Monday, August 22, 2011

Coffee Anyone? (18)

It's been more than a month since my last post in this thread, I I wonder if some readers have wondered what became of the coffee table project - did I complete it and forget to post up? Was it abandoned?

Well, in both cases, the answer is 'no'. The entire delay was a result of a fiendish glass company in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. I'll spare the details, but the glass ended up being 2 full months late on this project. I ended up driving the 2 hours our to Woonsocket with the table top frame to check the fit before making payment-  my confidence in that company having been all but evaporated by that point. Anyhow, in the end, the glass fit the frame as designed, with a 1/32" gap all around, and I was happy with the product. Not happy with the timeline, though, and unlikely to use that company again.I can't belive how much of a hassle it was to obtain glass for this table. To find a company that can cut the material to a high degree of accuracy, and do the work in the time frame they quote at the outset. And if something comes up, they call you and let you know so you can plan accordingly. You know, what used to be called the basics of sound business practice. Seems hard to find companies like that these days, which is strange considering the slow economy.

My client has been extremely understanding and patient, which has been a huge relief for me.

I have had the glass on hand now since last week and have been at last able to move things ahead. In some ways the delay was beneficial as it allowed me to give the coats of oil longer to dry in between application and subsequent rounds of flattening. 

I applied many coats of oil to the various parts - here's the shelf panel (underside) after an oil application:

After several coats of oil were applied to the shelf frame parts, I assembled some of the frame rails at the locking miter joints. Here, a pin, or shachi-sen, is on its way in to the join:

A few more hammer taps and the pin is fully in:

Then I trim it with the flush-cutting saw:

Three rails join together to form an end assembly, which could then be re-oiled several times and then the finish later flattened out:

Another view:

Then came time to work on cutting and placing the maker's mark on the piece. The client originally wanted the mark to be in the center of the shelf, however the position of the dovetailed batten on the underside precluded that possibility of placing a plug and hole joint in that location, so my client suggested I place the mark down in one corner, which I thought was a great idea. First step in fitting the mark was to mortise the Wenge shelf panel for the pentagon insert pieces, and I used the same jig for that step I had prepared on the Ming Table project from a few months back:

The cutting complete, next step is to clean the inner corners slightly with a chisel:

Then, one by one, I fit the parts of the pentagon. Here I chose to use Bloodwood:

Three pieces now fitted:

And then all five pieces are fitted:

When the glue had dried, I trimmed most of the excess using a chisel:

And brought the suface down flush using a card scraper:

Then a coat of oil:

Placing the panel aside, I set to work on the flower portion of the mark. Time to put the American Holly to some use - this time, I chose to take advantage of the fact that holly has virtually indistinguishable grain, and make these flowers out of one piece of holly instead of laminated up from 5 wedges as I had done on previous projects:

A few more hours of work is required yet, but it's moving along nicely I think. This 'flower' will be recessed slightly into the surface, so I have made it a little thicker in the 'petal' section. The best of the two I'm cutting will be fitted to the panel. The center of the 'flower' will have an Gabon Ebony 'pistil' which I'll turn on a lathe in the next day or two.

More pictures to share tomorrow, so I hope I'll see you then. Thanks for dropping by the Carpentry Way.  --> on to post 19

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