Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ground To A Halt

Not me, so much as my planer. And with the planer out of service, there is little I can do at this point in the way of cabinet building. The planer is a 13-inch Craftsman. I’ve had it for about 4 years and twice now I’ve had problems with the same little sprocket. This will be the second time I’ve had to replace it.

It is a crappy little $5 part, but I must dismantle the whole thing to get to it. Lots of hex bolts, gears, bearings, and those damn little retaining rings. I hate this type of work. In the process of getting it apart I broke a small plastic cover and bent a retaining ring. Those parts, along with a new set of blades is going to set me back $50, and they won’t be here for a week.

I did make it over to a friends house today to cut some of the burl slabs. He has a nice Delta band saw with an extension on it so it can split 12-inch wide pieces. There is a lot of waste when you mill one of these burl slabs. They are shaped like an ameba so the first thing you need to do is to cut out a rectangle that can be split on the band saw. Once it is split in to 2 or 3 pieces some of that is waste because it has bad spots in it, or the grain is going in such a way that you really can’t work with it.

I ended up with enough to do the 4 drawer fronts – I hope. I was hoping to get 4 pieces that were 4X22, but ended up with 4, 4X17 pieces and then 4 other pieces shorter than 17-inches long. I may need to get creative to make it work.

It has been kind of a chicken and egg thing going on with trying to figure out what to do first. I can’t make the boxes until I’m sure I have enough curly and burl redwood for the face frame and drawer fronts. So the plan was to make the face frame first and then make the boxes to fit. The face frame is going to be curly redwood and the drawer fronts will be burl. I’m not sure what to do about the doors yet.

I’m pretty sure I have enough curly redwood to do the face frame, and I’m sure I could get more if I ran a little short. The burl for the door fronts was the big question mark. As I said, there is a lot of waste. When I'm standing there looking redwood ameba that is 3-inches thick and one end and 2-inches thick at the other, it is kind of hard to tell just what I’m going to get out of it.

So in order to do the face frame I need to make sure I had enough of the burl for 4 drawers. Once I know what size the drawers will be then I can build the face frame around them. In order to finish the drawers though, I need my planer. This is why the whole thing has ground to a halt. To be honest, I’m not entirely disappointed. This is not really a process I should be rushing.

Here is what I started with

These will look much better when they’ve been planed, sanded, oiled, and shellacked.


Jayne said...

The grain in that wood is beautiful.

Monica... That One Girl said...

Redwood burl is gorgeous. I never knew what kind of process it had to go through to actually be used (and not just sit in crazy old peoples' font yards!).

BTW- You were missed at the Bloggers Picnic in Rio Dell today, Greg. I overheard many a blogger lamenting your absence.

Nice time, yes?

Greg said...

Bloggers Picnic

Bloggers Picnic?!? I had no idea! That's too bad I missed it.

Jennifer said...

It's gorgeous graining!