Sunday, November 22, 2009

Flu Schmlu

Well, half the class was down sick throughout the past month, myself included, and it took me a while to feel like I made enough progress to post a decent update.

While trying to get my momentum back (and to procrastinate on another design decision) I made a 1/16" chisel. My dad gave me a set of old needle files he found in his shop, they have been perfect for making small chisels and knives, just the right size and keep a good sharp edge.

I did make one of these last year but shaft wasn't long enough to rest against the chopping block while chopping dovetails. The handle is leftover tulipwood from the plane I made earlier.

So by this time the boxwood was dry but the piece I was milling for the frame members was from a different plank than what I had already used for the rest of the cabinet. When I cut into it some curly grain pattern and strong prismatics appeared. The colour was also quite different and all this would have taken away from the piece on a whole. I had to decide weather to just go with it or spend time taking what I had left of the original plank and laminating a 1/8" skin over the curly stuff.

The curly pieces.

Original straight grain on the left, the other on the right.

I decided to do the skinning.

In the mechanical press.

The skinning went pretty well, no gaps and well worked out grain graphics.

The frames for the sides and doors are joined with twin floating tennons about 1/8" thick and one small dowel in front of what will be the rabbet for the glass.

Having never used it before, I wanted to experience the XY table on the boring machine. The process was fairly quick and easy.

I had to make a dowel centre out of drill-rod to locate the small dowel holes on each piece. Something I learned from Fergal last year.

The panels for the sides of the cabinet are located almost in the centre of the frame member. To transfer the dowel position from one piece to the other, I used a shim to raise the locating jig to the right position on the frame.

There was no dowel stock the size of the holes I drilled, so Robert showed me how to size them by hammering larger dowels through the correct size hole drilled into brass.

I used the same shim used for doweling to locate the position for the rabbet in the panels so it lined up with the rabbet in the frame members.

Rabbets cut, time to start putting on finish.

5 coats of super-blonde shellac and 2 coats of wax brought out all the detail and shimmer in the sycamore but left the colour looking natural.

There was a decent bit a progress over the last couple weeks but I still have a way to go. I discovered a bit of an issue today fitting all the parts together, the step between one panel and frame member is a bit uneven and it is pretty noticible. It must have happend while planing and I forgot to check it as I was going along. With the parts now all with finish on them, I either have to scrape off the finish and plane the rest of the members down to the same thickness or saw the skin off and find another piece with matching grain to glue back on. I'll have to wait until Monday and get some advice from the master.

Please visit the school blog as well to see what's going on at the school, we try to do an update every week or so.


  1. Those are some awesome panels there.

    thats a pretty good "fix" with veneering over the boxwood.

    i on the other hand cant "fix" my twisted curved panel :(

  2. Hi Barb

    Nice work out there at the IP! I think you made the right decision skinning over the curly stuff. Cool chisel too...

  3. Thanks! Yeah, I am happy how the frames turned out, how often do you hear of curly wood being a problem? :P

  4. Love reading and watching your progress. Looking forward to the show in May.