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By StraightOffTheArk
#1193712
Bm101 wrote:In the middle of a loft extension here Andy, my beginners side projects down the shed don't get a look in and won't for some time. My brain is working on 4x2 and nail gun accuracy scales, tiling and celotex. What a fantastic timing that you've started this now then. It's shed by proxy. :wink:
I learn a huge amount on UKW from all sorts of different people and I'm thankful for all of them but I have to say I do enjoy a good read of your WIPs more than most. Sure I won't cause offence by that as I have no doubt it's a feeling shared by many. You have a great writing style, enjoyable to read, unforced yet enthused, modest but I realise a lot every time I read one. You shine a light on details that others often miss out. I look forward to seeing more as always.
Cheers fella.
Regards
Chris



My sentiments also, only written better than I could have! (Except that I'm not in the middle of a loft extension, for which, considering the temperature, I am thankful!)
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By AndyT
#1193889
It's really nice to see the interest in this little project. It will help me get on with it as often as I can, though there is some sort of big event coming up in a week or so which might interrupt a bit... :ho2

Today, I have been mostly planing...

I've reduced the other legs down to the skinny-looking 1⅛" required, taking shavings from all four sides, which everyone says is important.

Looking at my earlier pictures of the lovely curly shavings coming off this walnut, I realised I was using a jack plane and could probably be taking a heavier cut. I found I could still (just) push the plane with a deeper setting.
The immediately noticeable difference was that the shavings stopped coming off in full length curls and started crumbling in much smaller bits, like this:

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I guess it's all part of the subtle relationship between timber type, shaving thickness and position of the cap iron. The good thing was that it did go a little bit quicker and I soon had a set of straight-ish, square-ish legs. I've marked them in pen on the top ends and in chalk to remind me of which sides are going to get planed down for the tapers later on.

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The only other thing I have made so far is a tub of designer packing material!

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By AndyT
#1195006
Ok, a quick update. I have spent several hours in the workshop, but in some ways there isn't a lot to show for it yet. But I think that's because I always underestimate how hard it is to sort out all the parts and get them marked up right, the right way round and checked several times.
Most written articles and videos start with selected, dimensioned pieces of wood, but although it's not the most visually interesting stage, it is an important one. So here are some photos and random notes.

The wood Custard gave me included suitable stuff for all the parts of a table. Sometimes it was very easy to decide what to use:

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but there's still scope to go wrong - that saw cut gives me enough wood for the width of drawer that I need - but only just, and I have to mark and cut out carefully. Having managed to make the top a little bigger than planned, I decided to keep the underframe as drawn, not enlarged - and the length of this nice piece was one reason for that decision. The drawer front will be marked from and fitted to the aperture it will fit in, later on.

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The apron rails at sides and back need to be 5" deep so as to get a drawer deep enough to be worth having. The suitable pieces of wood were a little bit wider but had some sapwood and splits at the edges. Fortunately there was enough room to plane away the defects.
This is part of the fun of working with wood - you can remove defects or hide them where they won't be seen - but it all takes up thinking time.

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I could bandsaw away the little knot on the edge and avoid the other one altogether.

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Defects like this can be hidden away on the inside of the framing - the wood is perfect on the side which will show.

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I've done most of the planing so far with a Stanley 5½ but for this job I tried my rather nice Preston jointer (£5 from a stall at the Westonbirt Woodfest a few years ago). Although I don't use it very often, I actually found it easier to keep upright than the Stanley plane, and its greater mass made it good for taking off a fairly thick shaving.

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There are a few measurements on this project which have to be right to make it all square. The actual size in inches is not so critical, but you do want pairs of rails and all four legs to match. The simple solution is to cut them over length, clamp them together, and mark off the shoulder lines in one go. You then separate the parts and mark all round. This is what I did.

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It still took ages. With the legs, the two at the back have mortices on two adjacent faces. The two at the front have a long mortice each, plus a tiny mortice for the rail below the drawer and a dovetail at the top. The legs each get tapered on the two internal faces.
So it's really important to get all the marking done on the right faces, following the reference side and edge properly.

I shall probably bandsaw away the bulk of the wood for the tapers, then plane to the line, so I need a line I can see. This pencil line is just not clear enough on this dark timber.

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It's much clearer in macro shots here than it is in real life. (Clear enough to see where I have left some tear-out - which will get removed - and failed to plane down to my gauge line - though it is also in the waste :oops: . )

I tried using tape instead and I think it will be much clearer. It is also easier to position than holding a steel ruler at the right angle to draw along.

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I'll try and get some actual cutting done before Xmas, but please bear with me. It will all speed up, provided it doesn't slow down too much - and I seem to have hurt my back putting up Xmas cards!
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By AndyT
#1195681
Mortice time.

Like I said at the beginning, on this project I'm mostly following dimensions from a magazine article by Chris Schwarz. Dimensions are important - this doesn't need to look clunky - so I've not strayed far. The legs are really quite slender and there is little room for mortice and tenon joints.
In the article, the mortices are only 3/8" wide and 3/8" deep. Chris cuts them open to the end of the leg, using some sort of power tool technique, which I won't be following.
I did an experiment on an offcut, which showed me better than any drawing that these mortices (cut blind and square-bottomed) almost meet along one long corner. That seems weak with them open to the end, so I'll stop them in the usual way.
In retrospect, I'd like to have made them meet, mitred together, but having obediently assumed I'd just stick with the 3/8" measurement I have cut my rails to that size. Never mind - my offcut experiment confirmed that although the tenons will be short, they are 4¼" long and will have enough gluing area for this small, light table. There's no room for haunches.

So on with the cutting.

Here I am set up and started.

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You may notice that I have chosen to use a Marples ¼" bevel edge chisel from the 70s. Despite quite a long discussion, I'm not sure if this will be better or not!
It's narrower than the finished mortice and I will be paring the sides. This is not what I would do if I was making something bigger like a garden gate, but there is so little margin for error here I think it is appropriate.

After chiselling nearly all the way along I used a little Stanley 271 router to get down to depth

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then pared down the sides to the full width.

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Here's the finished job.

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For the second mortice, I switched to a "proper" mortice chisel, though still only ¼" wide.

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You will see that I was still taking tiny nibbles, using one of my smaller mallets. Maybe it's because the cuts were shallow or maybe it's my eyesight, but the cut here is not very straight, so it would need clearing up whatever I did.
After the first row of vertical cuts, it was quicker to chisel horizontally, freehand - I managed not to go too deep.

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And would you believe it, the finished mortice looks just like the one I did with the other chisel!

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But rather than fill up the thread with identical pictures, here's a tip when you want to advance a little router like this progressively, to take a thin shaving off and work down to the required depth. Put a shim under the body of the router and drop the cutter down to rest on the bottom of the mortice. Tighten the screw, remove the shim.
You can then take a fresh cut knowing that you won't accidentally be trying to remove twice as much in one go as you wanted to.
I used a very thin steel rule, because it was handy, but a piece of thin card or veneer would do just as well.

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That's it from me on this job for a while - I'll be back when I've done the others and then we can look at some tiny tenons. Happy Christmas to all. :ho2
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By custard
#1195689
AndyT wrote:I did an experiment on an offcut, which showed me better than any drawing that these mortices (cut blind and square-bottomed) almost meet along one long corner. That seems weak with them open to the end, so I'll stop them in the usual way.
In retrospect, I'd like to have made them meet, mitred together,


Swings and roundabouts.

It's true that having meeting mortices and mitred tenons gets you an extra square centimetre or two of glue surface. But it also brings with it a penalty in that during the glue-up you'll get glue flowing from one mortice to the adjacent mortice. If you're gluing up in stages (which I'd strongly recommend unless you're very slick and experienced or using a slow setting UF glue) that glue contamination may cause problems. I appreciate you're using scotch glue, but most people will use a modern bottled glue, and these rarely stick very well to cured versions of themselves. Plus if there are big lumps of dried glue in the adjacent mortice then you'll have clean it out, besides being a faff, if you use a chisel then it risks opening up the mortice so the next tenon isn't such a good fit.

I'm not saying one mortice solution is always better than an another, but it's worth weighing things up in the context of each individual project.

On a different point, in an earlier post you talked about planing the leg taper. There's a common trap that a lot of people fall into during this operation. The normal taper arrangement is something like this,

Leg-Taper.jpg


There'll usually be a gap of about 3mm or 1/8" between the end of the taper and the bottom of the apron rail. But it's very easy when planing to go sailing past that line and end up with an unsightly gap at the bottom of the apron. I always have a pencil line to delineate the end of the taper, but then I have a second pencil line about 6mm or 1/4" further down towards the bottom the the leg. I try to preserve both pencil lines until near the end, and only then do I run a couple of through planing strokes to take out the lower pencil line. The fact is the taper isn't a joint surface, so it only has to appear reasonably straight and reasonably square, the priority when tapering is to preserve that final pencil line rather than put in plane stroke after plane stroke aiming for engineering levels of straightness and squareness.

However, judging from these photos it's clear you're bringing your usual high standards to bear on this project, it's looking really good!
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By custard
#1195691
El Barto wrote:Damn that mortice is perfect! Neat trick with the router plane too.


I'm not taking anything away from Andy's craftsmanship, because you're right it does look perfect. But the thing to remember is that cutting a perfect tenon is much harder than cutting a perfect mortice. It's puzzling why there's a lot more column inches on this forum about mortices than about tenons, when consistent and accurate tenons are much trickier to achieve?
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By AndyT
#1195693
Thanks Custard - your practical advice is always welcome! I shall add extra lines as described. Chris Schwarz allows himself a full inch below the apron before the taper starts, so I was going to go with that and see how it looks - I shall definitely aim to stop before the joint. He suggests bandsaw followed by plane. I'm not sure whether to do that or just plane the lot.

I've done a practice tenon on scrap too - but that will have to wait while I cut some more mortices!

Any thoughts on the joints between the bottom rail (under the drawer) and the legs? I was thinking just a single short mortice and tenon, but does it need to be twin tenons?
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By custard
#1195694
AndyT wrote:Thanks Custard - your practical advice is always welcome! I shall add extra lines as described. Chris Schwarz allows himself a full inch below the apron before the taper starts, so I was going to go with that and see how it looks - I shall definitely aim to stop before the joint. He suggests bandsaw followed by plane. I'm not sure whether to do that or just plane the lot.

I've done a practice tenon on scrap too - but that will have to wait while I cut some more mortices!

Any thoughts on the joints between the bottom rail (under the drawer) and the legs? I was thinking just a single short mortice and tenon, but does it need to be twin tenons?


Hello Andy,

a full inch above the taper just looks a bit clunky and obvious to my eye, maybe compromise and call it 1/4"?

IMO it has to be twin tusk tenons for the rail below the drawer, three reasons for that. Firstly it prevents any twisting of the rail which would jam the drawer, secondly it gives an extra bit of glue surface, and thirdly it doesn't cut across the grain of the leg so much and therefore retains leg strength. It's an odd joint in that it's possibly the only example where the mortice is more difficult to cut than the tenon (purely because the mortices are small and square), it's a breeze with a morticer but if using hand tools then it's probably best to drill out most of the waste and just pare the sides flat with a chisel. An easy option is a pair of dowels.

You'll nail it though, twin tusk tenons are miles within your capabilities.
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By El Barto
#1195695
custard wrote:
El Barto wrote:Damn that mortice is perfect! Neat trick with the router plane too.


I'm not taking anything away from Andy's craftsmanship, because you're right it does look perfect. But the thing to remember is that cutting a perfect tenon is much harder than cutting a perfect mortice. It's puzzling why there's a lot more column inches on this forum about mortices than about tenons, when consistent and accurate tenons are much trickier to achieve?


It's funny you mention that because I said something similar the other day on a workbench build thread here. Cutting the tenons for that were infinitely harder than the mortices and you're right, it's strange that it's often overlooked.
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By custard
#1195700
AndyT wrote:I shall add extra lines as described.


There's a similar trap when it comes to spokeshaving a shallow curve on an apron rail.

Spokeshaving-An-Apron-Curve.jpg


The curve is a bit exaggerated in this sketch but it illustrates the principle. It's normally a good idea to leave a tiny flat of about 1 or 2mm at the two ends of the curve. The first reason is that avoids a short grain feather edge which might snap off. But the second reason is more subtle, like when taper planing a leg there's an almost irresistible temptation to cut beyond the line, which in this case would make the apron rail narrower at one end than the other, or if you went far enough might even expose the mortice. After bandsawing out the waste it's best to smooth off to the line with a spokeshave starting in the centre and working out to the end in shorter sections, only when you're kissing the pencil line would you make a final one or two full length through cuts with the spokeshave. Also, like the tapered leg example, it's not a jointing surface; so the curve only has to be fair to the eye. It's as if we're programmed to chase a curve that's perfectly fair and square with long through spokeshave strokes, but we don't really care about being shy of the terminal pencil line until we've gone sailing past it!
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By AndyT
#1195707
custard wrote:
Hello Andy,

a full inch above the taper just looks a bit clunky and obvious to my eye, maybe compromise and call it 1/4"?

IMO it has to be twin tusk tenons for the rail below the drawer, three reasons for that. Firstly it prevents any twisting of the rail which would jam the drawer, secondly it gives an extra bit of glue surface, and thirdly it doesn't cut across the grain of the leg so much and therefore retains leg strength. It's an odd joint in that it's possibly the only example where the mortice is more difficult to cut than the tenon (purely because the mortices are small and square), it's a breeze with a morticer but if using hand tools then it's probably best to drill out most of the waste and just pare the sides flat with a chisel. An easy option is a pair of dowels.

You'll nail it though, twin tusk tenons are miles within your capabilities.


Ok, challenge accepted - flattery works!

To me, the term "tusk tenon" means a complicated joint used in flooring, where you want to join two joists at a right angle without weakening either one. Most of the weight is borne on a thick stub, with a thinner strip passing through the second joist and wedged.
That's probably not very clear, so here's a picture.

tusk_tenon.jpg


I might enjoy cutting one of those full size in a bit of 9 x3, but I'm not doing two of them in miniature!
Presumably you mean a pair of little vertical tenons, side by side. They'll need to be about 5/32" or 3/16" thick, so they could be the perfect justification for having acquired one or two narrow chisels.

A challenge for the new year, I think!

(The picture is one of the marginal notes in an old book of mine on building construction. Its first owner must have been a model student - his pencil notes are delightful, 140 years on.)

And thanks on the taper too - I'll re-mark at 1/4".