Just for Fun... #74: The Perils of Panels...

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Blog entry by littlecope posted 06-03-2013 02:19 PM 1869 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 73: The Bubinga Box Begins... Part 74 of Just for Fun... series Part 75: Making Lemonade from Lemons... »

Almost four days ago, we left off with the four sides standing, and I was about to begin adding panels to this latest box…Enough for today...

From the beginning, it was in the plan, to feature some of the Curly Yellow Birch that was purchased especially for Panel making…
I’ve done this many times, and it is usually a routine step in the procedure…

Alas, rumors of my abilities are greatly exaggerated…
Little did I know, that such pretty wood, would be so ugly to work!!
The panel making began in the usual fashion, clamping-up the box and transferring measurements with calipers…The four sides clamped up...Bringing out the "Really Nice" wood...Transferring measurements using calipers...

This went well, until I tried to re-saw the piece… The drift was so bad, and the grain so demanding, that the blade was curving inside the wood… It is hard to see, but it actually cut through on the side! A real bad actor...

Not a good start to my day, very low on the fun meter…
But I pulled myself together, and thought, “In for a penny, in for a pound! I might as well cut another one!”
And so I did, this time doing it my old way by clamping the piece to a nice, square block and sliding the whole package through…Did it the way I used to...

At last, I had the two thinned pieces that I needed, or so I thought… The fun was just beginning…
They still weren’t thin enough to fit in the 1/4” dadoes cut in the sides. That much is completely normal and anticipated…
It would be nice to thin them in the planer or on the jointer, but they’re too small for the planer (it would spit them out at me!) and too wide for the jointer (7” wide + 6” jointer= no go…)
So they would have to be hand-planed.
Again, this was anticipated, and I usually look forward to making some quiet shavings while listening to the gentle sound of the plane at work…
But that was NOT TO BE!!
I have no experience with Yellow Birch and even less with Curly… This stuff fought tooth and nail!
There was a lot of gouging, and fiddling with the plane, trying to get the job done…
Minutes turned into hours, hours into days, with little result or improvement…Band Saw marks and Plane gouging...Now I'm planing out the band saw marks...

I spent most of Sunday trying to Hand-sand the Band saw marks and plane gouging out…
Monday dawned along with another idea… Why I hadn’t thought of it sooner is a question I can’t answer…

I brought out the Belt sander and just ground those marks off!! At last, they were sanded and fit!The panels finally in the box

Things went quickly after that as the box went straight to gluing…
I left the tape on the outside throughout and even added some on the inside, to help with squeeze out (and subsequent cleaning and scraping!)One last look at the joinery...The gluing station...Tape on the insides...Latest box, glued and clamped...

This morning, after the clamps all came off, it was a fairly simple matter to add the off-cuts as trim to the top… The grain does indeed match from sides to top… I left the edges sharp, splinters and all, because they’ll be much easier to clean-up after the Glue is dry…Time to address the Off-cuts...Trim glued in place...
And that’s it… There is still the separating cut, top from bottom, and the hinges to make, and lots of clean-up and sanding…
Panels usually don’t take four days… :)Presently...
3 June 2013

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

12 comments so far

View Lenny's profile


1593 posts in 3525 days

#1 posted 06-03-2013 03:10 PM

Mike you are the master of ingenuity. You find a way to get there. Sorry about the band saw drift issue. I’m sure you will make the best of that issue too. The curly birch appears to me to be a great match for the bubinga. I guess we’ll know for sure once finish is applied. Lastly, I love the use of those cut off pieces. As they say in the Guinness commercials: “Brilliant!”

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4298 days

#2 posted 06-03-2013 03:35 PM

Very nice Mike, but your persistance paid of!

An after thought, maybe if you tried double stick taping the panels to a thicker board like you did for re-sawing the panels it might work.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Jim Jakosh's profile (online now)

Jim Jakosh

20482 posts in 3104 days

#3 posted 06-03-2013 04:41 PM

Way to go, Mike!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3332 days

#4 posted 06-03-2013 05:15 PM

Another great box almost finished Mike. I love your idea of the miter/box joint corners. I haven’t seen that done before. I can easily relate to your problems with the Birch. For quite a few years, Birch was the main hardwood available to me and I though I mostly used it for turnings, I did find that it can be very tough wood to work. On the other hand, it is very strong and versatile, for carvings, etc., but never very easy to work.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3500 days

#5 posted 06-03-2013 08:42 PM

Lenny: Thanks for your kind words my Friend…
Mr. & Mrs. C: Always good to hear from you two!! That’s a Good Idea I’ll have to try one of these days!
Jim: One way to go Jim, just one way to go… ;-)
Stefang: Those joints are something I saw Mads do on his small tool tote… He used Dovetails and Miters, but same idea… We all keep learning from each other!
This Yellow Birch really surprised me with its hardness. Around here we’re used to White Birch, which is a beautiful tree (and is classified as a hardwood), but isn’t much good for anything. Even as firewood, the stuff burns as fast as pine or faster…
If I can manage to bore some straight holes through the YB, I’m going to try making the hinges out of it… It should easily be strong enough for that!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2688 days

#6 posted 06-04-2013 01:02 AM

Sorry this one fought you so much but looks like you are winning. A drum sander is such a blessing in these situations.

Blade drift can make me crazy so I have started using a single point resaw fence and follow a scribed line on small resaw cuts like yours.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2918 days

#7 posted 06-04-2013 09:30 AM

These are the type of projects that really test our patience. But as you saw, we also learn a great deal in the process. I admire you sticking through it all through thick and thin (no pun intended!) We work with our friend Bernie who has graciously shared his shop with us. His tools are however . . . um . . . “quirky” and we are continually compensating here and there for their shortcomings. But beggars can’t be choosers and we are very appreciative of the kindness he has offered us, so we learn our way around things.

I am glad to see you are on the right track again. Hey – if all went perfectly, you wouldn’t have such a good story to tell. ;)

“From here on, it will be smoooooth sailing!” (Keith always wants to slap me when I say that!) ;)

Have a good one! Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3500 days

#8 posted 06-04-2013 11:41 AM

Andy: A Drum Sander would be great! Someday…
As far as blade drift, I’ve been thinking I’m just going to continue to freehand cut. After all, I’ve been doing it that way with the Scroll Saw for twenty years now… God knows, they can sure drift!
Sheila: I was not a happy woodworker when the first piece was ruined! Aside from the cost, the YB is real good looking stuff, and I was kinda hoping to use every bit of it…
With any luck, I’ll be able to use it for hinges or handles… But I have my doubts whether a drill will go through it any straighter than the blades have…
Have to look forward though! Looking backward just makes me dizzy anyway… :)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2918 days

#9 posted 06-04-2013 11:45 AM

We have access to solid birch here in our area. It is extremely hard and you have to really take care when using it. I can understand how the blade would be more prominent with it. Keith winds up free handing it when slicing it on the band saw more often than not. We have also had the saw drift so much that it comes through the side, just as you have shown and it is extremely frustrating. I am glad you are at least over that hump and wish you an easier time for the remainder of the project. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2802 days

#10 posted 06-04-2013 11:38 PM

Very nice, Mike

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View lew's profile


12060 posts in 3753 days

#11 posted 06-05-2013 01:20 AM

I made one of these to help be compensate for the drift on my band saw-

I just clamp it to the table so the vertical piece is set to the thickness of the piece I need.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3500 days

#12 posted 06-05-2013 01:27 PM

Sheila: Thanks again! I managed to save at least some of the “ruined” piece of Yellow Birch…
It turns out, that I was fretting about drilling straight holes needlessly… For the hinge work, the YB worked really well!!And Cut...
Roger: Thanks my Friend, I do appreciate it…
Lew: I’ve heard about fences like Andy described and you pictured, here on LJ’s many times, but it seems like I haven’t seen one in a long time. Thanks for the refresher!
I’ll try building one of those too, and see how it works out… It seems small, but I’m wondering how you accurately “Faced” one side of the round dowel? Milling Machine??

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

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