Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Simple

A little late to the party...

I'm in the midst of building a table for a woodworking challenge (details here). The deadline is Thursday. As per usual I'm going to be cutting it close (no pun intended). My goal for the weekend is to complete the construction of the table so I'll have time to put finish on it before I have to post pictures of the completed table.

On the to-do list were:
  • dovetailing the drawer parts
  • adding dadoes to the stretcher for the shelf
  • finishing the jig I designed to cut plugs with
  • adding dadoes to the sides of the drawer
  • attaching the drawer front
  • easing all the edges (rounding over or chamfering the edges so they aren't sharp)
I figured the dovetails would be simple. Several years ago I purchased a dovetail jig. I figured that having a jig would make cutting dovetails easier. I'd pulled out the jig earlier in the week and though the instructions were somewhat lacking it looked simple enough.

When I cut the drawer parts I made a bunch of extra pieces so I would have test pieces with which to set the jig up. Six hours later I had a lot of sawdust, and a pile of much smaller test pieces. What I didn't have was a completed drawer. I just couldn't get a precise enough fit using the jig.

After much deliberation I decided to cut my losses and put the skills I have to work. You see last year in a workshop class at the North Bennett Street School I learned to cut dovetails by hand. I haven't mastered them yet, but I can make a pretty serviceable dovetail. I considered other joints, but dovetails are what I wanted. So I pulled out the drawer parts and started marking out the dovetails. After 4 hours (last night and today) of hand sawing and chisel work I had completed the drawer joints.

Here's one corner. A nice simple dovetail.

The moral of the story - don't overcomplicate situations. Keep it simple.

More Sunday Scribblings.

My woodworking blog


Stacy said...

Though in this case, simple looks extremely complicated!

JAXTER said...

That is by hand??? I am impressed! I love tools and building, but I stick to big things like decks that have a lot of room for "mistakes" - you are way too fancy and awe inducing for me. Nice work!