Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Zen of the Workbench...

Brian J. Noggle on the fields in which we toil:
If you’ve seen one cubicle, you’ve seen them all. Most of the customization from one job to another involves a different desktop wallpaper and set of applications installed upon a computer. A different set of binders on the bookshelf, if any. A different set of photographs or cutesy individual touches.

But workbenches, they have different tools and different things.
Shannon, a gunsmith at CCA and maybe the best all-'round 'smith I've ever known, has always been known for his chaotic bench and a sometimes casual attitude about discarded objects falling to the floor. One of the more Felix Unger-like employees was complaining about this, only to be cut off in mid sentence by Gunsmith Bob saying, in a mocking whine, "Michaelangelo! You're getting paint on the floor!"

Speaking of workbenches and gunsmiths, Will is still blogging his way through gunsmithing school and has been doing a series of posts documenting his transformation of a crudely sporterized Argentine Mauser into something a little nicer.


Wolfwood said...

The binders and applications aren't different tools?

Anonymous said...

Count me as a big Will fan. His blog has been very enlightening.

w.v bifier: Containing more Bif

Firehand said...

I've seen both, every dust speck on the bench in its proper spot, and a mess that you'd wonder where the mice live?

Ed Foster said...

For some reason, I can't leave a comment on Will's site.

I wanted to comment on 1909's in general. Quite a few of them, not just thw Argentines, were soft, and needed a re-heat treatment to bring them up to something like a 36 to 42 Rockwell C scale.

Also, 98 type Mausers torque up against that ring on the inside diameter at the rear of the thread. The front shoulder is only cosmetic.

Were I him, I would put the reciever back on a mandrel or expanding arbor, skim cut the front again, then go inside and face to clean on the ring so that it's parallel with the front cut.

Some people actually try to pick up the thread and recut that square to the locking surface as well. My personal opinion is that it's a waste of time, as, if the barrel thread is free enough to rotate freely through the reciever ring, it's free enough to square up under load on the locking ring.

I've seen Mausers torqued up on the front of the reciever ring like a Springfield, rather than to the interior ring, and they don't usually shoot as consistantly.

Also, the ring becomes in effect the back of the chamber, and if the barrel isn't flush and tight against the ring you lose case head support. Is that important?

I don't know. The Springfield has a big countersink and leaves the beginning of the head unsupported, with no problems. So call that an option.

But the accuracy thing is very real. Herr Mauser put the interior ring there, and things work best if we use it the way he wanted.

John said...

The three benches in my furniture repair shop can go from orderly and open spaces to chaos, in one morning.

The key is put away the tools, or wood, or brushes as soon as you use them. HA!!!!

Yesterday morn, in order to finish a job for a customer due at noon, I had to install eight fancy period glass knobs on a curly walnut, four drawer butlers desk. simple. Just run the old bolts thru the holes and thread the nuts on. Snuggo-presto.

Arrrgh. The nominal 10-24 threads were antique and over sized. Won't take a modern nut. Within twenty minutes every surface was covered with trays and boxes of fasteners hunting for eight old nuts that fit: one found. I have to gently run a tap and die down the stem of a bolt whose head is embedded in an irreplaceable glass object, seven times. And hold said stem in a vise while i do it. Simple. somewhat nerve-shredding, but simple.

Job done, delivered to hand, and customer happy. My shop? Arrrrgh! ;~`) Took a solid hour plus to put away the results of my frenzied chaos.

Now the benches are merely work surfaces again, instead of cause for a nice soothing stretch in a padded room.

My lifetime goal is to get thru one week without having to shut down production while i have a shop cleanup. Not bluidy, likely, myte.

NotClauswitz said...

Thank you for that link to Will's Workbench!! I was especially interested in reading about his work on the Krag.
My bench is so small I have to keep it clean just to see anything.

jeff said...

Profesional workbenches are one thing as they are usually pretty focused in intent. Even some home workbenches follow that trend. But the true jack of all trades workbench is often a nightmare of confliction. Currently all my reloading stuff is boxed or pushed to the side, while a transmission occupies the largest area available as automotive work has priority at the moment. But I had a quick wood project that needed doing, so everything was covered in plastic while the tablesaw and drill pressed were used (as was the sawdust, it was tossed under the engine on the stand that has a bit of oil dripping from it). Odd tools and widgets that may have only been used once occupy positions on the wallboard, just in case you need them again. Meanwhile, one dreams of a real shop with space to expand.

Gewehr98 said...

Wonder if the old sporter stock is for sale?

mac said...

I'm not professional with my manual labor. I have no workbench that's organized for me. Instead, I have boxes for my hobbies. The items on top are usually the most-used: favorite sharpeners for my blades in one container, marlinspike and pliers for knotwork in another.

Walking into someone else's workshop is uncomfortable for me. It doesn't fit my personality. I'm a stranger to its workings, even if the tools themselves are familiar.

Using another's computer is even more disconcerting. I have my box set up for the tasks I typically run, in the manner I invoke them. Each app, shortcut, and view is customized to the user's perspective. Perhaps mine is aberrant, but I know when I didn't set it up.

I don't make a big distinction between what I do electronically and my physical activities. Creativity, inspiration, and innovation are not limited to one world or the other.