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Archive for April 2014

  • Face Side - Face Edge

    Monday 21st April 2014

    Just to add some further clarity to my project videos I just wanted to take a moment to explain what I mean when I mention the Face Side and the Face Edge. As always I hope the video covers most of it however a written article and some photos always help too. In no particular order here is what the simple Face Side Face Edge marks do.

    Face Side Face Edge

    First of it gives a reference face to set gauges, squares or tools from. in the real world nearly every groove or rebate is offset as is nearly every mortice and tenon. Therefore not applying the fence or stock against the face side would mean a mortice would become staggered or a groove in the wrong. "Face against the fence" was one of the phrases of my apprenticeship as applying face side and edge marks applies just as much to machines or power tools as it does to hand work. Having the faces marked you have to decide where each piece will be used in advance and you don't switch as you go along avoiding error.

    It gives us a chance to pick the best face and to declare it as such. The "best face" may vary depending on position but once it's been declared all gauging and squaring is taken from it. This little bit of time can help us plan the work and if we are lucky allow the hiding of a defect within a rebate or tucked away in an area unseen.

    Using face side and face edge

    Accuracy! A hugely important thing. By squaring around from only the face side and face edge marks we can be sure to prevent inaccurate shoulders and setting out. The real world situation is that not always do we find ourselves with perfect timber, by picking an accurate face side and face edge we can prevent the imperfections causing problems. It's how you insure the end product will be square and true.

    So if you're not applying this method try it, you might find more accurate results as a consequence and if you don't at least you'll know what I'm talking about in my project videos.

  • Make a Six Board Chest - Part 2

    Wednesday 16th April 2014

    All my timber is now glued up into oversized panels. My front, back and ends are needed first and these were prepared in the typical way with handplanes. They also needed cutting to length. If you're lucky enough to have a nice crosscut sled on your table saw these cuts will be quick and easy, however I wanted to progress this project by hand. With the panels too large to trim in the shooting board I knife marked them. Creating a knife line around the wood gives a reference edge to work to and it prevents breakout when cutting. To apply a square line I used a framing or roofing square. The photos below and video should illustrate what's going on, however as with in part one and the panel glue up I think it would be a good idea to do a video and blog article on this too.

    Mark off the length

    Knife Wall

    Bring the knife to the mark

    Knife Line

    Slide the square to the knife

    Knife Wall Shoulder

    Draw the knife back, lightly to start and then reinforce with firmer strokes.

    Cutting to a Knife line

    With hands behind the cutting edge cut a trough down to the base of the knife line then cut to length with a fine crosscut saw.

    Chisel a Knife Wall

    Secure in the vice and work down to the knife wall planning in from each end to prevent breakout.

    Planning to a knife line

    And you should have a nice crisp edge at the end of the process. Again I think this process is worthy of an article by itself.

    Planning end grain

    Once satisfied with the boards it's time to rebate the front and back boards. Set the plane to the thickness of the board plus in the region of 0.5mm extra (much easier to trim the projecting edge of a rebate than having to flatten a whole end!). Set the cut for 8mm, the rebate does not need to be deep, it's just providing some positive location. A rebate will need to be formed on the ends and one long edge. In the video I show working across the grain first, this means any break out can be removed on the long grain pass. However as there is no rebate on the top you will need to add a backing piece or as I choose to do, break the fibres with a sawcut. Work the plane steadily back as you can see in the video.

    Chest Rabbet

    Rabbet Plane

    I'm using a very basic rebate plane which is a version of the Record 778 made by the Faithfull brand. It actually not too bad when you consider the reasonable price of around £30>40. The blade was out of square buy yielded quickly on the stone, the lever cap was a bit rough which grabbed the shavings so a little refinement there and the spur needed a sharpen. All quite easy if you feel reasonably confident at some problem solving. Although European Redwood is very mild the plane did perform well and is an option if you don't fancy a vintage model. It made pretty shavings too!

    Cross Grain Shaving

    One final point to close. I had some very constructive feedback on the video. It was rightly pointed out that the board I'm working on looks a bit bent! Well it is :-). This is something that if you choose to make one you might have happen to you. Of course good timber storage and using wood balanced to the working environment help but sometimes stuff just wants to move. With the level of bending on these boards I feel confident when the piece is clamped and nailed things will straighten up just fine.

  • Edge Jointing With a Handplane - Panel Glue Up

    Sunday 6th April 2014

    One really nice thing about running a project on the blog is that it creates lots of extra ideas for articles. In the Six Board Chest project I needed to edge glue some boards together and I realised it would be worthwhile to take a closer look at the process. The video above shows the process but let's also review what I did. In the photo below you will see two Oak boards I used as an example. No amount of cramping pressure will get those edge to meet up so therefore we need to shoot the edges ready for edge jointing.

    Before Edge Jointing

    I allow extra length and width over and above the finished panel size. This gives me lots of wriggle room and makes the job of joining much less stressful. As a rule of thumb add and extra 2" in length and 1/2" in width.

    Take a look at your boards, pick the best faces and match them as well as possible so the grain compliments the final panel. You can skip that if the project is painted! Some people like to alternate the radiating growth rings for reasons of stability. Nothing wrong in that at all but I normally go for the look of the panel and find that this works well for me. Once you have your boards as you want them add a face mark and some reference marks that you can use to bring you back to the right spot during the glue up. I used marker pen to add clarity for the video, a chunky soft carpenters pencil is my normal choice.

    This is the key step of shooting edges easily. Pick up the boards folding them outwards so the face marks are on the outside then secure them in the vice, just like the video. I like to use a handplane for shooting the boards. Don't let that put you off, It's really not that bad and the reason is down to how I set the boards int he vice. By securing the boards with the face edges facing out, if the edge is planed a little out of square it makes no difference as the edges compliment each other and stay dead flat when they meet up. For short boards a short plane will work, something like a #5 (this is the plane I use in the video and the plane shown in the front of the picture). Longer edges are more easily done with longer planes.

    Jointing Planes

    I set my plane coarse to start so I can remove stock quickly and get the edges close to what I need. A sharp handplane is essential, but if you follow the link that can be easy too :-). When planing the edges try to hollow the the boards in their length. By starting and finishing the plane strokes within the length of the timber this naturally happens. By doing this you will avoid making a hill which is not helpful. By having a slight hollow extra pressure is put on the ends of the joint during clamping which is an added bonus. For the final final step set the plane very fine and take some full length shavings. Remove the boards from the vice and offer them up laying flat on the bench. Don't try and cheat yourself, these need to go together with light pressure, if it's not right repeat the process again.

    Biscuit Joint

    If you're working on long boards you might want to add biscuits. These help you align the boards and are like an extra pair of hands if you work alone. Don't add too many, just a few to help you line up the boards. Also if you do use biscuits make sure you keep them in far enough from the ends. If they end up to close to the ends you risk exposing them when you trim the panel to length as shown in the photo below. Biscuit jointers are really great for this job. Alternatively you can add dowels or tongues to the edges of the boards instead.

    Inside a Biscuit Joint

    Next comes the glue. Do not be in a rush at this point! Also if you're gluing a few boards together don't get greedy, do your glue up in stages.

    Do the boring stuff get everything you need ready, clamps ready and set at the correct width, have your work area clean and tidy. The glue you choose is up to you. I'm using Titebond original for no other reason than I was given a sample pot and I can confirm it works well. There are many many adhesives to choose from. Take advice from a reputable supplier to make sure you have the best adhesive for the job in hand and you are aware of any safety issues. Some adhesives can be very toxic so do your research. Other adhesives may vary in their application, this method works fine for Titebond original glue.

    Edge Glued Panel

    I apply a generous bead of glue to the centre of one of the boards as you can see above. Bring the edges together on the claps and give them a rub, gently forcing them together and getting them into position to meet the reference marks. This rubbing creates a suction between the joint and holds the board steady while you cramp. If you wish you can spread your glue with a brush or a spatula and apply to both edges. However the photo below is of the joint I rubbed, I pulled it apart so you could see the glue evenly covers both sides. Pay attention to the ends of the boards when applying glue and make sure the ends get a nice even coat too.

    Edge Glued Panel

    Once in the clamps apply the pressure only lightly making sure the edges meet nicely and the joint comes up nice and snug and then gently add more force. Don't apply crazy pressure to the joint. If you do you will force out too much glue and potentially distort both panel and clamps. And indicator of a good joint is a gap free meeting edge with a nice little bit of squeeze out evenly along the whole length of the joint. I wipe my excess glue off, some prefer to wait until it is dry to remove. Imagine also that with animal glue and even PVA you can do edge glued boards with just a rub joint which demonstrates just how much force is required.

    Edge Jointing Glue Up

    On softer timbers you might need to protect the edges of your panel with packers shown above. I find I don't often need to do this, adding too much clamping pressure to the point you damage the work can be a sign of a problem.

    Once in the clamps follow the instructions on drying times given with your glue. Once dry remove from the clamps and avoid using the work for 24 hours to ensure the glue has fully set.

    Using a Smoothing Plane

    The panel is now ready for use and should only require some final smoothing with a fine set plane or a finish sander if you prefer.

    Edge Glue Joint Result

    Smoothing Plane Panel