I decided last night to make my center bracket larger after playing around on SketchUp some more so I started today by getting another sequence-matched board ready to glue onto the existing center bracket. This involved using the planer sled again to flatten the board before planing the other side parallel. The sled is a glue up of 4, 3/4” MDF panels to make a rigid sled that holds the not-so-flat rough board in order to joint the top side flat. The only things needed are some shims to keep the board from rocking as it goes through the planer.
This project was the first time I tried the sled and it has it’s pros and cons. It definitely works and it did a great job on the wide but short length boards I was using. When I tried it on the long boards for the top, I ran into the problem of not having enough support tables/rollers/shop helpers to support the thing as it went through the planer. After two passes of wrestling the heavy thing, I gave up and tried the rip, joint and glue approach instead. If I had better infeed and outfeed support for the planer, it would probably work a lot better.
Much of my time today was spent making the template for the top.
The curve was interesting. Watching the NYW video, Norm says that he used a 61” radius for the curve. When I got my bandsaw, the guy gave me the arc-cutting table/jig he made for it, so I gave that a shot. It worked pretty well for cutting out a 61” arc to transfer to my template, but that’s when I discovered a 61” radius wouldn’t work.
When I glued up my boards for the top, I ended up with a finished width of only 13.5” instead of the 14” dimension Norm had. This was due to cutting off both edges of the two boards I originally was using because of large knot holes, and then further narrowing them by doing the rip cut and jointing to flatten the boards.
After some playing on SketchUp again, I found that a 66” radius should work for my new 13.5” width at the center, arcing to 8” at the ends. I thought about just altering the ends to 7.5” but didn’t want to cut down the end brackets to accommodate the change (I already accommodated for the 13.5” width on the center bracket). The new radius worked great and I got the top template laid out and cut out. I then started laying out all the details for joinery when I discovered another oops.
Each of the brackets has a 3/4” thick board backing them with a 1/2” reveal on each side (red).
Unfortunately, I forgot to account for that 3/4” when I made the template for the end brackets and subsequently cut out the end brackets. So now I have end brackets that are 3/4” too deep (front to back). I will probably just cut off 3/4” from the front of the brackets and just deal with the altered curve on them. It’s not a mistake, it’s a design feature!
At least I was able to get the center bracket glued up, rough cut, and glued again.
I didn’t screw up the dimensions on it either! Well, at least not that I know of, yet.
Next time I should have the end brackets revised/fixed, I need to start cutting stock for the curved aprons and make the bending form for them. I’ll try to include pics of the arc cutting jig on the band saw, too.