|Project by paratrooper34||posted 07-25-2010 04:39 PM||1385 views||1 time favorited||8 comments|
So I am posting my latest project – a Bedroom Nightstand for my wife. Now, by no means is this a work of art or the next piece to be featured in FWW. I posted this to show some stuff that I did with hand tools. It wasn’t solely done without power; I did use a router for two things: the edge treatment on the top and the grooves to hold the drawer bottom. I also sized all parts with a planer and jointer at the woodshop on post. All else was done with hand tools.
I made the little bead seen on the bottom of the sides and drawer (top and bottom) with a Stanley 45 with a ¼” beading cutter. I will say it took a lot of patience as the walnut I used was VERY gnarly; lots of grain differentiations. I got through it by setting the cutter very shallow and taking miniscule shavings. Definitely need a sharp blade on the 45. It really is a nice tool when you have it set up correctly. I am going to try to start using it more often now that I have learned to get some good use out of it.
The sides and back are mortised into the legs. Again, only hand tools for this. I used my LN saws to cut the tenons and squared them up with a LN rabbet block plane. So easy to make tight fitting mortises this way. Would it have been quicker with power tools? Yup, absolutely. However, I get a good amount of satisfaction with the hand tools (while listening to Old Time Radio!). Plus, I don’t have to deal with the mess and noise. I also have to give credit to my shooting board. I took the time to make a really nice one and it has added incredible accuracy to my work. All joinery is 100% square with no “fudging” to get pieces to work right or look right. The drawer is assembled with through dovetails as the drawer front is false. I was going to use blind dovetails, but decided against it to save a little time.
If you can see in the pictures, the legs are tapered. I have to admit, I fretted considerably on how I would taper the legs. I considered going back to the wood shop and doing it on the table saw. That would require me making a jig and getting it set up, etc. So I thought about and asked myself “How would they do this back in the day when there were no power tools?” With a saw and a plane was the obvious answer. So I marked out the tapers on each leg. I then put them in the face vise and sawed the waste out with my rip panel saw. Once I did that, I pulled out my Ulmia jack plane and got the cuts straight. Smoothed them out with a smooth plane, viola, it was done! I was actually surprised at how fast it went. Now this part of the table I would argue was just as fast, if not faster, than using a table saw or other machinery (when you consider jig making and setup, etc).
I sanded the tabletop only. Because of the highly figured grain, I could not get it completely smoothed out to look right. I tried my cabinet scraper, card scraper, and smooth plane and while most of the top was good, there were a couple of areas that just would not cooperate. So I sanded up to 600 grit and called it good. The table is finished with Wachsoel and polished with furniture wax..
It really is a joy to make furniture with hand tools. It helps relieve stress and brings satisfaction knowing you built something by hand. I am slowly weaning myself from the power tools, but I have to admit that there are some things that they do that are beneficial to me also. I think I am starting to find a nice blend between power and hand.