Dovetails

Over the years, I've done a few dovetails and really enjoy the process.  I have tried tails first and pins first.  They both work but I eventually settled on tails first.

My first step is to mark out the tails.  I use a knife and follow it up with a pencil so I can see the lines better.  I always mark out waste because I HAVE cut out the wrong pieces before and it is very frustrating.

Marking out for dovetails (again tails first)

Marking out for dovetails (again tails first)

I have a wonderful Bad Axe stiletto dovetail saw which makes cutting to a line simple (at least after lots of practice).  I then use my Knew Concepts fret saw to cut out the waste.

Cutting dovetails

Cutting dovetails

Over the years, I have gotten better with dovetails.  While I can't fit the joint together right from the saw, I only need to do minimal parring with my chisel nowadays.

Test fit of dovetails

Test fit of dovetails

I slowly worked around the case until all the dovetails are done and dry fitted the case so I have an idea of the look and size of the finished piece.

Dry fit of the carcass

Dry fit of the carcass

Once the carcass is fitted, I mark for the interior shelves and start cutting out stopped dado's for the shelves.  I get to use one of my favorite planes - the router plane.

Dado's for interior shelves

Dado's for interior shelves

I have 3 sizes but I like the medium router plane (Veritas) as it gives me lots of flexibility for the blades using the same blades as the large router plane yet still giving me good control so that I can stop without blowing out the end of the dado (remember, stopped dado's).  The process is slow and gradual work and I have 2 interior shelves and 4 sides each.  I'll be at this for a while.

New Project - Watch Case

After finishing my wife's jewelry box, I realized I had some cherry left and I thought maybe it's time to create something to hold my wrist watches (even though I don't really wear them anymore).  I think I'll model it after my wife's jewelry box with a different wood for the lid.

The first step is to prep the pieces.  The cherry I had was 8/4 so I knew that I would need to do some resawing.  It turns out that I recently made some tools that I can use for that.  I determined the rough thickness I wanted and grabbed my new kerfing plane.

Setting the thickness using my kerfing plane

Setting the thickness using my kerfing plane

Once the kerfing plane set my desired thickness, it was time to grab the frame saw and get to actual resawing.

Resawing using my frame saw

Resawing using my frame saw

After a bit of planing to clean up the faces, I stickered the wood for almost 2 weeks.  It turned out that I would get lucky and the boards stayed flat.

Stickered boards

Stickered boards

After the boards aclimated to my shop, I selected the pieces for the front, back, sides and interior shelves.  The interior shelves needed some glue up to get the proper size.

Next will be dovetails.

Dust Collection upgrade

I've had dust collection in my shop since I my power tool days.  With my small shop, I built a shed next to my shop and where I placed my dust collection so that dust in the shop was not a big issue.

Dust Collection Shed

Dust Collection Shed

Originally, I had piped dust collection around my shop to all my power tools (table saw, planer, etc.).  When I made the move to hand tools though, I wanted some of my wall space back for tool storage and such.  With that in mind, I simplified the piping inside my shop by keeping a floor sweep and a separate branch to connect to my one dusty power tool (thickness planer).  The secondary branch is just some flexible hose which can stretch to the other end of the shop if necessary.  I can easily close off a branch with manual blast gates.

Dust collection floor sweep

Dust collection floor sweep

For the actual dust collector, I had a very small 1HP/110v dual bag dust collector originally.  I replaced that shortly after I got it thanks to a friend selling me his older 2HP/220v dual bag system at a deal of a price.  I think I've had that system running for 10 years.  Emptying out the bag was always a chore.  The biggest reason is that the dust collector is in a shed, which I hardly ever look at so it was almost always overflowing when I finally got around to emptying it.

Old model of dust collector

Old model of dust collector

I decided to save up and replace it with a small cyclone system.  A bunch of years ago, a friend added a European multi machine and added a large Onieda cyclone system (similar to a system I remember Marc/The Wood Whisperer installing when he set up his current shop).  My choice in systems needed to be smaller and so when Woodcrafted had a sale, I jumped at it and got the Laguna Mobile cyclone system.

Laguna mobile cyclone dust collector

Laguna mobile cyclone dust collector

I noticed much best suction right away.  Also, the container for the bulk of the dust is smaller so i should be able to develop a routine timeframe to empty the system.  The can even has a little view port so I can see if I've over done it or not.

Edge Clamps for my Roubo Bench

I came across an article on Benchcrafted's site regarding Edge Dogs.  Even before finishing the article, I knew these would be useful for my roubo bench and Benchcrafted tail vise.  The shape of these Edge Dogs has an angle which allows for the clamping force and at the clamping location, a little more wood to give a larger surface area for the actual clamping.

Edge dog glue up

Edge dog glue up

  After the glue up, it's time to fit the Edge Dogs to the bench.  In my case, it's 3/4" round dog holes.  I used 3/4" hardwood dowels glued into the end of the dogs.

Edge dogs with dowels

Edge dogs with dowels

Once the Edge dogs had all the components glued together, it was time to refine the fit.  The most important element, after some trial and error, is the clamping surface.  The clamping surface must be square and parallel to each other in order to maximize clamping and minimize slippage on the clamped board.

Edge dogs clamping a board

Edge dogs clamping a board

These Edge Dogs will now my to prep the long edges of boards to the length of my bench which is 8 feet.  The benefit is that there is lots of clamping surface and the entire face of the board is available to apply a square to check the board frequently during edge prep.

Kerfing Plane

A kerfing plane is really a saw that allows you to create a saw groove along all 4 edges of a board so that you can then take a frame saw and re-saw the board.  Now that I have a nice frame saw, it's time to make the kerfing plane.

First step is to dimension the boards and then design the basic shape of the kerfing plane.  The key ingredient is the handle.  Since I love my BadAxe saws, I grabbed one and used it to model a handle.

Designing the shape

Designing the shape

The next key step is to create a kerf for the saw blade.  Since I will be creating a kerfing plane with an adjustable fence, this is simply done by creating a mark on center of the bottom edge and then using a rip saw to actually cut the kerf.

Kerf for saw blade

Kerf for saw blade

Once the shape is designed and the kerf is cut, it's time to actually use tools to create the shape.  First step is to make many relief cuts on the outer edge of the design.  Next use a brace and bit to remove most of the material inside the handle.

After rough material removal

After rough material removal

The next step is to take a chisel, file and rasps to smooth the out edges we just created with the previous step.  After the outer perimeter is smoothed, I start to define curves for comfort at the handle and the front hold using files and rasps.  I will work at this until the handle feels just like my BadAxe saw handles.

Outer perimeter smoothed

Outer perimeter smoothed

Next I need to create a fence, nuts and threaded rods.

After all this work, I dry fit the pieces and test the fence adjustability.

Dry Fit

Dry Fit

I will then glue the rods to the plane body.  I will also adjust the length of the fixed threaded rods.  I would like a capacity of about 4 inches since that matches my frame saw capacity.  I could leave the rods longer but they can be unwieldy if left too long.  Lastly, I will apply 2 coats of shellac to the body, fence, and outside of the nuts.  I will apply some oil (tung) to the threaded rods and inside of the nuts.  After the finish, it's time to install the saw blade.

Frame Saw

I have been watching for a sale from BadAxe Toolworks on their Frame Saw and Kerfing Plane kit.  I got lucky and at the beginning of February, the sale happened just when I had enough in my budget to purchase the kit.  The kit is nicely pared with Tom Fidgen's (of Unplugged Woodshop) design of a frame saw and kerfing plane.

I decided to tackle the frame saw first.  Obviously the first step is to dimension the pieces for the wood frame which includes 4 pieces: 2 side arms (33" from shoulder to shoulder plus 3/4 long tenons on each end), 1 back arm including a design for hanging the saw on the wall (this is the end where the tension of the blade is adjusted), and lastly 1 front arm which will include handlebars which my wife thinks should have streamers like a kids bike.

Dimensioning the 4 pieces of the frame saw.

Dimensioning the 4 pieces of the frame saw.

The next step was to create a tenon on each end of the 2 side arms.  I went with a single 3/4" long tenon and shoulders on all 4 sides of the tenon (Tom's design had twin tenons but I thought the simpler design would be adequate).

Using the saw to cut out the tenons

Using the saw to cut out the tenons

After sawing out the tenons and then using the chisel to clean them up and ensure squareness, I moved onto the matching mortises.  With hand cut mortise and tenon joints, I pair up each tenon to a single mortise with a label so that I can match them up during assembly.  I used an auger bit and my brace to hog out the majority of the material and then a chisel to get a non slip but not overly snug fit.

Hogging out material with a bit and brace

Hogging out material with a bit and brace

I stay methodical on the project and dry fit it at this stage.

Unshaped dry fit of the frame

Unshaped dry fit of the frame

Next it was time to shape the front and back arms.  The back arm requires a hold on each end with some simple file and rasp work.  The front arm requires some saw work to trim out excess wood and then a lot of draw knife, spokeshave, file and rasp work to create the handle bars.

After a lot of sanding to smooth out the rasp work, I finished the piece with 2 coats of shellac.

Finished saw

Finished saw

Next step will be to create the kerfing plane which will be used closely with the saw.

Saw Bench version 3.0

When I transitioned to hand tool focused woodworking, one of the first workshop appliances I built was  a saw bench.  This first version was modeled after Chris Schwarz's saw bench which had a simple design with the legs on both side splayed and simply using 2x material from the big box stores.  I added a shelf.  The second version was modeled more after a workbench with straight/square legs.  Again using 2x material from the big box stores.  I learned that both of these versions were too heavy and awkward  and also didn't stack well.

Time for version 3.0.  This time, I used Tom Fidgen's Unplugged Woodshop design.  The first advantage was a lighter weight design while retaining strength and stability.  The second advantage was that one side had square legs with the other side was splayed, giving additional stability.

My first step was to take some 3/4" thick oak and glue them up to make the legs and stretchers.  This reduced the mass from 2x4's used in the previous versions.

Glue up of legs and stretchers using 1x3 oak

Glue up of legs and stretchers using 1x3 oak

The next step was to mark out the dado's and rabbets in the legs and stretchers for each side assembly (2 assemblies each for 2 benches).  As I mentioned, 1 side is simple and square but the other side has a slight splay which complicated the upper stretchers a bit.

Layout of dado's and rabbets

Layout of dado's and rabbets

I used a combination of saws, chisels, block planes and router planes to make the dado's and rabbets.  For glue up, I also used dowels to pin each joint.  I did each side assembly before prepping the top.

Side up with pinned joints

Side up with pinned joints

Next, I made the tops.  I made one the size Tom talks about in his book and the other wider so that they can stack nicely.  I also made them mirror images so one is left handed and the other is right handed.  Clamping the splay was challenging and involved wedges.  I did put a few coats of shellac on them.

Version 3.0

Version 3.0

They are much lighter and stack quite well.  Even though they are light weight, they can still hold my weight quite well (I use them to get at my lumber storage sometimes).  I'm not sure I needed the fences but will live with them for a while before I make any judgements.

Some New Woodworking Goodness

Now that we've entered 2016, it's time to share some of my new goodies that I added over the holidays. 

I've tried many aprons, shop coats, and even a vest to hold various small but oft needed tools.  None of these were satisfying.  I do have a friend (Marilyn) who speaks highly of their Texas Heritage hand made apron.  I decided to try one out even though it is definitely a premium product.

Texas Heritage hand made apron on burly woodworker model

Texas Heritage hand made apron on burly woodworker model

Over the past few weeks, I have had a chance to run it through it's paces and it is definitely worth the premium.  First, the material and quality of the product give you confidence that it will not only work out for your woodworking lifetime but also be able to be handed down to any woodworking heirs.  Next, the lower pockets with their covers are roomy enough to hold key things (I keep a simple mask and gloves in one side and a block plane in the other) and with their covers, they keep the saw dust and chip gathering to a minimum.  Lastly, the upper pockets are the perfect number and size for the commonly needed items during a project (square, 6-inch rule, various marking implements like pencils).  My only complaint is that my square will fall out every time I bend over.  Not sure what solution would fix that though.

While I was at Texas Heritage's site, I decided to get their Moxon vise hardware.  I already have a Moxon bench which has Benchcrafted's Moxon hardware and am quite happy using it for cutting dovetails, carving and anything else that needs a slightly higher bench surface.  I modeled this design after Shannon Roger's Moxon bench.  The use I had in mind for the Texas Heritage hardware was for a vise that would clamp dovetails while I was chiseling out the waste, giving me a crisp line, via the vise, for the cuts.

Texas Heritage Moxon Vise hardware installed in a bench hook for chopping dovetail waste

Texas Heritage Moxon Vise hardware installed in a bench hook for chopping dovetail waste

My last holiday splurge was for a sharpening jig.  I have read nothing but great things about Lie-Nielsen's new sharpening jig.  I have still been struggling to master free hand methods and get inconsistent results so I wanted to go to the simplest jig method possible.  I have tried Veritas's jigs but their is a slight level of complexity to them that i don't like.  After trying the new Lie-Nielsen's jig, I think it will fill my needs.

Lie-Nielsen's Sharpening Jig/Honing Guide

Lie-Nielsen's Sharpening Jig/Honing Guide

Finishing Kathy's Jewelry Box

A little slow in finishing the story on my wife's Jewelry Box but I guess better late than never.

One of the important details on the box was creating some moulding for the bottom.  I had never created moulding before but I had seen a few podcasts and probably the most important bit of information came from Moulding's in Practice by Matthew Pickford.  I wanted to create a simple but timeless moulding profile.  Ultimately, I went with a round with a rabbit on either side.

In creating the moulding, the first step was to create stair step rabbits that will eventually match the finished profile of the desired moulding.

Using a rabbit plane to create rabbits before creating the round

Using a rabbit plane to create rabbits before creating the round

Once the rabbits are created, it's time to match the round.  If you placed the rabbits correctly, then the round will easily match and it will only take a few passes.  I think that the challenge to this is not creating the moulding but rather working with such a small piece. 

Creating a round using a hollow

Creating a round using a hollow

Ultimately, the moulding turned out great and when applied, added  some class and elegance to the Jewelry Box.

I didn't get any pictures but the next step was to add flocking to all the interior surfaces.  The process is simple enough.  You first apply glue, ample amounts, and then you blow in the micro fiber flocking material, followed by removing the excess after everything is dry.  It is simple but it is easily the messiest thing I've ever done with any of my projects.

After the flocking, I did 2 coats of shellac and then 2 coats of a water borne poly to give the outside some durability.

Here is a picture of the lid open with the flocking inside.

Lid open with flocking installed

Lid open with flocking installed

Last shot with the lid closed so you can get a sense of the contrast between the maple and the cherry.  If you look closely, you can even see the figure in the maple even with the light in this picture washing most of it out.

Lid closed showing contrasting woods and figure in maple

Lid closed showing contrasting woods and figure in maple

Lot's of Jewelry Box Progress

I am more actively posting on Instagram lately so if you want more frequent posts, go find me there - @thisweekinwood.

Drawers with their knobs installed

Drawers with their knobs installed

In addition to installing and fitting the drawers into the main part of the Jewelry Box, I've created the dividers for each drawer based on feedback from the future user (who still complains that the whole box is too big).

Drawers shown with their dividers

Drawers shown with their dividers

Next, I began working on the lid.  I dovetailed the top sides and created a raised panel.  The sides are cherry like the main box and the raised panel is figured maple like the drawer fronts.

After creating and fitting the lid, I needed some hinges.  I decided on some small Brusso Hardware hinges.  Fitting them was simple requiring mortises for each of the hinges and a little cutout at the back of the hinge for movement/opening.

My wife decided that the top will be for earrings and regular rings so it's just going to have ring inserts and no dividers.  For the inside of the lid, I need to find some hooks and a method for containing necklesses that will hang from the hooks.