Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Two years later

I can't believe its been two years since any major shop activity.  During that time, we have spent most of our free time chasing a 2 1/2 year old around.  But thankfully, free time is starting to loosen up again.  I have been in the shop much more recently, and it has been very good to get back at it.

Last I wrote, I talked about an office remodel we were working on.  That project is about 75% complete.  Three things are still outstanding to call the room complete - New baseboards, a new writing table for my wife, and some sort of cabinet/storage unit.  To be completed soon are the baseboards and the writing table.  The storage unit will have to wait until some other time.

The major portion of the room remodel were these built-in cabinets and bookcases.  The cabinets came from a BORG, but I built the bookcases and most importantly, the counter-top.  The top was the first large project on my new FORP bench.  The 9 foot long bench performed perfectly for that because the 11 1/2 foot length of the top restricted me to hand tools.  So the bench was absolutely key.  The top is cherry and was finished with garnet shellac.  I made the shelves in the bookcase out of cherry and finished them with garnet as well.

Because of this remodel, my wife had to forfeit her desk space.  If you direct your attention to that pitiful card table in the middle of the room; that is what my wife has had to work on for 2 years, instead of a proper desk.  I am finally trying to remedy that.  Yes, I am ashamed it took this long and have apologized profusely and repeatedly.  Let's move on.

We are calling this a writing table, because it is just a simple trestle table.  I don't want to call it a desk, because desk typically conjures images of drawers and shelves and such.  This is just a simple table with ample space for her to spread out her work.  The dimensions are roughly 27"W x 72"L x 28"H.  It will be cherry finished with garnet shellac to match the rest of the room.

Last week I was on vacation and got a really good start on the project.  Most of my time was spent on the top, because I have never done breadboard ends before and it took way longer than I anticipated.

Once the table slab was glued up, flattened and square, I started cutting the tenons by first using a straight edge to cut the shoulder.  This was too long of a cut to trust my abilities to cut a straight line without aid.

Next I moved my fence and cut a second shoulder to form a dado about the width of my router plane cutter.  I routed out the dado to set the overall depth and thickness of my tenon.

Once the overall depth was met, I used a jack plane with a heavily cambered blade (10 inch camber) and a block plane to remove the bulk of the waste.

My jointer cleaned up the remaining waste down to my line.

I still do not have a decent shoulder plane, so I used my rabbet block plane to clean up the shoulders.

Rinse and repeat until both sides were done.  Next I marked out where the long and stub tenons lie.

Have I mentioned how I love this bench?  I really do.  That tabletop in the background is a side project I am working on for a friend.  He and his wife tried to remove some veneer from the top and they had some trouble.  So I am trying to patch and repair the table and rebuild the base to make it stable again.

Making some rip cuts.

Here I am cutting out the waste with my bow saw.  In case you missed the post about my bow saw, it is a Gramercy kit and I used leftover Oak from my bench to make it.  It is a joy to use.

Clean up with a sharp chisel.

On to the ends.  Here is where the toll of being away too long and the drudgery of cutting out all of that waste took its toll.  Because I pretty much stopped taking photos at this point.

This table top took more out of me than I expected.  So, I'll just wrap this up by showing the semi-finished top.  Still smoothing and final details to work out, but basically construction is complete.

The legs are simple mortise and tenon construction, nothing spectacular or noteworthy.  Next I will work on the rails and start shaping and final smoothing.  I hope to start finishing soon.

Thanks for reading!