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Saturday, April 14, 2007


OK..I'm closing in on the home stretch on the crib...

I now have the cap on the footboard. If you look closely on either end, you can probably see the plugs sticking up where the countersunk screws are (it is glued along the middle and screwed & glued on the ends). I just need to flush trim those, clean up some glue squeeze out, do a final sanding, and the footboard and headboard will both be done, apart from staining/finishing.

Below is the drawing I created to help me cut parts to the right size for the sides. This is way different from the way the plans want you to make the sides, but I think this will look better, and still be strong. All those years of mechanical drafting come in handy for woodworking design. The vertical slats are mortised into the top and bottom rails. It took awhile to cut all those mortises, since it was required close to 200 holes drilled adjacent to each other, and then I had to clean each one up and size it for the rails using chisels. That is rewarding work, but a little tedious.

This is what the sides will look like. I have to glue them, which will definitely be difficult, since I have to get all those things to line up, and make some fairly large pipe clamps work, within about a 7 minute window before the glue starts setting. So I will save that for tomorrow. But this gives you an idea of how they will look:

Man. I am slow. I have probably spent 50 hours on this project so far. But, part of the time was making jigs I needed. Below is a 90° jig for my drill press. I needed this for the successive holes in the side rail mortises. I was happy because it came out exactly 90°, or at least close enough that my measuring tools couldn't detect that it was off. Once I get a big bandsaw (14"), I can also use this for resawing wider pieces, but it is too big for my current bandsaw.

Another jig I made was a jointer fence for my table saw. Actually, I made two--one that takes off 1/8", and one that takes off 1/16". The way they work is that they attach to the regular rip fence (via square head bolts that go into the slot on the stock fence), and then you slide the unit to where the blade fits in the circular cutout in the melamine. The pieces that fit behind the blade (on the bottom in this picture), are even with the blade, so that the stock gets trimmed exactly 1/16" or 1/8" by passing it by this. It works better on smaller stock that is easier to manage, not as well on large stock. But, all in all, they work surprisingly well. They are not my design--I got them out of a cool book I bought right after I got my table saw. It's not as good as a jointer, but it will get me by until I'm ready to sink $500-700 into a nice jointer. I also have a plan in my head for a jointer sled for my planer. I'll let you know how that works out.

So what remains is to sand a few pieces on the side panels, glue up the side panels, do a final sanding & glue cleanup on everything, drill some bolt holes for fastening it together, and finishing. It's within reach now--in fact, I could get most everything but the finishing done tomorrow, if I focus on it. It will be a relief to have this done. It's been fun, but I am ready to start on a new project. I also have decided that I don't like working under deadlines.


Monday, April 09, 2007


OK. So it's been awhile since I've updated you on the crib progress. I haven't made that much progress, because I've been working quite a few hours (50, on average), and we did a little traveling over the holiday, and there have been other miscellaneous distractions, such as the fact that I received 75 shrubs in the mail from the Missouri Dept. of Conservation, and had to get them in the ground. Anyway, here goes...

Here is the completed headboard. I use the term "completed" loosely, because I still want to run over it with a hand sanding at 220 grit, and I have to finish it, and maybe put some felt-covered feet on the bottom, but it is pretty much done:

Also, I now have the footboard 90% done. All I need there is to clean up some glue squeeze out, and put a cap on it. I think the cap is already cut, and just needs rounded over and sanded, but I can't remember. Here's what they look like together (footboard is on right):

And, I have the sides well underway. The plans called for this to be 2 pieces of 1/4" plywood laminated together to make a solid panel. Yuck. So I stuck with the general look of the headboard & footboard, but gave it a little arts & crafts "flair." This took a little design, because it had to be as rigid diagonally as the plywood panel. So I wound up designing it with one big "slat" in the middle, and it will have 2 small ones (the size of those in the headboard) on either side. I am pretty sure the 'decorative' cutout in the larger center slat is to allow for wood movement without warping everything. Let's hope it works. Oh, these are 3/8" thick, and are set into a 1" deep mortise in the top and bottom pieces. Hopefully, when it's all glued up, it will be solid. Should be--the shear & pull-apart stresses for mortise & tenon joints is pretty incredible. This is what it will look like from the side, but without the narrower slats on either side of the wide one:

Oh. And remember when I said that the slats for the side were 3/8"? Well, so are the ones in the headboard and footboard. But, since the headboard ones are narrow (1.5" wide), I could resaw them to thickness, from 3/4", using my bandsaw. I couldn't do that with the 7 1/4" wide piece here. Yeah, I could have run it through the table saw one way, then flipped it end for end, run it through again, and cut what was left with a hand saw, but I knew this was not going to be the last time I had to deal with stock that needed to be thicknessed. So, I just went right out and bought the following item:

I say "went right out..." Those of you that know me know that I am not an impulse shopper. I researched table saws for over a year and a half before settling on the one I got. Actually, I had already decided that if I ever got a planer, it would be this one. Wood magazine had recently run a review of planers, and this was the "Best Value" out of 15 or so planers. A $550 DeWalt took the top prize, but for about 2/3 the price, this one was rated almost as good. Anyway, it works well. It pulls stuff through effortlessly, and the board that comes out is glass-smooth. It is my third Ridgid tool (table saw, shop vac). My satisfaction with the other tools definitely made me more comfortable buying this.

I already know which bandsaw and jointer I will get when the time comes. Yeah, I have a bandsaw, but it is tiny (9"), and it has started to hesitate when starting up, so I assume it won't last forever.

Thanks for listening.


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