Friday, July 25, 2008

Cabinet base (2)...

I have let the components of the cabinet base or the cabinet stand sit for a couple of days to have them release any internal tension from the resawing operations performed earlier. This tension is due to the interior part of the wood not being as dry as the outside , therefore typically contracting inwards to form a concave form. After a day or so I began to plane the legs a small amount to create flat reference surfaces on two adjacent sides. I then use these perfectly flat sides to dimension the legs to the proper thickness all around. This is one area where it is best to take the time and do it right regarding the judicious dimensioning. I monitor the leg stability every so often, making sure there is no bowing or twist occurring from pent up tension. Th extra material I had left in each dimension would allow me to remove this safely if it does occur. I have also highlighted the grain orientation of the legs and aprons.

I also have the parts for the four aprons almost ready, they are rough dimensioned at this stage with a flat reference surface. I also check this flat reference surface periodically to confirm that it is still flat and not cupped, bowed, etc. When these base or stand components have stabilized further, I will dimension them to the finished sizes. Afterwards, I introduce a taper to each of the legs which I perform initially with the bandsaw and then handplaning the surfaces flat. I also have the blank for the drawer faces selected. The blank is a straight, fine grained Santos mahogany and from it I will rough cut three drawer faces.

Well, it's that time of year again. My wife and I are off to the mountains for a few days of hiking, kayaking and relaxing. With our warm and humid summers up here, we like to go to the mountains as it's cooler and drier. I'll continue where I left off when I am back.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cabinet base (1)...

We have decided to go ahead with a cabinet base of the European beech. The process of creating a base from the beech slab involves a few steps. Initially the slab is partitioned for optimum use and minimal waste with an important consideration to grain orientation. Ideally, the slab is quarter-sawn. This particular slab is a cross between rift-sawn and quarter-sawn but I do need to pay attention to how the grain is oriented on the individual pieces. Ideally, the grain should be straight along the length of the aprons and all faces of the legs. The grain pattern in this case is diagonal to each face and not parallel to any of the four faces of the individual legs. I will saw the four leg blanks from the larger pieces I have already sawn with this in mind, and the possibility of re-orienting the leg blank within the larger piece of beech.

The original beech slab has now been sawn into three parts. Two of the three parts comprise the legs and the remaining part is utilized for the aprons. There are a total of four aprons, front, back, two sides. I'm cutting this slab in three stages leaving the sawn pieces to stabilize and to release any internal tensions. Since the original slab is resawn into smaller pieces, internal tension in the slab is released when resawing occurs. This isn't a hard and fast rule but in my experience occurs every time. I have also sawn the pieces oversized to allow for sawing at the next stage and the possibility of any cupping or bowing from internal stress. I leave these three sawn components to stabilize for a day or so before proceeding to the next stage of rough cutting the actual pieces which comprise the cabinet base.