Monday, April 16, 2018

A Barnsley hayrake table 1, stock preparation and the frame.

I have started making a Barnsley hayrake table for a friend of mine.
He needed a large table, and I am more than happy to build another table like this. For some reason large tables are pretty popular over here, and my friend said that he would like the top to be 118" x 48". So I am once again ending up with a hefty tabletop that will be difficult to move around. But I am also given the opportunity to make a nice sturdy base to go along with it.

A thing that bothered me a bit about the last hayrake table that I made, was that it didn't have breadboard ends. So this time I am going to make some of those.
Another thing was the fact that suddenly the size requirements for that table changed, so the legs are way too close to the edges of the table - but now I get a second chance for making it look right.

I milled some larch about half a year ago, and while it isn't furniture grade dry, it will be dry enough for me to make a table out of. I can't get the moisture content down to furniture grade anyway, so I'll just be prepared for a bit of wood movement.
It might even ad some character to the finished table.

The stock for the frame was jointed and planed to thickness on the thickness planer. The legs started out as 6x6" timber, and the hayrake part was a 3x5". I removed approximately 5/8" from the legs, and a bit less from the stretcher stock.

I started making the mortises in the center stretcher by drilling and chiseling out the waste. The result was really good. I then decided that it might be fun to test the chain mortiser on the leg mortises. To avoid tear out on the front side of the legs, I didn't plunge the machine all the way through, but stopped maybe 1/8" from going through.
I had marked out the location of the mortise on both sides, but I was curious to see if the machine was going straight in - or if it worked at an angle once loaded. So the first few taps with the mallet on a chisel were really interesting. Much to my surprise, the hole was dead accurate. I know for sure that I could never make such a good looking almost 6" deep mortise by hand.
So already now the machine has earned its keep.

Apart from making a lot of mortises, the stretcher also needs a lot of tenons. I am gradually becoming better and better at making those, though I still find the angled tenons to be a bit difficult to execute.

There is still quite a bit of way to go, but I am enjoying every minute of the building time.
Some parts of the stretcher.

Planing a 6x6

This chain mortiser is amazing!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Pilot ladder cabinet 10, completion

Two days ago I glued in the back panel, and yesterday I managed to smooth the outside surfaces of the carcase. I had to place the cabinet on the floor, and push it against the workbench with a small piece of wood in between, to be able to do a decent job.
I have also glued in some drawer guides and drawer runners. These are merely flat sticks that the drawer will run on and register to.
I tried to sand the outside a bit, but I think that I'll wait with the final sanding until I get home. This wood is so hard that I think a quick run with an electric sander would be better than me spending forever with a sanding block.
My plan has been to give it a coat of clear varnish as a finish, so I might as well do a proper job of preparing the wood for that.

Today I installed the hinges and mounted the door. As per the instructions of Robert Wearing's "The essential woodworker" a hinge on a cabinet should be let into the door, too keep a continuous line of the stile.
The text and drawings are easily understood, and mounting the entire door was a smooth operation without any unfortunate hick-ups.

Before the final mounting of the hinges, I glued in the knob for the door.
The door knob and the drawer pull were both turned yesterday, and while not identical, they still look a bit the same, and that is fine with me.

Our daughter Laura has expressed a genuine interest in this project, and I asked her the other day if she would like the cabinet at some point, and she did. She is left handed, so I decided to mount the hinges on the left hand side of the door, to make the cabinet more user friendly for a lefty.
Actually I am not sure if that is the normal way, but I find it most natural to have the hinges on the right, so I guess that mounting them on the other side would make sense for someone left handed.
I figured that she might as well participate in deciding where the small metal plate should go, and I also have some nice small round headed brass screws at home that would make the mounting look fine.

With the door in place, I made a small toggle to keep it closed, and the final work was to chisel MMXVIII inside the door frame on the hinge side.

Now it will be a matter of finding a cardboard box and make the cabinet ready for the flight home.

Thoughts about the build:

-The pilot ladder wood is definitely harder to work than my regular spruce/pine pallet sides. But I was lucky this time that it didn't twist and cup too badly.

-I would have preferred a regular back made of T&G boards, but since it wasn't really an option, this 3 panel solution was also OK. It took a long time to make and the joinery is not of a very impressive accuracy.

-The door came out pretty well, and making the small beading on the frame went surprisingly smooth. In addition I think that this small detail gives a lot of visual interest and helps to make the door look more "done".

-I was afraid that the cabinet might be a bit too deep, but I think it looks OK. The final test will be once it is mounted on a wall somewhere.
One of my colleagues remarked that it looked a lot like a small bedside cabinet, so that could also be a possible future for it.

-I haven't registered the amount of time that I have used on the build, but I guess it is somewhere around 60 hours. So it isn't a fast build in any way, but with stock preparation entirely by hand, it isn't a surprise.

Pilot ladder cabinet completed.

Left hinged door.

Door and drawer opened.

Not too deep after all.

Chiseling out for the hinges.