On a clear workbench we get to work on our ramp. I always take a few minutes to check the room for comfort, often putting on my sweater when it is cold. The lighting is adjusted, my tools are set out on the bench, and my shoes are off. Let's play!
The bench is ready to go and we have lumber!
First, I check the materials that will make up the height of the ramp. It cannot be higher than 18/32 nd's of an inch. By putting some decking on a support, I figure the piling height.
Using the dowels I tried to use the Caliber Cutter to slice the wood, but it is very hard. We better saw these.
Using the Harbor Freight Mini Chop Saw, I get ready to cut poles. My safety glasses are on and other tools are moved out of the way.
We'll need a "stop" or something for the pole to hit when it is the right length from the saw blade so we can make repeated cuts. I really need some set-up blocks, so I go cut several different sizes from some 1" x 2" stock.
So that these blocks don't look like scrap, I write on them with a Sharpee "Set Up Block."
To weather or "distress" these pilings, since the model is supposed to be old and well used, I took an old Atlas Snap Saw that I use only for this purpose, and score the dowel from top to bottom, all the way around.
If you click on this photo you may see the grain in the wood.
Some of them I scored a bit more as the pilings on the outer edges will get pounded quite a bit more than the inner pilings. We'll keep them separate.
We need five of the long timber supports, so I set the cutter to 40' in HO and make slices.
We also need five 20' lengths, so I set and cut them too. These cutters are perfect for making many of the same length boards.
I counted up 18 cross braces for the piling bents, and cut them out after distressing.
We'll need some smaller cross braces for the sides so I cut out 18 of them, which gives me a few extra. I always cut a few extra as I'll throw some of them out for being damaged, warped, Southern Baptist, or whatever reason.
On the truck loading side I'll put some bumpers to help protect the ramp. I sliced up four of them. (Editor's Note: I'll probably use a long beam now instead of these as there is no good place to attach the bumpers.)
After cutting the pilings, I sanded each of them, top and bottom. The saw makes a lot of fine splinters so they have to be cleaned up.
There! Now we have a kit of sorts to put together. Note that I've not cut everything as of yet. I'm still deciding on the decking.
Time to stain using black shoe dye and alcohol. I'm working on a tray with gloves.
Using three different blends of dye I stain and dry all the parts.
We'll put these on a plate and let them dry thoroughly for several hours.
1. Wood that is very hard to cut, such as a hardwood dowel, will need to be sawn instead of chopped or sliced. If you don't have a power saw, a Zona hand saw and miter box work just fine.
2. Hardwood dowels don't stain easily and may be better painted.
3. Distress wood BEFORE cutting, using a worn hand saw or a tool you make on your own. Dull hobby knives work as well.