Work In Progress #2: Canasta Part Two

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Blog entry by Byron posted 11-20-2011 06:11 AM 6344 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Canasta Part 2 of Work In Progress series Part 3: Canasta #3 »

So unfortunately I had not taken many pictures during the process of hand planing the curved door as well as cutting the dovetails for the carcass.

I wanted the door to be thin, very thin, which ultimately led to many, many problems. I ended up with a final thickness of a bout 1/4 inch. While I was milling the door I did not have the wood move on me much at all, the Avodire I ended up getting was so incredibly stable I could do almost anything to it and it would not warp. The one thing it did do though was sag. After letting it sag back an forth from too much of a curve to too little of a curve I finally caught it at a time when it was back to where I milled it, and I ended up preventing it from sagging by using packing tape to hang it off a ledge on the wall near my bench.

Too get the surface of my door I planed the front and the back of the door in by hand with lines I drew and scribed on to all the edges. It was important to keep the bottom exactly on my line to ensure it would sit flush on the carcass when I hinged it. The problem was I left extra room to cut the door to the exact dimension, so I would lose my reference on the edge where I scribed my line before the milling process. To ensure I had a consistent curve I took a quarter inch bit in a router and made a simple router compass. I matched the curve of my door and swung the radius in a clamped piece of quarter inch MDF. Since my door was a quarter inch the material removed between the radius of the arc created concentric arcs precisely the radii needed I would then use these all over my door matching the curve of the templates to my door. I also used a sure and true straight edge along the length. To get the inside curve I purchased a 5 inch radius blade from hock and started making the components for a Krenov style plane with a curved sole until I asked a friend in the studio if I could just borrow his.

Unfortunately I was not able to get a final surface acceptable for a hand rubbed finish by solely using my plane, as I hoped I could do, so used the curve of one of my templates to make a sanding block and lined it with cork.

I used the same process for the front of the panel, making sure I kept the back perfectly flat and square. The panel is coopered where the door is not. I wanted to keep the figure and grain in the door perfectly uniform where the panel I was planning to carve extensively so it did not matter as much. I joined the back of the panel and scribed the lines of the final edge and slowly planed down the curve.

The carcass dovetailed with a mitered front, so I left an extra bit on the front, basically an extra pin not cut out on the tails and a double width pin on the other. When I cut my pins I cut the front pin half way at a 45 degree angle and miter the remaining half of the pin, doing the same to the extra pin left on the tail.

The panel itself has a groove in it cut to match the groove in the carcass. all was done on the router table with stops to make sure the tails would not blow out, and the panel done similarly with a rabbiting bit using the bottom of the panel as a reference.

it is important that the back stays true and flat at this point since I will be routing in a place in the back for the drawer carcasses to be set in, and the last thing I want is for the drawers to have to come out at a weird angle, at least for this project.

Next the part I had been putting off, routing the groove for the ebony inlay. I cut the doors to a curve I drew with a flexible piece of wood and matched the template, 1/4 inch MDF, to that and made calls that would keep the curve exactly the same height as the panel, allowing me to rout the groove with a plunge router and a rub collar. Ideally I would make all my passes with a slightly smaller bit to ensure my final pass has as little vibration as possible, taking time here to do this makes a huge difference. I went very slow with many passes but unfortunately there was some discrepancies in the groove causing a gap. Good thing I’m using ebony.

And now the fun part, carving.

There is a sacrificial piece in the groove so I do not slice up the ebony inlay. I am also going to wait to explain my reason behind the carvings until I post good pictures of my project. So heres some of my carving process.

Ill explain the piece sticking out of the center of the panel later as well.

Here you can see the lines for the next phase of carving drawn in in the top picture and then carved in the second, only on one side though.

And heres the final carving fit into the carcass!!

Sorry this one was so long but thanks for reading, more to come!

-- Byron Conn, Woodworking/Furniture Design at Rochester Institute of Technology,

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