Charles Neil lowboy build-along, episode #8
Ok gang, we have our legs and they’re mortised and tenoned. The next step is to cut out the front, back and side panels.
Before I go further, let’s review some basics, going back to the beginning. #1. Select wood with the figure you want, check its quality and moisture content. Thanks Charles. #2. Let wood acclimate to its new environment, for as long as possible. (It’s been 6 weeks). #3. Double check the dimensions before rough cutting and milling. #4. Rough-cut material and let it acclimate as long as possible. (Only 4 days, but we should be fine) #5. Re-check the wood for new defects, such as cupping, twisting, and checks.
#7. Double check the measurements for secondary cuts.
Alright, I’m ready to rock and roll.
Now that I have the secondary cuts made, I’ve set up my router table to make the long tenons on all of the sides and back material, but first I score the edge to be cut, with a marking gauge. This is the type of marking gauge with a blade and not just a pin. That way, it cuts the wood instead of just making a scratch mark on the wood.
You might note that I’m using the term secondary cuts; the point being is that I don’t make the final cuts until I absolutely have too. Another benefit in doing things this way is that if you have blowout, aka, tear- out, when routing or sawing or problems in your first cut, you have another shot at having the cut come out right the second time, with the extra material you still have. Charles calls it, “having a way out”, and I agree whole-heartedly.
Okay, now I have the router table set up and the material scribed.
Now I make the first cuts, but again, I take the cautious approach and only cut a third of the way down on our cut. This minimizes the chances of tear-out.
The cuts I’m making will ultimately be cut down as tenons, to fit in the legs. One side will be cut deeper than the other side; this means that I have to select which side I want as the outside of the backs and sides and that the tenon ends up the same thickness as the outside edge of our legs.
I also have to make sure the tenons are the correct thickness for our mortises.
Now that I have cut both sides of the tenon on the router table (note: this can be done on the table saw with a dado blade but might involve making two passes if your dado will not cut 7/8 wide.)
I lay out the tenons by putting my back and sides alongside the legs by marking where the mortises have already been made. Be careful here, because the mortises on the back and sides are offset and you could mismark a tenon, if your leg is not orientated properly.
Now I set up a stop on the band saw, so as not to cut too far onto the faces of the sides and back.
This also helps keep the panel in place after assembly and then afterwards, it keeps the panels from bowing outward during the times there will be wood movement.
The next step is to fit the tenons into the mortises on the legs. This is a process that may take some time but it’s best not to rush it. You defenatly don’t want to force your tenons in by hammering them in. A good fit is important, so as Charles say, s sneak up on it. (Do a little at a time) .
Next time I will finish fitting the sides and back and have it up on its legs
Remember, the techniques I’ve gathered are from Charles Neil’s subscription online webisode, “Mastering Woodworking”.
Charles will be starting a new project soon, so if you’ve thought about signing up for his “Mastering Woodworking” webisodes, now would be a great time.
-- W James Brokenbourgh Custom furniture maker http://artisticwoodstudio.com/