Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ming Inspiration (29)

Fast and furious now with the posting, so look for updates on a daily basis. Post 29 in this series, with previous episodes archived to the right of the page. Yesterday was the first day in the history of the blog to top 1000 page views, so I was feeling pleased with that.

I put the four legs aside from the cut out depicted over the previous two postings, and set to work on the banwancheng, or Giant's arm braces. Normally I take my data points and draw out such curved pieces in full scale. This time I decided to experiment with using a large format printer, or plotter, to produce a full scale piece direct from SketchUp. I was curious to see how accurate the printed version would be to the drawing and how the shape/lines turned out in relation to the digital representation I had constructed. Here's the print out:

As for accuracy, it was excellent, though I can't know how well this would work with a piece that is, say, 100" long or more. For a 30" long item, it seemed fine.

I used some spray adhesive to apply the paper to a 1/4" piece of fiberboard, trimming the excess away:

While the dimensions were good, the lines were not so sweet. It's very hard to tell in a digital representation, using bezier curves, exactly how 'fair' a given curved line is. In this case, I felt I had to make a few adjustments:

Adjustments done, then I trimmed away half of the waste:

I used this half template to produce a copy in 0.5" fiberboard, using the router table:

With the other pattern made, I cleared away the other half of the waste from the 1/4" template:

I then used a Sharpie marker to outline the template on the stock:

Here are the rough cut blanks after a run through the band saw:

I then set those pieces aside for a day to let them move as they needed.

The next day I jointed the pieces and planed them to dimension. Sure enough, a couple of them had moved a bit. No problems though. I took that 1/2" thick template and used it to make a duplicate and then constructed a jig. With that jig, I was able to effect end cuts on all the giant's arm braces, and then started in on the joinery. I began by working on the lower ends which will tie to the legs:

As you can see the router bit is not the sharpest and is burning a little, but at least I was able to borrow it from John Z upstairs (and am most grateful), as my small pattern bit seems to have vanished, like my card scrapers. When I get into this stage of a project, sometimes I start to lose stuff. It will turn up later I'm sure. Things are bit chaotic I guess right this minute. At least I know where all the table parts are and can find my way home at the end of the day!

Another shot of the lower end of one of the braces:

Another thing I have been working on has been the fitting of the central rail to the short aprons:

These sword tip miter joints are quite finicky to fit, and it really comes down to one pass too many with a chisel or plane and the fit will be ruined. Caution is in order, so I take my time with the process - not easy when feeling under some pressure - and do this sort of fitting work in the morning hours when I am mentally and physically fresh.

The joint was quite tight to start. Chiseling a little here and there, I gradually eased it further and further in:

This joint is the only one one table which is overtly obvious to view, as there is a through tenon coming out the the curved face of the apron. Therefore, I had to be careful with the fitting here as well. In the next picture, the tenon has just reached the surface:

Once things start getting closer together, it is important to check that everything is lined up square:

And here we are, the fitting to the 80% mark or so on both ends:

More to come - I wonder how these joints will come out? Stay tuned and thanks for visiting today. --> on to post 30

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