Friday, February 15, 2008

Panels assembled...

I resume work on the cabinet on stand this week. In the meantime, I have assembled the panels from the boards I had partially completed in the last post. This process consists of having one face of the boards flat along with one edge. Careful planning along with board layout is involved. The grain orientation of the two boards which comprise each of the panels should run in the same direction. I have marked the individual boards and edges correspondingly and then prepare the edges of the boards which mate together. I accomplish this by hand using a jointer plane along with regularly checking that the edge of each board is perfectly square to the flat face of the board. The edges of the individual boards need to mate perfectly in two planes, across the edge and along the edge.

Once I've accomplished this, I introduce a slight hollow in each long edge just shy of the ends of the boards. The hollow is precisely one very thin shaving thick. This creates a very small spring in the joint which is closed when the boards are clamped together. The spring also serves another purpose, to make certain that the ends do not open up in the future due to wood shrinkage. Introducing spring or hollow in the edge joint can be controversial sometimes, with different opinions shared by different people. I simply do what works for me.

After having oriented, assembled, and glued each of the four panels together, my next step was to begin to size the dimensions of each of the panels. At this point the panels are each slightly oversize in both length and width and ready for final preparation. The final preparation stage consists of hand planing each of the two surfaces of each panel with a smoother plane working towards four perfectly flat panels. The value of the earlier step of having the grain orientation of each of the two boards in each panel running in the same direction is greatly appreciated now. Because of this previous consideration, there should be no issues with tearout with hand planing. Afterwards, I will trim the panels to the final dimension.

Not sure about the rest of you, but we're experiencing one of the largest snowfalls in the past years in this part of the country. It seems to snow every other day, and folks are complaining that they've run out of space to put it all. I kind of don't mind as it extends the ski season well into spring, which is my favourite time to get out and do downhill skiing.