Apologies for the following statement, but “The Woodworker: The Charles Hayward Years” is a gold mine of craft knowledge. Even though we were mired in the project for more than seven years (and I should despise it), the finished books are incredibly useful in my everyday work.
Yesterday proved that point. You might remember this blog entry where I reprinted a 1964 article on making a staked stool that was one of the thousands of articles we sorted through for our two-volume set.
In that article, S.H. Glenister recommended boring mortises for a staked stool before shaping the legs. This is exactly how I work with square mortise-and-tenon projects, but is the opposite of how I work when building post-and-rung assemblies with round tenons and mortises.
I can’t say why it never occurred to me to bore the round mortises first when the stock was square. Just a brain defect, I guess.
So when making the post-and-rung base for a new design for a chest of drawers, I followed Mr. Glenister’s advice. It worked brilliantly and everything turned out perfectly square and centered with little fuss.
The only hiccup was when turning the mortised bits. You need to lighten up your pressure on the tool as you pass the tool by the mortises. I didn’t have any of them catch, but if you use consistent pressure the areas around your mortises will end up a little skinnier.
Give it a try next time.
By the way, we are hard at work at designing the next two volumes of “The Woodworker.” Vol. III on joinery is now completely designed and needs only a final edit. Meghan, the designer, is now laying out Vol. IV, which is on the workshop and furniture. There is still a lot of work ahead, but we are plowing forward.
— Christopher Schwarz