Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Knobs, chair legs and pump handles...

OK, so I don't have any knobs or pump handles, but I did have chair legs.  My daughter still has a beautiful mahogany dining table, which my Granddad made. It came with 4 chairs, which had had a much harder life than the table and had succumbed to the life they'd led quite separately from the table.  That life had seen the Scotch glue joints fail and the loss of the cabrioles from the elegant legs.
It had also seen some parts of the chairs split, which would have been difficult to repair.  In all honesty, they were never the most comfortable chairs to spend long sitting on and would also raise one's legs to a level that felt like premature thrombosis when shuffled close enough to said table to eat a meal.

The upshot of it all was,despite carting the bits around from pillar to post ever since the first one broke, leaving me stuck through the seat hole like a man too keen on his toilet for his own good, I finally made the decision that Granddad would approve of my re-using the mahogany of which the chairs were lovingly fashioned, for other purposes, such as my latest model boat, which, at the point of the Big Rip on my son's table saw, was a model of Vanity, a Victorian C class racing yacht that I once lived on.  The resultant stock of wood was in the form of sticks, rather like slats, of a suitable thickness for making a yacht's hull, but also, it has transpired, a deck for a model power boat which has been on the stocks for ages.  Now, people will know that I don't like to use real mahogany to represent mahogany in scale.  BUT...I don't have enough of my favoured steamed pear in solid form to deck the boat, although I would have ripped up my one chunk of solid pear, BUT, I noticed that my slats of mahogany were not like other peoples' mahogany. It was, of course, being very old, Cuban Mahogany, a wood now only available in veneer form. It was close grained and free of the tell tale dark flecks that gave the game away on the stuff everybody else had to use.  SO....I decided that the deck planking on the "Greavette" look alike would be in this wonderful wood, as I had several shorter slats which wouldn't have been of use on the yacht, Vanity.

A few planks cut to width, a scale 3" wide, ripped up on my absolute life saver of a wee saw.  I always bought Mini/Maxicraft power tools. I used to have one of their transformers, but seem to have lost it, so I now use a Proxxon that I got in a deal. I wouldn't pay their prices without a good deal, believe me!  The great beauty of Mini/Maxicraft power tools was that they were all about 25 quid each, so I'd occasionally treat myself to one to make life easier.  The drill has long gone to that broken drill in the sky place, but I still have and really value the table saw, the disc sander and the hand held orbital sander I have. The motor from the drill is in a special mill/drill attachment I made from an old fax machine for use on the lathe.  I waste almost nothing!
Old, dirty, needing some oil on the motor bearings and prone to the fence wandering if it isn't clamped up with something more than its own knob. All things it has just reminded me of as I haven't used it since I last built a Riva for some rich git.  The knob, by the way (there I mentioned a knob, but still no pump handles) was so big that it would not allow any wood to pass flat on the table!  An oversight in design so typical of German stuff (don't get me started, now), so I simply chewed off the poking out bits, till a piece of wood could pass unmolested through the saw, in a way surely originally intended for it.

For them as likes a bit of wood to look at (Rich!) here's a closer view of the slats that were made from the seat stretchers of the chairs. I have quite a few of them for other boats.  Note the lack of any obvious, flecky grain that afflicts the current "Bleed'n' pink shit", as my Grandad would have described what masquerades as Mahogany these days.  Phillipine mahogany..."What the bloody 'ell's that, boy?", he would say, dismissively.  Sorry, Messrs. Chris-Craft, Ditchburn, Greavette, etc., but Grandad knew best.

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