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Archives for August 2010

A Multidrawer Wall Cabinet for the Workshop

“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”
Michaelangelo Buonarrroti
1474-1564, Italian Renaissance Painter and Sculptor

A few years ago Fine Woodworking magazine and offered a woodworking article titled “Build a Multidrawer Wall Cabinet” presented by woodworker, Chris Gochnour. It’s a great magazine article as Chris goes into the details of building a 12-drawer Shaker style wall cabinet and the eleven part woodworking video allows for an even greater depth of coverage. The construction of the cabinet requires one’s focus and commitment to accuracy.

Multidrawer wall cabinet

12 drawer Shaker style wall mount apothecary

Sometime after reading the article I was in my woodworking shop and feeling a need for better organization. (Have you ever had this thought cross your mind while in your shop?) So, when thinking of woodworking ideas for a project I decided that I could improve the organization of my hardware by building this multi-drawer wall cabinet. I did not feel a need to make it out of cherry or any other hardwood because this was to be simply a wall mount cabinet for the shop. However, it needed to be built to last and so I chose to use 1/2″ Baltic Birch plywood for the carcase and also for the cabinet drawer sides and back. Hard maple was used for the drawer front along with a Shaker style cabinet knob with 1/4′ diameter tenons. The drawer bottom is made of simple hardboard that was conveniently available in the shop.

My attitude towards taking on this project was twofold. The cabinet would serve a direct purpose in the woodworking shop by housing hardware and the wood project would also present a challenge to me and therefore make for good practice. And so it was “Game On.”

While the finished Shaker cabinet has a simple look about it there certainly can be complexities to it if you are not careful. The reason the cabinet and drawers appear simple is due to the fact of careful layout and careful construction. The dimensions of the carcase directly relate to the sizing of the drawers. If you are right on then there is no problem. On the other hand, if you get off a little with your dimensions you could create new challenges.

Drawer from Multidrawer wall cabinet

Apothecary Shaker style drawer with maple turned knob..

In my previous post titled The Practice of Woodworking we discussed the importance of our dedication to our woodworking craft and of the improvement of our skill levels through practicing. Here, we can learn through our mistakes and we can learn how to correct our mistakes. Perhaps there is no better teacher!

Especially, for those of you who are The Apprentice (beginning woodworkers), remember to visualize your finished project as you desire it to appear. Have this mental image before you even pick up the material or your tools. Then start your project and maintain this image throughout the building stage. Hold this image until completion. Enjoy the process!

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

The Practice of Woodworking

How often do we practice the craft of woodworking? Perhaps this should be restated as “How often do we take the time to practice our craft in the woodworking shop? So, what if we could perfect our woodworking skills by mastering practice? Afterall, everything we do in woodworking revolves around our set of skills.

Most of us probably think in terms of what we want to do for our next project and then we draw or obtain woodworking plans in preparation. From there we may need to pick up woodworking supplies or materials as well. It seems so often we as woodworkers talk and think in terms of the next woodworking projects or the woodworking jobs in which we are currently involved.

Wood Lathe practice

Practicing spindle techniques from a beginning woodturner.

However, when do we make time to practice with our tools and focus on woodworking techniques? When do we find the time to experiment and test a woodworking idea or a method. If we are not setting aside the time to practice and allow for mistakes we wind up taking chances and possibly making the errors during times when there is no margin for error.

Many of us are sports fans. How often do the greats of the sport practice? In football they generally play once a week and the rest of the time the team is preparing for their next game. In sports you will see teams have tryouts and training camps before the season opens. In baseball when a relief pitcher is going to come into the game you can bet he has already warmed up in the bullpen. How many hours do professional golfers spend at the driving range? The list goes on and on.

Using these examples one can clearly see that if you want to be good at what you choose to do then all you really need to do is get in some practice. Yet again, if you want to excel at your craft, how much practice do you really need? Perhaps to answer this question the answer lies within the individual woodworker. Maybe another question reveals itself. How good or great do we want to become? How much effort do we want to put into it? Again, these are questions that only the individual woodworker can answer for themselves.

Through practice we learn more about our strengths and our weaknesses. We may find that we can cut a perfect tenon on the table saw, but then we have difficulty producing the same tenon with a handsaw. By practicing we can work out the bugs that occur when we are in the middle of a project. For example, have you ever been in the middle of a glue-up of a woodworking project where you’ve spread the glue on the material and the glue is starting to set up, but you find yourself missing woodworking clamps or a caul? Perhaps if we play out and practice this scenario prior to the glue up there would be less margin for error and less stress involved.

Just like watching a great athlete, it’s great to watch a seasoned woodworker go about the wood craft. When your eyes follow the repetitive movement of a skilled craftsman while he is hand planing a board with thin shavings falling to the floor, your mind senses and instinctively knows that this woodworker is experienced, confident, and well practiced. You can spot these features if you are 10 feet away from him or 50 yards away.

The chances are that if you have read this far into this article, you will listen to and understand the value of practice. A good woodworking school will point this out. The practice of woodworking basics will elevate your personal growth in the wood craft while at the same time improve your skills. As a result, you will feel more comfortable and in tune with the craft. They say that golf is 90% mental. If so, the remaining 10% must be physical with a reflex action due to muscle memory. We know that the golfer’s physical performance is directly proportional to his practice. So, why would woodworking be any different?

The more you practice woodworking, the more fine woodworking you will create. Relax and stay focused as you practice on scrap material. If you make a mistake now it’s OK. Learn from it. It’s better to make the mistake now. Just as we hone our chisels and plane irons we need to keep our skills sharp as well.

Gary Rogowski writes of Joinery practice in a Fine Woodworking article. Gary also did a video of the Five-Minute Dovetail.

How often do I practice?
When beginning woodworking, how much do I need to practice?
What woodworking techniques should I practice?

Just a Thought:
The 100% theory…If we were to improve our skills in woodworking 1% a day, how much would we improve after 100 days?

Be your best!

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

14…How to Create Dentil Moulding

Dentil mouldings are a distinctive member of the classical moulding family. Often you will see a distinguished building and then when you look up to view the architectural moulding of the cornice you will very often see dentils as one of the cornice members. The same holds true for furniture. Visit a museum that features fine woodworking from the past few hundred years and you are sure to find a furniture piece with a cornice that includes millwork such as dentil moulding.

So, if you were building furniture today and wanted to apply a moulding trim of dentals how would you secure the moulding? Sure, you could purchase some online or perhaps there is a planing mill in the area where it could be purchased. However, what if you could make dentil moulding in your own woodworking shop? The above video tutorial demonstrates how to make decorative dentil moulding for furniture trim. The key to making dentil moulding is having a shop made Dedicated Dado Sled for the table saw

When you have the Dado Sled available you will be finding uses for it in a very short time. The dentil moulding that you see in the video is cherry moulding. It was produced from an off fall ripping of cherry from a previous project. However, if you were to go out and purchase dentil moulding for your woodworking project, what would it cost? Then again, when you decide to create dentil moulding for your own wood project you as a craftsman may find yourself feeling a whole lot better about yourself and the craft of woodworking.

Note: The Dedicated Miter Sled for the Table Saw was used to cut the miter returns for the Dentil moulding.

There is an indexing pin to control equal spacing as the series of dado cuts are made. Also, notice that there is an auxiliary fence with 1/4″ holes at the fence bottom to house the indexing pin. The auxiliary fence has a dado which houses T track on the unseen side of the fence. Two T bolts are in the T track and the bolts extend through drilled holes of the main fence. Two star knobs on the main fence fasten the T bolts thus securing the auxiliary fence in place. The auxiliary fence allows for lateral adjustments which in turn control the spacing of the dado cuts being made when using the indexing pin.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

A French Built Dedicated Miter Sled

Hello Bob
I’ve seen one of yours videos ( a very interesting video) for a miter sled
I’ve decided to do one for my table saw : all is in the video

Thanks a lot for all yours videos

Have a nice day

Diggerjacks – France

A fellow woodworker who lives in France recently saw one of The Apprentice and The Journeyman’s woodworking videos, Building a Dedicated Miter Sled for the Table Saw. So, he decided to build table saw sled for his workshop. This dedicated miter sled certainly is a beauty and is very well made. It has a plywood base and the woodworker has wisely selected straight grained wood for his fences. Notice how the tall sweeping fence allows for the hands to comfortably push the sled with plenty of clearance from the saw blade. It’s a smart safety feature as well as an elegant design. With an accurate interior fence set at dead-on 90 degrees our fellow woodworker has elevated his woodworking and now he will be confidently cutting perfect table saw miters with ease for a long time. Also, by using a stop block and a clamp along the interior fences he can control the lengths of his cuts with precision.

Another great feature of the sled is that it can also serve as a crosscut sled. 90 degree cuts can also be made when placing stock against the tall fence closest to the woodworker. One can see that the interior fence have an adequate length to cut miters and yet there is also ample room for making crosscuts as well. This is very handy for making quick square cuts and also repetitive uniform cuts of equal length when a stop block is in place.The dedicated miter sled allows for excellent control, dead-on accuracy, and the ability to go into shop production mode for fine woodworking.

Diggerjacks…Great job and thank you for sending in the comment and pictures of your recent build to share with fellow woodworkers!
If you have a build that they would like to share please send your message as well as the pictures of your wood projects.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

13…Let’s Build a Dedicated Dado Sled for the Table Saw

This episode is part of the Let’s Build Series

The dedicated dado sled for the table saw is a highly versatile woodworking shop fixture that can expand the woodworking approaches used by many woodworkers. (The woodworking video shows how to make a precision dado sled for the tablesaw.) Dado blades are used on the table saw instead of a typical saw blade and the dado blades are often said to be “stacked.” This term implies that the dado blades, chippers, and shims are combined to create a certain width. For example, a width of a dado may be determined by the thickness of shelves in a bookcase that will fit into the dado. Perhaps you want to create dentil moulding. The dado sled is an excellent choice for repetitive cuts. As you can imagine this shop accessory can be very useful to the cabinet maker, the custom furniture maker, or the typical woodworker as the dado widths can be adjusted up to 13/16″ on this crosscut sled.

Joinery that can be cut with this table saw sled include: slots, dadoes, grooves, half laps joints, rabbets, and finger joints. As mentioned previously, you can even make your own dentil moulding for a cornice with the dado sled. A reference key is set up on the dado sled fence to control the equal spacing of the dentils just as it is done for creating finger joints. The adjustable dado spacing feature is an add on to the basic dado sled, however you will find it very easy to build and quite useful.

Take incremental passes with the dado blade to increase the depth of cut. How much material you remove at one time will depend upon the density of the material being cut.
A dado set may be purchased as a “stacked dado” set or an adjustable wobble set.
Most dado blades sold today are carbide saw blades.
Dado saw blades can be used in the table saw or radial arm saw.
Dado blades work well on hardwoods, soft woods, and sheet goods. Use the instruction manual that comes with the dado blade set as a guide.
A dado table saw sled is economical to build and is highly effective for production work.
Set the dado sled for zero clearance for safety and to avoid tearout.
(If you have made a wide dado and now want a narrow dado.)To create a fresh zero clearance you can simply layer the the top of the sled’s base with a thin sheet of plywood or mdf. Make sure to firmly attach the new surface to the existing sled with screws or double stick tape.
On the fence directly in front of the operator there is a 4” x 4” block of wood. This is installed as a constant reminder of the spinning blades of the dado blade. The top of the block is elevated far above the blades and can serve as a handle for pushing and pulling the dado sled. Always use caution and think safety first.

The dado set used in the above woodworking video is the Freud SD508 Super Dado 8-inch Stack Dado. The set includes 2 blades, a shim set, 6 chippers, and a protective case. The blades are eight inch, 24-tooth blades for table saws with 5/8″ arbors.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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