Tuesday, 23 December 2008

No polo neck jumpers

I have now broken up for a few days over Christmas, but will be back in the workshop next week.

For the last couple of days I have been putting coats of oil on the carcass. This involves sanding it down, hoover off the dust, apply the oil, lets it dry over night. Then repeat the process. It takes time to get a nice smooth finish, but it is worth doing it correctly as a poor finish can let down a finished piece.

Here is a picture of the tall boy with the drawers and top fitted.

I will be working on the handles next...but I need to get my head round how I am going to make them yet. That is something to do over the next few days in between a mince pie or two.

Have a good Christmas everybody!

Monday, 22 December 2008

21 days later

For the last few weeks I have been making the drawers for my cabinet.

When I was training, we were told to allow three days per drawer, so with the seven drawers I am making gives a total of 21 days. No wonder it seems like I have been making them forever!
Let me tell you why making a drawer takes so long, and I am sure you are thinking ‘it is only an open top box’.

Well, you are correct, as a drawer is basically and open top box. But it has to be a box that is square, stable, fit into a hole, and have dovetail joints to make life fun. Each drawer I am making has twelve separate components, giving an overall total of 84 components – and that excludes the frames the drawers run on (an extra 48 components if you are interested).

The sides of the drawer must be made from timber that is dry and stable. Ideally it should be made from wood that is quarter sawn as it is very stable and does not move significantly, but finding good quality wood sawn this way is very hard. I have made my drawer sides from American cherry as it come shipped very dry, and the way I have cut it gives me sides that are near enough quarter sawn.

The joints on drawers are traditionally done as dovetails as these are very strong and resist the forces put on a drawer each time it is open. A jig can be purchased to machine cut the joints, but on my drawers they are all hand cut – you get a much more elegant joint if they are hand cut.
For the drawer bottoms, I am using Cedar of Lebanon. This is a traditional wood for drawer bottoms as it has a wonderful smell that is supposed to keep at bay any insect attack. I do personally love the aroma you get when a cedar-bottomed drawer is opened.

But that still doesn’t really say why it will take about 21 days to make the drawers…just believe me, it does!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

A sudden cold snap

It has been cold here in London during the past few days. Even a bit of snow over the weekend, but I wasn't in town to see it.

There is nothing more unpleasant than having to work in a cold workshop. Your hands get cold, your feet get cold, and it is very hard to concentrate on what you are doing. And when you don't concentrate a mistake is bound to be made.

Lucky for me, the workshop I am in is nice and snug. A couple of years ago, the owners had an industrial gas heater installed. It is rather like a very large hair-dryer that blows out a vast amount of hot air. It gets the whole workshop warm in minutes.

The only downside is that I have no excuse to loose concentration and let my mind wander!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Gluing the carcass - phase two

In the previous post, I was gluing the drawer frames to the carcass sides. The next stage is to glue the back panel and legs to the side assembly.

Once again it is done in a couple of stages. First I glued the two back legs to the back panel. Once this was dry these two assemblies come together. All that is missing are the two front legs. These two are glued on one at a time. It just makes it easier and less chance of mishaps.

Here you can see the final leg being glued on. It did the front leg glue-up with the carcass standing vertically. This is to ensure the legs are level and the carcass does not wobble.

And here it is...one glued up carcass.
Now I am working on the drawers.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Gluing the carcass - phase one.

I have been doing the first of many glue-ups today. This is always where it gets very stressful as if something is stuck in the wrong place then it usually means starting that piece again. Hence care must be taken!

What I have been doing is taking the drawer frames (the things that the drawer sits on and runs on) and gluing them to the carcass sides. As I have eight frames, each with four joins, that gives a total if my maths is correct of thirty two joints. The best way to attack this is in stages, which is just what I have been doing.

To make things easy, I glued the frames to one carcass side first - but only a couple of frames at a time. This then lead to the big glue-up when I had to glue the other carcass side to the frames. This had to be done in one big hit.

This picture shows that final glue-up, during which I had to use all the clamps I own, plus a couple of others from the workshop. You can never have too many clamps!

The next stage will be to assemble the back panel and gluing on the legs. But that is for another day.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Who needs Brain Training on a DS?

I don't, for one! Not after spending a day working out how the pieces of my tallboy carcass fit together. Okay, I do know how they fit, but working out all the joint work was a bit mind taxing. Let me tell you why....

I have lots of pieces of wood that need to be stuck together, but rather than being flush to each other, they have to be offset by a few millimeters. All that really needs to happen is I cut the joints offset. But that is where the problem lies - how do I work out the offset and how do I make sure the offset is in the correct direction?

The best way to solve a problem like that is to do some test pieces - make the joints in scraps of wood before you do it on the real thing.

Anyway, after I did the joint work I did put the carcass together, it did fit correctly. Doing test pieces is well worth it.

By the end of the day, I could feel my neurons well and truly stimulated.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

My current project.

At the moment, the project I am working on is a tallboy chest of drawers standing 1.4 meters tall.

It is made from English cherry and American walnut, and has seven drawers each slightly larger than the one above. The sides, back and drawer fronts are made from the cherry, while the legs are made from the walnut.

The legs of the tallboy are tapered in a curved shape, similar to the boxes in my website gallery.

I think it will look good when complete.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Welcome to my Blog

Welcome to the first posting on my blog. So what is it all about?

Well, to put it in a nutshell, you can read all about the furniture I make. Simple as that! I will write about the items I am making, what I am doing in the workshop, what is being planned...all sorts of things really.

I have a website that shows all the furniture I have made, and gives more background information about me. You can find it at http://www.jonathanpearcefinefurniture.com. Have a look there too.

So please come back from time to time. You may get hooked!