Thursday, May 27, 2010

Old way for frame and panel construction

A traditional method for frame and panel construction consists in  assembling frames using mortise and tenon joints and inserting panels in grooves cut along the perimeter. the job Success heavily depends on an accurate layout and compliance with the various working stages.

For cutting grooves we will choose a plough plane blade with the same width of the chisel we will use to cut the mortises and which is consistent with the panel thickness (1).

The tenons will be cut on the rails and consequently mortises are positioned on the stiles.  Establish the length of the stiles and cut them leaving few inches at both ends. This spaces (horns) will be useful to work safely during the mortise cutting and avoid splitting problems (2).

Use the rails to mark their position on the stiles and divide the space according to the scheme shown in the picture (3).

Layout tenons on the rails  with a mortise gauge (4): the distance between their shoulders plus the  width of the stiles must correspond to final door width. Use the same mortice gauge for tracing  mortises on the stiles.

Cut mortises and tenon cheeks first (not yet shoulders) (5-6) and realize the grooves on stiles and rails (7-8).

Cut the tenon shoulders and create the haunch (9), the height of such element being equal to the groove depth.

Dry assemble to check all joints and then glue up. When the glue is dried, cut the horns and insert the door into place (in this case a frame has been added).

Friday, May 14, 2010

Jointing Fence

Squaring board edges is one of the typical job for traditional woodworking hand planes where they show their effectiveness. Stanley produced the famous but rare 386 as help  to be applied on side of jointer planes.

Of course best  modern plane makers offer similar solutions. I recently found myself having to do the squaring job on long fir boards,  using the new Stanley 62, a low angle plane with the length of a jack which reproduces the historical N° 62. It is not a jointer but the low-angle configuration offers advantages in softwood planing. The sides are very low, not allowing the anchoring of traditional guides. That required a self-built solution. So I made a simple guide with a beech  board (composed of several pieces assembled for greater stability), reproducing in the upper portion the shape of the  plane and leaving a protrusion from the bottom of the plane of about 7 cm.

Another removable piece, anchored to the main board, covers one of external parts to the mouth ; so,  when you join the guide to the work piece you are within the cutting area of plane. This piece could  be replaced in special situations with a shaped board in order to have a different angle than 90 degrees.


anchorage system consists of two L-plates with a central pivot to create a very effective third type lever in wich the grip is guaranteed by rubber interposed between the plate and the plane.

During processing, the main strength  is carried laterally to held the fence tightly in contact with the board. The knob is used to improve lateral handling. And here it is at work.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sticking Board

When you have to work small in section pieces with molding, plow and rebate planes, may be convenient to use a proper board which helps to keep them steady during planing. It simply consists of a leveled board , at least 150 cm long and with section of about 10 x2, 5 cm. On its surface can be glued  a stright rail (section 4x2, 5 cm).
It is important that the side of the rail is square with the backing surface of the piece. I used some screws inserted at the end of the board; they have the task of stopping the piece during processing. They can be tightened and loosened to allow to avoid the piece escapes from board. If the piece is square it will be sufficient. However, it is convenient to work pieces longer than the final measure to use the edges or parts that will be discarded (cheek of  a tenon in the pic), to ensure all through thin nails. The table is stopped by dogs and lateral vice.