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Poplar shoe rack #3: Cutting the joinery

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Blog entry by JSOvens posted 03-19-2014 08:09 PM 1007 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: The makeshift mill Part 3 of Poplar shoe rack series Part 4: Fixing a mistake »

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



6 comments so far

View ScottKaye's profile

ScottKaye

320 posts in 707 days


#1 posted 03-20-2014 01:54 AM

Looks good Jeffrey! I will look forward to reading the next installment on the shoe rack. Its interesting to see the different ways people go about accomplishing a task. One question thats not easily identifiable (at least to me) is how are you going to attach the shelf to the shelf supports/legs?

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View JSOvens's profile

JSOvens

42 posts in 410 days


#2 posted 03-20-2014 04:37 PM

Thanks for the comment, I agree it’s interesting to see how people go about things, especially when they have limited tools/space. For now, my plan of action for attaching the shelves is to cut a set of mortises into the side pieces that the longer shelf slats will fit into. To be honest, I didn’t really think that one through before I began the project, but this idea seems the best to me. I am certainly open to suggestions, however, if there is a better way I’m not seeing.

-- Jeffrey S. Ovens, Canada

View ScottKaye's profile

ScottKaye

320 posts in 707 days


#3 posted 03-22-2014 01:42 PM

No, I agree. Mortise and tenon construction will work well here. Though Im not sure how you will cut your tenons since the pieces are already glued up. You could cut a half tenon. IE you can cut the tops and bottom of each stretcher like the picture below. Im just not sure how you would cut the tenon sides with out a band saw.

sorry for the quality of the picture, Im no graphic artist. But I think you get the idea. A half tenon would be better than trying to shove each stretcher into a mortise in full.

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View JSOvens's profile

JSOvens

42 posts in 410 days


#4 posted 03-22-2014 07:20 PM

The half tenon sounds good, I’m curious though, why do you not think inserting the stretcher in whole is a good idea? Is it just because if I make a mess with the mortise it will show, whereas with the half tenon, it will mostly be hidden?

-- Jeffrey S. Ovens, Canada

View ScottKaye's profile

ScottKaye

320 posts in 707 days


#5 posted 03-22-2014 09:32 PM

You could do it the way you are talking about, but that would be one big arse mortise!

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View JSOvens's profile

JSOvens

42 posts in 410 days


#6 posted 03-23-2014 12:16 AM

Thanks Scott, I think this discussion was quite helpful, I will likely use the half tenon idea (thus requiring only one pass with the router to make the mortise). This way, I can also round the tenons over which I think should be a bit simpler than squaring the mortise. Thanks again for taking an interest and for the suggestions.

-- Jeffrey S. Ovens, Canada

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