Welcome back everyone! It is now time to begin the exciting part of the project. In the first post of this series, I showed my plan for this project, which contains a total of 82 half-lap joints. I don’t have a dado stack at this time (and I am not so sure I would want to put one on my current saw), and my router table is too small to realistically cut the half-laps on the larger pieces. So what I have decided to do is to ‘gang’ several like pieces together and cut the half-laps in them in the same way one would cut a wide dado. The picture below shows what I mean by that.
In this image, the five longer slats are clamped together, and I have positioned an exact-width dado jig overtop of where I want to cut a set of half-laps. I set up the jig by placing one of the shorter slats between the two halves, this will result in a ‘dado’ (or set of half-laps) that is exactly the right width to accept that shorter slat. In the next photo, I can be seen making the cut with my router.
Because I have a fairly high powered router (15 A), and poplar is quite soft, I was able to comfortably cut the full depth in one pass. I dialed in the exact depth of cut using several of the small off-cuts to make practice joints. Once the test joint was perfect, I moved on to the real pieces. The results of this cut are shown in the next photo.
For those with sharp eyes, there is a bit of tear out, yes. I would recommend placing some scrap to either side of the pieces to avoid this issue. I repeated this process for all 82 joints, which in the end amounted to the equivalent of about 30 dados. I was then ready to do a test fit, and you can see from the photos below that it worked out quite well.
Out of all of the joints, some are a tad loose, and there are some where the surfaces of the mating pieces don’t quite match up. I believe this is a result of some dimensional inconsistencies introduced by my somewhat crude milling process discussed in the last post. Some sanding, however, should take care of this.
I did run into one larger snag, however. While making one of the cuts on the shorter pieces, one of the middle pieces was not clumped firmly enough. The spinning router bit actually ejected the piece out from under the dado jig. I didn’t hit me fortunately, but the piece itself was damaged as seen below.
Since I didn’t have any extra stock, my only choices were to live with the damaged piece, or fix it. This served as a good reminder to ensure everything is stable in your setup before turning on the power tool. I was fortunate in this case, but it’s best not to count on that in the future.
In my next post, I will show you how I dealt with the problem, and then I should be able to get to the assembly of the shelves and sides. As always, thanks for reading!
-- Jeffrey S. Ovens, Canada