Design a Week – 15/52

I know what you’re thinking – two designs in the same afternoon? Well I wouldn’t believe it either if I wasn’t writing this, so enjoy this design for candlesticks:

The impetus for this design is the set of candlesticks I’m already working in the garage. I’m having some trouble getting the mitered corners to come together. It is too late to change the joinery on the current project, but I started brainstorming on possible solutions if I want to build another set. That lead me to dovetails for the joinery.  In the picture above, the tails are supposed to be evenly sized, but I thought of some other possibilities:

The drawing on the left has the tails getting bigger from top to bottom.  The drawing on the right has the biggest tail in the middle, with tails getting smaller the further from center. I’m not sure which I prefer, but I’m pretty sure I like both better than having the tails evenly spaced.

I like the idea of contrasting woods – especially at dovetail joints, but I didn’t want to have each side be just one species. As designed, the center stripe cut from one side would be the center for its adjacent side. This will also add an element of uniqueness to the piece, a little flair – like two of the sides being shaped like a pyramid. I would want to build a set of three, two being shorter than the third.


Steve, in the Garage, with the Candlestick

Due to things around the house, NBA and NHL playoffs, traveling for work, and other things I can’t remember at this time I haven’t been able to spend much time in the garage lately.  What little time I’ve had I’ve been working on a set of candle holders:

One thing I’m proud of is that while I’m following the jist of the plans, I’m adding a few flairs of my own along the way. The plans called for the windows to be squared up, but I decided to keep them round. I think it is a warmer look, no pun intended.

While I have the basic forms prepared, I have quite a bit fitting to do, especially with the mitred corners:

I’m also thinking about possibly rounding over those corners after I have the mitres fit. Should I do the round-over before or after I’ve glued the joint? It will be easier to control cutting on the edge after the joint is cured, but I’m at a bigger risk of ruining the whole thing.  Thoughts?

The Day in Shavings – 31 March 2010

I haven’t been able to get much time in the garage lately, so I’ve only made a little progress on those candle holders.

Yesterday I put the chamfer on the tops of all the sides of the holders using a bit in my router table. I have a 45′ chamfer bit, but only one.  I came to realize why a woodworker needs so many sizes/variants of the same tool. The candle holders call for a chamfer on the inside of the top edge, which gives the top a nice reveal. The plans have that chamfer extending half the thickness of the side – but mine won’t quite be that “deep” because my chamfer bit isn’t that big.  I realize I could go to my hand planes to finish the chamfer, but my desire to adhere to the plans isn’t great enough for me to figure out the proper work holding to do so [/benchless guy].

These candle holders have a shelf that supports the candle inside them, about half way up the stand. I made up for the lack of a stacked dado set by using a simple stop block and my normal table saw blade to make the dado. I set the saw fence at the proper distance so the blade would cut a kerf at the bottom of the dado. I then lined up the top of the dado and clamped a stop block in place on the auxiliary fence I made for my mitre gauge. I cut those two reference kerfs, then make several passes to chip away the rest, in a similar fashion to how Norm Abram makes his tenon shoulder cuts.

I also cut the mitres for assembling the holders on both edges of each side. This is significant in that previously I had never made an angled cut on my tablesaw; the blade had always been perpendicular to the table top. Happily the “preset” on the angle adjuster was pretty good, so I didn’t have to do fiddle much to get a 45′ cut.  The fence took a little more time to adjust, as I was getting used to figuring out the distance between where the fence was and where the blade would exit the top of the piece.

The most difficult part of the setup was safety. As I was cutting one of the test pieces, I noticed the wood wanted to ride up the blade, off the table.  After immediately stopping the blade, I went to work affixing a couple of homemade featherboards to the fence to hold the piece flat. Because my finished dimensions are only 4″ wide, the featherboards now presented a pushing problem. I was very nervous using a push stick because now there wasn’t any room to the right (the featherboards) and putting my hands to the left would put them closer to the blade.  I eventually (albeit slowly) pushed the pieces through with a skinny push stick, with only the featherboards providing downward force. There was some burning, but nothing the card scraper won’t be able to handle.

I know I’ve been behind on posting new designs/drawings. Rest assured, I have several ideas I want to sketch up, I just haven’t gotten around to spending time with the paper and pencil.  What little I’ve done is to start thinking about the layout of a low entertainment center I need to build for my basement. That design will definitely get built.

Wow – I didn’t expect to write all that. Maybe it should have been a “full” post with some pictures…

The Day in Shavings – 21 March 2010

I wanted to jot down a few things about what I did today in the shop,  but I don’t have a huge write up or pictures – so I’ve come up with “The Day in Shavings.” I think this will let me post more frequently,without the “pressure” of putting together something long and/or pretty.

I’ve started working on a set of candle stands, as shown in Woodsmith Magazine #185. I bought a 4/4 birdseye maple board a few months ago. However, these plans call for 1/2″ stock. I don’t have a planer, so I had to head over to my buddy Brian’s basement to work the stock down. I decided I couldn’t bring myself to wipe out half the board, so it sits at 5/8″ instead of taking all the way down to one half.

Once I got back to my garage, I started working on constructing the jig to cut the windows in each side of the stands consistently. Rumaging through the scrap bin was enough to find the pieces I needed to complete the jig, which is currently sitting in clamps.

I also started working on the strips that will form the bars in each opening.  I have a little bit of walnut and much more paduak, so I cut both to proper width on the table saw. I barely have enough walnut to complete one candle stand, but I should easily have enough paduak to complete two (which is the goal).

My next opportunity in the garage should be enough to cut the sides to size out of that maple board, perhaps even complete the beveling on all the pieces as well.