Monday, April 8, 2013

Drilling weekend

This was a boring weekend, as they say. Lots of holes needed to be drilled so I can attach the tabletop with screws to the undercarriage. The handtool equivalent of the electrical drill is the brace. My father used to be a big fan of the brace. He used it for years after he got his first electrical drill, while I wasn't much of a fan at all. So I took to the brace reluctantly, while I liked the handplane and handsaws almost immediately in my new found woodworking hobby. But my father never sharpened the bits, and that makes a huge difference.

So I started with some relief holes, where the bolt heads will be hidden. 24mm wide an about 2mm deep. They are so wide to give ample room for woodmovement. I cut these with auger bits. The first one seemed sharp so I made some holes in an offcut to get used to it. It was obvious this bit wasn't very sharp at all, and then something went wrong. The leadscrew broke off! Luckily I have accumulated quite a collection of bits, so I could move on to the next one. I sharpened it with a needle file, which made a huge difference. Drilling was very easy now, despite the large size of the bit. Here's a short video. Not really interesting to see, but it shows how good a sharp bit in a brace works.

After drilling all these holes, I drilled a smaller one inside all the way through, and started to elongate this smaller hole to give room for the screw to move. To elongate I drilled two similar ones next to the hole in the middle and then proceeded to cut out the remaining wood to create a mortice. This proved to be much more work then anticipated. Allthough drilling with brace and bit is fun, after 50 holes the novelty tends to wear off. And chisseling the mortices was also no fun because there is not much room and the chisel tends to get stuck. With hindsight, this is more a powertool technique, not quite suitable for handtools.

Having started this method for the short rails, I had to finish this chore. But I was reluctant to use the same method in the other short rails. That would have been 8 extra elongated deep holes. Because this is going to be totally invisable when the table is assemble, I used an oldfashioned technique, small blocks of wood with a lip, which fits in a groove in the rails.

This is much easier to make, and more fun. First I cut a rabbet in an offcut from another project. After cutting  the rabbet a lip remains. And it is good excuse to use one of my moving fillesters.

Then I had to plow the groove in the rails. I used a Stanley 45, because this one has all the cutters sharp and ready. After adjusting the plane it is a breeze to cut the grooves.

And then I only had to drill and countersink a hole for a screw, and saw all the little blocks from the rabbeted   board.

That's all the boring excersise this weekend. I cleaned up all the remaining boards with the smooth plane, and now I think everything is ready for the glue up.

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