Last week, I got the third...
dovetail mortises completed. I can now see why hardwoods are much sought after bench materials. This fir is so soft and tears out so easily it's been pretty difficult to get straight joints worked up. It can be quite frustrating, but, as my friend, the Dutch Luthier (Jan van Capelle), reminded me: I can swell gaps and goofiness up a little later with some well-placed water droplets.
You can see the result of cutting out a single mortise in the photo below. It is, as I like to say, all in a day's work.
Once I was reasonably satisfied with my work on the dovetails, it was time to work on the rectangular mortises. First, I drilled a few holes on both sides using a Forstner bit.
I started on the bottom and finished on the top. In hindsight, I probably should have used a smaller bit and finished up with a jig saw to cut finer lines from the holes to the sides, you know, as Random Roger Green recommended. This is basically kerfing that would have allowed me to work the chisel using the jig saw cuts as index lines and it would have split the pieces that needed to be cut into finer, straighter chunks.
Like anything in the woodworking world, there are as many ways to cut mortises as there are woodworkers. As I say about harpsichord builders, ask ten woodworkers for advice and you'll get twelve good, solid answers.
Oddly, I didn't take any progress photos while trimming out the first rectangular hole. I took one when I was finished for the day; fatigue had started to set in and I was becoming sloppy.
As you can see, I still have a little cleanup and straightening to do. One thing I'm learning about working in the shop is to discern when enough is enough. I had been enlisted on Saturday to smoke some meat for a friend's meatfest gathering and I made the faulty decision to work on the hole after cooking for six hours and joining in the meatfestivities. This was a choice for which I am still paying with a fair amount of pain and suffering. The great irony in all of this is that I'm currently working on a book and videos for woodworkers about stretching, planning, scheduling, knowing when enough is enough, etc.
I guess it's time to start walking my talk.
Until next time...