Monday, February 20, 2012

Fabricating the thin birch components

I née some thin 1/4" boards for the interior tray and tray bottom. First is to get 2 reference planes (side and bottom) using the jointer. So I resawed some 3/4" boards very carefully with a thin kerf bandsaw blade. As I learned, one trick is to saw very slowly, so that the blade doesn't wander off the centerline of what you are cutting. If you push too hard, the blade will flex, baking the bottom narrower in places than the top. Even the top may wander a bit with a 3/4" blade. So, once resawn, I use the thickness planer to bring all the boards down to 3/8". Starting with the thickest board, and for each downward adjustment in the machine, send all the boards through so they are uniform thickness. One still had some saw marks in it. I will use parts of that piece for other trim. Obviously I cut extra just to be sure I'd have enough baring any major complications. I let the boards rest, to balance humidity leves, then replace to final 1/4" thickness. As they were quarter asan, ther wasn't much deviation. Next: dry clamp the carcas, remeasure the sizes of the upper tray and cut the components. For fun and interest I though I'd make large staggered finger joints and pin them with double brass brads. ( using glue of course. But befor glue up, I need to put in the mortises into the sides of the cars to accept the central lifting divider. I'll use 2 mortises on each side.

Friday, February 17, 2012

the top panel of the jewelry box

as you remember when i cut the rough wood to rough dimensions, I cut the top (the panel) and wood for a mitered frame around the outside.  the biggest issue is to get  an exact 45 degree angle for the miters.
forget the expensive miter gauges. this is best done by hand, trial and error to get it perfect. Thanks to Lance Patterson ( he thought I wasn't paying attention)!

the basic premise is to set the table saw either the miter gauge or tilting the blade. i prefer the blade tilt.
cut separate 45 degree cuts into 2 boards, making a long and short piece.Then match the miter on the two long pieces. even if the machine says perfect 45 it will NOT be perfect. take your sliding square and check the inside for square.  the reason its not, is because we are introducing double error precision. if we only made the cur once and checked it may be off by 0.5 degrees. this way, the miter will be off 1 degree. adjust the machine to make the miter perfectly square.

OK back from the technical tangent.

here are the miters cut and the panel pseudo in place: balanced on the top of the carcass.

one note here, nothing has been glued not attached. all this is cutting and checking for fit and square.
once the glue goes on, its really hard to make a dado or whatever inside!   Again, I have only heard mention of this problem just a few times.  oh yes that was me!

a side technical note, if you ever happen to do a glue-up, and say rats!!!! alcohol dribbed into the joint repeatedly, with pressure from a clamp forcing the pieces apart, AND a strong heat lamp, you might get the satisfying crack or boom after 30 minutes of work. This is for yellow glue and hide glues, epoxy's and others, you are done. glue has set.done. you might as well think of another means to cut those dadoes inside.

now that I have a all the bits cut out, I need to smooth surface them, and allow them to rest to equalize humidity with the existing shop. 2 days. then I repeat the process 2 more times, reducing the movement sequentially as much as possibe to end up with the final thickness. see above.

Then I start cutting the dovetails to be sure where they are and line up properly.
I hate cutting dadoes through a dovetail "OUCH" dumb. but of course I would never do a such  thing...
again and again. slow learner.

so all the dovetails are done:  hard to see but they are there.
lets see how they fit: rough fit not bad.

near the blue pencil will be the bottom drawer.. eventually Ill get to it later.

where was I with the jewelry box...
ah yes, cutting the wood.
since the flame grain of the birch is so pronounced, i had to be very careful about grain direction.
here is my cutting pattern for the wood:
by cutting in a wrapping sequence the corners almost match grain for grain.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Off to get the wood!

I went up to HighlandHardwoods for some great wood. I knew they would have what I was looking for.
sorting through the rough curly yellow birch bin (wish I had a picture.. note to self next time), and pull out two fantastic boards from the same tree.

As I have slowly learned, its really important to get wood from the same tree for a specific project.
all tree species vary from tree to tree in color and figure. So, to get the besst match its best to get wood from the same tree, and better yet to get them from the same flitch ( sliced) area. Anyway these were labelled fg-56 and fg-57 from the mill. perfect book match as it were.

in rough wood, you can get a general idea, with experience, what it will look like. its only after an initial surface planing, do you really see what you have. It surpassed my expectations. look at this:

Project: Flame Birch jewelry box

As the first blog post, I'm starting a jewelry box for a client.
So, I begin with the entire process of creating this piece.

First, i was given the requirements: 
  • something resembling one she currently has.
  • 1 foot by 2 feet
  • flame birch
  • necklace hangars, ring slots, removable try and a drawer.
So, given these, I began cerebrating my ideas, scribbled them on paper, then using Google's Sketchup program I designed the jewelry box as you see above. I creatively made a few adjustments, first off changing the dimensions to 13x22  "the golden rectangle" so at least it wouldn't look too weird or disproportionate.
the design was quite an effort considering my rudimentary knowledge of Sketchup. thanks to Tim Killen and Dave Richards for their inspiration and help.I highly recommend their articles for any wood-be woodworker.

As usual for any newbie, my faces wouldn't appear, lines were disconnected and overlapped, etc. causing me to restart the entire design about 10 times. Finally I got it together.