Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mini Chest With Drawers - Part 2

This post describes making the mortises (too briefly - not enough pics) in the drawer dividers that will house the runners on which the drawers will slide.  Also, the back of the carcase is rabbeted to accept 1/4" boards that will enclose the back.

The stock for the drawer rails and runners is 1/2" thick.  If a 3/16" chisel was available for the mortise, that would've been nice.  A 1/8" mortise would be too small and the 1/4" would leave thin walls.  Given the low stress application, 1/4" was chosen.
Starting the mortise - I'm sitting directly in line with the board
Recently I've been reading older entries from Dennis Laney's excellent blog "A Woodworker's Musings".  He's a very talented woodworker and has been in the craft over 50 years.  He wrote about aligning your body and eye with the length of the board when mortising to help keep the chisel vertical, so I had to try it out.  Normally the board is cross-ways to my eye.  It took a little getting used to, but worked fine.
Four of the eight mortises
A 1/4" shoulder was left at the end so as not to get too close to the dovetail.  There is only a 1/8" shoulder at left to maximize the width of the tenon.  The plan is to glue the runner tenons into the front rail mortises, but the back rail mortises will have no glue.  The runners have a cross-grain situation with the case sides and not gluing the back rails to the runners will allow the case sides to move freely with moisture changes.

The back was to be rabbeted all around to inset boards to close it in.  This was interesting for two reasons.  First, the side pieces could accept a through rabbet so I got to use my new-to-me Record #778 rabbet plane.  The rabbets in the 3/4" stock were 1/2" wide and 1/4" deep.
The #778 made quick work of these rabbets.
Second, the top and bottom boards were more challenging as stopped rabbets were required.  The width and depth of the rabbet had been marked with a wheel-type marking gauge.
Top marked for stopped rabbet
From the picture, you can see where the rabbet stops there is little support for chopping, so the stopped rabbet was stopped even shorter and the rest will be chiseled out when the carcase is glued together.

A method was used from Lost Art Press' "The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years" books, chiseling out (bevel down) a triangular cross section close to the layout lines.
Chiseling at an angle to the lines (ignore the more completed section at right)
Then a series of chops were made to loosen the waste.  Richard McGuire did a stopped rabbet this way (but without the angled chiseling).
Chops straight down every 1/8"
Chiseling out the waste was very easy.
Chiseling out the waste
Finally, the walls were pared with the help of the gauge lines.  Note that the ends of the rabbet have not been touched.  This was much easier than I thought it would be.
Chiseling to the width gauge line
Chiseling to the depth gauge line
Et voila, a stopped rabbet
Fast-forward past the glue-up, here is the remaining piece that still needs to be removed.
Last bit that needs to be removed
Now that the wood is supported, there is much more confidence about chopping without damaging the last pin.
After a few chops and clean-up
And finally, level with the rest of the rabbet
Reversing gear to the glue-up, that was a slightly hair raising thing.  Even though it was rehearsed a bunch, a big mistake was still almost made.  Note to self: when gluing up a dovetailed box, always glue up two pin boards with one tail board first.  Then add the other tail board.  This way, the two boards don't need to be pried apart to fit in the last board.

The carcase material was fairly cupped - about 1/16" to 1/8" - so a method was needed to clamp out the cup.  The cup was on the inside faces - the outside faces were bellied.  First a couple of dovetail-shaped clamping cauls were made.
Clamping caul in place
Then a couple of blocks were taped to the sides of the pin boards in the middle.  In the following picture the center parallel clamp is pulling the pin board cups tight.  A couple parallel clamps were also added top and bottom in this photo to pull the end pins in tight.
The clamping - when the glue set, the other side was done
The glue-up was very successful, removing practically all cup.  I had been looking forward to this so that the joints could be planed and the dovetails really evaluated.
Dovetails cleaned up
Very happy with this.  This was probably the best corner.  Some others were a little gappy, but not too bad.

Later the drawer dividing rails and runners were glued into place.
Rails and runners glued in
In the next two photos, you can see that the shoulder of the runner tenon is not seated into the rear rail mortise.  No glue was used so that when the carcase expands and contracts the runner can float.  There is about 3/8" of tenon in the mortise and about 1/8" of tenon out of the mortise.
Back view - note the runner shoulder is not touching the back rail
Closer view of runner and back rail

Next it's on to making and fitting drawers - coming soon.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Mini Chest With Drawers - Part 1

The result of my "Dovetailing Deep Dive" was that I had a four sided box (not yet glued together) with no top and bottom (or front and back, depending on what I was going to do with it).  I decided to make a small chest of drawers, so the open spaces became front and back.

I've been reading lately about historical construction techniques, so I wanted to try a few things.  First, I'm going to separate the chest into three drawer compartments, oriented vertically like a typical bureau.  So I needed to practice letting a dovetailed piece into a sliding dovetail housing.
Some practice at sliding dovetails
I did a little work with tapered and non-tapered sliding dovetails.  The piece fitted into the housing on the right above is a tapered DT.  The other three slots include two straight DT and a dado.  Since my rails were only 1 1/2" wide I decided on non-tapered sliding DT.  And because they were from 1/2 thick stock I didn't think there was enough material to try tapered DTs.  The practice joints came out pretty good.

Laying out the tails and cutting them out was straight forward.  Knifed a baseline all around 1/2" from the end.  Penciled a line on the end grain about 1/16" from each face and used a DT marker to get the angles.
Tail layout
Sawed to the lines
The only cleanup I did was to the shoulders.  Then I marked the locations of the recesses using the actual work piece and a knife.
Knife-marking the recess on the edge

Squared the knife lines onto the face to about 1 1/2"
I sawed just inside the layout lines and removed a triangle of waste with a 1/8" chisel (the top of the recess was less than 1/4" wide).
Starting to remove waste
BTW, in sawing to the lines, some people will saw well past the end line on the face of the board so that it's easier to remove the waste.  In the first photo above, my recess second from the right has these saw lines extended past the stop line.  Even though this will be inside the cabinet, I think it looks horrible and just can't do it that way.
Waste removed almost to the diagonal saw kerf
From there, I used the original knife lines to guide the chisel in paring the walls.
Paring to the knife lines
Then it was a matter of running the knife in the corners and chiseling out the waste until the recess was completed.  This took several iterations.
Knifing to deepen the side wall
And here's what it looked like:
Completed recess
Another view
Then it was time to tap the tail into the socket and see how it fits.
Half way home
This one came out great.  I had 8 total to do and a couple of them were a bit loose.  Just a small gap leads to a poor fit.
A little gappy
Way too lose (same joint as above pic)
The two photos above are of the same joint, only I've let gravity pull the cantilevered rail away from the joint in the last photo.  Oh well, not perfect, but not too worried about it.

Next time I'll continue with mortising these rails to fit drawer runners.  Until then, have fun and stay safe.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Record #778 Rabbet / Rebate Plane

I found some decent tools last weekend on Craigslist, the former owner of which had developed allergies to wood that stopped her from woodworking.  She had taken courses from Ian Kirby when she lived on the east coast and bought some Record tools that (I'm guessing) he recommended.  One of the tools is a Record #778 rabbet plane, probably from the 1970's.
The original box
All original parts were present.  Plane body and blade, fence, fence rails and locking screws, depth stop and locking screw.
Contents of the original box
It even came with an instruction sheet.  Actually it came with three of them, so if anybody has a #778 without the instruction sheet and wants one, contact me and I'll send it to you.
Three instruction sheets
Here's the plane assembled without the fence and depth stop.
Not too dirty
Just a few rust spots.  Notice the little indent just above the "C" in Record for the index finger to rest?
And here's the fence assembly.
Fence with arms in place
The plane didn't take much to get it into good working condition.  Mostly just a good clean-up and a little sole flattening and blade sharpening.  I took it all apart and got to work.
All parts ready for cleaning (depth stop not in picture)
I started by cleaning up all dust and grime with a toothbrush and soap, being careful to dry any water that got into any holes.  Any screw threads and thumb screw heads get the wire-wheel-in-the-drill treatment.
The stud used for blade depth adjustment was just a little dirty
The sole was a little out of flat, so I got out the plate glass with sandpaper adhered to it and worked it for a while.  Here's the progress pics - I use a marker to know when I'm getting close.
Not much rust, but not perfectly flat
Marked for action
After a couple minutes on the sandpaper
And after a few more minutes - lookin' good!
I used 100 and 180 grit papers, but they were old and were not nearly as rough as they were originally.  I also worked the two sides to remove some surface rust spots.  Not much - just enough to clean them up.

The fence wasn't flat either, so I gave that a little time on the plate glass and sandpaper as well.  It's still not perfect, but I'm not too worried about it - I'll probably be screwing a piece of wood to it to extend it a little.
Fence with low spots on the ends
The blade was in interesting condition.  The bevel had many facets, indicating several sharpenings, each at a slightly different angle.
Blade bevel with multiple facets
By the way, here are a couple shots of the overall blade before cleaning it up.
Bevel side
Back side
Interestingly, the side edges near the business end were not parallel with each other and it looked like they were never intended to be.  There is a little lateral play when installed, so I don't think I need to have the edge perpendicular to a side, but I would like to anyway.  When I sharpened it, I tried to get it perpendicular to the side that was closer to 90°.

Flattening the back took a while on the diamond stones.  Here are a series of pictures showing progress.  It took about 15 -25 minutes total, but was tough on the fingers.
After a few minutes - the darker areas are flat, lighter areas are low
A few more minutes - almost the whole edge is flat
More time and more removal
Almost there
I'm calling this good enough
I've got a good reflection from the flat portion.
So shiny you could use it as a mirror - well, on an angle anyway
The bevel was straight forward.  I used a Veritas honing guide to sharpen.  It took a while to re-establish a decent bevel.  I shot for about 27-28° and a secondary bevel of 2° more.
Still some remnants of old facets, but a good bevel and micro-bevel
I'd like to do something about the knicker, or is that nicker, or spur?  If anybody knows a good method for sharpening this, please let me know.
Knicker in unused position
Back of the knicker - only the right-most spur has been used
Front side of knicker
After oiling all screws and moving parts, I reassembled the plane to give it a test drive.  I set the fence for a 3/4" wide rabbet and the depth stop for 1/8".  I used a piece of very hard wood I salvaged from a junked table undercarriage.
The action shot
And here is the result.  A very nice, smooth, shallow rabbet in a hard wood.
Bugs Bunny would be proud
I haven't used rabbets much in my work.  But when a project calls for one I'll be ready.  I'm hoping to make some picture frames soon and with the rabbet plane in combination with a few hollow and round molding planes I should be good to go.