Guys came into class this morning ready to work. They are well aware of the uphill struggle in front of them if they plan to get the first drawer completed for the chest. No one is expecting to get the chest completed. In five days, with 17 woodworkers building a complicated piece for the first time, completion would be a miracle.
As happens most of the time, the few students who were out in front ran into a couple issues during the day that slowed their pace. One front-runner had the fence slip as a dado was cut and another had to recover from a mishap that developed as he routed the dovetail sockets for drawer dividers. Each misfortune was remedied and resulted in a lesson on how to fix common mistakes. As a result, the pack has formed into a bunch as we start down the back stretch, through hump day.
I’ve often said the difference between a woodworker and a good woodworker is that good woodworker knows how to fix his or her mistakes.
Most students have cleared the hurdle for day two with the completion of the drawer dividers and are starting to assemble the pieces into a chest. Yesterday, the most time spent by far was in cutting and installing the bottom front to the case bottom. Once the large dovetail joint was fit, the shaping of the block-front profile consumed a large portion of the afternoon. The trick to transferring the pattern to the bottom, which requires an increase of size by 5/8″, is to use a fender washer. The distance from the inner wall of the center hole to the outside of the washer is 5/8″. If you place a pencil into the hole and roll the washer along your first profile, the result is perfectly sized.
Once the layout is complete, it’s off to the band saw to cut close to the line, then the rasps and files come out and hand shaping begins. To finish the profile the edge is routed. Everyone was pleased as they finished. I didn’t have the heart to tell them the same steps are used today as we create the bottom front mouldings.
What’s in store for today? By the end of the day we should have the tops in place and be finishing the beaded trim on the case side. Feet will be the afternoon’s subject when patterns are made and lumber is milled. Due to the blocked-front design being carried from top to bottom, the front feet need sculpting too. These guys are going to either have great affection for, or despise, their files and rasps after this project. I promise photos of assembled cases in tomorrow’s entry. You’ll want to check it out.
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