Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Let the Drawers Begin

Before I put the top down, while pre-finishing, I went ahead and did some beginning work on drawers.
Here I cut bits of Poplar to exactly fit the drawer openings. Which are slightly smaller than the rest of the drawer pocket(s).

Took one "story stick" at a time back to the table saw and set up a stop to cut the corresponding drawer front to size. I thought the thickness of my ruler was a good extra bit for fitting the drawer. Unless you want a sloppy fitting drawer you do not want it to fit the pocket off the bat.
Cross-cuts were made to the drawer fronts with carriages to get the correct angles I needed.

Here are four chop-blocks, all of which I need to make these drawers. Each one is a different angle corresponding to the different points on the curved drawer fronts that the joinery will go. It can get a little complicated, be sure to mark what goes where!

Here is what one of the chop-block set-ups looks like. I use a thickish block to prop up the drawer front to accommodate it's curve. I find this a lot easier and faster than making a curved cradle, which I find unnecessary.

Well, this post is a bit short. I thought I would separate this one from the next as it will probably get a little lengthy... at least a bunch of pics of making half-blind dovetail pins!
So, till then...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Back On

Alright. It feels it has been a while. I've been busy with a number of Best-man duties for a good friend's wedding. The wedding just took place this weekend, lovely. Now life may continue as "normal" though I hardly know what that is.
I did get some time in the shop. Enough to put the desk top down and start on drawer work.
Before getting the top down I wanted to snap a shot of this joint, more-so the leg, that kept me up at night for a while ha.

Here it the top to base assembly. Using pretty much all the F-clamps I have... maybe I should get more.

Next post, hopefully soon, let the drawers begin.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Almost there...

With the little bits of pre-finishing complete I could get to some more assembly.
Here I'm gluing up/down the vertical drawer partitions to the web-frame. I figured it would be easier to do it at this point than work around the rest of the desk.

After that was another scarey part of this build. The web-frame glue-up. This is just one big joint splined on three sides. Part of what mad this tricky is that I couldn't really get a good caul on the relatively thin parts to help the whole join home. I managed though.

The next day I got to another part of this project that I have been weary of. Chopping out the desk top corners to fit in the proud leg tops. I have done this before but it is still a nervous time. I think of all the hours I've invested and how tricky it would be to "come back" from a mistake at this point.
Overall it went pretty smoothly. Much more so than I had anticipated. I had set the top up on the legs where I wanted it. scored lines marking the legs protrusions. Made an accurate 90 degree chop block. Rough cut the corners with a hand saw and got to chopping. I allowed some extra room for tweaking but hardly needed it.
I was glad when it fit and the "ordeal" was over ha.

Here is the front, right corner after chopping was done and before the leg top got edge treatment. I was aiming for a 3/32 proud leg top and it looks damn close.

After final surface and edge prep it's now back to pre-finishing again yayyyyyyy.

In the mean time I received a replacement blade for my LN 60-1/2 block plane. I maxed out the original blade and couldn't used it anymore! Good thing I was in a place in the project where I didn't need it.
I'm glad to see that LN is making O1 steel blades for a number of tools now. I hope that this A2 fad may be dwindling heh. A2 I think sounds like a nice option on paper but not so much in practice unless under certain circumstances.
A2 is harder and keeps an edge longer if using friendly woods however it's more difficult/a pain to get a really keen edge with. It also is more brittle due to its hardness. When I get little chips coming off my tool edge when, say working Oak end grain, it's more time-consuming to get back to a clean edge with A2.
Well, time will tell of this O1 blade's performance. I still find it a bit irritating that people producing O1 "western style" tools are hardening the steel to the levels closer to a Japanese style tool. Which I think may be another "trend" of sorts. The reason Japanese tools are so hard is that traditionally they were used with soft woods which need very sharp edges and are of course less tough than hardwoods. A slightly softer steel will be more resilient  to the relative toughness of hardwoods... at least in theory.

Whatever, that's my hand tool steel rant for the day ha.
Take care all!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Stop, Go, Stop

Hello again, and back to the desk after leg/apron assembly.
After all those joints were good and stuck I fit the web-frame into the drawer pocket. Mark the points that I wanted to cut the front curve at, mark by using the top itself as a template and cut on the band saw. Here I'm cleaning up the curve with a trusty spoke shave.

Next was to "laminate" the Walnut front edge to the web-frame. Just used a couple strips from the same piece of Walnut I used for the back apron rail.
During this time I also cut the vertical drawer partitions to size and added Walnut front edges of their own.

Aaaaaand I'm back to pre-finishing again.
I'm getting a bit bored with this down time ha.
I would like to put together a couple organizers some odds and ends on my shop shelves but I don't have money for the material at the moment. I've done machine maintenance already. Made a mock-up for the next project...
Well I took some time to make a pair of "cutting/butcher boards" of some scrap Maple I had ha.

After that, got bored again. I decided to just dig into some material for the next project.

I'm going to call the next projects "nightstands" for now to simplify as that is the indented purpose.
The Euro Beech for the box part of these nightstands though simple in overall structure is going to be tricky with grain selection. I'm going to need a good amount of open brain space for that so I wont tackle that for now.
So I got going on some leg stock. Mmmmm Kwila. The relatively narrow plank I had left over is mainly quarter-sawn so I used the band saw to cut angles out to try to "twist" some more rift-sawn leg stock out.

Ooo parallelograms... Fun word. Say it out loud. Do it!

Further milled the leg stock square. With the legs so short on these stands I decided to double up on the length to make work go more smoothly. Each square piece will be cut in half to make two legs. The other bits are the off-cuts in width of the plank. They will be used either for aprons or stretchers.
Though the leg stock isn't the exact 45 degree grain orientation I would have liked, it's the best I could comfortably do given the plank and will still work out quite nicely. Kwila is a fairly course structured wood sort of like Oak which helps in making it fairly forgiving in terms of these grain compromises.
Mmmmm I love Kwila! I wish I had the funds to store some up! But thanks again to Cormark International for sending me those couple nice planks!