Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Preparing the drawer cases (3)...

The measurements of the boards which comprise the four drawer case panels are a tad smaller than originally planned, so I have had to forgo squaring the ends of the boards of each of eight boards. Instead I have assembled the eight boards into four panels and will instead square then ends of these panels off. It is just an arbitrary decision at this point and doesn't affect the assembly of the panels, although nicer panels would have resulted had I squared the ends of the boards first. This also allows me to dial in as much length as absolutely possible in each of the panels.

I had also jointed the mating edges of each of the boards, the edge which mates with the other, matching board of the panel. This went well and I let the boards sit for a day or so afterwards to determine if any further cupping would result. A very small bit of cupping did result, and of course it becomes more pronounced due to the width of the panels. The next step involved scribbling witness lines across each of the cupped faces of the boards and handplaning the outside edge area working towards the middle. I regularly go back and forth with a flat, steel rule to determine how much progress is being made. I also try not to overshoot... which essentially decreases the overall thickness of each of the boards.

At this point, I have four panels ready to be squared to finish dimensions, both in width and length. A small part of each of the panels form the sides of the drawer case. I will also need to cross cut these sections off, which leaves me with four shorter panels which form the tops and bottoms of the drawer case.

I'm going to take some time and spend it outdoors today. We had wintry weather until late last week, but this week has been getting wamer and sunnier with temps in the low 70's today. We've had such a long winter up here, and this weather couldn't arrive soon enough.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Preparing the drawer cases (2)...

I left off in the previous post with a few boards to flatten and smooth with handplanes. I typically use a planing board with a plane stop at the end to perform this type of work. The boards are relatively small and are easily held against the plane stop. This allows me to quickly flip the board around to plane either side without needing to clamp the board again. If I were planing a larger panel I would most likely fasten it between bench dogs.

The handplaning of these particular boards is straightforward along their length with little diagonal planing... so it works out well. Handplaning these boards which will comprise the panels for the drawer cases begins with a long fore or jointer plane to flatten the faces of the boards and ensure they are flat and parallel to each other. I also have the final thickness of each board in mind and work towards this. After the individual boards were resawn a little cupping was introduced , inherent to resawing, and although acclimatization to the studio environment helps to relieve this cup and any other tension in the boards, some minimal cupping remains in each of these boards.

I use a jointer plane in this case, I have it tuned and ready most of the time for work like this. A shorter fore plane would also be ideal since the boards are relatively short in length. Once the boards faces are flat with parallel faces I then move on to a finely tuned smoother plane to ensure the faces of the boards are flat as can be. The term which is used for this type of board preparation is four-squaring the board which ensures that both faces and the two long edges are parallel to each other, and the ends and edges are perpendicular. After completing this process on each of the other boards which will comprise the drawer case panels, I will be squaring the ends to achieve both the correct length of each board and to ensure the boards are perfectly square.