Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Change Brain out of Vacation Mode!

     Although we had a great six day vacation in New York City I must admit I missed my shop time.  Talk about masses of humanity --- whew!  We stayed in an awesome, corner condo on the 33rd. floor in mid-town Manhattan with floor to ceiling windows so our views were spectacular to say the least.  To be honest though the congestion of people, cars, busses, bicycles, food carts, etc. was quite a change from life here in the desert.  I can only summarize it with this phrase:  "It's a great place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there".
     So now, put my brain back into woodworker mode and get to work on the table bases.  The first step was to rough cut the material for the legs.  This was more time consuming than I planned for.  Although I had specified material with very little to none sapwood I had to cut around it quite a bit to get the pieces needed.  Some of the boards had rich, dark color on one side only, the inside pieces were beige sapwood. Here are the pieces rough cut to yield as much dark Walnut as possible:

Phase One

     You can see that some of the pieces have quite a bit of sapwood on the edges, these were trimmed off of one side, then the rip cut edge was jointed so that it could be brought to finished size.

Jointing the Edges

     As you may imagine this created lots of beautiful shavings except where the grain got a bit interlocked  but since this isn't the final edge it's not a problem.  Once the legs are glued up into their L-shape I'll use a smooth plane to create the hand planed surface that's my trademark.
     The leg design calls for a tongue and groove joint and since I have a total of 12 leg assemblies to make they were all cut at the same time -- semi mass production style.  Here they are, ready to be cut to the required length and glued/clamped together.

Ready for Final Sizing and Assembly

     I wanted to get the widest possible leg from the material available, the two end table leg sections ended up being 3 1/2" wide and for the coffee table I was able to get 4 3/8" wide leg structures.  They still need some final hand work and then cut to length before glue up.  Thankfully the mornings are forecast to be a bit cooler than last week so glue ups can be done in the shop.  Really tough to glue up large surfaces when the temperature is 85+ degrees.
     The only negative aspect so far is that since there was quite a bit of sapwood there was also quite a bit of waste.  I need to order more materials than planned because of it but I wanted as much dark wood as possible.  I'll need to reorder enough for the aprons on both of the end tables.  I'm scheduled to teach a class at WoodItIs next month on making a portable work bench and if it gets enough enrollment I can possibly sell some of the sapwood pieces to my students.
     Time to get out there and cut the legs to length and begin the glue up process.  By the way, the stone is a Travertine that is primarily beige with some darker streaking.  When the stone is combined with this Walnut base it'll be a beautiful marriage!

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