Before I can chronicle more of Moby Plank, which I’m itching to do, I need to get the mesquite legs and stretchers made. In order for me to complete the legs, which will be carved out of 5×5x 36 blocks of mesquite, I need a band saw much bigger than the little hobbiest one I have. I can’t afford a band saw until the project is completed, and I get paid. Hence a conundrum.
After pondering possible possible solutions, and my wife objecting to me selling the kids, I struck upon a Galoot-ish solution that delighted me; to Build a Bow Saw (with apologies to Jack London.) Having a good supply of walnut on hand, and not liking the brittleness of mesquite, layout and sawing began last weekend. I began by using my baby band saw to cut out the arms, and sanded them on a sanding drum chucked in my drill press.
The next task was to chop the mortises to accept the tenons on either end of the cross beam. I had cleverly taken the time to taper the arms, which really means I succumbed to the siren call of my No.-4. Note: if you decide to build one of these, chop the mortise first and then taper the arms. Much easier. This is the mortise layout, a little hard to see:
I decided to “go Galoot,” no power tools, so I got out my Millers Falls brace and Irwin bits. a 1/4” mortise was required, and I’m a sneak-up-on-it kind of guy, but my smallest bit was 1/4”. That will carry implications you will see later. Note the high-tech depth gauge:
Here’s another thing I thought of after the fact. If you are going to bore the mortise like I did, it might be a good idea to score the centerline with a utility knife in order to get a substantial groove. My bits wandered, and that meant that my mortises were not precisely 1/4” wide. The shoulders of the tenons will cover them and let no one be the wiser, but they weren’t clean like I like them to be. This is the bored tenon (which you might be too, by now…)
Grabbing my crispy Sorby chisel, and a couple of no-so-bad Marples, the mortises cleaned up to a usable level.
The next step was to cut the tenons on the crosspiece. I’ve tried fitting mortises to tenons and tenons to mortises. I’m definitely a “fit the tenon to the mortises” kind of guy. Trial by error. After laying out the tenons using a marking gauge, I made the decision to cut the shoulders of the tenon first. I did this because it seems to promote more consistency from one side of the stock to the other. For me, taking up my awesome Independence Tool carcass saw is better therapy than the best psychiatrist. After cutting the shoulders, cutting the faces of the tenon was very easy using my Independence Tool (yes, I’m gloating) tenon saw. The tenons came out remarkably straight and true, and needed only minor paring (I was sneaking up again) before they indexed snugly into the mortises. Here is a finished tenon:
The fruits of the afternoon’s labor (I can’t figure out how to make the whole picture fit, Sorry!!):
The next step is to plane, scrape, and sand my way to smoothness, bore holes in the arms for handles, prepare the “Spanish Windlass” and get a saw blade. Any suggestions on the last would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks for looking!
-- There's no tool like an old tool...