Tuesday, October 25, 2016


With fall comes rain here in the northwest and we are on our way to an October record.  I really like to be outside on the nice days, so I decided I would have an indoor and an outdoor project going simultaneously.  I'll get to the indoor project in the next post but I wanted to write about the outdoor projects briefly first.  They are mostly carpentry but hand tool woodworking does play a role.

I wanted to have a place to keep all of my gardening tools organized and protected, so I've just finished this little shed, made from cedar fencing to keep the cost down:

It's not particularly remarkable, although it does have a handmade handle from white oak:

I really enjoy adding little hand tool touches to my outdoor projects.

Next, I wanted a grape arbor, both to help the grapes grow and bear well and to create a shady space for lawn chairs.  The big challenge was getting the dripping wet, twelve foot long 4x6s up on top of the posts without injuring myself or my helper (aka wife).  My approach was to build some brackets on top of the posts to hold the beams.  These make the structure more stable and let me lift one end of the beams into place at a time:

There are fourteen half inch bolts in the brackets.  I bored all these holes with my Yankee brace, thinking about the Bell System linemen who used them up on phone poles.  It only took a couple of holes to convince me that I needed to file the bit.  That made a big difference, like shifting into a higher gear and after that it took little more time with the brace than it would have with an electric drill.  I tried to use a handsaw to cut all the angled tails you see.  It was drizzling and the treated lumber was extremely wet, so I didn't want to use my good saws.  Instead, I used an unrestored crosscut handsaw that was passably sharp, but it just wouldn't work.  After a few strokes it would bind up so tight I couldn't move it.  Crosscut saws used for green wood have much more set and I am sure that was the issue.  I fondly recall my grandfather, who was a carpenter, often reaching for his handsaw in preference to his power saw because it was faster and better.  I am sure he winced at the way I used it, but he never said anything.  I'm now thinking I'll take a pair of the many old handsaws I have accumulated and dedicate them for use on green construction lumber.

In case you are wondering, those aren't real grapes, they are lights.  Don't say anything; my helper likes them.

That's it for the outside projects, so next I will tell you what I am up to in the shop.

1 comment:

  1. Andy,

    Record rain in Oct. who would have thunk such a thing in Oregon :-). I remember the first year I was in McMinnville folks said it would start raining in Oct. and continue through May. Sure enough rain started on Oct. 1st and didn't stop until June.

    BTW, I've broken the code and it seems you have as well....."Yes dear" is a well use phrase in Casa Chaos.