Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This bench made of poplar and steel can double as a stylish cocktail table.
Steel- apron sofa table with ebonized maple legs and spalted maple top
...A sliding drawer for the small stuff.
Matching writing desk and chair. Walnut and ash with purpleheart accents.
At 20.5" tall, 14" deep, and 50.5" this Asian influenced bench made of mahogany and walnut is both contemporary and traditional.
Walnut tops with mahogany bases, as well as matching joinery make these tow pieces a natural pair.
Mahogany legs are rock-solid using no glues or fasteners - mechanical forces alone.

Friday, June 20, 2008

At last! With handles made from scrap rosewood smuggled back from a Costa Rican surf trip, the mirror box is easily mounted and ready to use. Its dimensions are: 43" wide, 42" tall, and 11" deep.
To see the progress of this project from the beginning, scroll back a mere 28 posts.

With the finishing complete, it's time for final assembly. Here I'm attaching the box frame within the notches of the runners. Later, the curvy supports that go below the box frame will attach to the frame and runners. The hook bar will then attach to the supports. Finally the mirror is attached to the runners as well.

A first coat of linseed oil for the mirror frames.

With all of the elements built, fitted, and sanded, it's down to finishing and assembly. Here the boxes get a coat.

With the notches complete, the outer edges of the runners get a small bevel or "chamfer" with the spokeshave.

All cherry elements attach to the wall via two maple vertical runners. Here they receive notches with the dado blade that the box frame will sit within.

With the mirror frames fitted and glued, the mirrors and backing boards need notches within which to rest. A great job for the router.

Transferring the joints from the vertical members of the mirror frames to the horizontal with a drafting pencil. Cuts are then made with table and bandsaws.

Giving the dovetails that hold the mirror frame together a bit of style.

The box frame sits on supports that will attach to the wall-mounted runners. With the bandsaw, giving them a bit of curve is easy.

Once the glue has dried, all surfaces must be sanded smooth before finishing.

After many hours cutting, shaping, sanding, and fitting forty vertical supports from walnut, the shelf/ box frame gets glued. A total of sixty small surfaces are being glued at once. Speed and accuracy are critical.

Using dado blades (multiple table saw blades sandwiched together to bake a wider cut) the notches are cut in the top and bottom of the box frames. These cuts are made to accept the vertical walnut parts that give the box frame structure. Look for the already notched boards behind me.

No turning back now! With all mating surfaces covered in a thin coat of glue, I have to work fast before everything sets up permanently.

With all edges snug and correct, all that remains are the box bottoms as well as cutting the notches to accept them.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Finally, the moment of swears or satisfaction. Dry fitting (without glue) tells the tale of how accurate I have or haven't been. So far so good!

Just as with the tails, the pins require a very sharp chisel to clean the cuts and bring the edges right up to the lines from two pictures ago.

Cutting the shoulders for the pins calls for the Japanese pull saw. (It cuts on the pull and not the push.)

Transferring the cut lines from tails to pins is just a matter of drawing a thin line around the perimeter. This simple step requires focus: any imperfection here will be glaringly obvious when the piece comes together.

Some things are best done by hand: cleaning up the tails with chisels.

If you already know how to cut dovetails by hand does that mean you have to? The table saw makes quick and accurate work of the tail shoulders.

While leaving the glued and clamped cherry boards to dry over night, I've begun laying out my cut lines for the half-blind dovetails of the sliding box.

Portions of the piece that call for wide boards require careful glue-ups of thinner boards.

The last cut eliminates the blond sapwood.

After the boards are allowed to tweak out, they're brought back to square and milled down to their final dimensions. This is a shot of the loud planer that's been banished to the basement. You can see the yellow dust collector as well as lumber storage in the background.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Once rough-milled, the pieces are left overnight to release any internal tension as well as absorb/expel moisture from all surfaces evenly.

After labeling each piece and cutting it to an approximate length, the stock is rough-milled to obtain flat, clean and square edges. The first milling gets the wood close to its final dimensions while still allowing the internal tensions of each board to be released and, thus, stable after the finish mill.

Once I'm happy with the look and feel of my scale drawing (on the cork-board in the upper right) I make a list of each puzzle piece with exact dimensions. Then it's to the basement to select the rough stock. Each piece is selected with a careful eye for how the dusty plank will present as part of the finished piece.

New Project: Mirror-Box

Day one of a new project! I'm calling this thing a mirror box. This is the rendition drawn to scale with each element assigned a letter. The drawing shows both front and side views. I'm building four of them at once which may take a bit of time. Let's see how long...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wormy maple coffee table with red willow detail awaits its glass insert