Thursday, February 28, 2013

Trolling on Ebay & A Top Waiting For A Bottom!

Top & Shelf Ready
     Things are moving along, albeit slowly, on completing the Star Jasmine table.  This is my own design and falls under the category of either a hall table or a sofa table.  Part of the design that I feel makes it unique are the drawers at either end plus the elliptical shape of the top.  It's completely finished now along with the shelf.  Here they are, leaning against the bannister waiting for the rest to be completed.  I really like how the grain of the Sapele runs through the center of it; actually it's made of three pieces of Sapele with breadboard ends pinned with Ebony.  The shelf section will sit on the stretchers mortised into the legs.  The delay now is due to the finish process on the drawer fronts.  You can't rush a 24 hour drying period and the temperature in the shop slows it down even more.
     Okay, so trolling on Ebay, what's that all about?  As part of my simplifying process I tend to sell anything I haven't used for a few years on Ebay and that was the case recently with a Marples mortise chisel.  I rarely use it, the hollow chisel mortiser takes care of the grunt work for that operation!  In spite of that, I really do prefer quiet hand work to noisy tool operation whenever possible.
     That's the case with fitting the drawer bottoms for this table.  Sure, a router and a rabbet bit would have accomplished this task quicker but I wanted to use my Stanley #78 Rabbet plane.  Only problem is that I've never had a fence to do that operation properly --- enter this:   Ebay sale from Briar Collectables.
     The fence is what allows you to cut an accurate rabbet, before I found it I would clamp a straight edge to the board to guide the plane.  That was a cumbersome, crappy solution at best.  Here's the old tool, outfitted with the fence:

Stanley #78 with Fence and Completed Bottom
     The fence consists of the rod and bracket on the right side of the plane.  This is one of the drawers for the table with it's completed bottom.  As far as the plane itself goes, Stanley manufactured these from around 1885-1973.  The lever you see next to the handle dates it to post 1925 and the sweetheart logo on the blade confirms that my plane is probably from the late 20's to early 30's.  You can change the position of the blade to the front and have a bullnose plane.  In any case, I like this old tool.
     The first cuts are always made across the grain.  I found that by pulling it backwards at an angle, the nicker would score the wood first:

Scoring with Nicker
     I'm using a piece of clear pine for the bottoms and although it's growth rings make it a dubious candidate for it will see if it will hold up since it's wide enough without having to laminate pieces together.  Pine, being soft is actually harder to chisel cleanly than a hardwood.

End Grain First

     After scoring the top it was just a matter of repeated passes to bring it to the required size.  I find that by wrapping my hand around the fence and bottom of the board it's pretty easy to control.  After both sides were completely rabbeted it was time to finish off with the front of the piece which is edge grain.  Notice that now it's making shavings rather than end grain chunks!
Edge Grain to Finish
     The one thing I need to do to make the plane look a little more it's age is to get rid of that zinc plated thumb screw!  Need an old brass, knurled knob with enough patina to match the rest of the tool.  There will probably be one more post on this table and that's when it's complete.  Currently taking a carving class from Dennis Patchett at WoodItIs school/studio here in Las Vegas so my focus will be there for a while.

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