Saturday, October 1, 2011

Woodworks by John: Design Process

     Another commission came my way but I was pretty much all set up to begin work on the tenons so wanted to get that done.  This will be more of a photo how to than anything else.  You may recall that I prefer to use machines to do the grunt work and then hand work to refine and fit everything "just so".  After cutting both sides of the tenon cheeks at a 10 degree angle they needed to be individually fit into their corresponding mortise.  The mortise length varied a bit so the first step was to cut 1/2" off of one side:
Rough Size Tenon

This became somewhat of a mass production process to do the 9 legs plus a spare.  Basically, use a knife to locate 1/2", then the dovetail saw to remove it -- next!

     Each mortise and tenon is marked with a metal working stamp in an inconspicuous place to keep things organized.  You measure the width of the mortise, mark it with the double square and knife, then cut with the dovetail saw as before.  The shoulders always need a little paring to get them perfect and in this case, the angle needed to be 10 degrees to allow the legs to splay out a bit.  The small sliding bevel is used to check that.

Trimming Tenon Thickness

     The tenons were cut slightly thicker than 3/8" so that they could be trimmed to fit each individual mortise.  When you use a table saw and tenoning jig the blade can be slightly inconsistent so the width may vary a little.  This is especially true when cutting angled tenons.  This is a definite case of having the proper tool for the job.  In the past I've used chisels to pare tenons and also router planes.  This rabbet block plane is ideal as far as I'm concerned.  Feels great in my hand and look at those shavings!  Just nice to use for this operation.  This model has nickers which leave a tell-tale mark.  By making my initial cuts towards the outside, the nicker leaves a scratch.  Once I remove the scratch I know I've planed the entire surface evenly.

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