Tréteau X

This is the 10th posting in a series on the layout and construction of a French 19th century carpenter’s sawhorse; previous installments can be found via the Blog Archive section to the right of the page, and more general information on these French sawhorses can also be found in the archive – see the ‘French Connection’ series.

Cut out continues on the top beam mortises. The next 4 mortises in line are to receive the tenons from the long side braces, and these tenons are tapered across their width, making the mortise shape a little complicated. On top of this, all the mortises, including these next 4, are slightly parallelogram-shaped on the top beam, except for one of the leg tenons. A big help for this sort of work is to have long thin paring chisels with a triangular cross-section – shinogi gata usu-nomi in Japanese. I happen to have a decent range of sizes of this type, from various blacksmiths, most of them being made by Funahiro and Tasai.

Anyhow, another 3~4 hours work and the mortises for the long braces are roughed out:

Here’s a few close-ups showing the carnage:

That above picture, jeez – it looks like a used a shotgun to blast holes through there! It actually looks cleaner than that to the naked eye – maybe I should get a different camera- with a ‘flattery lens’ heh-heh..

The other side, the mortise entry area:

I’m leaving the last few paring passes on these mortises for later, when it comes time to fit the tenons. Also, the final planing of the piece remains to be done, all 6 faces, and there will be some dovetail key joinery involved in mounting the sacrificial cap to the beam but that can wait.

That is piece #1 out of the way, 17 more to go. Next step is to deal with the mitered half-lap cuts out for the 6 pairs of cross-braces. Stay tuned, more to come soon.

Thanks for dropping by today. –> Go to Post XI

5 Replies to “Tréteau X”

  1. You're on a roll now Chris. Great to see the cutting started and that you are on your way. So today I go back out to do my latest carpentry job where I barely even get to use a hand saw, but that's another story….. It pays the bills!

  2. Chris,

    I just discovered your blog recently and have been quite inspired by both the craftsmanship exhibited and the philosophical treatises expounded. (I am enjoying working my way through old posts) Please know that the time that you take to document these projects and share your thoughts is much appreciated.

    Very nice mortises, particularly holding them so close to the edge!

  3. Woodjoint, I hope your latest carpentry job isn't an outside one at least, if the weather in Idaho is anything like the Northeast of late. Paying the bills is always a good thing.

    Jeff, glad to hear that you are enjoying the blog and thanks for the compliments on the work thus far on the tréteau. The Canarywood is not so easy to work as I was led to believe, and I'll need to continue to exercise caution as the cut out proceeds. The planing is going to be tough.


  4. Hi Chris,
    I'm loving reading this blog. I'm interested in the sculptural potential for joinery where all 3 axis' are compound, making it posible to create fractal like structures. My particular aesthetic leans toward the disruption of perfection and pattern, so the fractal may inspire but it doesn't dictate. I also make furniture, and want to employ some of the french techniques I've found you working on here. Keep it up!! This is an incredible resource!

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