Sunday, December 27, 2015

Finishing the door

I was determined to get the door of the cabinet finished this extra long christmas weekend. So in between the festivities, cooking dinners, entertaining the guests etc, I managed to squeak in some workshop time.

First job was chopping the lock mortise. No pictures from that job. I drilled a hole for chip clearance and then chopped until the lock fits. Not much more to say about that. The lock will be fitted from the front so the mortise looks like a big ugly hole at the moment.

Next job was fitting the panel in the frame. The panel is flat on the front (with the carvings of course), so needs to be bevelled at the back. Again, nothing special. I didn't take any pains to make it look nice and symetric, it only needs to fit. In the past this was a job often done with an axe! I am too much a coward for that, so I used a plane. I was afraid it would be very difficult to get the exact right fit, but it happens to be pretty easy. I marked the a hickness of the groove width, minus a little bit on the edges of the panel. Then beveled the panel until I reached these markings, Checked the fit and planed some more until the panel fitted the grooves completely. A quick  picture of the fitting proces.

A more difficult, or better said, a more adventurous job was drawboring the mortise and tenon joints of the door. I didn't want to use glue, just pegged M&T's. This method of building furniture is thousands of years old. Basicaly it is a hole drilled through the styles where the mortise is. A similar hole is drilled in the tenon but offset towards the shoulder of the tenon. When you drive an oak peg through the holes, the tenon is pulled very tightly into the mortise, making the shoulder fit as tight as possible. You'd better look up "drawboring" to find a better description.

First came the making of the pegs, Some straight grained oak was split with an axe and then shaved to more or less the right size. I use a dowel plate to make them truely round and to just the right size. My plate is a random piece of steel with a couple of graduated holes (large to small) drilled on the drill press. Don't let anyone tell you that it needs to be made from some special wondersteel. For a hobbyist this home made version will continue to work for a very long time. I used a pencil sharpened this time to point the pegs.

Then the nerve wracking action of driving the pegs home. If the offset in the tenon hole is too much, this doesn't really work, you can't drive the peg home and you risc breaking things, the peg in the first place. Luckily this happened only once, but next time I am going to use a little less offset with 6 mm pins. The one that broke was replace by a peg in a straight through hole with a little glue to keep it in place.

Here the pegs are shown before they were cut off.

And here is the door as it will be fitted in the cabinet. Now it really starts to look like something!

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