This week I found some time to work on the nightstands. I have material milled for both stands, but focused on putting together the first stand. Will came over for dinner on Tuesday night, and for the night on Wednesday, so I had a little less time than I had planned – but it is worth taking time from the workshop to spend with him. But I also did get workshop time both nights (a big thank you to Susanna for encouraging me to get out of the house and work on my projects).
I was able to get the carcase of the first table assembled. I still have to adjust one tenon and clean up two of the aprons prior to gluing up, but I should be able to glue up the carcase the next time I’m in the workshop.
The tables are made from red oak. I cut the mortises by drilling out the waste on the drill press and using a chisel to clean them out. I could use a good 1/4″ mortise chisel – that will be on my Christmas list (I’d love a 1/4″ English Mortise Chisel by Ray Ilse from toolsforworkingwood.com). The tenons were cut by hand. I did the first several using my dovetail saw – but the saw is for detail work and took forever to cut the tenons. The last two I cut using my carcase saw (an old backsaw sharpened by Matt Cianci – “The SawWright”). If you have any old handsaws that you need sharpened, I would highly recommend him. He is backlogged, and it takes 10-12 weeks, but a professionally sharpened handsaw is amazing to use.
The next step is to glue up the table and add the cleats/runners. Then I have to finish milling, glue up and add the top. Finally, I will have to mill the lumber for the drawer and build the drawer. I’m still a little nervous about cutting the dovetails for the drawers.
I plan on trying to route out the mortises on the next table using a 1/4″ upcut spiral router bit I just purchased. I’ll let you know how that works out. I am not sure I can get the full 1″ depth of mortise on the router table. I may have to clean out the tenons with a chisel – so it may not save me much time on construction.
The boys are with us this week and Susanna’s classroom is short an assistant. That means tired nights, and not much workshop time. But it is worth skipping the workshop to spend time with the family.
Friday was pizza/movie night. I made homemade pizza dough. Twice. The boys and I took a quick trip to the store to pick up cheese and left the dough in Tupperware containers on the counter. In the 30 minutes we were gone, Targa got the dough off the counter. Targa and Tucker ate most of the dough. The boys are now much closer to knowing how to curse like a sailor. I mean, it was only thirty minutes. I came home early and let them run outside for an hour or two before the boys came home. And raw pizza dough. What the f**k is wrong with the dogs?
Today was the boys’ second to last soccer game. They lost (again). But they had fun. Ben twisted his ankle during the game (okay, I think that part wasn’t so much fun), so he decided to hang out at home this afternoon.
I took will to pick up a costume for Halloween, and then to the submarine base for a haunted house. It was much scarier than I had expected – I’m pretty glad that Ben skipped it this year. It was nice to have Will for the haunted house – he was brave enough to lead the way. However, after we left the building (and thought the scary stuff was over), an actor came out from another door with a chainsaw and Will ran as fast as he could. We both got a good laugh about it, and stopped and picked up pumpkins on the way home.
We finished the day with friends over and time playing outside. It was a beautiful New England fall day. Brisk, but not too cold, windy and sunny.
Today I continued milling lumber for the nightstands. I cut out pieces for the top and aprons. All the pieces were milled down to 1″ thick – when I am ready to use the pieces, I will mill them the rest of the way.
Next I marked out the mortises on the four legs. I double checked the placement. I only have one spare leg if I mess these up. I am using the drill press to remove most of the material for the mortises. The mortises are 1/4″ wide, 1″ deep, and 3 1/2″ long.
I was able to complete half of the large mortises on the legs tonight (for one of the tables). After cutting out the mortises, I will taper the legs on the bandsaw (using a hand plane to smooth the cut).
Also, this is my 300th post on this blog in just under 3 years of writing.
Tonight I was able to start milling the lumber for the nightstands. I marked out the rough lumber for the legs and cut them to rough length (about an inch longer than the finished size of the legs). I do the rough cuts with a hand saw on my saw bench. I think it is much easier (and more pleasant) to use the hand saw to cut them to length.
After cutting the boards to length I began the milling process on the legs. The first step to milling the boards is to take a face of the board and make it flat. The boards don’t dry perfectly flat, but these boards are pretty close.
After getting the first face flat, I will turn the boards on the side and get one edge square (90-degrees) to the flat face. Flattening a face and squaring an edge is done on the jointer. If the boards were wider than the jointer, I would have to flatten a face using a hand plane – but I’m not sure I’m ready for that (and luckily I didn’t pull out any lumber for this project that is wider than the jointer (8-inches).
The second step is to mill the boards to thickness. However, the rough boards are almost 3-inches square, and the final dimensions will be under 2-inches thick. I am concerned that the boards may cup slightly when I remove that much lumber. So, tonight I just milled the boards to 2-inches square. I will let the boards sit for a couple of days and then re-flatten and square them before planning them to the final thickness. I use the planer to get the boards to the desired thickness. If these boards were flat (instead of square for the legs), I would then rip them to width on the table saw. I just get these square using the planer.
Tomorrow I will start milling the boards for the top and aprons. It is nice to work with clear, dry lumber. The last couple of outside projects used wet oak and maple which is terrible to mill.