stevenbunn Sat, 04/16/2016 - 18:58

Tracy Carved Knuckle Hand-rest (Cont'd)


Back in March I started posting a series of pictures showing the creation of a pair of Tracy pattern carved knuckle hand-rests. I set that series aside while I completed two chairs, and instead posted a number of photos taken when I built a second Shaker work-bench. With those chairs delivered, I am now working to complete one of my large Sack-backs. This chair has hand-rests based on those of Ebeneezer Tracy. As I work on the hand-rests I will continue to post photos of my progress.

The arm bow drilled and fitted to the chair's arm-post.
This picture compresses several steps required to fit the arm bow to the partially assembled chair.
1. A 5/8 inch diameter round thru mortise must be drilled in each hand-rest blank. This chair requires a mortise drilled at 15 degrees to the side and 17 degress to the rear to fit the angles of the arm-post in the seat.
2. I use a tapered reamer to widen the mortise on the blank's underside to help the arm rest fit the curve of the arm-post baluster as it settles in at the height above the seat that I want.
3. As I trial fit both rests, I pare down the tenon and the upper end of arm-post balusters as needed, using a small carving knife. Lots of on and off trial fitting to get everything right.
The hand-rest pattern was drawn on the glued up arm bow earlier. I leave the glued up blank uncut until after I drill the thru mortise. The extra width and length gives me more meat to clamp on too when drilling the mortises.


stevenbunn Sun, 04/10/2016 - 09:20

Just Thinking Out Loud...


Saturday, the mole stuck his nose out of the burrow and traveled to Concord, MA to deliver two chairs. An enjoyable trip all in all. I downloaded written directions from Mapquest. But, I much prefer a real map. The phrase "Maple Street becomes Brook Street" isn't really helpful when you are in the middle of a state forest and the roads are the size of goat paths. Road signs? Good luck with that! I guess the locals still want to confuse the British. After an inadvertant tour of the state forest, I found River Road and all was saved. River Road becomes Monument Street, leading directly to the National Park in the center of Concord. The park is beautiful but I didn't hang around. The trip home to Maine was smoother since I was wise to all the wromg turns made on the trip down.


At home a severe case of the lazies struck. I put my feet up an watched the Masters. Watching the players, I was thinking how lucky these golfers were to be doing something which to me is a hobby. The lucky bastards are playing a game and getting incredible amounts of money and attention. My thoughts, yes even moles have the occassional thought, drifted to "what if sports commentators breathlessly commented on, well, how about woodworking?


Brent: Well Bob, this upcoming rabbet is a tough one.


Bob: You're right Brent. Steve has been working with his push stick coach all week on his new grip. I think its coming together, but this cut is a real challenge!


Brent: Steve steps to the tablesaw. (In the background the crowd hushes.)


I could go on with the fantasy. You can easily string a bunch of sport cliches together and keep this going for quite a while. For someone who works by himself in a woodshop, praise and public attention are rare things.


The Masters starts at 2 PM. But she-who-must-be-obeyed wants to go shopping for a laundry sink this afternoon. Oh Well...


Have a great day. Thanks for stopping by. STB

stevenbunn Fri, 04/08/2016 - 21:02

Goings on in the shop


Things have quieted down a little this week. With two chairs drying after being varnished I stepped out of the shop for a day. No point creating more dust in the air. Instead I came in and wrapped up posting pictures on this blog taken when I built the new Shaker Work Bench several years ago. You are in luck, no more pictures of a partially completed bench. Tomarrow I drive down to Concord, MA to meet and deliver the chairs I just finished. Then on to the next order.

Back in January when I built the long-bed lathe I quickly realized that I needed a new home for my lathe tools. The new lathe sat further away from the wall. My lathe tool rack on the window ledge was harder to reach. And, with a longer lathe, the trip back and forth to the tool rack to grab a new tool became quite a hike. I needed a new way to store the lathe tools, and it would be really great if I could move the cabinet and keep it beside me as I turned. Nice looking, mobile, cheap, did I mention cheap, and oh by the way I was really supposed to be working on paying work.

For the rolling base I decided to make a smaller version of the outfeed table I built to use with the jointer. I liked the outfeed table's turned column legs, and the trestle construction. Considering how fast I throw that project together, the results appealed to me. I wanted a cabinet large enough to hold all the lathe tools and other accessories. On the other hand, I  didn't want the cabinet to be too deep. The cabinet also had to have doors. I like to close the doors and hide the mess. The cabinet had to look nice but not cost an arm and leg. I laid out the lathe tools and took some quick measures. Then I kept the project in the back of my mind as I worked on the important stuff. Here and there over the months since January I built the mobile base, cabinet carcass, spent the odd evening in the shop fitting molding to dress the plain box up, finally building the doors. Today I mounted the doors. There is still stuff to do. I plan on storing items like the lathe tool rests, drive and tail centers, when not in current use, and other tools like a dead-blow mallet and my calipers in the new cabinet. In other words, all the things I reach for when working at the lathe.

The cabinet body was built of 1x6 pine, using what we call here Finish Native, a cheaper grade of pine. As much as possible I used left over material from other jobs. This is readily apparent when you look at the door stiles and rails. There isn't a grain match to be found.


The new  tool cabinet for my lathe tools.
As always, thank you for dropping by. STB


stevenbunn Fri, 04/08/2016 - 07:54

Build a Shaker Work Bench


Done, Finally!


The completed Shaker bench. Almost to pretty to mess up. On to the next thing.
Thank you for stopping by and visiting. STB


stevenbunn Fri, 04/08/2016 - 07:45

Build a Shaker Work Bench


Cut a Notch in the Top Rail


Cut a notch in the base for the tailvise guide rail to pass through.
One more thing to do before saying you're done. Here is a good view of the cleat screwed to the front of the base. The tongue on the front jaw rides along this cleat. With the top screwed back in position, the top and this attached cleat form the groove in which the front jaw tongue travels.
I am about to discover to my dismay that the support cleat is going to get in the way of the vise's cross bar when I attempt to roll the top over and screw it down. I had to unscrew the cleat and then reinstall it after setting the top in position.
This is the fourth tailvise I have built. Seen from the front all appear the same. But due to differences in things like the over hang of the top in relation to the base or top thickness, the supporting structure of the vise has had to be modified each time to fit the bench. On the original Shaker bench I routed a groove in the front edge of the top with a router. A very hairy operation which I didn't want to repeat. That bench top extended far enough past the cabinet base so all I had to do was cut a notch in the base for the guide rail. On the next two benches I screwed a rabbeted cleat to the underside of the bench top.That worked well. On this bench, the large base unit combined with the smaller top limited the top's over hang. I was committed to allowing enough over hang on the left side of the top to install a metal bench vise. This meant that the cross bar the connects the front jaw and guide rail would bump into the side of the bench a prevent the vise from closing. I had to rejigger things and mounted the vcross bar further to the rear of the tail vises's body. You can see this in the picture in the previous post.
stevenbunn Thu, 04/07/2016 - 17:18

Build a Shaker Work Bench


Finish Installing the Tailvise


Think you're done? Noooooo! Flip the top over to install the guide rail, cross bar, and associated cleats that limit the side to side movement of the guide rail as it opens and closes.
This is where things get complicated. The body of the tailvise is held on the bench by the front jaw tongue and the bench screw threaded through the right end cap. As the vise is opened and closed the vise can still wobble wildly. To hold the vise against the front of the bench top, a guide bar running under the top in mortised into the rear jaw. The guide bar passes through a square hole cut in the end cap. The bar runs parrellel with the body of the vise, and is held square to the vise by a cross bar. The whole assembly can still wobble a little so cleats are screwed on both sides of the guide bar to limit it's side to side play. A rail screwed to the front of the bench supports the front jaw's tongue. You can see the support rail extending past the side of the base at the lower left of the picture.This support rail must be unscrewed from the bench temporarily so that it doesn't interfer with the tailvise cross bar when rolling the top over.
stevenbunn Thu, 04/07/2016 - 16:30

Build a Shaker Work Bench


Thread the Bench Screw into the Vise


Pass the bench screw through the hole in the rear jaw. Then thread it through the threaded nut cut in the endcap. Turn the screw until the front of the screw seats in the hole drilled in the back side of the front jaw. The tailvise rests loosely on the projecting end cap, with the front of the vise supported by a cleat housed in a rabbet.



stevenbunn Thu, 04/07/2016 - 16:17

Build a Shaker Work Bench


Mounting the tailvise


A cleat is screwed to the back face of the front jaw. The cleat slides in a rabbet to hold the front of the tailvise level with the top of the workbench. I am testing the fit of the assembled vise, checking for fit and insuring that the threaded end cap has been trimmed back enough to allow the body of the vise to move without binding against the projecting end cap.
Assembly of the tailvise is a complicated process. The body of the vise can be attached to the bench top. But to install the guide bar that passes under the bench top and through a hole in the end cap, you need to unscrew that top and flip it over. Luckily I was able to remove the lag bolts holding the top on at the rear of the base with a socket and a ratchet with a long handle. A better idea would be to not screw the top down until after after installing the tailvise. I got ahead of myself there.
stevenbunn Thu, 04/07/2016 - 07:49

Build a Shaker Work Bench


Locate the Garter Mortise


Set the bench screw in position against the rear jaw and mark the location of the garter. Cut a mortise in the underside of the rear jaw, wide enough for the garter. The garter mortise intersects the hole for the collar of the bench screw drilled through the wide faces of the rear jaw.
The garter mortise intersects with the two-inch dia. hole drilled in the rear jaw into which the bench screw seats. Driving the garter into it's mortise causes the fingers of the garter to  seat in the groove turned in the screw, locking the screw in the rear jaw. Leave the garter long so that you can get a clamp on it to tap it out if you ever need to. After the tailvise is fitted on the bench, I drill a hole in the inside face of the jaw and screw in a wood screw to keep the garter from falling out during use.


stevenbunn Wed, 04/06/2016 - 19:28

What's been happening in the shop?

Based on my recent posts you would never know that my primary focus is building Windsor chairs. Here are two of my latest creations, Fan-back side chairs built for a couple in Connecticut. These chairs are a smaller version of my standard Rhode Island Fan-back Windsor side chair. My customers asked for slightly down-sized chairs to fit a custom made table in their home. I really like the result, and plan on offering this design on my site. Many of the chairs featured on my website started in the same way with suggestions from clients.

Two new Rhode Island Fan-back side chairs ready to go.