Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hand Tools vs. Power Tools Etc.

As I'm advancing on my current project I wonder sometimes why I do the things I do -- not in a negative way but just in a way that I enjoy.  I'd really like to be able to present nothing but cleanly planed surfaces but admit that there are times when a scraper or a piece of sandpaper needs to be employed.  The same goes for edges.  Let me show an example, here is one of the corners of the frame and its radius:

Cut on the Bandsaw

Smoothed with a Spokeshave

When the wood is simply cut with a bandsaw the appearance is somewhat rough and ragged.  I would have had the same results though had I used a hand coping saw.  Once it was cut there are basically two options to smooth things out, a spokeshave or sandpaper (either hand or power).  I chose to use the spokeshave you can see laying on the bench.  Take a look at the grain on the radius now -- see how clear it looks?  That's the effect a sharp blade has on wood.  Sandpaper, on the other hand, tends to abrade the wood to shape and you can achieve what the spokeshave does but you have to work your way through several grits and run the risk of rounding the edges.
Once all corners were done, I did use a router to begin a slight radius all around the frame as well as the sight edge.  My method is to take an extremely light cut with a block plane on this radius to remove the machine marks left by the router.
Since the frame and the stained glass are destined to hang in a window, both sides will be visible.  That meant making a stop to hold it in place that will be good enough to be seen unlike a picture frame that is against a wall.  I cut two steps in that side, here's a picture to help you see it:

The piece at the top of the glass with the miter is the stop.  You can barely see the countersunk hole for a small, brass screw.  From the outside all that will be different is that there are 10 screws visible holding the stop to the frame.  This way too the glass will be easy to remove should the need arise.

All that remains is to finish planing the surfaces and edges, stain, and finish with a hand rubbed linseed oil, turpentine, urethane mixture and deliver it to my client. 

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