Monday, December 2, 2013

She's Got Legs!

I figured the legs would be the hardest and riskiest part of the project.  52" lock miters in 32 passes on the router table with only 2" to spare at the end of each board seems like a long run with zero room for mistakes. This is not my comfort zone.  Not only do I hate routers, but I also hate ordering more wood when I make mistakes.

I planned for this by ordering enough wood for 1 extra leg, but in assigning parts to boards we decided the grain on these boards would be better used as drawer faces.  I've got one shot at this so I opted to leave the camera home.

I took a little extra time to make sure the boards were perfectly uniform in thickness and width and that each face was square to all other faces.  After setting up the router bit and fence and making several test cuts on scrap wood I began to remove as much potential for human error as possible.  I screwed a tall fence right into the table top that would prevent my boards from moving away from the router fence.  And I clamped an extra fence that would keep my board from lifting up from the table.  There was enough room for me to push the boards through with a dowel rod, but that's about it.

It was nerve-wracking, but with my brother's help we managed to make all 32 passes without any severe problems.  One board had a tiny bit of tear out on an edge, but that's no big deal.  

The legs were glued and clamped, sanded and planed to square again and ready for joinery.  In short order, I drilled the mortises for the skirt and backer board nailing strips.  Overall I'm really happy with how the legs turned out and am glad to have this step behind me.

Problem #1: I cut the skirt rails using the dado stack and they ended up 1/16" too short.  Into the scrap bin!  I made another set by hand and they came out fine.

Mitering the ends of the tenons was no big deal.  I used my crosscut saw and watched the reflection of the wood in the saw plate to make sure it looked like a 90 degree corner.  Easy peasy.

Problem #2: I used the router plane to make all of the tenons uniform in thickness but something must have slipped because it removed more material from one side than the other.  I'm not really sure why, but it's alright.  A couple tenons are a little loose, not a huge problem as they'll be drawbored anyway.

Then I began the top frame that holds the legs at the appropriate distances.  My first set was 1/32" too short and I was having trouble getting things square in a dry fit, so I made an extra front piece and that seemed to solve the problem.  I cut the tails first, clamped everything together and, once square, marked the pin locations on the tops of the legs.  From now on I'll just take my time and make sure the shoulder cuts are as accurate as I can make them.

I used the rip saw to define the outer edges of the pin sockets and then just chopped away with a chisel to clear out the waste.  No big deal.

Here's a couple pics of the progress.

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