it's a process

Sep 21

I’m back into this project, a large glassware cabinet.  As you may recall, the moisture content was up to 17% in some boards.  This is definitely not the M.C. to begin a furniture project with, so I resawed all of my 3 thicknesses (5/16”, 3/8”, 7/16” finish),  1/16” large on the bandsaw, jointing between passes as necessary.  This turned out to be just barely enough in some cases, as evidenced by the fairly severe cupping  in the 3x resawn 8/4” stock in the first photo.  This is a nice straight grained 1/4 sawn piece of wood, thus the cup was very consistent, and easily corrected with a few extra passes through the jointer, which in turn brought all of my 7/16” stock down a hair.  The inner piece stayed perfectly flat, owing to the even M.C. % throughout the board, the outer two moved according to their M.C. differential.

After 7 weeks of seasoning, all the wood is between 6 and 8% M.C., so I milled it to final dimension.  In the second moisture meter photo you can see evidence of the wood having dried too fast and / or unevenly.  The ends of the board dried at a faster rate than the middle, causing premature shrinkage and checking.

I passed all the stock through the drum sander to get rid of the scalloping and occasional tearout from the jointer.  This process introduced its own surface variations and ‘speed bumps’, which I then removed with a LN #4 55 deg HAF smoother, and thus brought all of the stock to final finish before beginning any joinery. I probably should have made a pass with a #6, 7, or 8 before that, but the surface variation is pretty minimal.

The plane is new, and took a fair amount of setup.  I cambered the blade a few thousandths because I wanted to be able to take slightly-thicker-than-gossamer shavings without leaving ridges.  The chip breaker had a flat leading edge, which was very precisely machined and intentional looking, and which was causing some very serious problems.  I could see how such a shape would possibly deflect less and therefore be able to exert more pressure on the blade; it worked great in hard maple, but the walnut did not respond well.  So I honed it off, and am very please with the result.  I have an old stanley Bailey #4 that I’ve put hours into tuning, and it works—- almost as well as this LN, but not quite.  The Bedrock style frog adjustment is extremely useful.

After smooth planing all of the stock, I plowed a small rabbet on the inside end of each tail board which serves as a ‘shoulder’ for the pin board registration, and also cleans up that inside corner.

Now I’ve got approximately 50 dados and sliding dovetails to do.


Sep 20

Have been cutting dovetails all day. The long (6’) stock required some different work positions than I am used to, so I stashed my moxon vice and used a dosuki rip saw.  There is no tooth set on a dozuki, and the kerf is thinner than a european dovetail saw, consequentially I was utting too far away from my line, and thus was pairing my pins down muck more than usual. It took about 50 pins and tail before I got back into the rhythm.


Sep 14

The latest installment of my automated window shades project.  I am pretty blown away- they are whisper quite and the stepper motors coordinate with each other wirelessly; they change velocities so that their open limit, closed limit, and mid point are all the same, regardless of window height.

A little hard to catch on video.  I was controlling it with one iPhone, and filming it with the other, ergo a somewhat shaky camera.

As with the previous room, the shade mechanism is integrated into the window framing.  To do this I surgically cut into the casement with a somewhat awkward but necessary inverted festool operation, and lots of other overhead work.  


Sep 6
Rough hewn bench is done.  Shaped some riven wedges out of ash, and drove them into the tenons.  Cut them flush and planed the top smooth.  The smoothness of the top surface is a nice juxtaposition to the roughness of the rest of the piece.  Don’t have a great finished picture of it.  Realized I need to work on my picture taking.

Rough hewn bench is done.  Shaped some riven wedges out of ash, and drove them into the tenons.  Cut them flush and planed the top smooth.  The smoothness of the top surface is a nice juxtaposition to the roughness of the rest of the piece.  Don’t have a great finished picture of it.  Realized I need to work on my picture taking.


Aug 26

This looks like a nice lil stack of curly maple I found in back of a barn upstate. Some time, hopefully soon, I am going to try my hand at making some veneers and doing some simple parquetry.


Aug 22

Back in the shop, with safety glasses. Spending some quality time with the Tormek rehabbing a handful of old James Swan Co firmer and mortising chisels while the finish dries on the table.  These we my grandpas chisels, and are supposed to be very good steel.  They are certainly taking a while to sharpen; its not every day that I regrind a 2” chisel.  I am hollow grinding with the tormek, taking the hollow out with the DMT, and finishing up with Japanese water stones, 800, 100, 4000, 6000, 8000.


Aug 19

Eye protection

Just spent the day in the NYC ear and eye infirmary. Heart pine splinter in the eye. I’ve been doing only hand tool work, nothing flying around in the air, and it happened at the end of the day, while I was cleaning up. They used a dremel tool, basically, to remove it.

I get stuff in my eyes a lot, despite the fact that I wear eye protection a lot. I consider myself pretty adept at removing particulate from my eye with a Q tip or what have you. I am very fond of neodymium magnets for ferrous metals. But this thing was lodged, and right in the center of me pupil. Very painful. And getting it removed was even worse.

Wear eye protection my fellow woodworkers!


Aug 18

Mortises done and tenons thicknessed. I knew this would have a lot of cross grain movement, and seeing it all glued up is reinforcing that. Right now the end mortises are allowing for about 3/8” in both directions from center.  I’ll be able to calculate that more precisely later.


Aug 17
Laying out the mortises on the new breadboard ends.

Laying out the mortises on the new breadboard ends.


Fetched a chunk of reclaimed pine and resawed it. Laying it out and about to glue it up.


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