It’s been said on many different forums (or should that be fora?) that the better set up your shaping space is, the better your boards will be.
Actually, I just made that up, but it makes a certain amount of sense, don’t you think?
Anyway, I spent a few happy, productive hours last night adding to the functionality of my shaping bay (shed), which I’d like to share with you, for no other reason than it gives me an excuse to post on my blog, given the slow rate of recent progress in my actual shaping exploits.
My first board was shaped almost exclusively at night, under the dim glow of a solitary incandescent globe set high on the shed’s ceiling. This was a totally inadequate scenario, but because this operation is run on an oily smell (can’t afford the rag yet), it had to suffice. But thanks to an overhaul of the furniture in our study, which resulted in a surplus-to-requirements desk lamp, I now have enhanced lighting. Whereas before I had to rely on an old bathroom mirror to reflect the light from behind my head onto the workbench, I now have the lamp to spill light in glorious excess onto the benchtop.
I also took some time to further refine my ceiling mounted vacuum system, which hooks onto the planer, reducing by a huge proportion the amount of foam dust messing up the place. I’ve wired a length of 20mm polypipe to the overhead steel frame of the shed. One end connects directly to the vacuum cleaner tube, which runs down to floor level and plugs into the machine. On the other end, I’ve glued components from two different sized irrigation joints and one old vacuum attachment, to make a connection point that the slinky pipe just slips onto, and which swivels 360 degrees, meaning I can walk all around the board while I’m using the planer, without the tube twisting or kinking.
I’ve also run an extension chord along the frame, so there’s no risk of getting all tangled up around my feet, as happened once while I was cutting rail bands onto the first board.
This has cleared up the shaping floor considerably, meaning I no longer have to watch my feet every step of the way and can concentrate on the job at hand. I’ve yet to put it to the test, but initial tests on the first iteration of the tube were very successful, with no apparent reduction in the machine’s suck. I’ll put it to the test when I start skinning the next of the baby eggs, which I’m hoping to do before the end of January.
I’ll post pictures of the setup once I’ve taken some, so you can see what I’m talking about.