A late night–sabbatical catch up

My company, Red Gate software, has given me a 6 week sabbatical. I’m documenting the time with all the posts under a tag if you want to follow along. The sabbatical is over, but I’m still catching up on things.

I took an extra day in the wood lab last night. The instructor offered to show up Wed night, with all projects and work due Thur, and I wasn’t the only one that needed the time. Almost the entire class was there, and it was fairly quiet with no other students or instructors working.

With my piles of parts close, the first thing I needed to do was cut tenons. I’ve done this before, by hand, with limited success. However since time is short this semester, we were given permission to use the bandsaw (and a little instruction).

I first marked things up.

Photo Jul 29, 5 47 21 PM

As with the mortises, I was thinking I could mark one board and use the setup for others. However when I showed the TA, he saw some problems. First, I needed to center the tenon. That messed up my reveal, but I could always plane the board to fix that. Then he noticed that when I’d cut left and right hand mortises, my setup was slightly off, so that they are slightly (1/64”) low on one side. Not a huge deal, but it means I need to account for R and L tenons differently.

So back to marking, spending the better part of an hour marking all 8 sides of the 4 boards, in stages to separate right from left. With that done, I turned to the bandsaw to cut the tenons.

Photo Jul 30, 8 14 15 PM

I went a little fat, having had experience with too thin. I ended up too fat, and spent most of the night fussing to get thickness, and then height, to the correct settings. Once they were cut, I felt like I was making progress, but little did I know.

Photo Jul 30, 7 53 50 PM

I went very slow on the router plane, making some passes that didn’t cut anything or generated dust. However I wanted a tight fit. Things were tight on the right tenons, but later I had to come back to this to thin a couple left ones. However I had tight fits all around.

Photo Jul 30, 7 53 44 PM

Once those were done, I re-marked, and shaved off the upper part of the tenon. Things still seemed to fit well, and I had a decision to make. The bottom shoulder was about 1/16”-3/32”, depending on left or right. I could lengthen the mortises and have no shoulder (tempting) or cut a small one. I opted to cut a small one. As much as I like the mortiser, it takes time to setup and at this point, I’d blown 2 of my 3 hours and wasn’t terribly close to having a single joint. I still knew I’d have shoulder work.

I lightly trimmed the bottoms, and as I worked on squaring the shoulders to the joint, I went back to the bandsaw a few times for small trims. I was trying to be careful, but also feeling pressure. Never a good combination.

Once things were cut, and thinned, I test fitted them together. The right hand ones seemed to do OK.

Photo Jul 30, 8 26 05 PM

You can’t see it well, but the shoulders on most were slightly off to way off. I spent about 15 minutes trying to get one to fit, before I got too frustrated and decided to work on them in the order of the closest to fitting to least.

Photo Jul 30, 8 26 00 PM

Back and forth to the vise, using a chisel to square, and then fit again. I’d hit the bandsaw for the ones that were way off to save time. Chiseling is satisfying, but slloooooowwwww and things are due Thursday.

When I had a good fit, with almost no gap, I’d mark the back of the board. I got the short aprons (sides) done first and I could put two legs on an apron and felt good. The long sides were harder, and 3:15 into extra lab time, people were cleaning up. I decided to try a test fit and see where I was.

Photo Jul 30, 9 42 06 PM

Things went together. I was amazed, and also somewhat proud. After all, I’d started with a pile of rough lumber board. I dropped the top on, just to see.

Photo Jul 30, 9 42 21 PM

It looks good. I actually built a piece of furniture that doesn’t need glue or screws, and looks decent.

Photo Jul 30, 9 42 27 PM

There are three bad gaps on the long aprons (front/back) that I need to fix tonight. I also need to run the bottom of the top (if that makes sense) through the planer to thin it and shorten my bevel. A little long for the side of the bottom.

I’ve also got the dimensions slightly smaller than I’d like, so I have to decide if it’s worth trying to shorten aprons slightly from a design aspect. Probably won’t do that, but it’s something I’ll think about.

Hoping to get to pin it with dowels tonight, but if I don’t, I’ll drill and add faux pins for decoration.

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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3 Responses to A late night–sabbatical catch up

  1. Coming along quite nicely. Any ETA on the flag pole?

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  2. way0utwest says:

    I put a second coat of paint on. Was trying to get up with a buddy to build the base out of metal, but now thinking to just do it from wood. Biggest hassle now is time. Once the class ends, I can work on assembling a base, probably trying to mortise/tenon the supports, and then it’s digging a hole. I may try to do some Sun.

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  3. Jeff Robinson says:

    The table really DOES look nice. It’s amazing to think of how much work goes into something that looks so simple. Much like the business of programming!

    Very good work for a first effort. I hope you pursue more instruction and more projects.

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