Sunday, February 26, 2012

Vineyard Table Part 5

O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! that we should, with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause, transform ourselves into beasts! 

 ~William Shakespeare, Othello

 I decided to drawbore the legs into the feet.  I will touch briefly on drawboring; magazines recently have gotten a lot of mileage out of this technique so there is plenty of info out there.  Essentially, you cut a mortise and tenon and then drill a hole thru the mortise (not the tenon) and then mark the exact center of the hole onto the tenon.

Then you offset the hole 1/16" or so towards the shoulder of the tenon.  Below you can see how I have drilled the holes, note how the inner hole, the hole thru the tenon, is offset to the shoulder.

Then you ream the hole with a drawbore pin to allow the dowel to more easily start.  I made this pin from a drift pin set into an octagonal ash handle. You can now buy there at Lie Nielsen, among others. 

Then I sharpen the end of the dowel in a pencil sharpener and drive it thru.  Above you can see the tension that pushes the dowel up, even after it is seated.  Old post and beam barns were constructed using this technique; now they just build ugly steel huts.  That sadly is a time gone that we will never see again.

 Above you can see the mortise has been chopped out and below is the tenon, with the wedge slots cut to receive the wedges.  I cut the slots wide to have wide wedges so they would be noticeable from casually looking at the table.  I think that says "handmade".

Here are the wedges driven in and cut flush.  You can see the walnut wedges that should be a nice contrast to the white oak.

Here is the table ready for the fume tent.  I cleaned up the garage and left a window open.  I'll go into the fuming next post but suffice it to say I used much stronger ammonia and significantly cut down the fume time.  And it looks amazing.  I'll post the pics as soon as I get them back from Connie.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Vineyard Table Part 4

It is not hard to compose, but what is fabulously hard
is to leave the superfluous notes under the table.

Johannes Brahms

Here is a better look at the pivot pin for the Vineyard table.  The table is pretty ingenious, considering the...well I won't go there.  Suffice to say it's continental.  Two people will get that that I know of.  Anyway, the top pivots on this pin and cleat assembly.  The table, when it is laid open to hold fruit and spirits, is held up by a harp that supports the table but then can be folded out of the way to allow the top to tip down. 

Here you can  see that I indeed had to recut the harp crossbar which was no big deal, as cold as it has been here lately I welcomed the extra firewood.  In Van Buren, not too far north, it was -26 F, and with the the windchill is was -50 or so.  Coooolllllddddd. 

The only tricky part about recutting was I had to establish straight lines for the shoulders to butt up against.  Below you can see the would be next to impossible to get that shoulder to fall right.  I marked them out at 7 degrees and cut then free hand on a cut off sled.  And then I cut the half lap on the table saw at the matching angle and viola!, it fit.

And here is the harp.  I guess it looks like a harp, sort of.  It pivots on two dowels and in the below position hold the table up. 

Below you can see the table top starting to get glued up into one panel.  The top consisted of six indivual boards, so I ( being cautious by nature) glue two boards together, then two more.  Then I break down the clamps and scrape off the glue.  Eventually I have three panels each composed of two individual pieces.  Then I glue one "two board" panel to another "two board" panel and end up with a four board panel and a two board panel.  One more glue up and its done.  This sounds like a lot of work but the whole point is that I only have to deal with one glue line at a time, which greatly reduces the work in the long run.  Trust me on this one.  Below you can see the two board panel becoming a four board panel.  Another thing is once you put the glue on ( I use PVA carpenters) for an edge glue, let it sit for a few minutes to soak in.

Here's a better shot of that sad little Windsor that live in my shop.  It does have a nice seat shape, it's called a shovel seat.

Note:  I am trying to transtion from a Mac to a PC and while BlogSpot is essentially the same, the picture upload and edit is different, so bear with me. I had more pics of the table top glue up that I deleted.  Mon Dieu!! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Vineyard Table Part 3

...She took two steps, then left
the ground, I thought for good.
But she came down hard, humped
her back, swallowed her neck,
and threw her rider as you'd
throw a rock. He rose, brushed
his pants and caught his breath,
and said, "See that's the way
to do it When you see
they're gonna throw you, get off.

from Riding Lesson by Henry Taylor

Above you can see the harp that needs a little more work.  I may have to re-do this, won't know until it's all together.  I know the cross bar has to be redone.  This part swings between the stretchers and supports the table top.  The top pivots on two pegs, and folds down when not in use, sort of like those table benches.

Here are the cleats that have the holes for the pegs and they also help keep the top flat.  The holes for the screws have to be elongated to allow the top to expand and contract with changes in humidity.

Above are the slots that allow the screws to move with those changes.  I use a Domino to cut the slots; a lot faster than a file or setting up a router.

The tops of the posts, or legs actually, have to be rounded or else they would bind.  I usually don't cut these rounds on the bandsaw, I just cut them at a 45º and then sand it round.

I use a Ray Iles dowel cutter ( or rounder) to make the pivot dowels.  That way the finish will match.

And this is the table so far.  The stretchers and stretcher tenons fit great, and the feet look good.  The harp goes the stretchers;  it'll be done shortly.  You can see how the cleats will pivot on the pegs.  Top and harp and done tomorrow.  Hopefully.  

At the table you can see the first antique Windsor I bought.  It's not much but the seat has a nice shape. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hot Hide Glue from Wal-Mart

Winter isn't a season, it's an occupation.

Sinclair Lewis

Note:  make sure you use cold water when you mix it, hot just turns it into a snotty mess.

A few weeks back Cat was cooking up something ( she is a good cook...if you have ever seen me you know this is true) and I noticed that she was using this gelatin.  Well, I knew that hide glue is gelatin, so I snuck ( sneaked?) some and cooked up a little batch.  I mixed it about 2 parts glue to 3 parts water and stirred it, and then cooked it until it melted at 130º and slathered some on this scrap piece of ash.

I simply held the pieces together until the glue gelled and then left it for a few days.  I tested it later and as you can see the glue didn't fail at all.  I have never had glue hold like this. 

I did up some more pieces the next day and used 251 from Tools for Working Wood and I would say that they performed about the same.  All the pieces failed well away from the glue line.  The Knox Gelatin is clearer and has virtually no odor.

This is the one that really surprised me.  My bandsaw blade was cutting really rough, but I figured I'd try it.  Now everything you read says you need as smooth a surface as you can get.  But as you can see the rough surface didn't effect the bond at all.

Below you can see the roughness of the finish.

I'm not saying to buy all you glue form Walmart, but of you wanted to get your feet wet with hot hide glue, pick some up.  As for cost, it's about the same as ordering it once you figure in shipping.   One other thing, I found that the less I clamped, actually just holding it together til it gels,  held better than clamping it tightly.  Another departure from regular PVA glue.

In light of the Super Bowl and the hoopla and spectacle, it's easy, too easy to loose sight of what football can mean, and should mean, to thousands of students who play simply for the love of the game.  So watch this video, and think of Charlie when you hear watch the "big game" because for some life is the big game.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vineyard Table, Part 2

 But he stays by the window, remembering that life.  They had laughed.  
They had leaned on each other and laughed until the tears had come,
while everything else--the cold and where he'd go in it--was outside,
for awhile anyway.

Raymond Carver,  Distance, fr. Where I'm Calling From

Big mortises and big tenons on this table but that's fine.  I like to make the mortises with my hollow chisel mortiser, a big Powermatic that works like a dream, and I cut the tenons, usually, on the table saw.  I define the shoulders on the table saw first, and then cut the cheeks either on the band saw or the table saw.

For a big mortise like this one, I drilled it out first with a 3/8 drill (the mortise is 1/2) and then chopped it out.  It really makes it easier on the bit, esp. with white oak or maple. 

To square up the chisel, I put it in the chuck loose and then just back the table into the bit and put on a little pressure.  This squares it to the face of the piece

Above you can see the shoulders defined and below I'm getting ready to cut the cheeks.  I cut the shoulders a touch deep, which makes cutting the cheeks a little easier because you don't have to get right into the corner, and it gives squeeze out a place to gather.

I like this tenon cutting method, very accurate and it give a nice finish.  The key is to have all the stock the same thickness.  Otherwise all the cuts will be off.  Norm Abram used his all the time.  I miss that guy, gut and all.  He really put on a good show and made some nice furniture.  The new guy, well...

 Note to self.

Here are the legs going into the feet.  I try not to speak in absolutes and there are many ways to do most things in woodworking, but three absolutes right here.  One, all stock the same thickness.  Two, cut the mortises first, then fit the tenons to them.  ( I just remembered why I used the table saw.  These are big tenons and I had to creep up to a firm fit, and a band saw would deflect whereas a table saw blade won't, so you can in essence shave wood off.  Also, when you are trimming, try cutting one side only, then check the fit.  Because if you flip the piece and cut twice, you may end up a little thin.) Three, leave the parts square as long as you can.  I'm gonna pretty much have this table built before I start shaping.  It's easier to hold, measure, easier to see errors, just easier.

Above you can see the progress so far.  I'm ahead of this stage, more posts to come.