Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ming Inspiration (17)

In the two-thread see-saw I have going on at present, we return now to the Ming-inspired table project in bubinga. Previous episodes are located in the 'blog archive' at the right of the page.

Fitting the battens to the central rail has occupied quite a bit of time. I generally try to achieve a fit of one part to another in three tries, and though I accomplished that, the hours were eaten up all the same. 10 battens, fitted both to each other and the central rail -- well, it took more time than I had anticipated.

In the previous post I had fitted all of the short battens, the ones without the rod tenons on one end. The fitting of the rod tenons begins with only a bare minimum of the tenon inserting into the central rails mortise:

A little closer view:

I tried using a file to ease the fit, but went back to a sharp chisel - here, one of the rod tenons is 2/3 of the way through:

Now down to the stub tenon entry point:

Fully inserted, there was a slight gap at the shoulders yet, which did not come out in the following photo:

I kerfed the fit using a flush cut saw on the top portion of the batten, which will be cut into a male sliding dovetail eventually:

Of course, when fitting, one needs to check things for squareness now and again, and make adjustments as necessary:

The slot mortises on the short battens needed a recess cut into their ends to accept the haunched rod tenon ends - I used an auger drill to rough the cut out, and then cleaned up with a chisel:

I then confirmed the entry of the rod into the mortise:

These mortises I leave with a little space at the end so that they will not bottom out on the tenon ends, either during assembly, or if the central rail were to shrink.

A view from the side, remember that these battens, as in the previous photo, are upside-down:

Here the assembly of a pair of battens through the central rail is nearly all the way together, viewed from the underside:

Eventually I had all the battens fitted:

Another view of the assembly, perhaps looking very much like a bubinga tv antenna:

I still need to chamfer and finish plane those battens and process the sliding male dovetails on their upper surfaces, however i will set that aside for the time being.

Next up was the processing of the beaded edge on the outer frame rails, or aprons. I made some modifications to my template first, scabbing on a 1/4" piece of MDF to act as a profile edge for a plunge ogee bit I had obtained:

Here's one of the cuts started:

And here's the two short side aprons with the profile of the bead roughed out:

All for today - thanks for coming by and hope to see you in these parts again. --> on to post 18


  1. That is some crazy wood grain!
    Those saw horses are majestic and look to be working out better than a bench, and you have plenty of room for them.

  2. I love the beaded profile detail; it jives perfectly with the grain of this bubinga.

    Are the pegs you're using (to lock the battens together) that much easier to remove than the shachi sen?

  3. Gordon, yes, the grain of this piece is like a woman's hair just released from curlers. And I have been quite happy working away on the sawhorses, and though I was thinking about a workbench a few months back, I think I am managing okay with the current arrangement.


    the pegs *are* much easier to remove than the shachi-sen, as pegs can be readily driven out in either direction to undo the connection whereas the shachi sen would have to be drilled out and extracted to effect removal. Therefore the pegs are more convenient and are even reusable, unlike the shachi-sen.

    If the connection were in a more visible location though, I think I would be inclined to go with the shachi-sen as they have a discrete appearance.



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