Okay, the first two installments have been short and to the point, a format that will continue throughout this series.
Time for another blog entry, of course, but this one will have some rambling about this tool or that, and include some pictures that some label as ‘Tool Porn.’ Ahh, now that’s the way to write a blog series on LJs, right? So with that teaser out of the way, time to talk about aprons. And I don’t mean these:
Apron measurements came straight from that diagram, except that I added an inch to either end of all the apron cuts to account for tenons. It was a very straightforward activity, jointing the long edges of each apron, top and bottom. The #8 Jointer (Heft & Hubris) is a tool that simply refuses to stop once it’s in motion; no hand tools compare to the feeling you get using this beast.
But I digress. To do the jointing means taking passes with the #8 along the entire length of the stuff until at least a near-full-length shaving is taken. Flat should be attained at that point, and it’s confirmed with a winding stick of your choosing. The second quality check comes with the square; you want the new edge to be square the board’s face. If it’s not there are a couple of options that I’d like to explore.
The first is technique. Let’s say the edge runs away from the face, like this:
Conversations here on LJs tell me it’s somewhat common to inadvertently hold a plane off-level like this when jointing. Could be a left hand/right hand balance thing, or even an imperfect clamping of the piece to be worked. Doesn’t matter, it happens. To fix it is to hold the plane such that it takes the high side down a little with each pass of the tool until the outside skew is gone. And that’s the way I usually addressed the problem. It typically meant taking a bunch more passes, though.
Instead of adjusting my grip on the plane, this time I tried something different that was mentioned in Robert Wearing’s Woodworking Essentials: using the lateral adjust on the cutter to correct the skew. I adjusted the cutter of the plane in such a way that it counters the worker’s tendency to apply the slant in the first place. In other words, in this example, I extended the cutter a bit more from the sole of the plane on side that is towards me at the bench, and with two passes:
The result was spot-on square.
And by the time I was half-way through the overall exercise, I was taking level swipes for flat and hitting a couple more to address skew without even checking for square along the way and it worked every time. Funny how I’m that predictable.
Once the aprons were dressed and cut to the length, it was time to mark them for tenons. The key here is having a tool that can reliably capture and apply markings from the mortises that are already in place (my M&T equivalent of ‘tails first’ is to cut mortises first, but astute readers will have noticed in the second blog the reclaimed legs were pre-morticed) to the stock that will receive the tenons. Where to mark? Good question.
Besides being made of 2×4s, the apron design included a piece of 1x stock on the bottom of each apron as a detail. I like it, and want to add it to both pieces. The depth of the resultant ledge was wag’d visually by making a pattern piece that featured tenons to fit the mortises extant in the legs and a 1x ledge that ended with some setback from the surface of each leg (if that makes sense).
My pattern pieces:
The side marks of the tenons to be cut were transferred to a marking gauge.
And in case you just missed it, when it comes to marking gauges there’s no substitute for rosewood and brass (see Galoot Index): the Stanley #198. Here’s the business end of the tool:
And a blurry pic of the Stanley logo w/ No. 198 on one of the marker stems:
Defining the thickness of the tenons is easy (that’s what doing mortises first does for you!); I needed to set the gauge based on the face of the apron stuff. Here’s taking those settings from the gauge and putting them to a piece of apron stock:
I cut the tenons out of the 2×4 apron stuff with bench hook and backsaw (no glamour there), and for awhile had legs and apron pieces scattered around the shop.
Follow-on fit checks went well, so it was time for glue-up. First, the short ends were put together. The 1x stock held the legs square to the apron, BTW.
Then the long sides.
Six foot bar clamps and ratchet straps come in handy at times like this.
Checked everything for square and ensured all four legs were solidly on the floor, too. Let the glue cure overnight, glued and nailed the 1x adder stock to the aprons then applied primer to everything.
That completed the table frame! Enough of this installment, so until next time thanks for looking!
-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --