Leigh Jig

I have the serious impression that there is a great conspiracy out there and our lives are all just a joke for some uber being’s amusement. After a bit of research, I decided upon the Leigh Superjig in the 18 inch width from Carbatec. Essentially an ‘easy’ way to do some half blind drawer dovetails and some finger joins for the carcasses. Dowelling is a bit inelegant for a 3rd year student.

I bought the set of router bits and noted that the Leigh bits had an unusual 8mm shank. A bit more research revealed that I’d need an adaptor for the Leigh e-bush which meant that I’d need to define which router I’d use. Happy with Makita (what we use at TAFE- they seem bulletproof in the face of the ‘chisel tossing idiots’ as my sister-in-law calls them), I decided to assess their range.

The lightest model the RP0900X1 (check it out, it’s probably still wrong) seemed to fit the bill perfectly as it is advertised as being an 8mm router. Great, thinks I, no collet adaptors needed. the fewer widgets, the less chance of things going wrong.

Bzzzpt! Thank you for playing, next contestant please!

I lost half a day trying to make my 8mm bits fit in the 8mm router. Finally out of exasperation, I pulled my ruler out and measure the 2 collect adaptors. 6.4mm and 9.5mm. Waitaminute! What happened to 8mm? I lost the rest of the day hitting the hardware stores of Warrnambool to be told that no such thing exists. And so I checked Makita’s website again. Then I converted 3/8″ only to discover that it isn’t 8mm!

Kudos to Makita Australia, because a few unimpressed phone calls later, a chap called Matt organised an 8mm collet adaptor to be freighted to me gratis (for the advertised 8mm router I bought under false pretenses, I might add).

In the meantime expecting Easter to waylay my collet, I decided to venture out to Carbatech to grab a 1/4 inch straight bit so that if all else failed, I’d at least be able to rout something! I asked for the long shank 8mm straight bit and by the merest chance the short shanked one happened to be on display. Long story short (pun), the long shank is actually shorter than the short shank. As I wanted a long cutter, I bought the short one because it was longer.

If my head could shake any more it would explode!

Blackwood shelves timber dressing

It astonishes me how tasks scheduled for shed time expand to fill and exceed normal time. perhaps some dimensional instability bleeding out from the TARDIS? The thing about making something well is that it takes time. Changing the task to involve labor saving devices (power tools and jigs) only gives the illusion of saved time for what it actually does is shift 90% of your effort from doing to preparing.

Thus my whole day is spent preparing, making sure that all my planks are the same width and thickness. This is something I learnt during the TARDIS window construction because you really want all components identical (or near as) so that future machining, jigging & fitting can be performed in single actions.

Blackwood shelves

My new project includes curves. I neglected to pass muster for a curvy construction last year as the TARDIS didn’t really have any in it. Just like my second year organic chemistry exam where I knew the molecular structure of all the vitamins except that the examiners didn’t ask it, so too I think I strove too high with the TARDIS…

So, I sourced some blackwood from Smiths Sawmill in Naringal and spent the last couple of classes dressing it up. It is magnificent timber and if you’d asked me before I knew, I’d have said that any grey timber was probably only fit for firewood. But trim away a bit, square it up on the buzzer, make it parallel on the thicknesser and then smooth it through the drum sander and my gosh the results!

I had to glue up some smaller planks to make wider ones for shelves. the start of my curvy project looks a little square right now…

TARDIS- St John’s logo

In my head, I couldn’t really conceive when I started of a point when the TARDIS would be done. Now however, my fortuitous forgetting of the St John’s logo when I had the other signs made up has lent me the signal for completion. I was tossing up whether to actually include it or not but since the design is (mostly) based on the 1963 pilot prop, St John’s logo it had to be.

And so, the crowning moment.