Jan 082014

Here is the original blog post over at Lumberjocks.com

Nightstand 5

Even though I clamped and cauled the top and shelf during the glue up there was still a slight offset between the panels, maybe around a 64th or so, maybe a little less.

I machine planed the panels before the glue up so the panels were pretty flat and reasonably smooth.

I like the tactile quality of a planed surface more so than a sanded surface so the offset and the desired for a planed finish combined to lead me to hand plane the finished top.

Hand planing the top turned out to be a bigger hassle than I anticipated. There was a low spot in the middle along the glue line so more planing was required than I hoped for going in. The grain reverses in multiple places so tear out was a problem. I ended up planing mostly cross grain with a jack to flatten the panel. I followed up with a smoother using a 50 degree blade (pretty high angle) and the smallest mouth opening / cut I could make. I tried heavier cuts and lower angle blades but I would get tear out every time. That was with freshly honed blades sharp enough to shave with.

The result of the high angle blade and the infinitesimal cuts was a surface smooth as glass with no tear out but it took a LOT of passes. I mean a LOT. Here’s one pile of shavings from smoothing one side. You could pick pretty much any one of these shaving and see through it, they were all that fine. I made about three piles of shavings like this and didn’t reduce the thickness of the top or shelf by more than a 32nd. These were a pile of wispy shavings.

Here’s how the shelf looked almost done. You can still see some of the plane marks but most of the tear out was cleaned up by now.

Here’s the top finished.

Jan 082014

Here is the original blog post over at Lumberjocks.com

Nightstand 4

After milling up the pieces and parts it was time to begin cutting to size and fitting up. The construction is all mortise and tenon and sliding panel. At this point the pieces are still marked with the position identifier and the orientation. I use kids sidewalk chalk to mark the pieces. Sidewalk chalk comes in different colors to mark light or dark wood, it’s dirt cheap, large sticks so it’s easy to find and handle, and it wipes off clean with a little elbow grease and a rag.

I had to tune up the panels to get them to fit snug but not too tight. A couple swipes with the shoulder plane and then run around them with a block plane to break the corners.

Jan 082014

Here is the original blog post over at Lumberjocks.com

Nightstand 2

Still working on redrawing the plans and I came across an anomaly. The back and sides are solid wood panels. The side panels fit tight edge to edge. The back panels have a 3/16 gap between the panels and the posts. I could believe the gap is for wood movement, sounds reasonable, but then why not in the sides. Both the back and the sides are similar grain orientation and both will be subject to movement. I suspect the real answer is that whoever drew up the original plans either wanted tight with no gaps and got it wrong on the back or wanted a gap for wood movement and got it wrong on the sides. Whichever it was it was immediately obvious as soon as I started putting the pieces together in sketchup.

I’ll add some gap on the sides and shrink up the gap on the back. Now that I have my own model I can size it any size I want and print a new set of dimensioned plans as needed.

Jan 082014

Here is the original blog post over at Lumberjocks.com

Nightstand 1

I’m building a beside table / nightstand for my son. I found a set of plans I liked on the net, purchased from PlansNow originally published in Workbench Magazine.

Even though I have the plans I’m still drawing it up in sketchup.

I like to dry run in sketchup. I find it really makes my shop time go faster and I create fewer errors if I’ve walked through the entire cutting and assembly sequence in sketchup before committing.

If I start with a square block in sketchup the size of the surfaced lumber and then remove geometry similar to how I will do it in the shop I can see the sequence of cutting the lumber once in my head before actually cutting real wood. And then I can dry fit all of the parts in sketchup and see how they fit. I can grab a piece of the model and look at it from any angle before I’ve ever cut it and see fully formed before I ever see it in wood.

Here’s a picture of the start of the model so far. Got the posts and the rails modeled up.

The design calls for mortise and tenon joints throughout.

This is not my design, I dont own the copyrights to it so I wont be posting the actual sketchup model. I’m just drawing it for my own benefit.