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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Project - Drop Leaf Cherry Table - Nice Table from the Met. Museum

I have started a new project, this one is not quite as elaborate as the last but it still has some challenges.  There are three legs with elaborate turnings, rule joint for the drop leaves and supports for the leaves.  Each of these will take some thinking and care in the building.

The pictures and dimensions are from an old book, Masterpieces of Furniture by Verna Cook  Salomonsky.  The book is readily available. You can also download a picture from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I started by making full sized drawings of the top and frame.  I also made a full size story stick of the leg turnings.

 Since I am not a great lathe turner, I decided to make a practice leg from some soft maple that I have, it required 1 3/4 inch stock.  Cutting the shape 60 degrees on the front and 30 degrees on the back was an interesting task.  I'll show you how in a later video in detail.

The first thing I found out after cutting the leg stock was that I could not get the 1 3/8 inch round circle within the cut stock.  The largest circle I could get was 1 1/4 inch.  I thought I would practice anyway and see how it looked.

I turned the two pommels and then the center to 1 1/4 inch.  Then I marked the pattern on the center and turned it with a spindle gouge.

I turned the pattern on to the leg but it was real difficult with it offset by the top and lower solid pieces.  There was a lot of vibration and flexing in the center.   I decided to approach it in a different manner.   

I decided to turn the center out of 1 3/8 stock and leave 7/8 inch tenons on each end.  That way I could turn the top and bottom pommels separate from the shaped stock and glue up the assembly when I was done.  

Here is a cherry center of the leg with 7/8 inch tenons on each end.  It was much easier to turn it this way.

Then I turned the end pieces pommels and drilled holes to fit the tenons.  

Below is two maple ends with cherry center for practice.  Looks like it is going to work but I have to practice turning the pommels on the ends without chipping them.

In the next post I'll detail how I will make the legs from the cherry stock.

Here is today's video:

Monday, July 20, 2015

Cherry Oxbow Chest - Rub Out and Finished

It has been 10 days since I applied the last coat of Waterlox.  I could wait longer but it should be hard enough to rub out and apply wax.

Below you can see that I have rubbed out much of the chest reducing the shine on these drawer fronts and the side.

I use Liberon 0000 Steel Wool, it is finer that what you can find at the hardware store.  I make it into a pad and use the steel wool strands perpendicular to the grain of the wood.  This allows the steel wool to cut across the finish.  This knocks off any remaining dust nubs and reduces the shine.  The only down side is that steel wool is messy.  It leaves small steel fibers everywhere, I have to vacuum and wipe everything after I am done.

I am shooting for an even dull finish.  You can see here on the left where I have rubbed it and on the right it is still shiny.  

Then I apply a paste wax on everything and rub it to a new shine.  Here is the finished piece with the hardware attached.   If you remember I had the hardware on once before so attaching it now is quite easy.

The chest looks a little darker here than it really is but that is the light in the shop when I took the picture.  Still it looks pretty good.  
It is done, time to move it to the living room. On to the next project??????

Here is today's video:

Monday, July 13, 2015

Building a Moxon Vise with Benchcrafted Hardware

The end vise that I have on my work bench is a LeeValley twin screw which has about 15 3/4 inches between the two screws.  It works great, I have had it over 10 years and on two different benches.
However when you want to clamp something wider than 15 3/4 inches it is difficult to do.
Enter the Moxon vise, which seems to be very popular these days.  I don't need it all the time but when you need a wide vise it will sure fit the bill.

When I was in Iowa at the Handworks Tool Show, I purchased the Moxon Vise Kit from Benchcrafted.  I saved the shipping cost.

I debated a little while on just where I would put it.  I thought for awhile that I might build it into the front of my bench.  But decided not to because it would be in the way.   So, like many woodworkers,  I decided to make it removable and mount on top of the bench.  

Benchcrafted has plans on their website, so why not follow them.  They are pdf,  I downloaded and printed them.  They include a brief history and some building and finishing options. 

I decided on the 36 inch back with 32 inch front with 25 inch on center screws.  Their plans suggest
1 3/4 inch stock.  I have some soft maple in 8/4, so to begin I need to mill the stock to size.

Here are the 3 pieces needed.  The back is 5 1/2 x 36 inches.  The front is 5 5/8 x 32 inches,  the extra 1/8 is so the vise face catches on the workbench to help line it up when you use it.  The rear hold down is 2 x 24 inches.  All are 1 3/4 thick.

Then I had to layout where the 3/4 inch holes would be drilled and  1 1/4 inch holes for countersinking the nuts (countersink was 13/16 deep).  Drill the larger hole first.  Then the 3/4 inch hole is drilled using the point left by the forstner bit as the center.

3/4 inch forstner bit for the through hole  Hope they line up.

Using a bench chisel I flatten the sides of the hole to match the hex nut that needs to be countersunk.

Nice snug fit, just pop it in.

All set with this one, now for the other side.

I put the other nut and washer on the back with the countersunk nut on  the front and tighten them up.
I clamped the vise to the workbench and test fitted the front jaw to the screws.  It was a little tight, so I elongated the holes and then planed the top of the jaws flush.

Test spinning the heavy cast iron wheels.  They go on and spin really easy.

I glued on the rear holding piece with yellow glue and planed it flush on the bottom.  The holdfasts work great on this design.

Now I need to glue on the leather piece that they provide for the vise face.  They suggest contact cement.  I waited about 10 minutes for the glue to set and then put the two together.  I used a j-roller to apply the pressure and a utility knife to trim the excess leather.

All finished.  I could put a coat of Watco on it but natural is just fine with me.  There is 24 inches between the two screws, so it should be large enough for the widest panels.

Holdfasts work great on the back.

Quick little project for a great vise, I can store it out of the way when not in use.

Here is today's video:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cherry Oxbow Chest - Applying Waterlox Tung Oil Finish - Step 15

Well I am in the home stretch now with the chest of drawers.  My favorite finish is to apply the Original Waterlox Tung Oil Finish.  It is not available everywhere and they have a low VOC product for sale in California which I have heard does not work as well as the original.  I purchase mine from Woodcraft.  I'll use about a pint and a half for this chest.

Waterlox soaks into the wood in the beginning but eventually starts to build up a film finish.  Depending on how porous the wood is it will take 6 to 8 coats to build this finish.   Each coat must wait 24 hours before applying the next coat.  I apply the finish with a rag by dipping it into a small bowl of finish.  

When I am done I pour the left over finish back into the can and fill the can with dust off spray or Bloxygen to chase the air out of the can.  Air in the can will start to thicken the finish.

Here is how the drawer fronts look after applying 2 coats.  You can see that most of the finish has soaked into the wood.


I sand between coats with 400 grit sandpaper.  It takes off the dust nubs and smooths the finish.  I wait 24 hours before I do the light sanding.  You have to be very careful not to sand through the finish and remove the dye stain.  I use extremely light pressure.  You don't have to sand between coats but it makes for a better finish.

Here you can see how the finish is built up with 3 coats.  Starting to get the finish look.

Seven Coats should be enough.

Well here it is with the seven coats.  Now it has to cure for at least a week before it is hard enough for final rub out with 0000 steel wool and paste wax.  I'll post again when it is completely finished.

Here is today's  video:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cherry Oxbow Chest - Attaching the Hardware and Staining the Finish

Well it has been awhile since I have had a new post.  I have been working on the chest and started the finishing process.   However, since it is summer time and a honey-do list that needs attention I don't get as much time in the shop as I do in the winter.

I ordered hardware from Horton Brasses and I thought I had the right size drop handles for the chest. As it turned out they were too small.  So I ordered larger and returned the original set.  Horton is easy to work with.

The plan for mounting them was to have the drop handle in the center of each of the drawers.  I also ordered keyhole escutcheons.   I usually mount the hardware before finishing because I do not want to disturb the finish with drilling and fitting after it is completed.

Here is the chest with the hardware attached.  Looks good to me.  I did have to bend the bales a little because of the curve on the drawer front.

I then took the hardware off and put it away for later.  I still had some small tasks to do, like chop out a lock striker mortise.  Each drawer has a lock so it needs to have some place for the lock to go.
I turned the chest upside down to work on the underside of the drawer blades.  I used short chisels and a mallet to chop them out.

I drilled holes in the drawer blades for screws to attach the top.  But I could not use any power tools to make the countersink holes.

So I made a handle for the countersink bit and routed them by hand.

I attached the top with 1 1/4 inch screws and then took it off.

   I had already sanded the chest to 180 as I was assembling it.  So now to sand at 220 was not a big deal and I hate to sand.

I knew that the cherry would blotch if I hand applied a water based dye to it.  There are some things you can do to reduce the blotching.  Spray the dye, this works but on a piece like this I would have to mask a lot to keep the spray away from where I don't want it.

I tried using a conditioner of shellac, I used a 1lb cut of shellac, let it dry and then sanded it back.  It did not block too well.

I tried Charles Neil's Pre-Color Conditioner and it worked really well.  So that is what I used.  I practiced on cutouts from the back of the drawers.  The top piece is full strength dye and the lower is reduced by 50%.

I applied the conditioner with a rag and let it dry.  Then sanded it lightly with 320 grit sand paper to get it smooth again.  The conditioner raises the grain.

Then I applied the dye with a rag as even as I could.  I let it dry and then sanded with 400 grit sand paper to get it baby butt smooth.  Here is the top after it had been dyed and sanded.

Next it did the drawer fronts.

Lastly, I did the chest carcass. But I still need to sand it at this point.

 Here it is all assembled.  I have to do a little more sanding but then I am going to apply the Original Waterlox Tung Oil finish.

Here is today video: