Friday, July 28, 2017

Plant Stands, Part 2 - Shaping and Completion

With the structure complete from Part 1 of this project, I could shape the parts.  The legs would get a chamfer on the outside corners, as well as some shaping at the feet.  All rails would get a decorative bead at the lower edge.

I had never done stopped chamfers before.  The chamfers would start about 1" up from the bottom and end about 2 1/2" from the top.   I made a small knife line 1/2" from these starting points and penciled in the shape to be removed.
Chamfer laid out
Then I made a stop cut with a saw at the knifed line.
Sawed a small kerf as a stop cut
Removed bulk of waste with a chisel
Then smoothed with a spokeshave and a no. 4 smoother
Got right up to the stop cut with a shoulder plane that has a removable toe
On other legs I simply used a chisel to clean up the ends of the flat part.  Then it was a fairly easy matter to chisel the curved lead-in to the chamfer.
Chiseling the curved lead-in until the curve meets the flat part seamlessly
I didn't get a pic in progress, but here's a pic from the finished project.
Very happy with this transition
And a more straight-on view
After that, I put a bead at the bottom of each rail.  I really love using the beading planes that I recently restored.
Bead on one of the short rails
One thing about putting beads on the rails - somehow it always seems the grain is not in your favor.  You can see in the next picture how I lost a little chunk of the bead at the left end.  Sometimes I wonder if I should cut the beads before forming the tenons.  That way, I would cut off any torn chunks that happen at the end.  Would love to hear comments from anybody with experience on this.
Planing goes from right to left, but see how the grain is diving?
One thing I did to make sure I didn't get any tear-out at the quirk was to make a deep gauge line at the extent of the quirk before using the beader.
A close view of the gauge line
This made sure that I got a good, crisp quirk at the surface of the rail.
Arrow points to the crisp edge I'm talking about
With the rail beads done, I next had to put a bead on the stretcher.  This was a real challenge because the stretcher has a concave curve on it's bottom edge.
Lower stretcher has a concave bottom edge.
Bead was made using a scratch stock.
I used a scratch stock, for which I made a cutter to match the size of bead that I had cut on all the rails.  I didn't get any action photos, but here's the scratch stock.  It's easy to make the cutter - just takes a few minutes to file out the unwanted metal.
The scratch stock
Close-up of the cutter
I was surprised how fast it cut the bead in the curved lower aspect of the stretcher.  One feature of this scratch stock that helps in this regard is that the fence is curved.  This allows it to stay tight along the curved edge of the stretcher.

After all shaping was done, I focused on the top.  I planed a bullnose shape on all edges of each board.  To line up the top slats for installation, I turned the undercarriage upside down on the bench and got creative with a holdfast to clamp things in place.
Top slats being marked for location and screw holes
I had made some pocket screw holes in the upper rails before gluing the carcase together.  You can see one in the short rail in the above picture.

For finishing, I first applied three coats of shellac, sanding after each coat had dried.  Then, to give the plant stands greater resistance to the effects of rain (and sun?), I applied a few coats of polyurethane.

And here they are in service outside the kitchen windows.
My wife thought I'd just slap something together with screws to get this project done quickly. But hey, I'm a woodworker.  The mortising is good practice and I learned a few new things along the way. Everybody wins!


  1. They look great Matt. I really like all of the edge details that you put into them.

    1. Thanks Greg. I really enjoy the shaping part. The more I make, the more I have a feeling for what might look good. It's all about the learning!

  2. Well done Matt, and good idea to use the occasion as a practice. The only thing you forgot was to uses the excuse to buy a new tool :-) Noty that I ever done that myself :-)


    1. Ha! I gotta remember that one. Could use a few new tools ...

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Derek. Hope all's been well with you. Haven't heard much lately.