Screen Play (24)

Well, I’m all thumbs and in a real scrape here folks:

Time to turn the lights on with the Bubinga with some Tung oil:

It’s really gorgeous stuff, no doubt about it, and brings out the flickering flame motif suggested by the outer frame shape. I’m just at the start of the finishing process, but my thumbs need a day off, let me assure you! One day maybe I’ll get/make a scraping plane.

Today I tackled some remaining work on the upper frame member – processing the mortises for the grill bars. I was able, with some careful measurement to relocate the fence, to reconfigure the jig I used for the lower frame rail to do the same job on the upper:

It didn’t take too long and all the mortises were roughed out:

A close up:

With that item out of the way, all the frame members are now mortised for grill bars, and all that remains is the scribe-fitting of the individual grill bars.

It was now time however to fit the lower frame pieces together, the cross pieces of which have a stub tenon and a mitered abutment. I worked on the frame uprights to trim their corresponding abutments to 45˚ and deepen the dado for the cross piece stub tenons:

Once both legs were done, I went to fit the cross piece onto the sill below, which, as some readers may remember, attaches with three sliding dovetail keys. On it goes:

Very fortunately, before I attempted to slide the upper piece along, I remembered to fit little plugs into the lower sliding dovetail mortises to retain the keys in place:

If I hadn’t done that, assembling the two pieces may have been a one-way street, and I’m not interested in that course at this time.

The fit is pretty tight in the joints, and I used a drift to tap the upper piece along:

The join line between the two pieces came out pretty well:

Once I had the piece as far along as it would go, I checked to see how the match lines were intersecting between the sill and the cross piece:

They’re very close, but about 1/64″ or so out of alignment. The expeditious course was to trim a little off the keys:

After that was done, I reassembled and found the marks indexed as they should.

Now it was time to see how things all come together with the sill-cross piece assembly now together:

Tap, tap, tap, a little on each end, and closer it gets:

As I hoped, or should I say planned, things bottomed out on the 45˚ abutments and the sill was off of closing by about 1/32″ at each end:

Time to kerf the fit, so please tune in next time for the continuation of the that work. Thanks for dropping by and please feel free to comment if you are so inclined. –> On to post 25

3 Replies to “Screen Play (24)”

  1. Hi Chris,
    Why not handplane the panels? In your last post, I believe you mentioned
    sandu papa. I'm just curious. I recently had to sand some curved work with a radius to small for my curved planes. Sanding is such a drag!

  2. Michael,

    That's a good question. I'm totally with you on how much of a drag sanding is, and I am keen to reduce it to next to zero in my work.

    However, with furniture like this piece that is likely to be handled frequently as it is moved about, I have little choice but to put a finish on, as it makes it easy to maintain and protects against stains from skin oils and other things. I'm not very sophisticated in my finishing – Tung Oil is generally what I go with. Also, in the case of bubinga, it really isn't done justice until a finish is on there.

    Another point: I find the sheen of a planed finish is largely obviated by putting the oil on there.

    And yet another point is the nature of figured bubinga, which is extremely hard to work and very prone to tear-out. None of the planes on my shelf are currently suitable (I've had a go at it several times in the past). I need something much more steeply angled, and when you get into that sort of thing the chip formation shifts and becomes more a scraping action than a slicing one. Since the surface would be pretty much scraped even if I custom made a plane to deal with this (which is hardly worth the trouble for just three panels), I concluded that I may as well just use a card scraper. Then when I put oil on, I don't have much work to do with the wet/dry sandpaper.

    All that said, I think for next time I may as well make that plane or buy a large scraping plane, as the card scraping is very fatiguing and can produce slight ripples here and there if I'm not careful. Regardless, after scraping is done the wood finish is improved by a wet-sand.

    I'll be doing the same thing with the mahogany, even though I can get a perfectly clean finish with the plane – in that case, due to the open pores in the Mahogany, a very light final wet sanding (w. 600 grit paper) in oil produces a swarf which will fill those pores. The oil hardens and the pores are filled with a perfect filler material.

    Mahogany gets grubby quickly from the oils in a persons's hands, so it has to have oil on it as well. I think the look of planed Mahogany is fine however without the oil.

    So there you have it, the imperfect world of compromises in furniture-land. i hope that makes sense.


  3. Ah So,
    Thanks Chris. Today I'm going to make ura-ita for my engawa. They are only applied at the eave extension and not inside. With fresh blades in the little Makita planer I can get a damm nice finish, and with a light coat of finishing oil (Land Ark) the surface is nearly indiscernible from a handed planed one. I just finished planing the rest of the components and am a bit burned out on it, so I think I'll leave my purist tendencies aside.

Anything to add?

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