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...