Friday, February 25, 2011

Desk Substrate

Geez, seems like I've had my hands full with little progress to show for it. I have been spending more time on the gallery's website, and I guess it is the way of veneer work sometime.
Desk top substrate! I decided I didn't want to do a 3/4" top but wanted more than 5/8", however plywood comes 1/8"s. Well I have extra 1/16" veneer I've used for cross banding. I opted to joint together some 1/16" Poplar veneer and laminate that in a 1/4" ply sandwich.

The sandwich gives me about 9/16" thick substrate, adding the two 1/16" walnut veneers it should come out to be somewhere around 11/16" aka 1/16" less than 3/4".
Here is said substrate shaped before the bake-ins are applied.
Nice subtle curves which I seem to be gravitating toward. Also I wanted to maintain the amount of usable surface area. Some more "radical" curves could look nice but in the end this is to be a daily desk with an effective use of space... who ever says their rooms are too big?

And the part that set this piece in motion. The top. Well the veneer for the top anyway. pictured above are the "strips" of veneer cut to mate together. The light spaces in between is just the ply wood "work space" I had set up but nicely defines the joint lines for viewing pleasure/ease.
So, part of the reason I needed to veneer this is that the raw board wasn't quite wide enough for a desk top. I'd veneer it in order to do a couple slip matches to make it wide enough. I have used this technique before. Although I'd prefer to have planks wide enough and like to maintain the wood's "integrity", it's just not going to happen all the time. Being in my position and locale I need to be able to work with what I have. I'm sure many others can relate :).
So, those slip matches are the two thinner pieces inside the strips with sap wood.
I think this will make a beautiful top! I'm excited to see it clean up :).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Catching up on the Oak

Oh boy, this may be a doosey of a post. Some times the time just flies and one doesn't realize how many operations have gone by!
Back on the brackets adding the final touch. Using my jimmy riged x-y table to add the notch to the brackets. I was surprised at how well it worked while taking it easy. Last time I went over to Craig's to use his mighty x-y but looks like I wont have to bother him for that any more heh.
I like to think my clamping/positioning jig is a little clever. Milled a piece of Poplar slightly thinner than the brackets are wide. This way my clamping force is stable on the table and the brackets are held securely.

With the "carcass" all dry-fit together it was time to move on to the finishing touches with it too.
Sometimes I get a little antsy with edge treatment, just wanting to get on to the next step. This time it was different. I really found a "groove" with these edges. Being such a stripped down piece, the edges are one of the few places the maker's hands can really come through.
I'm sure I've said it before, but one of the things I really like toying with is the concept that the fewer components/elements in a piece of work, the greater weight each carries. If one blows any component on a very simple piece, there's no "making up" for it else where. Sure maybe that adds a bit of "pressure" but I like the challenge :).

Bam! Assembly, after pre-finishing of course.

On to the drawer, the only other component of the piece ha.
Using a small piece of Chinese Elm I saved from my school project at IP. It should go rather nicely with the Oak. For the rest of the drawer I've opted for Ash as it has a stronger grain structure better mating with the Oak than Maple may.

Poof! the Dovetail Gnomes are at it again!
Anywho, fast forwarding the sawing, chopping, paring, and fitting of the dovetails I was to flattening the bottom of the drawer in preparation of making the grooves for the drawer bottom.

This time around I tried putting a little flare into the pins and tails. The Elm being stringy and brittle across the grain I couldn't very well just shave a little curve into the pins. Thus the outcome isn't quite as nice as I was hoping for but hey, at least the fit of the joints are pretty spot on :).
Next drawers I;m planing on doing are with Walnut fronts. I think they would work better trying to get that flare. However the sides are looking to be of Oak which doesn't work all too well... hmmm don't know if I should try it in those or not, we'll see when the time comes.

Skipping ahead past drawer fitting and drawer edge treatment, the pull is the last piece of this "puzzle".
I originally made a different pull out of a different wood but when I mocked it up on the drawer in its pocket I got one of those sinking feelings that I didn't like it. The shape was decent but it was the color that screamed at me. I decided to cut into my prized little stash of Ornamental Maple I received from Jody at IP. The shape of the new pull is a bit simpler and cleaner which I thought would ultimately be better for the piece anyway. It is actually very similar to the ones I did for the Chinese Elm Cabinet but heavier and with less movement. I think it will be nice.

Well I've pretty much wrapped this piece up already :). Quite a change from the more lengthy pieces I have been doing. It's nice, but I feel like I may need another piece to push me. The desk may just be enough push for me. Don't know when I'll get to photographing this piece but rest assured I'm post the pics when they're done :).

Till later, happy shavings!