Thursday, October 28, 2010

Enter the Stand

Two of three planks of Kwila that came from Cormark Int atop the new set of saw horses. I finally don't have to do a balancing act while trying to rough cut lumber with only two horses again. Don't let looks deceive you. Even though the horses are made of little they are sturdy! I gave one a test by sitting on it for at least 30 sec (my butt started to hurt ha). Two of them can handle me sitting on a plank while scrub planing said plank.

Getting all four legs from one plank. This was a great selected plank! Clean grain that has a subtle curve to it. A true rift toward where the center of the tree would be for the front legs and quarter-leaning to the outside for the rear legs. This plank is also for far the best working Kwila I've laid edge to. The other two planks don't work as nice though.

Legs with the insides shaped and apron parts to the left.

It has been a long time since I've made legs at vertical angles to the joining aprons. I forgot about the more time involved. I've left the outsides of the legs straight and square for now to help me with joinery... such as making sure the angled joints equal 90 degrees seen above.

Now this is starting to look a bit complicated, or at least intensive. The side aprons are so fat because they will also be acting as my drawer pocket sides. Even though my aprons will end up canted to the side I'm once again keeping two sides square. I've planed the joinery to be vertically straight because I felt it would be easier to avoid any twisting in assembly due to not getting angles quite right. With that planed I have room to do some twin 1/4" tenons. I'm splitting those up into four 1/4" tenons because they would otherwise be so tall. Though this doesn't allow for as much glue area on the tenons (though there's already plenty) it does make the mortises stronger resulting in a stronger joint... in my theory ;).
Here's to not pulling my hair out with these!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Saw Horses

So Here I am, in wait for lumber to come to my door for the stand of the Maple Showcase project. I was thinking of making some saw horses after finishing the showcase but time has presented itself now.
On the table are all the rough dimensioned parts for four horses. The little "pony" there was made at school as an exercise in tenons, it also happens to be a 1/2 scale of the low horses out at IP. I'm making the taller horses though.

Here is some free-hand mortising in a foot piece. The ones at school are wedged tenons but I'm making stub tenons here.

Live tenons. There are 16 tenons in a set of four of these horses, I figure I would use them as another exercise in live tenons.
The shoulders cut and waste removed with table and bands saw. I use a chisel to cut out the corners of the tenon then round it with files to fit the rounded mortises... morti?

Here's a dry-fit tenon. Yes there is space horizontally because these are to be wedged tenons. It has been a long time since I have wanted to put through joinery in a piece, haven't done it since MCTC (before IP). These utilitarian aids probably need it though. The "leg" pieces are relatively thin and with the use that these guys are going to see (hopefully) they could benefit from a joint being mechanically strong too.

LOTS of edges to treat! But I don't want to be grabbing at sharp things when working so treatment they received!
The horses are all assembled except for the top cross piece. There is a lap joint in the top of the leg about 3/4" deep and a lap in the cross piece about 1/4" deep. The top piece is not to be glued into place in case it is ever needed to be replaced. The 1/4" dowel is not compressed any further than what came from the factory and is a tight fit. One will need to apply a fair amount of force to get the cross piece off but not enough that anything is in danger of breaking.

Tah-dah! A set of saw horses ready to be used! They are 30" tall and the top cross member is 18" wide.
I would also like a set in the 20-22" tall range, another time...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Material Frustration

So this is the 100th post huh? Too bad it deals in frustration heh.
The doors hung, edges treated, and finish applied the cabinet is basically done. It's strange just how plain it looks without those pulls. I feel the addition of the pulls will make a world of difference (hopefully for the better ha).
The Maple has finished a littler more yellow than anticipated. Only used 4 thin coats of extra blonde shellac and one coat wax. The material I had aside for the stand is Golden Narra, a golden yellow color of course. I got started mocking up a stand and then took Narra samples to the cabinet only to have mu stomach turn. It was too close and tooooo much yellow going on >:/ .
I think if the match was closer to the Maple yet of differing "qualities" say Oak of sorts, Hickory, and so on it could work. However seeing as how this is supposed to be more of a "show piece" I'm wanting a higher contrast.
The other side of this disappointment, other than the money needed for new material, time taken to find/get new wood, and just wanting to wrap this project up, is that the Narra I have is 2 7/8" thick! I was going to utilize the + 8/4 in my leg shapes. Now I have to re-design the stand!

As I have said many a time before, there is no where good to go here for a selection of lumber. Also it is disappointing that we really don't have any domestics that are in the honey brown color range (like Teak).

I went to the whole of two local commercial lumber yards and found nothing for my cabinet (no surprise). I though perhaps Jatoba could work but there was only 5/4 to be had at one place. So look like I need to order something.
Called up my guy at Cormark (Jason who is awesome by the way) and briefly chatted with him about ideas and what he had in. I think Teak would be quite fitting but man, at $30 PER b/f? I'm thinking I need to get 20 b/f here to get what I need... $600 for a stand I wasn't prepared to pay for? If this was a commissioned piece it would be a different story.
There are other options like Iroko or some sort of Meranti, but I'm a bit uncomfortable with those as I have never worked with them and haven't seen anyone else who has. I really don't know how those woods age. I called Cormark because I knew they have some Kwila which is what I think I will go for unless he has some Brown Doussie or something, whish I doubt they do.
So while I wait for stand wood I will do some sketching of a new stand and thought I would at least start on the saw horses I've been wanting which is what the Ash pictured above is for.

However, while at one place I did find this guy. I saw it and immediately thought "that's perfect for the desk I want to do!" Except for the LARGE check of course. I figure I would need to rip this piece a couple times to work with it anyway and the check is decently contained across maybe 3 grain lines, and the fact that it would be a veneered top makes it a little easier to work around.
There wasn't enough material to get the rest of the desk from though and it's only 4/4 so it will really only serve as a possible top >:(. One reason why I don't like these kind of shops, they use material indiscriminately. How can you do that with such a beautiful tree!?! The grain, the color! AH!
I figure at $35 for a beautiful top, I would regret not taking it.
So now here's a challenge... find other walnut with similar enough color to make the rest.

I heartily dislike going to these kinds of places. At least around here. At 27 I'm one of the young guys coming in and get treated like an uneducated child. They are the ones who look confused at me when I say I'm looking for straight grained rift sawn 8/4 material. Most don't actually know what Rift is. What am I building? It doesn't frickin matter, I know what I want and need. Oh, you want leg stalk? Well that plank there is quartered... I said RIFT. Do you know know that furniture is 3 dimensional? You get two side with straight grain quartered but what about the other two? Garbage. Oh, well this plank has some rift then that one over there... Those are different colors! We tend to look for "interesting" wood. Oh so what you do is cut part of the trunk to get the crotch and the another part of the trunk to get the butt of the tree. So you're trying to make "Nakashima" slabs out of any tree you get and wasting the prime real estate without even thinking about it. Boy getting that rift sounds like a lot of waste. Yeah? well what I'm building may be better for the tree, it will be beautiful and have a much longer and happier life than your failed "Nakashima" table (don't use his name in vain ha) or your mismatched gaudy gun rack.
Every time I leave I wish to never return.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Veneering was going well for the back panel until... A BUBBLE in the veneer of the rear side of the back panel!!! >:/ (outlined in pencil).
I thought I thoroughly rolled glue on. The other side is fine. My veneer "press" set-ups haven't failed me before... Hmm.
Being a bit flustered I wasn't coming up with great ideas as to what to do. I called for help heh. I got a hold of one Mr. Jason Dingess a friend and classmate of mine who stayed on for a second year, so he was probably more fresh on such topics ;). Got a couple ideas talking with him and picked a plan.
Sometimes with these happens you just have to dive in and avoid the crushing loop of "oh my gosh, I can't believe I screwed up, what the hell am I going to do, what did I do wrong, can I fix this, how do I fix this, what am I doing..."
While I was in school bubbles happened to two students. Both took different approaches.

I chose the "diamond" plug. Hard Maple and other such smooth dense woods are not always the best wood to be doing this kind of thing with and joinery is less forgiving that in more porous woods. I figured I'd give this a shot, if it didn't work out I had a back-up plan.
cut out a rather elongated diamond to avoid harsh end grain joinery. Now, this just looked freaky to me. Just plain wrong. I liken it to cutting out a 1/16" deep diamond out of your flesh.
I had extra veneer so I took the "plug" from about the same spot in the veneer.
I used very thinned white glue in the bottle to help get the glue underneath the veneer filling the bubble. Put the plug in and clamped.

Here is the same spot after surface prep. The pencils mark the tips of the diamond. Not too shabby. It'll work for me.

Moved on the pre-finishing the back panel and working on the doors some more. Glass cutting wasn't the smoothest operation but it worked. Here getting the sticks to hold the glass in place set. finalizing the mullion lap joint.
Getting close on the cabinet portion of things! Glue up the back panel, hang the doors, edge treatment on the doors, finish doors, flipper-floppers, levelers, pulls, and consoles. Well maybe there is a number of things to do but I think I might hold of on the pulls, levelers, flipper-floppers and consoles until I figure out what I want to use for the drawer pulls int he stand.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Carcass glue-up

There seems to be a spread of the common cold here. Early fall seems a strange time for it to happen. Well it has caught me too and put me out of commission for a couple days. I figure I can at least make a quick post.Pre-finishing done it's time to assemble. The first glue-up was a bit hairy. I glued the sides to the bottom. GET SOMEONE TO HELP YOU with these glue-ups! With 13 dowels per side it was a bit much for one person I think. By the time I got the glue in all the holes, spread in the holes, and dowels bottomed out in one side swelling due to water absorption had taken place... Not to mention some initial setting of the glue probably. The sides were getting locked up not quite home. In the end it turned out fine but it was scary!
The second glue-up (top to sides) I enlisted the help of my Father. He didn't even need to do much. I put glue in the holes and he spread it in the holes. I did the rest of the work. That extra speed made a world of difference though! Nice and easy it went.

Finally turned my attention to the doors again. The sticks to hold glass have been fit, except for the mullion placement. Speaking of,  got to the mullions themselves (little wooden sticks that divide glass) shown above.

There they are, chopped and fit into place.
There are a lot of "sticks" going on in this piece. I hope when all is said and done it wont be too much. Ah, I'm sure it wont, it's just a bit different seeing this kind of piece come together versus one using a lot of surfaces.