose their edge.  In terms of tinkering value for money this project was as good as it gets.  Free materials and hours fine tuning and setup.  Of course the client has naming rights so "Recalcitrant" was only a project name during the trials.  Maybe a French name?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A cedar Japanese toolbox

My bread and butter boat is progressing bit by bit and mostly in the comfort of my lounge room.  In a recent outing to the workshop I pulled out some of the red cedar salvaged from Sydney to try to pick out some boards to make a box to present the boat.  The deal was my friends would help load the wood onto my trailer and I would make something out of it for them.

All the boards were fairly fragile with splits along the grain and I noticed that the larger wider boards had been harder to break up and so had more hammer marks.  What started as two promising boards ended as one sound box top and two fragile sides on the verge of splitting.  I thought the Japanese toolbox design would be ideal because the cleats would double as reinforcing.  I cut the box ends from some straight 19mm hardwood to provide a large gluing surface and some solid rigidity to the box.  The sides were glued to the ends and a ply base glued over the top, again, to provide rigidity.  Left over offcuts were trimmed down to make the cleats and a some trim to cover the ply edges.

I've said it before and I'll say it again but this Japanese tool box design is so clever and simple.  The lid sits inside the box sides and is cut oversized along its length.  The cleats are positioned asymmetrically so that the longer overhang can be placed in first, the opposite end drops in and the lid can be slid across to latch in place.  It has a very satisfying and secure feel without any metal hardware.