Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life.

Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life. Sunset at Telegraph Point.

Friday, March 30, 2012

An Elegant Jelly Cabinet - Construction Part 9 - The End is in Sight

Lots of Little Bits

The door frame is finished and the bottom rail repair came out very well.  Clamp and glue time - as the door frame is fitted to the front edges of the carcass.

It is time to start adding the various parts to bring the cupboard to completion.  Before this, however, I like to give the straight carcass a complete sanding outside.  It is much easier to do this before the top and the mouldings go on.  Of course there will be final sandings later, but since this won't take long I'll do it now.

The picture on the left shows the difference that this initial sanding makes.  The ripple marks from the power jointer can be seen towards the top left corner.  The sander is an old German Metabo  RAS - still going strong.  Today was a magnificent early autumn day, so out front of the shed was the place to be. Blissful it was!

Now is a good time to break those sharp edges with a sanding block.  Here I am using 180 grit. The sun came out onto where I was working - look at that beautiful timber.

 This is the back panel - inside and outside. Note the rebated edges so that it can slide into the back of the cabinet from the bottom.  The sun came and went as I worked - what a joy.

I glued the top to the  sanded carcass and set it aside to dry.  Should be set by tomorrow.  Meanwhile it's time to attack the door.

Making the Frame and Panel Door

The frame for this door is quite narrow, so I have decided to use an open slot mortice on the stiles, and tenons on the rails.  This should give me a larger glued area and a stronger joint - even though the end of the tenon will be visible at the corner of the door. The frame pieces already have the groove cut previously, so part of this has to be removed for the joint to work.

I could have chosen to mitre the face edge of the groove, but decided to keep it simple in keeping with the cabinet.  I now wish I had, because I would have given it a little more thought, and avoided the mistake that I went on to make.

The astute reader will see the makings of the "Oh Shit!" moment in the layout of the picture above.  If you don't see it yet, be patient and it will be revealed.

I chose to cut the mortice first, and good old Spear & Jackson sawed the cheeks, and a little jewellers saw cleaned out the waste.  Spotted the blue yet?

Chisels to the rescue to tidy up the saw cuts and square the bottom of the mortice.  I like to undercut the bottom as shown in the last picture - right - as this leaves somewhere for the glue to pool, and guarantees a flush fit.  That middle chisel is a slim tapered Mathieson, the only one I have - wish I had more in different sizes.  It is perfect for getting into the mortice to gently adjust the interior by removing any high spots.

OK - time to cut the tenon.  Measure up against the mortice - (that middle picture is a give-a-way to the clanger that is about to happen).  Cut carefully and fit.
Look at that last picture - right - almost perfect .............................................. almost !!!!!!!!


.... and it was looking so good up until then.

Another fix is necessary.  I'll still glue it up and add an appropriate sized plug to fill the hole.  Lucky it's on the hinge side of the door, so will rarely be seen.

The mistake was mine from the get-go, and it happened because I was tired when I started this, and didn't think it through.  I was smart enough to stop at this point and do something simple before calling it a day.

I decided to add some dowels to the middle of the tops of the feet, so that they will register easily with the bottom corners when they are glued in position.

It was a daggy old piece of dowel, but won't ever see the light of day - so - good enough!

Rightee-o, one more post and this will be finished.  Can't wait.

LOML is hounding me about starting work on the repairs to the house gables.  Guess that will be next.

May your days be joyous and your mistakes small ....

 ............................ and happy woodworking to all .......

Monday, March 26, 2012

An Elegant Jelly Cabinet - Construction Part 8 - Back and Front

Attaching the back panel was as simple as gluing the two stiles to the back edges of the carcass.  These are rebated to take the sliding back panel.
I'll leave the panel out for now so that I can have easy access to the inside of the cupboard.  It will slide in easily from the bottom at any time.

Making the Door Frame

The door frame will be morticed and tenoned.  I cut the mortices first, and once again the trusty Makita does the job.  By placing the two stiles side by side and projecting beyond the edge of the bench vice, I have a more stable platform for the router.

The fence runs against the side of the stile (actually the face - but you know what I mean), and it simply has to be swapped from one side to the other to cut both mortices.

Once all the mortices are cut - top and bottom - I clamp the stiles in place and mark out the tenons on the top and bottom rails.  I find that it is easier and more accurate to do it this way.

After marking out the tenons, I use a bench hook to hold the piece while I saw the shoulders of each.  The finished tenons are cleaned up with a shoulder plane.

Because the mortices were cut with the router, the ends of all of them have a rounded profile, the same as the router bit.

To make the tenons fit closely, I round over the end of the tenon that will abut the round end of the mortice.  Pare with a chisel first and then finish off with some cloth backed sandpaper.  This is a broken sander belt (never throw anything away)

 It is easier to round the tenon than to square the mortice.

These mortices are left open at the top for the top rail, and for the bottom of the bottom rail, to give me more glue area for the joint.

Neither of these will be seen in the finished cabinet, and I prefer the strength that the extra tenon area provides.

Here is the top rail - trial fitted.
Not too shabby at all.

Wish it was the same story with the bottom rail.  Boo Hoo !!!!
I got a bit carried away with the router when cutting the mortices.  They are too long and, as a consequence, the rail is now too narrow, and the top of the mortice peeks out from above the rail.

Here's my fix.
The rail width is not critical, and if I widen it just a tad - then the holes will disappear.  I don't have enough timber left to make another rail, so I have glued a ripping to the bottom of the rail, and will simply re-shape it to follow the tenon when it dries.  Like I said - never throw anything away.  Now, of course, the door will be a smidgen shorter.  Another reason to be glad I left it until last.

The bottom of this lower rail will be covered by a moulding - so the mistake will never be seen from the front, and even from below, a cockroach view will show only a clean edge.   It is a relief to get out of trouble so easily.

This necessary fix stopped me from finishing the door frame today.  And so I started to prepare the rosewood panel for the door.  I won't make the door until the frame is installed, so that once again it is a good fit.  No more mistakes I hope.

As you can see on the left, this panel has plenty of ripples from the power planer that dressed it at the mill.  I remove these with a bevel up plane. This one is a copy of the Stanley 62 - (made by Stanley from 1905 - 1942) - and was made by Lie Nielsen.

This piece of Australian Rosewood also had a nasty snipe on the end that had been left by the power planer as well.  It needed attention, and while I was at it I finished surfacing the whole panel.

OK, the end is in sight.  Maybe two more entries here at the Village Woodworker will see it through to completion.

Happy woodworking to all .....

Thursday, March 22, 2012

An Elegant Jelly Cabinet - Construction Part 7 - Bringing Things Together

Cleaning Up Dovetails with a Plane

The carcass is glued, and once dry needs the dovetails cleaned up.  They were a little proud, remember.
Low angle block plane to the rescue.  Thank you Stanley 65!

Here I have flush planed the tails, but you can see that the pins still need attention.  Mouldings will hide these on the finished cabinet, but what an excellent joint they make.

 I don't have a low work table in my shed, so I have had to improvise.  One side of the carcass is held in my bench vice and the other side is supported on a roller stand.  This gives me access from above and below.

Time to slide in the shelves.  I left the cutting of these to length until this stage so that I could fine tune them for a snug fit.  I also used my block plane to chamfer the two front edges of the shelves before they went in. Much easier now than later.

I had a little problem with staining of the New Guinea Rosewood when I cleaned up the excess glue with a damp cloth earlier.  It will plane or sand off in visible areas.

Time for a trial fit-up of the back panel.  It is a little over size, and will be cut to length later.

This slides inside two stiles which will be attached to the sides.

You will notice that I have left a small gap on each side of the panel and inside the stiles.  This is to allow for seasonal movement of the panel which will be fixed towards the centre, leaving the timber free to move.

Turning the Feet

While waiting for the glued stiles to dry, I decided to make up the four feet from the laminated scraps that have been glued and  are now dry.

Into the lathe and round them down to a cylinder.  My lathe is a classic and original Teknatool Nova 1000.  This must be almost an antique by now.

The cylinder will be the same diameter as the widest part of the finished foot.

I start by marking out where each of the significant details are - top and bottom of foot,  and bottom of the beady thing that terminates the top curve.  I then use the parting tool to mark both ends, and at the bottom this becomes the width of the finished base of the foot.  This gives me a width to work down to.  I'm no woodturner so I hope this makes sense.

OK - need to repeat this process until I have four feet that look close enough to each other to pass muster.  You can see that mine are related but are definitely fraternal quads and not identical.

Like I said, I am not much of a wood turner, and I could be at this all week and not get four identical feet.

What's that old saying - Perfection is the enemy of good enough!

If you are a perfectionist - then do not look at the next picture, and if you just can't help yourself and caught a glimpse by accident, then take two asprin and a cup of tea and have good lie down.

OK - 'nuff for now.

Door frame and door to come.

Happy woodworking to all ...........

Monday, March 19, 2012

An Elegant Jelly Cabinet - Construction Part 6 - Hand Cut Dadoes & Stuff

Holy Macaroons Batman!
I thought that retirement was that period in life when there was plenty of time to do just what we wanted to do.
I mustn't be doing it right - where do the days go?

Cutting Dadoes By Hand

The sides of the carcass will house the shelves, and these in dadoes.  Commercial joineries would likely cut these on a table-saw or with a powered router.  More fun by hand!
It is much easier to cut these before assembling the carcass, so let's get to it.

To maintain accuracy, both sides of the carcass should be aligned beside each other, and the measurements transferred to both at the same time.

I am using two shelves and they will be equidistant from top and bottom.

Measure the distance - inside top to inside bottom - and subtract the combined thickness of the two shelves.  Divide this measurement by three, and we have the distance of each shelf from the top and the bottom respectively.  The middle will look after itself.

After measuring and marking each piece in pencil, I like to scribe the marked lines with a marking knife.  This does two things - it makes the marking easier to see, and severs the wood fibres along the edge of the dado.

After cutting out, the cleanup back to these lines will leave a crisp, clean cut.

Once again, I turn to my preferred tenon saw for this panel work.  A brass backed Spear & Jackson - probably post WWII vintage - is such a pleasure to use in this situation.  The handle is soooo comfortable  - and look at that kerf!

After cutting inside the scribed lines, I remove the bulk of the waste with a bevelled edge Titan chisel.  Cleanup is with a longer handled Japanese paring chisel that can reach right across the dado.

To clean out and even up the depth of the dado, I used a Stanley 71-1/2 hand router.  Stanley made this and a 71, and there are similar hand routers by Sargent, Millers Falls, Record and Carter.  A simple, yet elegant tool, and so easy to use - a sharp blade is a must
These dadoes are cut right through from the front of the carcass to the back.  If the front edges of the side panels were to be visible, I would have stopped the dado short, but there will be a door frame at the front and a pair of stiles at the back - covering the dadoes completely.

Notice here, that all of the cutting is still inside the scribed lines.  I'll work back to them next.

One of the most useful cabinet making tools that I own is this little side rebate plane.  It was made years ago by an unknown craftsman, and is perfect for trimming back to the scribed lines of the dado.
Terry Gordon still makes two versions of this plane (left and right) and they can be seen HERE.

Because I'm cutting across the grain, the orientation of the side rebate doesn't matter.  That is, I could use a left or right side rebate plane - mine is a right.

Since the wood fibres at the ends of the dado are fragile, they need to be protected from tearing away while using the side rebate plane.  Here, I have clamped two scrap wood blocks to the edges, to prevent this from happening.

OK I am just about ready for carcass assembly.

One more thing for today. I will glue up the legs from three pieces of one inch stock, making some laminated blanks for later turning when they are dry.  Going to be needing four of these.  Might as well glue up the finishing top piece while I'm at it.  Mouldings will sit under this on the finished top.

Better leave something for next time .......

.... and happy woodworking to all ...............

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

An Elegant Jelly Cabinet - Construction Part 5 - Dovetailing the Carcass

I have an aversion to noise and dust in the workshop, so originally I was going to hand cut these dovetails.  Life - with all its unexpecteds - has a funny way of happening while we are making other plans.
And so it did ....
And so it has been a while since there were any Jelly Cupboardings ...............

Change of plan - use a jig and a router to cut the dovetails - handle the noise and dust and get on with it. Much quicker - even if noisy.

OK, these dovetails will be covered by the mouldings that I made earlier, so - nothing fancy - through dovetails will be fine.  And who makes the best through-dovetail jig in the world - Roger Gifkins of course - so let's use that.

Roger's through dovetail jig can be used on any router table.  My old Triton is perfect for this.
To cope with the dust and shavings, I have a shop made mdf dust hood that works reasonably well - held on here with an F-clamp.
The dovetails in the background are a set that I made from scrap, to test that the jig was registering correctly.

For a video demonstration of How to Use the Gifkins Dovetail Jig - see HERE

I found that my dust hose needed lengthening - what to do?

A supermarket fruit tin, with the top and bottom knocked out, fits like a glove.

Once the pins are cut on the ends of the top and bottom panels, it is time to address the tails on the side panels.  The Gifkins Jig makes light work of these as well, and a match with the top and bottom takes shape pretty easily.

It is important that the tails are cut on the side panels, and the pins on top and base. This is stronger in my opinion than the other way around.

A trial fit shows that the joint is pretty snug and will clamp up quite tight.

Here is the assembled carcass.  Not glued up yet, as the dados have to be cut for the shelves.  Easier to do before assembly.
The dovetails are cut a little proud - and will be planed back flush after glue up.

OK, not a bad afternoon's work - following the mowing this morning.
Great to see things starting to take shape.
Time for a shower and an ale .................

..... and happy woodworking to all ...........

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

An Elegant Jelly Cabinet - Construction Part 4 - Making the Door Frame

I had the pleasure, over the last week, of travelling north to join my siblings in a wonderful family event that grew to include many cousins, aunts, nephews, nieces and extended clan members.  Since nothing is more important than family,  woodwork has taken a back seat for a while.

Getting back to the Jelly Cupboard has taken a bit of effort, as I have lost the rhythm that was developing as the parts began to take shape.

I am going to dovetail the joints in the carcass, and since this is a major step, and I had only a little time today, I decided to tackle a smaller part to help get the woodwork juices flowing again.
And so .... to the door.

I haven't got the precise dimensions yet, so this work will concentrate on the stiles and rails.  As a frame and panel construct, the frame needs to be brought to final thickness all round, and the groove cut for the panel.

Using a Wooden Plough Plane

Once again, I will use hand tools for this, and have chosen to use a plough plane - or plow plane as some spell it.

The groove will be 5/16 inch wide, and as this is too wide for my little Record 043, I will turn to a wooden plough/plow plane made by Malloch of Perth.

 The blades must be sharp, so this is the first task.  Coarse/fine oilstone followed by hard white arkansas, gives a keen edge.

These old blades by Mathieson are all laminated - the hard crucible steel is forge welded to the softer backing iron.

All parts of this plough plane, bar the depth stop, are held in place by wedges - this includes the blade and the fence arms.  Because the wedges can be fragile, a small wooden mallet is used to adjust them.

Setting the blade on these old wooden ploughs, requires careful alignment of the leading edge of the back skate, with the groove that is cut into the back of the blade itself.

The rear skate has a leading edge that is bevelled from both sides to accommodate the groove.

If the blade is sharp, and the timber being grooved of straight grain, then the cutting depth can be aggressive. This will save time and cut down on labour.

Adjusting the wooden fence so that the groove runs true, and is exactly where it is wanted on the frame - is worth the time taken to do it properly.

Because each of the fence arms can move independently, the fence has to be checked at each end.

Of course the true distance will be from the fence to the outside cutting corner of the blade.  Measure this first, then adjust the distance of the fence ends from the skates accordingly.

Before finishing, the depth of cut has to be decided and set.  The built-in depth stop is wound down to the required distance from the cutting edge of the blade, and then locked in place with the locking screw on the side of the plane.

 Once again, I start at the far end of the workpiece, and gradually plough my way over longer and longer strokes of the plane, until there is a continuous groove.

Start grooving more aggressively from the near end, to make the groove uniform all the way through - before finishing at the final depth.

The plane will stop cutting when the depth stop bottoms out on the workpiece.

If the completed groove shows any roughness or tearout in the sidewalls of the groove, then these can be cleaned up with a side rebate plane.  Mine gets plenty of use.

Here is one of the rails and both of the stiles after finishing.  Once again there is plenty of hamster litter as a by product of the ploughing process.

I'll leave this now until the carcass is assembled, before making up the panel and assembling the door.
Dovetails are next.
Bring it on!

....and happy woodworking to all.