Monday, April 28, 2008

Stickley #913 Harvey Ellis Dresser, Quick update

Sunday I didn't have alot of time in the shop but there was something I wanted to do. I finish sanded each of the small drawers inside and out. I hand sanded the drawer fronts to 220 grit. I marked the center of the drawers and drilled a hole for the 2 inch cherry pulls.
Once the pulls were installed I applied a coat of Danish oil on the drawer fronts. The oil turned the cherry knobs the same tone as the carcass and really brought out the curl in the maple. I liked the look so much that I had to take some pictures and make a quick update. So click on the pictures on the left for a larger version.
Hope you have a nice week.

"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."
Dalai Lama

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Stickley #913 Harvey Ellis Dresser, Part 5

This week's post covers a few days, my mother is visiting and I took the week off from work to spend some time with her but there was some time for playing in the shop.
The first thing I did was to make the back panel for the dresser, I could have used one piece of plywood or I could have made it out of ship lapped boards but keeping with the two tone look of the piece I decided to go with a frame and panel. I cut the rails and stiles to length and ran a 1/4 inch x 1/2 inch groove one one side of each and a groove on each side of the center stile. I cut 1/2 inch long tenons on the sides of the stiles to fit in the grooves of the rails. A little glue and some clamps and Bob's your uncle.
Once dry and sanded I couple of coats of Danish oil to match the carcass were applied. I need access to the inside to install and adjust the drawer guides so I drilled a few countersunk screw holes in the sides and screwed the back to the carcass.
These are the fronts for the drawers cut and trimmed to size layed out and marked for position. I was lucky enough to find a wide board of curly maple long enough to get all three of the bottom drawers from. The top 6 drawers also came from one board. I used maple for the drawer sides and for the smaller drawers I went with 3/8 inch thick stock that I had resawn from 4/4 stock.

I set up the half blind dovetails on my Leigh Dovetail Jig, what you see here is the new Leigh Vacuum Router Support that attaches to the shopvac and captures most of the shavings from the router. Before when I routed dovetails with the jig I would end up standing in a pile of sawdust, I have to say that this is a very useful addition to the Leigh system.

Once all the dovetails were routed, half blind for the front and through dovetails for the rear, I cut a 1/4 inch groove around the bottom inside of the pieces. I then sized 1/4 inch birch plywood to fit inside the grooves. Once everything was sanded I glued up the drawers using blocks to distribute the force of the clamps.
Here we have all six drawers, sanded, glued and clamped standing in line like good little drawers.
The nice thing was that the dovetail jig only had to be set up once and I was able to route all six drawers, with the larger drawers each one is a different height so the jig has to be set up for each one.

Today I unclamped the drawers and planed and sanded the dovetails flush. The large benchtop belt sander made quick work of flushing the back through dovetails. I then planed each the sides of each drawer to fit.

I wanted a tight fit on the drawers so I made the front and sides full height of the openings and planed each one to fit. Once all six drawers had been fit I was left with a nice pile of very thin maple shavings. Thank goodness for sharp tools.

The end product all fit and sliding nicely, a little finish sanding and a couple of coats of natural Danish Oil and this is going to look fantastic. The drawers are all going to receive 2 inch round cherry pulls. Three more drawers and a little bit of finish and this one is done.

"It is not how much one makes but to what purpose one spends."
John Ruskin

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Stickley #913 Harvey Ellis Dresser, Part 4

There aren't a lot of pictures for this post because most of the time was spent sanding, to be specific, hand blocking all the sides of the carcass and the top to prepare for the first coat of Watco Danish Oil. I went over everything with a quarter sheet palm sander with 180 grit sand paper after last week sanding to 150 grit with a random orbit sander. I followed the palm sander with 220 grit hand sanding.
I started Oiling the piece by coating the top by itself and setting it out in the sun to soak up some UV. I then used a foam brush to flood a generous coating of oil over the surface of the carcass, a few minutes later I looked for dry spots and recoated them. After an hour I took an old t-shirt and wiped off the excess oil. I love this part, when you rub each inch of the wood, seeing the grain highlighted by soaking up the oil, feeling the smoothness of the panels and the sharp angles of the edge.
Once the oil was wiped off and is dry to the touch I attached the top to the sides using three pocket screws on each side. I had elongated the screw holes prior to finishing the piece, this will allow the top to move with expansion and contraction of the wood.
Once the top was attached I flooded on another coat of oil and this time left it for 15 minutes before wiping off as per the instructions on the can. You can really tell that the amount of oil needed to cover the surface is significantly less. One reason I really like this finish is the way it leaves the piece feeling, smooth and silky but not overcoated and plastic. When everything is finished and I have the final coats of oil on and dried I will rub on a coat of clear liquid wax to give it a really smooth "hand".
I covered the dresser with a soft flannel sheet and cut the dadoes for the back panel. I also cut the tenons for the rails for the back panel. I trimmed the tenons with a small shoulder plane until I got a perfect slip fit. I glued it up and set it aside to dry. The back panel will be screwed in place and later will be glued in place to add a lot of rigidity to the carcass but for now I need access to the back of the drawer supports to fit the center drawer guides once the drawers are completed.
I also took the time today to rough cut the curly maple for the drawer fronts and began some of the milling. Hopefully this week I'll be able to finish milling the stock for the drawers, did I mention that there were nine drawers, and start on the dovetails.

"He has achieved success who has worked well, laughed often, and loved much."
Elbert Hubbard

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Stickley #913 Harvey Ellis Dresser, Part 3

Well, its the next weekend and sure enough, I got done what I wanted to get done on this project, I think I could have got more done on it but sometimes you just have to work in the yard. That and one of my neighbors was at the Master's and I took care of their dog, and my other neighbors went up to the mountains and I took care of their dogs, yeah and I had to do my taxes...

Ok enough excuses, the truth is this thing is a puzzle and it takes quite a while just to piece it all together. So Saturday I finished the final dryfit with the side drawer guides and the center guides for the top drawers.
You can see the side and center guides here, notice the gap in front of the back drawer rails, this is left to allow for wood movement with the change of seasons. The back tenons will not be glued into the back drawer rails. Once everything was fit it was time to take everything apart for the last time and do some sanding. I started with 100 grit, proceeded to 120 grit, then 150 grit. I stopped there, I plan on hand sanding the rest after glue up.

I had to do some more work on the legs before I sanded them, the first thing I had to do was to cut a stopped rabbet into the backs of the back legs to hold the back panel. I installed the dado blade set to 3/4 inch in the tablesaw and adjusted it to 1/2 inch high. I marked the front and back of the blade on the sacrificial fence and transferred the marks from the stopping point of the rabbet to the opposite side of the legs. One leg I ran until the mark reached the front of the blade then turned off the saw and held the leg until the blade stopped spinning. The other leg I had to carefully lower onto the blade with the mark at the back of the blade and fed it through, I squared up the ends with a chisel. Then I needed to cut a taper in each leg starting at a point 15 9/16th of an inch down from the top. The leg is 2 1/8th wide and tapers to 1 7/8 at the top and 1 3/4 at the bottom. To accomplish this I marked the legs with lines showing the taper on both sides and used my jointer to cut the taper most of the way. This method involves holding back the blade guard and carefully laying the stock down on the running blade with the flush line just post the blade and running the taper over the blade in consecutive passes until the desired taper is achieved. I flipped the leg around and repeated the process for the top taper. I wouldn't recommend trying this technique unless you are comfortable with it as it involves a running machine with exposed blades. I then cleaned the cuts up on the workbench with a number 4 plane and a card scraper.

I also had to cut the tenons on the arched front apron and the mortises in the legs to house them. I cut the mortises with my hollow chisel mortiser, 3/8 inch wide and one inch deep. Using the dado set still in the saw I fit the width into the mortises then cut mortises on both ends one inch wide. Using a gentleman's saw I trimmed the mortises to the correct width and cleaned it up with a sharp chisel.
I used a arch bow that I had made previously to mark the arch in the front apron. I ripped a piece of white oak 1/8th of an inch thick and drilled a small hole in each end and using a string and a sliding adjuster made from the same oak I can adjust the bow to form the correct size arch, I mark a centerline on the board and another line at the limit of the arch. The bow has a mark on its center point so I line those up, after a little adjusting you have the arch you want. I traced this arch and cut it out on the bandsaw, I used the oscillating spindle sander to remove the saw marks. I stopped here for the day.

With all the parts now ready and sanded it was time for the final glue up and let me tell you, I was kind of nervous about getting everything glued, in place, lined up and clamped before the glue set. I guess I could have made a run over to Woodcraft and picked up some slow setting glue but I stuck with my old faithful, regular old Titebond. So it was time to take a deep breath, make sure all my clamps were laid out, a small deadblow hammer was handy, the glue bottle was filled, I had a few glue brushes out and some wipes too. I went over to my iPod, picked out some good glue up music, and cranked it up. A few songs later and the clamps were on, a little adjusting, a clamp diagonally across the top to help square it up and one screw to hole the center divider to the rail below it and it was done. Well almost, I had to glue in some center dividers for the top six drawers, these I just glued and clamped to the center supports.
Now it was done, I turned off the iPod and the lights and walked down the street to talk to my returning friends. After hearing about their adventures watching golf and playing in the mountains I came back, mowed the lawn, played with my dogs then decided it was time to take off the clamps and take some pictures.

"It is not how much one makes but to what purpose one spends." John Ruskin

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Stickley #913 Harvey Ellis Dresser, Part 2

This weekend I continue the Stickley #913 Harvey Ellis Designed 9 drawer dresser. This is the hard part, making the "bones" for the carcass. Cutting the dado's and sliding dovetails in the sides for the front and back drawer rails and the side drawer guides. The thickness of the cherry is 13/16th's of an inch so I couldn't cut the dado's with a 3/4 inch router bit, so what I decided to do was to attach a 3/4 inch outer diameter guide bushing and use a 1/2 inch mortising router bit. I then made a template by ripping two pieces of 1/2 inch plywood 4 inches wide, placing a piece of 1/2 inch MDF that I had ripped to 1 1/16th inch between them, squaring them up and screwing them to two pieces of jointed 1x3 scrap. I then used the MDF pieces to create stops by screwing them to the one by. I set the depth on the router to 1/8th of an inch and cut the stopped dado's that will house the side drawer guides. I then dropped the depth to 1/4 of an inch and routed out a relief so that I could slide in the stopped sliding dovetail joints on the front drawer rails. I then switched to my other router set up with the same size router guide and a 1/2 inch wide dovetail router bit, moved the MDF stop so that the bit stopped 1/2 inch from the front and removed the back stop. I routed the front as a stopped sliding dovetail and the back as a sliding dovetail both 1/4 inch deep.

I then put the same dovetail bit into the router table and used some cut off stock to dial in the width of the dovetail. I then cut dovetails on the ends of the front drawer rails and fit them in place. Once the front was all dry fit included the small drawer rails and the vertical divider ( not easy) I took a break and mowed the grass cause sometimes you just need to walk away from the shop or you just know you are going to make a mistake.
Sunday afternoon I cut the dovetails on the back drawer rails and fit them in place. I also cut the side drawer guides and middle drawer guides and formed the tenons on them. I marked the placement of the mortises so that when I take this puzzle apart I will know where to place them. I have numbered each piece and marked the same numbers on the inside of the joints so that each hand fitted piece will go back in the same location. The tenons on the side drawer runners will be glued into the front drawer guide rails and not glued into the back drawer guide rails to allow them to move with the sides. When I take the carcass apart next I will also cut a rabbet into the back of the legs to hold the back panel. The front arched apron will be mortised into the front legs and the legs will be tapered. All parts will be sanded prior to glue up. Hopefully, next weekend the carcass will be complete and them I can start on the drawers, did i mention that there are nine drawers...... NINE....

"Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped."
Elbert Hubbard

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Look what I found.

I was in my local Home Depot today and saw this flyer behind the desk at the tool department so I snatched it to share it with all of you.
I don't know any details more than this but what a deal. I know I can't wait to get mine.