Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Small components...

I've been working on small components lately. The components are partially shaped and a great deal of handwork is involved to ensure all the components are uniform in profile, contour and overall dimensions. The components are part of larger pieces which are destined for a client. I kind of enjoy working on smaller components, it's a welcome break from the larger frame members typically used in furniture. As you can see in the photo, much handplaning is involved to develop the contours of the components. I make use of a spokeshave to round the edges out afterwards.

One of the problems working with small components is handling them while shaping them. Since the parts are small and low profile I use my planing board and raise the bed with a narrow sheet of masonite. This provides just enough of a stop for the small part as well as allowing me to handplane it, I place the part at the outermost edge of the planing board to add clearance for the shaping process. I do need to hand hold the components for some of the shaping or profiling though as the tapered shapes just aren't conducive to setting up firmly in a vise..

Interesting how second nature working with hand tools becomes once you've spent some time at it. A long while ago, I would seek out solutions to shaping issues through the use of machines. In the past few years I find it simpler and more efficient to pick up a handplane or a spokeshave and shape the component. No dust and instant results.

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