zondag 14 december 2014

First mouldings

Most of the hollows and rounds are now ready for work. I skipped the two largest sizes because I don't think I will ever use them. So, work they have to do!

The easiest one is the front edge of the left side panel. The door of this cabinet is not covering both side panels, the left one is protruding. This gives an asymetric look to the cabinet, but somehow it looks pretty dandy. Anyway, I round off the front edge of this panel so it looks a bit like a vertical column. It's a 3/4" thick panel, so using the 3/4" hollow produced a nice moulded edge really quickly.

The next one is a lot more difficult. I am not happy with the bottom of this cabinet as it is now, with slightly chamfered edges. That would look nice on a modern danish piece, but not so much on this renaissance cabinet. Too blocky. So I had a look around what I could do about it. Most of these spice cabinets were designed to stand on a table. They had a bottom wich protrudes on all sides and usually they gave the edges of the bottom a rounded profile. On a hanging cabinet that doesn't look so hot. And I was too late anyway to change the bottom. A thinner bottom would also have looked better but too late for that too. In the end I found a picture of a gothic piece with exactly the right solution. Don't look (too long) at all the gothic perafernalia, just look at the front edge of the bottom.

So, that's what I am going to try. First a test on some maple. 

Getting into that corner wasn't easy. I used a plowplane first to make a groove. Then I have a "sideround", which in my case is a normal round plane where I cut half of the round away. I also grinded the iron to suit the new profile. I used a plane with a couple of worm holes. The worms have had a nice meal! The plane is almost falling apart from all the tunnels they have been digging.

Here are the planes I used. A rabet plane to remove most of the bulk. Then a plow,  A 1/2"hollow for the top rounded part and the sideround.

And another picture of the sideround.

More moulding planes

It's been a bit quiet in the shop. Last weekend I had to work extra and after 9 days working I took a timeout, Colapsed on the cough. But slowly I crawl back again and continue on refurbishing the moulding planes. I thought these ones might be interesting to see. The 3/8"s  are some of the last offerings from Nooitgedagt in this field. Funny to see how they held on to the imperical measurements until the end. Also funny to see how the book keepers managed to dumb down the design of these things. Here compared to an older model on the left.

They saved quite a bit on wood. The also saved on the typical Dutch moulding plane decorations and wide chamfers. The iron isn't tapered anymore and the mouth is wide, wide open.

But still, it's a piece of beech with an iron, so it should be possible to make it work. The round wasn't too bad. I could restore it in the usual manner. The hollow was another story. The shape of the sole didn't even look like a hollow, more like a v-groove. The points of the hollow need to be quite sharp, but they weren't in this plane. And the sole was far from flat.

After planing the sole with the round, the sole became way too wide. I had to chamfer the side to make it a nice shape again.

But then, all the work wasn't for nothing. Even these very humble decendents of the moulding plane manage to create nice shapes. Here's an ogee made with these two planes. Doesn't look too bad for a beginner with some budget planes, doesn't it?

zondag 7 december 2014

Moulding planes

This project has a new challenge for me. Mouldings! Never done that before. I could of course rip them out on the router table, but where's the fun in that? So I aquired a mixed bag full of hollow and round planes and after selecting the best ones, I ended up with a "half set". A half set in this case being 8 pairs of hollow and round planes from 1/8" to 1 1/4". The planes are far from exceptional. Standard Dutch carpenters planes in various degrees of disarray. So, work to do!

First thing to do is taking one pair and check them for being straight especially with a straight sole. Old wooden planes often have a depression in front of the mouth and a bulge at the back. On the round planes this is easilly corrected with a block plane, keeping a close eye on the shape, maybe even making a paper pattern to check it along the way. The hollow plane is harder to correct when the sole is out of shape, so it is best to restore the Round first and use that to correct the Hollow. Like I did in this picture.

Next step is preparing the irons. First comes polishing the face side of the irons. There is always some pitting, so I use silicone carbide grit on a floor tile first. Then it goes on my oil stones until they look good. The middle square one is from a 3/4" hollow, but one of the tips was broken, so I had to grind it back pretty far.

I "paint" the face with a permant marker and insert the iron in the plane again. With a scratch awl I mark the shape of the sole on the iron. Most of my planes need a lot of adjustment to get the profile of the iron close to the profile of the sole.

A combination of the grinder, the edge of the grinding wheel and small rotary grinding stones in the hand drill brings the edge as close to the line as possible. This asks for some inguinity and some dexterity. First I grind the edge to 90 degrees, then I grind the bevel, almost to a sharp edge.

Meanwhile I check the profile often in the plane. Inserting it, tapping it down so it protrudes minimally from the mouth and looking how well it fits. You might have to click on the image to see it enlarged to really see the edge poking out through the sole of the plane.

When I'm happy with the fit, it's time to make the edge really sharp. Here is my new sharpening station, fitted out with a Washita oilstone, an Arkansas translucent stone and some slips which are essential for sharpening hollow edges. There is also the Flex Cut strop and a normal flat leather strop with some Flex Cut stropping paste to remove the wire edge and bring the edge up to snuff.

And that's the first pair, 3/4" Hollow and Round. Only 7 more pairs to go. I know, the wedges look horrible, but they will do for a while.

And here is a short testrun on a cherry offcut.

zondag 30 november 2014

Upgrading the dividers

Last week I posted about the vertical drawer dividers, and posted this picture:

It looked kind of nice, but not quite good enough. When browsing through my stack of pictures I found ancient cabinets with the dividers like this. The vertical ones butt up square to the underside of the horizontal shelf. Sometimes they are recessed a bit, sometimes they are even with the shelf on the frontside. In other cabinets I found a neater aproach. The dividers are mitered into the shelf.

So I said to myself, I also want mitered dividers! I cut a cm from the front of my dividers and started all over. First chiseling a miter into the bottom of the shelf. I used a block of wood cut at 45 degrees and chiseled a small triangle in the front of the dado.

With everything assembled again I could mark this new triangle on the front edge of the dividers, and paired them with a sharp chisel carefully up to the pencil mark.

I had to give it a few tries. Actually I wasn't happy with the first attempt, so sawed the dividers a little shorter again and gave it a second chance. Now I am reasonably happy with how they look. With a bit of glue and some sawdust to fill in the last small gaps, this is going to look like a nice upgrade.

(Sorry about the poor picture. The Iphone decided that the files in the background were more interesting then my mitered dividers!)

maandag 24 november 2014

Shelves and dividers

All the shelves are fitted to the cabinet with the sliding dovetails presented in the previous blog. Just three shelves, but quite a job! When assembling they tried to push the sidewalls of the cabinet apart with gaping joints as a result, but some more fiddling sorted that and I am pretty happy with the result.

Next where the drawer dividers. These spice cabinets always came with a complete array of drawers, like in this little cabinet:
But I need all the storage space I can get in this one, so I opt for only three drawers alomg the bottom, as a tribute to the original design. To seperate these drawers I must install two vertical dividers. I could make these with sliding dovetails too, but I choose the easy way out and use normal straight dado's.

Here's how I cut these dado's. After marking out where I want them to be, I cut a small mortice first. This is across the grain, so you have to be carefull with splintering of the surface which would be unsightly. I chop down within the marking lines first, and remove the material in between. When finished to the required depth I pair down in the marking lines.

The marking lines are then deepened with a wide chisel, and a knifewall  is created with the same chisel. This creates a shallow trench for the saw. Next up is sawing down the walls of the dado with a fine tooth crosscut saw.

The waste in between the sawcuts is chiseled out, and the bottom of the dado is smoothed out to the required depth with a routerplane.

And that's the last bit of carcass of this cabinet. I'll have to clean up everything. Smooth the inside faces of the panels, remove the markings and ease the edges. When I have enough courage I am ready for the glueup!

zondag 16 november 2014

Sliding dovetails

To make things as difficult as possible I decided not to use normal dado's for the shelves, but a sliding dovetail joint. Never done that before, so I had to ask around what the best method is to make these with handtools. Luckily someone replied that the fit isn't too critical, because there is plenty of glueing surface and éverything is hidden from sight.

First I had to prep the wood. Most of this was done with powertools. Cutting a piece of wood from the last cherry plank, planing, resawing it on the table saw, and more planing and thicknessing, They ended up at the 10mm thickness I wanted them to be, It was a squeeze though, the thick tablesaw blade eats up a lot of wood. I really need a bandsaw!

Then I marked out the exact position of all the cutlines. I don't really measure at all, every mark is taken from the other parts, like here, the inside width of the cabinet. This method is much more precise then measuring with a rule.

For the sliding dovetail I first chop a small mortise at the end and mark the sides with a deep knife wall.

And then it's a matter of sawing the sides of the sliding dovetail socket. It';s going to be a half dovetail, so one side is straight, just keep the saw vertical, the other side is at an angle. To give myself an idea about this angle while sawing I set a sliding bevel in front of the board.

The male part is cut likewise. I didn't shoot a picture (sorry), but it is a matter of sawing the baseline and cutting the sloping part with a chisel. Only a little bit of material needs to be removed, so this is quick work.

And here is the result. Not perfect, but not too bad for the first time either.

zaterdag 15 november 2014

Gappy dovetails

When you set out with the idea that the work you are going to do doesn't need to be top notch, then the chance that it will turn out great is pretty limited! The dovetails of the carcass of this cabinet won't be very visible after everything is completed. The top ones are hidden behind the moulding, the bottom ones are half blind and will only be visible when you crawl down under the cabinet. So I tried to just bang them out. But I find that just taking care to make it presentable doesn't take much more time, and it is always good for practice.

Anyway, these are the worst, most gappy dovetails, I've ever had in a project. So please, don't zoom in too much into the pictures!

I want the cabinet assembled so that it won't fall apart when the glue loosens its strength. The top and bottom have the pins, thus the bottom won't fall on the floor when the glue fails. And this is the top of the cabinet, the sides are "hanging"on the pins (gappy!) from the top.

Another thing I learned (again) is the importance of good lighting. It is easy to put the scribe line into the shadow of the saw when the light comes mostly from one side. So I dug out an old tablelamp so I have a spotlight in  excatly the right place. That simple thing alone greatly increases the quality of the work.

The bottom is sticking out a bit on the front side. Combine that with the half blind dovetails and it means that the edge isn't straight all the way across. I had to cut out part of it. I choose to use a handsaw and cut as close and straight as I could to the line, pairing the result a bit with a chisel to make the side as straight as possible. I learn now (again) that accurate dovetails are easier to make when all parts are straight and square. You can compensate for errors here, but it is just easier to start with straight stuff. That means that I have to revise my view on shooting boards in regards to dovetail cutting. The shooting board makes life easier in this regard. Anyway, here is a picture of the cut, to  make it easier to understand my ramblings.

Another "learning oportunity" was my choice of pin width. I made them so narrow, combined with the rather strong slope of the dovetail sides, that the opening of the pin sockets was too narrow for my smallest chisel, which is 3mm wide. Luckily I had a 1mm #1 carving chisel which saved the day. That tiny little thing with the very flexible blade was brilliant. It holds up admiringly well under the tough work of clearing out dovetail waste!

So, after much struggling, mostly due to my own making, I managed to assemble the carcas. Next job is the shelfs.