Thursday, December 20, 2007

Armoire stand (1)...

I've just about completed the legs and aprons for the (cabinet) armoire stand after allowing some time for the wood to release any internal tensions which might have developed. These internal tensions are brought out in the resawing work I performed for both the leg blanks and aprons. I began with a wide plank of 8/4 cherry for the legs and ripped four leg blanks from this blank. I oriented each leg blank on the plank to attain the best possible grain configuration, in this case a rift-pattern with no face grain on any of the leg faces. This is a little more wasteful of wood, but it's definitely worth the time spent. The legs blanks have a very pleasing straight-grained orientation on all four faces. In the photo, I marked the pattern of the grain on the ends of the legs and it is slightly visible.

Afterwards, I proceeded to mark and create the mortises for the mortise and tenon joints at each leg. Since I initially created the stand, I needed to create the stand with the exact dimensions in length and width to appear integral. This was a greater challenge than I anticipated, since the measurements become very critical and need to be exact. The cabinet and stand need to appear to be one unit. Therefore, the aprons need to be measured with allowance for the legs at either end and for the tenon itself. The tenons have four shoulders to be completely housed within the joint, and are offset on the face of the legs towards the front. There was a bit of trial and error and I actually made a small trial joint with similar dimensions to test for measurements, as the apron faces need to be flush with the leg surfaces.. After some deliberation, I decided the safest approach would be to prepare the mortises first, then cut the aprons a little longer than final length and cut the tenons.I had the final measurement of both the front, back and sides and worked back from this, subtracting the thickness of the already prepared leg blanks.

This worked well and I slowly snuck up on the final measurement for the apron. A shoulder plane is a godsend in this situation, as it is specifically designed to trim and tune tenon shoulders. I kept at this while often checking that the tenon and shoulder is square and perpendicular to the apron. Shortly afterwards, I had four aprons ready. I've since assembled the stand using clamps and actually test fit the armoire on it. I am now creating the tapers on the legs. The design on these tapered legs has the taper beginning a few inches below the apron to the foot of the leg. The two inner faces of the legs are tapered. I rough cut the tapers using a bandsaw and then it is strictly handplane work, in this case a jointer plane. It is quite a satisfying operation to watch the tapers being created without too much effort and without use of fancy jigs, just handplanes for the most part.

I'll continue with preparation of the stand components and probably have it together in a day or so after I create some decorative detail work on the front apron.

No comments: