Notes from the Workshop: 20101103

Router Table Fence

When I went to route some channels in the mahogany blocks for my blocks and marbles project, I found that the channel was coming out crooked.  The culprit seemed to be the router fence; it had high spots that the block was hitting.  The high spots were around the locations I drilled through the fence for the adjustment bolts (I built this fence long before I knew what T-slots were).  I'm not sure if moisture got behind the laminate and swelled the MDF, or if the act of tightening the screw down too hard somehow pushed material away from the hole and it bulged the MDF.

For the rest of the blocks, I ended up taking off the fence and clamping down a straightedge to the router table, but since it is much easier to deal with the fence, I needed either fix it or replace the sliding panels.  Since those were my two options, I figured out that it couldn't hurt to take a sanding block to the fence panel.  That worked better than I thought it would.  Rather than scratching up the entire surface of the laminate, the sanding block only removed the high material around the screw heads.  I had to sacrifice a little bit of the top edge of the panel for the sanding block's second point of contact, but I rarely route anything that tall, even if I did it should still rest pretty flat against the rest of the fence.  For good measure I flattened the other movable side panel too.

Working with Bloodwood

I had previously commented that I had a hard time working with the Honduran mahogany; working with the bloodwood turned out to be a dream.  The 8x16" board I purchased had scallops marks from the planer across both faces, so I hit it with some 100 grit sandpaper wrapped around a block before I did any cutting.  I didn't want to use my orbital because I wasn't sure how the wood would take to sanding -- my worries were unfounded.  The first thing I noticed when I started sanding was that the wood gave off a sweet almost flowery scent and with a few minutes of starting I had removed all the marks.

Cutting it on my table saw I noticed the bloodwood left a bit of a splintered edge, but the face of the cut was very smooth.  Next I moved over to the router to cut the ball channel and was surprised at how beautifully it routed.  There was almost a glass smooth finish to match the beautiful grain.  Routing the mahogany was a disaster in comparison,  no matter how light of a pass I made It still left fuzz that needs to be sanded down.  I think I've found my new favorite wood to work with!

Site News

A comment from Joe got me thinking I really needed a clear, unambiguous place to put links to my RSS feeds and other sites I post to.  After reading his comment, I quickly put up an sidebar box with a feed icon, but it wasn't very pretty.  So now that I've had the time, I've added a "Follow Me" sidebar box where I've put all of Ben's Workshop's important RSS feeds and links to other websites that I have posted content to.  Some of the websites like Toolmonger, Twitter, and Delicious I'm an active contributor, others are where I've contributed content in the past of plan to in the future.

A little information about the projects I publish, one of the big reasons I like the online book form with a hierarchy is that I have it set up to show one large image per page that can have annotations.  I welcome anybody reading the project to make their own annotation by clicking the "add a note" link above the project photo.  You can also comment on a specific step of the project rather then the project as a whole.  It's also very easy to add content in the middle or even start another chapter if the project branches off into another direction.

Here's my quandary, in the my last Notes from the Workshop, I commented how I hated when you only get a teaser to a post in RSS feeds and then proceeded to fix my own feed.  I didn't think about it then, but when I post a completed project to the blog, it's in the only the "cover" of the online book, not the entire project.  I want to add a link to the rest of the book in the RSS feed because it might not be obvious that it's only part of the whole book, but then I feel like I'm being hypocritical.

I haven't yet figured out a way to flatten the book and post the whole project into the RSS feed or even if that's a good idea -- the annotations and the comments won't get published in the RSS feed.  So, I need to give the subject a little more thought. 

Tags: links, notes, projects, RSS

Tools: router table, sanding block

Materials: bloodwood, mahogany