New Tool

Update 8/27/13

Now that I've actually used the tool I 'm very pleased. Not the fastest, but for unusual cutting tasks, it'l be fast enough. I have removed the depth gauge, and it's holder, as I don't feel a need for it yet. One allen screw holds the whole assembly on. Blades are expensive, though there are some aftermarket ones now. Multifit is one company; and the savings are significant. They have a section just for Porter Cable.

New toys! Well, actually I think this is going to be a well used new tool. It's an oscillating multi-tool, capable of cutting wood or metal, etc., sanding, especially hard to reach corners, and scraping, such as wallpaper, or various adhesives.

The tool was originally invented by the German Fein co. as a means of cutting casts off of broken limbs. The oscillating blade won't cut skin. I've seen a video of somebody touching a moving blade; said it tickled. I think I'll wait until I accidentally touch a moving blade. 8-) Fein's patent has run out, so there are a lot of different brands making these tools.

Some projects that the tool will be used on:

Cutting into a trim board on the house without removing said board to stub in a new piece of trim because of rot.

Scraping wall paper. I've played with it a little in the studio; it will probably be as efficient as steaming off wall paper, and probably far more pleasant.

Cutting between two porch floor boards that have buckled, to give them some room to be laid back flat.

I'm also looking forward to trying it the next time I need to enlarge a rabbet.  I'm thinking this might be the right tool for the job. It can plunge cut, so the corners of a joined frame will be square, and the model I have has a depth gauge, though a masking tape line on the blade would work also.

The machine pictured, Porter-Cable PCE605K, link at right, I chose for several reasons. Good reviews on the interwebs. (We know if it's on the interwebs, it's true). Corded, as I thought the need to own and keep charged multiple batteries, was less convenient that just plugging it in, and running until the job was done. (Which, should the need arise, not preclude me from buying a cordless one). I own several Porter Cable tools already, and have been very happy both with the design of the tools, and the availability of parts and accessories. That last is huge. The Porter Cable, with a nice case, and a good, though mostly sand paper, assortment of accessories was $99.00 on Amazon. The box stores have them at $130.00. Harbor Freight has their brand at $20.00. Fein has some as high as $400.00

As I've played with the tool I've decided that it will be as precise as I am; it is a hand tool, with out any real provision for guides or fences. I'll need to be patient, as forcing the tool is just going to ruin the blade, and they are expensive, though as more adopt these tools, blade prices will come down.

So, keep calm, carry on, and sally forth to cut something ... 8-)



The Morning Basswood

Leaves, bracks, and nutlets.

Basswood with rodent, also the volunteer shoots from the base of the trunk.


Gluing Ornaments

Above, another of the plaster ornamented frames. I'm using the plastic syringe, foreground, to inject glue into the cracks at the bottom of the ornaments. Directly under the miter is a blob of glue that has dripped. The frame is resting on a support stand at an angle so the glue can run into the area needing glue. 

The crack is visible under the ornaments. This side of the frame has suffered some damage from moisture, and has been overpainted, obscuring the original finish.


Heavy, plaster ornaments.

I'm working on some frames from late 19th. century or early 20th. The heavy, deep, and severely undercut ornaments are in plaster. In order to make replacements, with the materials on hand, I'm basically molding and casting just the tops of the missing ornaments. In the picture above, a top has been positioned with the help of some screws.

Here, I've built a dam of masking tape, prior to filling, through the front, with plaster, the undercut parts. There are wire reinforcements through the "top' castings.

Another ornament top, showing the positioning screws, and the reinforcing wires. The "tops" are resting on the screws, glued into position with cyanacrylate glue.

And the above ornament with the masking tape dam. When the bottoms are filled, essentially I'll be carving the replacement ornaments, using the tops as a guide, along with the remaining parts of the original ornaments.

What you are seeing in the above photos is the original finish applied to this frame. Water gilt karat gold for the highlights; then a bronze powder pigment paint for the body. The bronze powder has tarnished  to the point of being dark brown. Sometimes they tarnish to a dark, earthy green. I'm going to restore the karat gold as needed, and then repaint the body, using non-tarnishing mica powders for the gold pigment, in a shellac medium.

In the last two photos, plywood overlaid splines are visible, to reinforce the miters. I've added hide glue where I could, but these are very difficult frames to disassemble, as the ornaments, and wood substrate are often cross nailed, and there are numerous reinforcing nails for the cast ornaments. So, the add on splines.

Musing on the technology to produce these type of frames, I'm assuming that the ornaments were cast using rubber molds, that could be pulled free of the undercuts. Corner ornaments were probably cast last. Interesting frames, and somewhat rare compared to composition ornament frames, though this methodology is the only means to produce these heavy, and undercut ornaments.

Attic windows.

Nice triple window.

The old No. 6 Firehouse

And, just a garage.