We’ll it’s been a while since I updated my desk build blog. I had 40 mortises to square up on the legs, so I’ve taken the “15 minute” approach to this build. Whenever I had a little spare time I would knock out another mortise.
With all of the mortises done, it was on to the tenons. I bought a Rockler heavy duty tenon jigs a while back, and tried it once with mixed results. Prior to that I have been using a home made jig for my router that holds pieces flat to hog out the tenons. The router jig really makes a mess with all the chips, so I decided to spend the time and properly setup the table saw jig. It was not as bad as I thought. I did go through a pile of scrap pieces to get the saw blade and vertical face of the jig aligned, but now I can knock tenons quickly and accurately with little mess. I make the shoulder cuts with my sled, and the cheek cuts with the jig.
All in all, I am happy with the fit of all the pieces. There was a bit of adjustment to the mortises, but nothing major. I’ve really tried to slow down with this project and and make everything as accurate as possible, and enjoy the process.
For the through tenons on the lower stretcher, I took the parts into one of the weekend build sessions for the high school musical, and used the power miter box and stand that I built for them last summer. The ends of the tenons are cut at 30 degrees to form a peak. I then drilled two 3/8” holes at the base of each tenon and cut the slot for the wedges with my band saw. I used a makeshift fence to get the slots as straight as possible. The holes thin out the bass of the tenon that will need to bend as the wedges are driven in. This should allow them to bend and not break.
We had a band new blade on the power miter box, but the cut was not as smooth as I would have liked. I was trying to avoid having to sand too much on these parts to keep the crisp edges., but oh well.
The last things to do on the legs are to cut the arches in the bottom stretchers and route out the inlay areas. I made up some templates from hard board, but I’m out of two sided tape to attached them. I rough cut them on my bandsaw, but the final trim with a pattern bit will have to wait.
I moved onto the inlay areas. I used the same router jig that I use for roughing out mortises. I have a 3/4” straight bit and set it for 1/4 deep and 3/8” from the edge of the board. A couple of passes on each leg cut the edges and one more pass down the center completed the inlay.
The bottom edge of the inlay will be cleaned up by hand with a chisel. My plan right now is to use “ebonized” walnut for the inlays. I looked at real ebony, but it was really expensive and the veneers were all stripes of black and tan and not what I was looking for. I have some black trans tint dye and have also read up on ebonizing with vinegar and steel wool. I have some walnut veneer and a chunk of walnut for the wedges and other accent pieces. So, I’ll be experimenting to see what I can come up with. But that will have to wait for another 15 minute break.
-- -Jim, "Society is well governed when its people obey the magistrates, and the magistrates obey the law." -- Solon