It has been several months since I have built anything large, October
last year I think. Anyway my wife wants more storage in her quilting
studio and I designed a couple of two piece cabinets that will be
painted to match all of her other studio furniture. As usual I am using
my front and back face frame methods of building the cabinets with all
mortise and floating tenon jointery and dado and grove jointery, and
some lap joints on the back frame.
Anyway about 18 floating tenons, and 11 dado/groves. Nothing but wood
and glue so far for this particular cabinet. Three to go with two of
them being taller with glass doors.
A test dry fit to make sure all of this fits as planned.
Glued and in the clamps.
Where this will eventually end up.
The color will be mint green but I use different colors to distinguish
different materials so that when I import from Sketchup to Cutlist Plus
I don't have to identify the material again for each piece.
Are you sure you are posting this to the proper group? It as nothing to
do with politics or the price of gas.
I like the idea of them. We're going to be moving my wife's sewing room
and she wants one wall to be display cabinets. I'll have to study your
design to see if I can steal your ideas.
On Sunday, July 19, 2015 at 1:39:53 PM UTC-5, Leon wrote:
Time and again, I've paid attention to many of you all's use of floating te
nons, though I may not have commented. I don't recall using floating teno
ns in the past, but I have lately, and I've seen or understood how well the
y perform by you're and others working, explanations and results.
Lately, I tried hand cutting mortises, for loose tenons, in the walnut tres
tle tabel top. Did okay, but I'm sure a jig and plunge router would have
done a better job, making for the top's edges to be a better aligned (even)
, than with my hand job. In essence, I am not totally pleased with my han
d cut mortises, despite their being fairly good.
I don't have a plunge router. I suppose a plunge router (and jig) is much
more convenient/efficient, than using a standard router, for cutting these
mortises. Kinna like a few years ago, I finally bought a biscuit jointer
and found it easy to use and using biscuits, to be much more convenient tha
n the job of drilling and using dowels.
I suppose it'll be a while before I make any more mortises for floating ten
ons, and I may invest in a plunge router, then.
Your project reminds me, again, to think about getting a plunge router. I
'm lacking the skill and experience to use one, also, as readily as I use m
y standard router.
As always, Leon, your projects are great, in more ways than one.
Might want to consider building a router table and putting a router lift
in it. Gives you very, very precise control--with a good lift and a
good fence you can position to 1/128 of an inch or better. You can DIY
the lift if you want to, there's a brief discussion at
<http://lumberjocks.com/topics/44093 that lists most of the available
Thank you Sonny.
I know a lot of people say that you can't blame your tools if your
project does not come out right. I say if you don't have the right
tools it takes way too long to prove the previous comment.
I can cut many of these type mortises as quickly as cutting a slot for a
biscuit and much more accurately with the right machine.
These would be difficult to cut accurately even with a plunge router.
On Monday, July 20, 2015 at 1:40:45 PM UTC-5, John McCoy wrote:
Yeah, and in conjunction with what Leon said "that you can't blame your too
ls if your project does not come out right" and working "with the right ma
Long explanation, here.
Other things involved in my thinking and with this table project (reminded
by Leon's mortises and tenons, again), kinna brought all my issues/problems
to the fore..... *Issues/problems with this particular table project.
I initially thought my table project was fairly straight forward... and it
is, but subsequent (changing) circumstances didn't allow for my execution o
f the building processes, as simply as I had envisioned, because of those u
nforeseen, unanticipated changes.
I had/have no written plans, only a visual idea of the finished product.
Then, I visualized-worked backwards, in my mental planning, as to each task
to be done, in order to accomplish the end product. With each individual
task, I did measure, calculate, mark, scribe, etc., but the general plans/
schematics were in my head.
1) The table top boards: Rough cut 2" thick, 11'10" long, about 19" wide;
air dried for 2 yrs before beginning work; After drying, they were planed
to 1 3/8" to 1 1/2" thick. There was some slight variation in the planed
thickness, along the length of each board, because of 1) the large size of
the boards and ....
2) Despite the boards being stickered, well, when air dried, and, after hav
ing been planed and the mating edges jointed, there was still some slight w
arping/waviness (not bad) along their lenghts. I had thought the irregul
ar surfaces could be corrected, at least to some extent, with the mortise &
tenon applications.... the remainder of the correction being to sand the s
urfaces, along the mating edges, until even.... And, essentially, this ha
s happened. However, there has been some unexpected other "influences" th
at has crept into the mix.
1) My initial "design idea", for the table top, was to keep each board sepa
rate from the other, i.e., not glued together, because each board is so lar
ge and heavy and each board will expand & contract(humidity/temp). Each ta
ble top board weighs about 75lbs, I'm guessing. It would be difficult to
move that large of table top (the table disassembled), if the three boards
were glued into one piece. So I decided to abandon the glued-up assembly
and have the boards assembled separately. This separate assembly plan pr
esented another issue, with respect to expansion/contraction movement.... t
here would be open "cracks" (separation) along the mating surfaces. This/
these "opening" events will likely have to be corrected by, periodically, m
anually closing the mating joints, from time to time. I don't want to hav
e to do this "manual closing".
2) The use of loose tenons came into play for the unglued top boards assemb
ly..... sounds easy enough, problem solved! My hand cut mortises and teno
ns didn't completely solve the problem, as well as I assumed. The boards
are still moving, i.e., expanding and contracting. Would better-cut mortis
es have helped the problem? Probably, but probably not completely. Shou
ld I have invested in a plunge router and jig, as I had thought, back then
(months ago)? Back then, I had thought hand cut mortises would have been
good enough, so I dismissed the new tool purchase.
For their 11'+ length, I have 7 tenons along each mating edge. Bottom-sid
e view of the table, scroll right for second pic. The tenons are 1"W X 3/
8"thick X 2"L.
I think my walnut table project is worth the effort to get the right tools
for the job and/or have the correct skills to perform the tasks at hand.
Leon's cabinet project, again, made for my re-evaluating the things (tools)
I need to seriously consider, when doing some projects. I am discovering
that this table project is not as some of my past typical, run-of-the-mill
"primitives". I need a better approach, better skills and/or appropriate
tools, to accomplish what I want.
There have been a few other things, with this whole project, that has not g
one as smoothly as I had envisioned. I blame the large size of the boards
for some of the issues.... the slab leg units are still drying, moving/war
ping, a bit; the trestle board is still "moving", also. I ask myself, woul
d having kiln dried the lumber made for more stable lumber? With this proj
ect, I am having to tweak my knowledge(or ignorance?) and skills, an in-pro
gress job, in and of itself.
On Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 3:25:47 PM UTC-5, John McCoy wrote:
Initially, I had wanted to do the whole build by hand, including planing, n
o power tools, at all, but that turned out to be too big of job. I brought
the boards to Lafayette Woodworks and they planed them. A nail was hit i
n the last board, so the guy stopped planing. That board remained 1/8" t
hicker than the other three.... 4 boards were planed and one board didn't p
ass the selection committee. In the end, the guy quoted me $25 for the pla
ning. I paid him $50.
There was some confusion for me, too, with these doings: Glue the joints
or not (and, now, dutchmans are in the mix). No glue meant 3 separate boar
ds to contend with. Gluing the boards meant the "one piece" top would be h
eavy as heck and difficult to move, when/if need be. I had two options for
attaching 1) the table top to the 2) two of two/three piece attaching mecha
nism (sliding dovetail assembly), which attached to 3) each leg unit. Thes
e combo of options presented for several alternatives, confusing when I tri
ed to visualize/compare the workings of each option or option combo, as to
which is best.
Leon's comment and, now, your comment reminded me: Well, duh, I don't have
to worry about movement along a secured joint line, itself. As you say, it
s the edges of the outer boards and the center of the middle board that wil
l move. I did realize this some months ago, but for some reason, I had comp
letely forgotten about that...... thinking too much on the other options, I
guess. Not the only time I've over-thought something and the mind went b
lank to the obvious. Must be the beer or highball, I use for mind food, a
nd/or the Cajun music influence, when in the shop. There've been times, w
alking across the shop, and a good song is playing, I'll do a few two-steps
along the way... keeps my blood flowing, but not necessarily my mind.
The tabletop, whether glued or not: I only need one fixed attachment to eac
h leg unit. The rest of the width can move along the line of its leg. I
don't need the top secured to the legs with any more attachments. The to
p's weight will/should keep it secure, otherwise, even with unruly folks cr
owded around it. The trestle board-leg units assembly is rock solid, when
Surprised he didn't run a metal detector over the material. I have a hand
held wand type detector. Once I calibrate it quickly I never miss a nail. Of
course there are always those boards I'm sure don't have nails that I don't
check that do have a nail in them. Funny part is that it was some old wood
from a fence and the nail was like butter. For me knots have been more
of a problem than nails. One knot chipped my planer blade.
If I read the dimensions right that's quite a big table. Is it a commision
project? It is almost 12 feet long so maybe it's a conference table?
But how did the lumber end up with nails in it?
On Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 9:38:54 AM UTC-5, Electric Comet wrote:
We demolished & salvaged an old cypress house, on the farm, and dozed two n
earby walnut trees in the process. I had the log of one tree and several
large limbs of the other tree milled. The other tree's trunk was no good
for milling, plus it was highly suspect for having metal in it, being so c
lose to the house, more so than the better tree. It's very common for tre
es, especially near homes, to have metal in them. Along old fence lines,
trees likely have wire fencing and nails in them.
Before planing, the boards were thoroughly visibly inspected. Laf. Woodwo
rks was as confident as I, that there were no nails in the boards. The na
il was barely nicked and they decided it was no big deal, hence charging me
only $25. The work was well worth more than that, to me. I was very pl
eased with the planing job. *The nail is still in the board, as character
Five projects, so for, with the salvaged lumber and walnut lumber. There a
re a number of pics, for each, spread about my Flickr pages.
1) No pics, that I recall, were taken for the two bathroom corner cabinets.
2) Shaving horse, made from limb boards. Limb lumber is usually unstable,
stress-loaded, not usually good for building stuff.
3) Faux mantle place, for the camp https://www.flickr.com/photos/43836144@N
4) Gun cabinet, for the camp
5) In-progress trestle dining table, maybe for the camp, not sure yet. http
Original log. Some parts of the forks and parts of the rootballs were tr
immed and given to a woodturner friend - https://www.flickr.com/photos/4383
Old cypress house. The roof's cross pieces, for nailing the wooden shingl
es to, were hand split boards, that the gun cabinet was made with.
On Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 6:58:53 PM UTC-5, Electric Comet wrote:
Thanks. Long ago, I would build bulk furniture, etc, somewhat to compensate for my lack of skills. I'm getting better about that, but I do like the old(?) rural(?) bulky rustic look, to some extent & for some projects.
i like stuff that people care about doing especially if it is not a knock-off
or copy of something else
it always shows through
that old saying about don't let perfect get in the way of good enough
makes a lot of sense to me
i enjoy looking at museum quality pieces but it is not that fun to
obsess over minute details of fit and finish
And highly likely to be plenty sufficient to do the job.
Taking a look at xrays of M&T joints in antique furniture will disavow
you of the idea most old time woodworking was somehow the epitome of
precision when done by hand.
Sure, there are a few bespoke "master works" with precision joinery, but
most product of the old time woodworker wouldn't pass the muster of
today's imaginary magazine standards, which are driven by advertising
dollar, in pursuit of a perfection that rarely ever existed in practice.
Heck, put an x-ray to my mortises and you will see that one side of the
joint, usually the end of a board, has an exact fit Domino mortise and
the opposite mating side has an elongated Domino mortise, width wise, to
give me a touch of wiggle room during the glue up. Precise fit between
the mortise and floating tenon is not at all necessary in this regard.
It is helpful however if the distance from the reference surface is dead
on so that mating pieces outer surfaces share the same plane. ;~)
On Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 8:21:33 AM UTC-5, Swingman wrote:
te their being fairly good.
Actually, the mortises and tenons fit well, together.... tenons have a nice
tight fit into the mortises. The mortise slots' alignments, from board t
o board, is perfect. I had expected these "fittings" to fix the subtle/sl
ight warp (waviness-misalignment), of the boards surfaces, to be better cor
rected. It is the degree of the non-correcting, that I am not totally ple
And thanks for the vote of confidence, that they are plenty sufficient.
give me a touch of wiggle room during the glue up.
At one time, I had thought to glue the table top boards together. Their s
ize made me rethink that. For smaller boards, gluing is fine, but maybe n
ot for these large of boards, planks.
I may reconsider gluing them. Another option, I had considered, was to ins
tall 4 or 5 dutchmans along each mating joint, on the underside of the tabl
etop. Not sure how well top-surface dutchmans would look, for secondary d
ecor function. Wonder if 4 or 5 topside dutchmans would be overkill, look
inappropriate for decor? Maybe 3 per joint topside and 2 per joint botto
mside. Don't know if I can do justice to this project, with exposed dutchm
ans, as well as George Nakashima would do, but the more I think about it, t
he more appealing it is. I do pretty good dutchmans, also. There's one o
n the underside of one board, securing a check.
You have heard Swingman and I say this at least once before. ;~)
In my very early years I started a project from a few measurements and a
picture in my mind. The projects came out well but took for eeeeeeever.
Then came the computer and CAD, my first computer was in 1986. I was
building serious furniture 8 years before that. I went through probably
5~7 different brands of CAD software including AutoCAD LT. All were an
Then about 8~9 years ago Swingman and I tried Sketchup one more time. I
think both of us had tried earlier versions and removed them but the
last time we both saw improvements and have not looked back.
Adding simple to use 3D greatly improves the ability to see exactly how
a project will look in its finished form. Additionally you literally
build your drawing as you would your project in the shop, piece by piece
as components. so add dutch-mans in the drawing and see for yourself it
they will be too much. ;~)
Another thing I like to do for my customers is draw the room that the
piece of furniture will fit into so that they can see the scale to the
room shape and size.
The link below is to a pretty complex drawing. This drawing is our home
with my garage shop and all of the furniture that I have built, for our
home. I have on occasion changed the color of a piece after placing it
this model as the original color did not go well.
FWIW every thing you see that is placed in the house model can be
removed and edited. Basically all of the furniture can be moved,
rotated, disassembled and viewed in explicit detail exactly how it was
In fact if you look at the top floor, my wife's quilting studio, you
will see again the model of the cabinet that I am currently building.
Sketchup is a free program and a priceless tool, not to mention a lot of
I learned the other day, it is still "a lot of fun" if you fall out of
practice with it! ;)
Maybe part of it was the new version seemed a little bit different that
the old. I recall
I used to be able to have a bunch of bottons on the *left*, but I
couldn't figure out how to
get them there. I am using a version I downloaded in 2015.
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