25 May 2009

Socket to me!

I was pottering about in the 'shop yesterday evening as you do, having a bit of a tidy up, when I suddenly remembered something that I'd wanted to have a go at for a while. I see lots of references to other people cutting the waste from lapped dovetails with a router, which is a technique I've never done (as I've always chopped them out with a chisel)...so I thought I'd have a go! I hoicked out a bit of gash oak and maple from the oddments drawer under the bench and cut a couple of tails in the oak (which was about 10mm thick, so the sort of stuff used for drawer sides) marked out the sockets in the maple and set up the router. I decided to go straight in and remove the waste without sawing the socket profile (as normal) which in the event was a mistake...you do need to do the initial cuts to define the socket before the routing. All I did was to set up the router to the exact depth of the socket...I've found these invaluable (one of my Christmas presents last year) for setting the precise depth (other wise it's a bit of a 'hit and miss' affair on my router) and then I just nibbled away at the waste, plunging to exactly the right depth each time. Afterwards it was just a case of cleaning out the corners and I found a couple of fish tailed chisels (again, many thanks to Ian at Axminster for those) from LN very useful for that little job.
The advantage of using the router is that the distance in from the end of the pin board can be set exactly with the router fence so that you can plunge exactly on the knife line and finish at the right depth, which means that you've guaranteed a dead square socket...in theory!

I've also managed to get the Frame Saw pretty much finished over the weekend as well. As there's a lot of ash in it, I decided not to go for an oiled finish as over time it'll turn a sickly 'wee' colour, so I opted for a few coats of acrylic varnish with some wax over the top, with the centre stretcher polished with shellac. I just need to get hold of some 4mm steel rod for the retaining pins in the handel and a bit of 6mm studding from one of the 'sheds' There was a bit of accurate metalwork needed in drilling the blade holes at exactly 570mm centres but that all went hunky-doodly so I'm moderatly chuffed with the outcome...all that remains is to see if it works well when the tension is wound on.

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