Thursday, February 16, 2012

Baby Cradle

My latest project is a swinging baby cradle.  I'm looking forward to this one.  Lots of new skills and it'll be my first project with cherry.  So far I've got most of the parts thicknessed and cut to size.  I'm working on the top rails for the ends.  I've got the patterns laid out and the next step will be to cut the tenons.  Stay tuned for updates.  The going is kinda slow right now on the account that I'm still recovering from carpel tunnel surgery.  

This is a 1986 woodsmith magazine...practically a classic

I'll spent most of the weekend working on the ends of the basked.  The frames are almost done, just two more tenons to cut.  Saving the best for last I guess because the final step in the end frames are the angled tenons.  The pattern on the top rails is cut. I roughed it with the bandsaw and then used a piece of 1/4 inch hardboard for a template and used a pattern bit in the router to finish as much as I could.  There's still plenty of sanding to do and the whole thing gets an 1/8 inch roundover.  I've already got the panel glued up so once I get the frame finished I can cut the panel to size and make the jig to profile the edge and give it that raised look.

Two end frames waiting for the bottom rails

Closeup of the mortise an tennon

The raised panel ends are on hold for the time being.  I had to order a couple of router bits, one of which is a slot cutter.  I need it to put the groves in the frame for the panel to fit into.  I ordered it from MLCS on Sunday so it should be here soon.  In the mean time I cut all the slats for the sides.  Once I get all the groves cut I can finish the bottom rail and get everything dry fit.  Once the frame is all done I'll get the exact shape and size of the panel.  Then I can get into the process of making the raised panels.  

I used my sorry a** Craftsman bandsaw to resaw some 13/16 x 2" boards in half.  After lots of planing to fix up all the marks from the bandsaw I ended up with some 11/32" thick slats.  I can't do much more with the sides frames and slats until I get the ends frames done. 

With these current circumstances and holdups in mind it seems like a good time to talk a little about sequence of steps.  Something I've learned in my fairly young woodworking pursuits is that no matter how much I measure and recheck there's always a little margin of error.  It's partly due to my experience level and partly due to my caliber of tools.  Both are plenty good to make great furniture if I keep them in mind.  For instance with the curve door jewelry box I measured and cut each drawer individually and fit them one at a time.  I could have saved quite a bit of time if I would have cut all the pieces at once out of one long strip.  Knowing that the dadoes for the drawer slides might not be perfectly and evenly spaced I elected to take the safe route and do each one at a time.  With the cradle I'm keeping my shortfalls in mind as I go along so it will inevitably go a little slower.  I don't want to cut the end panel until I get the frames finished.  Even when its time I'll still do each end separately.  I don't want to start the side frames and install the slats until I get the ends finished up so that each piece or component is perfectly fit to the previous.  That pretty much sums up my point here,   if you proceed in a mindful sequence each piece or component is perfectly fit to the previous one.  Precutting all the project pieces to final size right away and expecting them to fit exactly as the plans specify is sure way to waste a bunch of wood and create a lot of frustration.  

Finished the End Frames

After a lot of dry fitting and fine tuning I've got the end frames fit together.  The layout of the angled tenons went well and some newly sharpened chisels made for some quick work on the cleanup of them.  It's a project like this that really makes me realize how nice a shoulder plane would be.  The chisels work nice to clean up after sawing the tenons but they aren't ideal for fine tuning the thickness and making sure the faces are parallel.  I'm currently saving up for the vice hardware for my planned workbench, but I have to put a shoulder plane high on the list.  I do love M&T joints so it will be a wise investment for the future.  I've been browsing various classifieds for a used one but no luck yet.  

Cutting the angled tenon

I started working on the panels but haven't gotten too far yet.  My hands have been rather sore lately as I am still healing from the surgery and the snow drought has finally broken this week in a major way.  We've gotten almost 2 feet of fresh snow in the last 4 days so the snowshoes have been seeing some major action.  I plan on getting some of the curved profiles roughed out in my shop and then visiting a fellow woodworker with a more outfitted shop that mine.  He has spindle sander that will make quick work of smoothing the curves.  

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