Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Showcase Mock-up

Things almost always want to change between 2D and 3D. This is one of the main points of mock-ups for me. When I did a full-scale drawing I already took off an inch here and there. When I was putting this mock "together" I took off a 1/2" here and 1/4" there. I felt some of the frame members needed to be wider to support adequate joinery... particularly the vertical frame members of the doors in the center of the cabinet. I typically start the mock a bit heavier than I think I want it because it's easier to take off material than add heh.
I am a little worried about the size whether justifiably so, or not.

Here's a photo to get a better idea of actual size... I'm somewhere around 5'8-5'9". Keep in mind me standing in front of the Mock-up makes it look a little smaller than it is. Oh yeah, the height that I have it sitting at is the aimed finished height.
Though this piece is still small for many furniture/cabinet makers, it is bigger than many of JK's "larger" pieces. Then again, Jim was a smallish man. Maybe he "designed" to his person and I to mine. I do like the feeling and aesthetic of a small intimate piece but I'm also looking for something that may command a little more presence in a show/gallery setting yet still hold a relative humble grace I am fond of... and of course make a great piece for a home. Hmmmmm.

Aaaaaaaand here's a new plane! I've had this guy sitting in different stages of the process for long amounts of time, but it's finally done... except for dressing the bottom heh. It is made of a block of Vera wood that Robert graciously gave me while at IP THANKS AGAIN! It's a new smoother plane. I feel kind of sad when thinking of retiring my current smoother. It has been with me since the beginning of the year at IP (2008) and has served me well. However I have more experience making planes, and plane shapes now. The older one at times got a little uncomfortable. I think this one will be an improvement though I'll be keeping ole Paula (older plane) around just in case... maybe someday it will become a compass plane, maybe I'll give her away, maybe I'll keep it for sentimental reasons heh, I don't know.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ruedy Key Cabinet

I took a couple more process photos before finishing this little guy but it was just some taping for finish and mortise making for hangers which I snapped on the last project.
I decided to put together a half-assed photo shoot using my drawing paper roll on my bench, lit with shop and bench lights (no defusers). The colors aren't great but that is always a challenge. I'd say some of the detail shots are even website worthy :).
Without further a due -
Ruedy Key Cabinet - A.D. Walnut, unknown, Kingwood.
About 14"x8"x5"

Little "leveler" of Kingwood helps prevent the door from sagging over time.

I really like this shot, don't know what it is... just nice.

For how much the door is curved it is very difficult to photograph. I mean it's not WILD but a more obvious curve than the Vanity Cabinet. This shot illustrates the door shaping that is even harder to photograph. The "whoop-dee-do" of the door and the shaping of the cabinet side act as the door pull. The Groom has big bass handling hands and the Bride slender hands, figure this is not only a nice detail but a more versatile pull ha.

Key Hanger also of Kingwood (so it the flipper-flopper).
The hangers are a bit "rougher" than the rest of the cabinet. I don't know, I'm coming to like the imprints of hand tools on these little pieces. Problem is, I'm not a great carver. The "freedom" of work on these little guys aren't exactly congruent to the overall flow of the rest of the work but I hope it's not too much of a clash. The journey of one's aesthetic continuous heh.

The other shots weren't showing the shape of the partision so here's one that does.
The partision has a concave shape to allow easier access and visibility to what may be in the space below.

"Left over" wall hangers from the Vanity Cabinet were nice to have on hand :).

The "seal of approval" heh. I don't give ANY thing I make the little "NN" carving. Call me vain or silly but it would be nice if some day this little mark would be an indicator of quality and craftsmanship to some out there. I guess it comes to the yearn for some sort of "greatness" in me. That driving yet sufferable force. A pursuit of "excellence".
So this is my gift to you. It may not be large or "grand" but it is built to last and flows from overall form to the details. Honest hard work and perseverance from the hands working with the material making friendly forms, edges, and transitions. I hope you find your bond shares more in common with this little structure than one may first suspect.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Partision & Back Frame

As Mentioned last time, pre-finishing! Using air-dried Walnut I want to show off the natural colors and tones of the wood that is quite different from the Kiln-dried variety. I hope that in some small way I can raise awareness and promote the appeal of air-dried material. The wood left to its own devises is really in its top form.
Anywho I chose "orange" shellac for the Walnut as it helps along those deep chocolate tones but doesn't mask the subtle gradients the way oil might. Four coats this time with one light coat of wax, still a minimal finish :)

The carcass glued up and working on the partision. I cut the partision to approximate size (meaning still too big to fit) then I shoot the end grain with a block-plane to fit. I am fitting from the back because there is an ever so slight taper to the carcass that I built in for the purpose of fitting this partition. The riser blocks are there to support the partition at the height that it will live. There could be slight variations in width of the carcass along its height. Always fit your components where they will end up!

The partision fit and being finished I had time to address the hing mortises in the door. After the partision was glued in I fit the door too.

The back frame. Walnut from the same plank. 3/8" thick. Here I was fitting the partision "backer" again with shooting board and block plane.

Searching for that back panel! I'm using a cut of that Mystery wood I used as the bottom of my Arbutus Box from IP. Still don't know what it is, but I do know that its difficult to work with, its attractive, and I don't have much of it. A precious bit of wood... my friend better appreciate it ha.
I normally stray away from book matching but the colors wouldn't allow a slip match. I looked at a flip match but felt it just looked hokey like it was obviously fighting that book match... so I just went with it. The prismatics of this piece really isn't an issue so it turned out just fine.

With the softening details done to the frame and panel, pre-finishing done, it's time for glue-up. The partision backer is doweled and the frame uses slip-tenons aka bridal joints. Remember to clamp those tenon wings together! Particularly with these thin joints the moisture from the glue can do funny things heh.
The panel looks a bit funky with the unfinished Walnut, but when the frame is finished... you may not be able to take your eyes away hehahehae. but seriously, it should be nice.

This is turning out to be a quite small and simple but lovely little project. It's one thing to be able to do a great, impressive, technical, "grandiose" piece which is all well and good, but it's another to work on a modest scale and be able to make the project your own and to make it live with its own "personality" :)

On the topic of "more grandiose", here is a shot from my sketch book... I've never claimed to be a drawer heh. I think the top cabinet with the legs may be my next project. Standing at about 5' tall it will be a display case on a stand. I would be lying if I said that Rene Almon's Euro Cherry cabinet in Waken Hands didn't affect me. I made this sketch months after seeing Rene's cabinet, I wasn't even actively thinking about that cabinet but it left its impression... After doing a preliminary scale drawing I looked in Waken Hands again and found it to be within 2" of the same diamentions! GAH! Well there's no use fighting it ha. I'm not going to purposely uglify my work just to try to make it more different. It already is a different cabinet besides the fact that we are two different people and will see the details in different ways.
The sketch under is one I would also like to peruse on a stand. Obviously I was affected by JK's walk about cabinets ha. As similar as it may be in "genetic make up" to JK's I think that even in the sketch it obviously shows my "persona".
Currently I'd like to see it some Cedars, but don't know if that soft of wood would be a great idea for a walk-about..?
Back when I started this whole woodworking thing I used to get caught up in trying to be unique. Did that produce really great and fine work? I don't really think so. At this point in the "evolution" of furniture/craft/whatever there doesn't seem to be a lot of "firsts" left. Now most of the "truly unique" stuff out there "truly suck" ha. That isn't to say that there is no room left but why fight what is great work? If I happen upon something "out there" that I'd still be happy with I wont hesitate to do it. I'll just continue to try to do what I want to do, make great, livable furniture and cabinets :).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Gah! Other responsibilities kept me from laying a finger on this project for four whole days... was getting a bit edgy about it ha. But I now have pieces in a gallery in Northeast Minneapolis and am "making up" for time off the part-time gig for Toronto.
Anywho where was I?... Ok after getting the carcass dry fit with dowels one should address the back of the case. I used a block plane and my bench to check for flatness/planeness(can that be a word?) of this little guy.
Then to the router-table to make the rebates for the back frame. The vertical pieces on this cabinet are routed through but the top and bottom need stops, shown above. Nothing fancy, just scraps and clamps.
I'm planning on my back frame to be 3/8" thick so I make the rebates about 7/16" deep to allow a step from the back of the carcass to the frame.

There's a faint line that marks the rebate of the vertical piece. I always leave a bit of material for making the final cuts/fits by hand. Squared up the stops with the good old bench chisels.

Grooves were made for the partition by my little trim router. Maybe I should jig my router to able to be able to do this kind of thing but the "guide block" works too.
At this time I also made mortises for hinges, flipper-flopper, and key-hooks with the same little router plus hand work. Also a hole for the leveler on the drill press.

there are the key hooks of Kingwood. The purples in the Kingwood really go well with the violet and mauve in the air-dried Walnut. I mill the hooks together like this because they are easier and safer to work with as a larger piece than individual bits.

A finished key-hook with little live tenon.

Heh a tiny sand "block" with 1000 grit paper used to do a little softening of hardware mortises.
With a final ever-so-light planing of the surfaces it's on to pre-finishing!