I have a commission that involves making a wine rack. While many wine racks are butt jointed, half lapped or even half lapped in a shallow dado, I chose to use French Dovetails. The panels physically lock together and become an exceptionally strong unit. The key is a very precise layout template. There is a short video on FB showing the process.
1.Dry fit. Coming along pretty nicely. Yes that is hedge (osage orange) and Baltic birch plywood. There will be another rod welded to the inserted one that will rest in the notches and rotate out when the bench is lifted. There will be some springs and pedals and gobbledegook to release the ratchet for lowering. The top will be attached to long pivot blocks between the pointy ends. To secure the legs to the rails, I plan to use four 12” bolts that screw into a captive nut plate, similar to a bed rail.
2. This is the basic bench without the inserts and it’s what I mean that one literally cannot set a tool on it. That vise platform comes off and can be replaced by a Kiefer style leg vise, if I choose to build one.
3. There’s a bit more work to be done. The latch rods need to be welded and installed, braces made for the vise platform (they will lock to the bottom of the top legs), the lengthy jack/sticking rail attached, and a new slanted shooting board for the far end, and deciding how far to let the leg cross rail into the bench rails, if at all. The rail that the shooting plane rides upon is holding the crochet and is slightly below the bench rail and will be moved back to its original position close to the bench. I pull hand planes sometimes because it uses a whole different set of muscles. This bench gives solid a whole new meaning to me…there is not a hint of wiggle and this one is not attached to the floor. I'll add a "finished" picture soon.
Here is a sharpening holder jig inspired by Tormek's new SE77 hardware. They have top of the line equipment, but I find their new release to fall short of my expectations. Those of you who know me know that I love versatility and modularity...the more things a given jig can do well the better. The thing that really got me started was the need to get a precise and controllable camber of any radius (which the SE77 looks like it would do well), not a poke and hope wobble caused by applying pressure to distort a jig (or blade). My previous attempt at a camber jig fell very short because the radius was so limited. I also find their SE76 (the previous model replaced by SE77) to have issues holding the blades firmly and squarely. This design addresses that issue and at the same time opens possibilities of replacing the functionality of some of their other jigs. Here is a partial list of what I believe this jig can do well:
Chisels and slicks to 3"
plane blades straight
plane blades cambered to any radius, even just the corners
Lathe parting tools
Lathe skews, straight and curved
any double bevel tool
This is all "theory" at this point. I want to manufacture at least one prototype to verify that it works and to identify any tweaks that may be needed. Even a scale drawing does not assure tweak free reality. Note that the blade can be held off center of the pivot by simply tightening one side more than the other. The frame can be flipped over and put back on the pivot post (not shown) for symmetric sharpening a double bevel on straight, skew, or curved edges. The pivoting is limited or eliminated by the little thumb screws. There is a tick on the heads to allow equal or asymmetric pivoting.
I've turned several bowls and realized the need for a way to touch up the foot of the bowl. So I decided to build my own Longworth chuck. How hard could it be? Starting with some 3/4" Baltic birch plywood I cut two 17" squares and secured the corners and center together with brads. I was careful to keep the brads away from any cutting areas. I cut to within 1/16" of a 16" circle and mounted the blanks on the router mill (shown) and trimmed them round. I realized a dedicated face plate would take up too much of my face plate resources so using a billet of aluminum I turned a plate that would be permanently recessed into the wood 1/8" for strength and concentricity. I used an indexing head to locate the 8 holes for hex socket flat head machine bolts that locked the plate to 1/4" T-nuts countersunk between the wooden plates. Laid out the arcs as shown and using a double pivot arrangement carefully routed the curved slots. The round sub-table pivot established the curves and the other pivot centered the indexing for the 8 slots. (you can see the indexing tick lower left). Some TLC with sandpaper and two coats of lacquer made very smooth surfaces for a silky gliding action. Some #1 rubber stoppers on 1/4" bolts and washers completed the setup. The plate nests securely in the dovetail of the chuck jaws. Now to test it.
The recent craft show brought an order for a small piece of furniture, a child's booster seat that doubles as a multilevel step stool and is durable, small, and light enough for a walking child to carry or drag around. It is locked together with mechanical joints that are also glued with waterproof glue and can never come apart or even loosen. There are holes for carrying and tie down. The unique feature is the "love tails" that replace a more standard dove tail. These cute little heart shapes are first drilled then sawn. The pins are traced through the heart on the end grain of the mating piece and then cut and shaped by hand. It's beginning to take shape. Next up is fitting the pins.
The pins are fitted now so the stool-seat can be dry fitted. Mikey likes it.
And now it is personalized. Assembly and finish today!
Eureka! I think I’ve FINALLY settled on an easy, accurate, and repeatable way to quickly sharpen my marking knife. I use a broken planer blade with the sharp edge ground off leaving a 1/8” x 1/2” blank. I prefer it without a handle so that I can lay it against a tall flat surface when needed. It also takes up less space in my apron pocket. I put a flexible plastic cap on the point to protect it and it always goes in my pocket point first in case it slips out.
I’m using my Tormek SD185 jig with the same settings that I use for sharpening my spindle gouge with an Ellsworth type configuration, but on this flat stick it produces a very nice cone at the end whose center becomes the slightly radiused point. The sides end up being ground perpendicular to the face of the knife which is very desirable to keep the knife from peeling away my guide edge.
There is some stress in assembling this joint. Not only is there uncertainty that the joint will seat well, there is a LOT of glue surface to attend to. Having done the first leg successfully, I was comfortable enough to take this picture before the wedges will never be seen again. Ever. Well, OK, if someone chain saws the bench....
I did appreciate the persuasive capabilities of the BFH clamp.
Customer wanted a bench made from "sentimental wood". These cherry planks have been air drying in a shed for untold number of years but have never been in a heated house, so the customer will have to transition the finished piece over a long period of time, meaning several months. I am treating these as green wood and indeed they have shown movement after planing and working. The requirements were that there be no rails, stretchers or joint showing in the top. The only durable option left is massive blind double tenons.
A blind tenon is created by tapering the cross grain mortise walls to create space for a wedge to expand a slice of the tenon into the tapered space, locking the joint in place mechanically. The joint has to fit perfectly because there is no retreat for adjustments. If the wedge is to big in any dimension, the joint will not seat properly. If it is too small, the lock will not be durable and there is no fix because even though it's loose it won't come apart.
The procedure is summarized in the following pictures. First, the router mill does what it does best. Then I square up the corners for a precise fit. You can barely see the tenon slice in the third picture. The fourth picture shows a square indicating how much taper to the bottom of the mortise. The fifth picture shows my technique for getting consistent taper by first cutting "marker" cuts so it is easy to see how much taper is developing. Then the larger mortise chisel is used to remove the remainder of the waste leaving a smooth and consistent wall.
These are my own design. When you remove the angel from the base, the six pieces fold flat because they are attached to a cloth hinge. The head is glued to a stem that fills the hollow left by restoring the angel to the slotted base.
Dan is an experienced woodworker who is anxious to make an heirloom of the future for you.