Friday, June 19, 2009

First Light V

Well the digital camera I have been using for the past while has developed a battery problem, and because it is ancient in terms of electronic technology (about 5 years old) finding the correct battery is not so simple as a trip to the local Best Buy. I also found that without the battery, and running on the power cord only, I can lose photos if I unplug and plug in elsewhere in the house.... So I'll need to be more mindful about that until I get a new battery. I only lost about a dozen photos (I think), nothing critical, just a few shots mostly of the sharpening process which probably wouldn't be of much interest anyhow to most people.

On with the lantern project then. After the last post, I had completed the joinery work on the first tier of support arms, hijiki. Then it came time to shape them. There are various classic profiles associated to bracket arms and certain styles of temple building, like Zenshū-yō, Wayō, Dai-butsu-yō ("Big Buddha" Style), however mine is a bit of an amalgam. To develop the curve I used a method of producing a sine curve which is used for producing a curved eave line at a hip rafter. I drew this on some heavy cardstock which I then cut out to make a drawing template. Actually I needed to make two templates, one for the support arms running normal to the post faces, and one for the support arms oriented to the diagonal axis of the post. Sorry, but photos of the templating were among those now lost to the digital ether.

After the curves were traced out on the side faces of the hijiki, I sawed off a chunk of the waste and then set about paring down to the line with a chisel:


After the initial round of paring was complete, it looked like this:


Then a little work with my LN Boggs flat bottom spokeshave got me to here:


A few more fiddles with a chisel and they were done. I do wish I had a concave bottom spokeshave though as that would have been most ideal.

Then I assembled the base pair:


And started sliding the lot back together:


Getting there:


Now should add, since it is plainly visible, that in those lost photos were the shots showing the hijiki getting trimmed to length, the layout of the the centerlines and mortises for the pillow blocks and their cut out. Oh well, it's no biggie, they're just mortises.

Here's the now complete, save for a final pass with the kanna, the base layer of hijiki mounted on the post:


Another view, from further out:


Pillow Block Party

Next in the sequence were the pillow blocks, of which I needed eight, and which I had already designed on the computer. By some strange coincidence, I came across a scrap piece of mahogany in the garage that was the good stuff. By good stuff, I mean it is the dense and tough grade of Mahogany, with a deeper purple tinge to it. I most definitely prefer that quality of mahogany when it can be obtained - which is not so often anymore, and would appear to be a matter of luck to find. I had a chunk with enough size and run of straight grain that it would provide all the pillow blocks, so I set about hacking it to bits:


The two pieces on the right side will each yield 4 blocks:


Then I thrashed the blocks within an inch of their lives with the 70mm Funahiro:


And got the first one decently squared up:


Once I could see the grain more clearly, I noted the mysterious white flecks that some mahogany has - I imagine it is some constituent of the soil that gets absorbed by the tree, but I have no idea exactly what it is - the good thing it that its not silica or anything unpleasant like that:


I also noticed, with the faces cleaned up, that the grain ran on slope a bit on one of the pieces. A stroke of luck was that besides the fact I had cut the chunks sufficiently oversize such that I could compensate, and they were oversize in the orientation that allowed me to make the adjustment:


More sawing to get the grain running the way I would like:


One side trimmed:


And then the other:


After that, a few more licks with the plane and I had the block stock straight, out of wind, square and about 0.01" oversize. Now the processing of the blocks to their final form could begin, and that will be taken up in the next installment of this thread. On to post 6

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