Monday, September 12, 2011

Reclaimed Cypress Jewelry Box

Jewelry BoxReclaimed Cypress Baseboards from a 1910 Craftsman Home
Walunt Handle
Leather Stay
Dovetail Construction
Dewaxed Clear Shellac High Gloss Finish

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Building the 2x Side Table: Joinery Part 4

If cutting big dovetails out of  a few cleaned up 2x12s was not enough joinery for you then maybe this dado, thru-tenon joint will satisfy your hunger.

Its easy to rush a thru tenon joint and end up with a sloppy fit.  I have often approached the method of work with too much confidence, after all its just a square block going in to a square hole right?

We left off having finished the layout and scoring of the mortises.  Personally I would rather fit the tenon to the mortise. I find it easier to sneak up on the fit by filing or paring the tenon.  I find it difficult to keep the walls of the mortise square with the face if I start having to adjust the mortise.  This is my preference, so I start by cutting the mortises.

I use a shopmade slot mortiser to cut them, but a plunge router and template is more than adequate. Dry fit your shelf into the dado and use a marking knife to mark the outline of the mortise.
 Now we transfer the knife lines to the face and layout our tenons.  I prefer to mark the waste portions with pencil to help myself remember what SIDE of the line to cut on.  

I use two techniques to get cut the tenons out.  A Ryoba saw for the outside cuts and for the two interior the familiar coping saw and chisel routine.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Building the 2x Side Table: Joinery Part 3

Furniture with exposed joinery is not only an expression of craftsmanship but of honesty.   Joinery as a design element should be used with restraint.  Modern furniture has sometimes rejected the importance of joinery in search of sleek lines.  I believe there is a balance and its success is marked by using joinery for strength without overwhelming the simplicity of the piece.

Lay out the center-line of the dado for the shelf, by ganging both legs together with a clamp.

Note: I use only a centerline as this eliminates the mistake of being on the wrong side of the line.

The dado jig I am using, wonderfully explained by the Wood Whisperer:

is clamped in place with a plunge router/ bushing setup.

Putting the boards back together, to double check that the dado lines up, here is the result:

With the dado cut, we can layout the mortises for the through tenons.

Score the outline of the mortise with a marking knife, to fight chipout.

Next up, how do you cut those mortises?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Building the 2x Side Table: Joinery Part 2

We all settle on our own way of doing things, and that includes how you execute a dovetail joint.

With the outside of the tails cut, a coping saw is my first choice to remove the waste pins.

I cut the outside waste pins, just shy of the base line with a handsaw.

From here you pare to the baseline, halfway through the board, using chisels in incremental steps, flip and repeat from the otherside

Transferring the lines to the pin board is a feat with a table this size, quick clamps help to keep things in place.

Cutting the pins is more of the same, keep the chisels sharp and get out of the way of the saw.

Next Up, cutting the shelf joinery.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Building the 2x Side Table: Joinery Part 1

Once all your parts are sized up, we can turn our attention to the essence of the table: the joinery.

Big dovetails are as much fun to cut as they are to piston-fit together.

It all starts with your layout:

I like the pins and tails to stick out a bit when assembled so I can plane everything flush post glue up, so I pad the marking gauge with a business card. I strike a deep groove to mark my baseline.

Once all the baselines are marked, I cut a 1/32" rabbet on the inside faces of my tail boards.  If you are unfamiliar with this technique, read up on it here via the obligatory Schwarz post:

I like a router table setup for the cut, for lack of a moving fillister plane.

Set the fence for flush with the leading edge of a sharp straight bit, and then bump it a hair back.

Set your tail board on its top edge and adjust the bit so it grazes the top of your baseline mark, run you tail boards across an you should get this:

Now before you start reaching for the chisels, lets do some quick layout.

Gang your boards together and even their edges flush. I clamp this assembly together and use a hold-down in the right bench leg to tighten it against the front edge of the bench top. You want this to be rock solid.

Dovetail proportions are as varied and personal as any other stylistic choice in the craft.  Pick your own poison and stick with it.  My vote is well summed up by Roy Underhill :

No need to repeat that info here.

I generally measure out the center of the tailboard, mark 1x stock thickness on either side, and that is my center tail.  From their I will mark out  1/2 x stock thickness and those are my pins, continuing in this manner until all my joint is laid out.

You can see that depending on the width you may have to adjust the remaining tails to get a more even spacing, but who says they have to be even at all.

Next up, sharpen your implements.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Building the 2x Side Table: Glueup & Dimensioning

It doesn't matter how many times you have done it, panel glue-ups are the beginning of a downward spiral.

This glue-up resulted in a board bowed across its width.

Probable cause : all the clamps are on one side.
Prevention: alternate the clamps up, down, up down to even the clamping pressure.
Solution: Light pass thru a planer or flatten the surface with a handplane.

With all the panels glued up its time to size the pieces to final dimensions.

For the width I use a 24-th rip blade and the fence set to 15", Blade Guard, Splitter and Over the Blade Dust Collection.

 The panel width are 15", so the SCMS (Makita with a 12" cap)  is not an option. Dust off the Cross-cut sled and put in a hi-tooth count blade for a nice cut.

If you don't have a crosscut sled, Marc, TheWoodWhisperer, does a brilliant job explaining how to construct your own in this video:

The one I use is from an old Wood Magazine article, and is lightweight for simple cuts.

Next up, Joinery

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Building the 2x Side Table: Material Selection

     I got another order for the SYP table I featured in my last blog post and I thought some might be interested in  building their own version.  This series of posts will be for all of you .

Lets start from the top:

Material Selection:

 Go down to your nearest big box and find the longest (12 or 16 footers)
2 x 12's you can get your hands on. These will be the clearest and straightest boards.  At 9 or 10 dollars a board we can be a little wasteful and choose to avoid knots and defects.

Cherry pick through the pile and sight down each board. Its okay if all the contractors think you are crazy.  You can build this table from two 2x12x12', so why not take the time to get the best material.

What you see to the left is what we are looking for, a center cut, flatsawn board with marked cathedral grain down the center and straight grain near the edges.

We are looking to keep as much of that quartersawn material on the edges as possible. That means we will rip down the center of the board, dress our boards and when we cut to final width before glue up, we will remove material from the pith side of the board.

You may be asking yourself why even  rip down the center, well most of us have a 6-8" jointer and in order to dress these boards properly  it must be cut to fit the jointer.  

next up, get your glue.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Southern Yellow What?

Some will scoff at using construction lumber such as southern yellow pine 2x material for a furniture project, I guess they are missing out.

Side Table, 49 1/2" x 15" x 29"
Nitrocellulose Satin Lacquer over Amber Shellac

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

NightStand: The Prototype

Just a few pics of the completed poplar mock up.

Doing a full blown build in an easy working wood is a very liberating process, and i would argue important learning exercise.

Lessons Learned:

- Dovetail Case Construction:  pay attention to how you intend to attach your back.

 If you decide to rabbet the back of the case then choose an appropriately sized pin.You don't want to have to use a thin back because you did not leave the rear pin wide enough to support a good size back.

-Gluing Up Sub-Assemblies: clamp them in their final location during glue up.

       I incorporated stretchers to give the legs more strength and ground the design, and I glued the leg pairs to the stretcher before I glued the legs to the case.  Instead of temporarily clamping them to the case while in glue up, I just clamped them with a spacer at the top.  I ended up with some twist which could have been eliminated if I had taken the time to clamp them to the case while the glue dried.

- Cut your Joinery First:
    This is a no brainer, cut your joinery before you do any tapering. The stretcher is attached to the legs with a M&T joint.  The mortise is easier to cut when the legs are square.  Later on the tenon can be fit after the taper has been cut to adjust the tenon shoulder for the taper angle.  The handle  has a hidden tenon fit to a mortise in the drawer face.  Before shaping the handle cut the tenon and fit to the mortise, then go to town.

-Walnut does not come in a can: test your finish schedule on scrap.
   Staining poplar to a dark walnut will keep even the best on their toes.  Avoid this process.  Even with a shellac seal coat and the use of a water based dye and gel stain, blotching was still a problem on the poplar.
If I had done some test runs I would have discovered I did not need the dye and should have avoided it.
And as a heads-up the General Finish Gel Stain I used (antique walnut) contains Polyurethane,  thats the first time I had encountered a gel stain with a varnish in it.

Enjoy the pics.