I have been doing other things of late to enable more work on the EC such as building a box for the new PC dovetail jig per Shopnotes, and other such diversions. I decided however that it was time to get back after the EC and having overcome, I thought, some design dilemmas such as how to attach the back, whether to build wooden or use metal drawer slides, determining the proper sizing of the drawers and other such trivial details I thought I was ready. Thinking that I had everything under control I attacked the EC with firm resolve today, determined to make great progress but alas, the EC proved to be up to the challenge and reduced me to a humble amateur that I am, and, then slapped me just to ensure I knew that my amateur status had not changed.
I had watched the Woodsmith podcast on routers and decided to build a dado jig for my Dewalt router. Here is a picture of it.
Suposedly, the neat thing about it is that if you use a scrap piece of the material that is to go into the dado to set the jig initially you are supposed to get nice tight dados that perfectly fit the stock, in this case ¾ inch oak plywood. Well, it didn’t work, the dados were too tight and the plywood would not go into the dado. Now I could have easily opened up the jig a wee bit and re-routed but that was too easy, no I had to use the Stanly model 98 side rabbit plane that was my Grandfather’s. Cool, it still works but need some sharpening, I work the dados anyway. The partitions fit! But wait the dados are not consistent; there are gaps at places, geeeeez… I hate gaps, it shows amateurish work, AND I AM A PERFECTIONIST! The wife tells me “No one will ever notice” but I will always know; you know what I mean, don’t you?
Next I attempt (heavy on the attempt part) to mill the 3 vertical dividers that will go into the dados that I have just made in the floor of the EC. I measure several times and then make the required cuts. I have decided to cut tongues on the front edge of the dividers to place in the solid oak trim pieces that will show on the front of the EC. ¼ inch wide and ¼ inch deep should work. I set up the router table – Eureka! It works the tongues are cut without too much anguish. Now I set up to mill the trim pieces from 4 quarter oak, I joint the edge and then cut just over size of the width I want planning to plane the sides with the new Lie-Neilson low angle block plane I picked up at last Saturday’s Woodcraft tool sale (small gloat). I then make multiple passes on the table saw to make the dados to accept the tongue milled into the partitions. Ah but…. I dado the wrong side of one and screw it up. I have to make another, maybe I should quit for the day but common sense gives way to the “dam the torpedoes” mentality I have and I push ahead and make another. I am starting to get tired and frustrated.
I assemble the EC again, this time with the partitions. Hummm, I notice that I need to notch the tongues I made to fit over the lower front rail, minor issue. I get out the jig saw and attack the first one, it needs clean up though, so I get out one of my chisels that I have been working on for 2 weeks to sharpen via the “Scary Sharp” method. It works great, maybe I don’t need the jigsaw, maybe I could just pare away the tongue – Eureka! It works. I am using hand tools – I am on my way to becoming a Master Craftsman! I lay down the chisel, proud of my accomplishment, small I know, but never the less monumental to me. I walk to the other side other side of the work table (table saw). Then I hear it, the chisel, it is rolling and…CRAP….it falls. Yes the workshop floor has risen up to smite the chisel, my luck continues on its downward spiral. The chisel will require re-sharpening. The radio announces that it is now 96 degrees which is confirmed by the stench of my BO and the sweat soaking my t-shirt.
I dry fit everything together. I miscalculated the partition width and they are too wide, my wife notices it in one of her jaunts to the garage, I mean workshop. No problem, I’ll just setup the rip fence and trim them up. First one – good, second one – good, third one good at first then – KICK BACK! I don’t know what I did and it wasn’t bad, just enough to ruin the work piece. The telling semi-circular tear is evident and naturally it is on the side that will be exposed. Time to quit, to push on would certainly lead to disaster. No, it is time to clean up and wait for a better day, I am learning a great deal but most of it comes via the University of Hard Knocks – I think I need to go fishing…….
-- Dan in Central Oklahoma, Able to turn good wood into saw dust in the blink of an eye!