02 March 2009

Still sticks...

Things have been progressing in the 'shop over the weekend. I intended to get out there on Sat but as the brake blocks on the Blokebike (say that after a couple of pints, could end up as Blokeblocks on the brakebike...) were worn down to the rim, an urgent trip into town was called for to get hold of some replacements. Sunday was a good day though and I managed to crack on a bit with the table. This job is only small, but there seems to be a hell of a lot work in it for its size, sixteen ordinary mortise and tenons, sixteen 'birds mouth' m/t with loose tenons as well as eight halving joints and a lot of shaping work, which reminds me...do you know just how bloody awkward a supposedly simple halving joints is?
Halving joints are beloved of all woodwork teachers (and I'm no exception) being an essential part of the time honoured tea pot stand that must have been made in their millions in schools years ago. The actual joint requires extreme precision to go together really accurately and has to be made under size and then shot in to fit well. I made the rails 20mm thick which is fine, but then when a halving joint's made with material that size, what tends to be forgotten is cleaning up the sides for the final assembly, so there you are merrily planing away on all four sides ...and then after a shaving too much you find that you've got a sloppy fit, with gaps at the intersections! Now maybe that's not too critical in a school workshop situation, but when it's a piece of cabinet work, things take on a slightly different perspective...there can be no gaps. What I decided to do was to make the halving joints 19mm wide which is then going to leave me .5mm each side to shoot in so hopefully, with any luck and a following wind, they should pull up in the approved manner...squeeky tight! The halving joint is a traditional hand tool, 'galootish' sort of joint (which is why it was always done in schools) but I decided to go the extra mile and level up the horizontal part with a router so I know that at least that bit's spot on.
I digress. During the course of my beaverings on Sunday, SWIMBO got bored after scurfing t'internet for a couple of hours and decided to check on progress mid morning outside in the 'shop. I'd enthusiastically recounted how I was getting back 'in the groove' after a week away and I suppose she was hoping to find at least something partly assembled that vaguely looked like the outline of a coffee table.
"So where's this table then?" she asked as I just pointed to the pile of wood under the bench..."but it's still sticks!" You cant' win.

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