Thursday, June 30, 2011

Legwork and Glue-Up

     Good morning in the shop today, the weather even cooperated by cooling down a bit and I was able to glue up around 11am!  Lots of wind yesterday brought in a cold front but the forecast calls for 110 - 112 for the weekend.  First thing this morning was to taper the legs.  They're going from 1 1/4" square at the top to about 7/8" at the bottom.  This taper starts about eight inches from the top.  This is a definite case of measure twice and cut once -- actually more than twice!

Here's the sled I use to cut the tapers.  The taper is on the insides of the legs only and the trick is to plan the cuts so that after the first one is cut, you need to be able to flip the leg and still be on a square plane.  If you cut the wrong one first, then you won't have a  flat surface to lay on the sled.

After two sides of each leg were tapered it was time for the quieter process of removing the saw blade marks and getting that smooth surface.  A number four, bronze smooth plane is the best for that.  Even it had some difficulties on this piece of walnut because of the interlocked grain.

This interlocking grain adds visual interest to the piece but is a bear to smooth.  I will need to resort to a cabinet scraper on a few of the legs.  I wanted to add a bead on the bottom of the aprons as that's a pretty traditional touch.  In keeping with my desire to replicate the style of work of the time this table would have been built I knew using a router wouldn't do.  Instead, I filed piece of old bandsaw blade to a simple pattern and did the apron with a scratch stock.  I must admit I was a bit apprehensive of the grain tearing out because it's pretty gnarly!
The picture at the right shows how subtle the detail at the bottom of each apron is.  Notice the grain?, if all goes the way I hope it does there'll almost be a three dimensional quality to the aprons.  In case you're wondering, that's the scratch stock laying by the top of the board.  I'd mentioned in an earlier post the the tenons had to be somewhat like a jig saw puzzle.  The end of this side apron has two tenons that go into the leg mortise while the back apron piece has a single tenon that locks into the side ones.

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