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.

Christmas Gifts – Domino Box

While I was working on the set of dominos for my parents, I was also working on a box to hold the set.  I liked the idea of box joints, but really liked  the joints Marc Spagnolo created for the case of his Gagdet Station.

Based on the size and number of dominos I was creating, I had some basic dimensions to work with and settled on this sketch for my box design:

After several iterations (seen above), I decided on three fingers for the sides – each 3/4″ wide, with two fingers for the ends – each 9/8″ wide.  I liked not just the varied width of the fingers, but having an even number of fingers on one face and an odd number on the adjacent face.

I really wanted to go two-tone with the sides of this box and had previously purchased paduak and birdseye maple for the job. To create the extended box joints,  I created a jig for the mitre gauge on my table saw:

I don’t yet have a stacked dado blade set, so cutting the fingers involved several passes over the blade.  I used a stop block on both ends of the jig to set boundaries for how far to each side I could cut, then made passes over the blade, slowly moving the piece from one stop block to the other. I clamped opposing sides of the box together, both to decrease the number of cuts I was making and to create matching sides to make the fitting easier.

After several dozen passes of the mitre gauge, I was left with four close to fitting box sides:

On the table saw, I made a concerted effort to cut on the waste side of my markout lines – so I could custom work the fit of each set of fingers with a rasp. After fitting the fingers, I used the rasp to roundover the ends of each finger. I didn’t fully pillow the finger tips, but just broke the sharp edges enough to soften the profile.

With the sides fitted and shaped, I took my focus to the top and bottom of the box. For the bottom I used a piece of 1/2″ birch plywood. With my router table, I cut a groove on the inside of each side of the box.  On the maple ends, the groove went completely through end-to-end. On the paduak sides, a through groove would show on the outside of the box, so for the first time I [slowly] dropped a piece of wood onto an already spinning router bit. I was surprised by how smoothly that went – hopefully my over-anxiousness was the key to the safety of the operation.

For the top, I used another piece of the birdseye maple.  Again on the router table, I cut a rabbet on all for edges – allowing the top to rest within the opening of the box itself. For the pull on the top, I used a scrap of paduak.  I first routed a groove with a 3/8″ core box bit on both sides of the paduak, about 1″ from the end. Then I chucked a 1/2″ roundover bit and profile the edge on both sides as well. A couple of countersunk screws from beneath the top, some Titebond II, and my assembly was complete!

After I wrestled the box away from its clamp-monster, it only took a few brushed on coats of amber shellac to complete the box:

Santa’s Supply Shop

Thanks in part to some of exhortation from Tom, this week I paid a quick visit to my local hardwood dealer, Vienna Hardwoods, to pick up a few new species for the garage.

Up to this point, I’ve only worked with red oak hardwood, red oak plywood, and birch plywood.  Time to add some natural color and interesting grain to my repertoire.

First – the big board of the trip, a nice piece of birdseye maple:

birdseye1  birdseye2

Some 8/4 and 4/4 walnut pieces:


A nice wide piece of purpleheart:


And finally a very orange board of paduak:


All of these pieces will contribute in some way, shape, or form to various Christmas gifts.  Unfortunately, these gifts will be heading to some of the readers of this blog, so I can’t go into further detail at this time.  But fret not – I’ll make sure to take pictures for future posts.  I expect a flurry of posts to appear during that last week of December.