Progress is accepting what was once the goal, as common place, seeing the new goal as within reach.
-Aki Haruki, world renowned sharpening monk.
I am not afraid to reference a blog post from my first week! Nor am I afraid to strive for greater accuracy in my cuts. After sanding the 2×4s to within 2.54 centimeters of their life, I made my marks and cut four friendly nineteen inch pieces. Though I am much better at using my Japanese hand saw, I am no ‘Aki Haruki’, mostly because he doesn’t exist, but if he did, he would be really good at making dead on perfect cuts.
When I checked to see if the angles were 90 degrees, they were pretty close. A month ago, that would have been fine. Instead I felt confident that I could do better.
I am sure that people with table saws are able to cut very accurate cuts, with perfect angles, and one day I too will have a table saw, but until then, I am going to get good results using the tools at hand. The most important tool, in my opinion and Hercule Poirot’s, are the little grey cells. Here is how I accomplished greater accuracy and trued-up my stretchers.
First step, determine which of the four boards is the shortest.
Second step, clamp this shortest piece to the edge of my workbench, which has a lovely 90 degree corner and two straight edges. I made sure that the board lined up on the long edge. Next I checked the end of the board, sliding it up to the edge of the bench until one corner was flush, while the other corner hung over slightly. I wanted the corner, with the angle that was greater than 90 degrees, to be at the corner of the workbench. In a sense, the slope is heading away from the corner. The reason for this is that I felt it is easier to start with zero material to cut and then ease into the excess.
Third step, I not only wanted to clamp the board down, I wanted to establish a ‘stop block’ for the length. After I had two clamps holding the board down, I placed a third clamp, behind the board. This third clamp would establish the correct length for boards 2 – 4.
Fourth step is to set up the router. The router bit that I used is a 2 inch flush trim bit by Amana. It is a very nice bit. I put this bit into my Bosch 2 ¼ hp router.
Fifth step, route the edge.
After this I simply unclamped the board and flipped it over, there was very little excess that needed to be trimmed off the other end, apparently I had come rather close to getting that one right on. Of course, I didn’t see any harm in making it slightly better, so I routed that end too.
I then repeated the steps with one change. I used one additional clamp and clamped the first board next to the other boards, just to provide a little extra support for the router base. When I finished all four, I checked the angles and they were great. The boards were also the same lengths.
One day I will have all the machines and tools that will render these steps obsolete. Until then, I am not going to let my lack of a table saw, band saw, or drill press, stop me from making fun stuff. I like fun stuff.
-- Brian Meeks, http://extremelyaverage.com