Assembling Cases

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Assembling Cases

Excerpted from The Complete Illustrated Guide to Furniture & Cabinet Construction

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Assembling Cases
Get it right the first time with the right tools and the proper clamps and clamping technique
by Andy Rae When you're ready to assemble your furniture, you usually have only one shot to get it right. Once the glue is spread, there's no turning back. Glue up a cabinet out of square, and you'll pay dearly later in the construction process because your error will accumulate so that fitting subsequent parts becomes a nightmare. To get it right the first time, it's vital to have the right assembly tools on hand and to use the proper clamps and clamping technique. After all, who hasn't glued together what was a perfectly fitted miter, only to find the joint slipping out of alignment as you placed pressure on the joint? Learning and practicing the correct approach to assembly will save you untold hours of frustration.

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The dry run
One of the best techniques I've come to learn about assembly (and learned it the hard way, meaning I had to make many mistakes first) is to always -- and I mean always -- do a dry run of any assembly. This means assembling all the parts without glue. Make sure you use all the necessary clamps you'll need and check to see that you can confidently close all the joints. In effect, you're practicing the entire assembly sequence. And 9 times out of 10, you'll discover during a dry run that something is missing or you need more clamps in a specific area to bring an assembly together. Or perhaps you'll need to rethink the glue-up process and break the assembly sequence down into smaller, more manageable parts. It may take more time, but investing in a dry run is well worth avoiding the horror of applying glue, only to find that you can't quite put the parts together as planned.

Six books of recent articles from Fine Woodworking in an attractive slipcase set
Boxes, Carcases and Drawers

39 vintage articles from Fine Woodworking on choosing, making and using every kind of carcase joint

Assembly tools and jigs
There are innumerable jigs and tricks used in assembly. All are aimed at making the process of putting together multiple parts easier, more accurate, and ultimately less frustrating. There's nothing worse than spreading glue only to find you don't have the right tools or setup ready to go. Here are some essential assembly aids that make glue-ups go a lot smoother. Reading square with a pinch rod It's vital to square up a case or opening immediately after assembly--before the glue dries. One way to check for square is to read the diagonal measurements from outside corner to outside corner with a tape measure. When the two measurements are equal, the opening is square. But clamps

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Assembling Cases

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often get in the way, it's practically impossible to get a reading on the back of the case, and reading the outside corners won't tell you whether the inside of a deep case is square. A more accurate method is to use a pinch rod. A
Pinch Rod

An adjustable pinch rod allows you to compare inside diagonals quickly and to any depth. If they match, the case must be square.

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traditional pinch rod is simply two sticks, sharpened at one end, that you pinch, or hold together, in the center. The modified version shown at right adds clamping heads that make things a little easier and more precise. Set the rod to the length of one of the diagonals; then check the opposite diagonal inside the case. Push the sticks into the case to read the entire depth. Keep adjusting the rod (and the case) until the rod fits equally between both diagonals. Squaring a case with a board As an aid to assembling a case square, cut a piece of plywood to the exact width of the case opening, making sure adjacent edges are square. Before you clamp the case joints, clamp the board inside the case, lining up one edge of the board with the case sides. Voila! No more twisted or outof-square openings.

Shims and blocks align parts It's a good idea to keep on hand a variety of shims and blocks in varying thicknesses, from playing cards, squares of plastic laminate, and strips of leather to 1/4-in.-, 1/2-in.-, and 3/4-in.-thick blocks of wood. These spacers help align or position parts during glueup, and they're great for protecting the surface of your A box full of shim materials work. In the photo at right, comes in handy during glue-up. small squares of MDF align the clamp heads over the center of the joint, while plastic shims prevent the pipes from dinging the surface. Riser blocks raise the work Gluing up assemblies often means having to get underneath the work to attach clamps or other parts. The simplest answer is to raise the entire assembly on blocks of wood. But finding stock thick enough can be a pain. Just as strong, and easier to make, are sets of riser blocks made from 3/4-in. plywood glued
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A squared-up board cut to the width of the inside provides an easy way to square up a case.

Assembling Cases

and nailed together. Blocks about 5 in. high by 2 ft. long are sufficient for almost all your glue-ups.

Simple plywood risers elevate the work for easy clamping.

A piece of tape comes in handy as a third hand when positioning clamping cauls.

Clamping cauls Like blocks, cauls made from scrap material can prevent dings in your work. More important, cauls distribute more clamping pressure across a joint, allowing you to use far fewer clamps when gluing up. For broad gluing surfaces, use bowed clamping cauls. For narrow joints, scrap plywood or leftover sticks of wood work fine. The trick to getting the cauls to stay where you want them until you add the clamps is to tape them temporarily in place. Dovetail tapping wedge In many cases, you don't need to bother clamping dovetail joints, especially on small box constructions, such as a drawer. To assemble and fully seat the joints without damaging the pins, tap over the joint with a wedgedshaped block of dense wood. The shape of the block allows you to position it over the joint regardless of the size of the tail. [ next ]

A wedge-shaped block helps seat dovetails in their sockets.

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Make the notch cuts on the bandsaw or table saw. making and using every kind of carcase joint Links About Your Safety http://www. In most instances.asp (1 of 3)25. after you've clamped all the interior assemblies. use notched cauls to bring the corner together (A). there's a basic assembly sequence that will guarantee success -. you might have to wait for the glue to dry on the interior parts before clamping the outside of the case.Assembling Cases (page 2) YOU ARE HERE: Fine Woodworking Home Skills & Techniques Assembling Cases Page 2 Excerpted from The Complete Illustrated Guide to Furniture & Cabinet Construction Pinch Rods Dead-blow mallet Entire Site Assembling a case For most cabinets. The blocks gain purchase and don't interfere with closing the joint.09. The trick is always to begin assembly from the insides out. because they can reach over existing clamps and let you clamp the entire case in one assembly session (C). Free Project Plans Tools Skills & Techniques Joinery Finishing Workshop & Safety Materials Project Ideas Current Work Online Video Tips Online Extras Books & Videos The Complete Illustrated Guide to Joinery In full-color photo essays.2004 22:29:50 . If the case is wide. Carcases and Drawers Clamping corners Corner joints constitute most of the casework in furniture -including small boxes and drawers--and it's necessary to find an effective way to clamp across what is typically a wide surface. When joints protrude at the corners. Depending on the type of clamps you use and the design of the cabinet. Like edge work. Then flip the assembly over and clamp the opposite side (B). the answer is to use cauls to help distribute clamping pressure. this means assembling any interior dividers or partitions to the top and bottom of the case.com/finewoodworking/pages/bw0001_p2. often the sides or ends of a cabinet.or at least a more comfortable heart rate. When possible. expert woodworker Gary Rogowski show you how to make every practical woodworking joint Essentials of Woodworking Six books of recent articles from Fine Woodworking in an attractive slipcase set Boxes. such as in through dovetails or box joints. and they center over the joint to avoid bowing the sides. Tackle the outside of the case.taunton. To get good purchase on what is often a very slippery joint. Miter joints have a way of not closing at the most inappropriate times. clamp one side of the work while it sits face down on the bench (A). use long-reach clamps. there are several clamping 39 vintage articles from Fine Woodworking on choosing.

Assembling Cases (page 2) Schools Clubs Knots Forum Events strategies.taunton. Make sure to check the frame for square before letting the glue dry.com/finewoodworking/pages/bw0001_p2. A picture framer's vise is handy for closing one miter at a time (E). Web clamps allow you to glue up all four corners at once.09. You can use heavy-duty web clamps for large cases. Tighten each clamp a little at a time. and they work well on both flat frames and boxes (F). tighten each corner a little at a time to align the miters. and it doesn't require lots of clamping force (C). Clamping difficult parts http://www. One of the simplest ways to close the joint is to clamp shopmade blocks to the frame before assembly. The deep throats of Bessey K-body clamps make it easy to get over and under the joint (B). The block-and-rod frame system shown here (from Lee Valley Tools) gives you very precise control when closing four miters at a time. like tightening the lug nuts on a car wheel.asp (2 of 3)25. since you can assemble the frame one piece at a time. Cut out the blocks on the bandsaw so that the clamping surfaces are parallel to each other when the frame is assembled (D).2004 22:29:50 . Like the bar clamp approach. This is useful when you're nailing or screwing the joint. The tried-and-true method is to clamp all four corners of a mitered frame at once with bar clamps. but plan on having several on hand to close the joints.

09. Make sure at least one of your pipes is threaded on both ends so it can accept both the threaded joiner and the clamp head (A). A bar clamp holds the handscrew to the bench. by securing it with a wooden handscrew (C). Another effective way to grip long work is to join two clamp heads together. available at plumbing-supply stores.Assembling Cases (page 2) If your pipe clamps are too short. leaving your hands free for more important tasks. In 1990. Get a grip on difficult pieces.com/finewoodworking/pages/bw0001_p2. you can extend them with metal pipe joiners. [ previous ] | 1 | 2 | Andy Rae has been woodworking for over two decades. He worked with George Nakashima and Frank Klausz before founding his own woodworking business.asp (3 of 3)25. Rae wrote over 100 articles for American Woodworker magazine during his six-year tenure and served as senior editor until 1998. He currently works in the western North Carolina mountains. 88-94 Taunton Home | Books & Videos | Taunton Plus | Contact Us | Customer Service Privacy Policy | Copyright Notice | Taunton Guarantee | About Us Fine Woodworking | Fine Homebuilding | Fine Cooking | Fine Gardening | Inspired House | Threads http://www. Drawing: Mario Ferro Excerpted from The Complete Illustrated Guide to Furniture & Cabinet Construction. and rubber pads slipped over the clamp heads prevent the work from being marred (B). Shims center the clamping pressure over the joints.2004 22:29:50 . the New Jersey State Council on the Arts granted him a fellowship for his furniture designs. such as a panel.taunton. pp. making furniture as well as teaching and writing about woodworking. Photos: Andy Rae.

smooth. I bought a block plane and a roll of chisels. telling you that now. so I bought a powered waterstone made by Makita (www.makita. Mark Fortenberry. you are going to get truly sharp tools. and water drips onto its surface from a plastic reservoir.09. the same plane and chisels that Mark had.from chisels to drill bits -. Oilstones. "I went to college for this?" I used to ask myself. But there was something wrong with my tools -. turn on the tool and hold the blade against the stone. Eventually I got lots of tools: tools I used everyday. "Dull as a hoe. Oilstones. building an occasional piece of furniture. one with a big chip out of the corner. as the new. Sharpening a blade takes only minutes. maybe.) The whole process mystified me.asp (1 of 9)25. Often when I tried to sharpen something. The Complete Guide to Sharpening Free Project Plans Tools Skills & Techniques Joinery Finishing Workshop & Safety Materials Project Ideas Current Work Online Video Tips Online Extras Books & Videos Tool expert Leonard Lee shows you the most effective ways to sharpen your tools -.maybe they were defective.. From the pages of Fine Woodworking Magazine Entire Site Getting an Edge with Waterstones. For the first time since Mark sharpened some of my stuff. He made finish work look effortless -." Mark said. tools I never used. Fill the reservoir with water. fluid. and Mark would sharpen. 1.. tools I didn't really need.000-grit stone moves at fewer than 600 rpm. and Sandpaper YOU ARE HERE: Fine Woodworking Home Skills & Techniques Getting an Edge.taunton.2004 22:31:17 . Different-colored stones were unwrapped from an oily towel.com).. The problem was they were dull.Getting an Edge with Waterstones. (What's duller than a hoe? A hoe handle.so they cut better and stay sharp longer Sandpaper Sharpening In this video. It's a great tool: The platterlike. I got to the point where I stopped using the honing guide. and Sandpaper Different woodworkers use different sharpening methods by Jefferson Kolle Many years ago. inexperienced guy on the carpentry crew. my plane irons and chisel blades would shave hair off my forearm.oily. I was in charge of lugging giant piles of plywood from one side of the job site to the other. And I did. reassuringly. 7-in. and it all happens without special gauges or messy lubricants. And I got my grandfather's two sharpening stones -. The tool comes with a honing guide and an attachment for holding planer or jointer blades. Every morning he'd pour coffee from his stainless-steel thermos and sharpen the tools he needed for the day. black things. precise.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00003. It couldn't be more jerk-proof. restoring houses. Knowing I would need to acquire tools and skills if I ever wanted to do anything other than get intimate with sheet after sheet of rough plywood. Instead. a little can of threein-one oil appeared. I decided that electricity would remove the mystery of sharpening. There was a guy on the crew. Michael Dunbar demonstrates sandpaper sharpening. finally. The motor thrums along quietly. I think I made it duller. Links About Your Safety Eventually I went into business for myself. and the Makita never failed me. I held blades freehand against the turning http://www. who had the sharpest tools.

and he is halfway through another. water-filled plastic basin -.H. Waterstones and the art of sharpening Scott Schmidt has a shop in The Button Factory. keeping it flat by using its whole surface. and he uses Japanese waterstones. potions. There are a zillion ways to sharpen steel -. creating a declivity -. which made it harder and harder to get a flat edge.09.but what works for one person might not work for another. my shirt would get soaked right at my belt line. oilstones. jigs for that. "The way I was taught. If the machine has a fault.the type of container a deli might use to store coleslaw or potato salad. and it is the gritty slurry that's created as the stone erodes that works with the stone itself to provide the sharpening medium. Schmidt sharpened one of his favorite chisels while I was at his shop. he spritzed the stone with a water bottle. a warehouse of artists and craftsmen in Portsmouth.2004 22:31:17 . and he pawed through it." he said. it is that it is messy. Schmidt soaks his stones in a grungy.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00003. electric-powered stones. Water gets flung around." The natural tendency. In more than 20 years of woodworking. I'm sure they all work. I got a catalog recently that devoted seven pages to sharpening stuff.asp (2 of 9)25. Schmidt was schooled at North Bennet Street. and Sandpaper Schools Clubs Knots Forum Events stone.in effect. All sharpening stones are sacrificial -they wear away as steel is rubbed over them -. On top of his bench is a piece of rubber rug padding that keeps the stone from moving. and I would have to mop water off the workbench when I was through. diamond stones.but waterstones are softer than most. and before touching steel to stone. one that Schmidt takes pains to avoid.Getting an Edge with Waterstones. He set the stone on the pad. wiping off the water with his hand. powders. unflattening the stone. "I think of sharpening as a process of constantly flattening the stone. jigs for this. talking to them about their methods of getting an edge." he said. For a long time he used a magnifying glass to http://www. he'll first work the blade on an electric grinder before going to his waterstones. and after a while I wore a trough in the stone. especially when you're trying to true the back of a blade. For a new tool or one with a badly damaged edge. When a stone's surface needs redoing. synthetic stones. Schmidt has used up one waterstone. For two days. Every time I sharpened. he flattens it on a concrete block. "You can't make a blade flat with an unflat stone. I drove around New England. rouges.taunton. At the end of his shop. N. Oilstones. Waterstones. is to work a blade onto one spot in the center of the waterstone. pulled out a dripping stone and set it on the benchtop. there is a bench dedicated to sharpening. The basin lives under his bench. visiting three woodworkers.I know a woman who sharpens her kitchen knives on the unglazed bottom rim of a dinner plate -.

Oilstones.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00003. tilting the tool to look at the shiny areas and the dull spots. The slurry built up in little waves. this time pushing the blade back and forth along the width of the stone. and diagonally across the stone in two directions.no dull spots to be seen in the steel -.000 grit. the bevel had been worked across the stone in four directions: back and forth along the length. If there's a high spot on the stone. "When the stone is perfectly flat. By the time he was finished." He does not use a protractor or angle gauge. true a stone only when it really needs it. And then he switched again. sounds rougher.400 and 6." When the chisel's back had a uniform shininess -. rather. He repeats the process with stones of 1. 2. which he removed with several strokes on the http://www. The concrete abrades the stone quickly.2004 22:31:17 . this time making Xs of slurry. wire edge had developed. back and forth across the width. and Sandpaper inspect the edges he'd honed. "I can feel that this stone has a little high spot on this end. He told me that it's easier to sharpen a tool he uses a lot. He spritzed again and changed his stance so that he could work the steel from the opposite corner. working the steel back and forth along the length of the stone and mixing up a slurry of water and abraded stone particles. but familiarity with his tools has enabled him to forego this practice. rub it on a concrete block. concentrating his efforts in that area. He felt the edge with his fingernail.200. he started the bevel by working it back and forth along the length of the stone for several minutes. running the blade in a series of diagonal strokes.asp (3 of 9)25. A thin. and he was working again. A little water and a little rubbing on a concrete block will true an unflat waterstone.200-grit waterstone. Then Schmidt changed tack. the steel grates a little bit.Schmidt turned to the bevel.taunton." he said.Getting an Edge with Waterstones. He started on the back of the chisel using a 1. cutting and cutting an edge.09. He often stopped and checked the chisel's surface. Another spritz or two with the water bottle. To flatten a waterstone. you know the way that tool will take an edge. you can feel sort of an even suction between the wide surface of the chisel's back and the stone. it's a matter of touch and sight. A large part of both processes. Scott Schmidt works a blade across a waterstone in four directions. crisscrossing the stone from one corner to the other. As he did on the back of the chisel. "If you know the way a certain tool cuts. is done by feel.

I arrived at the shop of Garrett Hack. Hack's sharpening methods parallel his architecture. but once it's lapped flat. Hack is a father. and Sandpaper chisel's back.asp (4 of 9)25. meaning the back of the blade still needed work. 3.Getting an Edge with Waterstones. using a finer. ready to be sharpened. He is somewhat of a traditionalist. A Federal-style chest he made has an outrageous band of checkerboard inlay. a farmer and a woodworker. The back and bevel shone like mirrors. When Schmidt was finished.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00003. Oilstones. Spread on his benchtop was an array of planes.09. Hack's stones are held stationary in a cleated wooden frame. The drawer is full of oilstones. "Lapping the back of a blade takes some time. you should never have to do it again. and it shows in the architecture of his slateroofed brick shop and in the furniture he makes.he usually works outside on the shop's granite steps. he repeated the process on both the back and bevel. But there's also a contemporary side to Hack.000-grit stone." he said. in no particular order. finally. Oilstones. and the bright-green trim and certain interior details of his shop belie a man who is not a slave to history. Hack dipped the diamond stone into a water bucket and worked the back of the plane bade against the stone in slow figure eights. And there are tiny plastic jars of Any oil will do. Hack will use a diamond stone with an aggressive grit. each in its own wood box.taunton. he favors traditional oilstones. When sharpening. "I just got this. "The back of the iron has probably never been flattened.2004 22:31:17 . http://www.to get a keen edge in hard steel. he held the steel up to the light. but Garrett Hack likes kerosene for his oilstones." For the quick removal of steel. 2. After a while. Because it is messy -he uses a lot of water with the diamond stone. After five minutes on each stone. constantly dousing the surface -. The diamond stone is also good for removing small nicks in a blade's bevel." Hack stores his sharpening paraphernalia in a drawer built into the underside of his workbench. but he occasionally uses a new product -diamond paste -. A quick drizzle of kerosene keeps the stones from clogging with abraded metal. kerosene and a little diamond paste After a hard right turn at the end of a Vermont dirt road. Hack removed the iron from an old Stanley No. It needs to be lapped.400-grit stone and then. giving the plane a critical eye. The shine on the blade was uneven. a 6. the chisel was razor sharp.

Hack then turned his attention to the bevel. After the blade had been lapped. Same thing for the bevel. started his sharpening on the back of the plane's iron. "I heard of a guy who uses olive oil." he said. He picked up a sliver of wood from the shop floor and scooped out a half pea of paste. and Sandpaper diamond paste in different grits and an oil can filled with kerosene. working the steel. He mixes the paste with a little kerosene and smears it around on his hard. black Arkansas stone.a manmade India oilstone -. He squirted a few drops of kerosene on the stone." He wiped the paste onto the fine stone. He held the front of the blade flat on the stone and rocked the blade up onto the bevel. "Why not hardwood?" I asked. slightly dull shine.and repeated the entire process.09. http://www. When he was finished he checked the sharpness of the blade by using it to pare the end grain of a scrap of soft pine. Hack's secret weapon is 4micron diamond paste (which is the abrasive equivalent of a 4. Oilstones. until he was sure of the evenness of the shine." He hunched over the first stone -. "It's a comfortable work angle.asp (5 of 9)25. A dab of 4-micron diamond paste is Hack's secret weapon for getting a good edge. he switched to a finer-grit stone -. moving around the whole surface of the stone. even pressure on the blade. When the bevel had an even shine. it was apparent that it was made to hold his sharpening stones at about 30°. the back of the blade had an even.Getting an Edge with Waterstones. trapezoid-shaped wooden frame. Exerting firm. had a cleat on the bottom. And again he started on the back of the iron.again working the steel in slow. mixing it in with the kerosene. smearing it around with the wood sliver. and thus he can use the whole stone. After some time. The frame.2004 22:31:17 . He reached in the drawer and removed a small. black Arkansas stone -. "But anything will work. telling me that there are all sorts of honing oils available. "Even this is probably too much. like Schmidt.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00003. Hack moves the steel in a figure-eight pattern around the surface of the stone. lazy figure eights.000-grit waterstone)." he said.a hard. spotted and stained with oil. checking it in the light. starting again with the figure-eight pattern. When Hack rested the cleat against the edge of his bench. just like the blade's back." he said. "It doesn't take a lot. Hack. A good grip on the blade allows him to move the steel off the edge of the stone without tipping.taunton.

Getting an Edge with Waterstones, Oilstones, and Sandpaper

"Almost anything will cut hardwood," he said. "But only a truly sharp blade will cleanly cut the end grain of pine without tearing some of the fibers and leaving a ragged edge. If it's really sharp, the blade will sever all of the wood fibers evenly, leaving a cut on the end grain that looks almost burnished." Hack flattens his stones with gritty silicon-carbide powder, water and a scrap of plate glass. "It's pretty messy," he said. "Sometimes I do it outside." It's also pretty simple: Hack sprinkled some powder on the glass, added a little water and worked the face of the stone in big circles. When he thought the stone was flat, he held it up to the light and checked it with a straightedge. "Needs a little more right here in the center."

Again he worked the stone against the paste-smeared glass. He checked it one more time and could see no light coming through between the stone and the straightedge. Satisfied, he wiped off the stones and the little can of kerosene, and everything went back into the drawer, except for the oily rag, which he hung off the corner of the bench to dry.

To true his oilstones, Hack uses gritty silicon-carbide powder mixed with a little water. Hack mixes the paste on plate glass and works a stone in a circle. Later, he checks the flatness of the stone with a straightedge.

Plate glass and sandpaper
Even before Mike Dunbar opened The Windsor Institute where he instructs 600 students a year in the craft of making Windsor chairs, he was a teacher, albeit an itinerant one. He traveled all over the country, going to woodworking shows and giving demonstrations at woodworking stores. He packed a lot of stuff for his trips: chair parts and tools. It was a hassle to find a way to sharpen tools on the road; either he had to bring all of his oils and stones or rely on the store to provide them. Most good inventions are born of necessity; Dunbar's so-called scary-sharp method of getting an edge with plate glass and sandpaper is no exception. "Sharpening tools doesn't earn any money for a woodworker," Dunbar said. "I like to get my tools sharp and then get to work. Using glass and sandpaper is an extremely fast way to get an excellent edge." Along the back wall of Dunbar's shop is a darkgreen, built-in cabinet, and right on the edge of the cabinet's countertop sat a dirty piece of 3/8-in.-thick plate glass about 8
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Getting an Edge with Waterstones, Oilstones, and Sandpaper

in. by 40 in. Next to the glass were three rolls of adhesivebacked sandpaper. Dunbar grabbed a razor-blade window scraper and gouged off the three strips of spent paper from the plate glass (the glass is held on the bench with a couple of wood strips). "We sharpen a lot of tools here, and we go through a lot of sandpaper." He went over to a wall-mounted rack of the school's tools -- planes, chisels, gouges and drawknives -- and grabbed an almost-new, 1-1/2-in. chisel. All of the school's shop tools are spray-painted bright green. "If they're painted, they don't walk," he said. He looked at the edge of the chisel and noticed two big nicks in the blade. I asked him if he would not ordinarily grind out the nicks from the student-abused blade. "I'm telling you," he said, "this method is really fast."

He cut three strips of sandpaper from the 4-in.-wide rolls, one each of 80 grit, 120 grit and 320 grit, and adhered them to the glass. Holding the chisel handle in one hand and using the palm of his other hand on the top side of the chisel, he started to rub the tool back and forth along the length of paper, checking occasionally the evenness of the shine on the back of the blade.

Mike Dunbar sharpens his tools with sandpaper stuck to 3/8-in.-thick plate glass. Working steel across three grits of paper, 80, 120 and 320, cuts an edge in no time. Another plus: plate glass never needs flattening. When the sandpaper gets dull, scrape it off the glass with a razor blade and stick on a new piece.

Felt-tipped marker shows a blade's low spots. When lapping, Dunbar colors the back of a blade. After working the blade across the sandpaper, the ink is removed from all but the low spots on the blade.

When the back was even with scratches from the 80-grit paper, he colored the back of the chisel with a red, felt-tipped marker. "The marker works like machinist's chalk," he said. "If there are any low spots on the blade, the marker won't get removed when I rub the blade on the sandpaper." He worked the blade against the paper again, and when he held it up to the light, only a faint trace of red showed in the center. Dunbar decided
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Getting an Edge with Waterstones, Oilstones, and Sandpaper

the back was flat enough and told me that future sharpening will make the blade truly flat. Then he switched to the bevel, or bezel, as Dunbar calls it. "Check your dictionary," he told me. I made a mental note. Dunbar held the front of the chisel on the sheet of 80-grit paper and rocked the blade forward until it rested on the bevel. "Simple," he said. "You don't need a honing guide or anything like that. Just rock the blade until you can feel the beveled surface resting on the paper." With one hand on the handle and the other putting pressure on the back of the chisel, he worked the blade side to side along the length of the 80-grit sheet. A forward-and-back motion or a figure-eight pattern would tear the sandpaper. He worked the blade for a minute or two and then asked me if I wanted to try it. I told him that I felt like Huck Finn being fooled by Tom Sawyer when Tom convinced Huck that it was fun to paint a fence. "No one believes how easy and fast this is," Dunbar said, "until they try it." I looked at the blade and saw the nicks. I worked the bevel against the sandpaper the way he showed me. After a minute I looked at the blade again; the nicks were almost gone. He looked at me looking at the blade. I smiled, and he raised an eyebrow, knowing he'd won another convert. After a little more work, Dunbar had removed the rest of the nicks. Total time to remove the nicks in the blade was about five minutes. Then he switched to the 120-grit paper but not before sweeping away the filings with a mason's brush. "Keeps the paper from clogging, and you don't want to get coarser grit on the finer-grit paper." When all of the scratches from the 80grit paper had been supplanted by the 120-grit scratches, he swept the filings and moved onto the 320-grit sheet. The sequence was the same: He worked the chisel on the 320-grit paper until there was an evenness of scratches, brushed off the paper and moved to the next-finer grit. After working the chisel, Dunbar placed a piece of 600-grit wet-or-dry paper right on top of the 320-grit sheet. The roughness of one paper holds the finer-grit paper in place. For most tools he feels that 600 grit gives a sharp enough edge; for the keenest edges he will go from 600 grit to 1,000 grit and sometimes all the way up to 2,000-grit paper. A blade honed on 2,000 grit shines like chromium.

Unlike using oilstones, waterstones or powered stones, with Dunbar's method you don't have to worry about flattening the stones. The plate glass is always flat, and when the sandpaper gets dull, you scrape it off and stick on another piece. As I drove home, I thought of my Makita electric sharpening

Rougher grit holds finer-grit paper in place. For the keenest edges, Dunbar uses fine-grit sandpaper without adhesive backing. Tools sharpened with 2,000-grit paper are truly scary sharp.

http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00003.asp (8 of 9)25.09.2004 22:31:17

drawings: Bob La Pointe From Fine Woodworking #140. and Sandpaper stone lost in the garage of my ex-wife's house. pp. (Different strokes for different folks?) And then I thought of the glass store near work. Tom Sawyer wins again. and I decided to stop in and get myself a piece of 3/8-in.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00003.Getting an Edge with Waterstones.-thick plate glass.asp (9 of 9)25.2004 22:31:17 .09. Photos: Jefferson Kolle. 56-61 Purchase back issues Taunton Home | Books & Videos | Taunton Plus | Contact Us | Customer Service Privacy Policy | Copyright Notice | Taunton Guarantee | About Us Fine Woodworking | Fine Homebuilding | Fine Cooking | Fine Gardening | Inspired House | Threads http://www.taunton. I thought of Schmidt and Hack and how well their sharpening methods worked for them. Jefferson Kolle is a former managing editor of Fine Woodworking. Oilstones.

finally.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00003.smooth. "I went to college for this?" I used to ask myself.so they cut better and stay sharp longer Sandpaper Sharpening In this video. fluid. black things.com). And I got my grandfather's two sharpening stones -. There was a guy on the crew. The motor thrums along quietly. and Mark would sharpen. building an occasional piece of furniture. Fill the reservoir with water. Oilstones. I got to the point where I stopped using the honing guide. Mark Fortenberry. Often when I tried to sharpen something. Different-colored stones were unwrapped from an oily towel.from chisels to drill bits -. Instead. Knowing I would need to acquire tools and skills if I ever wanted to do anything other than get intimate with sheet after sheet of rough plywood.oily. For the first time since Mark sharpened some of my stuff..maybe they were defective. Oilstones. Eventually I got lots of tools: tools I used everyday. a little can of threein-one oil appeared. inexperienced guy on the carpentry crew. The Complete Guide to Sharpening Free Project Plans Tools Skills & Techniques Joinery Finishing Workshop & Safety Materials Project Ideas Current Work Online Video Tips Online Extras Books & Videos Tool expert Leonard Lee shows you the most effective ways to sharpen your tools -. Michael Dunbar demonstrates sandpaper sharpening. and Sandpaper YOU ARE HERE: Fine Woodworking Home Skills & Techniques Getting an Edge. and it all happens without special gauges or messy lubricants. who had the sharpest tools. and water drips onto its surface from a plastic reservoir. I bought a block plane and a roll of chisels.taunton. (What's duller than a hoe? A hoe handle. 7-in. and Sandpaper Different woodworkers use different sharpening methods by Jefferson Kolle Many years ago. restoring houses. Every morning he'd pour coffee from his stainless-steel thermos and sharpen the tools he needed for the day. maybe.. It's a great tool: The platterlike. Sharpening a blade takes only minutes. as the new. turn on the tool and hold the blade against the stone.2004 22:32:12 . telling you that now.09.000-grit stone moves at fewer than 600 rpm. The problem was they were dull.) The whole process mystified me. But there was something wrong with my tools -. From the pages of Fine Woodworking Magazine two Getting an Edge with Waterstones. It couldn't be more jerk-proof. The tool comes with a honing guide and an attachment for holding planer or jointer blades. you are going to get truly sharp tools. I held blades freehand against the turning http://www. tools I never used. reassuringly. "Dull as a hoe. I was in charge of lugging giant piles of plywood from one side of the job site to the other. And I did. tools I didn't really need.Getting an Edge with Waterstones. Links About Your Safety Eventually I went into business for myself. 1. I think I made it duller. and the Makita never failed me. precise. the same plane and chisels that Mark had. so I bought a powered waterstone made by Makita (www. one with a big chip out of the corner." Mark said.asp (1 of 9)25. my plane irons and chisel blades would shave hair off my forearm.. He made finish work look effortless -. I decided that electricity would remove the mystery of sharpening.makita.

there is a bench dedicated to sharpening. I got a catalog recently that devoted seven pages to sharpening stuff.2004 22:32:12 . Schmidt has used up one waterstone. "You can't make a blade flat with an unflat stone.asp (2 of 9)25. water-filled plastic basin -.but waterstones are softer than most. Waterstones and the art of sharpening Scott Schmidt has a shop in The Button Factory. and before touching steel to stone. it is that it is messy." The natural tendency. In more than 20 years of woodworking. I'm sure they all work. Schmidt sharpened one of his favorite chisels while I was at his shop. Oilstones. creating a declivity -. unflattening the stone. which made it harder and harder to get a flat edge. he spritzed the stone with a water bottle. The basin lives under his bench. diamond stones. For a new tool or one with a badly damaged edge. He set the stone on the pad. potions.H. is to work a blade onto one spot in the center of the waterstone. and I would have to mop water off the workbench when I was through. pulled out a dripping stone and set it on the benchtop. I drove around New England. If the machine has a fault. There are a zillion ways to sharpen steel -.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00003.I know a woman who sharpens her kitchen knives on the unglazed bottom rim of a dinner plate -. he'll first work the blade on an electric grinder before going to his waterstones.but what works for one person might not work for another.taunton. rouges. and it is the gritty slurry that's created as the stone erodes that works with the stone itself to provide the sharpening medium. and he uses Japanese waterstones. wiping off the water with his hand. my shirt would get soaked right at my belt line. and he is halfway through another. electric-powered stones. jigs for this. At the end of his shop. Schmidt was schooled at North Bennet Street.Getting an Edge with Waterstones. keeping it flat by using its whole surface. N. When a stone's surface needs redoing." he said. jigs for that.in effect. and after a while I wore a trough in the stone. talking to them about their methods of getting an edge." he said.the type of container a deli might use to store coleslaw or potato salad. powders. he flattens it on a concrete block. Water gets flung around. especially when you're trying to true the back of a blade. and Sandpaper Schools Clubs Knots Forum Events stone. All sharpening stones are sacrificial -they wear away as steel is rubbed over them -. "I think of sharpening as a process of constantly flattening the stone. and he pawed through it. synthetic stones. Waterstones. "The way I was taught. Every time I sharpened. Schmidt soaks his stones in a grungy. For a long time he used a magnifying glass to http://www. For two days. On top of his bench is a piece of rubber rug padding that keeps the stone from moving.09. a warehouse of artists and craftsmen in Portsmouth. visiting three woodworkers. oilstones. one that Schmidt takes pains to avoid.

200-grit waterstone. wire edge had developed. concentrating his efforts in that area.Schmidt turned to the bevel. rather. Another spritz or two with the water bottle. and he was working again.000 grit. working the steel back and forth along the length of the stone and mixing up a slurry of water and abraded stone particles. is done by feel. cutting and cutting an edge. He told me that it's easier to sharpen a tool he uses a lot. As he did on the back of the chisel." When the chisel's back had a uniform shininess -. "If you know the way a certain tool cuts. Oilstones.taunton. If there's a high spot on the stone. He felt the edge with his fingernail. running the blade in a series of diagonal strokes. true a stone only when it really needs it. and diagonally across the stone in two directions." he said. A large part of both processes. which he removed with several strokes on the http://www.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00003." He does not use a protractor or angle gauge.Getting an Edge with Waterstones. crisscrossing the stone from one corner to the other. you can feel sort of an even suction between the wide surface of the chisel's back and the stone.400 and 6. 2. this time pushing the blade back and forth along the width of the stone. this time making Xs of slurry. back and forth across the width. rub it on a concrete block. the steel grates a little bit. it's a matter of touch and sight. A little water and a little rubbing on a concrete block will true an unflat waterstone.09.200.asp (3 of 9)25. A thin. "When the stone is perfectly flat. "I can feel that this stone has a little high spot on this end. He spritzed again and changed his stance so that he could work the steel from the opposite corner. He often stopped and checked the chisel's surface. By the time he was finished. He started on the back of the chisel using a 1. tilting the tool to look at the shiny areas and the dull spots. he started the bevel by working it back and forth along the length of the stone for several minutes. He repeats the process with stones of 1. the bevel had been worked across the stone in four directions: back and forth along the length. but familiarity with his tools has enabled him to forego this practice. The concrete abrades the stone quickly. Then Schmidt changed tack. And then he switched again.no dull spots to be seen in the steel -. and Sandpaper inspect the edges he'd honed.2004 22:32:12 . sounds rougher. you know the way that tool will take an edge. The slurry built up in little waves. Scott Schmidt works a blade across a waterstone in four directions. To flatten a waterstone.

Oilstones. A quick drizzle of kerosene keeps the stones from clogging with abraded metal. When Schmidt was finished. a farmer and a woodworker. Spread on his benchtop was an array of planes. each in its own wood box. It needs to be lapped. Hack's stones are held stationary in a cleated wooden frame.000-grit stone. He is somewhat of a traditionalist. in no particular order.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00003. giving the plane a critical eye. and the bright-green trim and certain interior details of his shop belie a man who is not a slave to history. a 6.Getting an Edge with Waterstones. The back and bevel shone like mirrors. "I just got this.2004 22:32:12 . 2. ready to be sharpened. the chisel was razor sharp. kerosene and a little diamond paste After a hard right turn at the end of a Vermont dirt road. using a finer. Hack is a father. Because it is messy -he uses a lot of water with the diamond stone. 3.09.to get a keen edge in hard steel. I arrived at the shop of Garrett Hack.400-grit stone and then. And there are tiny plastic jars of Any oil will do. "Lapping the back of a blade takes some time. http://www." For the quick removal of steel. and Sandpaper chisel's back." he said. After a while. Hack removed the iron from an old Stanley No.he usually works outside on the shop's granite steps. he held the steel up to the light. but once it's lapped flat. he favors traditional oilstones. Hack dipped the diamond stone into a water bucket and worked the back of the plane bade against the stone in slow figure eights. The diamond stone is also good for removing small nicks in a blade's bevel.taunton. finally. Hack's sharpening methods parallel his architecture. After five minutes on each stone. A Federal-style chest he made has an outrageous band of checkerboard inlay. When sharpening. you should never have to do it again. but Garrett Hack likes kerosene for his oilstones. "The back of the iron has probably never been flattened. But there's also a contemporary side to Hack. and it shows in the architecture of his slateroofed brick shop and in the furniture he makes. Hack will use a diamond stone with an aggressive grit. constantly dousing the surface -. The drawer is full of oilstones.asp (4 of 9)25." Hack stores his sharpening paraphernalia in a drawer built into the underside of his workbench. he repeated the process on both the back and bevel. meaning the back of the blade still needed work. The shine on the blade was uneven. but he occasionally uses a new product -diamond paste -. Oilstones.

Exerting firm. A good grip on the blade allows him to move the steel off the edge of the stone without tipping." he said." He wiped the paste onto the fine stone.a manmade India oilstone -. just like the blade's back. like Schmidt. spotted and stained with oil. "It's a comfortable work angle.asp (5 of 9)25. "Even this is probably too much. lazy figure eights. He mixes the paste with a little kerosene and smears it around on his hard. And again he started on the back of the iron. black Arkansas stone -. checking it in the light. and thus he can use the whole stone. starting again with the figure-eight pattern. After some time. "But anything will work. trapezoid-shaped wooden frame. When Hack rested the cleat against the edge of his bench. telling me that there are all sorts of honing oils available." He hunched over the first stone -. "I heard of a guy who uses olive oil. moving around the whole surface of the stone.Getting an Edge with Waterstones. The frame. started his sharpening on the back of the plane's iron.09. Hack then turned his attention to the bevel. had a cleat on the bottom." he said.and repeated the entire process.again working the steel in slow. Hack moves the steel in a figure-eight pattern around the surface of the stone. working the steel. Same thing for the bevel. he switched to a finer-grit stone -. He picked up a sliver of wood from the shop floor and scooped out a half pea of paste.000-grit waterstone). Oilstones." he said. He reached in the drawer and removed a small. smearing it around with the wood sliver. even pressure on the blade.a hard.taunton. mixing it in with the kerosene. http://www. A dab of 4-micron diamond paste is Hack's secret weapon for getting a good edge. until he was sure of the evenness of the shine. After the blade had been lapped. and Sandpaper diamond paste in different grits and an oil can filled with kerosene. slightly dull shine. He squirted a few drops of kerosene on the stone. black Arkansas stone. Hack. it was apparent that it was made to hold his sharpening stones at about 30°. When the bevel had an even shine. Hack's secret weapon is 4micron diamond paste (which is the abrasive equivalent of a 4. the back of the blade had an even. He held the front of the blade flat on the stone and rocked the blade up onto the bevel.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00003. When he was finished he checked the sharpness of the blade by using it to pare the end grain of a scrap of soft pine. "Why not hardwood?" I asked. "It doesn't take a lot.2004 22:32:12 .

-thick plate glass about 8 http://www. water and a scrap of plate glass." Along the back wall of Dunbar's shop is a darkgreen." Again he worked the stone against the paste-smeared glass. "It's pretty messy. which he hung off the corner of the bench to dry.09. leaving a cut on the end grain that looks almost burnished. "Sometimes I do it outside. and right on the edge of the cabinet's countertop sat a dirty piece of 3/8-in. Later. "Needs a little more right here in the center. He packed a lot of stuff for his trips: chair parts and tools. Using glass and sandpaper is an extremely fast way to get an excellent edge.asp (6 of 9)25. he held it up to the light and checked it with a straightedge. If it's really sharp. going to woodworking shows and giving demonstrations at woodworking stores." he said. either he had to bring all of his oils and stones or rely on the store to provide them. Satisfied. "Sharpening tools doesn't earn any money for a woodworker. the blade will sever all of the wood fibers evenly.2004 22:32:12 . To true his oilstones. he checks the flatness of the stone with a straightedge." Dunbar said." It's also pretty simple: Hack sprinkled some powder on the glass. Dunbar's so-called scary-sharp method of getting an edge with plate glass and sandpaper is no exception. except for the oily rag. albeit an itinerant one. Hack uses gritty silicon-carbide powder mixed with a little water.Getting an Edge with Waterstones. built-in cabinet. Plate glass and sandpaper Even before Mike Dunbar opened The Windsor Institute where he instructs 600 students a year in the craft of making Windsor chairs. "But only a truly sharp blade will cleanly cut the end grain of pine without tearing some of the fibers and leaving a ragged edge. He traveled all over the country. Oilstones. When he thought the stone was flat. It was a hassle to find a way to sharpen tools on the road. "I like to get my tools sharp and then get to work. added a little water and worked the face of the stone in big circles. Hack mixes the paste on plate glass and works a stone in a circle. and everything went back into the drawer. he was a teacher.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00003. he wiped off the stones and the little can of kerosene." Hack flattens his stones with gritty silicon-carbide powder." he said.taunton. He checked it one more time and could see no light coming through between the stone and the straightedge. Most good inventions are born of necessity. and Sandpaper "Almost anything will cut hardwood.

" He went over to a wall-mounted rack of the school's tools -. checking occasionally the evenness of the shine on the back of the blade. the ink is removed from all but the low spots on the blade. only a faint trace of red showed in the center. they don't walk. felt-tipped marker. 120 and 320. When the sandpaper gets dull. Dunbar decided http://www. "If they're painted.2004 22:32:12 . he colored the back of the chisel with a red. gouges and drawknives -.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00003.planes. by 40 in. 120 grit and 320 grit. cuts an edge in no time. and we go through a lot of sandpaper. All of the school's shop tools are spray-painted bright green." He cut three strips of sandpaper from the 4-in. Felt-tipped marker shows a blade's low spots. "The marker works like machinist's chalk. and Sandpaper in. "We sharpen a lot of tools here. chisels.taunton.-wide rolls.09. "this method is really fast. He looked at the edge of the chisel and noticed two big nicks in the blade. Oilstones. he started to rub the tool back and forth along the length of paper. Another plus: plate glass never needs flattening. chisel. 80. the marker won't get removed when I rub the blade on the sandpaper.-thick plate glass. and when he held it up to the light. Dunbar grabbed a razor-blade window scraper and gouged off the three strips of spent paper from the plate glass (the glass is held on the bench with a couple of wood strips).and grabbed an almost-new. After working the blade across the sandpaper. Working steel across three grits of paper. Holding the chisel handle in one hand and using the palm of his other hand on the top side of the chisel." he said. "I'm telling you. When the back was even with scratches from the 80-grit paper. I asked him if he would not ordinarily grind out the nicks from the student-abused blade. Mike Dunbar sharpens his tools with sandpaper stuck to 3/8-in. When lapping. scrape it off the glass with a razor blade and stick on a new piece.Getting an Edge with Waterstones. Dunbar colors the back of a blade. "If there are any low spots on the blade." he said. and adhered them to the glass. one each of 80 grit. 1-1/2-in.asp (7 of 9)25. Next to the glass were three rolls of adhesivebacked sandpaper." He worked the blade against the paper again." he said.

Tools sharpened with 2. I smiled." he told me. "Simple. with Dunbar's method you don't have to worry about flattening the stones. Total time to remove the nicks in the blade was about five minutes. The sequence was the same: He worked the chisel on the 320-grit paper until there was an evenness of scratches. "No one believes how easy and fast this is. I worked the bevel against the sandpaper the way he showed me. Dunbar uses fine-grit sandpaper without adhesive backing. waterstones or powered stones. and you don't want to get coarser grit on the finer-grit paper. "until they try it. and Sandpaper the back was flat enough and told me that future sharpening will make the blade truly flat. The roughness of one paper holds the finer-grit paper in place.Getting an Edge with Waterstones. brushed off the paper and moved to the next-finer grit. A blade honed on 2." Dunbar said. I told him that I felt like Huck Finn being fooled by Tom Sawyer when Tom convinced Huck that it was fun to paint a fence.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00003." he said. A forward-and-back motion or a figure-eight pattern would tear the sandpaper.000 grit and sometimes all the way up to 2. "Keeps the paper from clogging. knowing he'd won another convert. or bezel.000-grit paper. "You don't need a honing guide or anything like that. for the keenest edges he will go from 600 grit to 1." I looked at the blade and saw the nicks. and he raised an eyebrow. After working the chisel. He worked the blade for a minute or two and then asked me if I wanted to try it." When all of the scratches from the 80grit paper had been supplanted by the 120-grit scratches. Oilstones. Dunbar had removed the rest of the nicks.2004 22:32:12 . As I drove home.000 grit shines like chromium. he worked the blade side to side along the length of the 80-grit sheet. Dunbar held the front of the chisel on the sheet of 80-grit paper and rocked the blade forward until it rested on the bevel. The plate glass is always flat. He looked at me looking at the blade. Then he switched to the 120-grit paper but not before sweeping away the filings with a mason's brush. After a little more work. I made a mental note.09. I thought of my Makita electric sharpening Rougher grit holds finer-grit paper in place.000-grit paper are truly scary sharp. you scrape it off and stick on another piece. For most tools he feels that 600 grit gives a sharp enough edge. Just rock the blade until you can feel the beveled surface resting on the paper. and when the sandpaper gets dull. Then he switched to the bevel.taunton. http://www. Unlike using oilstones. the nicks were almost gone. as Dunbar calls it. he swept the filings and moved onto the 320-grit sheet.asp (8 of 9)25. Dunbar placed a piece of 600-grit wet-or-dry paper right on top of the 320-grit sheet. For the keenest edges. After a minute I looked at the blade again." With one hand on the handle and the other putting pressure on the back of the chisel. "Check your dictionary.

09. pp.-thick plate glass. Jefferson Kolle is a former managing editor of Fine Woodworking. 56-61 Purchase back issues Taunton Home | Books & Videos | Taunton Plus | Contact Us | Customer Service Privacy Policy | Copyright Notice | Taunton Guarantee | About Us Fine Woodworking | Fine Homebuilding | Fine Cooking | Fine Gardening | Inspired House | Threads http://www. drawings: Bob La Pointe From Fine Woodworking #140. I thought of Schmidt and Hack and how well their sharpening methods worked for them. Oilstones. and Sandpaper stone lost in the garage of my ex-wife's house.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00003. Tom Sawyer wins again.2004 22:32:12 . (Different strokes for different folks?) And then I thought of the glass store near work. and I decided to stop in and get myself a piece of 3/8-in.taunton.asp (9 of 9)25.Getting an Edge with Waterstones. Photos: Jefferson Kolle.

Although legs may be tapered all the way around.asp (1 of 5)25.Three Reliable Ways to Taper a Leg YOU ARE HERE: Fine Woodworking Home Skills & Techniques Three Reliable Ways to Taper a Leg From the pages of Fine Woodworking Magazine Entire Site Three Reliable Ways to Taper a Leg Tapers can be cut quickly and accurately with a bandsaw. laminating and coopering. making straight cuts. flat. Shaker furnituremakers exploited this leg style. The process can be both quick and reliable. The cut is not that difficult to make if your bandsaw is properly tuned and the blade is sharp. Links About Your Safety http://www. Roughing out tapers is best done by machine. The idea is to leave enough material on the leg so it can be cleaned up without making the leg too thin. Mark out the taper on a milled leg blank. strike a line across the face of the leg where the taper begins or just slightly below it.2004 22:34:12 . and so have many others.09. Bandsawn tapers are safe and simple. If there's a flat near the top of the leg where an apron will intersect it. steering as you go. creating curves through bending. Joinery. more often than not I cut tapers on two adjoining faces of a leg. with a router and a flush-trimming bit. the simplest and safest way to cut a taper is to draw lines on two adjacent faces of each leg and cut just to the waste side of the lines on a bandsaw. Shaping and Milling Free Project Plans Tools Skills & Techniques Joinery Finishing Workshop & Safety Materials Project Ideas Current Work Online Video Tips Online Extras Books & Videos Articles from Fine Woodworking on milling lumber straight. Cut to the waste side of the line. a thickness planer or a tablesaw by Gary Rogowski Table or desk legs that have been tapered top to bottom have a grace and delicacy that square legs just don't seem to have. and use the other hand to help guide the cut. How much taper a leg gets and which faces are tapered are personal choices best made with plenty of experimentation. and square. a process that requires very little cleanup. striking a line from the widest point.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00036. either a bandsaw or a tablesaw is a good choice. Tapers also can be cut by mounting leg blanks on a jig that's passed through a thickness planer. Cleaning up the cuts also can be accomplished in a number of ways--on a jointer.taunton. where the taper starts. and developing techniques for routing a wide range of complex shapes and joints Tapering on the bandsaw By far. or with a handplane. Feed the leg blank slowly with one hand. to its narrowest point at the foot.

Also. You can either make a dedicated jig every time you need a different taper.2004 22:34:12 . To get the taper I either end of the plywood keep wanted. it becomes quite easy to cut a straight line on the bandsaw. one of the legs. It's easier to sight down the layout line if you lower your head a bit as you make the cut.asp (2 of 5)25.-thick hardboard or mediumdensity fiberboard. With these supports glued to the plywood base. placed the leg on the plywood base of the jig and raised one end until the taper line was parallel with the plywood. I'm assured of getting the same results every time. But a planer will do an absolutely consistent job of tapering leg stock if you use the proper jig--one with a simple carriage that supports the legs at an angle and has stops at either end.09. I added a stop just behind it. make sure the legs don't rock on the support pieces. With practice.taunton. feed slowly and try to compensate for any drift before you wander from the line. if the saw is well-tuned. http://www. Tapered sled jig All four legs of a table can be tapered at once.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00036. especially at first. very little cleanup is needed. I prefer using dedicated jigs because I often reproduce designs. universal tapering jig to cut many different tapers. The narrow end of the legs butt against this stop. But be careful to keep your fingers out of the way. or you can use a hinged. Use two hands to help guide the leg through the blade. consider making a template of 1/4-in. cut a support piece to fit there and glued it on. to minimize deflection of the stock. The only real drawback is that it's fairly slow.-thick plywood and three angled strips of wood to longer than the length of the support the legs. The author's (opens in new window) The best thing about this method of tapering legs is that all the legs for a project can be done at the same time. Tablesaw tapering The most commonly used tool for cutting tapers is the tablesaw--and why not? It's fast and. Stops at legs. it will take just a few seconds. If they do. Take light passes. Tapering with a thickness planer A thickness planer isn't the first tool that comes to mind for cutting tapers. The next time you need to lay out this taper. I measured this height near one end of the plywood. It's easy to run your thumb into a bandsaw blade. The next step is to cut angled pieces that will support the legs and prevent them from flexing under the pressure of the feed rollers in the planer.Three Reliable Ways to Taper a Leg Schools Clubs Knots Forum Events If the leg shape is one you might reproduce often. I added another stop at the front end of the jig to capture the legs securely--I didn't want the stock moving around beneath the cutterhead. you'll see some vicious sniping. I drew the taper on the legs in place. I made my jig from a piece of planer jig is made from a piece scrap plywood several inches of 3/4-in. With a dedicated jig.

(opens in new window) measure from the inside edge of the jig to the widest part of the taper--either the corner of the leg if it's a full-length taper or a few inches shy of the corner if you want to leave a flat section on the leg for an apron.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00036. Keep the jig firmly against the fence. near the other end of the jig. captures the leg and cants it from the plywood at the correct angle for the desired taper. Even a planer can leave mill marks.asp (3 of 5)25. I set the infeed table for a light cut and use a push stick. a square. A front stop. Tablesaw jig Tablesawn tapers are fast and accurate.09. you should cut with the grain. rotate the leg blank 90° clockwise in the jig. Then I screw a back stop to one end to catch the wide part of the taper. To avoid tearout. To set up for the cut. and feed steadily as you make the cut. untapered face will rest on the tablesaw.Three Reliable Ways to Taper a Leg The base of the jig is a straight.2004 22:34:12 The jointer cleans up tapers quickly. checking for grain direction as well as for any high spots that may need to be taken down by hand before you joint the whole http://www. For the second taper on a leg. Here are three simple methods for cleaning tapers. A dedicated jig like this one produces consistent results but is limited to a single angle and leg length. Three ways to clean up the cuts Some cleanup is almost always required after you've cut the basic tapers. By rotating the leg this way. I generally go straight from the bandsaw to the jointer. Use this measurement to set the distance from blade to fence. I cut it so its sides are parallel and its ends are square. Jointer: This tool does a great job of cleaning up sawmarks. A few light passes over the jointer should clean up any mill marks or other surface irregularities left after roughing out a leg by machine. That usually means the narrow end of the leg is last to go over the cutterhead.taunton. running the narrow end of the leg into the blade first. though. flat piece of plywood just a few inches longer than the leg stock. . Inspect the taper first.

Make sure your stop or bench dog won't interfere with the plane at the end of its stroke. You'll need thicker stock for this template. Double-faced tape works well to attach the template to each leg. you'll want to plane A handplane cleans tapers downhill (from the wide part of efficiently. Set the height of the bit so that the bearing rides firmly against the template. you will have to make a tapered template for the second taper so the router bearing (which is at a fixed height) has something to ride on. direction of each face you're planing to be sure. a jig with attached toggle clamps is better and faster. Mark a line http://www. Template routing ensures consistent results. For a production run. A plane also is a good choice for tapers that have been cleaned up with a jointer or router but still need a little more polishing. Start the cut back just a little from the end of the leg. of wood to clean up with the router. Cut and clean up the first taper. Both bottom-bearing bits (shown) and top-bearing bits work. Handplane: On wood that's not particularly gnarly. too. a welltuned handplane can be used to clean up tapers straight off the bandsaw. but take care to plane with the but you should check the grain grain to avoid tearout. Generally. Rout the full length. mark a line that's parallel with the bench or bed. and you can use the same templates here that you used to lay out tapers for the bandsaw.09. Make sure the tapers are well marked so you can tell when you're finished. like a bench or jointer bed. Work from the widest part of the taper to the narrowest.Three Reliable Ways to Taper a Leg length of the taper. especially if you don't have a jointer. Feed slowly to minimize cutterhead marks. On the template stock.2004 22:34:12 . the taper down to the narrow). Double-faced tape secures the template to the legs. Then cut and clean this second side. Check. to see if one end or another needs more wood removed. Make sure the tapers have been cut close to the template shape. The template is ready for use. Both top-bearing and bottom-bearing bits will do the job. The grain may surprise you. This technique also guarantees that all the tapers are precisely the same. A plane leaves a surface that's ready for finish.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00036.asp (4 of 5)25. You may be able to take slightly more off one end than another by varying the amount of hand pressure you apply. there shouldn't be more than 1/16 in. When a bottom-bearing bit is used in a router table. Router: A flush-trimming bit mounted in a router table is another quick way of cleaning up tapers. planer or tablesaw. and finish up with one smoothing pass.taunton. Then mark the second taper on the template stock by placing it on the tapered leg and setting them both on a flat surface.

Three Reliable Ways to Taper a Leg across your stock at the start of the taper.taunton. drawings: Jim Richey From Fine Woodworking #128. Photos: Vincent Laurence.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00036. and is a contributing editor to Fine Woodworking. 6063 Purchase back issues Taunton Home | Books & Videos | Taunton Plus | Contact Us | Customer Service Privacy Policy | Copyright Notice | Taunton Guarantee | About Us Fine Woodworking | Fine Homebuilding | Fine Cooking | Fine Gardening | Inspired House | Threads http://www. Gary Rogowski designs and builds furniture in Portland. Ore.asp (5 of 5)25.09.. and take lighter passes as you approach it. pp.2004 22:34:12 .

to 6 in. Every week catalogs arrive. chisels have not changed much.. firmer chisels. in a wide range of widths from about 1/8 in. when used effectively. the shape and length of the blade were modified to suit various tasks. full of a dizzying array of different chisels: long. intriguing Japanese chisels. heavy and wide framing chisels. to 2 in.09. choosing and tunng these mainstays of the woodworker's shop The Complete Guide to Sharpening Learn the most effective ways to sharpen your tools. long. a simple set of chisels covers all of your chopping and paring needs by Garrett Hack A few thousand years ago someone clever hammered out a hunk of bronze into a narrow blade. plus practical information on using. The blades on my everyday set of Swedish bench chisels are slightly tapered in length and beveled along the long sides. Links About Your Safety http://www. These are chisels with blades about 4 in. Unless you work entirely by hand. and many sets of bench chisels. The back of the chisel -the unbeveled side -.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00116. But a beveled blade can reach into tighter places. A blade with flat sides is stronger than one with beveled sides and is less expensive to manufacture.2004 20:10:31 . and with a wooden or plastic handle. and preferably 1 in. the performance of a chisel is determined by how well it is tuned.asp (1 of 6)26. fine-bladed paring chisels. such as for cutting small dovetails. Tapering the blade yields a tool stout enough for the hard work of chopping a mortise yet light enough to pare one-handed. behind the cutting edge. Generations of craftsmen since have tweaked the design: Tough steel replaced soft bronze. as some prefer. stubby butt chisels. Few other classic hand tools are still available in such variety.taunton. fitted a handle to one end.must be dead flat for at least 3/4 in. to 2 in. one of the most useful tools in the shop (see The versatile chisel). all you really need is a good set of what I call bench chisels or.Bench-Chisel Techniques YOU ARE HERE: Fine Woodworking Home Skills & Techniques Bench-Chisel Techniques From the pages of Fine Woodworking Magazine Entire Site Bench-Chisel Techniques Used correctly. They are still simple in form and. This flat plane guides and controls the cut: A curved back will rock and provide little control. sharpened the other against a stone and produced a chisel. stout mortise chisels. The only substantial differences between sets of bench chisels are the quality of the steel and the shapes of the blades.. from chisels to drill bits The Woodworker's Guide to Hand Tools An A to Z manual for your hand tools Prepare the chisel As with many other tools. The versatile chisel Free Project Plans Tools Skills & Techniques Joinery Finishing Workshop & Safety Materials Project Ideas Current Work Online Video Tips Online Extras Books & Videos Classic Hand Tools A celebration in word and picture. but in essence.

I test the sharpness of a chisel by paring a block of end-grain http://www. How to tell if your chisel is sharp It's worth repeating that a chisel must be very sharp to work well. 15° to 20°.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00116. the more easily the tool slices through wood fibers. thus losing the back guides and controls the cut and ensures a fine edge. is a little delicate. The author guides the the cutting edge. The result is a chisel that will not cut while resting on its back because the At least the first 3/4 in. as a source of control. The problem is that these tests are all a bit subjective. which being softer and more uneven. The back slightly. Everyone has a special way to test the sharpness of an edge: dragging it against a fingernail. Lightly hollow-grinding the bevel every three to four sharpenings speeds the honing process by reducing the area of steel in contact with the stone. For everyday bench work I aim for a 25° bevel whose width is about twice the thickness of the chisel. a stouter 30° to 35° bevel would hold up better. I then hone the edge on a medium India stone and a fine black Arkansas stone using kerosene After hollow-grinding a 25° as a lubricant. Work through the range of grits until you get a bright polish on your finest stone.asp (2 of 6)26. A preferably the first 1 in. increases the risk of rounding over the bevel. To chop tough end grain. shaving arm hair or plucking the edge with a finger. For a final strop I use some 0. The finer the bevel. Flattening the back of a bench chisel right to the cutting edge is tedious but important. is harder to control. Sloppy technique. I try to hone at bevel on the grinder. not keeping the back absolutely flat on a sharpening stone while honing. the a consistent 25° bevel with author hones the bevel on a medium and then a fine little or no microbevel along oilstone. for an extremely hard wood. where I raise the tool handle to hone a microbevel of 30°. and rounded edge is in the air. Once you have flattened the back. but a honing exception is when I need a guide can help until you slightly tougher cutting edge master the technique. but it works for a chisel reserved for light paring cuts in softwoods.taunton. to 2 chisel with a rounded edge in. more importantly. of the chisel's back should must be angled forward be perfectly flat. I use a grooved block of wood that holds the chisel handle. choose a cutting bevel angle based on the type of work you do.09.. A dull edge takes far more power to drive through the fibers and. I prefer this to a leather strop.2004 20:10:31 . The only chisel freehand. This is a compromise between ease of cutting and the durability of the edge. The back might still be flat except for this tiny back-bevel.Bench-Chisel Techniques Schools Clubs Knots Forum Events Another common problem is a slight rounding of the cutting edge on the back side..to 2-micron diamond paste smeared on a piece of Baltic birch plywood. set at a distance from the wheel to achieve the desired bevel angle. such as rosewood. creates this sort of rounding. A fine bevel.

the back and cutting edge are flat.Bench-Chisel Techniques white pine and then looking at both the shaving and the cut surface. http://www. ideally it should be uniformly polished.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00116. or it will exhibit fine tracks where tiny nicks in the chisel's cutting edge scraped across the wood. A mallet usually delivers the driving force. preferably directly over a leg. only a really sharp edge will cut a thin and whole shaving. is chopping. Proper technique ensures good results For most of us.09. The tuned chisel should be flat on the back and have a narrow band of honed steel along the cutting edge. Because softwood fibers are weak and easily torn from the surface. paring or some combination of the two. Looking at the end grain. If you can pare a shaving without lifting the chisel.2004 20:10:31 . so everything works best when you chop vertically. This can be against the end grain or along the grain. today we typically use them more often to adjust joints cut on a machine. using the chisel horizontally or vertically to slice away a thin shaving. much the same way you would use a knife. the back or cutting edge is rounded. If you have to lift the chisel to get it to cut. Chiseling tasks can be simplified to chopping. Cutting end grain.asp (3 of 6)26. But more likely there will be light flecks in the surface where fibers were torn away.taunton. Whereas chisels would once have been our primary tools for cutting all manner of joints. I also pare with the chisel in one hand and use my thumb as a lever. are long gone. your chisel is ready for action. such as excavating a mortise. with a slightly concave ground surface just behind. down against your bench. Next lay the chisel with the back flat on one of the longgrain sides of your block. Paring is often a hand-powered operation. the days of If you can leave a clean cut on working with hand tools alone pine end grain.

Cutting with a chisel held plumb is an acquired skill.09. waste up to your line. Because I have a good selection of chisel sizes. The final cut is with a chisel snug in the mortise and right on the line.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00116. switch to a light paring cut right on the line. Position your body above the work for paring the final shaving or two. I prefer the control of a plane to shave a surface. If this is hard for you. it's just plain quicker than reaching for the mallet each time after moving the work. A square set on end acts as a guide when squaring up the end of a mortise (right). Good paring takes both muscle and a feel for controlling the cut. or if you have to cut an angled mortise. After you have removed the bulk of the waste using a mallet. Finding the right angle is easiest when you are only slightly above the work and looking across the chisel. Also. Sighting against a square set on end helps.taunton. driving a chisel with a mallet allows you to concentrate all of your efforts on directing the tool.Bench-Chisel Techniques With experience you will be able to hold the chisel at the correct angle merely by sighting across and down it (left). A sharp chisel and a light cut give you the best chance for doing accurate work. saw a waste block to this angle and clamp it in place to guide your chisel. Paring to a line horizontally -. as does good light shining toward the work and you. The back is trying to guide the chisel plumb while the beveled side of the cutting edge presses the chisel against the back.Paring end grain gives you a whole new appreciation for the toughness of wood. especially in softwood. Light cuts yield more accurate results. Try to chop too large a chip. I waste as much wood as I can with a chisel narrower than the mortise. and then take a final light cut right on the line. This provides greater accuracy and control and allows you to undercut slightly. With a light cut this pressure breaks out the chip and holds the back right to the line. Holding the chisel plumb greatly speeds any chopping task. Chopping to a line vertically -.asp (4 of 6)26.Given a choice. Think about the cutting edge sinking into the wood. and the pressure will push your chisel beyond your line. For heavy chopping. Work around all four sides of a tenon to establish the shoulder line and to give you something to sight against when paring. But there are plenty of times when I don't have the right plane close at hand or when http://www. using the weight of your upper body to drive the chisel and both hands to guide it. Lightly chopping all the way around defines the shoulder of a tenon (left) before a final paring with hand power (right). Paring to a line vertically -.2004 20:10:31 . Take little bites.

com/finewoodworking/pages/w00116. slicing both forward and sideways.Bench-Chisel Techniques it's simply quicker to pare a few shavings with a chisel. Once mastered. This method is useful to deepen a mortise or dado (or shape a curved one) or to smooth the bottom of a recess for an inlay. pp.2004 20:10:31 . and the natural inclination of the chisel is to dig in.Holding the chisel like a penknife or a potato peeler. there are many paths to accurate and satisfying results. cutting both forward and sideways. the smoothest cuts are made with a slight shearing action. but a well-tuned bench chisel will work almost as well. Some of them might not feel comfortable at first. I find it's best to have one hand on the chisel handle and the other as close to the work. but everyday use at your bench is the surest way to master them. or cutting edge. Garrett Hack is a furniture maker in Thetford Center. Long and thin-bladed (for flexibility) paring chisels are the tools of choice here. Cutting bevel-side down -. Using the chisel as you would a penknife allows you to make delicate cuts such as slicing end grain or beveling a tenon. Vermont. smoothing out the pressure delivered by the hand on the handle. this technique allows for fine controlled cuts. raising or lowering the handle to adjust the depth of the cut. as practical. Sharpen a few chisels and practice these basic techniques. For maximum control when paring. 62-65 Purchase back issues http://www. As with all tools.When paring the bottom of a groove. with the blade cutting toward you.09. to shorten a tenon and to chamfer its ends. This hand also acts as a brake. Photos: Mark Schofield and Michael Pekovich From Fine Woodworking #150. The smoothest and easiest cuts are made with a slight shearing action. I use it to pare the end of a table leg. Turn the chisel upside down and use the bevel to guide the cut. takes some getting used to. The need for a perfectly flat chisel back is apparent when fitting a tenon.asp (5 of 6)26. This way you can raise or lower the handle slightly to control the depth of cut. while the hand close to the cutting edge holds the chisel steady and helps guide the cut. the flat back of a chisel can no longer be used as a guide.taunton. Paring while using the thumb as a lever -. even in end grain. When cutting horizontally.

2004 20:10:31 .asp (6 of 6)26.Bench-Chisel Techniques Taunton Home | Books & Videos | Taunton Plus | Contact Us | Customer Service Privacy Policy | Copyright Notice | Taunton Guarantee | About Us Fine Woodworking | Fine Homebuilding | Fine Cooking | Fine Gardening | Inspired House | Threads http://www.09.taunton.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00116.

Even though I was armed with premium-grade. not just the grit. I sanded with it. 50grit aluminum-oxide belts.Making Sense of Sandpaper YOU ARE HERE: Fine Woodworking Home Materials Making Sense of Sandpaper From the pages of Fine Woodworking Magazine two Making Sense of Sandpaper Knowing how it works is the first step in choosing the right abrasive The Wood Sanding Book Free Project Plans Tools Skills & Techniques Joinery Finishing Workshop & Safety Materials Project Ideas Current Work Online Video Tips Online Extras Books & Videos by Strother Purdy Years ago at a garage sale. Sandpaper's cutting is simply on a much smaller scale. machines. and methods Sandpaper is a cutting tool What sandpaper does to wood is really no different from what a saw. Sanding harder. It wasn't that the belts were bad.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00006. Sanding is necessary drudge work. improved only by spending less time doing it. I bought a pile of no-name sandpaper for just pennies a sheet. I was simply using the wrong abrasive for the job. I got it home.taunton. Links About Your Safety Schools Clubs http://www. but nothing came off the wood.09. the grit came off the paper. Each component. A 36-grit ceramic belt would have cut my sanding time substantially. Then you won't waste time sanding or end up burning the stuff in your wood stove. you'll be able to choose your sandpaper wisely. Not long ago. I tried to take the finish off some maple flooring. contributes to the sandpaper's performance. As I learned. you can't go right buying cheap stuff. They all have sharp points or edges that cut wood fibers. Veteran furniture maker and author Sandor Nagyszalanczy expands your understanding of abrasive materials. how long it lasts and how smooth the results will be. If you know how the components work together. The only substantial difference between sandpaper and other cutting tools is that sandpaper can't be sharpened. and use it efficiently. the work took far too long. It didn't even burn very well in my wood stove. but it's still easy to go wrong with the best sandpaper that's available. The key to choosing the right sandpaper is knowing how the many different kinds of sandpaper work. a plane or a chisel does. for example.2004 1:35:07 . determining how quickly it works.asp (1 of 5)26.

making it slippery. which are called swarf in industry jargon. and preventing it from bonding to the sandpaper.soap.09. adhesive and a cloth. the abrasive grains dig into the surface and cut out minute shavings. where only 40% to 70% of the backing is covered with abrasive. not sticky. even hand-sanding. In this state. giving the shavings a place to go.which helps keep the sandpaper from clogging with swarf. The abrasive minerals are bonded to the backing by two coats of adhesive. To the naked eye. Look at sandpaper up close. first the make coat bonds them to the backing. much the way that sawteeth are supported by the sawblade. The grains are supported by a cloth or paper backing and two adhesive bonds. irregularly shaped sawteeth . Closed-coat sandpaper is more appropriate on other materials such as steel and glass because the particles of swarf are much smaller. and given the chance. Even the spaces between the abrasive grains serve an important role.asp (2 of 5)26. paper or polyester backing. they look like the shavings produced by saws or other cutting tools. and you'll see that the sharp tips of the abrasive grains look like small. These papers are covered with a substance called zinc stearate -. or stearated.Making Sense of Sandpaper Knots Forum Events Sandpaper is made of abrasive minerals. these shavings look like fine dust.taunton. Wood resin and most finishes will become molten from the heat generated by sanding. Closed-coat sandpaper. these substances are very sticky.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00006. then the size coat locks them in position. really -. Stearated papers are only useful for sanding finishes and resinous woods. Methods for sanding efficiently Sanding a rough surface smooth in preparation for a finish seems a pretty straightforward proposition.2004 1:35:07 . they will firmly glue themselves to the sandpaper. As sandpaper is pushed across wood. The spaces in an open coat are hard to see in fine grits but are very obvious in coarse grades. This is why sandpaper designed for wood has what's called an open coat. They work the way gullets on sawblades do. Magnified. Stearates work by attaching to the molten swarf. Some sandpaper is advertised as non-loading. where the backing is entirely covered with abrasive. is not appropriate for sanding wood because the swarf has no place to go and quickly clogs the paper. For a board fresh out of the http://www.

Skipping a grit will increase the work negligibly and may save you some materials. if you sand a board on one side with a 120-grit ceramic. Choosing from the four abrasive minerals Four common abrasive minerals are aluminum oxide. however. But what holds true for planing wood is also true for sanding. However. For example. and progress incrementally without skipping a grade up to the finer grits. When I use my orbital. First make passes at 45° to 60° to both the left and the right. usually -. When sanding maple. you simply erase the scratches you made previously with finer and smaller scratches until. the softest. Sanding the surface with a finer grit is only necessary if you're going to use a water-based finish.taunton. It will seem as if you sanded the two sides with different grit sizes. Except for garnet. for instance. You will waste your time if you can't tell the difference. it's not always wise to sand to a finer grit. perhaps 80-grit or 100-grit. they will have no place to stick. without them.09. because the wood-fiber bundles offer the least resistance to the cutting edges. you will be able to feel a distinct difference between the surfaces. I just sand with the grain. Do this with each grit when belt-sanding and hand-sanding. but not a good idea when working with hardwoods.How many times have you been told never to sand across the grain? True enough. But these deep scratches leave a coarse finish. Sand faster across the grain -. This. Cross-grain scratches are harder to remove simply because they are deeper. for different cutting properties. for example. designed if you will. skipping two grits between 80 and 180 will probably double the total sanding time. consequently. At each step. sand the wood faster.For sanding bare wood. Then. Softer minerals within the same grit size will cut far more slowly but leave a smoother finish. You will plane and sand faster and more easily when the direction of your cuts is between 45° and 60° to the grain. look terrible and are hard to remove with the next finer grit. The non-linear sanding action of random-orbit and orbital sanders can't take advantage of the wood's grain properties. You will also wear out more 180-grit sandpaper. but it will take you far more work than if you use 150-grit first. the scratches are too small to see or feel. Don't skip grits. Harder and sharper minerals cut deeper scratches and. Maple sanded to 400-grit will not take a pigmented stain. making an X-pattern on the workpiece. sand with the grain to remove the cross-grain scratches. and the other side with 120-grit garnet.or 220-grit -. Sanding the wood to 220-grit or finer will prepare the surface better. The scratches are much more obvious.Making Sense of Sandpaper planer. and you may create problems in finishing. at 180-grit or 220-grit. they are all manufactured. These finishes will pick up and telegraph the smallest scratches. Soft woods take much less work overall to sand smooth. http://www. is not as true with woods such as pine. You can remove the scratches left by 120grit sandpaper with 180-grit. Use a combination of cross-grain and with-grain sanding to get the smoothest surface in the fastest manner. the hardest abrasive mineral. 180-grit will generally give you a surface that looks and feels perfectly smooth and is ready for a finish of some kind.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00006. whether you sand with or across the grain. Pigments work by lodging themselves into nooks and crannies on the surface. Sand bare wood to 180. so you don't really save any materials. But there are a fair number of opinions on how to do this most efficiently. silicon carbide. woodworkers know to start with a coarse paper.Skipping a grit to save time and sandpaper is a common temptation. ceramics and garnet (see Four abrasive minerals). with the same grit.asp (3 of 5)26.2004 1:35:07 .

such as P320. particles are graded through a series of wire mesh screens. then you won't mind that we have three major abrasive gritgrading systems. The chart is helpful in comparing grits of the three grading systems. Flat backings position the minerals on a more even level so they cut at a more consistent depth. The Europeans have the P-scale. The supporting role of backings and bonds The backing's stiffness and flatness influence the quality and speed of the sandpaper's cut. Standard Scale. The smaller grit sizes are graded through an air. Customary (foot. the Coated Abrasives Manufacturers Institute (CAMI) regulates the U.S. I find microngraded abrasives make a substantial difference. printed on them. faster. In North America. such as 320. But for polishing a high-gloss finish. The three systems grade particle size to different tolerances but by the same methods. regulated by the Federation of European Producers Association (FEPA). Some fine points about grading scales If you don't mind that we have two measurement systems. For instance. This means that the CAMI-scale tolerates a wider range of grain sizes within the definition of 180-grit than the P-scale. These abrasives are identifiable by the letter P in front of the grit size. The other consideration is the flatness of the backing. gallon) and the International (meter. consequently. P-graded and micron-graded abrasives give more consistent cuts with fewer stray scratches from outsized minerals. This system is identified by the Greek letter mu. From the coarsest grits up to about 220. Finally. Abrasives on the Pscale are graded to tighter tolerances than CAMI-graded abrasives. The stiffer the paper. to make sure everyone is really confused.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00006. There are many other factors that influence the appropriateness of a sandpaper for a job. but it doesn't tell the whole story. Micron-graded abrasives on polyester films are about three times as expensive as paper products and probably not worth it for sanding wood.or water-flotation process that separates particles by weight. They will cut deeper and. Wrapping the sandpaper around a block of wood will allow a faster cut than sanding with the paper against the palm of your hand. CAMI-graded sandpapers simply have numbers. which has nothing to do with its stiffness. For the most part. You must even consider what's behind the backing. for example. I have a hard time telling the difference between wood sanded with a 100µ finishing film abrasive and standard 120grit sandpaper. Soft backings and bonds will allow the abrasives to deflect more.taunton. resulting in http://www. liter). an easy Soft backings on sanding tools won't support the sandpaper way to speed up your orbital and make it cut more slowly. sander is by exchanging the soft pad for a stiff one. the U.2004 1:35:07 . Tolerances are even tighter for micron grading. S.Making Sense of Sandpaper It's easy to rate each mineral's hardness and sharpness. but it's not as simple to prescribe specific uses beyond generalizations. there is a totally different micron grading system. as in 30µ.asp (4 of 5)26. on a backing suited to a smooth cut. You will have a hard time finding an aggressive abrasive mineral. the less the abrasive minerals will deflect while cutting. giving light scratches and a smooth finish.09. manufacturers choose adhesives and backings to augment the characteristics of a particular abrasive grit.

Both are heat-resistant. separated from the backing. but hide glue is cheap and very flexible. including Mylar. drawing: Tim Langenderfer From Fine Woodworking #125. It will produce the coarsest and fastest cut. Polyester films. A-weight paper that has been waterproofed is approximately equivalent to a B-weight paper. a heavy X and a light J. Taunton Home | Books & Videos | Taunton Plus | Contact Us | Customer Service Privacy Policy | Copyright Notice | Taunton Guarantee | About Us Fine Woodworking | Fine Homebuilding | Fine Cooking | Fine Gardening | Inspired House | Threads http://www.or phenolic-formaldehyde resins. They will give the most consistently even cut and at a faster rate than paper. D.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00006. They are extremely flat and pretty stiff. E and F (lightest to heaviest). look and feel like plastic. They are designed to remain perfectly flat. Photos: Strother Purdy. and if used like a hand sheet. form knife-like edges that dig into and mark the work. Adhesive bonds on modern sandpaper are almost exclusively urea. waterproof and stiff. The backings for hand sheets and belts are designed to flex around curves without breaking. It comes in grades A. Hide glue is sometimes used in conjunction with a resin on paper sheets. C. It is not waterproof or heat-resistant. When this article was written. if one existed. Paper is not as stiff as cloth but it's flatter.Making Sense of Sandpaper fewer stray scratches and a smoother surface.taunton. This is not true for sanding discs for random-orbit sanders.asp (5 of 5)26.09. This is called knifeedging because the mineral and adhesive.2004 1:35:07 . pp. Cloth is the stiffest but least-flat backing. 6267 Purchase back issues The adhesive and backing on a random-orbit sanding pad can crack if the disc is folded like ordinary sandpaper. the adhesive will crack off in large sections. Strother Purdy was an assistant editor of Fine Woodworking. Cloth comes in two grades.

carving and general woodworking tools. It is equipped with two aluminium oxide grinding wheels. A full description can be found in the "Grinding Jigs" section.uk/default. This jig.2004 4:02:20 . an adaptor to fix the jig securely onto the grinder and full instructions on setting-up and use. comprises the O'Donnell sharpening jig. a precision grinding jig from O'Donnell Sharpening Systems. Order Code APTCDPWS Description Axminster Universal Vertical Whetstone Grinder Price inc VAT Quantity £143.co. which can be adjusted to the ideal grinding angle for all your tools. Sharpening & Polishing Hand Tools Health & Safety Kitchen Knives Machinery Measurement & Gauges Power Tools Router Cutters The Axminster Universal Wetstone Grinder is an effective and economically-priced sharpening machine. perfect for maintaining a super-sharp edge on a whole range of turning.axminster.Axminster Power Tool Centre Axminster Universal Vertical Whetstone Grinder CLEARANCE OFFERS Abrasives. Adhesives & Finishes Books & Videos Boring Bits Building & Decorating Carving Fixings Gardening & Outdoor Products Grinding. carries an adjustable bevel guide for the accurate grinding of skew chisels. high speed one for small dry grinding jobs and a 10" diameter 220 grit one which runs at low speed in a water bath to put a really fine finish on the edge without any risk of burning. a 5". There are two optional extras available for the machine: firstly a 10" diameter 800 grit Japanese waterstone for getting the ultimate polished edge on the tools and secondly.asp?part=APTCDPWS (1 of 2)28. The built-in grinding rest.35 Select Add to basket Add to basket http://www.09.

Compressors & Pneumatic Tools Woodturning Work Handling. Benches & Boxes VACANCIES Powered by elucid © 2003 Axminster Power Tool Centre Ltd .asp?part=APTCDPWS (2 of 2)28.uk/default.2004 4:02:20 .Axminster Power Tool Centre Welders.All Rights Reserved http://www.co.axminster.09.

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restraint.Projects & Design Submit Query Woodworking Log In | Shopping Cart Find and purchase articles from the Fine Woodworking Archive to help you with your project.09. A Simple Way to Upholster Chairs Slim. and offer display spaces — by Jim Tolpin In the Modern Style: A Stylish Credenza Fine Woodworking Home In the Current Issue Symmetry and subtle shadow lines give Patrick Warner's maple and yellow satinwood office credenza a dynamic visual rhythm Building Fireplace Mantels: Simple Federal Mantel Advertiser Index Magazine Index Plans for a project that shows elegant proportion. tips & techniques.asp (1 of 3)2005.14 00:58:51 .com/finewoodworking/pages/fw_feat_projdes.. create boundaries.taunton. comfortable slip seat works for most chairs and uses common materials — by Michael Fortune Built-In Furniture: Foyers and Living Rooms Renew Subscription Give a Gift Well-designed furnishings can fill entire walls.. and balance. Building a Humidor Maintaining tropical humidity in a box takes precise joinery and Spanish cedar — by Rick Allyn Search Fine Woodworking Archive YES! I want expert woodworking advice.Feature Library .and it can be built in a weekend — by Mario Rodriguez Children's Furniture Projects: Child's Rocker Contact the Staff Author Guidelines Plans for a sturdy plywood chair that can be disassembled and stored flat — by Jeff Miller Buy Back Issues Order Slipcases http://www.

14 00:58:51 .Feature Library .taunton. featured in the May/June 2001 issue of Fine Woodworking (#149) http://www. joinery tips.com/finewoodworking/pages/fw_feat_projdes. this bed still captures the essential Shaker style — by Jeff Miller Workbench Hardware A complete parts list for Dick McDonough's workbench. support ideas and more — by Bill Hylton Designing a Rocking Chair Seat placement and back angle are two of the many things to consider — by Mario Rodriguez Plans. then build the clock around it — by Chris Becksvoort Free Project Plans Tools Skills & Techniques Joinery Finishing Workshop & Safety Materials Project Ideas Readers Gallery Home Storage Projects: Kitchen Work Station Chests of Drawers: Drawer-Building Basics Details on drawer construction.asp (2 of 3)2005. latch — by Chris Becksvoort Build a Shaker-Style Bed Using contemporary construction techniques.Projects & Design Building a Shaker Wall Clock Choose your movement first. a cut list and complete instructions for building a kitchen work station on wheels — by Paul Anthony Making an End Table Video Tips Online Extras The beauty of this Arts-and-Crafts design is in the details — by Stephen Lamont Vineyard Table Complete plans for a trestle table with a twist Links About Your Safety Schools Clubs Knots Discussion Events — by Kim Carleton Graves Building a Sleigh Bed Sensuous curves and well-chosen details enhance a simple design — by Chris Becksvoort Create an Elegant Latch from a Simple Spinner Place the spinner within the door stile for a clean. almost hidden. wood choices.09.

Remodeling & Design | Cooking | Gardening | Fiber Arts Fine Woodworking | Fine Homebuilding | Inspired House | Fine Cooking | Fine Gardening | Threads http://www.09.taunton.asp (3 of 3)2005.Projects & Design Build a Trapezoidal Bookcase This Arts and Crafts-styled piece combines through-tenon joinery and biscuit-anchored shelves — by Niall Barrett Taunton Home | Books & Videos | Contact Us | Customer Service Privacy Policy | Copyright Notice | Taunton Guarantee | About Us | Advertise | Press Room Woodworking | Home Building.14 00:58:51 .Feature Library .com/finewoodworking/pages/fw_feat_projdes.

) Chests of Drawers YES! I want expert woodworking advice. He lives in Brooklyn. Open or download the 16-page PDF file below for the complete chapter on making this Vineyard Table. and it's taken up permanent residence in his living room.14 00:59:07 . but you can make the top for this table in almost any size or shape as long as the width clears the feet when the table is flipped.taunton. I love the look of the figured white oak in this table. Some sources claim these tables were used by grape pickers in French vineyards for working lunches.pdf Renew Subscription Give a Gift Plans and instructions for building nine classic beds Bookcases Eleven classic bookcase projects Desks Fine Woodworking Home In the Current Issue Advertiser Index Magazine Index Seven desk projects from laptop to Chippendale Tables Contact the Staff Author Guidelines Plans and instructions for ten classic tables. The central "harp" spins around on one set of dowels and the tabletop flips on a second set of dowels to create a remarkably compact package. (Requires the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print PDF files. while others say they were used in wineries for wine tastings. but the original tables were made by carpenters from whatever woods were available locally. this one is easily modified to suit the builder's taste and talents. since the tables fold easily for storage and transportation. Video Tips Online Extras Links http://www.09. designed and built this table as a second table for family gatherings at his house.asp (1 of 2)2005.com/finewoodworking/pages/bw0003. His article on duplicating spindles appeared in the May/June 2000 issue of Fine Woodworking (#142). tips & techniques. He found it too useful to stow away between occasions. Neal White of San Jose. from historic pieces to contemporary styles Buy Back Issues Order Slipcases Free Project Plans Tools Skills & Techniques Joinery Finishing Workshop & Safety Materials Project Ideas Readers Gallery (Download should take approximately 2 minutes on a 56K modem) On the vineyard table. dating back 300 years or more. Like all trestle tables. California. Furniture maker Kim Carleton Graves has been designing and building high-end custom furniture for ten years. Plans and instructions for building seven classic chests of drawers Beds VineyardTable. Vineyard tabletops are typically round or elliptical. New York.Vineyard Table Submit Query Woodworking Log In | Shopping Cart Excerpted from Dining Tables Vineyard Table Complete plans for a trestle table with a twist by Kim Carleton Graves The vineyard table is almost as old a design as the trestle table. Both stories may be true. and the tabletop is held level by a beautiful harp-shaped support. hinges replace joints between the legs and cleats.

asp (2 of 2)2005. drawings: © The Taunton Press From Dining Tables. pp.com/finewoodworking/pages/bw0003. Remodeling & Design | Cooking | Gardening | Fiber Arts Fine Woodworking | Fine Homebuilding | Inspired House | Fine Cooking | Fine Gardening | Threads http://www.Vineyard Table About Your Safety Schools Clubs Knots Discussion Events Photos: Richard Bienkowski. 56-64 Purchase back issues Taunton Home | Books & Videos | Contact Us | Customer Service Privacy Policy | Copyright Notice | Taunton Guarantee | About Us | Advertise | Press Room Woodworking | Home Building.09.14 00:59:07 .taunton.

taunton.com .This is an excerpt from the book Dining Tables by Kim Carleton Graves Copyright 2001 by The Taunton Press www.

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I love the look of the figured white oak in this table. He found it too useful to stow away between occasions. Neal White of San Jose. but you can make the top for this table in almost any size or shape as long as the width clears the feet when the table is flipped. while others say they were used in wineries for wine tastings. California. Both stories may be true. this one is easily modified to suit the builder’s taste and talents. and it’s 57 . designed and built this table as a second table for family gatherings at his house. since the tables fold easily for storage and transportation. dating back 300 years or more.Vineyard Table T he vineyard table is almost as old a design as the trestle table. 40 except that hinges have replaced the joints between the legs and cleats. but the original tables were made by carpenters from whatever woods were available locally. The vineyard table is similar to the trestle table on p. The central “harp” spins around on one set of dowels and the tabletop flips on a second set of dowels to create a remarkably compact package. Some sources claim these tables were used by grape pickers in French vineyards for working lunches. taken up permanent residence in his living room. Vineyard tabletops are typically round or elliptical. and the tabletop is held level by a beautiful harp-shaped support. Like all trestle tables.

The harp-shaped structure pivots outward to support the tabletop when the tabletop is set up for use. allowing the tabletop to flip down or be removed for storage and transportation.Vineyard Table THE VINEYARD TABLE is similar to a trestle table in construction. Top Cleat Harp Dowel Leg Stretcher Foot Footpad 58 V I N E YA R D T A B L E . except that the cleats are hinged instead of joined to the legs.

END VIEW 32" 17/8" 33/16" 3/4" SIDE VIEW 1" 16" 11/2" 2" 21/2 " dia. 11/4 " 3/4" 27" 1/2" 21/2 " 2" 23/4" 4 7/16" 33/4" 1" 1/2 " 23/4 " 23/4" 25" 1" 11/2 " HARP 191/2" 2" 2215/16" 41/2" V I N E YA R D T A B L E 59 . 31/2" 33/16" 2" 27" 221/2 " R 13/8" dia.

The most challenging task is to fit the pieces together so that the tabletop opens and closes easily and remains level when open. 3. Making the Parts Preparing the stock The critical dimensions in this table are the lengths of the legs. 60 V I N E YA R D T A B L E . Face-joint and edge the boards. thickness. and the lengths of the stretchers. 2. x 33⁄16 in. or bandsaw is all you need to cut out the parts. oversize in length. Face-joint and edge-joint the boards and plane them to finished 1-in. However. adjustments to the dowels and leveling blocks should be made dynamically. and sandpaper can be used to sculpt them to final shape. a very basic joint. In addition. ⁄2 in. If these aren’t equal. arranging and aligning the boards to get the best match for color and grain. x 11⁄2 in. the trestle won’t be square. x 1 in. 1. while round tables have nearly 49 in. Cut all tabletop boards to the same length. x 46 in. 221⁄2 in. x 2 in. x 1 in. Begin with 8/4 rough stock for the feet and footpads and 6/4 rough stock for all other parts. x 11⁄2 in. x 1 in. 27 in. x 31⁄2 in. carpenter-made furniture. I’ve chosen to stick to basic tools and techniques. The shape of the tabletop determines how much clearance you have. because the curved shape clears the feet. x 2 in. 5 in. 1 11⁄2 in. and doweled hinges are used for the moving parts. leave them several inches oversize.Building the Table Step-by-Step CUT LIST FOR VINEYARD TABLE Ta b l e t o p a n d L e g A s s e m b l y 1 2 2 4 2 2 2 1 2 Tabletop Legs Feet Footpads1 Stretchers Cleats Harp legs Harp cross bar Leveling blocks1 60 in. 191⁄2 in. T he elaborate pattern-cutting techniques described for other projects in this book can be used for this table. coping saw. is used for the harp pieces. x 23⁄4 in. since vineyard tables are traditionally simple. then rip the parts to finished width. x 21⁄2 in. x 1 in. Another new but simple technique introduced here is drawing the ellipse for the tabletop. the width of the tabletop must clear the feet when the table is flipped up for storage. planes. Clamp the tabletop. x 1 in. Although 5/4 might work. by #10 The leveling blocks and footpads can be cut from the foot cutoffs. x 1 in. Hardware 2 2 4 1 2 Hardwood wooden dowels2 Hardwood wooden dowels2 Steel wood screws 3 ⁄4 in. Making the tabletop 1. but the lap joint. diameter x 3 in. then rip them to width and plane to finished thickness. See Sources of Supply on p. Glue up boards for the tabletop in a rectangular shape. Since every table is slightly different. x 1 in. diameter x 3 in. and allow the glue to cure overnight. x 13⁄8 in. Crosscut the trestle parts 2 in. scrapers. 183. When cutting to rough length. A jigsaw. the widths of the feet. 32 in. Rectangular tables have about 45 in. you would risk not being able to get all the parts out. of clearance. 2215⁄16 in. Mortise-and-tenon joints hold the legs and stretchers together. 25 in. x 41⁄2 in. 5 in. using plenty of clamps (see the sidebar on the facing page).

2. and cut them out with a mortising machine or chisel. 3.How Many Clamps? The object of clamping is to put pressure on all of the surfaces being glued.” solves the problem in the middle but creates new low-pressure areas near the edges. making sure the mortise is centered on the foot. as shown in “b. remove the clamps and place the tabletop upside down on your workbench. Imagine clamp pressure as radiating 45 degrees on either side from the point of application. there may be little or no pressure at some points on the glueline.” In this example. I prefer using enough clamps to provide pressure at all points on the gluelines. closing the gaps. 3. With a panel the same size and narrower boards. and cut out the ellipse using a jigsaw or coping saw. After the glue cures. I needed five clamps to get enough pressure. Draw an ellipse on the underside of the tabletop as described in the sidebar on p. Good overlap pressure in all areas No pressure area Low pressure area Overlap pressure Good pressure Not enough pressure 45° 45° a b c 2. If the clamps are spaced too far apart. as shown in “c. mortises with a mortising gauge. Moving the outer clamps toward the center. Making the feet 1. V I N E YA R D T A B L E 61 . 62. I would have needed even more clamps. Cut the feet to final length. Glue the footpads to the feet and allow the glue to cure overnight (see photo A). Some woodworkers recommend springing the boards so they meet at the ends but gap slightly in the center. 4. The board acts as a combination spring and caul. Mark out the 1⁄2-in. Finish shaping the ellipse with a belt sander held against the edge or a sanding block with 80-grit sandpaper. as shown in illustration “a” below.

draw a 38 ⁄2-in. By varying the position of the nails and the length of the string. along this line— this will be the end of the table’s short axis. 46" 90° 191/4" 191/4" 23" 60" 62 V I N E YA R D T A B L E . and a piece of string. line on the underside of 1 Place a small finishing nail at each end of the line to mark the foci. once adjusted. draw the ellipse.Drawing an Ellipse Every ellipse has two foci. To generate the ellipse for this table. long. Following this definition. String Put small finishing nails at the two foci. draw a line crossing the center of the first line at right angles. and put the loop around the nails. Take a piece of string about 100 in. The sum of the distances to the two foci is equal from any point on the ellipse. centered along the long axis. Next. Hold the pencil here. Mark a point 23 in. Adjust the position of the knot so that a pencil held against the taut string will hit the point you’ve marked. the ellipse is formed. (The loop of string. you can generate an infinite number of ellipses.) Finally. should measure 981⁄2 in. the tabletop. or focus points. tie it in a loop. As the pencil moves. you can lay out an ellipse with two nails. a pencil.

remove the tenon cheeks. Enlarge the illustration below to full size or create a pattern of your own. Cut both legs to final length. 5. 5. 2. Sneak up on the final width so the tenons will fit snugly into the mortises of the feet without binding. At the top of each leg. Using a tenon jig and the table saw. cut out the feet. 3. then plane. PATTERNS FOR CURVED PARTS Foot Cleat Harp leg 1 in. Photo A: Clamp across the joints to register the sides of the footpads with the sides of the feet. then cut these with a mortising machine or mortising chisel. Making the legs 1. Mark out the mortises for the top and bottom stretchers. = 1 square V I N E YA R D T A B L E 63 . Using a bandsaw or coping saw. lay out a 31⁄2-in. Draw diagonals between the corners to find the center of the square.4. square. Use a compass to draw a half-circle at the top of each leg (see photo B). or sand the edges smooth. Mark the shoulders of the bottom tenons and use a table saw to establish the shoulder line. 4. scrape. then trace it onto the feet.

The tenons should fit snugly into the leg mortises. Drill out a 3⁄4-in. using a Forstner bit as shown in photo C (see Sources of Supply on p. holes 1 in. 4. Use a bandsaw or coping saw to cut out the half-circle. Sand the half-circle to shape using a sanding block with 80-grit paper. cut the tenons. 3. Photo C: Forstner bits leave clean entry holes even in difficult wood. 64 V I N E YA R D T A B L E . then drill 1⁄2-in. deep at both spots to accept the pivot dowels on the harp. 7. Mark the shoulders on one end of a stretcher. 2. You don’t want a loose fit here. Set a stop on your miter gauge.Photo B: Mark the outside circle before drilling the pivot hole. Cut the two stretchers to length. 8. Don’t use a paddle or high-speed bit for this hole—you won’t get clean or accurate results. 6. Find the center of the top edge for both stretchers. and cut the shoulders for all four tenons on your table saw. Using a tenon jig. so sneak up on the fit until it’s just right. Back up the exit hole with a piece of scrap so the exit is clean. Making the stretchers 1. dowel hole at the marked center. 183).

Pry the chisel toward you. or more into the wood with each blow. The knife lines are important because they delineate the top and bottom of the mortise. then cut the other shoulder of the mortise square. Holding the wooden mallet in your dominant hand. The chisel should cut 1⁄8 in. If you position your body correctly. hit the chisel hard with a single whack. Now reverse the chisel to its original position and go back to the far end of the mortise. V I N E YA R D T A B L E 65 . Next. Just as you tune woodworking machinery. 183). Clamp the workpiece to your bench so that it’s on your right side if you’re right-handed or on your left side if you’re left-handed. It also absorbs the stresses of mortising. Keep working down the mortise until you get to the near end. Don’t be shy and tap-tap-tap on the chisel. Start by laying out the mortise with a marking gauge. combination square. You can order the chisels. and you aren’t shy about whacking the chisel. and hold it with your nondominant hand. the chisel will be vertical. and the chip between the first and second cut will come out (see the bottom photo). and the wooden mallet used with them. Reverse the chisel so the bevel faces away from you. Continue the mortising operation until the mortise is deep enough. and marking knife. hand-mortising can be very fast and accurate. If you do this correctly.Using a Mortising Chisel A mortising chisel is thicker than an ordinary chisel. closer to you and whack it again. by mail from specialty tool catalogs (see Sources of Supply on p. the extra thickness allows the chisel to self-jig once the mortise is started. reposition the chisel 1⁄8 in. The width of the chisel acts to jig the tool in the mortise that’s already cut. Body positioning is the trick to successful use of a mortising chisel. Position the chisel at the far end of the mortise with the bevel facing you. Align your body with the workpiece (see the top photo). you must also train your body to use hand tools.

Forstner bit. 3. and sanding blocks with 80-grit sandpaper. Using a 3⁄8-in. 3. but if you follow the sequence you won’t have any trouble. First drill the plug recesses 3⁄8 in. The two halves of the harp are identical. Making the cleats 1. drill out the pivot holes. 2. Now that the scrap joint fits. Cut the two harp legs to length. 63 to full size or make up your own shape. you’re ready to cut your money joints. Test the joint. Rotate your miter gauge counterclockwise. then mark the pattern onto the cleats. “wobbling out” the bottom slightly to allow for seasonal wood movement (see the illustration above). Repeat the process for the second leg. in diameter by 1 ⁄4 in. and make two cuts in the scrap using a miter gauge (see photo E).SCREW HOLES FOR ATTACHING CLEATS TO TABLETOP 1/8" through hole (”wobbled out“ for wood movement) 3/8" hole by 1/4" deep (plugged after installing screw) Photo D: If you cut your own plugs. Tip: For the harp legs. then cut out the shapes. With a 3⁄4-in. Mill up to your lines using planes. deep and 3 in. Practice this joint on scrap wood first. Saw out the pattern using a bandsaw or coping saw. cut the joinery while the workpieces are still square. in diameter all the way through the cleat. 5. and cut the shoulder of the lap joint for the top joint on one leg. Adjusting height dynamically is much more accurate than trying to measure. radius circles. you can match the grain direction and make the plugs almost invisible. Mark for and drill the four tabletop attachment screw holes on the cleat bottoms. the two lap joints are on the same side. 1. Cutting them can be complicated because they are angled. then 66 V I N E YA R D T A B L E . setting it to a heavy 61 degrees. Put a dado set on your table saw. and using two pieces of scrap the same thickness as the harp pieces. 7. Set a stop block on the miter gauge. Through the center of each recess. Mark the positions for the 13⁄8-in. Either enlarge the illustration on p. plug cutter as shown in photo D. 4. Raise the dado set so it just meets the halfwidth line. 6. Clamp the stock to the drill-press table so the workpiece doesn’t spin. scrapers. As always. Making the harp The harp is assembled with lap joints that are glued but not screwed or pinned together. getting as close as you dare to the line. 2. Mark the positions for the pivot holes. from each cleat end. adjusting the height of the dado set until you achieve a perfect fit. mark half the width on each of them. make four plugs from scrap. drill a hole 1 ⁄8 in.

then turn the practice piece over to see the difference between the blade and the remaining work. Make sure the shoulders of the two top laps are perpendicular. 63 to full size or make your own design and trace it onto the workpiece. 9. since bandsawing out the harp is not an accurate method of making symmetrical parts. The measurement for the two laps on the cross bar probably won’t be identical. setting it to a heavy 57 degrees. 6. so don't worry about making them exact. remove the stop block and cut out the waste on both top joints. Repeat for the second harp leg. Set the fence on your table saw so you just slightly trim the front shoulder. then flip the harp and trim the other leg (see photo F).Photo E: Cut the joint slightly thick. so take a measurement for one of the shoulders from one leg of the harp using a combination HARP LAYOUT Glue up the workpieces while they're still square. 5. Your only concern is to fit the top bar accurately between the legs. 4. Rotate your miter gauge clockwise. Measure across the top of the legs of the harp and cut the cross bar to final length. The lines of the harp are purely decorative. Cut out the design using a bandsaw or coping saw. using the nibs to hold the clamps. Set a stop block on the miter gauge. Now that the bottom joint is finished. Enlarge the illustration on p. mark out and cut the harp shape. then remove the stop block and cut out the waste on both joints. and cut the shoulder of the lap joint for the bottom joint. 7. Glue the two harp legs together while they’re still square. V I N E YA R D T A B L E 67 . Do this by trial. That way you can glue up across the joint. 8.

the cross bar is no longer symmetrical. cut off the two top nibs using a handsaw. Remove the stop and cut out the waste on the two joints.Tip: Be sure to cut the two lap joints on opposite sides of the harp cross bar. Photo G: Fitting the bar into the opening between the legs is tricky. Reset the stop for the second shoulder. Photo F: Run the harp against the fence and cut the top shoulders square. hole there. and cut the second shoulder. Use paper shims to microadjust the stop. hardwood dowel and glue it in place. Set a stop on your miter gauge so that one shoulder on the cross bar is correctly positioned. Tip: Once you’ve drilled the hole for the dowel. 12. When the glue is dry. Sand the top flush with an 80-grit sanding block. Fit the cross bar to the harp leg assembly with the dowel facing down and glue and clamp it. square. 11. 10. Transfer it to one end of the cross bar. 68 V I N E YA R D T A B L E . by 1⁄2-in. then turn the workpiece around and upside down so that the cut you just made faces up. Mark the center of the bottom edge of the cross bar and drill a 1⁄2-in. then repeat the procedure and transfer the measurement to the other end of the cross bar. It’s easiest to cut both shoulders until the bar just fits. Cut the shoulder using the dado set (see photo G). Fit that hole with a 3-in.

This ensures that the bottom is parallel to the cross bar. and harp to 220 grit. doing a dry glue-up will prevent problems from arising when you’re gluing for real. Break all of the edges using a sanding block so the edges are comfortable to touch. Spread PVA glue into the foot mortises on one leg structure and then onto the tenons on the leg. 4. run the cross bar against the fence to cut the harp bottom. 3. This ensures that the bottom is parallel with the top (see photo H). and dryclamp the assembly to make sure you have everything in order. Drill a 1⁄2-in. feet. Spread glue into the four leg mortises and onto the stretcher tenons.Photo H: After you’ve glued the cross bar to the harp and cut off the nibs. Measure for square across the diagonals and correct any deviation. Assembling the trestle The top stretcher must be inserted through the harp before the trestle assembly is glued up. then clamp the structure. cleats. making sure all the joints are tight. Insert the tenons. run the top rail of the harp against the table-saw fence. 1. cutting off the bottom. 13. 2. using a 150-grit belt. Use waxed paper between the leg and glue blocks so the blocks don’t stick to the leg. you won’t be able to get the harp on. by 1⁄2-in. using a random-orbit sander on the flat surfaces and sanding blocks on the curves. hardwood dowel. Assemble both leg structures dry to make sure everything fits together properly. Glue the dowel into place. 14. If you forget. V I N E YA R D T A B L E 69 . Start with a belt sander on the tabletop. hole into the bottom and fit that hole with another 3-in. Insert the stretcher Assembling and Finishing Up Sanding Sand the legs. then finish up with the random-orbit sander. To cut the bottom of the harp. Tip: Make sure the pivot holes on the stretchers are facing up. As usual. stretchers. Turn the harp upside down and find the center of the harp bottom. Repeat for the other leg structure. tabletop.

which is already assembled. 7. 11/8" 1" 13/8" 3/4" Countersunk screw holes tenons into one of the leg structures and hammer them home using a dead-blow hammer. Insert the tenons into the second leg and clamp the structure. which should show about 1⁄4 in. using clamp blocks on both sides of the exposed mortise to get good clamp pressure. 70 V I N E YA R D T A B L E . 1. It is easier and faster to do this dynamically than to try to measure them. hardwood dowel through the hole in one of the cleats and into one of the legs. you can fit the cleats to the underside of the tabletop. Remove excess glue and allow the glue to cure overnight. Remove the clamps and. If it doesn’t. chamfer the edges of the exposed tenons. 6. The dowel should stand slightly proud of the surfaces. Make sure the trestle sits square on a flat surface. Attaching the cleats to the tabletop With the trestle complete.LEVELING BLOCKS 5’’ 2’’ The thickness will vary depending upon the individual table. using a sharp chisel. Place the harp. 5. The dowels should be sized to go in and out of the holes with finger pressure. and insert a 3-in. on each side of the legs. by 3⁄4-in. adjust the clamp pressure. Set the trestle on the floor. and chamfer the edges of the dowels slightly using sandpaper or a chisel to make them easy to insert. Cut it to correct length using a handsaw. Sand them to size if needed. through the top stretcher. 8.

3. 4. pivot the harp open. Rough dimensions for the leveling blocks are given in the illustration on the facing page. 183) followed by oil will create a period look. if it’s too thick. sand the dowels with 80-grit sandpaper on a sanding block until it does. Position the blocks and predrill for the two screws. above the stretchers. and put the blocks into place. 5. Finishing Traditionally. Measure that “leveling distance. upside down on the overturned tabletop. add a piece of veneer or cardboard between it and the table. 1. by #10 steel wood screws. then put the trestle. Mount the harp into the holes in the stretchers. so you’re cutting off the extra dowel length. but the final dimensions should be calculated dynamically from the finished table. though some had oilcloth covers held on with a strip of wood tacked to the edge. you’ll know what they were for. Measure the distance between the harp and the stretchers and subtract 1⁄8 in. Pull out the pivot dowels and remove the trestle. Bandsaw out the slopes and sand them smooth with 80-grit paper and a sanding block. Remount the trestle on the tabletop. with cleats attached. measurement shown in the illustration on the facing page. leaving only the 1⁄8 in. then level using a sharp chisel followed by sanding. V I N E YA R D T A B L E 71 . If the harp doesn’t swing freely. You can accomplish this by adjusting the length of the dowels so that when they are seated in their holes they raise the harp slightly above the stretchers.. Make two leveling blocks at the calculated thickness. and use shims to level the trestle until the two legs of the harp are equidistant from the bottom of the table. 5. flip the tabletop level. If you’ve made the table from scrap or multiple species of wood. See appendix 1 on pp. Attach the other cleat to the other leg. add the difference to the thickness of the leveling block. plane off the bottom. The harp should now be riding 1⁄8 in. If it is less than 1 in. cut off the plugs. The correct dowel length between harp and stretchers is 1⁄8 in. which should still be upside down. If the block is too thin. 5. 4. Predrill for screws and screw the cleats into the top. 3. (If you see nail holes around the edge of an antique vineyard table. Remount the harp. using 11⁄2-in. Then glue and screw the blocks to the bottom of the table with 11⁄2-in. subtract that difference. rather than resting on the stretchers. making sure to countersink the heads. 1. Adjusting the harp The harp should pivot on the dowels in their holes. To test the fit. 2. If your measured leveling distance is greater than 1 in. by #10 steel wood screws. The blocks will be held in place for the moment by the pressure between the tabletop and harp. you might want to paint it.. 178–179 for details. Milk paint (see Sources of Supply on p. 2. Pivot the harp so it is perpendicular to the legs. Center the trestle on the top.) A tung oil finish gives this table a natural look while still protecting it from the elements. cut off the amount you calculated from both dowels. 3. wooden plugs into the screw holes. When the glue is dry. Turn the tabletop upside down onto your workbench.2. vineyard tables were often unfinished. After taking the harp out of the holes. Glue 3⁄8-in. 4. Leveling the table The final step is to install the leveling blocks and level the tabletop in relation to the trestle.” which corresponds to the 1-in.. Prop up the trestle so it doesn’t fall over.

Feature Library . low-pressure turbine sprayers that sell for under $500 — by Chris A.09. Minick Low-Angle Block Planes Fine Woodworking Home In the Current Issue A veteran woodworker reviews two of the eight models currently available — by Chris Gochnour Cabinet-Saw Test Advertiser Index Magazine Index A review of 10 heavy-duty cabinet saws from Europe.Tools Submit Query Woodworking Log In | Shopping Cart Find and purchase articles from the Fine Woodworking Archive to help you with your project. there still is a place for oldfashioned steel wool — by Jeff Jewitt Turbine HVLP Sprayers Keep Getting Better Renew Subscription Give a Gift We take a look at several high-volume.asp (1 of 4)2005. safety.com/finewoodworking/pages/fw_feat_tools. and ease of use are key elements of this shopmade sled — with Richard Beebe Links http://www.14 01:02:13 .taunton. but don't expect them to duplicate hand-cut joints — by Gary Rogowski Midsized Plunge Routers A hands-on review of eight routers in the 2-hp class — by Tom Begnal Search Fine Woodworking Archive Contractor Saw Tune-up Adjust a saw for perfect rips and crosscuts — with Roland Johnson Tablesaw Tapering Jig Video Tips Online Extras Adjustability. Abrasive Pads Even with the advent of synthetics. tips & techniques. Shopmade Marking Gauge Simple but clever design makes this wide-fenced tool accurate and easy to use — by John Nesset Bandsaw Tune-Up In just a few steps you and make an old bandsaw run like new YES! I want expert woodworking advice. — by John White Steel Wool vs. North America and Taiwan — by Niall Barrett and Lon Schleining Shop on the Go Contact the Staff Author Guidelines A travel kit of carefully chosen tools keeps a veteran cabinetmaker at work away from home — by Mario Rodriguez Micro-Adjustable Router Fence Buy Back Issues Order Slipcases Joiner's fence lets you creep up on a perfect fit — by Pat Warner Dovetail Jig Review Free Project Plans Tools Skills & Techniques Joinery Finishing Workshop & Safety Materials Project Ideas Readers Gallery Router jigs have their place.

Feature Library . here's a look back at an early demonstration of the technology — by the editors of Fine Woodworking Cove Angle Calculator A few quick keystrokes yield tablesaw-blade and fence-angle settings — by Stuart Sabol Black & Decker Acquires Pentair's Tools Division Both buyer and seller stress a positive outlook on the pending sale — by William Duckworth World Wide Woodworking An online portfolio can provide a virtual window into your woodshop — by Darrell Peart Transatlantic Planing Editor takes a course with David Charlesworth in a remote English village — by Mark Schofield A Revolution in Turning Technology Modern tools cut through conventional wisdom.14 01:02:13 .Tools About Your Safety Schools Clubs Knots Discussion Events An Adjustable Circle-Cutting Jig for Routers You can cut perfect circles up to 72 inches in diameter with this jig made from plywood — with Yeung Chan A Planer Sled for Milling Lumber Use your thickness planer in place of a jointer to flatten wide boards — with Keith Rust Listening to Tools The sounds your tools make can tell you a lot about how they're working — with John White A Safer Tablesaw As one company prepares to take its safety-centered cabinet saw to the mass market. but a number of options are available to get the tools running in your one-phase home shop — by John White A Classic Bowsaw (online exclusive) This low-tech tool still has appeal — by Tom Begnal Craftsman Mini-T Compact Drill (online exclusive) In tight spots. it might just be the ticket — by Tom Begnal http://www.09.com/finewoodworking/pages/fw_feat_tools.taunton.asp (2 of 4)2005. opening up the craft — by Howard Lewin Why a Combination Machine Works for Me A veteran woodworker explains what changed his mind about combination machines and why he's still happy with his seven years later — by Tony O'Malley Squaring Up a Square An edged needle file is all you need for tuning up a combination square — by Steve Latta Making Three-Phase Machines Work in a One-Phase Shop Most heavy machinery is designed to be run on three-phase electrical power.

com/finewoodworking/pages/fw_feat_tools. O.Tools King Heiple's Shop-Built Jig Build your own sharpening jig with these plans by Fine Woodworking author King Heiple A Tool for Perfect Mortises This router template is quick to make and easy to use for accurate mortises every time — by Gary Rogowski Clamp-It Assembly Square (online exclusive) Clamped to a case.Feature Library . it helps keep the "right" in right angles — by Tom Begnal Radius Cutting with a Router Template (online exclusive) Gadget helps round over square corners — by Tom Begnal Micro-Adjustable Router Fence: Parts List (online extra) A parts list for readers who want to build the fence described in Pat Warner's "Micro-Adjustable Router Fence" in the September/ October 2000 issue of Fine Woodworking magazine.asp (3 of 4)2005. — by Pat Warner SawStop Finger-Saver Update (online exclusive) Safer tablesaws and bandsaws might soon be an option — by Tom Begnal Cordless Brad-Nailer from Porter-Cable (online exclusive) Mini-compressor maximizes convenience — by Tom Begnal Jumbo Clamp Pad (online exclusive) Aftermarket add-on is simple and effective — by Tom Begnal Bosch Improves Dust Collection on Random-Orbit Sanders (online exclusive) Unique microfilter keeps fine dust out of the air — by Tom Begnal Miller's Reproduction Plane (online exclusive) There's nothing plain about this plane — by Tom Begnal Parts for Chisel Plane A complete parts list for the wooden chisel plane featured in Norm Pollack's article in the March/April 2001 issue of Fine Woodworking (#148) Using Card Scrapers The scraper can replace a stack of sandpaper — by Phil Lowe The Peerless Tool Chest of H.taunton.09. Studley This masterful tool chest stands as an extraordinary example of 19th-century craftsmanship — by Lon Schleining Why Tablesaw Blades Get Dull Identifying the common culprits can help you postpone your next trip to the resharpening shop — by Tom Begnal Setting Bandsaw Blade Tension Learn to set your bandsaw's tension to ensure cuts that are straight and even — by Lonnie Bird Fixed-Base Routers An introduction to a popular and useful tool — by Pat Warner http://www.14 01:02:13 .

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In this excerpt from his new book, Power Tools, Sandor Nagyszalanczy examines a variety of jigsaws and their accessories
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Making an End Table

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From the pages of Fine Woodworking Magazine

Making an End Table

Joinery Details Carving a Lamb's Tongue

The beauty of this Arts-and-Crafts design is in the details
by Stephen Lamont About 10 years ago, I began to tire of my job as a corporate pilot. The work was challenging and enjoyable, but the time away from home put a strain on my family. The job was becoming more technical, too. Temperamentally, I've always been more of a craftsman than a technician. After considerable soulsearching, I decided to become a furnituremaker. I wanted a solid foundation of basic skills, so I went to England where I trained with Chris Faulkner. He emphasized developing hand-tool skills and building simple, comfortable furniture that asked to be used--a basic tenet of the British Arts-and-Crafts movement. My preferences to this day are for this kind of furniture and for the use of hand tools whenever their use will make a difference.

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Anthony Guidice presents plans and instructions for building ten classic tables
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From Kim Carleton Graves, plans and instructions for building nine tables
This end table is solidly constructed and meticulously detailed. It should last generations. Traditional Furniture Projects

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About two years ago, I designed and built this end table. Although it's an original design, many details come from other pieces of furniture in the British Arts-and-Crafts tradition. The joinery is mortise-and-tenon and dovetail throughout.

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Making an End Table

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The construction of the table can be divided into five main steps: stock preparation and panel glue-up; making the front and rear leg assemblies; connecting these two assemblies (including making the shelf and its frame); making and fitting the drawer; and making and attaching the top.

Stock selection, preparation and layout
I milled all the stock for this table to within 1/16 in. of final thickness and width. I also glued up the tabletop, the shelf and the drawer bottom right away to give them time to move a bit before planing them to final thickness. This helps ensure they'll stay flat in the finished piece. With these three panels in clamps, I dimensioned the rest of the parts to a hair over final thickness. I finish-planed them by hand just before marking out any joinery.

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Making the front and rear assemblies
Layout began with the legs. I numbered them clockwise around the perimeter, beginning with the left front as I faced the piece, writing the numbers on the tops of the legs. This system tells me where each leg goes, which end of a leg is up and which face is which. Dovetailing the top rail into the front legs -- The Keeping track of the legs is dovetails that connect the easier when they're numbered top rail to the front legs on top, clockwise from the taper slightly top to bottom. front left. This system helps I used the narrower bottom prevent layout errors. of the dovetail to lay out the sockets in the legs. The slight taper ensures a snug fit. Don't make the dovetails too large, or you'll weaken the legs.

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com/finewoodworking/pages/w00078. It's quick.asp (3 of 5)2005. cut and chopped out the sockets. down from the top. With each stroke of the plane. By using clamping pads and hand screws across the joint. I drew hash marks across it. I tested the fit of these dovetails. I made http://www. I eliminated the possibility of splitting the leg. The tapers must be flat.I tapered the two inside faces of each leg. . if necessary.09.Making an End Table Scribing the socket from the bottom of the slightly tapered dovetail ensures a good fit in the leg. beginning 4-1/2 in. and it keeps all the mortises consistent. Tapering and mortising the legs -. the lines got shorter.14 01:02:51 A hand screw prevents a leg from splitting if the top-rail dovetail is too big. After I marked. To avoid planing over a penciled reference line at the top of the taper. I removed most of the waste on the jointer and finished the job with a handplane. The fit should be snug but not tight. The dovetail should fit snugly but not tightly. I cut the mortises for this table on a hollow-chisel mortiser. That let me know how close I was getting. Pare the socket. until you have a good fit.taunton.

Another seven mortises of the same size are for the buttons that attach the top to the table's base--three on the back apron and two on each kicker. the kickers at the tops of the side aprons. which prevent the drawer from drooping when open. I bandsawed just shy of the tenon shoulders and then pared to the line. I also cut grooves for the dust panel at this time.asp (4 of 5)2005. Similarly.) Then I made a test-fit with a scrap of the same 1/4-in.14 01:02:51 . http://www. Tenoning the aprons and drawer rail -. (I cut the dustpanel grooves in the drawer runners later. cherry plywood used for the panel. There are eight mortises for the drawer runners and kickers. I window) divided the wide tenon into two small tenons separated by a stub tenon. even if it's not needed structurally.-wide mortises for the runner and kicker tenons on the back edge of both drawer rails and on the back apron. but once a test piece fits.09. (opens in new weakening the leg. even if I didn't need the components right away. That left plenty of glue-surface area without a big hole in the leg.I tenoned the sides. The 1/4-in. back and lower drawer rail on the tablesaw. using a doubleblade tenoning setup. I cut the 1/4-in. Instead. tenoning takes just a few minutes. kickers and buttons -. I cut the grooves for the panel into the bottom of the back apron and into the back of the drawer rail.thick panel is set into the frame of the table just below the drawer. After I cut the tenon cheeks on the tablesaw. Joinery details One wide apron tenon would have meant a very long mortise. It takes a little time to get the cut right. It's a nice touch. Mortising for runners.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00078.taunton.Making an End Table sure all mortises that could be cut with one setting were done at the same time.The drawer rides on runners that are mortised into the lower front rail and the back apron. are mortised into the top front rail and the back apron.

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.and it can be built in a weekend — by Mario Rodriguez Vineyard Table Fine Woodworking Home In the Current Issue Complete plans for a trestle table with a twist — by Kim Carleton Graves Making an End Table Advertiser Index Magazine Index The beauty of this Arts-and-Crafts design is in the details — by Stephen Lamont In the Modern Style: A Stylish Credenza Contact the Staff Author Guidelines Symmetry and subtle shadow lines give this maple and yellow satinwood office credenza a dynamic visual rhythm — by Patrick Warner Buy Back Issues Order Slipcases http://www. Building a Humidor Maintaining tropical humidity in a box takes precise joinery and Spanish cedar — by Rick Allyn Search Fine Woodworking Archive YES! I want expert woodworking advice. restraint.Feature Library .09. tips & techniques. and balance.asp (1 of 2)2005.com/finewoodworking/pages/fw_feat_plans..taunton.14 01:03:55 .Plans Submit Query Woodworking Log In | Shopping Cart Find and purchase articles from the Fine Woodworking Archive to help you with your project. Building a Sleigh Bed Sensuous curves and well-chosen details enhance a simple design — by Chris Becksvoort Building Fireplace Mantels: Simple Federal Mantel Renew Subscription Give a Gift Plans for a project that shows elegant proportion.

Plans Free Project Plans Tools Skills & Techniques Joinery Finishing Workshop & Safety Materials Project Ideas Readers Gallery Video Tips Online Extras Links About Your Safety Schools Clubs Knots Discussion Events Taunton Home | Books & Videos | Contact Us | Customer Service Privacy Policy | Copyright Notice | Taunton Guarantee | About Us | Advertise | Press Room Woodworking | Home Building. Remodeling & Design | Cooking | Gardening | Fiber Arts Fine Woodworking | Fine Homebuilding | Inspired House | Fine Cooking | Fine Gardening | Threads http://www.asp (2 of 2)2005.09.Feature Library .com/finewoodworking/pages/fw_feat_plans.taunton.14 01:03:55 .

and painting. Photos: Bruce Buck and Mario Rodriguez.taunton. teaches woodworking at Fashion Institute of Technology. Rodriguez takes you through the steps of choosing the materials. Ten projects reflect all the popular home styles from Colonial to Arts and Crafts and Contemporary. The mantel is structurally straightforward and can easily be built in a weekend.com/finewoodworking/pages/bw0011. Open or download the 15-page PDF file below for a Simple Federal Mantel.asp (1 of 2)2005.and it can be built in a weekend by Mario Rodriguez The building of fireplace mantels is fast becoming one of the most popular home renovation projects in the country. priming the parts. Mario Rodriguez. delightful built-ins Fine Woodworking Home In the Current Issue Advertiser Index Magazine Index Contact the Staff Author Guidelines In this excerpt.. he is the author of Traditional Woodwork.14 01:04:13 . SimpleFederalMantel. The attractive and distinctive fireplace mantels in this book will inspire you to build your own. drawings: Ron Carboni From Building Fireplace Mantels. pp. tips & techniques. (Requires the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print PDF files. Mario 56K modem) Rodriguez provides complete plans for building a federal mantel.Building Fireplace Mantels: Simple Federal Mantel Submit Query Woodworking Log In | Shopping Cart Excerpted from Building Fireplace Mantels Building Fireplace Mantels: Simple Federal Mantel Plans for a project that shows elegant proportion. installation. 50-63 (Download should take approximately 3 minutes on a Buy Back Issues Order Slipcases Free Project Plans Tools Skills & Techniques Joinery Finishing Workshop & Safety Materials Project Ideas Readers Gallery Video Tips Online Extras Links http://www. restraint.09. a common style in 19th-century farmhouses. and balance.pdf Plans and instructions for seven classic chests of drawers Built-In Furniture Renew Subscription Give a Gift Design solutions and strategies for creating functional. A contributing editor of Fine Woodworking magazine. a professional woodworker for 20 years.) Dining Tables Plans and complete instructions for building nine tables Chests of Drawers YES! I want expert woodworking advice..

09.taunton.com/finewoodworking/pages/bw0011.Building Fireplace Mantels: Simple Federal Mantel About Your Safety Schools Clubs Knots Discussion Events Taunton Home | Books & Videos | Contact Us | Customer Service Privacy Policy | Copyright Notice | Taunton Guarantee | About Us | Advertise | Press Room Woodworking | Home Building.14 01:04:13 .asp (2 of 2)2005. Remodeling & Design | Cooking | Gardening | Fiber Arts Fine Woodworking | Fine Homebuilding | Inspired House | Fine Cooking | Fine Gardening | Threads http://www.

com .This is an excerpt from the book Fireplace Mantels by Mario Rodriguez Copyright 2002 by The Taunton Press www.taunton.

.

which support the horizontal architrave. Plinth blocks (doubled-up 1-by stock) support the plain vertical pilasters. Almost always made of wood and painted. and you’re ready to paint. restraint. which is fastened to the wall. The federal mantel is structurally straightforward and can easily be built in a weekend. 51 . Three boards joined together with biscuits form the foundation. the style was taken directly from classical architecture and imitated the design of basic shelter: columns supporting a beam and roof. Add a few moldings and the mantel shelf. The simple moldings and joinery indicate that it could have been built by a local carpenter instead of by a furniture joiner. But its simplicity doesn’t diminish its appeal in any way. The mantel’s design shows elegant proportion. and balance. The mantel’s flat relief and plain treatment perfectly frame the Federal-period hearth opening and provide a focal point for the display of T his mantel is typical of those found in many rural farm- family possessions and a backdrop for social gatherings and important events.Simple Federal Mantel houses in the early 19th century. And the simple moldings cast bold shadows that highlight its timeless appeal.

Simple Federal Mantel PROVING THAT SIMPLICITY DOESN’T PRECLUDE ELEGANCE. it’s easy to build as well. this mantel design is anchored by ideal proportions and perfect symmetry with the brick firebox opening it adorns. FRONT VIEW 79" 3 ⁄4" x 51⁄4" mantel shelf 3 ⁄4“ x 3⁄4" cove molding 1" 111⁄2" 111⁄2" Architrave 71" 52" Foundation boards 42" 71⁄4" pilaster 31" 311⁄2" Firebox opening 8" 12" 3 9" plinth 3 ⁄4" ⁄4" x 11⁄4" side cap 52 SIMPLE FEDERAL MANTEL . Built with readily available materials and moldings.

9–12. so warm and cold air passed through the structure freely. The firebox opening in this project is 32 in. and bridges any gaps or irregularities between the masonry and the adjacent wall surface. It provides a flat surface for the mantel proper. In a modern ultra-insulated home. That way the mantel parts would overlap the foundation joints. and carpenters used it for most interior trim. I chose to preassemble some of the molding elements as well. Choosing Materials During the 19th century.-wide lintel (horizontal section) and 101⁄2-in. the use of solid pine for this project would present problems (besides price) for the modern woodworker that 19th-century carpenters weren’t concerned with. With a fire blazing in the hearth.) SIMPLE FEDERAL MANTEL 53 . wood is subjected to extremes of temperature and relative humidity created by efficient central heating and air-conditioning. across. (See chapter 1. lumbercore plywood for everything except the plinth blocks and the moldings. solid boards and true period construction methods in a modern home would probably cause unsightly checking and splitting. while other areas of the same room might be as much as 15º colder. wide boards of clear pine. high by 42 in. The use of wide.-wide columns (vertical sections) produced the balanced proportions that form the basis for the mantel’s design. So a meticulous reproduction would require large. At that time houses weren’t insulated. and flat sections would cup. and an even course of bricks is left exposed around the sides and top. pp. Cut the two columns and lintel that will form the foundation. In a particular room. for a detailed discussion of materials. 1. including fireplace mantels. These conditions surely played havoc with human comfort but spared furnishings and interior woodwork from drastic changes in temperature and humidity. making the whole construction stronger. it wasn’t unusual to experience surprising differences in temperature.Building the Mantel Step-by-Step B egin by preassembling the foundation board and laminating the plinth blocks. while exposing only the neatest brickwork. I used 3⁄4-in. However. pine was abundant and readily available. Miters would likely open up. A better approach for today’s woodworker would be to construct this mantel using lumbercore plywood instead of solid wood. You should adjust these dimensions based on the size of your firebox opening. The Foundation Board The foundation board is the backdrop of the mantel. Using a 14-in. you can move directly to installation. The mantel foundation was designed with the lintel section fitting between the columns. the warmest spot in the room would have been a seat in front of it.

plus it made good use of scrap material I had on hand. Cut the plinth block pieces slightly oversize. Lay out and cut biscuit joints to connect the lintel to the columns—three or four #2 biscuits should do the job. Glue up the foundation assembly.Join the foundation boards with a couple of biscuit slots. and plinths) on the foundation. Tip: You’d think pieces of molding stock at a lumber store are all identical.-thick solid pine laminated face-to-face. about 11⁄2 in. architrave. from the edges. Cut the plinth blocks to size. To avoid this. 1. 3. By choosing 54 SIMPLE FEDERAL MANTEL . but the approach here resulted in a Selecting the moldings I purchased stock moldings from the local building supplier. The simple profiles I needed were readily available. thickness is needed to support the pilaster and the plinth molding. I try to cut all my mitered pieces from the same length of stock so there’s no doubt that the profile is the same on all the pieces. you may want to leave the plinth blocks a little long so they can be scribed to the hearth at installation. You could use a chunk of 2-by stock. Pilasters. 2. 4. remove the clamps. Arrange the main mantel parts (pilasters. Saw or rout two grooves into the back face of each piece. The battens reinforce the joints. attach two support battens across the front. in quantity. Cut biscuit joints to align the top of the pilasters to the architrave. maintain the dimensions of the foundation opening. and glue the mating surfaces together. and Architrave Laminating the plinth blocks The plinth blocks at the base of the pilasters are made with two pieces of 3⁄4-in. but before moving it. 2. 2. making sure the columns are square to the lintel. The net 11⁄2-in. When the assembly is dry. 3. and keep it flat during installation.) The Plinth. more stable block. Center the parts and cut them to length. But if there are pieces from different batches. 3. Fit a spline into each groove. Cutting the parts to size 1. (Depending on the condition of the hearth. there could be slight differences. which will result in miters that don’t line up perfectly.

split seams. paying par- The flexible blade on a good-quality putty knife will fill any voids in the material and not further mar the surface. There were three distinct profiles I needed: a large and simple cove for the cornice molding. I could pick through the inventory and select the straightest and cleanest material. Fill any holes. On lumbercore plywood. This involves filling any holes and dents and repairing cracks. dents. the wood components must be carefully prepared. 1. tearout. I do some of this after installation. and a large ogee with quirk (space or reveal) for the capital molding. available profiles instead of choosing specialorder profiles. Also. Priming the parts To achieve an attractive painted surface.Laminating two pieces yields a more stable plinth block. an ogee with fillet for the torus molding (at the base of the pilaster). on this mantel I primed the moldings before cutting and fitting them to the mantel. SIMPLE FEDERAL MANTEL 55 . or cracks in your material with a water-based wood filler. These last two moldings are both sold typically as “base cap” profiles. A pair of splines keeps the pieces from sliding around when clamping up. I usually apply filler on the exposed edges. but it’s easier to do a first go-over now.

ticular attention to the finger joints where the solid material was spliced. should be filled and sanded before you attach the parts to the mantel. then attach the foundation to the strips. It can be applied with either a brush or a roller. That way the principal method of attachment. 3. will eventually be hidden by the mantel parts. Clean off the filled and sanded boards with a tack rag. I use a medium-grit (120 to 150) sandpaper to remove any excess and then level the surface. visible on the edges of the lumbercore. primed. The primer fills and levels the wood and raises the grain slightly. and when dry sand again with 150-grit to 180-grit paper. Break square edges slightly but don’t round them over too much. When the primer dries. In order to make up this difference and give myself a tiny margin. 4. look for any flaws that might have been missed the first time around. Now the surface is ready for paint. For a fluid coating that lays down nicely. and fill them. Anchoring the foundation Unless your walls are flat and plumb and you can determine the location of the studs behind. Installing the Mantel All moldings should be filled. no matter what you choose. Use a large half-sheet sander or a sanding block to level any primed surfaces. then apply a water-based paint primer.The finger joints. In this case the brick masonry surrounding the opening was 1 ⁄2 in. 56 SIMPLE FEDERAL MANTEL . You can even change the consistency if you prefer a thinner filler. When the filler is dry. and sanded for the best appearance. I cut my furring strips to 5 ⁄8-in. thickness. I thinned the primer about 20 percent. Apply a second thinned coat of primer. you can easily rehydrate it with a little tap water. 2. attach furring strips to the wall first. Tip: If a water-based filler dries up. higher than the surrounding plaster wall.

Check the foundation for plumb and level. 1. 2. Position the braced foundation against the furring strips. Attach furring strips to the wall. 3. you can apply the next layer of mantel parts. Working from the bottom up may seem more logical. Building up the mantel With the foundation securely in place. wood screws.1. Attach the architrave to the foundation with 11⁄4-in. but I worked from the top down and scribed the plinth blocks to the floor last. screws. The furring strips can be secured with lead anchors. or cut nails. then screw it to the furring strips with #8 wood screws. Make sure the top edge is even Furring strips. Use the appropriate fastener based on the wall material. Make sure it’s plumb and leveled. then screw it to the strips with #8 by 11⁄2-in. shimmed plumb as needed and attached to the wall surface. and center it on the opening. masonry screws. This detail shows the capital molding that caps the pilasters. provide good solid support for the foundation. SIMPLE FEDERAL MANTEL 57 . Locate the fasteners so they’ll be covered over by the other mantel parts later. Position the foundation against the wall.

ARCHITRAVE-PILASTER JOINT

Foundation

Architrave/pilaster seam is concealed

With the architrave in place, set the pilasters, using biscuits for alignment and added strength.

Capital molding Trim screws placed behind capital molding band

Pilaster

The capital band (molding set at the top of the pilasters) is placed over the trim screws attaching the pilaster to the foundation.

with the foundation board and that the spaces at the ends are equal. 2. Position the pilasters under the architrave, and add the biscuits and glue to reinforce the joint. Secure the pilasters to the foundation with 11⁄4-in. screws. Locate the screws at the bottom and top of the pilasters, where they’ll be covered over with the capital and torus moldings. 3. Fit the plinth blocks. Once the pilasters are in place, measure the remaining space for the plinth blocks. On both sides of this mantel there was a small discrepancy between the wood floor and the slightly raised brick of the hearth. So I scribed the ends of the plinths to fit, made the cut with a jigsaw, and attached them to the foundation with countersunk trim screws.

58

SIMPLE FEDERAL MANTEL

PLINTH

Mantel foundation Pilaster

Torus molding

Furring strips

Laminated plinth block

The torus band (molding set at the bottom of the pilasters) creates a pleasing transition from the plinth block to the pilaster and helps to visually anchor the mantel.

SIMPLE FEDERAL MANTEL

59

After the plinth blocks are scribed to the hearth, screw them to the foundation with trim screws.

Blocking for the cove molding
In order to provide a stable bed for the cornice molding, I made up some blocks to be placed along the top edge of the frieze and under the mantel shelf. The 45-degree face of these blocks supported the cornice molding at a consistent angle and ensured that the miters would line up properly. To support the small return sections of the cornice, I added a small piece of wood to the back of the angled blocking. 1. Saw the cove blocking from a piece of 2-by stock. Make sure the angle of the blocking

DETAIL OF CORNICE/ARCHITRAVE

3

⁄4" x 51⁄4" mantel shelf

3

⁄4" lumbercore plywood

Furring strip Cove blocking 21⁄4" cove molding

Wall

Foundation Architrave

The cornice blocks, set under the mantel shelf and screwed to the architrave, provide support for the cornice molding. Together the blocking and cornice support the mantel shelf.

60

SIMPLE FEDERAL MANTEL

I often build my bands first and then attach them to the mantel. I like to see tight miters. and nailing the bands together first. I glue the miters and nail them together with a pin nailer. And the constructed band will stay in place with fewer nails than if it were laid up one piece at a time. I use a fixed block as a guide to assemble the pieces. If you’re laying down the molding as you go. moldings attract my attention. and then fill and sand them. By mitering. allow them to dry. once the band is dry. Preassembled Molding Bands On any project.A small block is glued to the angled cove blocking. SIMPLE FEDERAL MANTEL 61 . And of course. Screw angled cornice blocks along the top edge of the architrave. All of this critical work is a lot easier if you can freely adjust the molding band. To make the job easier. In addition. them to fit with a low-angle block plane. it will flex slightly and conform to its position on the mantel—while the miter remains tight. you can coax tight joints at the corners. When I’m satisfied with the fit. I always look to see whether the profile matches up and wraps around the corner cleanly. this is sometimes difficult to achieve. gluing. This supports the cornice molding return piece. then I plane 1 A preassembled band of molding can be gently coaxed into place—while the miter remains tight.. I cut the sections on a miter saw to within ⁄32 in.

then the walls were plastered. drag the compass along the length of the shelf. 1. Cut along the pencil line. make the 45-degree cut on a longer piece. Cut the cove molding to fit. then use a plane or rasp for final fitting. But today’s woodworkers and finish carpenters scribe their work to conform to the walls.) The mantel shelf In the 18th and 19th centuries. fitting one piece to the next. so the scribed amount is a full inch larger than the widest gap. Attach the cove blocking through predrilled holes with trim-head screws. pull the compass along the wall and shelf. 3. 2. 61. 2.face matches the angle of the cove molding you’re using. 3. 2. This detail shows the plinth with the torus molding. 1. When cutting the short return miter. Here the mantel shelf is still oversize. with the woodwork acting as a gauge or stop. With the pin leg of the compass resting against the wall and the pencil leg on the mantel shelf. then make the square cut to release the return from the longer stock. This method produced an interesting junction where the woodwork and plaster met that was soft and easy on the eye. woodwork was attached to the studs. The Moldings and Mantel Shelf The conventional approach to installing moldings is to work your way around the mantel from one side to the other. The finish coat of plaster was then brought up to the woodwork. Set a compass to the width of the widest gap between the straight edge of the shelf and the wall. Add some glue to the miters to help hold the joints closed. After setting the legs of the compass to the widest gap between the mantel shelf and the wall. Nail the cove to the cove blocks and mantel shelf with finish nails. The cove molding I cut the cove molding on a miter saw outfitted with a special support carriage to hold the molding at the correct angle. see “Preassembled Molding Bands” on p. This will result in a pencil line on the shelf that will mimic the wall surface. 62 SIMPLE FEDERAL MANTEL . (For an alternate approach.

and installed. The whole mantel required three coats of paint and a couple of 15-minute touchup sessions. Nail on the capital molding with a pin nailer. synthetic brush. and finished up with the large flat areas. I wanted a smooth surface with just a hint of brush marks that would imitate the finish on period woodwork. SIMPLE FEDERAL MANTEL 63 . The secret to a good job is to take your time. A thin coat levels nicely and dries more quickly and completely than a single heavy coat. I started on the edges. so I decided to apply the paint in several light coats. Applying finish coats I used a water-based latex paint for the final coating of the mantel. there might be small gaps where the various sections of the mantel meet. Don’t try to nail the miter or the wood may split. Use a finish nailer for the long pieces and a pin nailer (or just glue) for the short returns. Painting the Mantel Final preparations With the mantel primed.The capital and torus moldings 1. 2. I don’t think oil-based paint offers any great advantages. then did the inside corners. I thinned out the paint about 20 percent and used a good-quality 2-in. these gaps will stand out later and will work against a clean and unified appearance when the mantel is painted. scribe it to fit cleanly against the wall. Cut and fit these moldings around the pilasters. 3. 2. If necessary. Wait until each coat is thoroughly dry before proceeding with the next coat. 1. A thin coat of paint will level out nicely and dry quickly. For a project like this. Although they don’t appear unsightly now. Fill any exposed screw or nail holes with putty. sanded. Within minutes of applying the caulk. wipe away any excess with a damp rag. The finish coat of paint should be applied in several thin layers. Cut the side cap molding. and nail it to the edge of the foundation board. Use a high-quality water-based caulk (Phenoseal® brand takes paint beautifully) in an applicator gun to apply a small continuous bead anywhere there is a gap.

sofas. From Fine Woodworking's classic black-andwhite era. My client's budget dictated that the bed be built in less than 100 hours. The headboard and footboard assemblies are joined to a pair of thick rails with knockdown fasteners. long. These assemblies are each made up of two posts into which are tenoned a turned crest rail and a flat lower rail. Also. instead of carving the rosettes. Video Tips Online Extras Links http://www. but build it efficiently. I worked out several sketches for the post profiles. Along with twin bands of cove-and-bead molding that ring the bed and rosettes at the top of each post. The design work was left to me. this profile gave the bed the classic look I wanted. I had some research to do. including dozens of beds. But until recently I had never built a sleigh bed. stools.200 hours to build. The Photo: Dennis Griggs nicest one I found was designed and built by William Turner and featured in FWW #91 (pp. rockers. It had classic lines. grace. The bed is a very simple construction. So when a friend and longtime customer asked me to build one for her. It took less than an hour and a half.09. high. but my lathe's capacity is only 39 in. So I had to capture the essence of a sleigh bed.taunton. style.000 pieces. So I farmed them out to a local millwork shop where I used to work.asp (1 of 7)2005. The Shaker Legacy An extensive visual tour of more than 140 classic Shaker pieces Beds Renew Subscription Give a Gift Nine attractive bed projects accessible to woodworkers of any skill level Beds and Bedroom Furniture Fine Woodworking Home In the Current Issue Advertiser Index Magazine Index From Fine Woodworking magazine. 33 articles on chairs. Plan for the sleigh bed YES! I want expert woodworking advice. 46-51). and both headboard and footboard were to be 54 in.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00077. it was all a sleigh bed should be. finally settling on this one.Building a Sleigh Bed Submit Query Woodworking Log In | Shopping Cart From the pages of Fine Woodworking Magazine Building a Sleigh Bed Turning rosettes Sensuous curves and well-chosen details enhance a simple design by Chris Becksvoort I've been building furniture full-time for 21 years and have made more than 1. A single large panel floats in grooves in both posts and in the crest and lower rails. While I was at the shop.long pieces of cove-andbead molding. The only problem was that it took 1. 23 articles on bedroom furniture in a variety of styles Fine Woodworking on Chairs and Beds Contact the Staff Author Guidelines Buy Back Issues Order Slipcases (opens in new window) Free Project Plans Tools Skills & Techniques Joinery Finishing Workshop & Safety Materials Project Ideas Readers Gallery I saved time on this bed by using flat panels for the headboard and footboard. To my eye. I ordered eight 8-ft. cribs and beds A template speeds fabrication of posts The crest rails had to be 611/2 in.14 01:06:33 . rather than coopering a curved panel or using a tambour. tips & techniques. I turned them (see Turning rosettes). with just a few stipulations: The bed was to be queen size.

bearingguided bit and a template to rout the profile. On the finished bed. For the straight portion of each post. plywood and carefully sanded the edges so that all the curves were smooth and fair. the holes in the feet were plugged. it was time to template rout the posts to final shape -. gouges and files to get a neat transition. These holes matched http://www. the top holes were covered by the crest rail and rosettes. including the crest and foot circles.09.asp (2 of 7)2005. but there were a few problems. flush-cutting bit starts to burn after only a few minutes of chewing its way through 1-1/2-in. I bandsawed a pattern from 3/8-in. That meant having to make all downhill cuts on one side. I also discovered that a 11/2-in. as with planing. and the bit burned a lot less. All the edges of all four posts had to be sanded to 320-grit. I sanded all the convex curves I could reach. I bored 3/32Bandsaw the post profile. An outfeed table circles on the drill press. 2-in.-thick cherry. Rout with the grain to avoid tearout. the 80-grit disc sander marks were easier to sand out than the router burns. Incidentally. inside corners.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00077. For sections where you can't rout with the grain. bearingguided bit. switch the pattern to the other side of each post. Stay in. you shouldn't rout into the grain.14 01:06:33 . On tight. As a result.Building a Sleigh Bed About Your Safety Schools Clubs Knots Discussion Events I glued up the posts and rails from 8/4 stock (about 120 bd. ft. Laying out and cutting mortises The next step was to decide which side of each post was going to be the face. I used chisels. With the shape of the posts roughly bandsawn. it was burned fingertips. I ran the post over the jointer. Rounded areas at top and bottom are smoothed on a sander. but for the most part. I marked the faces with a pencil and then drilled a 1/2-in. and make the downhill cuts from that side. I changed tactics.-deep.that is. the router had only half as much work. holes through the outside of the line. I penciled arrows onto the wood to indicate stop and start points for the bit. Use a flush-cutting. in indexing both the pattern and the rosette and in drilling the crest-rail mortise hole. thick. I used a belt sander and a block plane here and there. After seeing this on the first leg. back from the line. I transferred the post profile to the blanks and then bandsawed the posts. where the side rail meets the post.-wide hole on the inside center of each of the crest-rail circles. including waste) and then planed the eight planks to a bit more than 11/2 in. Then the real fun started. what centers of all four crest remains can be routed or circles and all four foot sanded..taunton. attach the pattern to the posts and follow the template with a router and a flush-cutting. flip the post over. attached to the author's These holes were essential bandsaw makes maneuvering the large blank much easier. where the circles meet the curves. using a stationary disc sander and a belt sander with an 80-grit belt. staying about 1/16 in. Sounds good in theory. and reattach the template to the other side. First.

Building a Sleigh Bed the tenons turned on the ends of the two crest rails. I cut the identical groove in the tops of the head and foot rails. of wood from the outside of the post to the mortise. Remember to keep screws away from the area being grooved.-dia. so they would conform to the routed mortises in the posts. I set the fence to align with the marking on the end cap and ran the entire unit through the blade. bit to take the mortise to its full width.asp (3 of 7)2005. This gave me 1/2 in. I allowed 60-1/2 in.-dia.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00077. mortises in two 4-in.-wide by 1-1/2-in. Because this is a queen-size bed. The distance between the fences is the diameter of the router base. tenon on either end. I laid out the location of the groove on the end cap.09. it was time to cut the end rails to length. My solution was to drill centered 1/2-in.a 1/2-in. I routed the mortises using a fixture that has two parallel fences with pieces connecting them. a 3/4-in.-wide shoulder on the inside. that brought the total rail length to 63 in. with a 5/8-in. shoulder on the inside). bit. For ease of operation. I used a 3/4-in. depth. Screws through the end caps keep the crest rail from rotating while being cut. end caps and slip the caps over the tenons on the crest rail.taunton. dado set on the saw and adjusted its height and angle. The first. Joinery details (opens in new window) When all four mortises were routed.-deep grooves at 10° along the entire length of both round crest rails to accept the headboard and footboard panels. and still allowed the rail to have a 1/4-in. they're offset -. Only one end cap had to be removed to repeat the operation with the second crest rail. Then I dryfitted the rails in the mortises. I offset the mortises to give more strength to the outside wall of the mortise. shoulder on the outside and a 1/4in. leaving 1-1/2-in.-sq. shoulders at the top and bottom for an overall tenon width of 9 in. Think before you cut. With the dado in place and already tilted. cannot be reversed. With the second router.one on the side to run against the fence and another on the top to keep the jig from racking. I used two routers.-dia. With the addition of a 1-1/4-in. Be sure that the rails are flush with or slightly in from the posts. Remember that head and foot panels tilt out from the bottom rails and. unlike the crest rails. This required some creative thinking.I needed to cut 3/4-in. made three passes to achieve the mortise's full 1-1/4 in. I cut the rails to length and then cut the tenons (remember. I rounded the ends of the tenons with a knife.14 01:06:33 . I set the whole thing flat on the tablesaw and outfeed table and connected the end caps with two pieces of scrap -.deep by 2-in. http://www. between the posts. put the 3/4-in. Build a box to groove the crest rail -. It's much easier to take a little off the back of the post than it is to sand down the whole rail.wide mortise. I then laid out the mortises for the lower head and foot rails.

then removed it. Without shifting the crest rail.) and sanded both sides of both panels to 320-grit. I marked inside the grooves so I'd know where to stop the groove.09. Now the headboard and footboard assemblies can be dryfitted. A piece of scrap as long as the space between the fences aligns the routing fixture. finished sanding the posts and eased all the sharp edges with a block plane. into the crest rail groove and turned the crest rail until I could drop the stick into the groove in the bottom rail. Perfect alignment.The next trick is to lay out the grooves for the headboard and footboard panels on the inside faces of the posts. Tenons on the ends of the crest rail fit snugly in mortises in the end caps.wide section at its center and moved the fixture around until the marking on the scrap matched the marking on the post at both ends of the groove. To do this. This is essential if the molding is to align all the way around the bed.asp (4 of 7)2005. by 61-1/2 in. I cut a scrap so it fit perfectly between the two fences. To position the fixture. using the same router fixture as before.-dia. marked a 3/4-in. Because the whole unit is so large and unwieldy. Marks indicating the width of the bit are lined up with the groove lines near both ends of the fixture. I laid one foot post http://www. I set one of the posts face down on a pair of low sawhorses and placed both the lower rail and crest rail in position. I squared the ends of the grooves with a chisel.Building a Sleigh Bed A two-sided box with end caps holds the crest rail at a fixed angle to the blade and provides a flat surface to run against the fence. Sized stick provides layout lines for head.taunton. The top outside edge of the lower rail should meet the junction of the curved and the flat back sections of the post. I took two passes with a 5/8-in. precisely 3/4 in. As before. I used a stick to align the grooves that were already in the crest and lower rails. I disassembled it. bit for each 1/2in. bit and a final cleanup pass with a 3/4-in. I routed all four posts.and footboard panels -.-deep groove. which are screwed to the crest rail and to the two sides of the box. Sizing side rails and adding hardware To determine the length of the side rails. long.-dia.14 01:06:33 . I placed a straight stick. I cut the headboard and footboard panels to size (281/2 in. wide and about 29 in. I marked the post on both sides of the stick.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00077. Then the fixture is clamped to the post. I first dry-fitted each edge of the panels in its respective groove and then dry-assembled the entire unit.

because this is such a heavy bed. I used a knife to make the scribe lines. I set my stops and proceeded to cut. Holding the panel with one hand. long. I flipped the posts and rails over to make two overlapping cuts. For accuracy.asp (5 of 7)2005. Before pounding the post home. Absolutely no play. It worked perfectly. Because the bed hardware was about 7/8 in. of side-to-side play -.Building a Sleigh Bed and one head post down so the inside faces of the end rails would be 80-1/2 in. I checked mating pieces for a fit. still too much. I dry-fitted the entire bed to be sure that everything was in order and that the rails were interchangeable. Then I set the headboard panel into position.. and cut the side rails 70 in. apart (enough space around a standard queen-size mattress or box spring for sheets and covers). The routing and inlaying could be done with a router and jig. Before attaching the hardware. The headboard and footboard panels are not glued in. This ensured that all eight mortises would line up precisely. Then I lowered the opposite post onto the lower rail and manipulated the crest rail into position. The distance from the inside face of the end rail to the inner edge of the post was 5-1/4 in. so I subtracted twice that from 80-1/2 in. bit.and footboard assemblies I set one post flat on a piece of carpet on the floor and another on a sawhorse within reach. With the hardware in shape. Gluing up the head. leaving a 1/2-in.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00077.taunton. I noticed about 1/32 in. I finally located some heavy-duty. clamp all four legs together with their from a bedpost to the fence feet flush. wide. To lay out mortises for bed transferring the scribe lines fastener hardware. I first slid the crest rail and then the lower rail into their mortises. which ensured a centered cut. they must be free to expand and contract with seasonal changes in humidity.very little really.14 01:06:33 . I ordered eight pairs. The hardware had to align the rails perfectly flush with the posts so the moldings would line up. zinc-plated knockdown bed fasteners in the Whitechapel catalog (800-468-5534). two for each rail end. Hardware for a bed this large proved to be difficult to find. I made sure that the http://www. I took a metal punch and pounded a dimple on either side of the slots. I spread glue into the two round mortises for the crest rail and the two long mortises for the lower rail. I did all the mortising on a horizontal mortiser. Then I disassembled the bed and sanded all the parts to 320-grit. To mark out the bed fastener locations. Before gluing anything. I drilled pilot holes in all the posts and rails and screwed all the bed fasteners into place. gap at both the top and bottom of the groove. The rails took the pin part of the fasteners. To remedy this situation. and use a marking of the mortising table. Next I squared the ends of all 16 shallow mortises with a chisel and marked and mortised the deeper slots to accept the rail pins. I clamped all four posts together with feet flush at the bottom. Then I transferred those lines to the ends of the side rails and marked the top edge so that the rails couldn't be flipped upside down. I used a 1/2-in. but for this situation. Then knife to get a crisp line. the slotted plates were fitted to the posts.09.

to reinforce the mortise-and-tenon joint. To allow for some shrinkage. The molding here is virtually impossible to clamp. To support the box spring. the bed was completed in 96 hours. For the record. It would be embarrassing to have the molding glued on only to have one section of the rail drop 1/4 in. 4-in. I tacked down this short strip with a brad at either end and one in the middle. gap between this short piece and the side-rail molding. The bed was finished with three coats of Tried and True varnish oil (available from Garrett Wade. when the box spring was set in place. The short pieces of molding across the grain of the posts needed special attention because the post will change slightly in width. The procedure was the same for the lower band of molding. I screwed the panels in place and plugged the holes. My posts were at about 11% moisture content. I pounded the post home. I drilled counterbored holes into the posts at midpoint along the groove. Photos except where noted: Vincent Laurence. drawings: Heather Lambert From Fine Woodworking #124. mitered.garrettwade. Finally. and glued and clamped the rosette. Maine. The crowning touch was attaching the turned rosettes. It requires a good deal of elbow grease to wipe off. I pinned the tenons of the lower rails and screwed the crest rails through the posts with 2-in. apart along the center and glued and attached the molding with brads. I fit. pp. Chris Becksvoort is a professional furniture maker in New Gloucester. I left about a 3/32-in.asp (6 of 7)2005. a contributing editor to Fine Woodworking and the author of The Shaker Legacy. hole into the center of the back of the rosette. 800-221-2942. wide) sections of 1/4-in. 5461 Purchase back issues http://www.-thick. I marked and routed mortises for short (1-1/4 in. just off center. I sanded the posts flush with the lower rails where they meet. I drilled a 3/32-in. To make sure the panel's edges wouldn't be exposed when it contracted in the winter.com). I made sure that the rails were firmly seated all the way down in the hangers.Building a Sleigh Bed headboard was centered in its groove. This is the only pure linseed oil on the market. Attaching the molding is pretty straightforward. and glued about two-thirds of the way from the miter to the end. laid the unit gently down on its back and clamped it. I screwed those brackets directly to the side rails. I did the top of the end rails first because it's the most difficult to attach. The side rail moldings were cut to precisely the same length as the rails and glued using spring clamps and bits of molding cutoffs turned upside down to spread the clamping pressure. steel angle iron I had cut for that purpose. www. drilled brad holes about 8 in.09.14 01:06:33 . Once both head.taunton. This ensured that the headboard panel would remain centered between the rails and that they would expand evenly top to bottom.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00077. with no additives or driers. Molding and rosettes finish the bed Before attaching the two bands of molding. but the build and depth of shine is worth it.and footboard units were assembled. but a few hints are in order. tacked in a snipped off piece of 6d finishing nail to center the rosette with the post hole. drywall screws.

asp (7 of 7)2005.taunton.Building a Sleigh Bed Taunton Home | Books & Videos | Contact Us | Customer Service Privacy Policy | Copyright Notice | Taunton Guarantee | About Us | Advertise | Press Room Woodworking | Home Building.09. Remodeling & Design | Cooking | Gardening | Fiber Arts Fine Woodworking | Fine Homebuilding | Inspired House | Fine Cooking | Fine Gardening | Threads http://www.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00077.14 01:06:33 .

Photos: Tanya Tucker.taunton. (Requires the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print PDF files. a semi. The ten projects -.pdf Renew Subscription Give a Gift Fine Woodworking Home In the Current Issue Advertiser Index Magazine Index Children's Furniture Projects provides a mix of projects that (Download should take has something for approximately 3 minutes on a woodworkers of all 56K modem) skill levels.are designed to help make the children's room as well furnished as any other room in the house. a flatbed.asp (1 of 2)2005. But this rocker lets them work off energy while staying in one place. Kids love it.com/finewoodworking/pages/bw0010.ranging from this excerpt to a fanciful rocking dinosaur to sturdy children's beds -. pp.) Making Heirloom Toys YES! I want expert woodworking advice. A professional furniture maker and father of two. tips & techniques. Jeff Miller. a tow truck. is also the author of Beds. he also designs children's furniture.Children's Furniture Projects: Child's Rocker Submit Query Woodworking Log In | Shopping Cart Excerpted from Children's Furniture Projects Children's Furniture Projects: Child's Rocker Plans for a sturdy plywood chair that can be disassembled and stored flat by Jeff Miller Kids are always in motion.14 01:07:19 . 90-105 Plans and instructions for building a dump truck. a logging truck. It's not easy to get them even to sit down in a chair. Plans and instructions for building 22 sophisticated projects Tremendous Toy Trucks ChildsRocker. drawings: Melanie Powell From Children's Furniture Projects. and more Contact the Staff Author Guidelines Buy Back Issues Order Slipcases Free Project Plans Tools Skills & Techniques Joinery Finishing Workshop & Safety Materials Project Ideas Readers Gallery Video Tips Online Extras Links http://www. And rocking can be just as soothing for children as it tends to be for adults. Open or download the 17-page PDF file below for a Child's Rocker. a cement truck. winner of the 1998 Stanley Award for Chairmaking & Design.09.

asp (2 of 2)2005.09. Remodeling & Design | Cooking | Gardening | Fiber Arts Fine Woodworking | Fine Homebuilding | Inspired House | Fine Cooking | Fine Gardening | Threads http://www.com/finewoodworking/pages/bw0010.14 01:07:19 .taunton.Children's Furniture Projects: Child's Rocker About Your Safety Schools Clubs Knots Discussion Events Taunton Home | Books & Videos | Contact Us | Customer Service Privacy Policy | Copyright Notice | Taunton Guarantee | About Us | Advertise | Press Room Woodworking | Home Building.

This is an excerpt from the book Children’s Furniture Projects by Jeff Miller Copyright 2002 by The Taunton Press www.com .taunton.

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Kids love it. although there are simple dadoes routed in the plywood panels to align the parts.CHILD’S ROCKER K IDS ARE ALWAYS IN MOTION. This makes it sturdy enough to withstand the typical amount of abuse that kids will dish out but also easy to knock down and store (or ship) flat. There are lots of ways to finish this rocker to get different results. threaded rods and cap nuts. And rocking can be just as soothing for children as it tends to be for adults. But that doesn’t mean you can’t come up with your own design scheme. It’s not easy to get them even to sit down in a chair. The construction is a combination of the typical and the unusual. I’ve gone with interesting colors as well as a basic oil-and-wax finish. ✦ 91 . But this rocker lets them work off energy while staying in one place. everything is held together with 1⁄4-in. or just let the child decorate it the way he or she wishes.

Shallow dadoes in the plywood sides and back locate the parts in the proper positions.CHILD’S ROCKER THE ROCKER IS MADE OF FIVE SHAPED pieces of plywood. Decorative cutout Cap nuts 1/4-20 Back panel Side panel Dado for seat panel threaded rod Strut Seat panel Side panel 92 ✦ CHILD’S ROCKER . and the whole thing is held together with two threaded rods tensioned with cap nuts.

51/4" x 31/4". 3/4" x 1/8" deep 1" 153/8" Sides bevelled Back edge bevelled Top SEAT PANEL 153/8" STRUT Approx.121/2"). Oval cutout. 3/4" x 12". 17" 21/4" Fit to rocker to determine exact length. edges rounded over Slot cutout. Fit to rocker to determine exact length (approx.BACK PANEL Top and bottom edges rounded over 17/16" All parts 3/4" plywood. edges rounded over ALTERNATE BACK PANEL 35/8" 23" Dado for back of seat panel. Four edges rounded 181/2" Ends beveled Front edge rounded CHILD’S ROCKER ✦ 93 .

the back. and that’s what is shown here. from (and parallel to) one of the long edges of the plywood. typically used with connector bolts. You will reference off of this edge when routing the actual side panels. by 25-in. you’ll also use the side panel jig to define the shape and location of the rocker relative to the dadoes and thus to the seat and back of the rocker. *All parts are Baltic birch plywood or equivalent. Because the relationship of the seat parts to the curve of the rocker is so important. Draw a reference line 15 in. and the strut on the side panels. The Side-Panel Pattern 1 square = 1" 94 ✦ CHILD’S ROCKER . Mark it now as your reference edge. **Cut into two pieces based on measurements from completed chair. by 32-in. plywood (see “Side-Panel Dado Jig”). 1. Miscellaneous Scrap wood for interim jig Plywood for side panel jig 1 3 ⁄2"–3⁄4" x 8" x 18" ⁄4" x 25" x 32" Making the Side-Panel Jig Make the jig for the side panels out of a piece of 3⁄4-in. ***Also called connector nuts. I measured from the left edge.CUT LIST FOR CHILD’S ROCKER CUT LIST FOR PANEL BED 2 1 1 1 Side panels Seat panel Back panel Strut 3 3 3 3 ⁄4" x 16" x 26"* ⁄4" x 12 ⁄2" x 18 ⁄2" 1 1 T ⁄4" x 153⁄8" x 241⁄8" ⁄4" x 21⁄4" x 17" Hardware 1 4 Threaded rod Cap nuts 1 1 ⁄4-20 x 36" long** ⁄4-20*** HE FIRST STEP in making the rocker is to make up a jig for locating the dadoes for the seat.

Side-Panel Dado Jig 3/4" plywood 25" 15" 10" Reference line 32" 30" radius 51/8" 43/16" 90° 8" 3/8" 131/4" 811/16" 5" Straight for 31/2" 37/16" 2" 23/8" 89/16" 33/4" CHILD’S ROCKER ✦ 95 .

and two about 25⁄8 in. Crosscut the 7⁄8-in. wide by 1⁄2 in. slot in the middle. 96 ✦ CHILD’S ROCKER . Cut apart a board roughly 18 in.wide strips.MAKING THE INTERIM SLOT JIG The interim jig is built up to have a 7⁄8-in. with the ends of both short and long pieces flush. 4. pieces in between the two 37⁄16-in.-long strip.-long slot down the middle of it. long. it will be used later when routing the short slot for the strut. The jig is then used with a flush-trimming bit to cut the slots in the side panel jig. but the interim jig helps get the slots in the side panel jig located and sized correctly. Plane the faces of the jig smooth once the glue has dried. 3. long by 8 in. 37/16" 18" 3 25/8" 7/16" 7/8" 121/2" Save for filler strip. by 121⁄2-in. Set aside the 121⁄2-in. long. 2. 1. wide. one 121⁄2 in... This should leave a 7⁄8-in. 25/8" Making a jig to make another jig may seem like a lot of trouble.wide strips and one strip exactly 7 ⁄8 in.-wide by 121⁄2-in. Glue the two 25⁄8-in. thick into two 37⁄16-in. to 3⁄4 in.wide strip into three parts.

Now you’re ready to locate the dadoes for the seat. You’ll use this interim jig to cut the 7⁄8-in. Make sure all of the lines are perpendicular or parallel to the reference line. But you can cut down the 121⁄2-in. Use a flush-trimming bit in a router to cut the slot all the way through the side-panel jig. 5. Measure over from the reference line and up from the arc of the rocker to locate the various points shown in “Side-Panel Dado Jig” on p. plywood or a long thin scrap of wood. apart. The back of the rocker will end about 1 ⁄8 in.-long piece you set aside when making the interim jig to use as a filler when routing the dado for the strut CHILD’S ROCKER ✦ 97 . 9. for a pencil point. Using the Filler Strip Fit in a filler strip to leave a smaller opening (for the strut dado). wide. Make sure to do this with the jig either propped up off the bench or hanging over the edge so you don’t rout into the benchtop. The front of the rocker extends all the way to the other side of the plywood. radius.2. from the arc along the back edge of the jig. Scribe the arc across the bottom of the plywood.wide slots (see “Making the Interim Slot Jig”). Mark the center point of the arc on the reference line. bigger. The rocker is mostly an arc of a circle with a 30-in. down from the top of the plywood. Next. then draw a 31⁄2-in. 7⁄8 in. router bit. 30 in. Flatten out the back 31⁄2 in. Interim slot jig 23/8" PHOTO A: A filler strip can be inserted in the interim dado jig to rout the short slot for the strut. 4. 3. Using a scrap of 1⁄4-in. Lay the interim jig over one of the marked slot locations on the side-panel jig and clamp it into place. The dadoes themselves will be 3⁄4 in. away from the left edge of the plywood after it gets rounded over. The best way to proceed now is to make a very simple jig to help you rout the slots. Mark out parallel lines for the slots. about 1 in. guide bushing and a 1 ⁄2-in. and strut. mark out the curve of the rocker. back. 6. away. make up a “compass” by drilling one hole for a nail and another hole. it can extend up above where the side panel will end. but because you are making a jig that will be used with a 5⁄8-in. of the rocker to make it harder to tip the chair over. 95 that will define the locations the dadoes. Don’t worry about the length of the slot for the back of the rocker.-long straight line from this point to the arc of the rocker. Mark the ends of the slots as well. the slots in the jig must be 1 ⁄8 in. 8. based on the reference points you just created. 7. Measure down 3⁄8 in.

I sawed the shape on the bandsaw and sanded the curve smooth and fair. 11. Unshaped blank Making the Side Panels 1. 3. cut the filler strip so it will make a slot that is 23⁄8 in. While the boards are still clamped 3/8" x 3/4" strips of plywood to align the pieces 98 ✦ CHILD’S ROCKER . deep. long. guide bushing and a 1⁄2-in. This dado should be exactly 21⁄4 in. The dadoes should all be the same: 3⁄16 in. Now cut and smooth the shape of the rocker that you marked originally. to 1 ⁄4 in. 97 and “Using the Filler Strip” on p. 97). Cut the side panel blanks to rough size as given in the cut list. 10. Clamp a panel blank underneath the side-panel jig so that it is flush with the reference edge of the jig. The bottom of the blank should be sticking out beyond the jig about 1 in. Time to move on to making the rocker. long in the side-panel jig—1⁄8 in. straight bit. and they come out in exactly the right place if you use the dado jig. Transferring the Shape Shaped side underneath the seat. will be lost when you rout the dadoes (see Photo A on p. 2. Rout the dadoes using a router with a 5 ⁄8-in. Locate and drill two holes which you will use to transfer the positions of the capnut holes (see “Cap-Nut Locations”).Cap-Nut Locations Cap-nut holes 1" 1" 21/4" 1" PHOTO B: The dadoes in the side panels are easy to rout. The jig is now finished.

This will ensure symmetry to the sides.together. 3. holes for the cap nuts in each side panel at the locations marked from the side-panel jig. and it seemed rather cumbersome to set up the cut. roundover bit. So I cut the dado with the blade at 90 degrees and checked the fit of the seat in the dado. Create the shape of the upper part of the side panel by working square by square from “The Side-Panel Pattern” on p. Now flip the side-panel jig over and clamp it with the same reference edge flush with the edge of the other side-panel blank. Cut the dado in the back for the seat. with a 1⁄4-in. Rout the dadoes on this blank. 3. in from both sides of the blank to get the dimensions of the back of the seat. plywood fit into the corresponding dadoes to align the two halves before drawing the lines (see “Transferring the Shape”). 9. Now mark where the seat dado intersects the back (see Photo D on p. Bandsaw the sides of the seat to the lines. 5. It hardly matters at all that the angle isn’t there. You need to determine the location of the dado that will accept the back edge of the seat. roundover bit. Then draw lines from these marks to the front corners. Slide the back to the bottom of the dado. Cut the side panel to shape and smooth carefully to the lines. Cut the seat blank to dimensions given in the cut list. 5. Hold up the back with the beveled edge in the back dado of the appropriate side panel (the back should lean toward the back of the chair). The first step is to round over the bottom edges of the back with a 1⁄4-in. Making the Seat 1. 6. The rocker should be smooth and even. both top and bottom. Making the Back Both sides of the back are beveled at the same angle as the seat taper. with no bumps or flats. 7. 2. Now transfer the shape over to the other side-panel blank. 6. Bevel only one edge of the back for now. but this must wait until you are working on the back. Draw a grid of 1-in. No problem. 4. The back edge of the seat needs a bevel. Hold the back up in the same side panel as before. 2. Take the seat and hold it up in CHILD’S ROCKER ✦ 99 . the saw blade on my table saw tilts the wrong way. Use a couple of narrow rippings of 3⁄4-in. since you will later transfer over the shape of the first panel. 8. 10. And it is easier. 4. The back also has a dado for the back edge of the seat to slip into as well as some decorative shaping. mark the curve of the rocker and the cap-nut hole locations onto the blank (see Photo B). squares on the routed side of the first side panel blank. This marks the location of the seat dado in the back panel. roundover bit. Rout the front edge. Although this dado should be angled. Measure 19⁄16 in. Drill the two 11⁄32-in. PHOTO C: The seat can be used to set the angle of the table saw blade for all of the bevel cuts on the rocker. 100). 94 until you are satisfied with the overall look. Cut and smooth the second side panel. 4. Set the bevel angle for the back on the table saw using the seat itself as a guide (see Photo C). 1. Round over the edges of both panels with a 1⁄4-in. You do not need to mark the rocker curve on this blank.

Cut the back edge of the seat with the blade reset to the angle of the seat taper (use the seat as your angle reference once again). The back panel tapers toward the rear. the edges are not parallel. The dado goes where the seat dado intersects the back. 7. Be sure that the bevel angles the correct way. 12".to 14"-long piece of plywood cut to fit in slot and beveled at the seat angle on one side 100 ✦ CHILD’S ROCKER . Determining Strut Length Side panel Back panel Seat panel Ruler Measure from bottom of slot in side panel to edge of dummy strut. Align the beveled edge of the back with the edge of the seat. place as well. Dummy strut.PHOTO D: Locate the dado in the back panel with the panel held in position on the side panel. Cut the bevel on this side of the back. then mark the back edge. Mark the opposite side. Take note of how much wood must be removed from the back edge of the seat so it will fit into place. Set up for the cut carefully so that the top of the seat ends up longer than the bottom. Now you need the exact width of the back. 8. Hold the seat up in the dado in the back.

smooth the sawn edge. Note that the oval makes a very convenient handle for dragging the chair around. The seat angle provides the angle needed for the drilling platform. thick by 3 in. You can also make up a dummy strut from a 13⁄4-in. but I found it all at my local hardware store. I made up a jig for the oval cutout from a scrap of plywood with a 53⁄8-in. Align the front edge of the seat panel with the end of this wedge blank and trace the angle of the side of the seat panel onto the blank. 103). Putting It All Together There is no glue used on this chair. Fit it into one of the strut slots and measure from the end of this piece to the bottom of the dado opposite. Clamp across the back of the chair above the seat. Make two identical wedges for the platform out of a piece of wood. ruler used together can get the length. Drilling the angled holes The first step in drilling the angled holes is to make a simple angled drilling platform (see “Making the Angled Drilling Platform” on p. 1. cut the ends of the strut at the same angle used for cutting the sides of the back. You can use the bottom of one of the side panels as a pattern to mark them out. 2. Cut a strip of plywood to the dimensions given in the cut list. A 12-in. Instead. roughly 1 in.. 102). 4. long. Cut and smooth this wedge to match the first. Mark and cut the curves on the top and bottom of the back. but they work perfectly well with 1⁄4-20 threaded rod. Screw a 12-in. Rout an oval or a slot in the back panel for decoration. The slot can be cut with the interim jig you made earlier. radius. straight bit. Tension from the rods and cap nuts holds the seat and back panels securely in the side panels (see “The Threaded Rods” on p. The cap nuts are usually used in conjunction with connector bolts. oval cut in it. guide bushing and a 1⁄2-in. The only complication to this otherwise simple solution is that the rocker side panels are not parallel.to 14-in. 2. CHILD’S ROCKER ✦ 101 . 3. Cut either decoration with a router with a 5 ⁄8-in.-square piece of 3⁄4-in. by 12-in. It is simple to make. You’ll have to clamp all of the other parts of the rocker together to determine the exact length of the strut. Add the two lengths to get the measurement (see “Determining Strut Length”). 10. Then measure the distance from the front of the slot on one side to the front of the slot on the other. ruler and a 6-in. roundover bit. With the saw still tilted (or reset to the seat angle). PHOTO E: This combination of hardware used to hold the rocker together is unconventional. wide by 11 in.9. the chair is held together with two lengths of threaded rod and four cap nuts (see Photo E).-long scrap of plywood with the seat angle cut on one end. 1. Both of these curves are the same: a 30-in. Making the Strut The strut makes it possible to assemble the rocker with a threaded rod and cap nuts. The holes (with shallow counterbores) for the connector nuts need to be drilled at an angle so that they can be tightened onto the threaded rods. The process starts with drilling these holes. Cut a wedge out of the blank. and use this wedge to mark out a second wedge. 3.-thick plywood to the two wedges. by 33⁄8-in. Round over the long edges of the strut with a 1⁄4-in.

12" SIDE VIEW 12" Plywood top. position front edge of side panel uphill and drill into outside face.Making the Angled Drilling Platform Wedge blank Mark this angle onto wedge blank. 11" x 11" 11" To use. Seat panel Match second wedge to first. Align these edges. Cut apart. 12" x 12" 2" Wedge Plywood base. 11" 102 ✦ CHILD’S ROCKER .

Attaching a piece of plywood to the underside of the wedges will make it easier to clamp the angled platform to the drill-press table. 4. CHILD’S ROCKER ✦ 103 . PHOTO F: With the angled platform clamped in place on the drill press. it will still be very shallow on one side. 6. 7. 5. Note that the line through the capnut holes is parallel to the edge of the angled platform and that the front of the side panel is uphill. Clamp the angled platform to the drillpress table with the angle running sideways. Then drill a 9mm or a 3⁄8-in. Drill only until you have a complete hole. This line should remain parallel to the edge of the angled platform when drilling the holes in a side.The Threaded Rods Side panel Threaded rods Cap nuts Use an angled platform to drill angled holes in the side panels to accommodate the cap nuts. On the outside of each of the side panels draw a line through the two marks for the cap-nut holes. Drill a shallow 3⁄4-in. counterbore for the flange of each of the cap nuts first. hole through the center of the counterbore for the body of each of the nuts (see Photo F). it’s easy to drill the holes for the cap nuts at the proper angle.

3. PHOTOS G AND H: Assembling the rocker can be frustrating without help. Cut the rod 1⁄4 in. It makes sense to do it on a blanket or a piece of cardboard in case something slips apart. 5. 2. Put the rocker together. and insert it into a hole on one side and then through the hole in the other side. shorter than the length you marked. Mark where the rod comes out of the hole. Repeat the same process for the other set of holes.PHOTO I: Slip the threaded rod with one of the cap nuts all the way through the holes in one side and mark where the rod comes out the counterbore on the other side panel of the rocker. flush with the bottom of the counterbore (see Photo I). Now assemble the chair with the threaded rod in place. File the rough edges and check to be sure you can thread the nut onto the cut end. 104 ✦ CHILD’S ROCKER . using the remaining section of rod. Cutting the threaded rod to length 1. You may want an assistant or a clamp or two to help hold things together while you measure for the threaded rod (see Photos G and H). 4. Thread one of the cap nuts all the way onto the end of the rod.

or shellac on the bottoms of the rockers will probably rub off as the chair is dragged around.TIP It’s easy to cut threaded rod with a hacksaw. The rocker should hold together tightly (if not. before applying any finish. PHOTO J: Tighten up the cap nuts with a pair of Allen wrenches. although paint. Then put it into use. You can test the chair now if you want. check to see if you need to cut a little more off of the threaded rods). Lacquer or shellac is also a good option. Tighten the cap nuts (see Photo J). Finishing I chose an oil-and-wax finish for a natural look on one of the rockers and brightly colored paint for the other. Wait for the finish to dry completely before reassembling the rocker. lacquer. 6. Remember that you need good threads on only the last 1⁄2 in. Sand all parts thoroughly. of either end of the rod. It’s also very easy to mangle the threads so they are unusable. Clamp somewhere else when you’re cutting. CHILD’S ROCKER ✦ 105 . especially the edges.

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