Thursday, April 24, 2014

An Update on a Personal Note; And a Completed Project

Just figured I'd give everyone a health update. On March 19th I went and saw the doctor  from Mercy Medical in Baltimore that has been trying to keep by biliary drains free from the constrictions of the tumor below my liver. I was to go in to the hospital for an endoscopy and an ERCP and probably stay a night or two. Well, that turned into about 6 procedures and a 24 day hospital stay. Not at all what I expected. After about 18 days I think I lost my good patient status. I've never been so ready to get out of a hospital and get home. It really stinks when you're two hours away from everyone you love and the doctors won't let you leave and there's nothing you can do to get yourself out of there short of leaving Against Medical Advice in which case you run the risk of your insurance not paying for any of your stay. Anyway, they finally let me out 12 days ago. I immediately felt better just getting to sniff fresh air for the first time in almost a month and it really felt good to finally be home and in my own bed  and able to walk outside whenever I wanted. I ended up coming home with a pick line for IV antibiotics and two permanent external biliary drains. Not ideal, but the drains are helping me to feel better even though they are a PITA. Bottom line is that the doctors told me that there's really no more that they can medically do for me so I'm pretty much at the mercy of the tumor at this point. I'm feeling stronger every day since coming home though and I'll never quit fighting until I draw my last breath. Ok, enough of that. On to what this blog is supposed to be about; woodworking!

I finished this Roy Undrerhill inspired tool tote about a week before I went into the hospital. It was the first thing I've ever done with compound/slanted dovetails. I admit, I largely faked the layout but I'm pretty happy with how they turned out and they add great strength as they are supposed to do. To make it easier to carry, in addition to the center divider/handle, I added a nice 1 1/2" leather strap to go around my neck and onto my opposite shoulder. This really makes carrying it much easier. The center divider/handle has a through tenon through the ends of the tote. Before I put everything together, I cut a square hole toward each end of the leather strap for the tenon to pass through and sandwiched the strap between the divider and the ends of the tote. Makes for a pretty secure connection.

My original purpose for making this tote was to carry some tools with me to the Fort Frederick 18th Century Market Fair this weekend. My friend, master windsor chairmaker Charles Boland of Storybook Joinery always demonstrates and sells chairs there and very generously offered that I come there as his guest as many days as I wanted and he would teach me some of the finer points of windsor chair making. Well, unfortunately it was just too close to me getting out of the hospital for doing any actual woodworking like draw knifing, etc. so I won't be able to take advantage of Charles' very generous offer. My wife is going to take me there for a few hours on Saturday though if I'm up for it. I'll be sure to visit Charles and hopefully get some pictures of his set-up and beautiful chairs as well as some of the other vendors. So much neat stuff there. I'll be going in full fledged Adam Cherubini style funny clothes; puffy shirt, waistcoat, buckle shoes, etc. If all goes as planned I'll try to do a blog post with lots of pictures and a full report.

The finished tool tote a couple coats of milk paint and a top coat of
Danish oil.

A view of the inside of the tote.

Close-up showing the detail of the through tenon and the strap emerging
from the slot in the end of the tote.

The tote hung up giving you a better idea of the length of the strap and
what it would look like slung over your shoulder for ease of carrying.

Detail of the leather strap. I had originally purchased a woven nylon strap
for this. So glad that I ordered a nice leather strap instead. 1 1/2" wide.

Detail of the strap with the tenon going through it and sandwiched
between the center divider and the end piece.

One of  the tools that was to go in the tote with a blade guard that I made
from walnut to protect the blade and my fingers. This is an Auriou
drawknife and is by far the nicest drawknife that I have ever personally
used. I know you can buy a vintage draw knife fairly inexpensively, but
I've never regretted buying this one. It's amazing how many uses you can
find for a nice, razor sharp drawknife.

Little better shot showing how the blade guard was made. Hole drilled
toward the bottom with leather lacing going through to tie the guard
on to the drawknife. I try to use materials that would have been
available in the 18th century whenever possible. Slot was made with
a plow plane and then pieces glued into the ends of the slot and
planed flush.