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Greene & Greene Gamble House Side Chair #24: Plug Locations and Square Holes- Part 2

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Blog entry by TungOil posted 06-06-2018 01:54 AM 2807 reads 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 23: Rounding Parts and Establishing Plug Locations- Part 1 Part 24 of Greene & Greene Gamble House Side Chair series Part 25: Crest Rail Final Shaping »

With my plug locations established, I move on to drilling the holes and cutting the square plug holes. I set up stops on the drill press and drill the clearance holes in the front legs, back legs and crest rails.

There are 27 square plugs on each of the 15 chairs, for a total of 405 square plugs.

After all of the clearance holes are drilled, I cut the square plug holes using the Lee Valley square hole punches. I align the punch with the hole using a long dowel pin, then square the punch with a saddle square. A spare loose tenon inserted into the mortise helps keep the mortise wall from collapsing as I cut the square plug hole.

It takes about 12 hours to cut 405 square plug holes by hand. A hollow chisel mortiser would have been a good investment.

After cutting all of the square plug holes, the top of the square plug cutter has mushroomed quite a bit and will need to be cleaned up on the grinder later.

Next steps: shape the tops of the legs and crest rails, finish sand, cut and fit the ebony bars and make up a batch of ebony plugs.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"



7 comments so far

View Rich's profile

Rich

3207 posts in 646 days


#1 posted 06-06-2018 02:10 AM

Aren’t you done with those yet, Tung? Just kidding. They’re looking great. Using that saddle square is a great idea. I’ll be stealing that one from you.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

980 posts in 552 days


#2 posted 06-06-2018 02:32 AM



Aren t you done with those yet, Tung?

- Rich

I wish Rich, but it’s mostly downhill from here, with a lot of hand tools along the way I’m afraid.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View Rich's profile

Rich

3207 posts in 646 days


#3 posted 06-06-2018 02:40 AM


Aren t you done with those yet, Tung?

- Rich
I wish Rich, but it’s mostly downhill from here, with a lot of hand tools along the way I’m afraid.

- TungOil

If anyone can do it, you can buddy. I have faith. Looking forward to seeing them arranged around that gorgeous table.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

1292 posts in 2405 days


#4 posted 06-06-2018 10:59 AM

Ugh 400 plugs all by hand. I agree that a mortising machine would have helped speed things along. Still, you have to keep the mortising chisels sharp or they start making a real mess. Good to see you made it through this part without any major mishaps.

I need to get one of those saddle squares for punching G&G plug holes. It looks a lot more efficient than eye balling it or trying to make a jig or use a regular square.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

980 posts in 552 days


#5 posted 06-06-2018 05:09 PM

The saddle square a big help, Earl. Lee Valley sells two sizes, I use them both, but the one pictured is the smaller one. They have a nice broad side that allows easy alignment of the square punch before you slide it down to contact the wood.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2155 posts in 1279 days


#6 posted 06-07-2018 07:06 PM

Heh!, It makes me smile to see your hole cutter develop the mushroom head 8^). I’ve cut only a 100 or so with mine and it is just starting to expand, yours tells me that you are probably into the 1000’s!

Nice trick using a dowel for alignment. I have always pounded the punch in until it stayed, then drilled with a bit through the hole in the punch for the clearance relief. Your method makes so much more sense!

For a current project, I decided to go ahead and make Andy’s plug jig
to speed the torture along. It works great! 3/8” plugs don’t fit my 1/2” drill so I have to do them by hand. Smaller ones are still a pain. For this jig I used a standard bull nose bit I had and simply borrowed the bearing/retainer from a pattern bit to make it all work.

Your lathe method does make me think it’s cost would be easily justified 8^)

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

980 posts in 552 days


#7 posted 06-08-2018 12:51 AM

Yeah, I’ve really pounded that punch pretty good. I will say the business end holds an edge really well. I’ve only had to sharpen mine once after close to 1000 holes.

I picked up the extra long dowel pins from McMaster Carr. you can also use a spare twist drill turned around to align to the hole.

As I was making the plugs for my table, I was designing that exact jig in my mind. I started making them on the lathe so I never built it. The jig is probably a little faster, but the lathe works well also and no special jig needed!

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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