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Do you take care over the invisible bits?

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AJB Temple

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I'm still not allowed to post on the kitchen build thread I started. Wife still not happy.

However, work proceeds and I continue to keep a record and photos as that version of lockdown will end.

This is a different thing. I have some very old furniture, a few pieces dating back to Henry VIII times (well, two pieces). When I look at the old stuff, assuming that it was quality for the time else it would likely not have survived) the undersides and backs are generally a great deal rougher than the the presentation aspects.

However, I struggle with this in things I make myself. Is anyone else as barmy as me? I will sand, with some care, sides of wood that will end up underneath or at the back and will not be seen unless you are a contortionist or dissassembler.

I am going through a lot of timber (redwood, oak, maple, wenge and some other stuff) in my kitchen build and find myself working on bits that no guest will ever see, and even rejecting wood that is not good enough to be on an invisible elevation.

Please tell me I am not alone! :oops: :?
 

Bm101

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When you are feeding your family on the back of it I suppose the perspective alters.
:wink:
Nowt snide meant. I meant to talk historically. Hope the build continues well. Look forward to pics... :wink:
Chris
 

woodhutt

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I think it's all about what makes you feel good. Other than time and effort I believe there's a lot of satisfaction in knowing you've put your best into every aspect of a project. As to maybe wasting good material, think veneering where it's advisable to veneer both surfaces even if only one is visible.
No. You're not mad, just a woodworker (or is that an oxymoron or tautology or something? :) )
Pete
 

Bm101

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Then what can possibly be wrong with that? :D
I clocked the screws on the decking i built on my first flat. :shock:
Would I do it now?
Lmao.
Would I fu*k.
 

Phil Pascoe

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My deck was "L" shaped, about twenty feet on one side by twelve feet on the other. Every bracket made by me and commercially galvanised (well, at least the ones not made by my neighbour in stainless were), every brass screw clocked in a brass screw cup. Sad, or what? :D
 

sunnybob

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Have you ever looked in the back of a very expensive grandfather clock? Looks like a pre school activity lesson. :roll:
Having said that, I always do the best that I can on whatever I do, regardless of being seen or not, and yes, if I ever use slotted screws again, I will clock them. 8)
 

AndyT

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I know what you mean about the backs and undersides of old furniture. As already said, it was all about getting a job done quickly and economically. Nowadays there are plenty of enthusiasts who enjoy the axe marks, the big knots, the overcut joint lines etc more than the presentable fronts and tops.

But for us amateurs it's hard to work like that. The closest I have got is using a piece of wood with a flaw on one side as a plinth.
 

MikeG.

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Country furniture.........when it was such an effort to flatten a piece of wood why would you do it unnecessarily? Now, when everything gets shoved through a thicknesser in seconds, why would you not? I've seen any number of old pieces finished under or behind with an adze or axe, and untouched by a plane.

On a piece of furniture, I make it good everywhere. However, at the moment I am making some panels (I'll do a thread in a couple of days time). You should see the backs! Whilst the joints are all spot on, the levels of the pieces at the back are all over the place. They will be sandwiched back-to-back with a panel on the other side, so aren't going to be seen until someone pulls the house apart. If I had wanted decent backs I would have had to use other wood, and the whole point was to use up a heap of fairly useless off-cuts.
 

MikeG.

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AJB Temple":1yfev2m1 said:
I'm still not allowed to post on the kitchen build thread I started. Wife still not happy............
I was wondering what was going on there. I'd planned to ask you today how you were getting on.
 

kevinlightfoot

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I tend to take care yes,many years ago my wife and I bought a sideboard in beautiful golden oak from a reputable antiques shop in Leek.It was lovely to look at but the back although being oak was rough sawn.After a few years in our dining room we had need to move it,it was laden with our best China,bottles of wine etc,my attempt to move it was by moving one end at a time,big mistake the legs at the stationary end twisted and the whole thing collapsed.On investigation I discovered that the dresser did not have a joint in any of the main carcass only in the door frames,it was assembled with glue and four inch nails.I then realised that the craftsmen of old weren't all they were cracked up to be and if they could cut corners they would,since then I study any old furniture very carefully and you would be amazed at some of the very poor craftsmanship you come across.So I tend to take care when making furniture to at least show a modicum of consideration in the places people do not usually see.So I say keep sanding but maybe not to 400 grit.
 

Bod

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If the part is only to be seen by the maker, and the scrap man. Will the scrap man be offended if the part is less than perfect?
Answers on a post-card please.

Bod.
 

Sheffield Tony

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This is frequently covered in Mortise and Tenon magazine. Non show faces are only finished by people with excess time on their hands. Moreover, it is very wasteful of wood, if finishing it properly means it winds up 1/8" thinner. It doesn't even matter for table aprons, for example, if the non show face is substantially not parallel to the outside. That's what face side and edge marks are about - if you finish everything perfectly 4 square, you could get away without.

On the pole lathe, if the stock riven for spindles is allowed to have the odd (downward facing) flat spot left, you can rive much thinner saving both wood and the effort wasting it away.

It is not rough work. It is good honest, pragmatic craftmanship. It makes no difference to use or appearance but saves time and materials. I'm trying to train myself into it :lol:
 

Just4Fun

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I think you can interpret "take care" in at least a couple of different ways so my answer would be both yes and no.

No, I don't usually bother planing and/or sanding something that will never ever be seen.

Yes, I will usually do "proper joinery" on something that will never be seen. Even if it is a rough carpentry job using rough-sawn timber I might still cut whatever joints I think are best suited to the project.
 

woodbloke66

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On anything I make, the back and bits that can't bee seen are as important as all show faces. Even if I left the undersides rough, I know they're rough and that would irritate :twisted:
It's a revelation to go round the most recently opened furniture gallery at the V&A (right at the top of the staircase) and see some of the fabulous stuff in there...then to wander around to look at the backs. Most seem to be made from old floor boards nailed in place - Rob
 

peter-harrison

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The Shakers believe that as God can see round the back of a chest of drawers as easily as the front, the back should be finished as well as the front.
I was an antique restorer for many years, and what people have said above about antiques is mostly true. However, particularly from early Victorian on, you do get a few pieces which are beautifully made all round.
My version of God is a future restorer and I picture her or him with a disappointed/disapproving look, so I try to make my work look neat all over.
On a side note, I was in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge a few years ago. They had a cabinet by John Makepiece, and I was pleased (nastily!) to see some very faint pitch-marks.... on the front!!
 
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