Wednesday, July 31, 2013

More tool improvement (diamond sharpening plates)

Here's a quick one. Remember those cheap import diamond bench stones from the prior post?

Cheap and worth buying
I had glued them to some pieces of cedar that I had lying around the shop, which made them a lot more rigid and therefor, useful.

diamond bench stones on substrate
v. 1.1

The problem was that the "stones" are just thin pieces of diamond coated metal, adhered to almost as thin pieces of plastic. And that plastic is not dead flat (what do you expect for $7 and change?). So.......

v. 2.0
I took a putty knife and popped the metal plates off of the plastic substrate. I think that in a few more days, the plates would've just fallen off on their own anyways, so this just sped up the inevitable. As before, spray glue and stick down. Clamp them and give 'em a few minutes for the glue to set and.........FLAT!

Cheap and now FLAT!

The spots of light are just those little divots that are all over the surface of the plate. It is as flat as can be (at least in my shop) and is now actually more accurate than my MUCH more expensive DMT duosharp stone

Not as cheap and not as flat either
Don't get me wrong, the DMT Duosharp isn't too bad and I use it for lots of stuff, but a precision instrument it is not. The DMT diasharp continuous surface bench stone IS flat, if that's your thing.

I love quick, cheap projects.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bugs are in the milk! (yoghurt making)

Wow! Just started and I am already behind! Obviously I am spending too much time making these posts into the highly polished works of art that.........yeah, OK.

YOGHURT!! Love it (my own version), the store bought......not as much. Too much stuff in it like sugar, thickeners and nasty fruit slimy stuff. And making your own is really cheap and easy. Just be careful that you don't get sucked into the old fermentation addiction. Before you know it you'll be making your own cheese, beer (beer, ohhhhhh) and the list goes on.

Here is how.

TONS of info from someone who really knows what's up. My stuff is pretty much the same as shown in his yoghurt process. There are lots of other tutorials for yoghurt making out there and most are a lot better than this one. There are a few steps that other people skip, but i f you want a good and consistent outcome, this is where you learn.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bosch 4000 table saw fix (momentum lost and found)

So it's been 10 days or so and the parts for my Bosch 4000 table saw have finally arrived.....time to bring the beast back to life. As you may remember, it had been making peculiar noises, off and on, for a few days prior to me actually deciding to do something about it, rather than burning the thing up. I have been known to actually be proactive, on occasion, regarding maintenance but generally the opposite is true. That must explain my ability to fix things. Practice!

The saw had been making a chattering, rattle-ly noise (bad bearings or field windings) concurrently with the motor dropping in RPM's (bad motor speed control, bearings, brushes, armature or field winding) and there was sparking visible through the motor dust shield ( bad brushes or armature). On dissasembly, the brushes weren't too bad, the armature appeared fine, but the tail bearing was worn and discolored as was the field winding. When I was messing around with the saw, trying to figure out what was wrong, I briefly disconnected the speed control, but that had no effect on the speed or chattery noise, so I figured that the speed control wasn't the culprit. When the speed control fails, the speed either goes too high or the saw actually runs slow or backward.

These saws (and the newer 4100) have a history of motor problems, with the field winding and electronic motor speed control being the most common points of failure. If you go to an online tool parts supplier like toolpartsdirect- Bosch 4000 saw you will see a list of the parts available, as well as the most commonly ordered parts. Very helpful. I ordered all of the most commonly replaced parts, because we all know what happens if we only get what we think that we need........

underside of Bosch 4000 table saw repair
Have you looked under your saw lately?
Here is where we left off. First remove the brushes and the three screws holding the dust cover in place. Take note of the wiring connections and separate them.

motor case disassembly Bosch 4000 table saw
Just a 4 screws to remove the case
Motor case removed Bosch 4000 table saw
Keep track of the parts
Tail bearing removal
3 jaw puller (the bearing came off easy)
Old/new bearing comparison
I prefer the one on the left
Using a socket to install a new tail bearing
Fancy tools, very sophisticated
Many light taps. I used a socket to keep from damaging the new bearing race.

New field winding Bosch 4000 table saw
New field winding
Motor re-assembly
Don't do this!
The tail bearing sits in a rubber bushing/seal cup, probably to allow for slight miss-alignment. I first put the rubber cup on the bearing, then put the case back in place, but the cup felt like it was getting in the way. Instead, I put the cup into the motor case bearing housing, THEN slipped the case over the armature and all was good. Also, the windings would have rubbed against the armature so they needed to be carefully (hahah) adjusted with a pliers (bent out of the way). This makes me a bit skeptical about the longevity of the repair or the overall quality of the parts. And these were real Bosch parts BTW.

No sparks!
Test run. A very few sparks and no chattery noises and the speed was good too. It looks like it was only the motor field winding that was causing the noises and speed fluctuation (although the bearing did need replacing, too). We'll see how long it lasts. My fingers are crossed.

Friday, July 12, 2013

An even plane (kanna rehab part 2)

Al right, where were we?

kanna plane sole adjustment
Sandy sole
The sole of the kanna dai has been sanded so that the three critical contact point are even. The surface of this plane looks kind of funny because the previous owner had scraped down the areas between the contact points just a liiitttle bit. This is good practice and one of those surprising details that make a kanna perform so well. Refer back to wilber's or Mafe's blog for good photos of the relief process. For this plane, there is no real reason to get the whole base completely flat, just to have to scrape it down again.

You will read elsewhere that the scraping down of the sole is to reduce friction, which it does, but it does a lot more than that. The proper relief is what causes the wood shavings to actually leap out of the plane mouth as you plane. You can tell when your plane needs a bit of adjustment when it only works as well as a "normal" western style plane. Not to dig, but for me this is true. I still use metal body planes on occasion because they are so easy to use and, if well tuned up, will give good results. I don't feel that I am particularly good with either, in my opinion. To see some people

kanna dai sole perpendicular to sides
Check the side for square
kanna side flat and square
Sand sand sand
You can see a mark towards the back of the dai. That's a iron stain where a wet piece of metal was touching the Oak body. We can fix that too.

registration marks kanna plane tune adjustment
Other side
The first side was very even and flat so I only wanted to remove enough material to leave the wood evenly  sanded. That took too long. This Japanese Oak is hard stuff. For this side, I took a couple of swipes on the sandpaper to register the high points, a few passes with another plane and 30 seconds of sanding left this side flat, even and perpendicular to the sole as well. Much more efficient. And less dusty. I mean, it's not like I don't have other planes, right?

kanna tune plane adjutment
What are these things for?
Makers mark dai stamp
Dai stamp
The dai was stamped by the maker, but I don't recognize the mark. I don't want to eliminate it, so I lightly sand the back face with 320 grit and it polishes up very well. This dai was hand cut by someone, and I respect that. This is turning out to be a really nice tool.

The question is, how much do you alter? I hate to think of myself as a tool collector (##$@@#$), I just want a nice tool to use. I want to respect the intent of the craftsman who originally made this, so I think that to alter it enough to make it work well and be a pleasure to use, that has got to be a good thing karmic-ly, right?

dai makers stamp
Silky smooth
dai plane kanna body adjustment rehab
Collectors beware
 I had the rasp handy, but the Japanese Oak is sooo nice to work with a chisel that I didn't use it. The chisel leaves a cool, faceted surface too. What I want to do is carve out some surfaces that you strike with the hammer or mallet when you adjust the set of the blade. This will help your dai last longer and keep it looking nice.
plane body adjusting kanna dai
Radical surgery?
And remember those iron stains?
iron stain removal ospho phosphoric acid
Phospho prime (dilute phosphoric acid)
Phosphoric acid rust stains removal
20 minutes later.
Good stuff to have on hand and doesn't stain the wood or anything. It reacts with the iron but not mold or anything, but for rust and iron stains.....

The last thing that I do is to freshen up the chamfers on all of the edges except the bottom front and back. Those stay square.
dai plane mouth opening
Open wide
This is where we left the set of the blade.The blade is too wide for the mouth opening and the wood shavings will jam up the way  that it is now. The black marks show the amount of metal that needs to be ground away to have this fit properly. I use a rough diamond stone, followed by a finer grit diamond stone. Also, the finished mouth opening will be too wide for my tastes. It looks like it will be about 1mm or so. I make mine zero, then open just a tiny bit, enough for a shaving, using a file. If you need it wider, you can always change it later. Tightening it up is not as easy. This is good enough for now. I just want to try this sucker out.

Two more rounds of scribble, oil and scrape get us a good snug fit that barely protrudes out the bottom of the dai body.
dai plane body mouth adjustment
Far enough
See the area just this side of the blade? To our way of thinking, a Japanese plane is all backwards, so the terminology of front/back gets all confusing. To my way of thought, the tool is an extension of the craftsman using it, so if you hold the tool as it is used, the point furthest away from you is the front. This photo is taken from the front, looking towards the user at the back of the tool. Confused? Yeah, I know. The light colored spot to this side of the blade (in back of the blade, actually) is too high. It needs to be scraped down lower than the rest of the sole and is the single most critical point of the sole adjustment process. I want to try this guy out, so I take a couple of swipes with the scraper and then take it for a test-drive.

kanna plane fix adjustment rehab
Not too bad!
It works! I feels pretty good too. But we can make it Better. Stronger. Faster. The six million dollar plane ($6,000,000....hahah the good old days. My cancer surgery was nearly 1 mil and I'm not 1/6 of what Steve Austin was). I can't get a good, thin shaving yet. This is kind of funny, I would be psyched to get a shaving this good in the old days. Today, not quite par.
dai sole adjustment
3 point contact
The tape defines the areas that we are going to scrape down. When I say down, I mean that the finished depth will be like less than a 64th of an inch lower than the three contact bars that are covered by the tape. For the scraper, I am using the chip breaker blade, just like a real carpenter. I've got a cool little kanna that is specifically used for tuning dai soles, but I wanted to do this old-school. I use a chisel as a scraper, too. Works great.
plane dai wave adjustment kanna
Just a bit off of the top, please

That's more like it
kanna plane shavings
Money shot, plane porn
This is on clear Port Orford Cedar. Straight grain. How about some with some fleck? This stuff can give me fits at times.

plane shavings kanna
Just the tiniest bit of tear-out
We can still do better. There is the smallest bit of tear-out on the ribbon figure. For this, we need to fit the chip-breaker blade.

braker blade kanna
Too tight
I got lucky again. I added some bling by replacing the retaining pin with one made out of brass. Kind of flashy, I know. It was about .5mm smaller in diameter, so I peened over one end, using a hammer, to thicken it for a snug fit in it's hole. The pin goes in from the left hand side and the right hand hole should be slightly smaller. In the perfect world of well made planes, that is. This one was. And. The new pin fit almost perfectly. The breaker blade is the slightest bit tight, with just a very small tilt to one side. Thank god, because this breaker is too thick to just bend the ears (mimi) down. A few passes on the diamond bench stone to trim down the higher of the two ears and it was perfect.
kanna chip breaker adjustment
As close as you can
You want the chip-breaker set to be as close to the cutting edge as possible, like .3 or .5mm ideally. I can't see down there, but I think that it is around 1mm or maybe a bit less.

And the proof?

a nicely tuned kanna
Same piece of wood. You can see the ribbon figure in the shaving.

I am not some great pro or anything. Admittedly, I got really lucky with this kanna. It was a very good tool to begin with and wasn't in too bad of shape. I'll show some really rough ones in future posts. This took a total of about 2 hours or so of relaxing work. You really get to know your tools this way. If you are a set-it-and-forget-it kind of person, this obviously isn't for you. If you don't mind a bit of fiddling, you can do some really nice work for not a lot of money. This kanna looks almost new now and performs really well. I may still fit a piece to tighten up the throat, but for now, I'm happy.

kanna rehabilitation tune up and improvement
I makes thicker shavings too

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Out of tune......or "How to make your old kanna sing again"

Japanese carpenter's wood planes (kanna), man I love these things! Whisper thin shavings that actually leap from the body of the plane leaving behind a surface so smooth it shimmers, it's like magic or something. They look deceptively simple with only a chunk of wood for a body that looks almost exactly like a lumberyard 2x4 and a couple of chunks of steel stuck in the top......but they are ooohhhhh so much more. There are serious subtleties at work here.
Japan-tool "Rangiku" by Chiyozuru Sadahide

 This is an incredible masterwork. For sale at Japan-tool. I don't want to know the price. Great site, knowledgeable guy, and !VERY! good taste. Fair prices, too. I would love to have a tool this nice (hint, hint) but in reality, it would be too nice for me to use and that would be a shame. I make tools and the thought of one of them just sitting on a shelf somewhere is flattering, I suppose. Truly flattering would be if something that I built is a favorite tool that gets used by someone skilled enough to understand and appreciate it. I bet the guy who made this would feel the same. Personally, I prefer to buy an old beater to start out with and then maybe someday, when you know what you're doing, you might be ready for a kanna like the beauty shown above.

This might help you out if you are the adventurous type and it really isn't hard. Just take it slow and you might be surprised how well your old junker performs. To make the most of this process, first get an education. There are some great tutorials out there already, I am only adding a few additional wrinkles that I find helpful.

The first step is sharpening. Even if your kanna comes super sharp (good luck), it won't be sharp forever.These forum posts are by So, who owns Japan-tool. Rock star.

Plane blades part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Next is Mafe, on setting up a kanna. He lives in Denmark. He's my hero.

Kanna setup and sharpening

More, by Wilbur Pan. Another cool guy I'd love to hang out with. Too bad he's on the other coast.
 Plane setup

Most/all of the planes that you buy will need work. Some are better off in the trash. I think those are the most fun. Just buy something that has a blade worth keeping. This is a catch-22. An old, used up blade was good enough to use until it was nearly gone, but when you are starting out you want a bigger target to hit when you're adjusting the set of the blade. On the plus side, a shorter blade is easier to sharpen because the bevel is wider and blade is less top heavy. I wouldn't worry about it, to be honest. I have yet to get one that won't work at all. What I mean is that NONE of the planes that I buy will work without some attention, but with some effort......

I set up all of my planes to be high performing smoothing planes, at least to the extent of my abilities. Bear with me, if this seems too hardcore. For starters, we will focus on the basics of fitting the blades to see how well this guy can cut. I will address tightening up the throat and inlaying wear bars in a future post.

Here is what I do.

Japanese carpentry plane kanna
Buy a plane

kanna blades

Preferably one that isn't so bad that it makes you sick to your stomach to look at it. Or one that was run over by a truck. Not too rusty. Light surface rust is OK. This plane was used by someone who knew what they were doing. Most carpenters use a steel hammer to adjust the plane blade, which deforms the blade all to hell (I use a small wooden mallet because I haven't made a bronze one yet) and are too busy to fiddle around, tapping out the blade back (ura-oshi). This one is nice. The plane as a whole was perfectly adjusted, many years ago. By the time I got it, it had warped significantly and the plane body (dai) had shrunk tight around the blade.
I pared about 1mm, laterally, from each side of the slot that the blade sits in (no pics, sorry). That gave me 2mm width of wiggle room, which is plenty. Don't trim the top surface of the slot, pretty much my only "don't". You are only working on the broad lower bed that the blade rests on.

This is the plane that we are working on, a big pencil, a couple of chisels (one is a skinny 3mm),  squares, plane adjusting mallet, a file, and a couple of straight sticks (winding sticks). You could do all of this with just the file and the mallet.
tools for plane repair improvement
Get your tools

Remove the blades and the chip breaker. The retaining pin should slide out to the left. You will probably need to tap it out with something like a nail set (or a nail). Because this will be a finishing plane, I want the blade to be a really snug fit. Not sledgehammer tight, but pretty snug. You can use my mallet in the above photo to judge how hard I can tap the plane. We are talking about smart raps, not hauling off and waling on the thing. This plane was well set up, way back when, but I know that after the dai is adjusted for warp and shrinkage (Shrinkage!), it's gonna be too loose so I go ahead and do a few practice fits, just to get a feel for the wood and the blade shape. This also cleans the blade bed down to clean, fresh wood and gives me the proper contour for......

Wood veneer business card shims
loose fix
Gluing in some wood shims. I have gotten 2 types of plane off of Ebay. Either the blade is too tight and the dai is cracked, or the blade is loose and there is a paper spacer glued to the blade bed. Plan on gluing in a spacer. I have used paper, but the wood one that I show makes for a better fitting dai. on this plane, I pared out enough material so that the blade actually extended about 1 or 2 mm out of the bottom of the dai, then I glued in this very thin wood spacer using yellow wood glue. The wood is actually some Maple business card material that I bought from Lee Valley Tools a long time ago. They still have it for the same price, twenty some years later. Go figure.

Wood veneer business cards.

Spread the glue, then tap the blade into position (not all of the way, but firm) and leave it for a day or so, then remove the blade and wait a few more days if you can. Trim the excess and you end up with...

kanna dai mouth opening
Open wide
From the underside, we are about 3mm shy of where we want to be. As you fit the blade, place it as neutrally as possible. Try to tap it directly on the apex so that you get it to sit evenly in the dai. Mine always lean right, but I still try. When you remove the blade, hit the dai at the outer corners, not in the middle or you will end up with a cracked dai.

Time to get fit.
Scribble on the face with a pencil
You need to use something to act as a reference marker. You can use pencil, ink, marker, oil, lots of things will work. The idea is the same. Ink the blade, then tap it into place.

carbon reference mark
Make it all go away

Remove the blade and pare down the high spots that were marked. Remember the file? I sharpen the end of it to a square, flat surface so that it acts as a scraper. It is easier to use than a chisel, because it doesn't tend to dig in. Also, don't forget to trim the areas at the outermost edges of the slots. Often, this is where you blade will hang up, so get the bed trimmed right to the very  edge.

Carbon reference mark removed
All gone


This is using a light cooking oil. Kinda hard to see

 Repeat......I did this about 6-7 times. I like to pretend that I'll get a perfect fit, but I never do.

Oil and graphite lead pencil together is my favorite

1mm to go
OK, stop trimming the bed for a bit.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Momentum lost

No sooner do I really get going on a project that I've been putting off for far too long when........*Sigh* table saw starts making funny noises and spitting sparks.

Bosch 4000 4100 motor failure sparks bad field windings
Bosch 4100 (Mine is the 4000)

 This is a picture of the newer 4100, but it evidently has the same issues, which is a poorly built motor field winding assembly. When this starts to go bad, you will hear the motor kind of stutter, rpm's go up and down, often hear a chattering noise and see lots of sparking underneath the motor dust cover. The bearing in the armature tailpiece often goes out too, talking the plastic motor case with it. And the motor speed control often has issues and does things like make the motor run backwards and stuff. This is a $600 saw, not that I paid that much for it, and I would be PISSED if my 1 year warranty had just expired. I, of course, bought mine used off of Craigslist for $70 with a stuck lifting mechanism. Oh yeah, it has the least effective dust collection system out of any tool that I have ever seen. The old saws in my highschool wood shop had better dust collection, and they had NOTHING! At least they dropped their dust on the floor. This one throws it in your face and the front of your pants. That IS with the vacuum hooked up!

What do I like? The aluminum table is flat, the blade is square to the slots, and the fence works well and is tolerably sturdy. It has a "soft-start" which should prolong motor life (hahhahahah) and the wheeled stand is sturdy and works very well. The right side of the table is a sliding extension the allows you to rip to the middle of a 4x8 sheet and the fence still stays square. the arbor/shaft thing has NO wobble and it makes great, accurate cuts, which is more than I can say for a lot of saws. I also have a basement workshop, so I don't have very much room at all, much less a REAL table saw, and this one is nicely mobile. If only the damn thing didn't smell like bacon frying.

Freud saw blades table saw good value
Devil blade
 Buy good blades. I think that the Freud lineup is a good value, and the Diablo's are good enough for most users. I would suggest that you also buy a spare motor while you are at it, but Bosch doesn't sell them. The parts for my fix will run $100 from and I don't even need to replace the case.

So where does this leave us?

Bosch 4000 motor failure field winding replacement
Not much under here, is there?

bad field windings Bosch 4000 table saw
Smells like barbecue
The picture make it look worse than it looks in person, but there is some discoloration and some of the insulation looks kinda melty. It is pretty easy to get to, just turn the saw upside down, tilt the blade, three screws on the dust cover to peek, then four screws to separate the case. Pull the brushes before separating. Well, since I am doing tool rehab for the next few days, I might as well do more than one.

DeWalt DW 421 sander and DW 670 laminate trimmer
Old friends
The old DeWalt sander has lost it's grip (on it's pad) and both have a bit of bearing noise. These are easy to work on.
dust accumulation
Dust much?
MANY hours of sanding nasty fiberglass on my various sailboats. I have cleaned this before, just not in the last few years. I got the big gun, Metabo SXE 450 6" sander, so I don't use this one too much anymore. Still, since I am in repair mode, what the heck, all it needs is a new sanding pad and a pad bearing. The brushes haven't reached the wear mark yet, so dust it out and it's good to go. The parts won't be here for a few days yet, so I put everything back together while it's still fresh in my mind and that way nothing gets lost.

DW421 brushes
Replacement mark on the brushes
Bad Bearing! Bad!!
 This is the noisy bearing. Not too surprising after god knows how many hours  of really nasty work. I bought the sander about 25 years ago, have used it more or less steady since, and once you accept that the non-marring soft-start pad brake thingy is a 10 minute disposable item, I have no complaints. Well, the dust collection sucks.

DW670 brushes chipped
Chipped edges
These are the brushes from the DW670 laminate trimmer. This tool is also about 25 years old, still gets used all of the time (my big 3 hp router just collects dust) and is a favorite tool. The brushes still have some life left, but are a bit chipped on the edges, so for $10 I'll replace them. While I am at it, the lower main bearing sometimes seems a bit loud, so I'll swap that out too. If you use bits that are dull (who, me?) the base of the whole tool can get a bit warm which just adds to the abuse that the lower main bearing has to take. Time for a new one. A while back I made a bigger base for the unit and also took the time to correct the out-of-square base adjustment. I always just took it for granted that the trimmer would cut just a teeeeny bit more if you hold it one way or another. After 25 years and 15 minutes, it finally cuts evenly. I should be more embarrassed.

As I said, the parts won't be here for a few days, so I'll show you the actual replacement later. Time to work on some other tools. Kanna re-hab, anyone?