Friday, March 26, 2010

Scooby Snacks Keep the Shop Moving Along

Over the last couple of days I've gotten a few chances to spend an hour or two in the shop at a time. Never able to do enough for a full post but moving along step by step on getting the saw horses closer to the finish line. First I spent hacked another leg shape out, I would like to think I can just plow through all four of them in one sitting, but hand cutting them with a coping saw is pretty taxing on my tennis elbow, it's better if I take my time and do them one at a time. Cut one out, do something else for a bit, cut another one out, switch jobs again. This method of work does a few things for me. One it cuts down on how beat up I feel after a day in the shop because the variety of switching it up cuts down on those nagging, repetative style nuisance injuries. And two, it helps keep me interested and inspired while I'm working. I think ahead constantly, I can't help it, and sometimes when I do that I become so jazzed about the plans and ideas that I feel like I have to do something about them, because if I don't I'll obviously forget the solution I came up with. Making huge sweeping cuts with a coping saw is not the fun part of the piece to me. I love joinery, always have, so accomplishing the joinery is the fun part. I use that as my reward.

"If I finish getting this leg cut out, then I can move on to those mortices for a while" ---- you see, just like a scooby snack!

So after getting the second leg cut out and shapped, I took the scooby snack of working on the top of the horse. This did mean something exciting for me, I got to take the new dado hand saw I made out for a real drive for the first time. teaching myself how to use it was fun, getting it started was the real challenge but once it was going, plowed right down to the bottom. I think the only thing that may have made it easier is if I had set the blade to cut on the push stroke instead of the pull. It seemed more intuitive to use it that way. I wil try it for a few more times before I make the decision to change it around to what is probably the more traditional direction.

Either way it was cool to have success with it. Even using my table saw this is always how I've liked to cut dados. cut a line down either side and hog out the center with a chisel. Now that my new router plane has arrived cleaning up the bottoms is going to be even easier. (that puppy did arrive this week too, all three cutting blades and the guide fence intact, just have to use a litle elbow grease to clean up the surface rust and sharpen the blades and we're completely in buisness)














The I laid the cut leg out in the completed dados and marked where the thru mortises needed to fall. I the struck the marks with a chisel to score the lines. and took a brace and bit to each of the corners. Then I flipped the board over and struck the chisel again to connect the ouside corners and scribe the line on the back side. I then took my largest brace bit and bored out the center. Chisel and mallet later . . . I had a few nice mortises to fit the tenons on the legs through.

My only complaint is that this construction grade pine is so awful dry it splits cracks and chips out small divits around the mortise. Now I did not worry too much about being careful to avoid these things while I was doing this, one I have not surfaced the tops yet, and when I do that it will help with these issues. and two these are just saw horses man, they don't have to be overly pretty, they just have to work. I do have one thing I will have to repair, There was a knot right where one of the mortises fell, and I had to try to bisect it in chopping the mortise, ofcourse the knot fell out and now there is a pretty sizable defect about like my pinkie finger to fix.
I'm still measuring my options with that, cutting a wood dutchman appeals, but then there was the epoxy treatment that Chris Schwarz was talking about on his blog...I could come up with another crazy idea between now and when I need to decide something, who knows.

Anyhow, before I move any further, I will have to cut out another leg or two, Scooby snacks away!!

Cheers!

Oldwolf

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