Saturday, August 2, 2008

Finishing the Posts & Rails

To recap where we are now: The joinery for the posts and rails has all been cut. The frames have been dry fit. Sounds like we should be done making the posts, huh? But there's actually lots more work to do before the posts are finished.

I went back to my check list & finished the items on it for the posts. That is,

  1. I cut all of the rabbets that will accept the ply partitions. I had to cut 6 rabbets 1/2" wide x 3/4" deep, more or less. These were cut on the table saw using the two pass technique.
  2. I cut the grooves for the center box's ply partitions in the two center front posts. This was done with a stacked dado cutter.
  3. I cut the rabbets on the bottom ends to receive the matching rabbets that will be cut on the base pieces. These rabbets are 3/8" deep by 2 1/2" wide. I cut them as though I was making a tenon. That is, I made a shoulder cut 3/8" deep 2 1/2" from the end of the post, then put them in my tenonning jig to make a cheek cut.
  4. I cut all of the posts to final length (Yeah, I know the steps in "How Am I Going to Build a Pulpit?" call for me to do that later, but I got the top rails to line up perfectly with my layout line for those cuts so I figured I could do it now).
  5. I cut a 3/8" x 3/8" groove on the center right front post for routing the power cord for the lamp I will install.
  6. I drilled all of the shelf-pin holes.
  7. I counter bored, drilled, and epoxied the t-nuts for the leveling feet in the bottom of the posts.
  8. I even installed the leveling feet.

After all of that was done, I cut the ply partitions from a sheet of 3/4" red oak veneer plywood. I needed two partitions 11" wide and 44" long and two more that were 15 1/4" wide and 44" long. So I set my table saw's fence to rip 11 1/4" and I went to town.

This is when I found out that the outfeed table that came with my 22124 isn't long or wide enough to rip a whole sheet of plywood without additional support. It works for most of the cuts I make, but when a full sheet has been pushed through to the other side of the blade, it just doesn't sit on the table saw the way it should. The off cut wants to roll off the saw to the left, while the keeper piece wants to do a swan dive to the floor.

I can't do anything about this now except to use a helper or roller stands the next time I do this. Another item for the "dream workshop" list. In any event, the first rip was done without too big a crash & I can still count to 10 without having to take off my shoes.

After finishing the first rip, I reset the fence to 11" & fed the 11 1/4" wide piece through the saw with the edge I'd just cut against the fence. This removed the factory edge & gave me a nice crisp new edge. Next I set the fence to 15 1/4" & made one more rip cut for the center box's partitions.

Luckily, both of these boards were narrow enough to fit in my cross cut sled. Unluckily, its fence & the tape I have installed in it only go to 30". I needed to cut these to 44". So I attached a straight piece to the outside of the sled with a couple of 6" Tradesman clamps & I cut three ply blocks about 2" wide from some scrap. These blocks would form a make shift stop block. I needed three pieces because the fence is a lamination of 2 pieces of 3/4" plywood, so one piece wouldn't stick passed the fence.

I then measured & marked one of the 15 1/4" pieces at 44" & drew a square line across the board. I placed the board in the sled & aligned the square line with the kerf in the fence of the cross cut sled. I then clamped the three ply scraps to the straight piece I clamped to the fence so they would act as a stop block. This let me get all of the pieces exactly the same length without having to measure again. I had to stick a piece of scrap under the right hand side of the work piece on the first cut for each piece, as it needed some support, but the cuts went well.

The next thing I did was to glue the ply partitions to the posts. This went well and as expected. I have grouped the rails for each wing with the post / ply partition assembly for it, so I can sand the rails smooth at this point. In fact, I will did just that so and then did one more dry fit. I'm pretty much going to leave everything together until I get to the panels, just so the units can free stand and not occupy space on my work table.

Below is a picture of the parts I'd made to this point dry fit together, being held together with clamps. I actually went out & bought an additional (4) 24" K-Body clamps to do this dry fit.

It looks pretty good from this angle, but there are a couple of problems. One of the side boxes is fairly close to square, but the center section is a little torqued & the other side box is noticeably out of square when you look down through it. These were assembled free standing & not on a flat surface, so I'm not too worried about it at this point.

Next time: Making Shelf Supports

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