OK. We've got the major joinery cut on all the posts. We're not done yet with the posts, but at this point, I began working on the rails & central stile of the very front, since I had all of the wood for these parts sitting around after milling them up before we went to Hershey.
I started by cutting these parts to width & length from the stock I had prepared. I cut these to the dimensions from my drawing, since their lengths would determine the final dimensions of the pulpit from font to back. I will use relative dimensioning when I cut the shelf supports & shelves, as well as everything else from that point on.
One interesting thing I did was make a wooden spacer exactly 1" long. The center rails are exactly 1" shorter than the top & bottom rails. By inserting the spacer between the stop on my Osbourne EB-3 when I went to cut the center rails, I got them exactly 1" shorter without having to move the stop block. This saved time & prevented mistakes by readjusting the stop block (I don't have a tape measure on my EB-3).
When I got to the center stile on the front of the center box, a soft, still voice told me to cut it long. When I heard it, I reasoned it was a good idea, since the actual length of this piece would depend up on the depths of the grooves I had yet to cut in the top & bottom rails, and on the distance between the mortises in the front two posts. I needed to cut it to 40 1/2" according to the drawing, so I ended up cutting it to 41".
After cutting these parts to final width & length, I routed grooves in them by mounting the same spiral up-cut bit in my router table. I set the depth to 1/2" & placed a post on the table with the bit in the groove. I then adjusted the router table fence so it was against the adjacent face of the post. And I started running rails. Everything ran fine here, no mistakes.
Next, I began cutting tenons on the ends. The top & bottom rails all have 1" long tenons. The center rails, as well as the center stile on the front, all have 1/2" tenons. I decided to cut the 1" long tenons first.
I attached a stop block to my fence & set it so I would cut a shoulder 1" from the end of stick. I set the height of the blade to 1/4" and I started cutting shoulders. All went well. I then reset the fence 1/2" closer to the blade & made all the shoulder cuts on the center rails & stile stock. Again, all went well.
Time to make the cheek cuts. I grabbed my new tenoning jig that I got for Father's Day (gloat!) and set it up. Again, I started with the 1" long tenons. Everything was going well & I was getting great tenons that were a little too fat to fit in the mortises, which is what I wanted. Some where along the way, I ended up grabbing the stick for the center stile & I mounted it in the tenoning jig & ran it through. Doooh!! The shoulder on one side of one tenon now has a kerf running 1/2" up! Some how, this didn't upset me so much as cutting through the corner on the post had. I remained pretty calm & figured that since the kerf would be hidden when everything was assembled, I'd just fill it in with one of the cheek cutoffs. So I finished cutting the 1" tenons & then did all the 1/2" tenons.
After I'd finished making all of the cheek cuts, I began tweaking & adjusting the tenons so they'd fit into the mortises. I did this by first making a few passes on both faces with my shoulder plane until I could slip the tenon into the groove. I then eyeballed the location of the haunch & marked it on the tenon. Next I cut the haunch using my pull saw. I put each frame together as I went from rail to rail, sort of as a dry fit.
It was while I was putting the center frame together that I realized I had cut the center stile long on the off chance it was too short. This became obvious when I couldn't get the top rail square to the post I had inserted it into after I slid the center stile into its grooves. So I put the frame together without the center rails & stile & measured. And here's the second reason I think God Himself is working on this pulpit with me: I had to remove exactly 1/2" from the stile to get it to the right length. After cutting a new tenon, that would totally remove the mistake from the stile! There's nothing to patch or hide!
So I recut the tenon & finished the dry fit. Here are some pictures of the frames dry fitted together. The left wing:
The right wing:
And the center frame:
I did notice in this dry fit that the grooves I'd cut in the posts were about 1/32" too far from the adjacent face of the posts, since there was about that much of a ledge left visible after I installed the rails. I guess I didn't have the edge guide set to the right distance when I cut the mortises & grooves. Next time, I'll have to remember to double check that dimension with a shallow test cut before I go gang busters on it.
Next time: I Finish Making the Posts