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lew

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Blog Entries posted by lew

  1. lew
    I started senior high school in 1961. Somehow, fate steered me into the vocational program of building construction. My teacher was Mr. Lester Ostrasky. Most of us have had that one teacher that we never forget. The one that had the greatest influence on our lives- Mr. Ostrasky is that teacher. Starting in my sophomore year, I gave him a Christmas present and have done so every year since. After the Navy and a few years at the Letterkenny Army Depot, I started my teaching career at the new Vocational Center. Mr. Ostrasky was teaching there also. Now we were teaching partners but he still offered guidance to the "new kid". Though we are both retired, we still exchange gifts.
     
    This year, I've made him an optical illusion cutting board. Although the illusion isn't as pronounced as I had hoped, I think he will be pleased.
     
    The board is made from walnut and maple and is an edge grain design. I started by milling and gluing up the alternating strips. Then planed the blank to the final thickness and cut it into strips.

     
    Unlike most of the checker board type cutting boards, the alternating squares needed to radiate out from the center and the finished board has each corner the same color square. To accomplish this, I made an extra row strip that would later be removed.

     
    The illusion is created by alternate colored inserts strategically placed within the squares. Some of these boards use round inserts (dowels) and others use square inserts.
    I decided on square ones. Square holes were relative easy as I have a hollow mortiser. The problem was that the "throat" depth was not nearly deep enough to reach the center squares. To overcome this problem, I delayed gluing the strips together until after the square holes were made. 
     
    Accurate spacing of the inserts is essential for the illusion so I dry assembled the board and clamped it securely.

     

     
    Once the pieces were secured, I scored lines to help locate the square holes. Then added black dots to further identify the hole locations.

     
    Because the holes were equal distance from each edge of the strips I set the mortiser fence to provide consistent placement. The center of the holes were on the scribed lines.

     
    Now it was just a matter of punching the holes into each strip and then reassembling the board with glue.

     
    Once the board was assembled,  a couple of passes through the drum sander to smooth the surfaces.

    I also needed to clean up the holes so the pegs would seat correctly. A sharp chisel took care of that.
     
    The pegs were made from long 1/4" x 1/4" sticks. A simple bandsaw jig made for quick cutting.

     
    Pegs were glued into the holes. 

     
    The extra peg lengths were cut off and the board sanded with a random orbital sander.

     
    A liberal coating of Bumble Bee Butter to protect the surface.

     
    In hindsight, I should have created the square pegs differently. The pegs are positioned with the end grain showing. The end grain of the maple plugs darkened more than I had expected. They look more like cherry. If the plugs had been created with the edge grain up, I think the contrasts would have been greater and the illusion more pronounced. But just to prove the checkers are all perfectly square, here's the back

     
    . Next up will be Terry and Dian's chip and cheese platter.
  2. lew
    Once the legs were completed, I started on the aprons and stretchers. The stretchers are to be mortised and tenoned into the legs. The long stretcher needed to be securely fastened into the side stretcher but their thickness was only 3/4 ". That meant a very short tenon (1/2") on the ends of the long stretcher. I decided, mistakenly, to use a fox tenon and a dovetail style mortise, with tapered sides and wider at the bottom.
     

     
    It took a little work to get the mortises chopped. I even had to make a small measuring tool to determine the width of the bottom. My inside calipers were just a little too big.
     

     
     
    Next, I calculated the wedge size and then modified the tenons to accommodate the wedges.

     
    My mistake here was failing to take into consideration the amount of spreading vs. the hardness of the wood. Fortunately, I had the foresight to try a test piece and discovered as the tenons halves spread, they cracked at the shoulder. Insert a long string of Navy language here.
     
    Back to the drawing board. Early on in the project I had considered using a sliding dovetail for this connection. Hindsight being what it is, that's what I ended up using.

     
    The other failure, at this stage was when I ripped the materials for some of the aprons. The wood was plenty dry but internal stresses caused the some warping and twisting of several pieces. Allowing the pieces to set for a couple of days only made matters worse.
     
    I ended up ripping more pieces and then creating the tenons.

     
    Used a stop block/miter gauge to create to shoulder cuts

     

     
     
    Then the old Delta tenoning jig for the cheek cuts

     
     
    And finally nibbled away the remaining material to complete the apron and stretcher pieces.

     
     
    I cut all of the tenons a little over sized so I could trim them to get a really snug fit during assembly. The minister said this table would serve multiple duties. I wanted to be sure nothing would work loose over time.
     
    All that's left for the base, I hope, is a final dry fit and then a glue up.
  3. lew
    With the base finished, all that was left to do was trim out the top with the walnut edge trim. Glue, clamps and some pin nails.
     
    I forgot to take photos of the top to apron mounting system but this Sketchup drawing should explain what I did. These are simple wooden clips with their tabs captured in slots that run around the perimeter of the inside of the aprons. The slot is 1/4" wide by 3/8" deep. The clips are cut from 3/4" thick maple and the tabs sized of a snug fit in the slots. Screws are used to secure the clip to the top. The hole is slightly over-sized and the screws are the type used for pocket holes- nice large heads.

     
    The finished table is awaiting pickup-



     
    The church members are going to apply the finish. If they send a picture, I'll add it here.
     
    Thanks for following along and the very kind comments that have been posted along the way.
  4. lew
    For such a simple table, this thing has run me through the funnies big time.
    Everything started out pretty good. The walnut trim, for the top, was made by multiple passes over several different router bits to get the desired profile.

     

     

     
    It'll take a little sanding to smooth things out but I am happy with the results.
     
    Next I turned to the legs. I milled down some 1 3/4" maple into 1 3/8" square blanks. Then laid out the locations of all of the mortises for the aprons and stretchers. Cut an extra piece for testing, too. I was really please as to how straight the legs were off the saw. Usually there's some twisting/warping but these stayed straight.
     
    Using the hollow chisel mortiser to create the openings

     
     
    Prepped the legs layout

     
    Punched out all of the holes-

     
    For me, it is so easy to get confused as to the orientation of parts. I need to label everything to make sure I don't mix them up.

     
    I thought I was on a roll at this point but fate had something else in store. From here everything went to "you-know-where" in a very big hand basket.
     
    Next part- the failures.
  5. lew
    My sister's Pastor asked if I could make a communion table for their church. In the past, I've made a lectern/pulpit and a kitchen work table. This seemed like it should be an uncomplicated build.
     
    The pastor supplied me with his original thoughts and an image-

     
    He picked this particular image for it's size/proportions, however, the "arts and craft" style was not his first choice. That style didn't really fit with their church's other furnishings. He said he didn't really want a drawer. He wanted the materials to be maple, walnut and birch to coordinate with other pieces of furniture.
     
    My furniture building/designing experience is limited. Some research on the Internet lead me to believe that most all communion table designs lean towards the more massive proportions. When I mentioned this to the Pastor, he agreed but said their church is small and they felt a "lighter" piece would fit into their space.
     
    We worked back and forth thru Sketchup making design changes. His original image morphed into more simple, final design-
     
     
    The base will be made from maple, the top from birch ply and the top trim created from walnut.
     
    The top trim/banding will overlay the plywood slightly. The pastor supplied a profile of what he wanted-

     
    I think I'll start with the trim piece first.
  6. lew
    My Mom is 91 (this past Monday) and she still sews and makes clothes. I noticed she had an the same seam ripper for years so I thought I'd make her a new one for Christmas- but it turned out to be a birthday gift. However when making one it's just as easy to make two so the other one will be for my sister for Christmas. 
     
    I bought the kits from Craft Supplies because I needed some other stuff that I can only find at their site. Making the rippers is pretty straight forward, especially if you turn pens.  I had some walnut pen blanks I found in a box of scraps. Drilled them with the proper sized bit using the lathe. One trick when drilling pen blanks is to not drill the hole completely thru the blank. Using a brad point bit will have the point punch thru before the bit actually exits the blank. This process keeps the blank from being blown out when the bit would exit. 

     
     
    Once the brass tube is glued into place, the end of the blank can be trimmed near the tube- I trimmed mine on the band saw. Then used the sanding center to bring the wooden blank flush with the brass tube on each end.

     

     
    I planned on doing a CA finish on these. To keep the CA from gluing the bushings to the blank/tubing I apply a coating of bumble bee butter to the bushings.

     
    Then mounted the blank and bushing to the pen mandrel.

     
     
    Then the assembly on to the lathe

     
    Rounded the blank with a roughing gouge

     
    Shaped with the skew

     
     
    Sanded the blank to 400 with Abranet mesh to 400 and finished off with Abralon pads to 4000. Applied some sanding sealer.

     
    Then about 40 layers of thin CA-

     
    Assembled the parts with my shop made pen press

     

     
    One gold and one silver

     

     
    I still have a bunch of wooden scoops to turn for the nurses at my doctor's office and a few other people.
  7. lew
    So I'm down to making gifts for the nurses at my doctor's office. I rarely visit the office for a "Sick Call" but I do take care of their computers. It's always an inconvenience for the nurses when I have to interrupt their routines, so I try and make up for it by making each of them a little something every year. 
     
    My sister gave me this idea a couple of years ago when she gifted me a turned scoop and I've been meaning to make some ever since. I had some walnut and maple boards left from previous projects so they got glued into turning blanks.

     
    Some were all walnut and some were walnut and maple combinations. Mounted between lathe centers, I turned a chuck tenon on each blank.

     
    Over the years, I got tired of measuring the calipers every time I turned a chuck tenon so I made this quick little helper jig to make the measurements. One side is for the tenon, the other side of the jig is for measuring for the outside of the chuck mounting.

     
     
    Sizing the tenon

     
    As I was making a bunch of these, I do each operation to all of the blanks before moving on to the next step.

     
    Next, removed the drive center and replaced it with the chuck and prepared to drill out the bulk of the material for the scoops. The first hole was just under 2" in diameter (my largest Forstner bit)

     
    this hole set the depth of the scoop. Because I wanted the "back" of the scoop to be more rounded, I needed to also set the depth limit of that portion as well. I used my shop made drilling gauge to finish out the settings.

     

     
    Finished drilling

     
    The blanks were then remounted in the chuck in preparation for completing the insides. To assure the blanks get centered properly, I made a cone adapter that fits over the tail stock live center
     
    Once securely chucked, The cone is pulled out and work can begin enlarging and shaping the inside. Each of the square blanks were slightly different dimensions, so every scoop was unique.

     
    I did sand the inside of each blank as it was shaped using my shop made ball sander. The ball sander is from Mr. David Reed Smith. You can read the free instructions here- http://www.davidreedsmith.com/articles/foamballsander/foamballsander.htm.

     
    Once the inside was sanded, the outside of the blank was rounded, using the cone for support. I have several of these cones- of different sizes- and they really come in handy.

     
    To be able to shape the outside of the scoops, I needed to reference to depth of the rounded "back". A simple depth indicator does the trick.

     
    (Notice the black indicator mark near the chuck end of the blank. I have gotten into the habit of marking my blanks with a reference mark that aligns with a reference mark on the chuck. This assures the blanks are always remounted in the same orientation in the chuck.) 
     
    The depth of the recess is transferred to the outside of the rounded blank.
     

     
    The blanks are all marked and read for shaping.
     

     
    Set the overall length, and shape the scoops

     
     

     
     
    When I finished the shaping and sanding, I had 9 "bells" of which I forgot to take a picture.
     
    Anyway, To convert the "bells" into scoops, I needed to cut each one on the bandsaw. Problem here was trying to safely hold each one and to be sure the cut was vertical across the scoop opening. To accomplish this I made a jig to hold the scoop. The following pictures describe the process-

     

     
    This hole was drilled almost through the blank and then enlarged to match the average diameter of the scoops.

     

     

     
     
    A piece of 1/4" plywood in tacked to one of the jaws of the wooden screw clamp and one half of the drilled block is also attached to that jaw. The opposite jaw with attached half block is free to move.

     

     
    The jig and its' base made it easy to cut the curved profile on the scoop opening.

     
    All cut and ready for finish sanding

     
    With the hot bee's wax/mineral oil finish

     
    I think the presents are done for this year. A few extra scoops in case we need a quick present- or I forgot some one! Thanks for following along!
  8. lew
    Since my brother and his wife retired, they are spending more time experimenting with various cuisines. I though I'd get them a micro-plane/grater for the kitchen. Rather than just buy the completed item, I ordered the planer/grater and made the handle. In the past, I sent them various kitchen/serving utensils so this handle would reflect the previous designs.
     
    The biggest disappointment, with this particular grater, was that the handle was designed to be permanently attached to the grater using epoxy. In my opinion, handles should be detachable so that the metal portions can be adequately cleaned without damaging the handle.  Fortunately, the threads on the grater were standard 3/8 x 16 so creating a better solution was pretty easy.
     
    I started with a piece of maple, squared into a turning blank. Then drilled the end of the blank to accept a 3/8 x 16 brass threaded insert- this will allow the grater to removed and placed into the dish washer. The insert was installed on the drill press using a shop made bottle stopper mandrel. The insert can be seen in this photo-

     
    The handle blank was then prepared to receive contrasting walnut inserts. The insert slots were cut on the table saw using a simple angle jig to hold the blank in the proper orientation.
     

     
    The blank is cut four times, using a single pass thru the blade. The depth of the cut is arbitrary but between 1/4 and 1/3 the thickness of the blank produces a nice pattern.

     
    The inserts are glued into the saw kerfs. the inserts are 1/8" thick and just long enough to extend past the end of the kerfs at either end.

     
    Once the glue dries, the inserts are trimmed to be flush with the blank sides. I trimmed these on the band saw. They don't have to be perfect. Trimming just makes the turning process a little easier.
     
     
    Now it's just a matter of turning the handle. I used the bottle stopper mandrel and a Jacobs chuck to mount the blank in the head stock.

     
    The inserts create a "twist" pattern as the blank is rounded

     
    Shaped the blank

     
    Finished with a bunch of layers of wipe on poly

     
    And the grater screwed into the handle

     
    Now I need to make something for my Mom.
     
  9. lew
    The final installment of this project is just a little follow-up on the last details. My friend supplied the hardware and liner for me to install.

    The latches snap securely and installed easily, as did the hinges. The only caveat was that the sides of the case were 1/2" thick and the screws were a little longer. The difference isn't noticeable due to the type of liner he chose. The short protruding nibs actually help keep the foam in place.


     
    I had never worked with this material. There are a few videos on the Internet explaining how to cut and shape it to your needs. Because I was placing it inside a box and the fit needed to be perfect, I cut the foam to size on my table saw using a fine toothed blade from my circular saw. Worked Perfectly!!
    I was able to get both the lid and bottom liner from a single sheet of 58mm material. The box bottom used the piece's full thickness. The lid, however, needed the material to be a little less than 1" thick. The plan was to simply separate the 58mm foam into a thinner sheet.
    The foam is manufactured in layers. The concept is to cut out an outline of the item you want to store and then remove the foam layers to create a cavity. My thoughts were- "Hey, I'll use the same idea and just thin down the thick piece." Not so fast, pilgrim! Let's just say it sounded easier than it turned out. The surface where the material separated is extremely rough. Fortunately, that surface is not seen.
    He still hasn't decided on a carrying handle. He is thinking of something like a woven becket-

    My friend comes from a family of "finishers", so I think that part of the project will be handled by them.
    Well, that's it! Thanks for reading along
  10. lew
    And Finally:

    The last bit of machining was to create the two lower shelves. The minister wanted to keep the “maple” look for the shelves but hard maple is a little expensive so we went with soft maple.


     
     
    Planed everything to ¾” and used biscuits to help with alignment during glue up. I made these shelves full width during the glue-ups


     
     
    A card scraper brought everything smooth.


     
    I sized the shelves using the same procedures as the top. Cut to length and width with the skill saw and a guide; then used the router, flush trim bit and a guide to finish off the saw marks.


     

    The guide is held in place with double sided tape and screws. The screw holes are located in the area that will be removed where the shelf wraps around the legs. I also ran the chamfer detail around the perimeter of both shelves.

    Marked and cut the corners



     
    Finished shelves


     
    One more dry fit to make certain everything fits





     
    Set the top in place to locate and thread the lag bolt holes.


     
    While I had the top in position, I did its’ final sanding and oiling. The top is sanded through 320 grit. I used two applications of mineral oil; allowing each to soak in about a day. Then, I used one application of hot “Bumble Bee Wax”- a blend of mineral oil and bee’s wax. Once that cooled, I buffed it out with an old towel.



     
    A final dis-assembly; the maple shelves sanded through 320 grit; the poplar pieces sanded through 180 grit. All of the hardware was pre-drilled and pre-threaded using bee’s wax to lubricate the holes.

    The minister set a time and date to pick up the table and transport it to the church. It has to make the journey from south central PA to Ithaca NY. The day before he arrived, Mimi and I carried everything- except the top- to the carport and I did the final assembly. Due to the dimensions, the shelves had to be set in place during the assembly/glue up. That really added to the weight!

    The minister arrived right on time and we loaded the base and top into his van. The church members are going to do the final assembly and finishing on site.

    It was a long process and I was relieved that he was satisfied with the work. Even though we communicated via email and pictures, it is difficult to know what something is really like.

    Several days later, I received this picture


     
     
    I think the church members did an outstanding job painting and finishing the table. It looks right at home there in the kitchen.

    If you made it this far, thanks for following along. Also, thanks to John Moody for the advice on the butcher block top.

  11. lew
    Part 3:
    The work space in my shop is so small that I needed to build this project in stages. With the top finished, it was time to move on to the legs of the base. The entire base frame is made from poplar and the minister is going to paint it white. His specs were for full 4” x 4” legs. I suppose I could have gotten 16/4 poplar boards but those pieces would have been so large and heavy that I don’t think I could have manhandled them through the milling processes. I started with 5/4 boards and milled enough stock for a 4 x 4 glue up. I finished out the planing/ripping the boards a little over sized in thickness and width to allow for shifts in the glue up process.
     

     
    Gluing up the blanks was straight forward
     

     
    Space and number of clamps dictated gluing one leg assembly at a time.
     

     
     
    Once all of the legs dried, the jointer and planer brought the blanks square and to the correct dimensions.
     

     
     
    Cutting the legs to length was up next. I opted to use the table saw for this operation. I have a chop saw but it is one of the very early models with a 7.5” blade- it wasn’t going to make the cut in one pass. The table saw wouldn’t make the cut in one pass either but I felt I’d have a little more control using it.
    I set up my cross cut sled and squared one end of each leg. Next, I added an extend stop block set for the leg length. One pass, roll the blank over, second pass- done.
     

     

     
     
     
    At this point, it was time to layout and cut the mortices in the legs. To make certain the mortices were properly oriented, I labeled everything.
     


     
     

     
    Some practice slots with the hollow chisel morticer.
     

     

     
     
    Twenty-four mortices later.

     
    The minister added the chamfer detail around the top so I thought it would look OK to continue that detail throughout the build. I would have added the chamfer around the leg feet anyway to prevent tear out if the table was slid across the floor.
     

     
     
    Some sanding left but the legs are finished.
     

  12. lew
    Part 2:

    This build was not going to be particularly difficult. My biggest concern was the maple top. I’ve built smaller edge grain tops before so the process was not unfamiliar; however, the staggered shorter length field pieces had me scratching my head about clamping and gluing. Also, I needed to consider the size of the top versus the capabilities of my shop equipment. My Dewalt 735 planer maxes out at around 13” wide and my little shop made drum sander can only handle very small work.

    John Moody suggested making the top in several sections and then assembling those sections into the final width. He also suggested using biscuits to aid in aligning the pieces during glue up. Sounded good to me so that’s what I did.

    I started with 8/4 rough, hard maple. Milled it down into the strips I’d need to build the top. I was really worried about the amount of waste there might. Sometimes thick pieces have a lot of internal stress and can end up looking like a piper cub propeller after they are cut. I got really lucky and almost all of the pieces were nice and straight.


     
    I spent several hours sorting, moving and labeling the pieces so there would be less of a chance of a mistake during glue up (not that completely eliminated snafus). I also marked all of the biscuit locations. As John suggested, the biscuits really helped align and keep the strips in place while clamping each section. I also used biscuits on the end joints where the shorter field pieces were joined.





    Maybe overkill on the clamps but I didn’t want to take any chances. For the field pieces that were made up from shorter lengths, I clamped the pieces end to end.


     
    Instead of trying to completely assemble each section at once, I opted to glue on and clamp one strip at a time until the section was finished. It took longer but I had more time to make sure everything was lining up. Working by yourself forces you to think the entire assembly process through thoroughly and sometimes even do a “practice run”.


     
    Eventually, I ended up here-




     
    All the labels and notes are clearly visible and I transferred some of the markings to the edges/back for reference during the final glue up. It seems like every time I clamp up an assembly like, I end up with a little irregularity on the edges. A quick pass through the jointer trued the edges and then it was on to the planer.

    2

    Next, the sections were glued together and sized for length. I used a straight edge and skill saw to trim the top to length. I guess I could have used the belt sander to smooth out the sections but I’ve really become a fan of the card scraper. One of our newer member- Todd Clippinger- has a really nice and quick procedure for sharpening card scrapers so you spend more time finishing then trying to produce that elusive “hook”.



     
    Originally, the edges of the top were to be square. The minister thought a chamfered edge would look nicer. A simple design change. Router and chamfer bit took care of it.


     

    A little more sanding (through 320 grit) and the top is done (except for the oil/wax). It weighed in at around 90 pounds.

  13. lew
    Part 5:
     
    As “Norm” used to say- “We’re gaining on it now.”
     
    Time for the first dry fit to make sure all the mortice and tenons fit together.
     

     
    Had to futz with a few of the tenons but overall everything went together nicely. You can see why I’m limited to the size of my projects. This is the only assembly space available- add clamps around a piece and things really get tight.
     
    There were still a few more things left to do with the apron and shelf supports. I wanted to carry the chamfer detail along the bottom of each piece. Router table took care of that.
     

     

     
    The shelves need to be secured to the frame. I decided to use wooden “clips” and a dado in the stretchers
     

     
     
     

     
    The “clips” are cut from an “L” shaped piece of poplar
     

     
     
    I made a long blank for the clips and then just cut off about 1 ½” piece. I drilled an oversized screw hole through the thicker section (oversized to allow for expansion/contraction). The thinner part slips into the dado on the back of the stretchers and screws thread into the underside of the shelf.
     
    The astute observer will notice the mistake in the pictured blank. The wood grain is running parallel to the blank length. The little tabs (fitted into the dados) will snap off as soon as any pressure is applied. Not sure where my mind was when I cut this, anyway, I made new ones with the grain running perpendicular to the blank length (just forgot to take a picture).
     
    The final bit of frame construction was to create a way to mount the butcher block top. The frame (with 2 shelves) will weigh in at close to 100 pounds. If the completed table is moved, lifting it by the top, quite a bit of stress will be applied to the connection between the top and frame. It took me a while to come up with an idea that solved the problem.
     
    I added three cross supports that were dovetailed into the side aprons.
     
     

     

     

     
     
    The dovetailed supports were let into the apron using blind dovetail techniques. I used a trim router to hog out the majority of the materials.
     


     
    Then I chiseled out the remaining material.
     

     
     

     
    The dovetail shape, in addition to glue and screws at each dovetail location, will provide enough support to keep the top from breaking free of the frame.

     
     
    Finally, l  drilled oversized holes thru the cross supports to receive 1/4" lag bolts to connect the frame to the top.
     
    Now to tear it all apart to work on the shelves!
     
  14. lew
    Part 4:
     
    With the legs finished, it was time to create the aprons, shelf supports, and stretchers. These were all made from 1” thick poplar. The apron was 5” wide and the remaining pieces were 3” wide. The tenons were all done on the table saw. First establishing the shoulders-
     

     

     
     

     
     
    I have an old Delta tenoning jig that makes quick work of making the tenon cheek cuts. However, the length of the long aprons and shelf supports exceeded the distance between my table saw and the ceiling. Looks like a job for the dado blade.
    I used the same setup here, as I did for the shoulder cuts, the rip fence with a “depth stop” and the miter gauge. My table saw is a right tilt model (old Bridgewood) but due to space limitations I had to move the rip fence to the “other side” of the blade to be able to make these cuts.
     

     
     

     
     
    After a couple of adjustments, the tenon thickness was what I was looking for.
     

     
     

     
     
    Now just run all of the pieces for the tenon thickness
     
    A blade height adjustment to establish the tenon width.
     

     
     

     
    That’ll do
     

     
    Finally, run the pieces, again, to finish the tenons.
     

  15. lew
    The Pastor’s Table or I Think My Sister Is Trying To Buy My Way Into Heaven - 

    (borrowing a title concept from Rocky and Bullwinkle)

    Part 1:

    I think my sister believes my past transgression’s slate can be, at least in part, wiped clean by building furniture for the church she attends. The latest installment is a kitchen island/work table for the church’s kitchen.

    The pastor emailed me a picture of a table he thought would work but wanted something larger and with slightly different construction techniques.


     
    Using Sketchup and the free Sketchup viewer, we worked through the major details of the build and ended up with this concept-



     
    He chose to use poplar for the frame (which would be painted), soft maple for the two shelves (polyed) and hard maple for the top (oil/bee’s wax). The overall dimensions were 72” long x 30” wide x 36” tall. The top was to be made as a butcher block style using edge grain (rather than end grain) and 1.5” thick. He also wanted the top pieces to be random lengths scattered through the field. We originally thought about 1” “wide” field pieces but then went with approximately 1.5” wide pieces. That reduced the overall number of strips across the top. The legs were a full 4” square glue ups. All of the frame joints are mortice and tenons. The only hardware used was to secure the top to the frame (lag bolts/washers) and the shelves to the stretchers (wood screws/washers).

    As the build progressed, it became obvious this could be another china cupboard fiasco. The final assembly would have to take place outside of the basement shop.

    So… if you are up to it, follow along…

  16. lew
    Having solved the problem of the non-supported dovetails in the lid, I made a dry fit of the sides and ends

    Most often, I like to make actual measurements rather than rely on what I calculated the size of the pieces I'll need.

    The good old Stanley Folder is my go-to tool for this type of measurement.
    Once the dimensions are taken, I can size and create the top and bottom.

    Both pieces were made from glue-ups. The top is 1/2" stock. The bottom is created from some thinner stock glued up to make the panel.; then planed to 1/2" thick.
    The bottom and top set in dados. The bottom is rabbeted to make a 1/4" tongue for the dado.

    The top is a raised panel made on the table saw. To make the top, the first thing is to create a crisp edge for the raised portion.

    The cuts are about 1/16" deep and will form the lip of the raised portion. The distance from the edge of the panel to the cut is sort of a trial and error method. Layout on a test piece, cut, check. I make my raised panels with a 7° angle. It seems to work best for me.
    To make the angled cuts, I use a shop made raised pane jig. It is sort of an overgrown tenoning jig.



    The down side of this method is that it requires a fair amount of sanding on the bevel to get rid of the saw marks. The up side- I don't need to buy a giant router and a set of raised panel bits. Don't get me wrong- I'm not opposed to buying more tools. However, a bigger router means I'd have to rebuild my shop made router table lift.
    Now it is just a matter of dry fitting the entire unit together-

     

    Next time, the glue-up, fix for the dove tail mistake and splitting the box.
     
  17. lew
    Once everything was properly fitted, the case was disassembled and prepped for gluing. I had previously sanded all of the pieces to 150 grit- except the top and bottom. Those two were sanded to 220 grit due to the difficulty of sanding them in place. I taped the locations where the dovetails intersected- on the inside of the box- to help eliminate a lot of glue squeeze out cleanup. Assembled one end and two sides. Dropped in the top and bottom. Then glued in the last end piece. Some clamps, checked for square then set it aside for a day-


    Next up, was fixing the dovetail error. I went back and forth between matching or contrasting dowel pins. Finally settled on walnut. My first idea was to create dowels, that when installed, had the flat grain exposed. This would make them almost invisible.

    However, my goal was also to increase the strength of the joint. With the grain running across the dowel diameter, the dowel could be easily snapped in half. Back to the lathe-

    Grain running lengthwise.
    Drilling the corner holes was done on the drill press.


    My drill press table sets slightly off center. This presented a little bit of an problem when drilling two of the holes.

    The case extended quite a bit off of the side of the drill table and needed to have additional support. I used to have a shop made adjustable support just for this purpose- but I never used it. NOTE TO SELF- Don't throw anything away!
    Dowels were then glued into place and trimmed with a flush trim saw. Sanding all of the dovetails flush and the case was ready to be split.
    Using the table saw and a really thin blade- actually the blade off of my miter saw- I made a cut around the outside of the box.

    The saw cut did not completely separate the top and bottom. I left a little bit of material to hold the two pieces together throughout the cut.

    To complete the separation, carefully cut through the material with a sharp utility knife-

    The completed cut-

     

    Finally, sand the excess material left in the cut (I don't trust myself with the hand plane). The blue tape on the inside corners needs to be removed. That really facilitates cleaning any glue squeeze out.
    When the hardware and liner gets here, we'll continue. I'm not sure what my friend has picked for hinges/latches or what kind of finish- just hope he doesn't want latex paint!
     
     
     
     
     
  18. lew
    The sides and ends needed to have dados to accept the top and bottom. So as not to have the dados extend through the pins, stopped dados would do the trick. These were made on the router table. 1/4" wide and 5/16" deep.

    It was time for a little finessing of the joints to assure everything fit.
    Yes, there it was staring me right in the face! How could I not see what I did. Worse yet, how am I going to fix it now?!?!?!?

    I picked up the test piece and it finally hit me! If I cut the top completely free, there will only be one pin for the lid "tail". There will be no structural element (second pin) to hold them together. Even the best glue won't hack it here. Hmmm... can't weld wood together. Maybe a glue block on the inside corners. There's not much material between the top and the edge of the lid. 
    At this point I stopped and went for a long walk. Several thoughts went through my mind- including selling all my tools and just sitting on the porch watching cars go by. But then it came to me-

    After assembling the box, I could drill a hole in each corner. The depth of the hole would be just shy of the saw kerf. Gluing a dowel into the hole should provide enough strength to make the joint stable.
    Next time- making the top and bottom.
  19. lew
    After milling and sizing the sides and ends, it was time to layout the dovetails. I use a shop made angle layout jig for the tails. I'm a tails first dovetail person. I know there are folks who do the pins first and there are valid arguments to each procedure. This is how I learned to do them and it works for me.

    I use a marking knife for laying out the dovetails and a marking gauge to locate the dept of cuts.


    As for cutting the the dovetails, I really like the Japanese pull saw. I only have the Dozuki (cross cut) but it works OK for all of the cuts. Maybe one of these days I'll get a Ryoba and do things the correct way.
    Layout of the location of the dovetails was straight forward- I didn't take a bunch of pix during this part-


    One of the design problems was that I wanted to keep the tails fairly consistent in width. However, the box will be split after the assembly so the saw kerf will change the dimension of the tail width. To compensate, I needed to make one of the tails slightly wider. I made a full size template in Sketchup to help me figure it all out.
     
    A white artist pencil for labeling all of the pieces to maintain the proper orientation.
    A mock-up of one of the corners helped me see how things were going to go together. Including the cut that would eventually separate the top and bottom
    You would think, at this point, I would see the giant mistake staring me in the face- but Nooooo!
    Next part, the near fatal error and how I fixed it
     
  20. lew
    While I was building the humidor, a friend mentioned he had acquired a shotgun. He wanted a protective case but not the typical soft sided type. 

    We measured his gun and calculated what size the case it would take. Not too large but enough room for a couple of accessories.
    Using Sketchup, we eventually came up with an appropriate design.

    While he hadn't decided on the hardware, I now had enough information to begin working. The box is solid walnut with inside dimensions of 10" x 32" x 3 1/8". All stock is 1/2" thick. The top has a raised panel. The interior will be filled with FastCap Kiazen Liner.
    There was enough walnut left from the humidor to make all the necessary pieces, with the exception of the bottom. The bottom is actually two thinner panels glued together. The design of the bottom installation hides the seam.

     

    My friend wanted the sides/ends joined with dovetails. The bottom and top will set in dadoes. 
    In the next part- layout and cutting dovetails.
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