Tag Archives: spindle sander

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

 

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Filed under Joinery, Methods of Work

Shop Shortcuts – Foot Pattern

I do a lot of work with patterns. Most often, my patterns are used to guide a router bit (top-mounted bearing) to finalize a profile. But the pattern shown here is used only for layout.

IMG_1578When building any chest of drawers that has bracket or ogee bracket feet, I make a pattern for the foot. I use six individual feet for the show sides of most chests, with the two rear feet being a more plain design and usually made out of secondary woods. To make my fancy feet, I could simply use a paper pattern to layout the design, but my pattern would be in shambles as I worked on the sixth foot. Another option would be to print six copies of the design then glue each paper to a foot blank before going to the band saw to cut out the designs. I, however, make a pattern using scrap 1/4″ plywood which holds up to not only the six uses on this chest, but will be around the shop if I make a second or third chest, and will be standing at the ready for a completely different future chest if the design was right.

IMG_1573Here’s the process in case you’re not yet a pattern maker. I pull a paper pattern out of my SketchUp drawing (you could, of course, lay out the foot using pencil, compass and straightedge), cut it out then stick it to the plywood with spray adhesive. Then it’s off to the band saw to trim to the lines. Be close, but don’t hit the lines. And more important, don’t cut away the circle at the center of the foot that helps form the spur. We need that area later in the process.

IMG_1575After working at my band saw, my next step is at the spindle sander. After you have the correct spindle installed, work to your layout lines. Again, leave the lines intact. If you don’t have a spindle sander (see below), you can file and rasp your way to a great design.

Why would you not have an inexpensive spindle sander in your shop? Even the cheap machines last forever – I still have a Ryobi spindle sander from 15 years ago that I take to classes and seminars if need be. And there’s a lot that you can do with these simple machines, including thickness-sanding inlay and veneer.

IMG_1577The last step to prepare the foot pattern for work is to find and create the center point of the waste area the forms the spur. On all my feet, this waste to drilled out using a Forstner bit at my drill press. To find the center point, position the pattern under your drill bit until the circle is perfectly centered, then plunge down to leave a mark. I then drill down about a 1/16″ to set the waste area and just puncture through the pattern. The last step before putting this shop-made template to work is to completely pierce the plywood with a small drill bit.

The opening photo shows how the pattern is used. I’ll add a word of caution here. If you’re foot stock is a bit less than desirable on the rear face, make sure you flip the pattern as you work – lay out three feet facing left and three facing right. That way you can produce pairs that all show the correct face forward. And this is something you have to do if you’re using these patterns for ogee-bracket feet.

Build Something Great!

Glen

 

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Filed under Jigs, Methods of Work, Shop Tips

… Just Scratch It

IMG_1141Last week I worked on the arched moldings for my clock and left you with going back into the shop to used different setups and a new design. It worked. Kind of. It turns out that I did use my Micro Fence circle-cutting jig, but I had to also use my shop-made jig, too. The Micro Fence system did not allow me to get as small as I needed to make my moldings. The opening photo is that of the second profile as it came off the router. (You can enlarge the photos if you click on them.)

This week I began from the profiled arched moldings.IMG_1144 Three things to do: cut the arched pieces from the stock, make a set of straight moldings to match what I had in the arched set and work the small bead of the moldings. At the band saw, I cut away the waste to free the almost completed arched moldings. A quick trip to my disc sander (the outside edge) and my spindle sander for the inside edge and I was ready to begin matching the profile on some straight stock.

One of the ends of each of my four arched moldings is square cut – IMG_1147the ends that met in the middle of my setup. Using that end, I worked through the profile using the same router bits used to make the arched pieces. I had to set the depth of cut and the fence location to accurately match the design. It took about two hours to create a matching design on my straight stock. The last cut was the 1/4″ round-nose bit profile. With its work complete, I could rip the molding pieces free.

The last step was to create the 1/8″ bead on each of the sticks of molding. IMG_1150My first thought was to carve the pieces. I grabbed a small, bent-back carving gouge from the roll and got ready. After a couple minutes, I knew this was not the answer. Plan B – which should have been Plan A in retrospect – was to make a scraper for the task. Simple enough. I drilled an 1/8″ hole near the edge of one of my scraper blades, then ground it (sanded it with my spindle sander) so only half the profile showed. Work began on a straight piece of stock. Scrape. Scrape. Scrape. Done. It was too easy. The second, third and fourth pieces of straight molding went just as quick. But what about the arched pieces? I clamped one in my vise and went at it. The results were just as great and just as quick. The finished molding is shown above right, and the process is shown below. (The inset photo is the bead scraper.)

Combined

If you run into this need, make a scratch beader your Plan A. It’s way easy to do. And it works.

Build Something Great!

Glen

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Filed under Hand Tools, Methods of Work, Shop Tips, Tall Clock

Design: Follow Your Gut

One of the very first large pieces of furniture I built to sell to the unsuspecting public was a Shaker cupboard. As I worked on the cupboard, built from an antique newspaper photo, I was unsettled with the crown molding. It was a single piece that was too small and nondescript. It didn’t feel right, but it was a piece of Shaker furniture so who was I to make a change.

I carried that cupboard from show to show way too long. When I built the piece a second time, I changed the molding to a village-appropriate design that better fit the cupboard. That cupboard sold at the second show. Was I lucky, or was the design an improvement? I learned to follow my gut.

This week I built a corner unit (shown above) that is to be used as a television stand. Being that the components kept inside the base are adjusted with infrared controls, and that glass was not a request from the future owner, I designed the doors with small openings. The gridded panels are made up of simple half-lap joints. Once assembled, the so-called panels are trimmed and fit into grooves in the door parts. I’ll have to let you know how or if the design works in real life.

The “follow your gut” part of this build has to do with the fluted columns. To the right is a photo showing the original idea I had for the columns. (This design I used on the cased openings throughout my house – when the house was built 20 years ago this idea was fresh.) I made the two columns, then temporarily attached them to the case to get a look. BLAH! Didn’t like that at all, so I needed something different.

I immediately thought about an inlay detail I used on an Arts & Crafts mirror built for Woodworking Magazine, issue #7. (You can download the SketchUp model here.) The detail was 1/8″-wide strips of ebony arranged in a simple design. Bingo, I had a design change. It’s easy to do and I think it looks good. Here are the steps if you want to give it a try.

Use a fence setup on your router to plow the grooves – I like to use an odd number of grooves to make the layout easy. Cut the center groove first, then with each adjustment your router is setup for two grooves, one from each side. (Stepped grooves add eye appeal.) Rip the thin strips of inlay at your table saw. I installed a 7 1/4″, thin-as-I-could-find saw blade to do the job. (Hey, ebony is expensive.) Wanting to tweak the fit, I left the strips a bit thick then used my inexpensive thickness planer  shown above to bring them to size.

With the strips properly sized, cut the lengths to fit your grooves. Here you’ll find a simple bench hook works great. I used small amounts of yellow glue to hold the inlay in place. After the glue dried, I decided to leave the inlay proud of the surface to add a little texture, too.

This is a simple process that I believe really adds to the overall look. It definitely looks better than the rounded flutes I had planned to use, as you can see in the photo below. Don’t be afraid to follow your gut when it comes to design. It’s only wood and nothing that cannot be fixed or replaced.

Build Something Great!
Glen

Here is a comparison look at the two fluted column designs. You have to agree that the inlay looks best.

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Filed under Design, Inlay, Routers, Shop Tips