Hope Springs Eternal

May 18, 2012

While the this blog has remained silent for many months, my shop has been quite busy. The noise of production machinery has dominated my hours but there have been the occasional soothing quiet moments to help bring some balance back into life. Finely sharpened crosscut  teeth slicing into walnut and releasing its familiar aroma always brings a smile. The tap-tap-tap of mallet gently persuading a chisel to do its work and the swoosh of a hand plane relieving a panel of one last, almost immeasurable, shaving also helps to relieve the stress of the day. 

I have been able to take these scattered moments of time and slowly make some progress on the Hope Chest project. I will try to catch up on the story over the next  few entries.

The last blog was about Mortises, This blog will be about the tenons. The primary tools needed for cutting tenons are a marking knife, marking gauge, square, rip and crosscut backsaws and a paring chisel. A shoulder plane can also come in handy for larger tenons.  I had many small tenons to cut so I chose to use my two finest saws, both made by my friend Mike Wenzloff.  The one with an African Blackwood handle is a 16 tpi rip profile and the one with a rosewood handle is an 18 tpi crosscut profile thin plate saw. I love them both.

The first step was to transfer all of my layout lines from my story stick to the actual workpiece using a square and a marking knife. This is a very accurate way of making certain your rails end up being the correct length and aide greatly in achieving well fitting joints and  a square end product.

A marking gauge is used to transfer the shoulder lines all around the workpiece. This is a gauge made by Jeff Hamilton and is a pleasure to use. I also use a marking gauge to mark out the width and locations of the tenon cheeks. Here it is nice to have either an actual mortise gauge with two pins or several marking gauges so you do not have to be constantly adjusting your gauges and introducing error to your layouts.


I like to give a small relief cut with a chisel to the corners of my layout lines to help establish the initial kerf
for the saw.

I cut the cheeks first and then the shoulders. Why? I have no idea. It seemed right at the time.

My sawing is not cut-and-go quality so I tend to error on the conservative side and do a little touch up with a paring chisel.

And Finally......the nearly finished joint.  Only 31 more to go!  Next we will look at adding all of the mitered intersections and doing some dry fitting of the frame assembly.  Hopefully it will start to look like something of value soon. Thanks for hanging in there with me. Dave

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