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PostPosted: 06 Jan 2018, 17:27 
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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.

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PostPosted: 06 Jan 2018, 18:08 
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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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And so this was the result.

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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.

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PostPosted: 11 Jan 2018, 15:20 
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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

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

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until they looked like this

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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.

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

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- 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.

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

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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

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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

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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:

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

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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.

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PostPosted: 12 Jan 2018, 08:58 
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looking good Andy. I love those cramps!

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PostPosted: 12 Jan 2018, 12:46 
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nabs wrote:
looking good Andy. I love those cramps!


So do I!
There is more detail on them here how-to-make-your-own-wooden-sash-cramps-t103631.html

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PostPosted: 12 Jan 2018, 17:20 
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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.


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PostPosted: 14 Jan 2018, 16:15 
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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. :)

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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.

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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

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

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

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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.

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PostPosted: 14 Jan 2018, 20:32 
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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 !


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PostPosted: 14 Jan 2018, 20:49 
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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!

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