Friday, June 21, 2019

Upper and Middle Stretchers Fitted

The upper and middle stretchers have been fitted. Next up is the bottom stretcher with a lapped dovetail joint and then drill and pare the long stretcher mortise. Other than size and the angle the long stretcher mortise is a piece of cake because it needs to be loose.

There is a very slight curve in the #IV middle stretcher shoulder causing a small gap at the top. I'm not sure if it is worth fooling with it is so slight, other than the one shoulder everything has pulled up nice and tight.

I've the weekend off. If I can stay out of MsBubba's line of sight I might get the base units finished. Still a bit of work with a slab glue up, vise chop/backer board install and tool tray to build.

I ordered the BenchCrafted Classic Vise Screw with the new 14" Crisscross this morning, I could be waiting on the vise hardware to finish this sucker.


Middle Mortise and Tenon

Most of the time to make a mortise hole I just grab a chisel and beaver away. Not on these chip breath, Mostly because of the size, I'm drilling and paring. It is a little slower and because I didn't match the tenon to a chisel size a little easier and probably gives better results.

The first test fit is perfect:

The tenon needs maybe one or two swipes with a plane and it should slide home.


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Back To The Bench

The top stretchers are finished and fitted.  Next are the middle stretchers.

The middle stretcher uses a single shoulder, flush to the face M/T joint. Once you understand what you are trying to do the markout is easy but can cause confusion if you do not pay attention to the marking, sawing and chopping.

The mortise gauge is set so the far pin rides on the back edge of the stretcher so it makes a single mark on the stretcher. The waste is the face side leaving a tenon on the back side of the stretcher. Marking the mortise is just normal mortise marking using the face edge to reference the fence.

Will Myers threw me a curve yesterday. He posted about a new Bench Crafted Crisscross that works with a standard portable Moravian bench. For his installation he used a BC metal screw, not necessarily a deal killer but I like the Lake Erie wood screws. Will and I have had a little back and forth about using a wood screw with the crisscross (room issues) but as I haven't ordered the vise screw yet I've decisions to make. I expect I'll wait on Will to checkout the room issue before ordering a vise screw. One of the reasons for building this bench was to try the new 2X Lake Erie screw but I want to try the BC crisscross as well.

Two possible answers; build another bench, one using the BC crisscross and one the Lake Erie 2X or just make two vises with vise backers for this bench and then A&B 'em to see which I like best.

Not a bad problem to have,


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Happy Juneteenth

Today is Juneteenth. In a just world Juneteenth would be as celebrated as July 4th. It is the day when the USA made its first baby steps towards living up to the words of the the Declaration of Independence.

A link to Juneteenth history And another.


Good News

I just received word that the Texas Tech University Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library has accepted my photo archives. Although you can't tell from my quickie woodworking photos at one time I was a working photographic artist. For years I've worried about what to do with my photographic work. Because I was a photographic diarist I felt it was important that the work be preserved for future historians but I knew once dead the archives were on a short ride to the dump. Whatever for the next month or so I will be going through all my stored photographs, culling the crap and boxing up the keepers.

Nostalgia time, as Mr. Bunker would say; Those were the days.

My thanks to Jean Caslin who made it happen.


Monday, June 17, 2019

Beavering Away On The Bench

The bench is coming along I've sawed the upper stretcher tenons.

You gotta love bridle joints, they are quick work. After chopping the bridle joints and cutting the 15 degree bevel on the top of the leg, fitting the upper stretcher was a walk in the park.

Just a reminder, click 'em to big 'em.

Next is finishing the other base pair upper stretcher and starting on the middle stretcher M/T joints.


cheeks beavering

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Bench, Marking Out Complete

Completed the marking out, now the fun starts. As I have posted before, on the base unit there are three different joint types plus the wedged M/T long stretchers.

The three types of joints are part of the genius of the original makers. Each of the joints is the simplest and quickest to make that is also strong enough for its job.

The top stretcher uses a brindle joint. a through mortise would add no strength and a brindle is much quicker and easier to make.  The middle stretcher is a pegged through M/T with a single shoulder, again quicker and I expect stronger against racking than a double shouldered tenon. The bottom stretcher's only job is to keep the bottom of the base's legs from spreading. A lapped dovetail is perfect for that job and easier and quicker to cut than a M/T.

Tonight, tomorrow and for the next few days there will be lots of chisel and saw work and I expect a little sweat.


Saturday, June 15, 2019

Cutting The Long Stretcher Tenons

Joinery work has started, kinda. Because the mortise is angled it is easier to mark out the mortise using the angled tenon. The last of the base mark out is the long stretcher mortise. Once I have a long stretcher tenon cut I can finish the base mark out.

Small brain fart on the mark out, I had the middle stretcher marked too close to the upper stretcher. Not a biggie, the bottom mark should have been the top mark, squiggle a pencil across the top mark and mark a new bottom. If that is the biggest problem during the build I'll be in good shape.

The tenon shoulder is angled 15 degrees which of course means all the base cuts will be angled 15 degrees.  You really need a good bevel gauge with a reliable lock for this build.

Shop is getting hot, time to walk away and make a Costco run followed by a afternoon nap. After the nap it's monkey suit and a dark box strapped to my ass for most of the night.


Friday, June 14, 2019

Marking Out Base Legs

The fun part of the build starts with marking out the base unit legs. While I've done this a few times it is always a good idea to go back and review the process.

I'm making a couple of changes this time, while I've marked the legs and stretchers with chiseled Roman numerals before I've always marked on the non-show side and usually just one side. This time I'm chiseling the numbers on both edge and face sides of each leg and stretcher. When glue up time comes there should be no question where the faces are and what tenon fits which mortise.

Depending on glue used and temperature, bench glue up can get a little frantic when working alone. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way and it is a workbench dontcha know.

The basic reference lines are marked, now it is just extending the marks around the legs and marking out the actual joints. 

The lower stretcher and the long stretcher joints are marked on the edge face and the middle mortise and top bridle joints are marked on the reference face. Easy to get confused when you are old and confused most of time anyway.

I was late getting to the shop this morning (honeydos) and it is already too hot to do much more. I have a late shift tomorrow so maybe tonight of early AM tomorrow I can finish marking the legs and start chopping mortises Sunday.


Japanese Knives

I received three knives from Stan Covington yesterday. The top knife is for cutting thin slices of fish when you are making sushi, the middle is a vegetable knife and the bottom is a heavy duty knife that is used in Japan to break down whole fish.

Japanese knives are a joy to use. They can be incredibly sharp, well balanced, and purpose made. These three join the other three Japanese knives in my knife block and I expect will see lots of use. Training MsBubba in the use and caring may be interesting although she has shown an interest and willingness after her first use. The light balance and sharpness is a pretty good salesman.

Stan is a treasure. He has lived and worked in Japan for years and knows many of the working blacksmiths. Not only that, he is a willing sharer of his tool knowledge which is also extensive. Long way around to if you would like to buy Japanese tools Stan is the man. See link above.

As anyone that has seen photos of my shop knows, I have no need for more chisels. But as with most things tools, what does need have to do with it? Stan and I are working on a small order of chisels, I expect six or eight to start with more to follow as I figure out which gaps in my Japanese chisels need filling.

Posts and photos to follow,