Well, it’s a lot nicer than it was where I left off yesterday. The router bridge (seen at the end of this post) is such a nice way to plane things, and I’ve thought of some ideas that might make setup a lot easier.
I’ve moved up to a 5/8” or maybe 3/4” bit and it makes planing a lot faster. Too, I found that just putting masking tape along the bottom edges, curved to stick to the workbench is more than adequate as a hold down until I come up with a better solution – probably wedges. The tape doesn’t hold in the direction through the face you’ve taped and it’s opposite side. It holds in the direction of that edge. The front and back runs keep it from moving side to side, and vice versa. It was rigid as could be the 3 times I set up and planed, and I took much deeper passes than I have in the past.
As for tearout from the bit, this is eliminated by first framing the piece in a clockwise direction, half the bit over the piece, half hanging off the edge. This runs the bit along the outside edge in what machinist’s would call a ‘climb milling’ direction. In other words, the cutter edges don’t dig into the material and scoop up in the direction of motion, like a bulldozer scooping and lifting as it drives, but instead roll over it like a wheel, hammering straight down into the wood and scooping down and back into already cleared area. There was one spot where I pushed through from front to back and did get a little swath of tearout, but it will be gone after rounding the edge with the router and final sanding. Switching back to first framing the face clockwise, then going back and forth to clear the middle stopped all tearout entirely. Wasn’t even a great bit – just a blue Ryobi straight bit from a large set I got years ago. It was about 2 minutes per full pass on this small thing.
After that, I slowly, carefully passed one long and one adjacent short edge over the jointer. All of the corners were remarkably square, before and after the jointing operation. That helped a lot. Then I used my large miter sled to trim the opposite faces to those to get them parallel. My hold down clamp on the sled (Incra T-track setup) wouldn’t hold the thick slab tightly against the fence, so I just clamped it to the sled itself, first pushing it up against the front edge of the board. As it clamped down, it flexed outward a bit, pressing the slab tightly against the fence. I couldn’t budge it. It’s a good technique for the future.
The amazing thing was that all 4 corners read exactly the same thickness on my digital calipers, to the 128th of an inch. I had used small scraps of plywood to shim the board up high enough to take passes with the router, and didn’t bother to register anything – just clamped down the rails, taped down the board, and made the passes. It’s a well set up system, and that has me quite pleased where future efforts are concerned. I went over it with 3 grits in my ROS to knock away the router bit marks and remove my circular saw’s unfortunate burn marks. The grits were something like 60, 120, and 220. Anyway, pics!
This face, with the little knotty void region will be the bottom:
This is the top:
It’s not as pretty as it would have been with PurpLev’s suggested long-grain glue-up (see 2 posts back in this series, and sorry, Purp!), but it sated my curiosity about making an oak end grain board from scraps. The edges aren’t half bad, either. That dark stripe repeating itself on the long sides came through:
And here are the narrow ends:
Next up, rounding over the edges – going with large roundovers for this – then rubber feet, branding the bottom, and giving it a nice bath in butcher’s block oil!
-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator