Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Desk Update

Things are moving along on the desk. Below shows the lift in place. Now I need the hinges and box lid lift to come in from Lee Valley that I ordered a few days ago. Meanwhile I was trying to finish up the drawers and add fronts - they were getting "fidgety". Overall should be done soon - I learned quite a bit so far on this design and will refine almost all the elements on the next one.

Creating a Lift

I had been wondering how I was going to make the finger hold for the middle drawer. I thought perhaps I would cut it at the table saw using the dado blade (too complicated a setup), or with a router bit (not deep enough of a cut). So I thought - why not just do it with hand tools? I was glad I did.

First I gathered the necessary tools (OK, this was after I had made a test run).

Next I marked out the depth.

Then I cut it with my cross cut saw. Incidently, this was the first time using the $5 Diston saw - it has a nice cross cut fleam. I also tried out the dozuki, but being a rip profile it didn't cut as well. (Really makes me rethink my next Lie-Nielsen purchase - maybe I don't need that cross cut saw after all!)

Next it's hogging out the waste with an aggressive setting on the shoulder plane. Followed up by lighter passes with the chisel. Finally using a card scraper to make it less 'rough'.

The practice piece shows the difference between one cut with a router and via hand. I like the hand one a lot better, and plus it was a LOT quieter!

No Headboarding!

Last weekend I helped a friend make a headboard. The design and materials were inspired by the crafty folks at Design Sponge. There didn't turn out to be a whole lot of woodworking involved, per se, although we did originally try out legs attached with pocket screws, but buying BORG fir plywood doesn't lend itself too well to such joinery when the inside plies are essentially void space and whatever crap China throws in there to substitute for actual wood layers. Oh well. We were also constrained by height, as it couldn't be greater than 24" height.

It was a chance to work with fabric and foam, which was a first - it worked out well and the 'customer' was happy, at least to what they told me. I very much liked the fabric and pattern, although it was a crime to cut into it with scissors!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Desk Progress

Work progressed well on the desk yesterday and today. Within a day I was able to cut the top (out of some 1/2" poplar ply), and the 2 drawers. I made the drawer material out of some old plank 'white wood' and I don't think I'll ever use it again. I'm not sure if it's southern yellow pine, or some other species of evergreen, but it's seemingly 40% wood, 10% moisture, and 50% resin. It's just nasty and tough on the tools - not like a hard wood, but in terms of coating everything it touches. It makes me very much appreciate the local maple I have.

Today I was getting bogged down for a while in creating drawer runners on the drawer sides - this was done at the router table but it will be done with the hand router and an edge guide.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The only thing I did right today...

...Was to use this hand clamp to hold up the body while I screwed in the back. It might even be square.

Other than that, the base is coming together. Instead of doing a top like the final ones, I'm thinking of just putting some 1/2" poplar plywood on it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Next Project - Desk

I've had a few folks ask me what I'm working on, and I say that I'm working on a desk. It's true. I'm doing things a bit differently this time. For one, I'm actually making a 'practice' unit, because there were some things to do here that I haven't done before, and I didn't want to screw it up with nice wood. Another thing that I'm doing differently is to use the design of a piece that I saw online. I thought about posting the original, but I didn't want to draw attention to this in case there was some little known law about copying others work that I wasn't adhering to. (It won't hurt if it winds up looking nothing like the original either.)

With that, I've made templates for the sides and rear legs. One of the new aspects her is the fact that the legs connect with the body at an angle, which becomes 'tricky' if you've never attempted this before. Thus, the templates should in theory make sure that I get a good match with both pieces. After cutting the practice pieces to rough shape and then flush trimming on the router table I was able to make the mortise and tenon to join them. Then I had a problem - how to clamp these two things together. I wasn't going to be able to clamp from the end of the leg, so on the first one I clamped the leg between two scrap pieces, while on the second one I made some clamping blocks out of scrap. I think the clamping blocks worked out best, and those will be used for the 'nicer' ones.

For this practice piece this will be the only 'real' joint I'll be using, the rest will be pocket screw joinery, which should go relatively quickly. (Well, relatively means a couple weeks instead of a couple months. We'll see....)

Sides & legs...

First glue up

Another angle

2nd glue up with scrap blocks

Another angle...

Coffee Table - Almost Done

Sure, it's been a while since the last post but that doesn't mean that I've been sitting idle. (OK, there has been a lot of movie watching...) The 'flop has been in use, it's just that I haven't had the time or inclination to photo-document the goings-on. There's also been a bit of activity from Milos on his cabinet, so that's been taking up the past few Sundays.

The coffee table needed to be sanded and then the finishing process began. Oil was followed by 10 coats of shellac, and now it needs several top layers of General Finishes urethane. It will be interesting to see if it has a pronounced weeble-wobble effect (unfortunately, it will fall down though).