Monday, May 30, 2016

Project Update: Leg Chop

The glue-up of the crisscross mortise template went well.

I know I should have left more wood on the ends, but it worked out fine when I routed out the leg. I started with a pretty short top-bearing router bit to get a deep enough notch in the leg that I could go with a longer bit to complete the mortise. at 1 7/8" deep, 3/4" wide, 19 1/2" long.

Once finished, I cleaned up the corners with a 1/2" chisel and test-fitted the crisscross.

When I was happy with the fit, I went back to the chop. As you may recall, I had to purchase a little more red oak to laminate onto the existing piece intended for the chop. A little Titebond I, a few top-bars and some drying time yielded a great result.

The trouble was, though, my table saw was burning wood every time I cut something with it. Not only was this frustrating because it marred my work cosmetically, it was dangerous because it told me something, somewhere, was binding the wood, which could result in a serious injury from a kickback. I mentioned this to Random Roger Green during his last visit and we took about 30 minutes to loosen up the table top and realign it with some encouragement from a large, rubber mallet. The fence also needed some alignment, which means I had somehow created a perfect storm of misalignments.

When we were done, the saw cut a test piece perfectly - no burning, no binding and no fear. I had cut the chop to size before we made the adjustments to the table saw, so the sides required some super-thin planing to rid them of burn marks. Not frustrating at all.

The irony of using a hand plane to plane down the chop sides meant for a workbench on which I will primarily do hand planing was not lost on me.

When that was done, I started the exacting process of lining out the chop mortise and screw hole on the bench-facing side of the chop. This is tedious and nerve-wracking work because everything must be laid out perfectly or bye-bye choppy.

I did this before Random Roger's visit, so things were off a bit - I was just lining it out for estimation. With his help, I was able to draw everything out for final cutting using a drill press and some interesting Forstner bits. I'll most likely end up finishing the chop mortise and cuts at Roger's place - he has a professional-grade shop that makes mine look like a silly hobby space, which, of course, it is.

Until next time...

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