Sunday, February 1, 2015

Day 68: The Sharp Key Tops

As you know from my last post, I was preparing to rip the 1/16" (2 mm) quarter sawn oak veneers for the sharp key tops. As I was lining things up last night, I remembered a handy jig/push stick I had recently seen in a woodworking book; it's a contraption that straddles the table saw rip fence, keeping my delicate, little fingies far away from the saw blade as I make cuts. It took me about 20 minutes to measure, cut and assemble the creature in the photo below.

Notice the adjustable tab on the left side; this piece pushes at the end of the wood while holding it down with its side. Granted, the sides are a bit thick at 3/4" for thin ripping, so I'll be working up another with thinner sides soon. Regardless, I used it to rip most of the veneer sheets you see in the photo below from a $7 piece of red oak I purchased from Home Depot.

Once I got them sliced up, I went ahead and cut them to length at 6.7 cm (yes, I've almost completely shifted to metric measurements and will use both systems interchangeably moving forward) using the miter box I built along with a fine-toothed hand saw.

Now, the interesting thing about this is that 3/4" = 1.9 cm and it just so happened that I needed the key tops to be 9 mm in width. When I discovered I might be able to get two tops from each piece, I measured the kerf width of Little Buddy's (my 12" band saw) blade and, wonder of wonders, it's exactly 1 mm wide! This meant I could cut each piece in half and have leftovers for another instrument or purpose.

Once I had completed halving them, I glued up two of the 21 using the hide glue to see how the glue would perform and how they would look the next day.

This morning they looked great. I know my design style approach is a bit unorthodox, especially for you purists out there, but it's going to stay in my home and I wanted it to match our other Craftsman style furniture (hence the quarter sawn red oak).

Since I was quite happy with the results, I went ahead and glued the remaining 19 key tops, this time using frog tape to secure them while drying.

My idea about using quarter sawn red oak for the sharp key tops might be one of my best hair-brained schemes, yet. I believe it will work out fine - it's just wood, right?

Until next time...

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