Well, after many months of hiatus from this project, I managed to get back on the horse. Looking at the May 30th time stamp of the last post, I realized that this is right before My convocation (graduation) ceremony at my university – so you can officially feel free to call me Dr. Ovens! This of course led to several months of job hunting, the success of which is still to be determined.
In any case, the last update showed the joinery I used to couple the Padauk corner posts with the nice Wenge/Maple panels. However, left as they are the posts look too blocky and boring, so here I am going to talk about the shaping process I used to give them much needed visual appeal. When applying gentle curves to a project, my go-to tool is of course the router table with a patterning bit, but first, I need to build a template.
The main curve is a simple arc. I determined the proper radius with the help of SketchUp and drew it on a piece of plywood. I finessed the curve using a combination of a drill press/sanding drum and flexible sanding pad as I learned from the Wood Whisperer when he made his gadget station (incidentally where I got the general design for the corner posts). After attaching some hold down clamps and a screw as a positive stop, the following photo shows the final template jig and the photo after shows the jig with one of the leg blanks buckled in.
Since I knew I would be applying the curve to two adjacent sides, I made sure the hold down clamps were positioned such that clamping pressure would be applied to flat, square surfaces even when routing the second curve.
On a bit of a side note, I found using a small screw as a positive stop to work very well. I drove it in at a slight angle, this way I could micro-adjust the stop and not have to worry about how perfect my pilot hole was positioned. The adjustment comes from how far you screw it in, the farther it is screwed in, the farther away from the pilot hole the effective “stop” becomes. In any case, here is how the posts turned out after the first round of shaping.
To create relief tapers on the feet, I again turned to the router table. Yes, I could use a tapering jig on the table saw, but this method felt more comfortable to me. I simply used a straight edge as the patterning template and set up an angled fence to clamp the post against as shown below.
Finally, to achieve the compound cut for the posts points at the top, I created another template for the router which features a V-groove. In this case, especially because it was more-or-less end grain being cut, I did not want to remove the material purely with the router, so I cut most of the material off with a hand saw and trimmed with the router.
Unfortunately, my patterning bit is not tall enough, so a small bit of material was left in one of the corners. Furthermore, you can probably see a bit of a line on the surface. This is a result of accidentally trying to cut through metal and chipping the router bit’s cutting edge in a previous project – nothing some scraping and sanding wont fix.
I have to apologize here, since it seems I forgot to take an overall photo of the shaped legs before moving on to other steps, but I promise you will see them in all their finished glory very soon (I actually did all of this work quite a while ago and never got around to posting it, so I’m further ahead in the actual project).
In my next post (again, very soon!) I will talk about the finish I used and the assembly, and you will finally get to see the finished project. Thank you, especially those of you who followed the project from the beginning and happen to catch the concluding posts, thank you for reading and for your interest!
-- Jeffrey S. Ovens, Canada