From Rough To Final

After you've finished milling your lumber and rough cutting a stack of parts, it's time to start turning those rough blanks into the components of your project. And that begins with cutting them to final size.

FENCES & STOPS. In a power tool workshop, there's not much need for marking the width and length of every workpiece. Instead, you can just set the rip fence on the table saw to cut the parts to width and a stop block for the length cuts. The photos below are good examples of these techniques.

KEEPING TRACK. It's still easy to make mistakes, however, even using this method. The problem isn't making your cuts accurately, but keeping track of which parts you've cut and which ones you still need. This is where following your cutting list can make a difference.

I find it helps to cut ail like parts at the same time and stack them together, labeling each stack. This way, I can lay the parts on the bench and have a running count of where I am on the cutting tasks. The main photo on page 12 shows you what I'm talking about.

This is also a good time to use some of the extra stock to make a few spare parts. Having a spare piece cut to size can be a real time saver if you make a mistake or have a problem with tearout later while cutting the joinery for your project.

MEASURING AND MARKING JOINERY. Now that you have a stack of straight, square, and properly sized work-pieces, you can turn your attention to laying out the joinery. Once again, using power tools to cut mortises, tenons, or dovetails may make it tempting to skip the layout and move right to the machinery.

But your work will benefit from laying out at least the first joint for each type of cut. This way, you'll have an easy visual reference to make sure the cuts are where they need to be. After you verify the accuracy of the layout, then you can rely on fences, stop blocks, and templates to repeat the cut.

THI RIGHT TOOLS, To make accurate layout marks, you'll need to use the right tools. That doesn't mean you need to spend a lot of money on them, but they need to be reliably accurate. Look for rules and squares that have etched markings, not stamped. They're easier to read and more accurate. The photo above shows one of the benefits.

Cutting all project parts of the same width at the same time avoids mistakes by allowing you to use the same fence setting for each piece. Going back later to reset the fence can result in deviations.

A stop block eliminates the need to measure and mark each workpiece. By carefully setting the block location, you can be assured of identical parts.

Higher-quality rules and squares have etched (rather than stamped) markings for greater accuracy. They allow you to register the point of your pencil at the mark as well.

Using a marking gauge to lay out the location of a mortise makes it easier to set up a mortiser or cut it using a drill press and chisel.

A sliding bevel gauge and a striking knife are the tools of choice for laying out dovetails. The bevel gauge provides a consistent angle and the knife makes a crisp cut line.

Using a marking gauge to lay out the location of a mortise makes it easier to set up a mortiser or cut it using a drill press and chisel.

A sliding bevel gauge and a striking knife are the tools of choice for laying out dovetails. The bevel gauge provides a consistent angle and the knife makes a crisp cut line.

In addition to the standard tape measure and a sharp pencil, your basic set of tools should include a steel rule, a combination square, a marking gauge, and a sliding bevel. Adding a striking knife to your toolbox will be useful for joinery. A cut layout line provides an easy reference for placing the edge of a chisel to clean up the joint

TECHNIQUES. The most important thing to remember when marking joinery is to start from a square reference edge and end and use those points throughout the process.

Working from the same reference edges keeps the marks consistent.

MARK POSITION OF WORKPIECES. It's also a good idea to get in the habit of deciding the order and placement of parts in the final assembly. It's not necessary for every piece, but legs, for example, often require a decision about placement before cutting the mortises for aprons. A simple mark on the top, like LF or RF (left/right front), can save confusion and mistakes later.

In the case of drawers, marking the mating pieces can be essential for fine tuning a dovetail. The mark can also help you avoid cutting a groove for the drawer bottom on the wrong edge. Finally, you can check everything with a dry fit of the assembly (box below).

FINAL CUTS. By taking the time and effort to start with flat, square stock and then measuring and marking accurately you can approach the final cuts with confidence. Whether it's a mortise, tenon, dovetail, or just a square end cut, developing good habits for laying out your work is time well spent. 01

Dry Fit At this stage, you can spot any problems with the overall assembly Checking the fit of the joinery and the color and grain match while the parts are in position can reveal defects or mismatches that aren't apparent in the individual pieces.

How-To: Dry Fitting Assembly

Dry Fit At this stage, you can spot any problems with the overall assembly Checking the fit of the joinery and the color and grain match while the parts are in position can reveal defects or mismatches that aren't apparent in the individual pieces.

No matter how carefully you choose the grain and color for your parts, and how meticulous you are when cutting the joinery, there's no guarantee the parts will work well together as a whole. That's why it's a good idea to test fit them before final assembly. A dry fit (where you put the parts together without adding glue to the joints) gives you the final opportunity to make any adjustments or replacements before it's tot) late.

The things to look for are a good fit at the joint lines and the color and grain of the overall assembly Don't be afraid to change positions or even replace a part when necessary.

Another advantage of dry fitting your projects is that it gives you a chance to review the order of assembly and your clamping strategy This way, you'll be able to have the clamps opened to the approximate length and also have the needed cauls or blocks handy.

Weekend Pro

The free-floating design allows you to group these shelves in versatile and complementary arrangements.

If you're looking for shelving that's attractive and space-saving, then this project will fit nicely in your home. The four-sided shelves hang securely to the wall with hidden brackets. Plus, the low-profile shelves can be grouped, so you can hang several together without taking up valuable floor space.

And the shelves are easily modified to store bottles of wine or wine glasses. With these shelves, just a few feet of wall space could be converted into a mini wine bar to serve you and your guests.

Although these shelves are pretty easy to build, there are enough woodworking techniques packed into them to keep you challenged. Splined miters join the front corners, while tongue and dado joints hold the back.

If the clean lines of these shelves don't suit your decor, then check out two additional styles for the shelves as shown on page 19.

Hanging the shelves is made easy with a two-piece bracket that includes a level. Just lower the shelf over the cleat for placement.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment