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ColdPie
Jun 9, 2006



Hair Elf

This morning I glued on the other extra meat, then moved on to the legs. I didn't have any real dimensions planned for this, so I sketched out the maximum size of two 6/4 boards glued up and then eyeballed it against the cabinet. Way too big. So I sketched something a bit smaller and liked that size.



So I ripped out two pieces to glue together. If I was Chris Schwarz, and had a bandsaw, I might have done an additional cut to follow the grain. But I'm not Chris Schwarz, and I don't have a bandsaw, so I didn't.



Here's a carefully staged photo where I ripped it halfway on the tablesaw, then transferred it to my vise next to this handsaw I keep around only for staged photos. The other side of the saw plate has a nice farm scene painted on.



And here's the first leg glued up. I used hide glue here, since the glue line might be visible in the final piece. My plan is to take this leg all the way through to the end before I batch out the other legs, just in case I decide to change size or otherwise screwed something up. So next up will be octagonalizing it, then figuring out how to do these mortises in a way that doesn't suck.

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ColdPie
Jun 9, 2006



Hair Elf

Very nice morning at the shop today. I squared up the leg I glued up last time. I put in the effort to make the glue line in the center. I'm not sure if it was worth the effort, as it meant planing about 1/2" instead of just sawing it off. The glue line isn't very noticeable in the final leg, so maybe I won't bother next time.

Then got started on turning it into a tapered octagon. Credit where it's due, mostly everything here came from Chris Schwarz's Anarchist's Design Book. First, find the center, then set your dividers from one corner to the center. Mark out that width on both sides of the corner. This will mark out the corners of the octagon. Really, you only need to make one mark, then set your marking gauge to that size, since it's all square anyway, but this helps visualize it for the photo.



Here's the jig I use for making octagons. I think it might be the first jig I ever made. I first used it for the legs on the sawbenches. The cradle itself is made from leftover pine from the workbench.



Set your jack plane to a deep cut and quickly work each corner down until the lines are nearly gone. Then use your try plane on a light cut to finish off each side.



Not too much later, you'll have an octagon.



For the taper, I chose one end to be the top, which will be the narrow end. I marked a line into the end grain parallel to each edge, about 1/3 of the radius in from each of the 8 edges. The first step is to use the jack plane to take down about the first 1/3 of the leg down to that line. Be sure to reference against the flat of the octagonal face, as you won't have an opportunity to re-square things up at this point if you lean left or right.



After that, work your way back towards the thick end, just taking off the "hump" left behind by the previous pass, until you run out of leg. Then grab your try plane and work down the remaining hump across the middle, checking it with your straightedge. This leaves you with a nice, flat tapered face. Repeat seven times. Then reflect on the fact that you have three more of these legs to do.



After that I put it kinda in place next to the cabinet to see how it'd look in practice. Walking around, looking at it from different angles, I tried a few different leaning angles. Anyway, I think it looks good this size.

Also, if you look closely at this photo, you can see the sawbench on the left has tapered legs while the one on the right has straight legs that I didn't bother to taper. It doesn't really come across in photos, but the taper makes a huge difference. The right sawbench looks super rough and chunky, while the other one has a nice look to it. The taper is worth the effort.



Next is to cut the conical tenon. I marked the shoulder based on the thickness of the bottom of the cabinet. I have this reference conical tenon that I cut years ago (it's actually one end of the clamp I use for sharpening saws), so I eyeballed where the cone would start and end and used the outside calipers to estimate how deep I needed to cut the shoulders.



After cutting the shoulders to depth, I use a chisel to rough out the cone shape. The grain really fought me on this one, kept wanting to dive into the meat of the tenon. Then I use the giant pencil sharpener to take it down to the final shape.



Nice leg.



Next is the part I'm not super happy about. I've never been good at making these mortises. In theory you use the bevel gauge to guide your drilling, first the 5/8" bit then reaming it with the tapered reamer to match the conical tenon. I've tried braces and power drills and I always end up with at least one wonky leg. So here's my plan for this one. I'm cutting the mortises first into this piece of scrap wood. The first mortise turned out all right, it's at least at a good 45 degree angle to the edges, even if it's a tad steeper than I had planned. After I make each leg, I will repeatedly cut mortises into this scrap for that leg until I end up with a mortise where that leg's angles match the first leg's. Then, I'll use this scrap as a guide for the tapered reamer on the final product, hopefully reproducing those mortise angles more reliably than when I freehand it against a bevel gauge. My power drill is at home today, so I used my bit brace, but I plan to try the power drill again and see how it feels.



Anyway I'm happy with how this leg turned out, so I did some ripping and got the next one started.



And I noticed my saw was getting a little soft, so I gave it a quick sharpen and called it a day.

Bloody
Mar 3, 2013



So for the tenon you hand sawed it into an octagonal tenon then used a chisel to pare that down to a rounder tapered-er thing?

Just Winging It
Jan 19, 2012

The buck stops at my ass


Those are some big teeth on that saw, 4-5 tpi? Does the increase in teeth size make a notable difference compared to, say, a 7 tpi rip saw of similar length?

ColdPie
Jun 9, 2006



Hair Elf

Bloody posted:

So for the tenon you hand sawed it into an octagonal tenon then used a chisel to pare that down to a rounder tapered-er thing?

Not quite. I crosscut the shoulder with the saw, then use a chisel to hack away most of the waste before going to the Tapered Tenon Cutter. You could use a saw to remove the waste, too, instead of a chisel. I'll take more pictures next time.

Just Winging It posted:

Those are some big teeth on that saw, 4-5 tpi? Does the increase in teeth size make a notable difference compared to, say, a 7 tpi rip saw of similar length?

Yep, according to the stamp on the sawplate, it's 5 (TPI? PPI?). It's my only full size rip saw, so I can't give you a comparison. It does go through stock pretty quick though, and is fairly rough on the exit side.

Kaiser Schnitzel
Mar 28, 2006

Schnitzel mit uns




Very neat to see how staking works in action. It's something I really want to try.

Is the Anarchist's design book mostly practical geometry like how to lay out octagons fast or 'Designs Chris Schwarz Likes'? I really enjoyed 'By Hand and by Eye,' but I'm not sure Schwarz and I have the same ideas about what makes pretty furniture. Certainly lots to be learned from it either way, just curious about it before I click the button.

GEMorris
Aug 28, 2002

Glory To the Order!


Kaiser Schnitzel posted:

Very neat to see how staking works in action. It's something I really want to try.

Is the Anarchist's design book mostly practical geometry like how to lay out octagons fast or 'Designs Chris Schwarz Likes'? I really enjoyed 'By Hand and by Eye,' but I'm not sure Schwarz and I have the same ideas about what makes pretty furniture. Certainly lots to be learned from it either way, just curious about it before I click the button.

It is 20% philosophizing 20% aesthetics and 60% practical how-to

It is my fav woodworking book ever.

ColdPie
Jun 9, 2006



Hair Elf

Yeah, I agree with GEMorris, it's a great book. To be brutally honest, I don't really like Schwarz's furniture. But I really love his writing and philosophy. He focuses on furniture-making being accessible to everybody, not just people with thousands of dollars of power tools and rooms big enough to put them, and that really connects with me. His "Three Tables" essay from The Anarchist's Toolchest is like, the whole reason why I make stuff put perfectly into words. And the design discussions, tool techniques, and construction guidelines all apply even if you aren't using his designs specifically. If you could somehow move that Three Tables essay into the Design Book, it would be the perfect intro book to home furniture making.

GEMorris
Aug 28, 2002

Glory To the Order!


"Chris Schwarz over-indexes on making his designs accessible at the expense of aesthetic refinement" is an absolutely correct take and valid criticism. His goal (especially with ADB) isn't "muh best furniture" its "you are being sold garbage, both aesthetically and materially, and the only person that will save you from that situation is you." If you look at the book in that light I think it is a masterpiece.

ColdPie
Jun 9, 2006



Hair Elf

We are super busy at work, so I only had an hour this morning before I had to scoot. So I just got the new leg squared up and then sharpened tools and cleaned up. I was hoping to get the next leg ripped and glued, but ran out of time. I've learned the cleanup time sneaks up on you, and just leaving it for next time isn't really polite in a shared shop.



To make up for the very boring post, I will share yesterday's blog post from Chris which is extremely relevant to our conversation: Chairs & Crapitalism It touches on the same points as the "Three Tables" essay I keep going on about, but it's about chairs instead.

ColdPie
Jun 9, 2006



Hair Elf

Let's ripping!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpU4q-6rTnA

That's about 15" in 6/4 cherry. It's hard to start a cut with such large teeth, so I actually start rip cuts with my large tenon saw, first square across the board and then down the line, in order to more easily get the kerf started straight. Saws want to cut straight, so if you get it started right and then get yourself out of the saw's way, your cut will be nice and straight.

Here's the waste side of that board right off the saw, just a few passes with the plane cleans up that edge and it's ready for the next rip.



Today I got the remaining two legs ripped out and glued up, and also finished shaping the leg from last time. Still to do: finish shaping the last two legs, make tapered tenons on three legs, then cut three matching mortises.



Also I saw these HUGE WILD TURKEYS this morning and it made my whole day.

Kaiser Schnitzel
Mar 28, 2006

Schnitzel mit uns




Beware the woodworking rabbit hole that is wooden turkey calls.

ColdPie
Jun 9, 2006



Hair Elf

Bloody posted:

So for the tenon you hand sawed it into an octagonal tenon then used a chisel to pare that down to a rounder tapered-er thing?

I cut another of the tenons today, so here's some more process pictures. In this first photo, the tenon I cut last time is on the right, and today's workpiece is on the left. I used the existing tenon to mark the depth of the shoulder on the sawplate and scribe the size of the top of the tenon in the end grain of the new workpiece.



Then I cut the shoulders, parallel to the top of the workpiece. Obviously this is too large to fit the giant pencil sharpener onto, so you have to get it roughly into shape before you can use the tenon cutter to clean it up into a nice conical tenon.



I use a chisel to hog off most of the waste. You can use the layout markings to imagine the shape of the conical tenon within the wood. In the past, I would work into the end grain towards the shoulder, but I found that always split into the actual meat of the tenon, which is bad. So this time I worked from the shoulder towards the end grain, which took a bit more effort, but gave a better result. I found working bevel-down gave good results most quickly.



As it starts to get close to size, you can start fitting and using the tenon cutter, and seeing where it gets stuck. If you look close at this photo you can see a little black mark near the shoulder on the tenon where the tenon cutter is bottoming out before its cutter can get into place. That shows me where I still need to work with the chisel.



Eventually it'll bottom out against the shoulder and you're done.



In "Design Book," Schwarz recommends doing this rough shaping on a lathe if you can, and suggests this as a backup method. You can see why. It's fiddly and a lot of work. Building a spring pole lathe is on my "maybe someday" list.



Also I thought this was a cool moment. I had one leg at each major step of the process so I lined them all up.



Currently I have two completed legs, one still needs its tenon cut, and the last one is still untouched from the glue-up. Soon I'll run out of excuses to keep putting off cutting the mortises.

ColdPie
Jun 9, 2006



Hair Elf

I got the legs done yesterday. Next up is doing all the mortises, then maybe a little messing with the drawer web frames (not quite sure yet how I want to attach them at the back), then I think it's on to final cleanup tasks like smoothing and breaking edges, before it's time for glue-up. Unless I forgot something.



Let's talk about the design of the piece a little bit. It's mostly inspired by Christian Becksvoort's work, with a splash of Chris Schwarz. This first group of pictures below were taken from Becksvoort's Shaker Inspiration book. When I'm working on a design, I think about two things: how I want it to look, and what I'm capable of doing with my tools and skills. I look at furniture pictures mostly from woodworkers I like, but also in online image searches, until I get a picture of what I want. Then I figure out how I can build something that looks like that.

Most professional woodworkers use power tools, of course, so there's usually some adaptation (boy, y'all like stopped dadoes). That's where Schwarz comes in. The last two photos below are from The Anarchist's Design Book. His designs are mostly created with hand tools in mind, so I use the techniques I learned from him to adapt others' furniture styles.

In this case, I wanted to make a piece like Becksvoort. I like the simple, unadorned style. His work is inspired by Shaker designs, which date back to pre-industrial woodworking, so they're easy to adapt. He turns out really beautiful work that doesn't require a ton of specialized skill to execute. Cherry is a beautiful wood and easy to work with hand tools (I bought my big stock because of his book). I plan to copy his cool carved door design and might do the pegged corner joints. I haven't decided yet on what to do about drawer and door pulls.

However, I don't have the skills to make sliding dovetails for the drawer webbing, and I don't really like those curved kickplates and I'm not sure I could make them anyway. So instead of the sliding dovetails, I used simple dadoes like Schwarz describes for his boarded bookcase. And instead of the curved kickplates, I decided to use staked legs since I'm familiar with the technique and I like the look better. The idea for the extra "meat" for the stakes to go into was taken from Schwarz's trestle table design.













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ColdPie
Jun 9, 2006



Hair Elf

Whew, good to get in out of the rain, it's been nonstop all week. Time to get started on the mortises and... oh no...



Aggh not again. The rain doesn't drain properly off the roof of the building. In the past, it would leak through the foundation and into our room from the walls. Today it apparently came up the drain, since there was no river coming from the wall.



The room funnels down to the drain. At its deepest, it's over an inch of water. Most of the room is covered in about 1/2" of water. I moved stuff out of the way as best I could. There wasn't a whole lot of damage. I think the cherry stack is fine. At worst the ends of the bottom boards might be stained where the sticker soaked through, but I shoved some wedges in there to hopefully dry it out. Mostly the scrap pile got hit, so we'll probably lose a few inches off the ends of of most of the scrap boards. More annoying is the rain shows no sign of letting up, so this probably puts the workshop out of commission for at least a week or two. Sigh. After it stops raining, I'll go grab the mop bucket out of the maintenance closet and do what I can.

I emailed the building management and they said they're working on the roof drainage issue. The building is under new management since last year. The previous management company just told me they'd fix it and then did nothing. Maybe the new ones will actually fix it. They have fixed other things that had been long neglected, like the broken urinal. They've also been overhauling the entire electric system across the complex. Hope springs eternal.

Well, at least the rent is cheap.

ColdPie fucked around with this message at 21:54 on Apr 8, 2021

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