The scrap wood project marches on to the tune of “The March of the Three Toed Sloth”, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The problem part of the project is that I am not logging the hours in the shop that I should be, but the good part of the slow progress is the fact that I am really taking my time and doing all the joinery by hand.
The legs attach to the shelves via dados. Now a dado is pretty much a snap to make with a stacked dado cutter on your table saw, or cut with a router, but there are some issues which prevented me from using the power tools to do this job. First, one of the shelves is 1/64th thinner that than the other boards, and second, the location has to be really precise and perfectly parallel to the floor. Well now, that just leaves one choice doesn’t it?! Hand tools to the rescue!
Marking out the layout of the dados on the legs took almost an hour. I used my marking knife, a fine ruler and a combination square to mark the lines to be really exact. I used a hand saw to cut the side walls of the dados; and to make sure the edges stayed nice and clean from the saw cut, I used a ‘first class’ saw cut. First-class sawing is used for all really important joints that will be visible. After marking out the layout lines with a knife, you deepen the cuts with a chisel. Next, you pare away a wedge-shaped piece of wood on the waste side, working up to the widened knife line. The second chisel cut must be deep enough so that the set of the saw’s teeth is below the face of the work. Then you place your saw into the chiseled notch and make the cut. By using a chisel to define the kerf of my saw, I eliminated the problem of the saw’s teeth tearing at the surface of the work. I used the same method on the sides to make the side of the joint crisp and clean too.
After the sides are cut, I used a chisel to pare away the waste in the dados and used my router plane to make the bottom of the dado dead flat and clean.
Now I need to cut the notches for the shelves. More on that later.
And now for something completely different: I attended a Wine Tasting and Art Fair on Sunday as a vendor. I met some really nice people, and loads of people hovered over my table and went on and on about how lovely my work was, but sales were not what I hoped for. As I looked around, I did not see a lot of buying going on. All the shows I have been too lately have looked that way. I used to get excited when people told me that they would go to my web-site and buy some things on-line, or tell me about how their children would love to enroll in my woodworking classes, but 99% of the time, nothing happens. I even had a television person from a Public Television station ask me if I would be interested in hosting a woodworking show. He took loads of pictures of my work, and talked to me for a long time, and nothing materialized. So now, I am still excited as ever when I am talking about my work to people at shows, but I have hardened myself to know that none of those promises ever come true. Sad isn’t it?