Saturday, December 30, 2006

Night stand - parts and pieces (post five)

I cut a lot of various parts today and used mortise and tenons joints, but you've seen that so I'll skip the boring details. However, I did stray from traditional joinery this afternoon so I'll introduce that technique.

The furniture I'm patterning my design from both have an "under-top". It isn't a full piece of wood like the top is; it is just a frame that appears to be a base for the top. I milled the pieces for this "skirt". It is pictured to the right. This goes just under the top surface of the night stand, but it is slightly smaller.

Wood can be glued edge to edge and "top" to "top", but it can not be glued on the end grain so I have to fasten the pieces together using some mechanical method. More on that later, but now notice the groove or dado on the inside. I will use this dado to attach the top allowing for the top to move. I will show this when I get to it, but for now remember the groove.

A biscuit is a handy European invention that is now widely used to fasten this kind of butt joint. You can see it to the left along with the biscuits. These are small pressed pieces of wood in the shape of football. They come in various sizes for different applications. I am using the largest size. The idea is simple - a small blade cuts half-a football shaped groove in the end of the wood. Insert the biscuit and join a matching piece of wood; cut the same way in just the right spot, both up and down and left to right, to the first piece of wood. The biscuits expand, the glue drys and you have a very strong and simple joint.

Here is a biscuit in a joint. You can also see where I stopped the dado so as to not interfere with the butt joint. I wasn't precise with this cut and just make a rough mark. By the way, this dado is done on the table saw with a very wide blade that is adjustable in width. It is called a dado stack. I could have also accomplished it with a router, but it is harder to set up - the table saw is quick and easy.

Here is the assembled piece. I will glue this overnight and use a router tomorrow to profile the edge. This actually is the first piece I have glued. I still am not going to assemble the entire stand,but I will start with some of the parts - I have to - there are almost 50 pieces stacked and taking up room!

I also glued up some panels for the bottom, or "floor" of the stand. These boards are simply glued together on each edge after being joined on the joiner. A glued joint like this will crack and split the wood before it will break. This is in contrast to the end grain I just wrote about.

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