Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, Noel, Charley, CHJ

 Reply
User avatar
By AndyT
#1198404
thetyreman wrote:how on earth did I miss this one? looks great so far andy T, subscribed now.


Don't worry, I've not got to the end of the first reel yet! Plenty more to come.
User avatar
By AndyT
#1198417
One thing I forgot to show on the last update was the drawer runners. These are from oak, which is what I am using for the drawer sides and other internal parts. They have little stub tenons which fit into open slot mortices in the back of the lower rail - not for strength but to help with lining them up. They will be glued to the side aprons after assembly of the main frame.

Image

But today's fun was tapering the legs.

Some people like to make a table saw jig for cutting the tapers. Others prefer the bandsaw. I could have done that, but on this scale, it's easier just to plane them.

At first, I was bothered about how to mark them out well, as a pencil line is hard to see on the walnut. I thought I would try masking tape, stretched from a reference line 1/4" below the aprons down to a 5/8" marked line on the bottom of each leg.

Image

Here's the finishing mark - in pencil - plus a previous pencil line, no longer needed, and two advance warning lines in white pencil to show when I am planing near to the end. (One of many useful tips from Custard.)

Image

I just clamped the leg in the vice and planed it down with my trusty 5½ jack plane. The pile of shavings shows how little work that was.

Image

I soon had a second leg done, which I could put alongside and compare.

Image

I realised that although the tape is nice and easy to see, it doesn't automatically make a straight line so I soon needed to peel it off and use the original pencil line as my reference. (I used a spirit level as a nice steady straight edge to draw these lines.)
After some more time planing, checking, planing, comparing, planing etc I had a set of four legs with one half of the tapering done. I know that an hour had passed as the afternoon play on the radio had finished.

For the second taper, it's not so easy to hold the legs in the vice, so I switched to working on the bench top. In retrospect, I could have done this from the start. My workholding setup got simpler as I progressed.
I was planing against a plain adjustable wooden bench stop, built in to the bench. To stop the legs sliding sideways I used these bench dogs which are a snug fit in the bench. They are made from holly wood so are very tough.

Image
Image

At first I used a handscrew cramp on the square end, held down to the bench with a holdfast and some bits of scrap.

Image

but actually there is no need to fix the cramp down - it provides a useful bit of stability on its own. (I realise now that the round dogs don't show in this photo - they are behind the leg - but you can see them later in another photo. )

The point of mentioning all this is that I found the best solution was the simplest, because it meant I was able to pick up the leg frequently to look along it and check that I was planing square, without having to interrupt the flow to undo or release anything. This meant I checked more often and did a better job. I soon dispensed with the cramp, which meant I could also hold the leg I was planing up against one I had done, and make sure that the planed surfaces matched (well, nearly) for angle and flatness.

The job got easier and I got more confident as I went on, which is just as well. I'd done my best to arrange the pieces so that I was planing with the grain all the time. I scored 7 out of 8 - on the last leg I did, the grain was a bit more wild, and I was against the grain for much of the taper. I removed most of the bulk with the old Preston try plane (just for the pleasure of using it) and then switched to a freshly sharpened, fine-set and reliable 4½ which gave me a smooth enough finished surface.

Image

And so this was the result.

Image

There are still a few things to sort out before glue-up starts - such as kickers and buttons - but they shouldn't take too long.

Thanks for the encouraging comments and practical suggestions - they really do help - I'm doing quite a bit of this for the first time or what feels like the first time, so it's all a bit tentative and exploratory for me - but it's good to feel that there's safety in numbers and people will speak up if I'm heading too far off piste.
User avatar
By AndyT
#1199711
I've found time for a few more hours in the workshop, so here's another update.

The top will be held on with buttons, as per tradition. The idea is to allow for timber movement - which is not going to be much on something this scale - but I'm not going to argue.
Custard's bumper fun box of wood included this bit of oak, which was not only the perfect size, but was already rebated at both ends. I marked it out, drilled some holes

Image

and sawed them apart. I then planed them to a nicer shape and pared away the sides a bit with a chisel

Image

until they looked like this

Image

This isn't just a gratuitous vintage tool shot - for countersinking I really find the combination of a snail bit and an old beechwood brace ideal. Lightweight, quick and controllable.

Image

Here's the back apron getting a pair of mortices to take buttons

Image

- the others will be fitted into the edges of the kickers later on. (I'll cut and fit the kickers after I have assembled the frame.)

Next there was a period of careful headscratching to make sure that there wasn't anything left to do before beginning the glue-up.
I have decided to assemble each end, then unite them with the back and front components. It's probably perfectly ok to do the glue-up all in one go, but I don't need to, so I won't.

Before any glue came out I gave the legs and apron an initial sanding, using 120 grit Abranet on a vacuum cleaner. It's much easier at this stage to manipulate the separate pieces and get into what will soon be corners.

Image

I also realised it would be sensible to chamfer the tips of the legs at this stage - easily done with a block plane.

Image

One potential problem at this stage is that sanding removes useful identification and face edge/side marks. However, these felt pen marks survive until the last moment

Image

so having checked several times that the right bits were the right way round, it was out with the glue and my favourite lightweight long cramps

Image

Image

I used liquid hide glue on this, as I generally do. It gives plenty of assembly time and is perfectly strong enough. But I think it's biggest advantage is how easy it is to clean up. It's hard to photograph clearly but here's the squeeze-out along one apron to leg joint:

Image

A wipe over with a damp rag and it's gone

Image

and I can be confident that what little glue is left in the pores of the wood will make no difference at all to the surface finish later on.

I'll be back later with the rest of the assembly and soon it will be time to start on the drawer.
User avatar
By El Barto
#1200099
So many great points about this update. But those cramps are definitely a highlight. Also the buttons. I think back to that recent post Custard made about someone flipping a table over and seeing some effective yet forgettable buttons, or seeing that the same attention has been given to the buttons as the rest of the piece. Good job.
User avatar
By AndyT
#1200571
A little bit more progress to report. Sorry if I miss out on some things by forgetting to stop and take photos.

Finishing off on the buttons to hold the top, they will fit on to "kickers" - front to back pieces that will keep the drawer horizontal. They fill in the space between the sides of the drawer and the underneath of the top.
I used some of the same ¾" thick oak that I used for the runners. This meant that when I cut mortices, they would be very near the edge, so I marked them out a second time as open notches, rather than mortices. Then I thought some more and realised it's important to have a continuous smooth surface for the drawer to slide along, and having big gaps in it would be a bad idea. So following my original markings, I cut some more little mortices. Sometimes going slowly does give me time to avoid a blunder like this. :)

Image

Prompted by Custard's reminder a while back, I wanted to do something for drawer stops while the lower rail was not glued in place. By following the plans from the magazine article I had made this rail quite narrow, so it was only about ⅛" wider than the drawer front thickness. That doesn't leave room for conventional stops. So I decided to set some extra bits into the back of the rail.

First I cut off a scrap of walnut about ¼" thick and planed the edges to a 1 in 7 angle. Then I marked out a ⅛" deep socket on the back and chiselled it down.

Image

I sawed one end of the cutout to the same angle but left the other one short, and then pared it at the required angle to just fit the sliding piece

Image

Image

Here it is with the extra bit fitted, before trimming it to length.

Image

And here's the finished thing. It will be slightly adjustable if it needs to be once the drawer is built.

Image

And then it was on to the next glue up. Although this was fairly simple, I didn't stop to take photos during the process. Here's a photo of the frame and legs looking a bit more like a table.

Image
User avatar
By Sheffield Tony
#1200620
I do like that glue up stage when it all comes together. Usually I enjoy it so much I rush to it and forget some critical step I should have done first (*). On the bench I had thought that the taper of the legs made them look very slender, but in place they look right. How will you retain the drawer stop blocks ? A screw from the back, or glue ?

(*) That was part of the reason I bought that mini brace. Got carried away with assembly and forgot some of the holes I needed to bore whilst there was still enough room for the brace to work !
User avatar
By AndyT
#1200624
The stops are pretty secure as they are, but I'll add a dab of glue.
Same with the rest of the framework round the drawers - just simple flat surfaces glued together. After all, it's a very lightweight piece and the drawer won't be loaded. In fact, I'm not sure if anything will be kept in it at all!
User avatar
By AndyT
#1202306
Sorry for the delay in updates, but progress has been interrupted by jobs for other people and similar distractions. However, a rainy Sunday allows me to give you a glimpse into the world of slow woodworking as I see it!

Last time we left the legs sticking up from the bench like a dead thing, so here's a slightly more dignified shot of what is still not a table.

Image

There's a little step, of about ⅛", between the insides of the legs where they make the drawer opening and the inside faces of the aprons. These need to be filled in with an extra piece on each side, to guide the drawer smoothly. On bigger work they could easily be half an inch thick but here they are about the size of a ruler. Also, I've noticed that with the way I have cut the drawer runners, there's a gap where I should have notched them round the legs. I reckon I can take care of both gaps with the same extra pieces. In a big chest of drawers, the sides of the carcase have the grain running vertically so construction needs to allow changes of width to happen on the sides relative to the runners and guides. But on a table like this, the grain goes horizontally in the aprons, so runners and guides can just be glued on, quite simply.

I chose a bit of suitable walnut, planed one face flat and square and sawed off a slice about 3/16" thick on the bandsaw.

Image

Here it is, stood in place, showing that it is too thick and needs to be planed to fit.

Image

I needed to know how thin the piece needed to be. These clumsily posed photos show the sort of steps I take when confronted by a problem like this. First, I used a depth gauge to measure the step directly. The numbers are irrelevant but the gauge is small and handy.

Image

Then I transferred that setting to a marking gauge

Image

gauged all round the piece of wood

Image

and planed it to size

Image

It's probably a convoluted series of steps but I much prefer to use direct measurement rather than rely on transferring a number. I checked the guides with a straightedge and they looked ok. so the next step was simply to glue them in place.

Here I used some little lightweight cramps from one of Robert Wearing's books. They are easy to make from scraps of wood, coachbolts and tee nuts. They are ideal for a job like this but for good measure I added a couple of handscrews.

Image

Next time I can fit the runners in a similar way, then the kickers.
User avatar
By AndyT
#1203754
Some time in the last week I found a few minutes to fit the drawer runners. I seem not to have taken any photos, but that's no great loss. They were two bits of oak, with stub tenons at the front, glued onto the aprons, carefully set square to the legs.
Today it was another rainy day so I got on with a few of the next steps.

I wanted to glue the kickers in place. These are front to back pieces of ¾" thick oak which go above the drawer to fill in the space above the upper rail and help the drawer open smoothly and stay horizontal. They need to be exactly parallel to the runners. Now, I could have just squared them up like I did for the runners but I thought it would be easier if I had a dummy drawer side in place. I could have cut the drawer sides at this stage but decided to use some scrap instead. These scrap pieces can fit the whole space snugly as they won't need to slide. I found some short ends of T&G cladding which were suitable and carefully planed them to width so they just fitted into place. The T&G machining gave me an easy indicator, even though the two sides seem to be very slightly different. Here they are fitted and stood in place, with one of the kickers stood in position.

Image

This enabled me to align the kickers all the way along. (The mortices are for the buttons to hold the top.)

Image

On this side it came out just like it should - the top of the runner is simply at the same level as the top of the rail.

Image

However, the other side has a smidgen of difference, so I think it was worthwhile bothering to do this.

Here's another shot of the story so far with an assortment of cramps, old and new, waiting for the glue to dry.

Image

But rather than just go and sit down in the warm, I decided to do a little bit more.

This is the wood for the sides, a lovely bit of quarter sawn oak, planed to ⅜" thick. Before I start cutting it up to make the drawer, I wanted to make the slips which will hold the bottom of the drawer. Doing them at this stage meant I could just work on the edge of the wide board which is easier than holding a tiny stick.

Image

First I made sure the edge was straight.

Image

I needed a groove in the edge, ⅛" wide and ⅛" deep. Like last time I made some drawers, I used my "modern" Record 044C, though this one does have a home-made handle which I prefer to the original blue plastic.
When the groove is as deep as it is wide, an easy way to set the depth stop is to use the cutter as a gauge, as seen here.

Image

The groove didn't take long.

Image

The top side of the slips needs a little bead to be cut on it. As before, I used this spokeshave. It was made for me by a close friend who left us far too early. It's a great reminder of him. The cutters came from Bristol Design when I bought a Stanley 66 beader - Veritas do something similar for their little beader.

Image

Most of the cutter disappears into the body or a slot in the fence.

Image

And this is the result a few minutes later.

Image

I then gauged ⅜" off the edge, sawed it off in the bandsaw and proceeded to plane it down.

This can be awkward - there's not much to get hold of and it bends easily, so needs the support of the bench. I used a triangle of ply and a wedge, but still needed to prop the work up on some scrap to clear the 9mm ply.

Image

That's all for now. Next time might be first fitting and bevelling of the top, or I might embark on a drawer pull - the drawer pull needs to be chosen before I assemble the drawer, as it's much easier to drill holes and fix things on a flat front rather than a finished drawer, so that's one mistake I shan't make!
User avatar
By custard
#1203794
AndyT wrote:And this is the result a few minutes later.

Image

I then gauged ⅜" off the edge, sawed it off in the bandsaw and proceeded to plane it down.


You've put a decent size quirk in your bead, and IMO that's a good thing. A lot of woodworkers shape their bead cutters with a really fine quirk, but when you slop water on the drawer slip (as has to be done in order to clean out the glue squeeze out) then the beed swells, closes up the quirk, and it looks almost invisible. Your quirk on the other hand will remain loud and proud!
User avatar
By AndyT
#1203894
Custard, thanks for the kind words about the quirk.

As promised, I have cleared the junk away from my woodturning lathe and had a go at making some prototype knobs. There are so many possibilities here - I can vary the species, the shape, the size and the colour, but somehow I have to decide on something. The table design is basically a Shaker one, and I know that they favoured small turned knobs so I thought I would have a go.

I don't pretend to be any sort of accomplished turner, so if you want tips on technique, head over to that section - this is just a record of what I have tried and whether it worked.

Here's a little bit of dry beech branch getting roughed down

Image

and here it is with each end turned to 1" diameter so I can hold it in a chuck.

Image

Here's my first attempt.

Image

Not too sure about this. Take 2. Coming on ok:

Image

But then a moment's careless tool holding produced this:

Image

Fortunately, I have some superglue so I could continue and finish it a bit more

Image

Here is the first one, fitted into a piece of scrap wood the same size as the drawer front

Image

And here is the second one

Image

I'm pretty sure I don't like the first one - it's too rounded, and it's probably a bit too close to what you'd find on cheap 80s pine furniture. I think the second one is a bit more "correct" but it's not right either.
I find turning things like this is hard - there's the technical challenge of getting a smooth surface without reducing all the wood to shavings, but there's a heap of subtle differences between what looks nice, or ordinary, or downright ugly.

What do you think? How should I change this? Any thoughts on species or colour? (I have a great selection to choose from, thanks to Custard's generosity and my own reluctance to throw away even tiny scraps of wood.)

I'm quite tempted to go for a bar-type pull like I did on my little chest of drawers, like this

Image

What should I do?
User avatar
By Sheffield Tony
#1203906
I think a small round knob would look more the part to me. Could you go for box or spindle or other tight grained wood so that it could be finer and more elegant than you would see commercially ?

It does surprise me when I see power lathe turners turning branch wood, and wood in the round with the pith in. As a green woodworker the branches are for the fire - the stresses mean they will warp. And anything with the pith left in is likely to split - that early growth is weak. I'd start with a bigger log split in 4. I guess starting with seasoned wood you aren't worried about movement in drying, but the pith is still a weak point. So maybe it is more the selection of the wood than your turning that went awry.