Tag Archives: SketchUp

3 Accepted Foot-to-Case Connections

Last week, after I professed that everyone should have a spindle sander, A few readers asked how I used a spindle sander as a thickness sander. It turns out that I have posted that technique, but it was inside another post. Here’s a link to that post; you’ll find the spindle sander being used to thin ebony string about halfway down the post.

Entertainment_Center copyOn to the next topic: How to attach feet to your case. Of course, there are a few ways to get feet on your cases. There are three methods I generally use on most every case. The first is to attach the feet directly to the bottom of the case, a second method is to rout the top edge of the joined feet and install a plate through which screws affix the assembled unit to the case bottom and the third method is to attach feet to a frame then attach the frame to the case and use a transition molding to cover the through dovetails where the case bottom joins the sides. I mention other methods, because I’ve built a couple of chest – full-size and spice boxes – from Chester County where the feet were attached directly to stiles of the frame and panels sides. While this is not commonplace, it, along with other methods, is sometimes done.

To attach feet directly to the case, I begin by installing a molding to which the feet are glued. You wouldn’t think that you could assemble feet to a molding and that would be strong enough to hold everything for 200 years. IMG_1590Of course, you would be correct. What really holds the feet to the case are  glue blocks. These blocks also carry the bulk of the load of your chest. On the case I’m currently at work on, the thickness of the feet allows about an 1/8″ of the feet to lap onto the case itself. Then, with the glue blocks in place, the weight of the case is divided on the actual feet and on the glue blocks – the vertical block holds the weigh while the two horizontal blocks keep the assembled foot attached.

The next method is a bit more work. And the added plate makes the connection easier, but not necessarily any stronger. After the two foot pieces are joined via miters, I rout a small lip on the inside of the feet using a rabbeting router bit to which I attach a thin plate. PlateThe SketchUp drawing at the left shows how the plate fits to the feet; a thin bead of glue and brads secure the plate to the feet. The assembled unit is then screwed directly to the case bottom with the unit sticking out in front of the case. The look is completed by wrapping a molding around the case. An example of this type of connection is seen in the opening photo, although you cannot see the plate. That’s by design. As you see in the drawing, the cutout for the plate does not blow through the end of the foot.

The last method – the option that I find the most used as I look back at furniture I’ve built throughout the years – is to attach the feet to a base frame which is then attached to the case. Foot&Frame3I used this method on the Pennsylvania blanket chests in the August 2009 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine (#177) and the Serpentine chest from issue #195 (February 2012). As you can see in the right-hand photo, the same idea of glue blocks is used – mainly for reinforcement in this case. The frame is attached to the front of the chest with screws, but the remaining frame is nailed to the case bottom to allow for seasonal adjustments. The look is then completed with a transition molding.

These are three good methods used to attach feet to cases. There are pros and cons to each, as there is with any technique used in woodworking. Whenever you here, “This is the only way to do it,  run in the opposite direction. You have choices.

Build Something Great!

Glen

 

3 Comments

Filed under Joinery, Methods of Work

Oval by Geometry

Art_OpenerIn late 2010, I listened to furnituremaker Fred Roman talk about ovals and how to lay them out using geometry. I had always used a string method in the shop, and when I was in the home-building field, we used two framing squares. These days I use SketchUp.

The way he did it seemed point on and easy. The same way you could swing the arcs with a trammel, you could swing a router using a circle-cutting jig. I pushed for this to be an article (shown left) in Popular Woodworking Magazine(PWM). B_PlanA contract was executed and before the piece ran in the magazine pages, I had left to pursue other interests. Of course I read the article when it was published. The right-hand photo is the layout, but you should read the article to get the details. (PWM doesn’t sell the article as a stand alone, but you can pick up the August 2012 issue (#198) at shopwoodworking.com.)

I kept the method in mind for whenever it may be needed. That time arrived this weekend when Dave Griessmann was in the shop working on a Federal-period table. IMG_1187His top was ready to transform from a rectangle to an oval, so we pulled out Fred’s article to make it happen. Dave laid out the oval and was contemplating how to make the cut when I reminded him that he could swing the router to get the job done. He decided to router-cut the larger radii. The length of my often-used circle-cutting jig wasn’t long enough, so we substituted a length of plywood. At one end we drilled a 1″-diameter hole to match the outside radius of a guide bushing, at the other end we drilled a 3/16″ hole as a pivot. (We were working on the underside of the top.)

A couple of adjustments were made to the jig so we cut exactly at the layout lines, and so the jig could spin without any interference from the clamps used to hold the top. IMG_1189Everything was set and ready to go, so Dave powered up the router and made a light pass. The depth of cut was 3/4″ so we set up to make the entire cut in three steps, and he cut only half of the top. When we finished that half, the top was spun so the remaining half hung off the table and the step process was repeated. The cuts were perfect. In fact Dave wanted to setup and cut the ends the same way, but I persuaded him to cut those at the band saw and clean the edges using a disc sander. While he (and you) could do that, I think it’s much easier to trim the second radii so you don’t nick into the already cut edge. There’s no sense in taking the chance given the leaves of his table were easily cut at the band saw.

The entire process worked like a charm. I will use it over and over when I run into ovals – large ovals – in my work; small ovals are too easily cut using my band saw.

I included the photo below to show you the nifty clamping method we used to hold the arced edge for the second set of cuts. Our clamps could not reach the workpiece, so we lapped pieces onto the tabletop then clamped the scraps in place. This is a handy trick in a pinch.

Build Something Great!

Glen

IMG_1191

2 Comments

Filed under Jigs, Methods of Work, Routers, Shop Tips

My Night Cap

#5024-01There are times when I need to get into the shop just to have fun. That time generally rejuvenates me so I can get back to my projects with a renewed vigor. If that fun time also happens to be something I need for one of my projects, I consider that a bonus. This week was a bonus. I needed to make a piece of inlay for the tall clocks. In the photo you can see, on the original Egerton clock, the piece of inlay I needed to make, the Night Cap perched on the post. This post is more pictorial that text filled, but you know what is said about a photo.

Step one was to develop a pattern for the inlay. I could have drawn the design free-hand, but it’s easier to pull the image into SketchUp and trace over the lines. After I had the plan, I spray-glued the images onto a piece of scrap holly and cut the pieces at my band saw.

B_IMG_1152

When I had the pieces cut out, I smoothed the edges as best I could using a disc sander and fine rasp before moving on. I also made sure the two pieces fit together nicely. I wasn’t worried about a super-tight fit because the separation would better show the delineation between the two pieces.

C_IMG_1154

Using a bench hook, I sawed the pieces into thin, usable slices. I like my Japanese saw for this cut. It’s thinner kerf saves material, and the small, finer teeth make the task easier.

D_IMG_1155

Sand-shading is great. There are few techniques as simple as this. And the results add a crap-load to the overall look of your work. The only pieces in this design that get shading are the small ovals.

F_IMG_1160

To inlay the pieces into my stock, I have to excavate the waste. This is really where a router becomes valuable. I positioned the pieces to my backer, then carefully traced around each piece with a sharp pencil. With a 1/16″ straight bit loaded into the tool, I set the depth of cut then hogged out as close to the lines as possible.

G_IMG_1163

Afterward, I used a small carving gouge to tweak the inlay area to my layout lines. I tested the fit of my inlay to the excavated hole, then trimmed any needed spots. (I want a tight fit, but not so tight as to break my inlay.)

H_IMG_1161

With the areas cut away and trimmed to an exacting fit, I added glue into the recess and hammered the inlay pieces into place.

I_IMG_1162

The rod for the Night Cap holder couldn’t be easier. I used the same 1/16″-diameter bit, set the workpiece flush with the edge of my bench then used a guide fence on the router to cut the line. The rounded ends from the router bit worked great against the small ovals to complete the design. A piece of string was cut to fit, a small amount of glue was injected then I hammered into the recess.

J_IMG_1164

At my table saw, I set the fence and raised the blade to trim the edges for more string banding. The pieces were cut to size and I mitered the corners using the reflection in the back of my chisel to set the angle – too easy. Glue to hold and blue tape as a clamp, then let it dry.

K_IMG_1165

With the glue dry, I sanded each face – I built two of the pieces – then cleaned up the edges with my block plane. Before I install these on the clock hood, I’ll thin the assembly somewhat. The two pieces are a bit different. So, are the results perfect? No way, I wouldn’t expect that. Was it fun to do? Hell yes. Every once in  while you need to get into the shop to just have fun.

A_IMG_1182

Build Something Great!

Glen

7 Comments

Filed under Design, Hand Tools, Inlay, Methods of Work, Power Tools, Routers, Shop Tips, Tall Clock

Make This Your First Lowboy

CT LowboyFor the past couple weeks, I’ve been working on SketchUp drawings for a Connecticut Lowboy discovered at the Connecticut Historical Society. The class happens at The Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking in September, immediately following the holiday weekend – the class runs from Tuesday through Saturday. (There are a few class spots left, so now would be a great time to contact Bob Van Dyke at the school to sign up.)

When I built The “Queen Anne Dressing Table” for the June 2010 cover of Popular Woodworking Magazine, I thought I had discovered the easiest-to-build lowboy ever. I was wrong. This project is easier, if you can believe that. And best of all, easy does not translate into ugly. IMG_0634In fact, when I wrote about my 2013 classes in January this year (read it here), I mentioned how this lowboy stopped both Van Dyke and me in our tracks.

What made the dressing table easy was that all the interior parts were nailed in place. What makes this piece easy is that there are few interior parts. Take a look at its inside. There is no top rail on the piece (the case top is the kicker to keep the drawers from tipping when extended), the two interior drawer dividers are solid pieces that run from front to back, drawer guides are nailed between the legs and the only runners are single pieces dovetailed into the front rail and centered in each opening.

Where a piece such as this picks up is pizazz is with details. One feature that makes this lowboy stand out is the cock-bead work at each of the cutouts in the front rail and at the sides. IMG_0623That work takes time to get right. But it adds a real punch to the finished piece. If you click to open the photo above, you can better see this detail. A second interesting detail, and one that makes me scratch my head and search for a connection, is the construction on the drawers. It’s not the fact that the bottoms are applied. That, along with the beaded moulding that wraps the drawer openings, indicates that this piece has an early origin. What I find interesting are the tapered drawer sides. This is nearly identical to the work found on the Shaker counter originally built by Grove Wright that I built for the June 2012 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Is there a connection, or is this a construction method used in the region. Grove Wright spent time working at the Enfield, CT Shaker village.

IMG_0620

Above is another photo of the interior of the Connecticut lowboy. In this photo you can see a drawer divider. Check out how the divider is angled as it stretches from front to back. Was this a way to save on material? Also notice how oxidation affects the coloration on the divider. What you see is not two pieces of lumber with different colors joined together. It’s the fact that the upper section has, for more than a hundred years, been protected by the drawer with the lower section constantly exposed to the elements.

You really should take the time to join us at CVSW as we build a great looking, simply constructed and high in detail Connecticut Lowboy. Register here.

Build Something Great!

Glen

 

11 Comments

Filed under Antique Pieces, Joinery

Optical Illusion

High_Res Scroll

Remember that you can enlarge these photos by clicking on the actual picture.

I’ve been looking at the Egerton clock for sometime. What’s cool about this clock, if I haven’t wrote about this as of yet, is that the scroll-board is pierced so the sound of the bell strike is better heard. As I work on the hood, it’s time to make decisions about the pattern work in the scroll-board.

I should also add that the pattern of the scroll-board is cut into a piece of veneer and that veneer is placed over holes drilled in a scroll-board backer. A piece of dark cloth is fitted between the two in the original clock.

Take a look at the photo. Can you see a pattern. I thought I had it a couple times, but when I set down to  plan the layout, it never came together. At first, I was trying to look at and figure out the dark areas, the areas I needed to remove. It just didn’t work.

LayoutFinally, I decided to look at and study the non-dark areas, or the material that stayed in place. I know there are brain-teasers that make your mind work to see the opposite, but I never figured thought this would be an example.

Once I changed my point of view, I figured out the pattern. Just above is a SketchUp drawing of my latest rendition. In it I have lines set at 45 degrees and spaced every 5/8″. The small circles are 1/2″-diameter in size. At each crossing of the layout lines, I put a circle. Next I connected lines between the circles. each line is space an 1/8″ apart.

In SketchUp, when you connect or close areas they change color. I went back and removed any colored section from the circles and areas between the connection lines. That left the waste areas dark, just as in the scroll-board. Below is a close-up look at the layout.

Layout_Closeup

Yes, I know there are a couple lines missing.

All I need to do now is complete the circles – if I want or need to see the completed layout. Or with the 45-degree lines in place, I know that the centers of my circles fits at each intersection. Of course, I also need to chop out the waste which I believe will be done using a combination of carving gouges sized to match the circle circumference and chisels. Unless you guys come up with a better idea. Help.

Build Something Great!

Glen

 

4 Comments

Filed under Tall Clock

Sometimes Full-size Drawings Work Best

A_IMG_0859Since I began working with SketchUp, I have been a huge fan. In fact, I think this tool is one of the most important tools a woodworker can have in his arsenal. It is well worth taking the time to learn this program frontwards and backwards. You can pull apart a drawing to see how it’s assembled. Or if you’re drawing the project, you can discover problem areas and work out the details to keep from wasting time once you get into your shop.

There are, however, times when it’s better to draw out your project full-size. Case in point is the hood for the Egerton tall clock on which I am working. (Yes, I know it’s been a while.) I could have drawn this in SketchUp and printed out the full-scale drawing, but that would require perfect sizing and about 12 sheets of paper to assemble correctly as I taped together the image.

Below are a series of photos – click on the photos to bring them to full size – that show the different parts of the hood. All these parts are now easily identified and I have the exact widths and lengths available as I work. (I have to determine thickness.)

B_Mask

What’s interesting about the mask is that it is joined using dovetails and it is attached to the hood frame using glue blocks. Many masks are joined using half-laps at the bottom and often the top piece is simply butted to the lower frame. And the entire frame is slid into a groove cut in the hood sides.

C_Door

The door frame is slightly wider than the mask – it covers a part of the frame, too.

Here you can see the hood frame. The top is joined to the sides using dovetails. Also, there are small widows on both sides that allow an owner to show off his expensive brass clockworks.

Here you can see the hood frame. The top is joined to the sides using dovetails. Also, there are small widows on both sides that allow owners, back in the day, to show off the expensive brass clockworks.

E_Scroll Board

Here’s a look at the scroll board as well as the returns that wrap back the hood sides. This is a place where full-size drawings really help. I have the exact pattern needed to produce my scroll board.

As you can see, there is a lot going on in this drawing. And tons of information to extract. Without the drawing I would have spent way more time pulling sizes and working out details. Sometimes, drawings are best.

Build Something Great!

Glen

2 Comments

Filed under Joinery, Shop Tips, Tall Clock

Tall Clock Oval Inlay

The Egerton tall clock I’m working on has two small oval inlays set into the waist-section face frame, so this is a perfect time to discuss and evaluate ovals.

In the period, channels for inlay were scratched into the surface using a compass, or something similar tool. Today we can work with a variety of tools, both hand and powered, to plow our grooves – hand work with a compass or inlay tools available from LeeValley & Veritas or Lie-Nielsen, and, of course, a router if you wish to power-up the process. But before you actually get to that step, you have to design your oval.

For me, ovals have been pulled from some type of computer drawing program, such as SketchUp. In the August 2012 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, Freddy Roman (periodcraftsman.com) wrote an article about the ellipse. More to the point, about false ellipses. What is the difference and why should you choose one method over the other? Here is my take on this. If you plan to scratch in your oval pattern, or to use a router attached to a trammel to swing an oval, You better understand and use false ellipses. If, on the other hand, you plan to make a pattern to guide your router setup, any old ellipse will do.

Which technique do I choose? That’s not as easily answered as you may think. Because I have my clock waist assembled just as shown in the opening drawing, I would be unable to scratch my ovals into position – in order to draw the flat arcs necessary to create the long sides of my ovals require that I set my compass point more than 5″ from the center of my oval and that area is not available. That, however, does not keep me from using Freddy’s method to develop my pattern which would guide my router. Another option would be to create a piece of veneer with the string inlay in place, then glue that veneer to my clock.

Let’s begin with a comparison of the two ovals. Above you can see a distinct difference in the two drawing methods. A false ellipse, shown on the left, has ends that are more rounded because a compass or inlay tool works on a radius. The oval on the right is drawn in SketchUp. It’s ends are more pointed and could not be grooved using hand tools alone.

I will refer you to Freddy’s article for the steps necessary to produce a false ellipse. (I worked through the layout for my ovals.) Here, I’ll share how I use SketchUp and Preview (a MAC program) to produce an oval. (Before MAC, I worked in Microsoft Publisher for similar results.)

The first step is to layout the perimeter of the oval you wish to draw, then use the Circle tool centered at the middle of your proposed finished oval. Pull the radius out to the long end of your oval – here that is the top and bottom of the oval.

Next, use the Scale tool to pull in one side of your oval. Repeat the step to pull in the second side, as well.

The last step in SketchUp is to export your drawing. (This process is shown with the drop-down menu.) The image is saved in a file on your computer.

Open your file in Preview or another similar program, then set the parameters to crop the image touching all four sides as shown.

Under the Tools menu in Preview, select “Adjust Size”, enter in your required size then click OK. (Note that the size shown is not the actual size I needed for my clock.)

After the size is established, click print. As the menu to print opens, you’ll notice there is an option that allows you to print to scale. Set the scale at 100 percent before you print.

You now should have an oval that fits to your required layout size. I take that print-out into my shop, cut it free then transfer the pattern to a piece of plywood to use with my router. Which design do I plan to use on my clock? I believe that when you are working with small or narrow ovals, your design should be a false ellipse because the other drawing process produces ends that are too pointed, almost unbelievable. However, when I work with larger ovals, I prefer the ends be not so rounded. What do you think?

Build Something Great!

Glen

2 Comments

Filed under Design, Inlay, Shop Tips