Monday, June 4, 2012

Combination of Hand & Power Tools

     Well, here in the desert it's really been heating up and I've spent the last 4-5 days out in the shop until well past 95 degrees!  Usually like to get out of there about 5 degrees earlier but I'm somewhat driven when I get into new projects.  Now that Diane has been working in her studio creating her rag dolls for several months she's decided there were some needed changes.  The soothing green on the walls worked well for her when her entire focus was to create her beautiful oil paintings.  It's unfortunate that the economy has cut into her gallery sales so drastically that she knew she needed to change her focus.  Speaking of focus, the green that worked so well for painting proved to be less than desirable for sewing so the first thing we did was to paint everything white.  Some of the walls needed 3 coats to cover but between her doing all the trim work (Thank you, thank you, thank you!) and me doing the roller work that phase is now complete.
     The next thing to be addressed was to create more horizontal space for laying out fabric and housing sewing machines and a serger.  I had made a table that held two machines but the way it stuck out into the room interrupted the work flow.  That table has become the main cutting table and two new, narrower tables are almost complete that will fit against the walls.  The hardest thing we had to overcome in the design was an angled, 45 degree wall.  Angles may add interest to a room but they're a royal pain when it comes to creating a floor plan -- always end up with some wasted space.
     In any case, last Friday we went to Peterman Lumber to buy ultralight MDF and Poplar to start the build out.  Also picked up a couple of 4' x 8' sheets of white laminate.  Doing laminate work isn't one of my favorites but you can't beat it when you need a smooth and durable work surface.  The first thing I needed to do was to build the tables.  The legs came from 8/4 stock and have a taper at the bottom to lighten them up.  Nothing says quality furniture to me like mortise and tenon joinery, here's my set up for that:

Ready for M & T's

     You can see the taper at the bottom of the leg.  The mortises are cut and need to be cleaned out with chisels.  On the left is a bench hook and saw ready to cut tenons and at the right is another bench hook and a rabbet block plane to trim the cheeks.

Haunched Mortise
     One of the mortises is haunched for the longest span, the short span is not.  A technique I use to lay out the haunch is to use a 1/4" spacer to lay it out on the tenon:

Laying out the Haunch

     Once the sawing is done my go to tool for trimming the tenons is a rabbet block plane:
Trimming Tenon Cheeks

      Once all of the joints fit the way they should the final step before assembly is to plane all of the surfaces. The bronze smoother plane left a beautiful finish on the Poplar.  I use the block plane to put a slight chamfer on every edge.

Final Surfacing

     This is a rather long (5') and narrow (22") table so assembly was done in two stages.  First the ends were glued and clamped, then the long apron pieces were assembled.  Good thing Diane is good about helping on these projects as it's pretty hard to span 5' and bring the joints together!

Glued up and Ready for Paint
     There is another unit for the room. It features a 30" wide area that will accommodate a chair and has a set of open shelves at the opposite end.  This will need a filler piece to go into the angle on the wall.  Given up trying to visualize and figure out how to deal with that.  After wasting many brain cells on it decided to just put everything else in place and deal with that odd piece later.

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