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Blog series by Ron Aylor updated 02-01-2018 10:06 PM 18 parts 37597 reads 197 comments total

Part 1: An Ambitious Endeavor

08-07-2017 11:02 AM by Ron Aylor | 10 comments »

An Ambitious Endeavor –  As you may recall I set out two years ago to build Prie Dieux for the four priests at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Tucker, Georgia. This fourth Prie Dieu in the series, being built for the Rector of St. Bede’s, may very well prove to be my most ambitious hand tool endeavor to date. I will be attempting a Louis XIII/Elizabethan-ish  style Prie Dieu in walnut and Ambrosia maple. There will be some firsts for me with this project, like the gadrooning,...

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Part 2: To the File Box!

08-13-2017 07:10 PM by Ron Aylor | 15 comments »

To the File Box! –  Having formed the beads and flats at both ends and roughed out the cylinder for the barley twist … it was time to disconnect from the lathe and split the spindle.  With just a few whacks of a chisel the spindle split nicely along the brown paper seam.               Voilà … time to get the file box!  My file box is nothing more than a hand powered lathe of sorts. Fixed head stock at one end … movable tail stock at the other.  The centers are actually...

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Part 3: Barley Twist Split Spindle

08-20-2017 05:18 PM by Ron Aylor | 6 comments »

Barley Twist Split Spindle - With most woodworking projects, especially hand tool projects, consistency is a challenge in and of itself. The mirror image barley twist proved no exception. After several hours in the file box, back and forth with chisel, rasp, and file, I feel like perhaps I achieved the proverbial close enough!  Although slightly off in spots, I think the mirror image accent pieces will turn out just fine.  At least … I’m happy with the results! Also, I do believe ...

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Part 4: A Secret Drawer

08-27-2017 09:18 PM by Ron Aylor | 4 comments »

A Secret Drawer –  With the barley twist split spindle completed and resting quietly out of harms ways, I start work on the kneeling platform.  Now … what Elizabethan/Louis XIII style Prie Dieu would be complete without a secret compartment? Besides, where else would a Reformation Era priest have kept those controversial texts? After a great deal of thought and working out countless possibilities in my head; I decided on a secret drawer patterned after that of Marc Spagnuolo’...

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Part 5: Butterflies & Trim

09-03-2017 07:46 PM by Ron Aylor | 7 comments »

Butterflies & Trim –  Once the secret drawer was fitted and working properly, I glued up three walnut boards to form the top of the kneeling platform. Once the glue dried and the top was squared, I attached it to the frame with seven 3/4” x 3/4” glue blocks.  Once that  glue dried I decided to add butterflies to re-enforce the rub joint.  I used 3/16” thick cocobolo for the three 1” x 3” butterflies.                 Next up I planed and card scraped a walnut board for th...

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Part 6: Gadrooning

09-07-2017 11:15 PM by Ron Aylor | 8 comments »

Gadrooning –  For the gadrooning, I decided on a barley-ribbon twist  pattern. Given that the kneeling platform is just slightly wider than it is deep, mitering the gadrooned trim pieces proved difficult at best.   So, I decided to create corner blocks to match each corner of the platform … that way the trim pieces could simply butt up to the corners.  With the corner blocks fitted to their respective corners … I alleviated the need for perfect squareness. Is that cheating...

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Part 7: The Right Color

09-24-2017 06:17 PM by Ron Aylor | 6 comments »

The Right Color –  Wanting to capture the color of the altar table in the Harvard Chapel of Southwark Cathedral, London, I decided (after a bit of trial and error)  on a concoction of 4 ounces of General Finishes Medium Brown Dye/Stain (straight out of the can)  diluted with 1-1/2 ounces of water.   I covered the cocobolo butterflies with tape and slathered on a quick coat, letting it sit for about ten minutes before soaking up the residue with a paper towel. I let this dry for about 30...

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Part 8: Onward & Upward

10-26-2017 10:14 PM by Ron Aylor | 4 comments »

Onward & Upward –  As mentioned in the comments section of the previous blog post, the kneeling platform depleted my supply of walnut! After visiting Suwanee Lumber (the best little lumber yard in all of Georgia) I not only secured enough walnut to complete this project, but managed to bring home quite a bit of cherry and ash. Wanting to get this new lumber off the floor and out of the way, I took a few days to build some cantilevered shelving.   With the new lumber out of the way a...

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Part 9: On the Rail

11-12-2017 05:58 PM by Ron Aylor | 12 comments »

On the Rail –  Having calculated the width of the upper case, I ripped and cut to length the various rails. The front received a drawer rail and bottom rail, the back received a top, bottom, and middle rail. At this point I was still unsure of the design of the raised panels.  So, after squaring the rails …   … I cut a 1/4” x 1/4” groove along the edges of the back stiles and rails.   The groove plane from my tongue and groove set places the groove 3/16” from the face of the board.     ...

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Part 10: Panels Rising

11-17-2017 12:16 AM by Ron Aylor | 8 comments »

Panels Rising -  With all of the mortises cut and a bit of tab A into slot B  …                 … the frame of the Prie Dieu back began to take shape.  Once fitted together I drilled holes for the draw-bore pins.  While the frame was clamped up, I determined the overall size of the panels to be 7-7/8” x 13-3/4” …  ... I decided on a profile akin to this.          I then cut two panels from 3/4” Ambrosia maple stock. With the walnut receiving the General Finishes Medium Brown Dye/S...

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Part 11: Panel Risen

11-18-2017 10:06 PM by Ron Aylor | 34 comments »

Panel Risen –  To check my math one more time  I did a quick dry fit … I think it’s starting to look like a Prie Dieu!                 Now … time to start raising this panel. First I cut saw kerfs for the various steps in the profile …                 … then using a 1/8” chisel I removed waste to create the first step-down.                                 Readjusting the kerfing plane and repeating the process, I created two  step-downs. I used a bench plane to hog out most ...

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Part 12: Upper Case

12-01-2017 09:56 PM by Ron Aylor | 6 comments »

Upper Case - Before any assembly of the upper case could take place, I needed to cut a few dados for shelves. Once located, I struck knife lines for the thickness of the shelf stock. I then used a chisel to accentuate the knife lines … creating a nice little trough for …  … the gent saw to cut the shoulders of the dado(s) ...  … and a chisel to bust loose the waste.  I then went to town with my Old Woman’s Tooth … cleaning out the dado(s) to a 1/4” depth …  … all the while k...

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Part 13: Two Become One

12-06-2017 04:35 PM by Ron Aylor | 5 comments »

Two Become One –  I thought I would take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and glue up the upper case. First I attached the barley twist accent pieces to the front frame with wood screws …                  … these pieces are proud of the frame by 3/8” as they overlap the side pieces.                 I applied the General Finishes Medium Brown Dye/Stain concoction to all the upper case pieces and once dry … glued it up!  The false bottom I mentioned in an earlier post cons...

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Part 14: Click … Swoosh

12-11-2017 08:07 PM by Ron Aylor | 9 comments »

Click … Swoosh - Before tackling the eight panel door, I thought I would give my newly made lamb’s tongue template a work out.  After locating the stopped chamfers with chalk, laying out the lamb’s tongue(s) was a breeze.  … not too shabby … if I say so myself!                 Aside from the cocobolo butterflies, these stopped chamfers and lamb’s tongues will serve to reference the Trinity without altering the over-all style.                 As I was thinking about the drawe...

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Part 15: The Top

01-12-2018 08:41 PM by Ron Aylor | 9 comments »

The Top –  I haven’t had much shop time since my last blog post. The weather was not on my side. If it wasn’t dark and rainy, it was just too cold to be in the shop. Besides that I was down with the flu from the day after Christmas until just a few days ago. If it isn’t one thing it’s another. The last few days have been great, though. I was able to glue up and smooth the top …                   … and get the trim pieces and corners ready for gadrooning.        ...

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Part 16: The Drawer

01-21-2018 09:45 PM by Ron Aylor | 12 comments »

The Drawer –  Well, today (1-21-18) was a veritable heat wave in Lilburn. Sixty-nine degrees! Can you believe it was below freezing just a few days ago? The awesome weather allowed me to complete the drawer for this Prie Dieu. I got home from church this morning about ten o’clock and immediately started resawing some 3/4” pine for drawer parts.                 I even got to use my newly acquired J. Pearce No. 109 jack plane.   I will need to add a slight camber to the iron … it le...

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Part 17: The Door Panel

01-27-2018 11:01 PM by Ron Aylor | 18 comments »

The Door Panel –  Now for the really hard part … an eight piece door panel. Having measured the rough opening in the upper case I created a full scale drawing …                  … and positioned it inside the opening to double check the proportions. All is well. Now I just have to duplicate the drawing using eight little pieces of wood. Tools don’t fail me now!                 By making this panel first, I can take up any slack within the stiles and rails. By design the stiles and...

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Part 18: Ambitious Endeavor Realized

02-01-2018 10:06 PM by Ron Aylor | 24 comments »

Ambitious Endeavor Realized –  I did it! After 426 hours, my ambition became a reality. Once the eight part door panel came together, all it needed was stiles and rails …                 Sorry for the bad photo … when they say do not shoot photos with the sun in front … I guess they mean it! With the stiles and rails cut, mortises and tenons cut and fitted … it was a quick clamp up to drill for pins …                 … and I had a door … whew! Before inserting the pins, I dyed the walnu...

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