Once again, I was confronted with multiple options to complete a task. And once again, I took the old-fashioned route mainly for the sake of accuracy versus speed.
Here’s the case: The top and bottom need to grooves to receive the floating panels that are held within the rails. The groves are only 1/8″ back from the front edge of the top and bottom pieces. That is a very narrow margin of wood. I could have used my router table with a 1/8″ dado bit, then set up the stop blocks, then run a bunch of tests, but I was really afraid that the end grain would blow out on the short sides. And what if something went wrong? I’d have to go back and remake an entire piece. Therefore, I decided that I should approach this with careful use of hand tools.
The steps were really quite simple. First, I used a marking gauge to score the wood for the outside and inside diameter. Then I went back over those lines with my marking knife to cut more of the fibers. Next, I used a wide chisel to further deepen the scoring cuts. Now, using a 1/8″ chisel that is shaped like a mortising chisel, I notched in numerous vertical deep cuts within the lines. All I had to do next was to hold the 1/8″ chisel at a 45 degree angle and push out the waste.
I have seen Roy Underhill do this many times on the Wood Wright Shop. And it all worked out quite easily. The grooves only had to be 1/8″ deep so it did not take too long to make the grooves for the top and the bottom. I wish I would have had a 1/8″ blade for my router plane, that would had made the operation much faster. I do have a plow plane, but I need a lot more practice with that plane. I am still not very good with it yet.
Next step: cut the panels to the right size, apply the veneer and……. All of this next time on Artisan’s Call.