Categories
College Festool Practical techniques

College course: The Final Day

All too soon, here I am. The final day of my short course at John Cass. Lots to do today, and I have to finish this cabinet, what with having nowhere to work at home. Onward.

Well, after making a total hash of the back of this drawer last week, I rapidly made another one. Thankfully, it all fitted and here's the drawer being glued-up. You can see the bottom of the front of the drawer drops down below the base. This is because, on closing, I want the drawer to cover the bottom-front rail of the cabinet.
Well, after making a total hash of the back of this drawer last week, I rapidly made another one. Thankfully, it all fitted and here’s the drawer being glued-up. You can see the bottom of the front of the drawer drops down below the base. This is because, on closing, I want the drawer to cover the bottom-front rail of the cabinet.

And so, we have a drawer! I checked the drawer for squareness, using a rule across the diagonals, and they measure the same. Things should be square and the drawer should fit. The rear of the cabinet has it's top rounded over, the traditional way to finish this. I'm still not sure why this is. By the way, the rear and sides of the drawer are oak, which is nice and strong in these relatively thin pieces and it gives a nice contrast to the dark walnut on the lapped dovetail joints at the front.
And so, we have a drawer! I checked the drawer for squareness, using a rule across the diagonals, and they measure the same. Things should be square and the drawer should fit. The rear of the cabinet has it’s top rounded over, the traditional way to finish this. I’m still not sure why this is. By the way, the rear and sides of the drawer are oak, which is nice and strong in these relatively thin pieces and it gives a nice contrast to the dark walnut on the lapped dovetail joints at the front.

I offered the drawer up to the cabinet and it needs a little off the sides to go in. This is a good thing. It allows me to try to get a really good fit, and I can clean up the faces of my joints at the same time. Here I'm taking fine shavings off each side, whilst checking the fit again and again.
I offered the drawer up to the cabinet and it needs a little off the sides to go in. This is a good thing. It allows me to try to get a really good fit, and I can clean up the faces of my joints at the same time. Here I’m taking fine shavings off each side, whilst checking the fit again and again.

Time out from the drawer for a while, and we drilled a slot in each side of the cabinet inner, with a Festool Domino. Later on I'll fit 'buttons' in these slots to allow joining the cabinet top. More on this later.
Time out from the drawer for a while, and we drilled a slot in each side of the cabinet inner, with a Festool Domino. Later on I’ll fit ‘buttons’ in these slots to allow joining the cabinet top. More on this later.

The final cabinet. The drawer runs smoothly, (which was my main concern), and the whole cabinet should look nice once all the surfaces have the oiled finish that's currently only here and there. I'll post a final set of pics once I have that done. Phew! Tools in the rucksack and exit stage left.
The final cabinet. The drawer runs smoothly, (which was my main concern), and the whole cabinet should look nice once all the surfaces have the oiled finish that’s currently only here and there. I’ll post a final set of pics once I have that done. Phew! Tools in the rucksack and exit stage left.

Categories
College Practical techniques

College course: Day 14

Last (but one) day! Big day today, making up the drawer and then calamity as I messed things up on one of the joints. One day next week to fix things and get this little cabinet shipshape. Here’s the skinny…

On with the drawer for the cabinet. Here, the tutor Kate is showing me her method of turning the coping saw in a small dovetail, and removing the bulk of the waste, before using the chisel for clean-up. It means the chisel doesn't find it hard to eject the waste in such a tight gap.
On with the drawer for the cabinet. Here, the tutor Kate is showing me her method of turning the coping saw in a small dovetail, and removing the bulk of the waste, before using the chisel for clean-up. It means the chisel doesn’t find it hard to eject the waste in such a tight gap.

Most of the waste taken out, just some cleaning and squaring up with the chisel now. This piece is one of the sides of the drawer.
Most of the waste taken out, just some cleaning and squaring up with the chisel now. This piece is one of the sides of the drawer.

The piece I've now added 'tails' to, will be recessed into the side of the front panel of the drawer. This will give us a 'lapped' dovetail, meaning the joint will not be visible from the front, only from the sides when the drawer is pulled out.
The piece I’ve now added ‘tails’ to, will be recessed into the side of the front panel of the drawer. This will give us a ‘lapped’ dovetail, meaning the joint will not be visible from the front, only from the sides when the drawer is pulled out.

[warning]Top tutor tip! Some dovetails are pretty tight to work in, when you’re scribing out fine pins. One of these upholstery pins in the pic work well for getting into tight spaces.[/warning]
I didn't take any pics of the removal of waste, but here's the drawer after I've chiseled out the recesses and tapped the side into place. Fits pretty well, some tiny gaps that will hopefully close up a little with the glue-up.
I didn’t take any pics of the removal of waste, but here’s the drawer after I’ve chiseled out the recesses and tapped the side into place. Fits pretty well, some tiny gaps that will hopefully close up a little with the glue-up.

Here's another angle with the chalk rubbed off the joint. I rubbed chalk into the scribed lines when working on the dark walnut, otherwise the lines are hard to see.
Here’s another angle with the chalk rubbed off the joint. I rubbed chalk into the scribed lines when working on the dark walnut, otherwise the lines are hard to see.

I started working on the 'through' dovetails at the back of the drawer. These joints can go straight through each other, as I don't need to have a cosmetically clean face anywhere.
I started working on the ‘through’ dovetails at the back of the drawer. These joints can go straight through each other, as I don’t need to have a cosmetically clean face anywhere.

Here's the back of the side panel being offered up to the back panel for scribing. Shortly after this everything went haywire and I realised by flipping a piece wrongly in the vice, one of my rear joints was wrong. About an hour wasted. The last class is next week, so I'll need to cut a new back for the drawer and get it glued up, pronto!
Here’s the back of the side panel being offered up to the back panel for scribing. Shortly after this everything went haywire and I realised by flipping a piece wrongly in the vice, one of my rear joints was wrong. About an hour wasted. The last class is next week, so I’ll need to cut a new back for the drawer and get it glued up, pronto!

Categories
College Practical techniques

College course: Day 13

Day 13, unlucky for some. Not so much for me, but more so for my poor colleague whose piece of work caught in the big machine router and got mulched. My own small project creeps on, and after today I only have two days left on the course, so need to get it all glued up at least. Today I’m trying to get things moving on the drawer that sits at the bottom of the cabinet.

The cabinet is on it's back and I've got one drawer side in the vice, planing it down so that it slides nicely inside the drawer gap.
The cabinet in on it’s back and I’ve got one drawer side in the vice, planing it down so that it slides nicely inside the drawer gap.
Both drawer sides slide in really smoothly now, but are obviously way too sturdy. Next step is to take them down on the machine planer, to get them down to around 10mm thick.
Both drawer sides slide in really smoothly now, but are obviously way too sturdy. Next step, take them down on the machine planer, to get them down to around 10mm thick.
I selected a piece of walnut for the drawer front and again have thicknessed it. There's some nice grain here, so will crop the best bit for the drawer.
I selected a nice piece of walnut for the drawer front and again have taken it down on the planer and thicknesser. There’s some nice grain here, so will crop the best bit for the drawer.
Drawer front trimmed to size. The drawer front is a little thicker than the sides, which is the conventional way to do it, and means the sides can be dovetailed into the front with lapped dovetails, leaving a decent thickness to hide them.
Drawer front trimmed to size. The drawer front is a little thicker than the sides, which is the conventional way to do it, and means the sides can be dovetailed into the front with lapped dovetails, leaving a decent thickness to hide them.
Finally got the chance to use the lovely Veritas dovetails markers my girlfriend bought me for christmas. This one is the 1:8 ratio, as the drawer sides are oak and have the strength to hold with the shallower angle reserved for hardwoods. If I was knocking up a similar drawer in softwood, I'd use 1:6 angles.
Finally got the chance to use the lovely Veritas dovetails markers my girlfriend bought me for christmas. This one is the 1:8 ratio, as the drawer sides are oak and have the strength to hold with the shallower angle reserved for hardwoods. If I was knocking up a similar drawer in softwood, I’d use 1:6 angles.

college_jan18_6
[important]Top tutor tip. If you’re cutting dovetails, set the cut square, it’s easier to keep a straight line in a cut, if it’s vertical. Nice one![/important]

Not too shabby. Must learn to stop at the lines though, I do get a bit over-excited and some of these you see here are pencil lines, but on the other side things went a little haywire. Should be ok though.
Not too shabby. Must learn to stop at the lines though, I do get a bit over-excited and some of these you see here are pencil lines, but on the other side things went a little haywire. Should be ok though.
Here's the completed dovetails for the front on the sides. Next week I'll need to cut these into the sides of the drawer front, using these pieces as templates. Then same sort of thing on rear corners, (easier as they are through dovetails), then I should have a drawer.
Here’s the completed dovetails for the front on the sides. Next week I’ll need to cut these into the sides of the drawer front, using these pieces as templates. Then same sort of thing on rear corners, (easier as they are through dovetails), then, once I’ve sorted out the base, I should have a drawer.
Categories
College Practical techniques

College course: Day 12

Back at college and it seems like we’ve been away for ages. Been looking forward very much to getting back in front of the workbench and getting on with this little cabinet. Here’s how things went today.

Cabinet as I left it before christmas. Lots to do in my remaining four days at college. Sort out drawer rails and make the dovetail drawer. If I'm pressed for time, I can apply finishing at home.
Cabinet as I left it before christmas. Lots to do in my remaining four days at college. Sort out drawer rails and make the dovetail drawer. If I’m pressed for time, I can apply finishing at home.

Ok, front and back rail from the bottom of the cabinet taken out, and two drawer rails morticed into them, to provide all-round support for the drawer. I've seen drawer runners installed in a variety of ways, I just figured this was a quick and relatively accurate way for me.
Ok, front and back rail from the bottom of the cabinet taken out, and two drawer rails morticed into them, to provide all-round support for the drawer. I’ve seen drawer runners installed in a variety of ways, I just figured this was a quick and relatively accurate way for me.

Front, rear and side rails for drawers are consequently one unit and can be glued up, ready to be planed flat, meaning hopefully drawer will slide very easily.
Front, rear and side rails for drawers are consequently one unit and can be glued up, ready to be planed flat, meaning hopefully drawer will slide very easily.

Bizarrely, things actually seem square.
Bizarrely, things actually seem square.

The glue-up! Cabinet put back together, with rail frame installed at bottom. Front and rear opening seem to be same size, so I'm hoping that my drawer can be made to fit well. Slightly different apertures, or things out of square,  will make for a drawer that just doesn't work.
The glue-up! Cabinet put back together, with rail frame installed at bottom. Front and rear opening seem to be same size, so I’m hoping that my drawer can be made to fit well. Slightly different apertures, or things out of square, will make for a drawer that just doesn’t work.

Categories
Bench planes Practical techniques Restoration Spiers

Spiers repair

Spiers Ayr 13 1/2" Panel Plane
I sold this plane to a chap on eBay a while back. When I sent it off, I didn’t quite register the name I wrote on the parcel. A couple of months later, browsing the website of David Barron, I was very pleased to see the SAME PLANE! With it, David had photographed and written a lovely blog post about repairing the broken spur on the plane. Well worth checking out the post and indeed David’s whole blog. He’s a fine craftsman and furniture maker, and his enthusiasm shines through.

Funny how things go. I’m very pleased to see the plane went to such a good home, and I’ve learnt something myself, seeing how David goes about a good repair. Some good tips there.