First Light XV

Well here we are, the 100th post of this blog and nearly 20,000 page views! Who’d a thunk it? I guess I’ll have to end it here then, at such a nice round number. Ah – just kidding – an old windbag like me still has plenty to say. I do hope the reader will bear with me as I forge onwards.

Continuing on then with the build up of my lantern prototype…

The short side of the keta has a nose which slopes down to accommodate the roof plank – here you can see the line marked out for that:

Then it was time to check the fit of the laps on one side:

And, just as importantly, I wanted to be sure that the mortises for my hi-uchi sen lined up with each other as well, which they did (whew!):

It may not be apparent from the above blurry photo, but that is a view clear through both mortises.

Then a test fit of the other side:

That came out well, hardly any adjustment required, so I then formed a rebate in the top outer arris of the long side keta which will serve as a seat for the lower roofing board:

Next it was time to make the ceiling board. I searched through the scrap pile at the shop down the street, and miraculously came up with a piece of edge~rift grain mahogany that was slightly thicker than required. It had also been run through their sanding thicknesser, which left it smooth and reasonably flat but, of course, scratched and therefore tending to diffuse light that strikes it.

I rough-cut the miracle find to size when I acquired it at the shop, and now I could take it to a more precise size to fit it now that the keta were all together:

Out came the ryoba and I cross cut and ripped to to the lines:

Here’s the rough cut edge:

Then to the Mosaku 54mm to clean the edge up:

After cleaning up with a blade, we can now see the Mahogany end grain clearly:

The nice thing about working with blades and accurate measuring tools is that it is possible to work to a few thousandths of an inch with reliability:

Of course, without such measuring tools, fitting is also judged well from slipping the piece in to place to see how things look:

Then I took my Funahiro kanna out and flattened/dimensioned the floorboard to 0.01″ over final thickness:

Here’s the dressed surface, a big improvement over the sanded finish which I started with:

I wish more people in the west appreciated the virtues of a cleanly-planed surface, which is glassy, akin to polished stone and reflective of light. For those unaware, I have to say that the edge-cut surface allows the cleanest view of the wood. If you really want to see the wood, plane it. And I must say, given that wood is composed of fibers laid up with a grain direction, just like the hair on our bodies (and faces, for about half of of us), who would choose to sand their body hair? I don’t see too many hands raised…

…there’s nothing quite like a clean shave, that’s what I’m saying.

The next step was to process a rebate on two sides of the panel, which I did using my router table:

Lastly, I made a couple of small notches on the lower face of the board to accommodate the pegs which secure the stub posts in place:

That’s all for today – next time we’ll fit the ceiling board into place in the keta and see what sort of trouble I can get into from there.

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