Today was pretty darn productive, even if my original project (tiling the bathroom) got pushed aside in favor of working on the changing table. I tried to do the tiling, I really did. The problem was that the laser level I’m going to use to keep things straight wasn’t bright enough – I could barely see the line in the bright mid-day sun.
Needing no further excuse, I got a new chisel for the mortiser. It turns out that Neu’s Building Center, one of the most awesome tool/hardware stores in the Milwaukee area was having a small woodworking show – several manufacturer’s reps were on hand to answer questions, and give demos. I found the chisels, and there were two different models to choose from – one was $30 the other $45. I found the Delta rep and asked about the difference. He started to explain, caught himself, and deferred to the catalog. It was simple – the $30 one was “for frequent use by serious woodworkers”, while the $45 one was “for professional use.” Hmmmm…. I pushed, and asked a few questions. After some hemming & hawing, the bottom line: If you aren’t a metallurgist, and don’t have a Rockwell hardness tester in your basement, you probably won’t notice the difference. I figured I would notice the $15.
Then I talked to the Benchdog rep to find out when/if I would be able to buy their really cool looking router table extension for a table saw. I’ve looked for it online, and it appears it’s listed frequently as either discontinued, or available in April. I looked on Amazon, and again, it’s there as discontinued, or as available in April. Reading the comments on the former, it would seem that Benchdog is having some challenges getting these items out the door. Anyway, I found the rep and asked. He took me to an employee and asked if they’d received the few they’d ordered (the rep had explained that Neu’s had ordered some in time for the show, wink, wink). The Neu’s guy gave me a rather priceless look, and then explained that yes, they had ordered some, over two months ago and they were getting pretty curious about just when they’d appear. The customer who had been waiting for one of them was rather more than curious. I decided that perhaps I would find another table.
I will need the router table to put roundovers on all the parts – nearly every edge has one, and a lot of the pieces are pretty thin to be doing it with a handheld router. When I took on this project, I had negotiated the router & table into the deal.
So I then headed to the Milwaukee booth to look at their body-grip router. This jobbie is a good pick for a table, because the depth adjustment can be made through a hole in the base plate of the router, and thus from the top of the router table. It was on sale, and I snatched one up – about $15 less than the best price I could find online.
I’m thinking I will use up some of the scrap plywood and MDF I have laying around and make a quickie table for doing the roundovers. I don’t do a lot of router stuff, so a serious table isn’t really a necessity.
Once I was back home, I installed the new chisel and finished all the mortises in the legs for the changing table. I even put the tapers on the legs using a hand plane, and finished milling all the cross pieces to final dimensions.
However, like most projects, there were a few bumps in the road. First, the cross pieces that I had ripped from the edge of an 8/4 board had warped a bit, but I hadn’t left much extra on and pieces that long and thin don’t straighten up very much on the jointer. So a few are still a little curvy . I can deal with that. It’s more annoyance than anything else.
The thing that was really silly was the rails that connect the front legs to the back legs have a gentle curve cut into the bottom set. I was so eager that after I got the rails cut to length, I jumped to marking the curve and cutting it on the bandsaw.
Incidentally, while the bandsaw is a low-end Craftsman of ill-repute, that is strongly taxed cutting 3/4 maple, I got it for free. A guy in Madison was so frustrated with it that he offered it to everyone on the Yahoo woodworking forum for free. I was the first to say “I’ll take it!”. I now know why – it’s very difficult to keep the blade on the wheels, unless you use very little tension and a light touch. If you need to cut styrofoam it works fine – on thin styrofoam.
Anyway, I got the curves cut just dandy fine, but then realized there was no way to cut the tenons now that one of the formerly straight sides was no longer straight. Aw crap! I dug around a bit, and finally decided what board to cut the replacement pieces out of, but then stopped myself and observed the first rule of maintaining shop sanity:
One mistake breeds another. Any attempt to fix a mistake will inevitably lead to another, more serious mistake. When you’ve screwed the pooch, go upstairs and do something else for a while.
So, I’m upstairs writing this post. It took me a very long time to learn that rule. I break it still, usually in some way that’s really entertaining several years later.
Last but not least, my efforts to take some decent pics of this entire process fell a bit short of expectations this time. If I can find some that are worth posting, I’ll post them.