Saturday, May 28, 2011

Adventures in Machine Land (VI)

Things have settled down with the various fires to be put out in the land 'o machinery. Well, for the most part.

I got the drill spindle back from the machine shop. The epoxy I had put on the shaft to build it up in the spots where the bearings slid on and over had worked perfectly. The machinist said that it machined up nicely, as I had hoped it would. One thing he mentioned to me though is that the spindle is actually a bit bent. One can imagine how a combination of a bent spindle and a very loose upper bearing in the quill could add up to a lot of vibration.

More than that though, I realize now what was causing the up/down movement of the quill to be sticky: the bent spindle is rubbing slightly in the hole it slides into at the top of the head, where the step pulley is located. That will have to be addressed, but, well, for the time-being I have reassembled the quill and spindle and put them back into the head.

Here I'm tightening the lock collar on the top of the spindle after sliding the spindle back into the quill:


Back in the machine, the drill is running a lot more smoothly:


That was the second hole I've drilled with the press in 6 weeks of owning the machine!

Still, the machine is not quite there yet. When I get the chance I will pull the spindle back out and have a go at manually straightening it using my granite inspection plate and a dial indicator, along with a couple of vee-blocks and a hammer. If that works, then great - if not, I'll look at getting a new spindle. Unfortunately they cost about $570, so I'm looking/hoping for a NOS one to pop up on Ebay. Ultimately, my plan is for a new spindle and quill, then getting the head casting bored out and re-sleeved (down at Marena Industries in CT), and fitting a chuck directly to the end of the spindle instead of the current set up, which employs a #2 Morse taper adapter in between the spindle and chuck. With all that done, the drill should be back to perfect operational condition, which I look forward to. It is a machine worth saving. For now, it will do the job adequately.

Then, there's my LandCruiser. My truck had required a couple of tie rod ends (which became a more complicated issue, but I'll spare the details) and then, right after that, the u-joints went. My bad, as I had neglected to grease them right from new. I obtained the new parts from Toyota and swapped the u-joints in myself. I also had a wheel alignment done after doing the Tie Rod Ends (TRE's). Now it's running like a champ again.

Jessem, dear Jessem.... I was adjusting the router down in the table the other day when all of a sudden there was a sliding noise and a clunk! Looking below I could see that the router lift had slid all the way down, held from falling to the floor only by the nyloc nut on the end of the threaded height adjusting rod:


And take a look at the threaded rod, up where the brass follower nut is located - see the brass remnants around the threads?

Here's a slightly blurry close-up:


Hmm, I realized at that moment that the bits of brass thread I had found previously must have come from somewhere else than that follower nut. I partially disassembled the lift and pulled out a brass slug found below that same follower nut, covered with a black aluminum cap. Here's a glimpse inside the bore of that piece, where you can see that threads are but a distant memory:


That explains the slide and clunk then. I knew that there was a relatively straightforward fix for the problem of a stripped thread: a helicoil insert. I don't have any helicoils or the tools to fit them on hand, so I took the brass piece over to Tim at the nearby machine shop and a couple of days and $25 later the repair was done. The machine is up and running again.

Gosh, it looks like I can get back to making wooden bits again. The jointer is doing what it's supposed to do, the drill press can now contribute, and I'm hoping the router table hangs in there at least another few weeks. Oh, and I can get to the shop in my truck without fear of the propeller shaft breaking loose or a tie rod end separating. All good. Back to the wood then!

Thanks for coming by today.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2011 Japanese Woodworking Workshops

I've received a few emails from different people asking about workshops in Japanese carpentry and joinery this year, and have been giving a little thought to the matter. There are lots of possibilities for the workshops, in terms of dates, duration, and subject matter, and I thought that rather than trying to second-guess what might be of interest to people, that I would put out a RFI (Request For Information). This will also be a good way of gauging interest.

So, if you wanted to take a workshop, what would you want to study? Off the top of my head, here are some possibilities I could offer:

  • Japanese joinery
  • Japanese sawhorse layout, regular or compound joined
  • setting up a Japanese plane/using Japanese tools
  • roof carpentry
  • Japanese joined stair work
  • build a Japanese tool tote box
  • learn how to hand-sharpen
Duration: classes could be one evening a week, on-going, or, for those coming from a little further afield, 2~3 day (weekend) classes, or 5~6 day week long workshops. Certain subjects could be covered in a day (like sharpening), others are suited to a weekend (tool tote, making hoppers, etc.) while others will need a full week (roof carpentry, stairs, sawhorses).

Costs: A weekend course might run $400, and a week-long class would be around $750

Dates: At this point, a workshop (or two) could be held as early as July, though August (except for the last week), September, or even October would likely be more ideal.

I'm also quite open to holding an on-going once a week class to thoroughly explore different kinds of projects over longer period of time, like building various advanced carpentry models, roof sections, and so forth. If you're more or less local, let me know if a 'Japanese Carpentry Study Group' would be of appeal to you.

So, for those out there who might be interested in studying Japanese woodwork, I would ask that you to post a comment, or send me an email, to let me know specifically what your heart's desire might be. Let me know what you would like to study, for how long, and what dates would work for you. If I can put together a critical mass of people wanting to study the same sort of thing, then we can do a workshop. That would be a lot of fun!

Western MA is a great place to visit, and there are options for accommodation near my workshop ranging from camping to nice hotels. Nearby Northampton offers things to do in the evenings as well.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Postscript: while there was some interest in these courses, I decided instead to offer an online study group format, which has had a very good response. Those interested in the online carpentry drawing and joinery study, which costs $20/month, please contact me directly for information on how to get involved.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Coffee Anyone? (6)

The coffee table build progresses - you've arrived at station 6 on the climb. Previous marks on the journey are archived to the right of the page.

Work continues on the shelf frame members. I received the custom shaper tooling a few days back - here's a look at the profile for the outer edge of the shelf frame:


The next task in the tick list was to dado the shelf frame members for the shelf panel. I set up my router table carefully, using some MDF to span the slightly uneven opening in the router table, and to make the fence a zero-clearance cut zone:


The results came out pretty cleanly:


Here's a look at the parts after the dadoes are completed:


With the basic elements of the miter joints on the frame complete, I could lay out for the parallelogram-shaped locking pins, shachi sen:


Those lines were later knifed.

I was able to effect a certain amount of the cutting with the router, but ultimately these finish out with a bunch of chisel work:


A marking knife served double duty as a chisel:


The meeting spot of the shachi-sen mizo and the rear vertical wall of the joint is a little fiddly to clean out - again, my marking knife proved useful:


Here's the trench completed:


Here's the group of frame parts with those trenches completed:


The male ends were a bit simpler to cut out. A couple of photos of the completed pieces:


The above picture shows clearly how the frame's dado (for the shelf panel) and the joint's interior dado are configured so as to work together and leave the inner face of the joint clean.

With both halves cut out, I could reassemble to check how things looked:


Another view:


I'm pleased with the way these came out.

I finished the day by making the stock for the parallelogram-shaped wedges, along with the various splines and pegs which will be required for the joinery in all locations.

Thanks for swinging by on your travels.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Computer Numeric Re-Considerations (VII)

Amazingly, nearly a month has passed since the last installment in this series. It's time! My apologies for the less than regular posts in this thread.

In the last post on the topic of CNC and automation, I delved into, admittedly without great depth, the historic and social underpinnings of the development of automation in US manufacturing. At the close, I mentioned the great concern in US manufacturing since the days of Fredrick Taylor's Scientific Management: who's running the shop? Particularly in the arena of the machine tool industry, the person who operated the machinery controlled the rate of production in the shop, and 'soldiering', the deliberate pacing of production by the tool operators was a thorn in the side of management.

As industries grew larger and more 'rationally' managed, particularly following the upsurge in US manufacturing in world War II, and in particular, given the post-war development of new types of aircraft which required complex parts made to very high degrees of accuracy, Numerical-Control (NC)-cutting and forming machinery came to be seen as a necessity. The Air Force's own specifications for the products explicitly demanded their use.

Now there were two directions that this new technology might have taken. One was NC. Another was to use automated control systems as an augment to the skilled work of established craftspeople. This is the 'road not taken', which happens to also be the title of a chapter in David Noble's 1984 work Forces of Production.

An alternative system to NC was called Record-Playback, or R/P. To grasp the essential difference between NC and R/P, one can consider two examples: the Jacquard Loom, which used punch card technology to operate weaving looms; and the player piano, which seems superficially similar to the loom in terms of operating system, using a punched roll of paper instead of cards.

In the card-directed loom, we have essentially a digital, binary system, the punched holes in the card serving as go/no go controls for pins to pass through, or not. If the pin could pass through the card, it lined up with a wire to be lifted, with which a thread was lifted. To change the pattern, the card only need be changed out. The operator's task remained, however, unchanged, and, more to the point, the weaver's work, in the absence of any automated control, was seen only as a straightforward operation, easily replaced by the card. The weavers' skill set was, in short, devalued. The cards were produced by specialists, not weavers. Weavers acted to load and unload the machines, and change the cards.

The player piano, though using a punched card form of operating system, was designed around an entirely different philosophy of use. Those pianos make use of a device called a melograph, a device invented in the 18th century which recorded the fingering of a musician at a keyboard as marks on paper. Here's a somewhat amusing clipping describing the device from an 1887 edition of The New York Times:


Accusations have been leveled at machine based technologies, as debasers of human skill, for a long time, haven't they?

The melograph was adapted so as to employ pneumatic card punching of paper rolls, and these rolls were then incorporated into pianos. As the roll plays, the keys on the piano are activated in 'perfect' reproduction of the piece originally recorded by the melograph. Maybe not so perfect in practice though, as noted by Noble:

"But, in other ways, the melograph reproductions fell far short of human capabilities. Piano rolls generated notes rather than music, since they did not reproduce the subtleties of phrasing and dynamics. "At its best," one leading historian of player pianos observed, the music produced "was unequal to the efforts of an inebriated pianist on a much misused upright in the public bar." Thus, before long, player pianos were equipped with "manual expression controls," which enabled the operator of the roll-actuated piano to add his own dynamics and interpretations, while sparing him the need for digital dexterity."

The key difference between the player piano and automated loom technologies was that the player piano was based upon the real life skill of a musician. The player was not intended to eliminate that skill altogether, but to reproduce it as faithfully as possible, in order to multiply, magnify, or extend its range. It multiplies the skill of one musician and reduces the need for such skills on the part of other musicians.

R/P programming systems for machine tool operation were much the same as the player piano system - designed here to record the movements of a skilled operator fabricating a piece on a special machine, like a lathe or milling machine, designed to transmit the machinist's moves into a storage medium:

"The program was made, therefore, by "capturing" on tape the motions of a machine as it was put though its paces by a machinist, whose skill was thereby "captured" in the process. Here, as with conventional machining, the machinist interpreted the blueprint instructions and process sheets and manually made a first part (using a tracer stylus attachment to produce contours, if necessary). The program, therefore, was a record not only of the machine (and stylus) motions but also of the machinist's intelligence, skill, tacit knowledge, and judgment, which were embodied in those motions. Rather than viewing the possibility of human intervention cynically, as merely the chance for "human error," this approach viewed it positively, as the opportunity for human judgment, skill, and creativity. Reliant upon shop floor experience and cooperation, it was, by definition, limited to the capabilities of human machinists (and, thus, to more than 90% of metalworking applications)."

Once the copy was made of the skilled machinist's operation, that could then be used to actuate production machines, be they lathes or milling machines, etc., without the operator required to do much more than load, unload, and keep an eye on things. Just like a player piano.

Machinery was prototyped using R/P systems by large industrial concerns with specializations in electrical engineering, as these developments depended upon programmable magnetic tape systems, not punched paper. General Electric, in their laboratory in Schenectady, New York was one of the leading developers. Interestingly, there's a sort of a connection between GE and player pianos - a certain Kurt Vonnegut worked as a PR hack for GE in the late 1940's. Out of that experience, he wrote his first novel, with the title Player Piano in 1952. In a 1973 Playboy interview where he was asked about that work, Vonnegut stated:

"I was working for General Electric at the time, right after World War II, and I saw a milling machine for cutting the rotors on jet engines, gas turbines. This was a very expensive thing for a machinist to do, to cut what is essentially one of those Brancusi forms. So they had a computer-operated milling machine built to cut the blades, and I was fascinated by that. This was in 1949 and the guys who were working on it were foreseeing all sorts of machines being run by little boxes and punched cards. "Player Piano" was my response to the implications of having everything run by little boxes. The idea of doing that, you know, made sense, perfect sense. To have a little clicking box make all the decisions wasn't a vicious thing to do. But it was too bad for the human beings who got their dignity from their jobs." (emphasis mine)

Very insightful and prescient. Here's a brief excerpt from the novel:

"Strange business, this crusading spirit of the managers and engineers, the idea of designing and manufacturing and distributing being sort of a holy war; all that folklore was cooked up by public relations and advertising men hired by managers and engineers to make big business popular in the old days, which it certainly wasn't in the beginning. Now, the engineers and managers believe with all their hearts the glorious things their forbears hired people to say about them. Yesterday's snow job becomes today's sermon."

Hmm. I think that may be worth a read. More information on the rising influence and history of the managerial and engineering fields, BTW, can be found in Noble's earlier work America by Design, which I'm working my way through currently.

Make no mistake, the purpose of R/P technology was first and foremost the reduction in skill required for production. Noble again:

"The new technology...could serve as a "multiplier for the few outstanding machinists," thereby making possible the hiring of less skilled and hence cheaper machine operators - "an advantage," Orrin Livingston pointed out, "not to be underestimated."

R/P also offered other benefits:
  • errors on the machinist's part when recording could be erased and re-recorded, insuring an error-free master tape
  • recording can be stopped and started during the machining process so that dead time could be eliminated
  • recordings could be made a slow speed and then played back at high speed to take advantage of high-speed cutting tools
  • magnetic tapes did not suffer from dimensional change problems due to temperature, humidity, or mishandling near as much as other systems
  • use of the tapes reduced the tooling and set-up times required in subsequent production and translated into reduced inventory, since parts could be made cheaply on demand
Sounds great - so why didn't R/P technology develop further? There was a confluence of factors, but the most significant, according to Noble, was the fact that the operators still largely controlled production:

""With record-playback", Earl Troup pointed out, "the control of the machine remains with the machinist - control of feeds, speeds, number of cuts, output. Thus, management is dependent upon operators and can't optimize the use of their machines." John Dutcher agreed. He had already designed an automatic machine for grinding steel rolls, at the request of the Bethlehem Steel Company. "Bethlehem came to us," he later recalled, "complaining that operators were controlling production, determining the output - say, only eight finished rolls a day, no matter what." The steel company wanted GE to design an automated system that would give management control over output to increase it and at the same time eliminate worker "stints" (the worker-determined quota) and "pacing" (Worker-determined production rate), and Dutcher and his colleagues obliged."

Also, workers' regardless of how skilled they might be, were considered, at least by management, as 'only human' and that the work which was being patterned would be imperfect in some way, and performed more slowly than it could be done in terms of the cutting capacity of the tooling.

With the advent of NC technology, R/P was put on the shelf at GE, and stayed there to collect dust:

"Management liked numerical control better," Orrin Livingston, the consultant engineer who first thought of the phase-shift approach, recalled later. "It meant they could sit in their offices, write down what they wanted, and give it to someone and say, 'do it.'...With numerical control, there was no need to get your hands dirty or argue." Earl Troup, of the Industrial Applications Group, concurred. "With record-playback, the control of the machine remains with the machinist.... With numerical control, there is a shift of control to management. The control of the machine was placed in the hands of management - and why shouldn't we have control over it?"

Why not?, indeed. Management's perspective makes good sense, and I understand it perfectly. And the unions really didn't do much to help themselves either during this period. The belief in 'progress', having been well established culturally, along with a certain tendency towards technophilia on the part of those who operate machines, sloped the playing field for starters. Then, a decision within union management to position the unions as welcoming and supporting of technological advances, and to place union attention on contending with management in regards to hours of work, collective bargaining, grievances, wages, seniority, and so forth, ultimately allowed the unions to place themselves in a weak position, check and mate. The technology overran them, making vast numbers of workers obsolete.

At the United Auto Workers (UAW) convention of 1955, the union issued an unprecedented resolution on automation:

"The UAW-CIO welcomes automation, technological progress...We offer our cooperation...in a common search for policies and programs...that will ensure the greater technological progress will result in greater human progress. This goal will not be achieved, however, if we put our trust in luck or blind economic forces. We can be certain of recognizing the great promise for good and averting the dangers that would result from irresponsible use of the new technology only if we consciously and constructively plan to utilize automation for human betterment. We cannot afford to hypnotize ourselves into passivity with monotonous repetition of the comforting thought, that in the long run, the economy will adjust to labor displacement and disruption which could result from the Second Industrial Revolution as it did from the First."

Well, they did hypnotize themselves in a certain respect, which was that belief in 'progress', as something 'inevitable', even 'unstoppable', and something to which they could not be seen to be in opposition. The Luddites, by contrast, had suffered from no such inculcation of belief and when confronted with the threat of factory machine work dumbing down their trade and destroying their way of life, they responded in a direct manner by destroying the specific machines which accomplished that effect. Technology was not 'neutral' in their eyes, and they were themselves savvy users of technology. I've written about the Luddites in past posts at some length.

The trade unions of the post war period, in losing sight of the forest for the trees, if I can call it that, or ignoring the elephant in the room perhaps, focused their energies on matters which were really peripheral in import compared to the advent of automation. And with every strike, grievance and labor disruption, they gave management another reason to move towards the automation of production.

NC, and the later CNC which developed out of it, did not actually accomplish production cost reductions for the most part, but rather cemented control of production more firmly in the hands of management.

With more and more skilled workers being replaced or de-skilled by automated equipment, and little to no investment by big business in apprenticeship training, a new problem arises: a skilled labor shortage. The answer to this problem by industry? More automation. I'll look at some of the outcomes of this sea-change shift to automation in the next post, before returning to a more personal consideration of the role of CNC-equipment in the woodworking realm.

Thanks for coming by the Carpentry Way today.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Coffee Anyone? (5)

Post 5 in a build thread describing the design and construction of a coffee table having a bubinga frame and legs, a glass top, and a frame and panel shelf below. Previous posts are located in the archive section to the right of the page. If you're new here, or haven't visited in a while, here's a link to -> post 1 <- in the series to bring you up to speed.

In the last post I showed the first set of steps in processing the cuts for the joins on the table's shelf frame. Those cuts then finished out with a bunch of chisel work. First the stub tenon trenches get their sidewalls pared:


Then some clean out with the 5mm bench chisel:


Finishing with some work with the 5mm paring chisel:


Here are a couple of frame members, set down so you can see the male and female halves of the joint in relation to one another:


Note that the female half in the above photo is turned upside-down in relation to it's partner.

These two sections are then slid together, and the following few photos show the actual assembly right after the cut out work has been completed, with no adjustments to fit yet undertaken:



Here's a look at the underside of the connection as it comes closer to full engagement:


The fit was tight and my pecs got a bit of a workout sliding the parts together!

Top side again, joint halves now together fully:


There's a residual pencil line on the miter which may make it look like there's a gap at the back corner, however I think the miter will draw perfectly tight. I spot a light gap at the front corner in the above photo, but I think that will go away once the wedge clamps it together. If not, then I'll need to do a very slight paring cut with a plane. The joint halves connect so as to leave a flush top and bottom face to one another, which means I don't have to make any adjustments in that regard.

Front face - note the slight apace allowances at the end-points of the stub tenons, a gap of about 0.005":


The gap allows the miter faces to be drawn tight without bottoming out on those stub tenons.

The underside:


Then a check with the combo square to see if the joint is aligned at 45˚:


It was looking satisfactory at that point, and my somewhat fussy work in the jointing and cut out stages had produced a result that went together with no further adjustment required. That's the ideal at least, and I can't always say it works out so well, but it did this time!

This success in the miter fitting continued a while later, as I had a couple of the sub-assemblies, the end portions of the shelf frames, assembled up with the same fit quality as the first two pieces:


A few more sessions of chisel work and I had the long frame members ready to attach, and did so, forming the stretched octagonal framework of the table shelf:


Another view:


Overall, the assembly went together very well, with perhaps a very slight amount of paring needed down the line to get the cumulative miter joints to form a 'perfect' 360˚ when all together. I imagine the miters at the moment are within a tenth or two of a degree out of 45˚, so there are only a few minor pares required. That will happen when I complete the cut out of these joints - there are wedges yet to be fitted, and those will mechanically squeeze the joints up tight. I'm thinking I'll wedge up the pair of joints on each end assembly and then fit the long frame rails on, checking them for parallelism, and making any needed adjustments only on those miters between the long rails and the end sub-assemblies.

I snapped a few more photos of the frame after I had it all assembled up, so I may as well put them on the page, even if I risk a certain amount of repetition. Here's the underside of one joint:


Another view:


Front face and miter of the same joint just shown:


You can see my pencil lines are sometimes a bit off the actual cut lines. I set the pieces in jigs for the table saw and routing cuts, and this exposed some irregularities in the location of my pencil lines. I hadn't overly fussed that pencil layout, as I knew in the layout stage that I would be processing most of the primary cuts using fixing jigs - still, I was a little surprised at how far away some of the lines were from the actual cuts. It all boiled down to the first crosscut on the table saw which established a reference surface on the joint- the location of that cut, which was sighted by eye, led to the variance, along with the inevitable slight variances in the layout itself. I didn't really need to layout each stick's joinery to such an extent, but I wanted to be totally clear on which end was which and which was up and down, so I just laid them all out. In the end, the use of fixturing jigs meant that each piece was produced so as to be identical in length and location of abutment surfaces, so that is what counted, not the location of the pencil marks.

At this point the shelf frame members are mostly complete. Next, I have to make the dovetailed batten that connects the middle of the long rails to one another, and I'll be using a wedged dovetail for that connection (a slight change from what was drawn). The locking mechanisms - shachi-sen - have to be fitted to the corner miters yet, and then the dado for the panel will be cut all around. Finally, there are the housed joints where the table legs connect, and the moulding of the front faces of the frame to be dealt with. I now have the custom shaper cutters on hand for that step.

I've obtained a new finishing product to test out on some samples. I've been looking for an alternative finish to the Tung Oil and Waterlox finishes, something with low or non-existent VOC's which dries in a fairly timely manner and forms a tough surface. I have found such a product from a relatively local firm, Vermont Coatings. They make a finish based on a cheese-processing by-product: whey. It looks promising and judging from the photo gallery I've seen on their site, it appears to be an attractive finish which doesn't build up any kind of a plastic-like coat. It's absolutely non-toxic. So, I'll make some tests on some Wenge and bubinga samples in various combinations, and see what happens. The company sent me free trial samples in satin, semi-gloss, and gloss to experiment with. I'm looking forward to seeing how this goes.

All for today - thanks for dropping by the Carpentry Way. Comments always welcome.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Coffee Anyone? (4)

Work has been progressing steadily on the coffee table the past week, while I have been wrestling with those various delightful machinery issues. Previous episodes in this thread can be located in the 'blog archive' to the right side of the page.

After allowing the glue to dry adequately on the table shelf panel, I cut the panel to its stretched octagonal form and rebated the edge:


Another view - can you spot the glue line?:


I have left the tongue on the edge a little fat for the time being, and only 3/16" in from the edge. Eventually it will be 1/4" in from the edge. I will plane the top and finish it before tackling that remaining cutting work.

I decided to build the shelf frame next. First of course the stock was re-sawn, jointed, and planed, then re-jointed and re-planed a few days later after letting the wood work out any residual stresses, taking the stock down to finish dimension plus 0.005~0.007" or so.

Then I did a bunch of layout, and forgot my camera that day so no pics sorry! I made a few different jigs to allow me to process a fair bit of the joinery work using a sliding table saw. Here's where things stood after the stock had been trimmed to length, and a rebate taken on one end:


Here's one of those jigs in the early stages of fabrication:


This above unit was to trim cuts at both a 22.5˚ angle and a 45˚ angle.

Following the large rebate, which defines a portion of the joint, I did a couple of cuts to define a tongue on the end of that portion:


Another view:


Then I decked that rebated surface down to dimension. I chose to use my router table for that step, placing a 3/4" MDF piece across to even out any potential issues from the slightly uneven top:



The cut depth was calibrated carefully, then I proceeded with the trimming:


Here is the result, the joinery surfaces nicely cleaned up on both the lap surface and the tongue:


A little closer look:



At the end of the day I made a start on the 'female' end of the joint - here's a spot in the process where I remembered to snap a picture, a section where I am just part way through that phase of cut out:



Today's cut out all went very smoothly and I am holding to a cut tolerance of about +/- 0.002" or so, right across the, uh, board, so to speak. I put that down to accurate jointing, which was made possible by having the jointer tables reground recently.

I should have the joinery completed in the next couple of days on these frame miters. Then I need to make the middle dovetailed batten and mortise the long frame sides and the shelf panel for that batten, then groove the inside of the frames for the Wenge panel, and finally mold the outside edge of the frame. Today I ordered up some custom-made knives for the shaper so I can produce the exact molding profile I want. Those should arrive by the beginning of next week I imagine.

I've made a few slight design revisions in the past week. The leg to frame joints, and the table top frame corner joints have been reconfigured. More on that when I get to it in the thread.

I have also put a 'pod' or foot back under the leg. Hello again! I kept feeling like something was missing there after I removed it previously, and I came to realize that it would be nice to have levelers anyhow on the bottom of the legs, so I decided that I could combine the earlier idea of a pad with a leveler. Here's a few of the ideas that I came up with:



In the end I liked the round button-like leveler foot pad on the left side of the above set. It took me a while to move away from polygons - a mental rut or something like that. The 'button' is petite and discrete, yet does just enough to bring the stirrup on the bottom of the foot a little more clearly up off the surface. The client likes it too, which is the main thing.

Here's a view of the table with the new legs and levelers:



And one more for good luck:


The profile on the shelf in the above pictures has been changed slightly in the last couple of days - making the bead a little smaller and recessed back in slightly. It should come out quite well.

All for today - thanks for dropping by the Carpentry Way.  ➪ on to post 5