Wednesday, September 6, 2017

BCM 2017: On a New Track (2)

Before we get to today's post, I wanted to make a brief note about comments on this blog. All comments are moderated, and normally, when someone posts a comment, I receive an email notification, and from there I can post it, delete it, or mark it as spam. If a comment has the name of the commenter appended, and is not spam (not that one ever receives spam from people using their real name), I post it. If the comment does not have the commenter's name appended, no matter how wonderful a comment it might be, I delete it. Then, there are spam comments, which are marked as such and flushed down the virtual toilet where they belong.

Recently I noticed some comments from posts 97 and 98 in the 'Ming-Inspired Cabinet' series, and for some reason I never received direct notification of these comments, but found that the comments (later?) appeared in the comment management section of my blogs control panel. This I discovered by happenstance weeks afterwards. I've no idea why that happened, but as soon as I came across those comments, I posted them.

I almost always respond to comments, even if to only say 'thank you', however once in a while I publish a comment and then I get distracted with something and the comment, so to speak, slips through the cracks. Indeed, I have come across posts from years back where people had commented and I did not make any reply. When I find that, I will immediately make a reply, however in some cases years have passed and I doubt the person to whom I am replying ever sees that I did make an answer. For circumstances such as that I am deeply regretful. I know that for some folks, receiving no response after the trouble they took took to post a comment can be a bit of a turn off.

So, please know, that if by any chance you posted a comment at some point in the past, saw that it was posted, and I made no response, it was entirely an accident. It doesn't mean I am snubbing you or have nothing to say or am not grateful in some way. Sometimes when you are juggling a few things a ball gets dropped, that is all.

And if you made a comment and it was not posted, it is almost certainly because you did not put your name to it. I do not like internet anonymity, and that is why I ask people to say who they are, regardless of whether they have something good to say or otherwise.


Back to the current wok on the track and sliding doors for the middle room of the Machiya located in the Boston Children's museum (BCM). Last time, I had re-sawn, jointed and planed stock for the stiles, rails, and shiki-i (sliding track), all a few millimeters over dimension. The next shop session I checked the pieces to see if they were still straight, re-jointed as necessary, and planed the parts to about 0.3mm over finish dimension. Then the parts were super-surfaced to exact size. Then the stiles and rails were dadoed for the panels:

Also, at this stage, lines were marked indicating rail junctions and mortise locations for the panel battens:

The shiki-i, which I chose to make out of Honduran Mahogany, was similarly planed to dimension and then super-surfaced to exact size. Then a coat of water-based stain was applied:

Though the stain is water-based, the cleanly sliced cells of the wood from surfacing mean that the grain is not raised.

A day later, after some careful calibration, I used my groover to cut the dadoes in the track for the doors:

David Pye's notion of 'workmanship of risk' was clear to me again, anytime I use the groover - the tool must be perfectly guided as any slight deviation or pressure can result in a spoiled cut in a blink of an eye. Fortunately, all went well, and here I'm wrapping up the second pass:

Later, the piece received more stain, and is still wet in the following photo:

One coat is in fact sufficient, however I find a second coat gives a very slightly more even appearance.

The rails connect to the stiles by way of twin tenons and have a mitered return on the front face. here I'm rough-cutting the tenons:


A while later all eight rail tenons sets were rough cut:

I'll pare the shoulders with a guide block next time, and trim the tenons the the required height.

The stiles were then mortised for their battens:

Another round in the shop should see me through the remainder of the joinery work. Stay tuned for more and thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. Post 3 in this series is next.


  1. Hey Thanks for all the posts. I admire those tenons. Were they all off the saw and chisel, they look, well, pretty perfect. Mine are always a bit scruffy in spots. I think after seeing your I'll go sharpen my chisels some more ;) Thanks again for sharing all your great work and maintaining a great blog.

    Take Care,

    Chris Barnes from Florida

    1. Chris,

      thanks for your comment. The tenon cheeks were cut to the line using a quick-and-dirty jig on my table saw, the top/bottom tenon shoulders were roughed out on my bandsaw, the waste portions chopped out by chisel, the mitered return roughed on my SCMS, and the back tenon shoulder finish cut on my sliding table saw. That back tenon shoulder will serve as a reference for guided chisel paring of the rest of the tenon shoulders, and the mitered return will see another pass on the SCMS yet.

      Cedar is so easy to work, compared to most other woods I deal with, that a chisel seems to stay sharp all day.

  2. CHRIS;
    Nice to have you back! Looking good as always! Hope all is well!

    1. Good to hear from you JT- hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

  3. Nice work Chris! Excited to follow along with this series as I have great interest in these type of doors. I think yellow cedar and Honduran mahogany are my favorite woods.

    1. Brian,

      they are indeed among the easiest and most pleasant woods to work, though I tend to think that Mahogany is the king of woods in general.


  4. Happy to read from you again on a really nice restauration project. Talking about workmanship of risk, I always wonder why you don't use your great german friend by the name of Martin to shape the tracks, taking the risk back almost to zero if you work with a feeder? I know you lack tooling on the shaper!
    François Pernod

    1. That's exactly the issue, François, a lack of tooling for the shaper. Otherwise it would be a great way to do it.

      Thanks for your comment!


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