|Project by Llarian||posted 08-10-2008 12:56 AM||1604 views||10 times favorited||10 comments|
Despite having been finally finished yesterday, this is actually my first woodworking project (well, for a good 10-15 years). I wanted a planter box or two for my back deck, so I grabbed this plan off plansnow.com, grabbed some cheapish cedar from my local big box store, and start resawing it down with my radial arm saw…
And that was where the problems began. You see, all I had in the way of tools at the time was this 1972 radial arm saw perched on a rickety old wood stand my dad built a good 20 years ago, which means it was perenially out of alignment. After a week or two of work I managed to get the stand tightened a bit, get the blade 90 degrees from the table again, and get a more or less square post out of the 4×4 I was trying to resaw.
Somewhere in there I bought a router so I could do some chamfers and such, which I’d been meaning to buy anyways. My fiance shook her head but said nothing. Oh, and a cheap router table, since what good is a router without a table?
Legs finished, I resawed some cedar 2×4 down into the rails to be more or less square, then bought a spiral up-cut bit to cut mortises into the legs. Firing up my trusty old RAS once again, and armed with a dado, I measure several times, and cut the tenons on the end of the rails, then dry fit everything together…
And it was terrible. Half the tenons were way too loose to the point of falling out, half of them had to be driven in with a hammer. I checked the alignment of my RAS, and lo and behold, it was way out of alignment. Again.
I was very frustrated at this point, having spent more time trying to get my tools into alignment than actually building something (did I mention I replaced the table and fence on the RAS during all this? And pulled apart most of the arm assembly to clear and realign it). I was so frustrated I decided to set this project aside for a bit.
In fact, I was so frustrated I went out and bought a Rigid TS 3650, a power planer, some higher quality blades, and a few other odds and ends. I looked at my poor planter sitting in the corner, and decided instead to make some cutting boards on my new tablesaw. And still my planter sat in the corner. My fiance was less than pleased about this whole turn of events.
So, out of money for exotic cutting board wood, and being asked by my fiance where her planter box was, I finally took the time to cut some tenon “patches” from my offcut cedar, glue them to the tenon faces, and then painstakingly number each mortise and tenon joint and cut them down slowly on the tablesaw, creeping up on the fit of each joint until they fit the way I was told a mortise and tenon joint should fit.
Invigorated, I cut the slats, cut some chafers and tongue and groove in them, and in some 48 hours after I’d picked it up again, had a planter box glued up and on the deck waiting for flowers.
It only took me some $1500, 3 months, an annoyed fiance, far too much time now wasted on woodworking sites, and apparently another very expensive hobby to finish it. I never expected this would be the most expensive planter box I’ve ever seen when I started, but here I am. =)
Hope you enjoyed my rambling narrative. As for the planter box? Eh, its ok. But at least it can take credit for a new enjoyable pastime.
-- Dylan Vanderhoof - General hobbiest and reluctant penmaker. http://llarian.etsy.com