Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It's Official: Winter has Arrived in Las Vegas

Winter Over-alls & Heater!!
     Those of you in the colder parts of the country are probably thinking "what a woos!" but hey, when it goes below 40 degrees at night and the shop is just a tad above that when I start work in the morning it's time to change my ways!  See that propane heater in the corner?  Just right to take the chill off and then add my heavy weight Carhart's and I'm good to go!  Diane caught me marking off a piece of Curly Maple I just bought for a custom ordered box but I had some work I was half way into on the Star Jasmine table so had to multi-task for a while today.
     The last thing I completed on the table was to laminate the top pieces and add the piece along the edges to thicken the over-all appearance.  Since it's 16 1/2" wide it was too wide to fit into the tablesaw sled so I had to improvise.  It's always a hassle to cut wide pieces on the table saw and I might have been better off with a handsaw and router guided by a straight edge but here's what I did.  A piece of wood was screwed to the miter gauge and then I clamped the top to it.

Squaring and Cutting Top to Length
     I started the saw and then raised the blade to begin the cut.  It worked alright, I just couldn't see making a larger panel cutter for two cuts but everything turned out almost square.  I plan to make the over-all shape of the top a very slight ellipse.  I want the ends to be about an inch narrower than the center of the top.  Since the length of the top is about 52" it will be barely noticeable but still add some interest to it.  I almost began laying out the curves when I realized the tongue for the bread board ends needs to be cut square to the edges.  Much easier to do that now then when it's square then after the ellipse has been formed.

Routing the Tongue
     This turned out to be a chicken and egg situation, in other words, what came first?  The tongue will be 3/8" thick and 1 1/4" wide.  By clamping a straight edge across the top and then making a series of cuts with a router it was cut on both ends.  Here's the dilemma, the top hasn't been surfaced yet and the breadboard end isn't made either.  I decided to leave the tongue a good 1/16" thicker than needed so I can work it with a rabbet plane to achieve the best possible fit.  It really is in keeping with my philosophy of letting the machines do the bulk of the work and then using hand tools for the final fitting.  Once the top is surfaced the mortise can be cut into the breadboard piece and fitted to the  top.

     In case you're wondering, by afternoon the temperature in the shop is a comfortably in the lower 60's.  Only need the heat for a short time in the morning!


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