Saturday, October 31, 2009

DoveTail Rustic Soap Display Rack

I am trying a few new items I just completed to add into my Store. Recently I have noted some requests about a soap display rack that Herrick Kimball from The DeliberateAgrarian has generously offered to the community to copy.

Figuring out how to cut out the pieces from the picture wasn't too bad but then I thought about assembling it. I know I didn't want to use screws or nails as it would detract from the rustic look. Then I thought why not use sliding dovetails that way the rack could be shipped flat pack and easily assembled with no tools. It could also be just as easily disassembled to pack away.

I have a lot of experience cutting sliding dovetails using my Incra Jig so naturally I started there. The great thing about the Incra Jig is the fine adjustments that are crittical to make the joints slip together easily but yet not too loose as to be overly sloppy. It's a fine line but very doable using the Incra Jig. The parts are cut using my Table Saw from 3/4" Poplar board and I used my Band Saw for the 45 deg. steps. I finished off the edges with a 45 deg. bevel cut on my router table. After some sanding the rack is ready to ship. I have left it unfinished for a natural look but it is easily painted or stained.

So here is the finished Display Rack holding a collection of my wife's Kinky Etsy Shop. I think it looks great. If you're interesed here is the link to the item in my store

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dovetails Part Deux

It seams I have stumbled upon a secret of woodworking. Sharp tools are key to fine woodwork. I know I have heard that you need sharp tools from all the masters but somehow I discounted the advise. Well Last weekend I bought some tools from Home Depot to help me in my quest to learn dovetails. I picked up a set of Marpels wood chisels and a 15 tpi flush pull saw. Clearly not top of the line tools but I am on a rather tight budget these days. The saw came fairly sharp but I decided I should try and sharpen the chisels before I use them. I already had a honing guide and a 3000 grit diamond stone so I did a little internet research on sharping and gave it a go. I must say it was actually easier than I thought to put an acceptable edge on the tools.

Since my first dovetail attempt I read a bunch more on the technique and realized my biggest mistake was not leaving the lines when I sawed. This time I did a much better job. But I was kinda surprised on how much better my new chisels were able to pare away the wood. In fact I started to realize the job of making dovetails is not so much of a sawing task as it is accurate chisel work. I actually made this attempt way too tight as I was way too conservative on the saw cuts. But if you have to error that is that is the way because you can always pare out with your chisels. Anyway I think my tail board came out pretty darn good. My pin board needed some rework and I over did the bottoms a tad. But overall I am pretty happy and it looks like I will be able to make Caitie's blanket chest with handmade dovetails. Btw Caitie did the sanding on this sample after I gave her a quick basic sanding lesson. A quick rub of tung oil brought out the end grains to see the dovetails.