Saturday, May 19, 2018

Colgate EALL (8)

A bit of water has flowed under that proverbial bridge since the last posting, and in the interim, I've made good progress on the project, specifically the benches, which are now complete.

A stray pic from last time, showing the use of a chisel to clean up a trimmed through tenon:

Another stray - a look at one of the leg assemblies after the lower stretcher tenon has been wedged, prior to trimming:

The wedges are in avodire, in an attempt to make the through tenons, which are numerous, a less overt design element. The wedge stock is prepared from flat-sawn stock, then the wedges are cut out on the sliding chop saw:

The medium bench after the two leg sets have been fitted:

And a little further along, the two smaller benches are nearing completion:

Then came the larger bench, the assembly of which i decided to video tape - the editing and publication of the video that followed is the primary reason why the 8th post in this thread was slow to eventuate.

Here's a video I put together showing the assembly of the long bench:

There were some additional pics which didn't make it into the video, for various reasons. I had intended to show more of the finish planing, however on that day my camera's video card became full just as I got into some of the planing, and a video of planing which I thought I had taken ended up only being a 5 second recording of nothing. I did manage to snap a couple of pics from one of the shorter benches however:

Here's one where you can see the portion of end grain and wedge within the wider shaving, which I think looks kinda neat:

I find avodire very pleasant to work in general, save for the dust, which if I breathe in any significant amount, say while cross-cutting on the table saw, I find my lung capacity becomes a bit diminished for 24 hours. Like a short term asthmatic reaction. Maybe some people would have a worse reaction to this wood, so if you tend to have reactions to wood dust (which I don't, knock on wood), then caution would be in order with this species. I've found simply paying attention to having the dust collection going even when doing minor tasks seems to take care of the issue.

A final step, not shown in the video as the hardware arrived on the scene only in the past couple of days, was the fitting of some decorative nails, or tacks (termed byō in Japanese). I put these in because they are somewhat common on the Japanese benches that I have come across. I decided however not to use these tacks in any way as an actual fastener, but purely for their decorative effect alone. The tacks I obtained are only as long as the boards are thick, so they perform no mechanical attachment function.

Here you can see a bunch fitted to the mid-size bench:

I think fitting nails to board in such a fashion, if they were to actually go all the way through and fasten into the supporting crosspiece below, is not the best idea given that the bench seat boards will tend to widen and narrow with seasonal moisture swings. Now, in this case, the bench seat boards are vertical grain material, and the bench is an indoor item in a conditioned space, however I stick to the principal of designing around wood movement all the same.

The budget for this project did not allow for more elaborate all-wood joinery solutions, so I instead fastened the middle of each board to the supporting crosspieces with a trim-head screw, as you can see in the above picture. Of course, in no way did I want these screw heads to be visible, so I came up with a way to cover them with the decorative head tacks, which were only a bit larger in diameter than the screw heads.

I cut a notch in the side of the screw head using a thin cut off wheel with my portable 4.5" disc grinder:

Another view:

As you can see, these are Torx head trim screws. My thought was that this form of drive would exert at most only modest forces into the screw head (trying to split it), and thus, even with the head slitted like that, the screw head would be tough enough to withstand re-insertion in the hole, and such proved to be the case:

Then the tack can thereby be driven nearly straight over top of the screw:

The result is a concealed screw head which, if need be, could be accessed again in the future:

I found this approach worked really well, and only had a couple of tacks out of the total which didn't work out on the initial try and had to be replaced.

The mid-size bench complete, with all the tacks in place:

A view from a bit further back:

The small bench was the quickest to nail:

The avodire has some nice figure and chatoyance which my pics do not do justice.

And nailing the long bench took a while:

That's all for this round. Look for a follow-up post in the near future, and thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Colgate EALL (7)

Work continues on the three benches for the Japanese room at Colgate University's East Asian Language Lab (EALL). I am a chronic under-estimator of time - what I thought I could wrap up in a day and a half ended up taking three, ah, well four, but at least the work went without any glitches, so it's all good.

Some more avodire showed up, quartersawn 4/4 and 8/4 material I had ordered up from M Bohlke in Ohio:

Where staples were sticking out enough to gain purchase, I found duck bill pliers helpful, though with cases where the staples were driven in flush I simply lopped the last inch of the board off:

Back to the long bench, where mortises were added for supporting the bench seat via 6 blind-mortised crosspieces:

Here the housings have been trimmed square and central mortises have been punched in, and, oh yeah, the dadoes for the floor panels have been done:

Another view:

The crosspieces have what could be termed a simplified tusk tenon, sans sloped haunch:

Nearly there:


All the joints I am fitting here are a tight friction fit, with grain compression required via hammer. I chose to rely upon the joinery alone, and these joints will not be glued.

Another view:

A while later all 6 crosspieces have been fitted, to both rails:

Next up is the fitting of the end rails and the three intermediate through-twin-tenoned rails:

Once the long bench was through the fitting stage, I set the parts aside and could at last get into final assembly, starting with the small bench. I jointed and planed the floorboards for all three benches, then processed tongues on the boards.

Here the three seat boards have been fitted to one of the end rails:

The middle board is only tongued on the ends, not the sides, and there will be a space between the sides of the middle boards and the two boards which flank it.

A while later, assembly is slowly being realized:

I found some 1/8" (3mm) shims were needed to keep the boards at the spacing I wanted. After the frame joints were drawn up tight, I fabricated the wedges, also in avodire, and got ready to fit them:

The only glue here is on the wedges:

As soon as the last wedge was driven, and the squareness re-checked, the painter's tape was removed and the protruding wedges summarily hacked off with the dozuki:

Though through tenons could be described, especially if they stick out proud, as a somewhat 'loud' design aspect, in this case the tenons will be trimmed flush, and the wedges will be hard to spot, so hopefully this will strike some sort of middle ground in the 'loud vs quiet' tug of war:

Another view:

I will trim the protruding tenon ends next time, and after that the 'horns' on the ends of the frame rails will also be trimmed.

The top was flipped over and a check of the leg assemblies was made, just to be sure all the effort to hit my numbers in cut out was worth the trouble:

Everything was lining up as it should so it's not too much more work until the leg assemblies are installed and wedged:

That bit of fun will wait until the start of next week. The weekend is here and Saturday will be a nice day so I will make hay, as they say, outside of the shop while the sun shines. Gardening season is just getting going.

Thanks for dropping by the Carpentry Way. Comments always welcome. Have a great weekend! Post 8 is up next.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Colgate EALL (6)

Work continues on various components.

Here I've made a packing piece by gluing a piece of Port Orford Cedar to a stick of iroko, so as to enable the feeder to be used for chamfering three corners of each of the corner plant-on 'posts':

There are two plant-on posts for the Japanese room which are not corners, and these were also run through the shaper to chamfer the exposed arrises:

The mill was my choice for routing the 5/8" mortises on the bench rails for the leg tenons, with some jury-rigging needed on the two long rails:

The 5/8" end mill is four flute:

A quick check of the fit of a leg to a rail after cleaning the mortises out with a chisel:

Closer view:

After what seemed like endless mortising, the rails were all mortised, save for a last step of cleaning out the mortises and flaring them by chisel:

At this stage the two shorter rail pairs are cleaned up, but not yet chamfered:

The pile of tenoned pieces awaits a chance for fitting:

The first, and shortest bench frame came together without issue:

Another view:

A closer look:

It took a full day just to clean the mortises out, process the dadoes for the floor boards on the inside faces using the milling machine, and then fit each of the joints. The joints are all a tight interference fit so clamping and mallet taps are required to get the parts together.

It took another full day to do the same with the medium-size bench:

This one also went together without any issues:

A look at some kerfs on one of the end rails:

I cut the wedge kerfs on the smaller bandsaw.

That's two frames down, and one to go:

I've also finished off the parts of the leg assemblies, and have dry-fit the first pair:

The lower crosspiece is through-tenoned, while the upper crosspiece is fitted to blind mortises. The post tenons are yet to be kerfed for wedges.

A look at the tenons poking out:

Another day and a half I guess to complete the long bench rails to the same stage and fit the joints, then another day to prepare the floor boards and fit them, and start final assembly. Oh yes, and I'll need to make a bunch of wedges, of various lengths and tapers. It will be nice to get the benches done, hopefully this will happen by the middle of next week. Once those are done, I can complete the table for the space, then work on the tracks and sliding doors for the alcove. I have another shipment of avodire coming to the shop early next week, a mix of 4/4 and 8/4 stock, 12'~13' long, which should see me through the rest of the fabrication.

All for this time - thanks for your visit. Up next is post 7.