Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gateway (59)

Post 59 in an ongoing series describing the design and construction of a kabukimon, a type of Japanese gate. This is a project for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Post 1 in this series can be found here if you'd like to start at the beginning. Each post links to the next at the bottom of the page. Recent installments also to be found in the 'Blog archive' index to the right of the page.

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I went and picked up the metal shoes and associated parts from the powder-coating place. The parts look great!:


Another view:


These are the decorative bolt/nut caps, also looking fine:


The Japanese term for these caps is chi-kanamono (乳金物). The kanji for this can also be read as chi-chi kanamono - - kanamono meaning 'hardware'.  The word 'chi' stems from a pictograph of a mother holding a baby at her breast to feed, so it more or less means 'breast form' in this context. There is an associated fastener that goes through the middle of the cup which resembles an associated anatomical part. 

The cups will fit like this on the outside of the shoes, two per side:



Now, for the woodwork...

I ended up discovering that the tenons on the battens for the side door were undersize by 0.5mm, which was odd considering I had set the tenoning head up exactly according to the supplied drawings. Then I re-shimmed the head to adjust 0.5mm up, which then formed tenons which were 0.4mm bigger-  still a hair undersize. That was puzzling. I re-shimmed twice more until I had the desired dimensions. It was a little weird to find that I could add shims and not achieve the exact difference in the wood that had been contributed by the shim, but I will hold off drawing too many conclusions about the cutter head until I have thoroughly checked out the set up and alignment of the sliding table on the shaper. For the time being, I have learned not to assume anything and check every dimension on the tenon when using the tenoning head.

In the end, though I wasted a bit of wood and time, I produced the parts required to frame the side door with rails and battens:


A closer look:



Here are the twin-tenoned ends of two of the main door rails, which have reached the near the end of cut out:



Main door battens also through to the same point of completion:


I finished the day by mortising the main door hinge-side stiles for the rails, and got the parts started in fitting, what might be called 'gangland stile':


The tenons insert a couple of centimeters at this point, which is all they need to do for the time being:


I'll flare the mortises on the exit faces before fitting the tenons all the way in.

A closer look:


The tricky bit to these connections are the fits of the double mitered tongues and housings. The housings are yet to be cut, though you can plainly see them marked out.

I anticipate that I should be able to complete the main door joinery and fitting up tomorrow, which will leave Saturday for working on the side door frame fitting and then maybe I can start on the panels. I had wanted to complete the doors by Saturday, but it looks like I will run a day or two over.
Overall, I'm a day or three behind at this point, what with the winter storms and other delays. You do the best you can, plan carefully and deal with whatever unexpected things come your way.

All for this time. Thanks for visiting. Post 60 up next.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Gateway (58)

Post 58 in an ongoing series describing the design and construction of a kabukimon, a type of Japanese gate. This is a project for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Post 1 in this series can be found here if you'd like to start at the beginning. Each post links to the next at the bottom of the page. Recent installments also to be found in the 'Blog archive' index to the right of the page.

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Chagrin.


noun
1. a feeling of vexation, marked by disappointment or humiliation

Things were going well it seemed after I had tenoned some 22 rails and battens for the three doors on this gate. The tenons were cleanly cut and within a tenth of a millimeter of target dimensions and position. All good, or so it seemed.

Yesterday was going to be a day of doing a bit more processing work on the tenons, however after doing a bit of fettlin', I discovered that the shoulders of the tenons were not exactly 90˚ to the length of the sticks. They weren't way out, but probably on the order of half a degree I would guess. My initial response was "this sucks!", and that was immediately followed by, "how did that happen?".

When I bought the shaper, one of the primary aspects which drove the purchase in the first place was the presence of the tenoning table, a rather costly factory option on the Martin shaper not often seen. When the machine became available, I was lucky enough to be in a position to afford it. What sealed the deal was the excellent condition of the machine, particularly in regards to the tenoning table, which had apparently seen almost no use. "Maybe it was used on one job".

Everything else Martin I have worked with has been pretty much set and forget as far as angles and settings of movable parts. If the jointer fence is moved out to some angle and then put back to the 90˚ stop, you can be sure it is 90˚. I used to check all the time, as that is what I had learned to do with previous equipment, but after the dozenth check I have learned to accept that the machine is providing repeatable accuracy. And that is why I made the investment in the first place. I hate screwing around with equipment that doesn't have seem to be able to provide the basic functions with any reliability or accuracy. That describes most woodworking equipment actually. In most cases, a woodworker getting accurate results from his equipment is a woodworker who is nearly continuously fiddling with, and checking, that equipment. Those that do not will find their results are predictably inaccurate, or worse, unpredictably inaccurate.

So, given the mint condition of my shaper's tenoning table, and previous experience with my jointer, I generally presumed that the settings were as they should be; i.e., on the money. However, the tenons produced were rudely photo-bombing, as it were, that happy vision.

Something was clearly out of whack, and a look at the situation suggested three possible causes:
  1. the 90˚ position of the tenoning table was off, relative to the main table
  2. the guide/support rail of the tenoning table was not running parallel to the main table
  3. the tenoning table's fence was not parallel to the tenoning table.
I checked (1) by looking at the underside of the tenoning table. There is a hinged stop piece which must be swung out to get the tenoning table to pivot. The table can be angled 45˚ to the front or rear for angled tenon work. That stop looked to have never been moved, and the stops to the side of it which locked in 90˚ were snug and look to have never been disturbed.

So, while (1) remained a possibility, given the likelihood that the table had never been swung out of its 90˚ setting, and that those settings were set by the factory from new, I thought it probable that the table was set as it should be.

On then to check number (2), whether the sliding table ran parallel to the side of the main table. I brought the table forward and slid it over until it pinched a large feeler gauge against the edge of the main table:


0.0250", for those metric troublemakers out there, is 0.635mm.

Then I ran the sliding table to the back and upon recheck discovered that the 0.025" feeler gauge was now swimming in the gap:


I stuffed more feeler gauges in until I had found the width of the gap:


A veritable hand full of cards was required:


That lot totaled up to 0.0765", or 1.94mm:


Well, something is out there, clearly. The sliding table support rail however weighs about 300lbs, and it attaches to a pair of massive steel bars on the side of the machine chassis, and would have been factory set to run parallel, so I'm really surprised to find this issue.

I talked with Joe Calhoun out in Colorado and he was equally surprised to learn how large the discrepancy was. I then obtained a Martin document from Ed Papa on Long Island showing how the factory puts the sliding table onto the shaper, and sure enough, they set it up to run parallel to the main table edge. I have to presume mine was originally parallel too, but it certainly wasn't any longer.

The assembly is so freaking massive and heavy and has not obvious signs of damage that I am mystified as to how it could be out like that. Be that as it may, the good news is that everything is built properly, which means I can adjust the thing to get it running parallel. That, in a nutshell, is the mark of well made equipment: it can be adjusted and repaired, by design. It means that whoever built it anticipated it would last a while.

Actually, I am sure that I could deal with the whole problem by adjusting the sliding table's fence, as I think it is a likely culprit here. These Martin sliding tables come with a fence made by Festo, which has a series of stops built in it for Euro window making. Ed Papa said that he found a lot of the Festo aluminum fences were bowed right out of the box. The fence on mine looks decently straight, and it attaches to the sliding table at three points. One of those points, at the front, is fixed,, while the other two are adjustable by way of eccentric cylinders. I stripped the two adjustable mountings apart and cleaned and lubed them, as they were a bit sticky - probably from lack of use.

At the end of the day, I need to adjust the sliding table, and associated parts and it is all adjustable. The fact that it is adjustable means I am not pissed off at the machine itself; rather I am chagrined personally that I didn't think to check for a square cut when calibrating the tenon cuts. I assumed it would be cutting 90˚ as that is where it was set, and assumptions are a bitch sometimes. I will strip the entire sliding table down and reassemble it, checking with long straightedges and dial indicators as recommended by the factory manual during the rebuild. I'll deal with this issue later on however, as I just don't have the time for that fun at present.

For now, I am left with having to make a bunch of fine adjustments to the tenoned ends to bring the shoulders back to 90˚. This effectively added a day of work to my schedule, which was certainly not welcomed. The slight adjustments of the tenon shoulders will mean the doors will narrow by a very slight amount, on the order of 1/32" (0.8mm), but this is not a significant issue on a nearly 4' wide door. The lost production time is the issue.

Here I'm trimming the ends on two of the main door battens:


Same process on a different pair of battens:


By the end of today I had all the main door rails and batten tenons adjusted and further processed towards final form:


 A view from the end shows the top/bottom rails on the bottom of the pile, with battens above:


The left side pile is for the left door, and the right side pile for the right door.

The top/bottom rails in a closer view, showing the fully-shouldered twin tenons:


There are some mitered returns to trim yet, however I am putting this pile aside for the moment so I can bring the side door rails and battens along to the same stage. That's tomorrow's little adventure. Stil feeling more or less on schedule for completing the door fabrication by the end of the month. Might be a day late, might not.

All for now - thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. Post 59 lay ahead.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Gateway (57)

Post 57 in an ongoing series describing the design and construction of a kabukimon, a type of Japanese gate. This is a project for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Post 1 in this series can be found here if you'd like to start at the beginning. Each post links to the next at the bottom of the page. Recent installments also to be found in the 'Blog archive' index to the right of the page.

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Another snowstorm rolling in this afternoon. I'm no longer surprised by such happenings. If it keeps snowing like this though, the MFA garden might still be buried a month from now, making the gate installation schedule a question mark in my mind. I've heard total snow accumulation in Boston is something over 5' (1.5m), and there hasn't been any warm weather to melt any of it away so far this year.

Managed to get a few more hours in at the shop this morning, which allowed me to complete most of the remaining tenoning work on the door parts:


The top and bottom rails for the side door have the twin 10mm tenons, while the side door battens have the single 10mm tenon:


I was able to reconfigure the tenon heads fairly easily to cut the single tenons - you can just see a small band of protruding end grain which was not trimmed, however this will be simple to clean up later.

Another view of the pile of rails and battens for both doors:


There are tenons yet to cut on one end of the main door battens, and I will probably cut these on the shaper as well. I will need to re-stack the cutters on one of the Zuani heads. If it isn't workable, the tenons can be readily cut by other methods are they are single tenons not twin.

There are some tasks to be done yet on these tenons, including haunching, and it really shouldn't take too much time at all to work my way through the pile. I've found that with the Martin shaper it has been straightforward to keep to a +/- 0.1mm in terms of target dimensions.

I forgot I have an Aigner Distometer (a specialized tool for measuring shaper cutter height/projection relative to the table or fence) which I could be using to possibly refine the dimensions a bit more, however I don't think it is necessary. I would like to experiment with the Distometer though to see how accurately the spindle height can be set. It's a powered raise/lower affair, and the readout is in 0.1mm increments, so I'm curious to see if I can obtain better accuracy.

A tenth of a mm is equal to about 0.0039", for reference's sake, for those who find themselves blanking out or getting distracted when metric values appear anywhere in view (not that such would describe any readers here of course).

All for now - have a great weekend! Up next is post 58

Friday, February 20, 2015

Gateway (56)

Post 56 in an ongoing series describing the design and construction of a kabukimon, a type of Japanese gate. This is a project for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Post 1 in this series can be found here if you'd like to start at the beginning. Each post links to the next at the bottom of the page. Recent installments also to be found in the 'Blog archive' index to the right of the page.

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Time to get something done around here. Can't let a little head cold slow you down. Actually, it was good to have rested a day I think as I feel half decent. Looking forward to the arctic weather coming to end, let me tell you.

Setting up for tenoning on the shaper takes most of the time in terms of the entire task:


The tenoning stop is in place and things are getting almost to the point where wood could be introduced to the situation:


After a few test cuts on an extra piece to calibrate the cut, tenoning can proceed:



I look a bit like the Michelin Man during his 'homeless migrant period' - wearing 4 jackets is an inexpensive way to look like I've bulked up I guess.

The cutter head is so large and the tenon so deep that the tenoning hood only covers about half-way, which means a certain amount of chip spray.

The tenoning doesn't take much time at all - these are the ends which connect to the hanging stiles on the main doors:


Another view:


I've got a little crack in one of them, but as these are wedged joints I'm not too concerned about it. I'll glue up the crack in the next day or so.

After doing one end of each rail, the cutter head is swapped out on the shaper and then following some calibration cuts, the opposite ends of the rails were processed:


Another view:


Tenons are 123mm (4.84") long. Very pleased with the way these came out.

The twin tenons are supposed to come in at 15mm in thickness, however they were about 0.1mm under:


Hence the reason to leave off cleaning up the corresponding mortises until after the tenons are done. The heads could be disassembled and the shims played around with - it wouldn't take much to dial it right in - but it will not be necessary since I haven't made the mortises to the nominal values, and can easily adjust them to suit these dimensions. The other ends of the rails have 20mm tenons and those came in exactly at 20.0mm

While there is a bit more work left to do on these tenons, the rails are now most of the way to completion:


Tomorrow I should be able to complete the tenoning on the side door rails, along with the tenons on the battens for all doors. Once the shaper is set up, production goes pretty fast.

All for now - thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. On to post 57

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Gateway (55)

Post 55 in an ongoing series describing the design and construction of a kabukimon, a type of Japanese gate. This is a project for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Post 1 in this series can be found here if you'd like to start at the beginning. Each post links to the next at the bottom of the page. Recent installments also to be found in the 'Blog archive' index to the right of the page.

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Short and sweet today. I am under the weather and staying home from the shop today, which is just as well since it is tax season and I needed to do a bunch of paperwork anyhow.

Yesterday saw me through the jointing, planing, layout and mortising work on the side door stiles:


The through mortises are 10mm wide.

The variation in the mortises is related to the fact that one of the stiles accepts hinges, while the other does not:


A little while later the mortises for the battens were cleaned out to the lines:


All for now. Hoping to be not too sick so I can return to action tomorrow after my appointment with the tax advisor. We'll see how it goes. Post 56 next.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Gateway (54)

Post 54 in an ongoing series describing the design and construction of a kabukimon, a type of Japanese gate. This is a project for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Post 1 in this series can be found here if you'd like to start at the beginning. Each post links to the next at the bottom of the page. Recent installments also to be found in the 'Blog archive' index to the right of the page.

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I cracked open the other box from Zuani and here's what I found inside:


The spur cutters are removable, and the other knives cut with a shear:


This tenoning head cuts this twin tenon arrangement, a joint used between the top/bottom rails and the hinge-side stiles on the main doors:


Swapping out the middle disc of that head will allow me to cut the twin tenons for the side door.

The other tenoning head cuts this twin tenon arrangement, a joint used between the top and bottom rails and the hanging stiles on the main doors:


Along with the two tenoning heads I also received a few tools to take the heads apart and remove the insert knives, and a set of shims which will be used when I swap the alternate middle disc into the three-disc head:


Here are the two new heads then, side by side:


In the near future I'll have to build a cart to hold cutters like these. I saw some good ideas in that regard at Joe Calhoun's shop in Ouray.

I understand the replacement bore inserts, to allow me to use these heads with a 1.5" spindle, will be finished tomorrow, then inspected on Wednesday, and shipped Wednesday. Hopefully I'll have them in my hands by early next week.

This does introduce a bit of a delay into the door making. I nevertheless can make progress on various aspects. Today I re-jointed and planed the main door stiles to dimension, then laid out the mortises and rough cut them:


The layout was a little tricky as the hinge-side stiles, the smaller sections, are not mortised down the middle. Rather, they have mortises on the ends which are equally spaced from a centerline, and mortises elsewhere which are offset to one side. These doors have hanging stiles which are larger sections than the hinge-side stiles because of the way the door's drawbar is arranged. I had a little head scratching and scratched-out marks are there to be seen from the initial layout.

A closer look, with the hinge side stile above, and hanging stile below:


I would move to cleaning out the mortises next, however I would prefer to wait on that until I have tenoned the rails. So, next week it will be. My goal was to have the three doors made by the end of the month, and I should be able to achieve that even with the delay in obtaining the correct bore insert sleeves.

Tomorrow I can do the same process of layout and rough mortising with the side door stiles. I think this week will involve a bunch of random, 'tying up loose ends' sort of work tasks.

Thanks for coming by the Carpentry Way. Next up is post 55

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Gateway (53)

Post 53 in an ongoing series describing the design and construction of a kabukimon, a type of Japanese gate. This is a project for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Post 1 in this series can be found here if you'd like to start at the beginning. Each post links to the next at the bottom of the page. Recent installments also to be found in the 'Blog archive' index to the right of the page.

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I think I will rename my shop the 'Ice Fortress'. Damn cold in there today! I worked about half a day, moving in what seemed like slow motion, and decided I'd had quite enough by 2:00pm. I managed to complete the work on the kasagi, so that felt like a good accomplishment with which to end the day. Besides, it's valentine's day and my wife and I are going to make ourselves some sushi for dinner, and I had some groceries to go and get.

Here are the two pieces after beveling has been completed on the shaper:


After shaping, I found I had some minor cracks in the upper surface of one piece (left), so I troweled a bit of PL300 in there. The piece that broke off in yesterday's shaping work, right at the tip of the bevel, turned out to be rather more minor once the end of the sticks had been end trimmed to the required bevel. So, no patching work is going to be required.

Here are the ends of the kasagi which connect to the main posts:


A look at one of the rod mortises with abutments for shachi-sen now cut:


Sorry about the blurry photo!

Here, I'm trying to provide a view of the overall shape and sweep of the pieces:


Although there are few loose ends to clean up, chamfering, finish planing, patching, etc., the framing cut out for the gate is basically done. Next will be the door fabrication.

I lugged one of my new Zuani tenoning heads to the shop, along with the extra middle disc which allows me to cut two shapes of tenon with the same head:


Now that's a chunk of metal! And damn sharp - has to be handled carefully. I've already sacrificed some blood....

Here's the additional cutting disc, with 58mm bore:


This head is close to maximum size for my shaper and its tenoning hood, at 340mm:


A look at the insert knives:


Unfortunately, there has been a slight snag in the proceedings. I ordered the heads with a 1.5" bore to fit my shaper's tenoning spindle. They came with 1.25" bore instead. It was a detail that had been missed on the drawings, though several sets of eyes had looked them over. These things happen, however when I discovered the issue I was't feeling especially philosophical about it, let's put it that way.

Having received these expensive tenoning heads with the wrong bore size might have been a minor disaster save for one fortunate fact about the design of this type of tenoning head. The tenon discs themselves mount on a 58mm steel sleeve, and inside that sleeve is mounted a second sleeve which is sized to fit the spindle on the shaper. That second interior sleeve can be readily swapped out. So, I simply need to wait a few more days yet as some 1.5" interior sleeves are being made in Italy on Monday and will be express shipped to me. I should have them later this week and it will just take a few minutes to swap the sleeves over. Whew! I could have probably run them on the 1.25" spindle, but for such large tools as these I really felt more comfortable with them spinning on the stouter spindle.

I would like to commend Greg and Chris at Rangate Tooling for their excellent customer service and very prompt assistance to me with this issue - seriously, they couldn't have been any more helpful to me. It was a great relief to learn that the problem could be so easily and quickly solved.

The tooling came with a couple of sample pieces to prove the tenoning heads cut the wood as required. This one is for the connection between the main door rails and the hinge-side stiles:


The cutter for the one above is the one still in the box. It's a triple-decker of cutting discs, and the additional disc I have interchanges with the one in the middle of that stack.

This one is for the rails where they meet the outer door stiles:


The cutter you see a few pics above does the above shape.

These are just samples - the actual tenons are going to be cut 123mm (4.84") long to fit the 120mm wide stiles. The doors on this project are in metric, while the rest is in inch-scale because the door hardware from Japan is all metric-sized. I'm comfortable working in both systems.

The other tenoning head will cut the twin tenons for the side door. I haven't opened that box yet.

While I wait for the replacement sleeves, I can spend the next few working days mortising the door rails. I'm also waiting on a purchase order to come through from the MFA so I can get the commemorative gifts completed.

Thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. Comments always welcome. Post 54 is up next.