Sunday, August 15, 2010

Machine Part of Joinery Done

     Although I always use traditional joinery in my work, machines do play a very important role.  It's not my quote but it was said by another woodworker that he uses his machines just as a craftsman of old used their apprentice!  In other words, they do the repetitious grunt work so I can concentrate on refining the joints with chisel, saw, plane, etc. to bring it all together.  So where I use my surface planer to bring pieces to their required thickness, it's using the smooth plane that eliminates the marks left by the machine and prepares the stock for finishing.  I suppose the big difference is that eventually the apprentice would become a craftsman where the machines will quietly and efficiently do their work asking only for their required maintenance -- I can deal with that!
     Previously I'd mentioned how it's crucial to make a full size drawing of chair parts and then taking sizes and angles off of that, here's a photo:

There's a bit of distortion so you'll have to take my word for it that the piece of wood is the exact size and angle as what's been drawn.  At this point the tenons are the same width as the stretcher but they will be trimmed to fit into its mating  mortise.  This will be accomplished with a dovetail saw, chisel for paring, and a rabbet plane.  Lately I've been cutting my tenons with two dado blades with spacers in between them to match the mortise width.  That way you only make one pass on the saw with the tenoning jig for each end.  I leave them ever so slightly over sized and then use the rabbet plane to not only fine tune them but also to smooth the cheeks for a better gluing surface.
     Tomorrow I plan to fit all of them, start on the grid for the bottom, and begin shaping the legs with a spokeshave.  As luck would have it the weather man has predicted more heat -- bad timing!  When I laminate the back I need as much time as possible to spread the glue on all of the pieces, can't have it setting up before I get them into the form and clamped.  Hopefully too, some time this week I'll get a call from the finisher telling me that the TV lift cabinet is ready for it's final assembly.  Be glad to write "Completed" next to that project.

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