Friday, May 17, 2013

ALL the saws

Today I milled the 64 pieces that will be laminated to together to form the chair bottoms. I cut them to 16 1/2 inches in length using the mitre saw. Then I used that same saw with a stop to make a cut on all the pieces that would only go 3/4 of an inch deep.

Then I used the table saw to cut lengthwise along each piece, completing what is essentially a big notch to allow a piece of plywood to fit snugly inside. Next week I can glue them up and start assembling the entire tables.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Designing the chair bottom

The chair backs are now glued, partially sanded, and awaiting some inspiration for how to carve the concave detail. Here is my design for the chair bottom:

From the front, you will only see two layers - the chair back and the chair bottom. The chair back, I reasoned, must be assembled as a laminate of many small strips in order to maintain its strength after it had been carved. The chair bottom has the opposite design problem. A laminate to match the chair back would be aesthetically pleasing (because it will match the top) but someone has to SIT on the bottom and this sort of laminate would be extremely weak. Basically it would snap in two pieces if sat on by a heavy person. The solution? Hide a piece of nice strong plywood underneath the bottom section. So the bottom piece will now consist of laminated strips glued to each other but also glued to a plywood underlayment. The plywood will be completely concealed by the side leg-panels. I think it will be both attractive and strong. It might even be easier to build than the tops were because I can just lay them on top of the plywood for their glue-up instead of trying to make sure each piece is even.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lots of sanding and some Oil

Great day today, although I got too much sun. I sanded the table legs with 80 grit, then 120 grit, then 180 grit, then 320 grit paper. After all the sanding they looked like this

After this I couldn't resist giving them some oil. I'm using a cherry tinted danish oil, which is the same finish I used on my cabinet. It gives walnut a nice deep redish color. Applying oil to nice wood is one of life's great pleasures.

They got two coats of the oil. I expect I'll give them one more coat after everything is assembled.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Gluing and Sanding

These past two weeks have been relaxing. My teaching is done for the semester (and I managed to get a degree and a job in that time too!) so I've been at home doing some more carpentry. A lot of time has been spent gluing the strips of walnut into what will be the tabletops. The working time for the glue is about 5 minutes, so I can glue up about 5 or 6 strips in that amount of time. I glue a bit, clamp it, let it set for a couple hours, then glue a few more strips. It's a calming ritual.

I've started sanding some of the panels too, a job which will take quite some time. But I'm getting to use a few new sanders that havent' really gotten to prove themselves yet, and that's fun. This week keep up the sanding, and begin to build the under-layer of the table tops - what will become the chair seats in the open position