Thursday, February 18, 2016

New project: Monorail view camera pt. 1

Being a fellow of many interests, I've always wanted a view camera to be able to play with movements and giant negatives. It may seem anachronistic in this age of phones with 20 megapixel optics, but view cameras offer the ability to correct perspective in-camera as well as other focus tricks, and the giant negatives (4x5 inches in my case) when scanned still offer far greater resolution than any digital camera.

View cameras can be bought complete relatively cheaply now, but of course I'd rather build one and challenge myself with a precision project. This won't be my first homemade camera: I've made dozens of pinhole cameras in the past, and most recently made this simple large format camera.

My basic plan started by finding a lens of appropriate specs (135mm f 5.6 in this case) and price (almost cheap as dirt) on ebay, downloading Jon Grepstads plans here, and sketching my ideas on my phone's CAD program. My first diversion from Grepstad's plans was to order a cheap double dovetailed camera Arca Swiss compatible rail and a pair of compatible clamps from Ebay. These things are ubiquitous out there nowadays, and very inexpensive, though they take weeks to ship. The rail is really designed for mounting cameras with giant lenses, or stereophotography rigs, but will serve me fine for this camera.

Secondly, I want to have a smaller front standard to make for a more compact total kit.

The rear standard will also be redesigned with a different focusing screen spring mechanism and non-rotating back.

Most of the parts of the camera. I had a little black walnut, and procured a little more (including veneer) for this project.

The first diversion from the plans: I'm using polycarbonate for my focusing screen. It needs a light texture on it, so I taped a piece of 1000 grit wet/dry paper on a sheet of glass, and using window cleaner for lubricant scuffed away. It worked admirably, though ultimately I may get another piece bead blasted for better uniformity.

After marking the film frame with a silver paint pen, I cut pieces of 5mm walnut as a frame for the ground glass.

These were just glued with contact cement on both sides of the glass, providing I rigid sandwich construction.

The larger black walnut pieces were dimensioned, and then I got to play with my newish moving fillister plane to make rabbets.

The frame was constructed with stopped sliding dovetails. I'm not too happy about the gappy joinery.

Nor am I happy with this eviden twist.

Glued up it's flat, but the joints are pretty ugly. I'm out of practice. And I really could have used a 1/8" chisel for this job.

The finished parts so far: focusing screen and rear standard, with the lens and monrail waiting for the rest of the components.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Chair modification pt. 5

So, the chair is finished and getting a lot of use in the loggia. It isn't perfect, but a fairly successful conversion anyway.

The tops of the legs were rounded with a chisel and block plane. Eveything got a light coat of raw linseed oil and beeswax, hopefully the birch will darken to match with age.

The upholstery job was easy, with foam from an IKEA cushion (IKEA gets a lot of hate, but 19 kr for a chair's worth of foam cushioning plus cotton for two shop rags is a great deal.) and some nice patterned blue fabric. The fabric was far and away the most expensive part of this project, but there's enough left for a throw pillow or two. The foam was contact cemented to the plywood, and the fabric drawn and stapled in place.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Stockholm Furniture Fair

I swung by the Stockholm Furniture Fair yesterday to check out this year's trends. Saw a lot of these freestanding cabinets on legs, maybe because I've been thinking of making something similar.

Surprising amount of softwoods on display. This was from the student exhibition.

A geometric wall hung unit.

Another student project: a tabletop workbench. Been thinking of developing something similar to this.

 Yet another student project: tree tapping kit.

Schwarz-approved nails... a giant flooring company logo.

Chair modification pt. 4

With the mortises cut and the legs mostly shaped it was time to glue the chair up again. This included regluing the back, which had some gaps.

I used hide glue for the first time with this project. It was a little thick, I think, which filled the joints and made them a little gappy. Live and learn.

With the frame glued up I could go ahead and cut off the tops of the legs, as the tenons now wouldn't bust out the endgrain. At least not yet!

Then I could shape the recesses to accept the seat.

I decided to reglue the whole thing, as the gappy joints just didn't look right. Succeeded better this time.

I salvaged this piece of 12mm plywood from a dumpster for the base of the seat, and used the pattern pictured in the previous photo to get the shape right.

With a quick coat of wax and the upholstery draped over the seat, this is what it looks like.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Chair modification pt. 3

To taper the legs, I marked the both tapers on both sides in pencil, and took them down to the workbench.

I notched the start of the cut with a chisel.

And just ripped down the line, holding the piece in the vise. The sawn face was then planed smooth on the bench. To shape the slight angle on the outside edges, I marked the depth of the cut with the cutting gauge, planed down along the corner to the mark, and then flattened the face. Neglected to shoot that process, though.