Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pear Coming Together

Dowels lined up for the carcass assembly. This glue-up was a bit more... "exciting" than I would have liked. One thing I learned about Pear is that it REALLY soaks up any moisture you give it! The once nicely fitting dowel holes swelled up right and quick making it very difficult, and scary, to bring things together. :/
Next time I will definitely fit the dowels looser.

A nice little piece for the main partition. Because the cabinet sides splay a little towards the back you need to match those slight angles in your partition, that is if you want it to fit properly ha.

This slight tapper also allows one to more accurately creep up on the fit. Slide the piece in until it's snug and wont go forward easily any more and take a look at what's going on then plan accordingly. In my case I intentionality made the front of the cabinet pinch in ever so slightly opposed to a straight taper. The intention being to aid in drawer action. So being able to see what's going on is very helpful!

Spline joinery for the partitions. Pear isn't the strongest wood out there by far. The spline is only 1/8" thick so I opted for a stronger species. Ash in this case. Ash is great. It works well, it's strong, relatively resilient, AND it's pretty cheap due to it's abundance. Also I like the smell of freshly cut Ash heh.

Fast forward the vertical partition. (I may touch on that again with a drawer related post)
I used a piece I cut along with the veneer for the doors to make "risers" or "shims" for the drawers. This will set the drawers above the original cabinet base and clear the levelers that will be in place. This one of the ways to avoid wear on the visible portion of the cabinet base. Also the step can be a nice little detail.

With the first riser clamped up I went ahead and started some drawer work prep. The drawers will have convex fronts. I cut off a piece of the form I used for the doors to make another form. I will basically only be using this to hold the work pieces as I shape the front side of the drawer fronts. It doesn't need to be perfect. With a steady hand on the band saw it didn't take much time to get the surface smoothed out and more than acceptably planer.

Still a lot of work to do but it's finally looking like a cabinet :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another project... that isn't wood. is up and live! There is still a weird bug in there and I'm not 100% settled on the written content... and the "logo" is temporary... I just felt like "letting the cat out of the bag" as it were.
I didn't/don't have the funds to hire someone to build me a "real" website so I tried my hand at making basically an online portfolio.
I'm going for something minimal and user friendly. Hopefully it works that way.

Let me know what you think! Web "development" is really NOT something I excel at :p
Oh and the email is not set up, so it wont work heh

More Cabinet progress to come!

Friday, April 23, 2010

catching up on vainity

Yes, I have still been working on the Vanity cabinet during the wrap up of the frame-top tables :)
There are a bunch of photos here so I will keep text short!
Back to the boring machine with doweling jig in place. I just mark the drill bit where I want to stop and watch for it.

Got a little cut somewhere along the way. Can't say I didn't put any blood in this one!
Hopefully I won't be putting any tears into it.

I'm using a Poplar "template" to set my doweling jigs on the top and bottom. There are a number of ways to put "let go" into a cabinet. This time I put that let-go into the template.

Setting the depth-stop on the drill press for the top and bottom dowel holes. Who cares about measuring? Don't make it complicated. I know I want the holes as deep as possible with no chance of drilling through the other side. This is a scrap piece I had for veneer. Set the brad-point to the veneer and lock the stop there. No fuss, no worries.

Yeah! Plane on plane action! Using one of my jointer planes to shape the bottom of the new coopering plane. I will be using this new plane on the inside of the curved doors. This wood is Heavy! I know it's one of the biggest planes I have but man it's got weight! Which is a good thing for a hand plane to have.

Doors! Here is a glue-up applying an outside edge to the door. The inside edges will be larger to accommodate an overlapping rebate.

Ha. Sometimes I just laugh a bit at some of my methods for how simple, crude, yet effective they are. I've seen some people use washers to mark lines, but how many choices do you readily get in size of washers? You can grind them down but that takes some time and effort.
This took me about 30 seconds to make and to any size I want. Done.

Took the carcass pieces to the router table to make rebates to accept a back panel in the cabinet. Using stops for the top and bottom rebates you end up with round cuts that wouldn't work. So you finish the job with hand tools! It was very enjoyable for me. The Pear works so well, my tools were sharp and my lines accurate. It didn't take much time and I just get a kick out of seeing the fit come together so well :)

Fast forward all the scary mortise and groove making for partions, hinges, levelers, and flipper-floppers. It all seemed to go well, it's just that these kinds of operations you may only get one shot! It is a tense time for me.
Anyway, There isn't a whole lot of shelves or drawers going into this cabinet. The little area that needs to be taped off is and finish ready to go on. I'm going for a pretty minimal finish here (even less than normal) so I think just three thin coast of shellac and a thin coat of wax for some more protection will be nice.

So far I seem to be on "schedule" to take this to the show in Toronto but I can't hold my breath!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


What do you get with crappy lights and a backdrop that isn't the intended color? ... Not quite what I was hoping for.
Buuuut I am at the end of my rope and the photos will do.
I took a ton of shots, here are a few... enjoy!

The backdrop is too close to the Oak and the Unryu really didn't photograph well... this one needs to be seen in person.

Still working on website, portfolio, and the Vanity Cabinet!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Door Substrates

Well, here is the laminated 1/8" ply-wood for a door substrate. Turned out pretty well I'd say. The arc is slightly stronger towards the outsides.

Poplar bake-ins were glued and cleaned, then Pear bake-ins for the top and bottom of the doors. Some people use their block planes or other hand planes for the flushing of convex bake-ins, but the spoke shave works better for me.
After that the substrates went into the clamps again for the actual veneering!

While the doors were once again in the clamps I turned my attention to the carcass parts. Although re-sawing lumber from larger timbers allows one more flexibility and control there are a couple things to keep in mind.
One of which is showed above, a bit of cupping. Large pieces of lumber almost never have the same moisture content inside and out. Also there is often stress in the timber which may hold it in a certain shape at first but as soon as you cut off a piece, the equalizing stress is no longer there.
Lucky for me this Pear seemed pretty stable but not perfect. I don't have a wide enough jointer for this and I don't think I would have used one anyway... being so close to final dimension I wouldn't want to risk more harm than good. Besides the machine will probably give some irregularity anyway. This is yet another time that hand skills come in! The procedure to adress the cupping is pretty simple. Use a hand plane to shave the highs and avoid the lows. Getting the desired result is more difficult than it may sound. It takes a sensitive touch, a trained eye, and patients!

Drawer sides and backs rough milled and resting. I'm using Hard Maple. This may look like a lot of material for just two drawers and a tray but the grain is a little wavy and as I've mentioned before I'm tired of calling it so close!

I FINALLY got my glass for the Oak Coffee Table today... surprise surprise SOMETHING had to not go my way. I asked for flat sides/edges which I was meaning just 90 degree edges. They gave me 45 degree bevels on all the edges >:( I'm SOOO sick of working/dealing with this ridiculously simple piece of glass that I just took it. My whole operation in terms of getting products in the open has been waiting for weeks on this damn glass.
I need the glass to put the paper on for the Oak table... so I can schedule a time to rent some studio lighting from the MN Guild so I can FINALLY do the photography of these tables. I need the photography to build the website/online portfolio I'm also working on and the pics of the tables will help the graphic designer do a little branding for me so that I can build THAT into the website and make business cards and incorporate it into the physical portfolios that I can't make until the photography is done to take to the galleries around town to set up any meetings or judgment that needs to happen to enter pieces into said gallery alnog with making some advertisements for the table series to help show that I really mean business and I DO.
So. I may or may not be trying to get another piece of glass... this one will have to work for photography... not to mention that it cost $200. At this point I don't really care if they will make me another one. I just never want to work with them again.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pear Parts

Getting into new material is always interesting. Almost like a kid opening a package of baseball cards hoping for something special. Sometimes we are disappointed, sometimes we find what we expect, once in a while we get more than we were hoping for, and sometimes it is a combination delights and frustrations.
This time was a combination. Opening up the planks my eyes grew wide to some very soft, clean, fairly straight, and sensitive grain. However there were some cracks in places I wasn't expecting. I couldn't get as thick of sides as I had wanted. The planed shaping will have to be even quiter than intended. The plank to become doors wouldn't allow me to get solid pieces out. Well I was throwing around the idea of veneering the doors anyway. I JUST got enough veneer before hitting the cracks in the middle of the plank for the doors. This throws out the possibility of the sleek recessed pulls I wanted to carve... I'll have to come up with another plan.

Small stack of carcass parts hanging out while I tend to other things.
After the multiples of stickly tables it's nice to have such few pieces to work with :).

Here is one of those other things tended to... a mold for lamination/veneering. Glue together some Poplar, shaping with a hand plane, then a thin piece of matte board for a little insurance, and packing tape over it to hold the matte board and protect against glue.
I was leaning towards lumber-core substrates for the doors but after some calculations it seemed like an ordeal to work such thin curved parts.
End thickness of the door you want, minus 1/8" of veneer, minus 1/16" of cross-banding = not much. If it was a flat piece, it wouldn't be a big deal.
I decided to go with laminations of 1/8" ply-wood.

I do not own a vacuum press yet but I tend to like mechanical devices anyway. Two extra pieces of 1/8" ply acts as a flexible caul, the big block down the center is once again insurance ;).
I've got one substrate out and it seemed to work quite well.

While waiting on the next lamination (this is part of the reason I like solid wood better... too much stop and go with veneer heh) I worked on the cabinet sides a bit.
Marked the grain graphics I wanted, cross cut, clean and square up the end-grain, and repeat.

Pear works SO nicely! No wonder it was one of JK's favorites! The end grain planes nicer than some of the face grain of other species I've been working with! I need to get my hands on more of this creamy goodness!!!

Welp I've actually been waiting for more glue to dry while making this post, so I'm going to get back to it!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Coffee Tables, Planes, and a New Mockery

Welp here's the teaser. I'm still waiting on glass for the Oak table. What I have ended up working out is having a place cut the top for me, before sending it to the get tempered I will come by and check it out, if they need to grind some off, then they will, if it is too small then I'm s.o.l. and need to pay for more to try again but at least I wont be down the extra $60 for tempering...
I don't really understand why this is the "solution" as opposed to someone committing to doing a good job, but it's what I have to work with :/

I've had some blanks milled for plane sitting around for a while, now I can get to them.
I'm making a 1-3/4" coopering plane and a new smoother.

Square that ramp! This yellow-orange guy was marked as "Burmese Rosewood", I don't know what it ACTUALLY is but it's heavy, hard, and pretty nice looking.

Routing clearance for the chip breaker screw-cap. This one is Vera ... "Essence of Juan"

Vanity Cabinet mock-up. It didn't take me too long to come to this stage. Not EVERY thing is accounted for in the mock up, but I feel I have a good notion of the details in my head.

The doors will be curved, curved sides, curved drawer fronts all in Pear I got from Gilmer.
I was a little apprehensive as this mock-up didn't take as long as ones before. I have been thinking about this sense December and it's mainly surfaces, not overly complicated I suppose.
I know I'll fry my brains when I get to pulls and such what though gah!