Sunday, June 14, 2015

Table progress - Part VII

In the last table post, I had nearly finished carving the feet for the table; except that I had not. I had forgotten all about the fact that the outside face of the main body of the foot wanted a sunken panel carved into it. That has been accomplished this week, and a few more things as well; as you shall see in this post.

I had wanted to wait until the table was in a state of assembly before posting on it again, but realised that there was still too much to cover in one post, so I have prepared some pictures of most of what else has transpired since the last blog on this topic.

Working my way around the perimeter, cutting the
waste from between the tenons

I drew the perimeter line with a sharp point put into my trammel-beam compass which I have been using to lay out this whole project. The point is sharpened so as to cut a fine line as it describes the arc. I took a picture of this compass, but seem to have forgotten to replace the card; sort of like back in the days when I used to forget to put film in the camera. "The more things change, the more they stay the same..."

Using my handy fuchsschwanz to cut the edge; nice
and true

Using a paring chisel to clean up the edge after the sawing

First test of the frame; the small cramps keep the
part flat on the tenons

Sawing the back edge of the tenons (Both saws
were used, but not at the same time.)

This and the following picture are in reverse order. This one shows the
mortises cut...

And this one shows them being cut. The blue tape
serves as a depth stop.

I made the cherry handled mortise chisel and it works like a dream. It requires no hammering to cut a true end on a 30mm deep mortise; just place it on the mark and push it home. using this chisel it takes me four minutes to cut one mortise; most of the time is actually spent with the brace. The rough stock for the chisel was made by a blacksmith whom I frequently use in the Philippines. It requires a lot grinding, truing up, and polishing to be useful but the steel is very good.

Third test fit, but this time frame is actually on the tenons

Because this is part of a circle, the tenons will not simply slide into the mortises as they would on a straight piece. To lay out the mortises, the part was placed on the tenons and cramped in position. Next, a line was traced around them, and then, using a square, the lines were marked out on the inside face. If one were to put the frame back against the top with the centre tenon lined up with the centre mortise, the end mortises are out of line with their respective tenons by about 30mm. This is a result of the fact that rays from a central point get wider the farther they are from the centre. To overcome this problem, and actually get the part to go on, one begins at one end, and presses the first tenon in; then, working around, and assisted by the fact that the tenons have their corners "eased", the tenons are pressed in one by one. (This would also not work if the outside frame was completely inflexible.)

I opted to do the draw bore pegging for the frame, as was done on the individual pieces for the top. I knew that getting it all together and pegged up before the glue chilled would be a big challenge, however. The solution was to put a cramp in the space between each tenon; Once the entire frame was pulled tight, then I was able to go back and drive the pins. In the picture, you can see that some of the pins are not plumb; this is a result of the tension created from the offset holes in the draw-boring technique.

After one more test and some minor shaving, it was
time to glue the thing up.

Once that was out of the way, it was time to get back to finishing up the feet. I bought this big auger years ago because it looked like it was in pretty good shape and perhaps it would come in handy at some point. Well, it has finally had its chance to be useful. When I bought it, the wood was all dry and worn; I gave it a good scrub with linseed oil, followed by a coat of wax. This is what I do with all antique tools I buy. Tools should be useful, but in my opinion they should look good and be cared for as well.

Boring the mortise for the leg

The carving before cleaning up with a scraper

Cleaning up; two scrapers for the purpose are also seen
These scrapers are made from old iron-saw blades, The ends are
honed, and then an edge is turned up with a burnisher, just as
for an ordinary cabinet scraper.

Setting out the field with a task specific made blade, in a commercially
available scratch stock

Today the clients came by to see the progress first hand; this always makes me happy because I love it when people show an interest in the process, not just the end product. Visiting your project in the making gives an understanding and appreciation for something which would be impossible to have, were you to wait to see it until it was finished. This is the second time they have been at my shop since this work began, and they promised to come again before it is finished. I look forward to actually showing them a table on their next visit.

Continuing the carving
When the first picture was taken it was last night; thus I was
working indoors. I moved the operation outside this morning to finish.

Moving to a chisel with a flatter "sweep"

A third go 'round with an even flatter chisel
My aim here is to have a field that looks flat but at the same time still
has some texture of a carved surface.

A bit of finish scraping and it is done

Now they are ready to receive the legs

Two legs and two they just need some shoes
Yes, I am aware that the back leg is darker than the front; the colouring process
will lighten once it dries. It was applied 5 minutes before the
picture was taken.
The two legs are positioned on the template in the approximate
position they will hold on the completed table.

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