Colgate EALL (14)

This job sure entails a diverse range of items, from architectural millwork, sliding doors, to furniture, to windows, and so forth. It’s fun in that respect.

I’ve been working on the round window for the Japanese alcove. I considered various ways to make a round window, and in the end decided that glue up from solid segments made the most sense. I chose a decagonal arrangement of pieces as a compromise between grain straightness and overall complexity.

After gluing up pieces in a couple of stages, I had two half-rings of 5 pieces each. These were then tuned along their abutting ends with a hand plane:


Once that was satisfactory, I could proceed with the glue up:


All of the joints have an internal spline.

With the glue up done, I proceeded to process the cuts to make a round, lipped window frame:


A bit of table sawing with the rip blade cut away the remainder of the waste and I cleaned up the surfaces of the flange by plane:


Then some additional smoothing work to finish the cut out out phase:


On goes the finish, in the end 5 coats applied and hand rubbed between in total:


It’s nice to use Enduro Var as it allows me to get several coats on per day.

The spline ends are exposed, but fairly discrete, so I doubt they will be noticed:


The cusped window is done, and has been waxed:


The alcove has a floor on each side. The alcove proper has a single piece black cherry slab, now into its 4th coat of finish:


The other side of the alcove, which features the round window and the staggered shelves, has an avodire floor, and is a glue-up of 4 pieces:


The glue up produces a panel w

from Tumblr


Wadkin Dimension Saw: Resurrection (Phase I), Part II

I’ve been too engrossed with project work to be able to make it back up to Rees shop in NH, however he has made a lot of progress on the machining work. In fact, the work is complete after nearly 40 hours. I asked him to take some pictures as he went and he kindly obliged.

The sliding table’s upper surface was one of the first things Rees tackled, and just a few passes with the planer shows the condition of the surface quite well:


The table was bowed up in exactly the last place where I could tolerate it, right next to the saw blade when ripping stock.

Just like hand-planing a piece of wood, you can reach a point where most of the surface is done, but the ends remain low and many passes are yet required to flatten things out:



After about 0.023″ (0.6mm) had been sliced off, there was at last a flat table top:


A bit more than that had to come off the underside of the table, along the runs where the linear rail assemblies are fastened. All in all, over 0.05″ (nearly 1/16″) was removed in correcting the surfaces, which was about the degree that things appeared out of whack with the table at my shop when it was on the machine.

Curiously, one of the underside rail supports was dead straight until the last 12″, where it veered off of parallel with the other rail by 0.005″. This would have of course contributed to the difficulties I found in getting the table bearings tightened  – it was not possible to get them adjusted properly, and I had to run the table such that it had too much play in the middle of the stroke and got slightly tight at the end of the stroke. Those bugbears are going to be problems in the past now, it would appear.

After the upper table was sorted Rees got to work on the support beam:


The support beam was decently straight, yet was improved to a higher standard than before, with about 0.012″ taken off.

One of the tricky parts was dealing with the linear rail support ribs, which have a sloped top and a curved bottom surface:


Rees also dressed the sides of the casting to clean them up:


The sliding table casting has also been cleaned up in the same manner.

Another view of the planing work underway on a linear rail rib:


With the two castings straightened out, the mitre fence was then worked on, and after that, the holes for the mitre fence in the table were redone. Both the main pivot hole, which had been heli-coiled previously as a repair, and the worn out detent holes for the various mitre positions were bored out, plugged, and redone. The detent holes are conical. The pivot pin threads were cut off and a Whitworth 1/2″x12TPI set screw was installed.

Here’s the primary mitre fence position after the re-working:


I had Rees add a second position of pivot and detent holes in the middle of the table, so that when I do obtain a back mitre fence to pair with the main mitre fence, it will be much more usable tool in terms of the sliding table being able to support the work:


In case you’re wondering what a back mitre fence is, here’s a picture from the Wadkin PP saw brochure showing it in use (see pic lower left):

from Tumblr

Colgate EALL (13)

Well, though this video covers ground already detailed in the last two posts, being at last edited and narrated, it seemed worth sharing:

I did my first trip out to Colgate this past few days to install some woodwork. I got into ‘worker bee’ mode while there and didn’t take a lot of photos, but I hope a few is better than nothing.

Here, in the Japanese room, I’ve mocked up the arrangement of the wainscot panel with some plant-on inside corner posts, and a piece of baseboard:


There’s a 2-piece cap to be fitted to the baseboard yet of course.

I’m using 1/4″ (actually measures 0.2″) plywood with one side faced with VG fir. I hesitated to employ plywood, but it was the best option it seemed to me for an appliqué which needs to be thin, and given the difficulty/expense of obtaining VG fir at this time. As you can see, the bamboo floor laminate has been installed in that room and the upper portion of wall has been painted.

My main task in the Japanese room was fitting the various plant-on posts – here’s a look at another area of the same room:


Excuse the dust spots on the lens. The posts, now that they have been trimmed to length, were taken back to my shop afterward, to have yet more cut out done upon them.

The Chinese space at the other end of the connecting hallway saw the installation of the framed bump-out which in turn will later receive a cusped window:


The framing had been largely done in my shop ahead of time, save for final length. I used 2×6 spruce studs, and sheetrock. Not materials I would normally want to use, but they make sense when you are affixing to that same sort of wall system, though the existing framing uses steel studs not wood. I put some drywall compound on the exposed screw holes, and will leave the rest of that work to Colgate’s plastering/painting workers.

Speaking of attaching the framing, I had brought some Spax™ screws with me for the task, which are advertised on the box as being for various materials, including steel, however I only had luck getting them into the steel framing studs at the bottom of the wall. Of course, when I was atop a ladder and struggling to get the screws in, they stubbornly refused to do their job. I ended up having to go out to a building supply and obtain some self-drilling drywall screws. That really was the only hiccup during this install.

Leaving the site work for the moment, as regards the cusped window, it is made. I elected to use a chunk of bubinga that I had for that. The sides of the frame were made with a pair of pieces joined at a slight mitre angle, with a glued spline joint inside. Here’s my glue-up fixture for that task:


A pair of wedges at each end pushed the two segments together. It worked well.

Once the gluing was done, the parts were marked out in preparation for band-sawing to shape:


Here’s a look at the cusped window frame about halfway along the course of fabrication:


Not yet fitted in the above photo is the face frame portion, now glued on, which gives it the final appearance at the front. That’s almost done, not photographed though, and into its third coat of finish. Also completed is a framed glass panel that attaches to the back of the window via 4 magnets. a sliding panel goes behind that. I’ll install the window frame and associated parts into the opening on my next trip out to Colgate.

Also installed during the visit was the transom at the entrance to the Chinese room, which went in with a little planing and coaxing:


I did end up scratching the wall on the right and some fresh paint was removed, however there will be a bunch of electrical work done in that space and the adjacent hallway, involving cutting into the sheetrock in several places, so further plastering and painting is needed in the space regardless. I felt like I should have left a little apology note for the painters though!

I now have a slate of tasks for the next two weeks before the second installation visit. Hopefully I can complete everything in that timeframe.

Thanks for coming by the Carpentry Way.

from Tumblr

Wadkin Dimension Saw: Resurrection (Phase 1)

A little background, for those readers who haven’t been reading this blog since the inception of written records (somewhere in 2009):

Wadkins Glen, II, III, IV

Just before I head out to Colgate University to install some woodwork, I decided the timing was about right to deal with a niggling issue I have had with the Wadkin table saw since I bought it, namely that the sliding table is not flat: it is bowed upward slightly in the middle. This is unfortunate. For cross-cutting around about the 90˚mark, this is no issue, but for ripping or acutely angled cuts, the bow or bulge upwards at the middle of the sliding table causes stock which I am ripping to be tilted up slightly. It is slight, but it means the rip cut face has the unfortunate characteristic of not being 90˚ to the adjacent face, necessitating additional steps after sawing the put things right.

I just want the saw to perform the basics well, and in this case it has been letting me down.

Additionally, the detent positions in the sliding table for the mitre fence are severely worn, and the pivot hole location, which accepts a BSW (Whitworth) 1/2″ x 12TPI pivot bolt, has been heli-coiled  -and not very well – so it is not a precise location any longer. As a result, none of the detent positions (there are three: 90˚, 45˚ and 30˚) actually produce accurate mitre cuts. Also, there are too few detent positions in the first place. I would like to have more, if they can be done accurately.

Because of the sliding table bow, the linear bearings for the table cannot be properly set, and thus the table runs with more slop in the middle position, which is exactly where you would want it to have minimal play.

Finally, the cast iron support beam for the sliding table is a ‘fugly’ casting which bothers me on an aesthetic level. so I have wanted to have that casting machined clean so it doesn’t look like it was cast by a couple of fellows who had spent a little extra time in the pub at lunch, if you catch my drift.

I’m more concerned generally with how a machine works, than how it looks, but if I have the sliding table off for machining work, then it makes sense to deal with the ugly casting issue at the same time.

In the past I have had machines with non-flat table castings, like my old Oliver 166 BD jointer, and I had a machine shop in E. Hartford CT do the grinding work on the two tables and fence for that machine, however, through that experience, and others, I have found that the shop doesn’t follow the instructions I give them, and haven’t been too friendly when the overcharge for services was their own fault and not mine, so it left me with a slightly bad taste in my mouth.

Also, Blanchard grinding, which is the norm in N. America at least, is not my top choice for correcting a distorted surface: rather, it is single-point planing.

As Wayne Moore put it in his 1970 publication Foundations of Mechanical Accuracy (p. 17) the acknowledged ‘bible’ on the topic,

W. Moore quote

Single point planing is how many machine surfaces on higher-end european woodworking and metal working machines are created. On the Wadkin, it was used for the table edges at the very least. Typically, on machine tables like those found jointers and planers, and usually shapers, the planing is done so as to leave the surface with very slight ridges, which allow for easier transport of the wood over the surface.

Trouble is, single point planers for machine table work are comparatively rare birds these days. I had, in fact, dismissed the possibility of getting the table planed, and instead had devoted quite a bit of time to the design of a sliding table made from Mic-6 aluminum tooling plate. This idea had its plusses and minuses, the chief-most among the drawbacks was the cost, which would likely be at least half-again what I had paid for the saw.

While humming and hawing over this matter for a good couple of years, I happened to be researching the topic of replacing cast machine ways with linear slide rails, which more than a few people have done with their Bridgeport mills so as to get around the cost and difficulty of machine and scraping everything back to spec. I then found a video of a guy who had his Bridgeport mill’s saddle re-planed, by a guy up in New Hampshire who had a planing mill which he had modernized and reconditioned. Here’s a link to the video that caught my attention. After the intro, which is definitely worth a view, if you jump ahead to the 7:52 mark you can see the planing machine and watch it work. Around the 13:00 minute mark you can see the metal planing most dramatically.

A bit of digging around and I had obtained the contact info for the fellow in NH, named Rees. I spoke with him and his son Fitz, who are both involved in the business. Rees is retired but his favorite machine to run happens to be the planer. I explained my Wadkin situation to him and, a month or two later, he came to my shop with his son to take a look at the Wadkin and inspect.

Rees was initially skeptical that a woodworker would want a woodworking machine set up more precisely, but when he checked over the table on my saw he could confirm that the bow was more than insignificant, and he also said he could deal with repairing the pivot hole and detents for the mitre fence.

So, yesterday, the right moment had arrived, and I pulled the sliding table and its support beam off of the Wadkin:


The saw now without its sliding table looks a bit diminished to be sure:


The angle brackets to the left and right which carry the table were also removed later so they could be inspected at Rees shop. I noticed that the surfaces under those brackets were single-point planed, though the brackets themselves were simply rough-ground.

I was surprised to find that, with a straightedge on the bottom surfaces of the sliding table, where one of the linear rail assemblies mounts, was very flat, while I was expecting it to be concave:


Checking with the straightedge along the (in the above photo) left side mounting position for the rail, however, found a result which was concave, as expected. So the table bow was not uniform, seemingly concentrated towards the sliding table edge which runs along the blade.

Also, with the linear rail assemblies off the table, I found that the assemblies themselves were not straight along their lengths:


Each linear rod carrier was bowed a bit more than 1/16″, the gap totaling more than 1/8″ at the middle:


I’m not sure that bow really matters with those parts, as the mounting bolts will hold the rails in a straight position, but it was curious nonetheless.

With some help from a friend, I got the sliding table and support beam loaded in a rental truck and arrived to Rees’ shop a little after lunch. He lives in a rural area, up a dirt road. The view at the shop door revealed a clean space, a good sign:


He had various pieces of equipment, most of which were quite old, like this Brown and Sharpe universal milling machine:


from Tumblr

Colgate EALL (12)

Next item on the project list, which is now down to just a few pieces, was the table for the Japanese room’s sitting area This is an area for which I had already created a set of three benches, detailed in earlier posts. The table is unlike the benches in that it has compound splayed legs.

In the Japanese technique, the shape of the leg is modified on all four faces, changing its section from a square into a rhomboid, and thus when the leg is at compound slope, the faces of the legs are in plane with one another. This means that stretchers which are centered on the leg, and have a centered through-tenon, have that tenon emerge on the opposing face of the leg in a centered position.

The critical pice to this is shaping the leg properly. after that, the mortise and tenon lines can be laid out and one can get to work on the cut out. Here I’ve got into the rip cut on one of the leg tenons:


Followed, of course, by a crosscut:


The narrow tenon sides were also housed in, and then a bit of chisel work to clean the shoulders:


At this stage of work, I have two of the legs tenoned, and dry-fitted to the table top board:


A while later, all four legs are fitted to the top, and the mortises on the legs for the stretchers are complete as well:


After the tenons for the stretchers are cut out, I can proceed to fit them as well:


The tenons lap one another like half laps, but due to particulars with the geometry, the laps are in fact done with tenons which are somewhat less then half-height. The touch one another within the leg at one point inside the joint.

In some cases, like the compound-irregular sawhorse supporting the work in progress, the joinery is left without any attachment save for the fit between mortise and tenon. And, on the aforementioned compound-irregular sawhorse, the parts have been together and apart more than 30 times. Yet, even with such (by now) loose- fitting joints, the geometry of the form makes it hold together fine.

On other compound-slope leg structures I have made, like the support stand on a Ming-Inspired cabinet built in the past couple of years, I pegged the joints. On other ones, I have wedged the joints, in various ways.

With this one, I simply glued the connections:


A view of the top:


The next step is to finish plane the top surface, the legs and stretchers having been finish planed previously:


I have a video clip of the planing process to share in the next while. For now, a look at the result, which is a clean surface devoid of tooling marks, as is the goal in the work:


To preclude the chance of someone dinging their shin on the table top corners, I clipped them, and followed that up with a double-beveling of the table edge. The beveling was done by router then the surfaces finish planed:

from Tumblr