Thursday, September 9, 2021

Coat Rack, Part 2: Joinery

Last post I had settled on a design and completed the stock prep.  This week was about getting parts to the right size and cutting joints.

I'll start off with a tip for an awkward sawing situation.  When cutting to length, the back overhung the bench by several inches (because I was too lazy to lower the back adjustable lip of my bench).  I needed to saw off about a half inch and the overhang leads to vibration.  So I clamped a thick stick of wood near the cut line and sawed away.  The stick removed the vibration and made the cut easy.

Cutting to length with no vibration

On to the joinery.  The side pieces get a stopped dado that will house the shelf, and a rabbet along the rear edge to fit the back.  The 3/8" deep dado was chopped out with a chisel and its bottom smoothed with a router plane.  After marking the extents of the rabbet with a marking gauge, the 3/8" deep, 1/2" wide rabbet was planed with a homemade 3/4" rabbet plane and an old D.R. Barton skew rabbet plane.

Stopped dadoes in the yet-to-be-shaped sides

The rabbet cut along the rear edge

The shelf had two through dadoes cut into it that will house the dividers.

One divider fit into its dado in the shelf

At this point I could partially assemble the coat rack.  Normally I like to minimize the use of metal fasteners in my projects, but I decided to add screws through the back to hold the vertical dividers as well as the shelf.  I also added screws on the underside of the shelf into each divider.

The back screwed to vertical dividers and shelf

View from the front (dividers were later cut flush with the front of the shelf)

Next, I glued on a small lip to the front of the shelf.  This will keep things on the shelf from falling out.

Gluing on the lip

Last thing for this update was shaping the sides.  I had made a template from some thick paper and transferred the shape to the sides.  The shape was cut out with a coping saw.  I've seen people use a two handed grip on the handle, but I like to use one hand on the handle and one on the far end of the saw.  It helps me keep the saw stable, level and straight.

When I sawed out the shape for the dividers, I cut away from the lines and pared back to them using an incannel gouge.  But for the sides, I cut closer to the lines, then used rasps, files and a scraper to smooth the curves.

Starting the curve cut with coping saw

Smoothing the curve with a sharp scraper

This project is in the home stretch.  I need to glue a top piece to the upper edge of the back, then assemble the whole thing and add some shellac.  We just ordered a couple extra hooks on which we'll hang some things other than coats - keys, purse, etc.  Hopefully they'll look OK with the current hooks.  I'll report back next time.

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