Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch


By Ty Black

Because Chris is on the other side of the globe, things have been coming along with the drawing table.

The web frames were nailed through the sides with $25 worth of Peter Ross’s finest. What a pain adventure that was, trying to get the right combination of pilot hole and clearance hole.

The drawer box had be squared and the back nailed on. Then I realized I hadn’t prepped the sides. Now I have two (or more) choices: try to dodge the nails with my plane, use Chris’s and claim ignorance as to how those nicks got in Raney’s smoother, or use a random-orbital sander.

The frame for the table side of the project is ready for glue. Now I just need to figure out how to thicken tenon cheeks. I am sure something will come to me, possible involving JB weld, spit and O+. (Voice from Australia: Luke! Glue shavings or veneer slips to the tenon cheeks to thicken them.)

Sugar pine and walnut will be used for the drawer boxes. I plan on making two extra drawers to get some practice before I start cutting such a visible joint. Lord knows I need to knock this part of the project out of the park.

Now for the controversial part of the post:

Had I to do it over again, I would use a Festool Domino. This isn’t an historical reproduction; it’s for my wife who values looks and sound construction over righteousness. At my skill level, most of my work needs a fair amount of  love and blue tape to make it look right. I want my work to look great, not just right. Though for the rest of this project, I am going to stay the course using the same techniques I have used so far.

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11 Responses to Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

  1. Amos says:

    The voice from Australia is right. I just finished glueing some in where I got the ends of the board mixed up.

    Try a sharp scraper on the drawer sides

  2. Brian Dormer says:

    I like the way you put that – “BECAUSE Chris is on the other side of the globe, things are coming along…” Makes me wonder how things would be if he was still in this hemisphere? You’re going to have some ‘splainin to do when Chris gets back.

  3. Ed Clarke says:

    I agree – use a scraper or scraper plane on the sides. Cheap, quick, works. As for the too thin tenons, that might be a design feature. If they’re not too badly off, turn them into wedged tenons and claim that you designed it that way on purpose.

  4. Joe Olivas says:

    Had you gone the other route, how would you have learned from your mistakes?

  5. It is looking good “Jedi Leather Master”. Speaking of which how will you incorporate leather into this project?

  6. Dick says:

    When will we see the publication of “By Hand and By Eye?”

  7. Bob Davidson says:

    I would have used the Festool Domino. After all, if you did that part while Chris was in Australia, who would ever have known? Clearly, strength and functionality are what counts in this project; historic fidelity wouldn’t mean much here.

  8. WB Tanner says:

    Still and all, it looks mighty fine.

  9. Bob B. says:

    Historical fidelity is a matter of…well…history. In one hundred years they will be remarking about the “quaint” use of a Domino.

    As for smoothing the sides, I’d go with:

    1) The random orbit sander…or even better, a belt sander, THEN the random orbit.

    2) Chris’s planes…and ignorance.

  10. dodies says:

    oh boy – i feel your pain. I am making my first desk with three dropped drawers, and i got so excited to glue the side aprons to the legs that the teeny out of square has rippled endlessly. and my back apron tenon was too thin..blah blah blah. I am doing my drawers now, but dread fitting them with the slides. In the end your wife is going to LOVE that desk and its function, and I’ll be proud of mine even with the many mistakes I will try not to point out to everyone. I think my tenons weren’t bad as the mortises were like blotchy canyons. oh well.

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