Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sticks to Structure

Ok back again.
Last time the mortise making on the rail side was done. Now the leg side.
I normally like to keep my leg blanks square for joinery when I can. The front two legs are to be at angles pinching into the desk and need to get angles planed in where the drawer pocket meets the leg. This would be unnecessary if the desk was square, or I had put a visual space and made drawers to come out a little away from the leg.
At any rate I need to cut some of the profile to allow those little juts to become the angles I need.

Started by taking the angle off my shop drawing with my little bevel gauge. The square is to check for squareness relative to the end grain, aka top of the leg.

Then a whirl wind of angled mortise making happened at the boring machine where I was too wrapped up to stop for photos it seems.
This however is the last part of that whirl wind. The dowels is where the drawer pocket partition meets the back apron. I used dowels because normal mortises would have been all cross on end grain which doesn't help too much and the partition is too thin for lateral tenons... dowels was the answer.
That is one full corner of joinery!

Woot! A skeleton of a desk emerges.
Getting to this point was a big relief. I stood back to study it a bit and couldn't find much energy to do much else for the moment. Hopefully the scariest part is over, hopefully.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Desk Leg Joinery Begins

Back to the Desk!
Once again I'm working with angles off 90. Furthermore none of the leg joinery angles even repeat! Well except for the side apron and side stretcher because they are on the same side.
I rough cross cut components on the table saw and took them back to my bench where I used this perhaps odd set-up. Dig it or oppose it, this is the way I tend/like to work heh. With no angles matching, what's the point of making fancy jigs? I'd need like 8 of them! I simply used a little ingenuity in choosing how I made the cross cuts on the table saw to be able to dial in the angles afterwards with minimal sweat :).

I'm not a machine, I'm flexible, as are the projects I work with. I train to trust and be confident with my hands to be able to effectively fine tune complicated builds like these. SOme will school me with jigs and machines, but as one would guess they're simply not for me ;).

However I DO like to use some nice jigging! Love that boring machine and X-Y table (if only I had a proper one).
Above is a top view look at a back corner of the desk "shop drawing".
To the left the side apron comes to the leg and to the right the back apron meets the leg as well. The further to the right there's a drawer pocket partition. Always looking to maximize joint strength, this is what I've come to for this corner. The back apron was thick enough for two 3/16" tenons but I figured I'd maximize the depth of the side apron 1/4" tenon and use a 1/4" + 1/8" twin tenon in the back. The sides also get stretcher so I can put a deeper tenon in at that location.
In theory I'm pleased with this set-up, I think Robert would be too heh.

So here I am at the boring machine. I have a spacer to define the width of the mortises, a spacer defining the horizontal distance between mortises, and a spacer for the vertical dimention of the twin tenon mortises.
Also to make like quite easy with the curved pieces I'm using a small riser block to clamp to which with bring the last 1.25" of the curves to a "flat" plane allowing the tenons to come "straight" from the aprons... Low tech and effective, again.

Mortises made in the side aprons, side stretchers, and sides of the drawer pocket. Funny enough it all worked out so that all these mortises are 1/4" x 1-1/4" which is a happy accident that makes work a bit easier.

And here's that back apron with the "twin" tenon mortises in it. Pretty neat I think!
Next is the scary part... Putting mortises into the legs at all sorts of angles... and I don't have any spares! Yikes!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cherry Display Cabinet

Finally! You know that wall piece I was working on months ago? Here it is :).
Cherry Display Cabinet
18" x 23" x 7"
Cherry (air dried), Maple (air dried), Jatoba

The glass in this piece presented photographing problems. I couldn't get the lights in position that I really liked due to reflection hence the big shadows.

  The color temp of these lights seem to be true which is great for the piece! However I had been over compensating with the back drop. This is the same back drop I used with the Maple Showcase and now doesn't give as warm a feel as I would like. But hey I much prefer knowing what the end result is going to be!

I mentioned as I was building this piece that I was trying a little something different in terms of finger prints here and there. The piece prior to this was very highly regulated and smooth/fared out. That kind of work is great for the right piece. This time I went more relaxed, that's not to say sloppy, just a little more free.
I kept the facets and kept them a little more evident. It was fun for me, I like the results, and I think others will enjoy it too.
Trying to capture it in a photo is another story. Click on the pic to enlarge it and you should be able to see it in the shaping of the end grain/side.

Mmmm that notched pull. Scary but worth it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Toys

New toys!
A pair of Interfit StellarX 600s.
Hopefully these puppies will work out!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Almost to Joinery

All the substrates had been made, now they all have veneer. That's not to say they have edges though. Above the lumber-core back apron getting veneer. Clamped this up at the end of a day so that I could use my bench and a big heavy flat caul.

For the side stretchers I decided to go with bent laminations. I may have mentioned that I'm low on Walnut for this project, and I already had the form from the side apron veneered lamination. Walnut is also a good candidate for lamination. Something lighter in color and more dense such a Maple will show the seams more readily.
Even with Walnut's favorable attributes for such a technique I took the time to hand plane each surface after they went through the thickness planer and before the lamination. This plane is still new to me but it feels like it will continue to be a good performer given the right attention.

Here is a still rough result! I used 5 eighth-inch strips of Walnut glued together over the curved form I used for the side aprons. The glued layers is what holds the shape. Under close inspection they look like pretty clean and tight seams to me :).

Before I get focused on joinery I want to rough mill stock for the drawer pocket web-frame that is to be made of Oak. Attack of the kiln-dried White Oak again! This was after re-sawing for the two long frame members. Good thing I cut them way over thickness! I was afraid something like this would happen... and it did ha.
While these and the other frame pieces are settling a bit hopefully I can get on to the main joinery. Still have to figure all that out though!

In more news, I received a shipment of lumber for my next project which will be a pair of Nightstands. This is Steamed European Beech coming from A&M in Cambridge, ON. It's hard to see the relatively fine grain in this shot but it is not as nice of selection I was hoping for. I had a feeling it would basically be pulled from the top of a pallet but for half the cost as Gilmer was asking I figured I'd give it a shot... I may have learned a lesson.
This perhaps will just supply challenge in an otherwise more simple project and practice in doing the best with less than ideal material which I'm sure I will continue to struggle with ;).

 In further more news, Art-a-Whirl is this weekend! May 20-22. The Northrup King Building is included in this event where Blue Sky Galleries resides and within reside some of my pieces. I will be in attendance when I can to hopefully meet, greet, and chat with some folk!
Perhaps see you there!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Substrate City

Aloha it's once again time for substrates! Ha
As I get further into this project I realize that for such a simple looking end result there is a fair amount going on with this desk. Even in the substrates!
The for drawer pocket partitions are made with flat birch ply, two different thicknesses though. The side aprons are being made by bent lamination of 1/8" ply lams. Then the back apron is lumber-core constructed... and I still have to make a decision on how to construct the two side stretchers!
Building something of the sort with an organic intention is neither quick nor easy. If it was, we'd see more of it I think.

Above some bake-ins are being applied to a drawer pocket component.

Shaping a Poplar mold for the bent laminations.

Here is the core lamination all clamped up. I'm using 1/8" Poplar "sheets" combined as a flexable caul. The ply core with be then given bake-ins before it goes back on the mold to get veneer.

While that was going attention was turned to the lumber-core back apron piece. Quater-sawn Poplar. I'm using lumber-core so I can curve the outside to the shape of the desk-top and keep the back flat which will be part of the drawer pocket.

Clamps came off the bent lamination and went on to press the Oak veneer for some drawer pocket parts. I kept my "press" set-up I had for veneering the panels in my Side Tables in hopes that I would need it again. And it just seemed a good size to keep around. Less fussing around makes my life easier, yay.

While the veneer was going I got to the bake-ins on the bent lam side apron cores. The bake-ins need to be cut in a curve also of course heh.

Aaaaaaand cleaning up the long bake-ins for these curved surfaces. I went with a spokeshave to accomplish this.
Wheeew now that the substrates are mainly done I can get to the veneering. The up coming couple weeks may be a bit touch and go because I'm starting a new part-time job hopefully as a barista on a high-end "coffee bar" and bakery (yay/yum) and will have some overlap with the other. Somewhat decent timing though as I only have enough clamps to do one veneer clamp-up at a time and my Father looks to be starting a sizable project and will be in the shop.
Hopefully I wont get too cranky from being out of the shop! ha

Monday, May 2, 2011

Return to Deskland

Alrighty! After finishing up the Cherry Display Cabinet and taking a breather I'm back on the Walnut Desk I started a bit back.
Last I have just got the Walnut veneer on the desk top and smoothed that all out. Applied edges were next for me. I decided I'd just use the iron I had in my other smoother for now and tune up the new plane. I'm feeling the pinch as it were. Trimming these little edges isn't really critical enough to judge a plane by however I do like the feel of it thus far :).

Above is the mouth of my new plane. Not too shabby if you ask me ;D.

After the long edges were applied and trimmed I went to the short cross-grained ones. In this case there is no overlap of edges because the legs will be integrated into the top. This means the order of the edges is "less" important. I chose to do the long ones first so I could plane with the grain and not have to worry about cross-grain blow-out going across the end-grain edges.
I used a number of 1/8" thick slices of Poplar as flexable cauls gluing one side at a time.

Above is a plank of White Oak that will fulfill the drawer pocket and side components of the desk. I have had this plank for a little over a year and just took it out again to look it over. I marked where I think I want to get my drawer pocket partitions from but I don't like to make hasty cuts in "virgin planks" particularly because I was originally saving this plank possibly for a pair of side tables to go with the Oak Coffee Table I made. Soooo I came up from the basement to do some online stuff.

On that note I have hesitantly started a facebook page. The little lady has been suggesting it to me; I figure I'd give it a shot!

Nicholas Nelson : facebook

I've also put a link to it in the side links here and on my website.
Check it out if you wish!