Is there still Hope?

November 28, 2011

Wow, what a fall!  I have been very busy and time has flown by.  I did manage to grab a few spare moments to work on the Hope Chest project.  I suspect that some of you struggle with keeping a project on task as I do; we need to support and encourage each other! Here is a quick update and some pictures to show my slow progress.

After squaring up  the legs and marking the locations of the mortises with the story stick, it was time to make some mortises. I have an older English-style mortising chisel that measures approximately 5/16 inch in width. I used this and my trusty mallet to make the mortises. I have not had much practice mortising and I was worried about doing a good enough job. After some practice I decided to make a simple jig that would assist me in quickly locating plumb and also keep the chisel aligned with my layout lines. It is basically a right angle of wood that also acts as a fence.  It worked very well and gave me a little more confidence. Walnut is fairly easy to work with and the mortises were not very large so my standard round mallet did a great job.  If I were to get into more serious mortising, I think I would use a larger, rectangular head mallet. hmmmm!

I also used a square to check for plumb during the chiseling operation. The hardest part is getting the chips out of the deep mortises. It may be difficult to tell from the design, but where the rails will meet the legs, about 1/4" of material will be relieved with mitered corners, therefore the mortises needed to be 1/4 inch deeper then the final depth will end up being.

I used a paring chisel to clean up my work. This is where a long blade is handy because
it helps in keeping your work nice and square.

After mortising all 24 mortises I used a bandsaw to rough cut the double-flared profile of the legs. I used tape and some dabs of CA glue to hold the off-cuts while I cut the adjacent profile.

The results are starting to look the drawing!

The next step was to add the bead detail which will surround the panels and drawer fronts. Due to the curvature of the legs, I was not able to use a molding plane to full depth along the entire leg.  I started the profile using the plane and completed as much as I could.

I made a scratch stock blade that perfectly matched the molding plane profile and used that to finish off the beads. The holder shown in the photo is one I purchased many years ago from Kansas City Tool Works. I do not think they are in business any longer but it is a beautiful tool.  I may make a finishing scratch
stock with a final depth stop as it is very difficult to control the
depth where the wood changes direction and results in a bit of waviness. It gives it that "hand made" look.

So now the legs are roughed out with a few details added. The next step will be to work on the rails. I am hoping to squeeze in some hours between now and Christmas. Until then, enjoy the Christmas season and take time to reflect on what it is all about..

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