Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Shelf Glue-up

To make large panels, you have to either buy stock that is wide enough, or you must glue two (or more!) boards to make a wider one. For the shelf, that is exactly what I did. First I flattened one face, and squared one edge square to the flat face. I do this to both boards. To do the glue-up, I have the flat faces facing down on another flat surface (in this example, my saw bench) and put some clamps across the joint. The small clamps and holdfast help keep the flat faces from moving and potentially bowing of cupping. After the glue is done drying, I flatten the face that I flattened before, to make one flat face on the panel. Then I scribe a line of desired thickness, referencing off my flat face, and plane to the line. Finish up with a smoothing plane.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Measure Once, Mark Twice

Relative dimensioning is a very important concept. When I make my design, I know that my final product will not have exactly the same dimensions as my design. No one cares if the side stretchers are exactly 18", or if they are 17 61/64" long. The eye will not notice this. The eye will notice gaps however. This is why I measure once, and mark twice. First I measure out the distance between tenon shoulders for the left side stretcher (18"), and then I lay the right stretcher next to it and mark a line next to where I just marked. This way, I have two stretchers with the critical dimensions identical. I do this for most of my components, usually measuring once with dimensions from my plan, and then transferring these marks to other components. When you are doing this you must keep track of your reference faces, and only reference off them. This will ensure consistency. A reference face is a part of a board (ex. the face, the edge, the end) that you know is exactly flat and square to the other reference faces on the board.

Using the techniques explained above, I got a lot done on the table. I started with the legs, sawing them out, and then planing them down to 1 1/2" square. As you can see, I didn't notice a large crack in one until I cut it out, which annoyed me because it's a lot of work to cut them out.
The leg to stretcher joinery is fairly straight forward, it's all mortise and tenon. To make the tenons, I tried out a new method. First mark a heavy line for the shoulder. Then pare away some material to make a vee groove. This makes a very clean shoulder line when you go to make the crosscut shoulder cuts. The line for the shoulder is transferred all around the stretcher (remember to only use the reference faces to reference your square). Then I make the shoulder cuts and chop out the bulk of the waste with a chisel.
After the waste is chiseled out almost to the line, I switch to the router plane and make light passes to reach the line. This is one exception when you can work off a face that isn't a reference face. To cut the back of the tenon (on a non-reference face), you can reference the router plane's sole against the face, because the tenon will be trimmed again later.

This makes a very nice, consistent, and square tenon.The mortises in the legs are drilled out and cleaned up with a chisel.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

New Mobile Site

I just created a mobile site for my blog, if you're on a iPhone or whatnot, you should be able to read my blog easier. It should automatically redirect you if you're one such a device. Let me know if you don't like it.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Next Project!

For my next project, I will be building a shaker-style side table. Here is my design, it will have tapered legs like the front right leg in the sketch. I'm still experimenting with what taper looks best, I think that I will try a more subtle one. I have mapped out where all the components will come out of the boards, and have broken down and stickered the boards. For this project I tried a new lumber supplier that is much closer to my house. I have never seen so much lumber in one place before. It was so much fun, they had outbuildings full of all sorts of stuff. The only thing I didn't really like was that the boards were kind of hard to sift through to find one I really liked. I bought two 1" thick walnut boards, and one 8/4 walnut board, and one board of poplar. The widest board I will use for the top and shelf, and the thick walnut will be for the legs. The leg board is really nice, it's almost perfectly riftsawn, and even has a subtle curl to it. Unfortunately I had to cut it by hand, which took a while. I started by gluing the panel for the drawer together. It is a spring joint, and I simplified the glue-up by doing it on my wagon vise. This keeps everything flat.