the Carpentry Way: Tréteau XXIX                                                          

Tréteau XXIX

It's good to sit down at the keyboard after a full day working on the sawhorse project. Now, I know, I know, there's no shortage of people who will tell me that they could build a sawhorse in a few hours so what am I wasting my time on?! Just slow I guess....

Post 29 in the thread, with previous installments to be found in the Blog Archive to the right of the page.

Today's work comprised the final stage in the frame joinery cut out on this 19 century French puzzle - the cutting of the mortises for the interior x-braces. I used a jig and my router to rough out the mortises, and then trimmed them to the line with various chisels. Here's the result, showing a pair of upper mortises and a couple of lower mortises:

A close up:

These mortises are compound sloped, blind and tapered, and turned out to be a good fit to the interior brace tenons.

With the mortises done in a couple of hours work, I commenced the fitting of each pair of lapped interior braces:

As the tenon pairs with their barbes got closer to their destinations, I kerfed each barbe interior surface to the face:

And then kerfed the tenon shoulder to the adjacent face:

The result:

Here's another one - on the uphill side, getting pretty close, another kerfing and it will be there:

After each side was independently fitted, I did a trial assembly of each subsection of x-braces to their respective long braces:

Once both sides were done, it was time to do an assembly. This proved to be one of the most difficult things to assemble I have ever dealt with, as so many parts have to engage together at once. With enough patience and eye-balling, it was a matter of a little bit here and a little bit there, tap-tap, nudge-nudge:

Here all the parts are in play, and I'm working things down and together:

I gotta say, after all these months, it is really good to see this picture at long last:

Here I'm trying to show how the 4 different sets of short side braces all intersect at the exact same height:

It looks like the right hand leg in the above picture could sit a little further down, but I could care less at this point. I'll fiddle some more with it tomorrow.

I then placed a stick, one of the long braces that went by the wayside in the build, inside the frame to check how well aligned the brace sets were, and to my satisfaction the stick sat exactly upon all four intersection points at once with no rocking - I was a little surprised actually:

How about a few more pictures?

Wow. That was a saga! I have learned a lot through the process, and hope to spring onward to new challenges from this point on. Thanks to you, the reader, for hanging in there with me too!

The sawhorse isn't quite complete yet - I need to spend a little time fiddling the fit a bit more, and then assemble it for a final time, with glue and wedges in some of the tenons. Then I will fit a 3/4" sacrificial cap, possibly of mahogany (I'm not quite sure yet what material I will choose), with sliding dovetail keys and a transverse capture pin somewhat like my other sawhorse. Those steps will be covered in the next (and final) post in this series. Thanks for coming by today - I think I'll go and have a beer!

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