Taliesin Desk Build - How's and Why's #4: Time to make some sawdust

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Blog entry by EarlS posted 07-27-2016 01:30 AM 1439 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Part 2B# - Inspiration at the Chicago Art Institute Part 4 of Taliesin Desk Build - How's and Why's series Part 5: Making Legs »

I don’t have any 8/4 or 12/4 to make the legs and side aprons. Online 12/4 X36 square blanks are very expensive ($40 on Rockler) plus most of them are glued up. So I decided to make them from existing 6/4 and 4/4 stock. When the changes were made, I needed roughly 20 BF of 4/4 and 20 BF of 6/4 cherry for the legs, side aprons, various stretchers, as well as the drawer fronts and the back rail. I also needed some 5/4 square walnut spindles and some 4/4 square walnut spindles. The 4/4 walnut for the top will be purchased later, when I am ready for it, as will the maple for the drawer boxes and the plywood for the drawer bottoms. I’ll also pick up some more cherry if the budget allows.

I made a cutlist from the Sketch-Up drawings:

While I was at it, I also printed off all of the various detail views. Here are the ones for the side top and bottom aprons and spindles. As you can see they also double as scratch paper for doing the math to make sure things add up and for making notes on changes.

As part of the process I have been trying to learn Sketch-Up. I bought the videos and have started to learn how to make a project. Very educational, though hard for me to un-learn all of the CAD that I have picked up over 25 years as an engineer. The approach is just different enough that this old dog will need to learn some new tricks. Fortunately, printing off the views is relatively easy. Until I learn more, my changes will be penciled in over the original dimensions.

I buy all of my lumber rough and plane and joint it myself – better quality control and 4/4 is really 4/4 and not 15/16”and not wavy with highs and lows. I use a Dewalt DW735 planer, the 2 speed, 13”, good one, not the flimsy one that the big box stores sell. It has preset stops at 5/4, 4/4, ¾, ½”, and ¼”. I’ve found that the stop is ¼ of a turn high (1/64”) so when I hit the stop I know I’m close. I also check each pass with my Wixley digital calipers. It reads out in a large font so it is easier on the eyes than the traditional dial version plus it also shows the measurement in decimal, perfect for using with the Wixley table saw digital read out.

I ran all of the 6/4 stock I had through the planer (~40 BF), then all of the 4/4 (~40 BF). I also pulled out all of the shorts I had and anything from the miscellaneous cutoffs that might be usable. With a little time and lots of measuring and re-measuring I had enough rough cut boards for the cherry pieces of the base frame.

From there I ran the rough cut lengths through the jointer. It is a lot easier to push shorter lengths across the jointer AFTER they are cut to rough length than it is to run a 96” board through the jointer then cut to rough length. With a straight edge I squared up both ends and ripped the boards to final width.

As as side note, the wood shavings from the dust collector work great as mulch around the trees we have along the back of the house.

A quick comment or two on ripping boards to width. I start from the jointed edge and work across the board toward the unfinished edge. The Wixley on the table saw fence really helps with the accuracy. Slide the fence so that the blade is just touching the fence, zero the Wixley and then set the width from there.

I also use a Micro Jig Splitter in the table saw zero clearance insert to make sure the board doesn’t bind up on the blade. I also use the anti-kickback rollers to hold the board down and a magnetic feather board to hold the board tight on the fence. Even still, there are still some burn marks on the sides.

Here is the initial pile of rough cut pieces for the legs, side aprons, spindles, and long stretchers. Doesn’t look like much does it?

Next up – making legs

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

3 comments so far

View CaptainSkully's profile


1615 posts in 4634 days

#1 posted 07-27-2016 01:31 PM

Yay! Sawdust!

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View JimYoung's profile


407 posts in 2663 days

#2 posted 07-27-2016 04:16 PM

No matter how hard I try, I always seem to burn cherry. I always cut it over size and bring it to final thickness with the planner.

Looking nice.

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

View Oldtool's profile


3215 posts in 3266 days

#3 posted 07-28-2016 12:02 PM

As a suggestion for making the legs as a glue up, a method I use is to hide the glue joint on a corner. This method uses a little more wood than a flat glue up, but I think it provides a better looking leg. You can view this better than I can explain it in some of my projects, most recently here in my bed post construction.
If you are interested, I hope it helps,

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

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