Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Things We Do To Do The Things We Do

Once again I have picked up the gauntlet and decided to create a piece for the 2 x 4 challenge.  And, once again, I have bitten off more than I can chew.

It's not just building the project I have chosen (a 1/2 scale table prototype), it's building all the jigs and such that it requires.  It seems like there is an awful lot of them this time.

The first things I made were this drawing bow and a crude compass for drawing arcs.  Both are scrap wood.  The compass has a hole at one end sized to friction-fit a pencil and a nail driven through as a pivot at 12".  Using the compass I marked out a couple of arcs on the MDF to make a bending form.  After rough cutting the arcs from they were rounded on this jig at the oscillating spindle sander.

The pin is just a nail with the head cut off.  It engages a hole drilled at the centre point of the arc.
The two pieces were screwed together to make a form 1.5" thick.

If you're wondering about the tongue cut out of the bottom edge it's because I had to overlap them a bit to get two pieces out of the one piece of MDF that I had.  It's partly because the 2 x 4 challenge is about using as little as possible but mostly because I was too cheap to buy a bigger piece of MDF.

After screwing some plywood to the back side to act as a backer for the form I covered the edge with Gorilla Tape.  If you don't want glue to stick to something, cover it with Gorilla Tape.  If you've ever used it you know what I mean.

The holes were drilled with a brace and bit so I could put clamps around the edge.

The next jig I built was to hold everything in place so I could work out some joinery.

Once the joints were made I used another jig to align a mortise chisel so I could make a square hole.

This hole goes right through the legs at each end so a square rod can tie the legs together.  That makes six jigs just to make the legs.

With the legs set aside I began making jigs for the top.  I used this set up along with the drawing bow to mark the curves for the rails of the table top.

A similar set up was used to mark the curves on the styles.  I'm counting that as two.

The next set-up was to control the depth of cut for the notches in the rails that were to accept the slats of the lattice.

I know it doesn't look like much but it still took some time to get everything straight and square.  Again, I used a similar set-up for the rails.  Two more.

The last jig I made was to cut the half-laps in the lattice slats.  I used the same one to cut the notches in both the short and long pieces.

That makes 11 jigs to make one project.  I'm not sure if I spent more time on the jigs than I did on the table, but they did take up a lot of time.  Was that time as much fun as working on the project itself?  I'm not sure about that either.  I didn't build all the jigs and then build the table, I switched back and forth as things progressed.  Part of it may have been that I was trying to meet a deadline for this project, and that is not the way I normally work, but this just seemed to be an exhausting project. How did it turn out?  Stay tuned.

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