Friday, July 28

Day 9 - Sewing Center

Sorry for the delay in getting this update posted. On Tuesday a truck load of lumber came in, and it was hot that afternoon, so we just pulled it off the truck and piled it in the driveway. That evening when it cooled down, I sorted it out and stacked it properly, but by then I was by myself, and I over did it and paid for it dearly on Wednesday. By Thursday I was ambulatory again and was working short shifts in the shop to get the filler panels and the surger shelf made up. I'll trim and install these next week. Friday was my day to spend as shopkeeper in Treasures, so I got to sit at the desk most of the day doing the weekly books and enjoying the air conditioning -- like a mini vacation. I did have a good number of customers in and sold a few things as well as accomplishing the bookkeeping and some web site updates, so it was a good day. By Monday, I ought to be back in shape to work a full day again, so I will be back in the shop and at it full force. See you then!



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Tuesday, July 25

Day 8 - Sewing Center

This will be a short entry for a fairly lengthy day. Most of the day was spent sanding, but not just sanding -- hand sanding. Just about my least favorite thing to do -- but it has to be done, and done right.

After the sanding was done I assembled the sub-assemblies we've been following along on, with glue this time, then assembled the 4 side pieces and the back into the basic carcass of the sewing cabinet. Using just screws, no glue. Still have more to do on them before they can go in permanently.

The full story is here: 08.php

Today's progress picture is here: 08006.jpg

See you tomorrow! Doug


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Monday, July 24

Day 7 - Sewing Center

Welcome back dear readers,

I hope you have a restful weekend. We spent Saturday in the Treasures Of Appalachia gallery (; it was Marie's turn to be shopkeeper, and I tagged along to do the weekly books. Sunday was church. All in all, a pleasant weekend.

This morning I began by breaking down the mortising machine and setting up to cut the dadoes and rabbets where the various panels and parts will join together.

Most of the morning was spent laying out these cuts and double checking for accuracy and knocking the panels apart again.

I got some of the cuts made before stopping for lunch, finished them up in the afternoon. After this I sealed the ends of all the filler panels to help prevent splitting, and took a break during the heat of the afternoon to let the sealer dry.

In the evening, the sealer was still tacky, so I cleaned up the dadoes and rabbets and checked all the panels for any pits or checks that need to be filled. By tomorrow morning everything ought to be good and dry and I'll be ready to hand sand the filler panels and begin gluing the sub-assemblies together.

See you then! Doug 07.php

________________________________________________________ Smoky Mountain Woodworks Custom designed, solid hardwood furniture.


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Friday, July 21

Day 6 - Sewing Center

I'm not sure what happened to Day 5's posting -- maybe Internet Gremlins got it again. So, to recap day 5, we cut mortises and fitted tenons into them.

For details see 05.php

For today we were getting' groovy. Cutting grooves into which the filler panels will fit, then trimming the panels to a precise fit into their frames.

For the whole story, see: 06.php

I'm not quite sure why it is that some of these links turn into clickable links and some stay a text string that you have to copy into your browser window. I'm taking notes to see if there's something I'm doing differently sometimes.

By the end of the day, we have the entire cabinet casework frame & panel assemblies together and taped in place for a test fit. 06012.jpg

Looking good so far. Next week we'll begin making the bits and pieces that go inside -- like shelves and drawers and the feet that go under.

See you then!


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Tuesday, July 18

Day 4 - Part two

Because of the interruptions yesterday I only got about a half-day's work done, and since I'm chronicling this project I want to keep time frames straight.

What a beautiful morning! We are enjoying 67� at sun-up. The radio says that Saint Louis (where Marie was born and raised) has 98� this morning, so I'm happy with what we have. Because our forecast is for "dangerously high heat indices" this afternoon, I went out to the shop early to get some time in. That way I can bail out for a while in the hottest part of the day and not sacrifice that time. I can do my bookwork and web site stuff that I normally do early at this time in the relative comfort of our house and office (which *does* have insulation!) and use the cooler parts of the day for the woodworking. During the winter I use the early morning for inside work while the wood stove heats up the workshop. I guess it's about time I flipped over to the summer schedule.

So, the early morning was spent scuffing and applying the final coat of polyurethane to Tammy's table. After breakfast it will be tacked up enough to move out of the way so air-borne dust won't settle in the finish while I work on Paula's sewing cabinet.

For those who are just tuning in, the item we're building now is at:

The one pictured is made of cherry and cherry veneered plywood. Paula's is being built of quarter sawn white oak using all solid hardwood frame and panel construction. Well, except for the top pieces, which are work surfaces and have to be smooth, flat and solid; these will be made from oak planks joined into wide panels. But we'll get to that later.

For today we're working on the framing needed to create the casework. Specifically, the cutting of tenons on the rails and muntins. In order to get a good fit with one another, mortises and tenons have to be made very carefully. A sloppy fit yields a weak joint.

I spent the majority of the day on this -- until the heat drove me out. I got all the tenons cut and trimmed. In the evening I came back to double check some lay-out dimensions and get ready for tomorrow's task of chopping mortises.

Today's progress picture is available here: 04012.jpg A pile-O-parts.


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Monday, July 17

Day 4 - Sewing Cabinet

Hello, I hope you had a great weekend.  Mine was quite interesting as we got away on Saturday for a little field trip.  But you didn't log in to read about that.  But I am rested up and ready to get started again.

Today I spent the early morning session working on Pamela's web site, and the morning smoothing out the panels that were made up last week.  They all turned out very nicely.  I made an extra one in case any went bad on me, but none did, so I'll have a little extra stock to work with.

By lunch time it was getting pretty hot.  This makes me really thirsty but kills the appetite -- which is a good thing as I'm trying to loose a few pounds.  OK, OK... a lot of pounds.  Ever since I tore up my hip and had to stop taking my one-mile walk with the dogs every day at lunch time, I've been gaining weight.  Got to do something about that.  Not getting hungry helps.

After the lunch break I got started laying out and cutting the casework tenons.  After a bit it was getting too hot: 96° outside but with no insulation in the roof of this building, once the afternoon sun starts beating down on it you can bake bread in here in the afternoons.  So I abandoned shop for a few hours and went back to finish up once the sun started going down.  The good thing about these mountains is that it cools down as fast as it heated up.  Fans help blow the hot air out once  they can find some cooler air.

I had to stop a bit early to switch over to finishing a project that I had been working on before this one but had to set aside while waiting for the client to decide how it was to be finished.  Now that she's given me this info, I want to get it done and out of the way so I'll have room to assemble the parts I'm making for Paula's sewing cabinet.

The polyurethane can set up over night and I'll see how it looks in the morning.  Now it's time for a shower and to get after some bookkeeping and web maintenance on my site before bed time.

See you tomorrow!

A photo of a smoothed out panel is at:


Thursday, July 13

Day 3 - Sewing Center

The early morning session was spent working on Pamela's new web site -- just getting things set up with her hosting service and pulling in a copy of her current files.

The morning session was spent trimming the rails and stiles I made yesterday to finished size. Since my miter fence got destroyed yesterday morning I used my cut-off sled; not quite as convenient since it doesn't have the easily adjustable stop block for obtaining precise cut-off lengths, but it served the purpose.

After the lunch break I mounted a fine tooth blade on the table saw and jointed the half-panel parts, then spent the afternoon gluing and clamping the pairs of panel parts into full panels. I left the first 5 panels in the clamps for a couple of hours, just long enough for the glue to tack up good -- then carefully removed them from the clamps and set them aside to cure while I worked on gluing up the remaining 4 panels.

Once all horizontal surfaces were covered with clamps and panels, there was little I could do in the shop, so I spent some time in the office taking care of some chores there.

Tomorrow is my day to be shopkeeper and do the bookwork at Treasures Of Appalachia, so no work will get done in the woodshop.

See you Monday! Doug


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Wednesday, July 12

Day 2 - Sewing Center

This day, dear readers started out with a bang.  Literally.

While trying to cross-cut an 8 foot plank into smaller lengths on the table saw, the blade bound up and kicked the board back at me.  I managed to get out of the way, thus avoided serious injury, but my miter fence was completely destroyed.  Bummer.  I'm going to need that in a day or two when I start finish cutting parts.

The morning session was spent roughing out the rails, stiles and panel blanks. 

After lunch I surface planed all the parts and resawed the panel blanks.

The evening session was spent doing bookwork.

That pretty much killed this day. 

The photo journal for this project can be found at:

Until Tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 11

Sewing Center - Day 1

Today was a long heavy day. We brought in a mess of white oak for this project a while back, but not enough of that was quarter-sawn oak. Quarter Sawing is a special method of cutting a log so that the grain rings run vertically across the end of the board. The advantage is that it warps less, the problem is that quarter sawing a log wastes a considerable amount of it -- thus making this lumber more expensive than flat sawn lumber.

Quarter sawn lumber exhibits a unique "ray flecking" pattern that has become the trade mark of Arts & Crafts style furniture, which is what Paula has in her home. So, she wants this piece done in quarter sawn oak and stained dark to match the rest of her home.

Therefore, I need to go through the white oak pile again and look for the quarter sawn boards. 01001.jpg

I found enough that I don't think I'll have to special order any, but it meant un-stacking, about 500 board feet of lumber, pulling out the QS boards I came across and then re-stacking the rest with the stacking sticks between each layer ,of course, so air will continue to circulate through the pile.

These boards are all 8 or 9 feet long, and oak is heavy anyway, so this was a good "weight-loss" day. Under our business practices, we don't charge for this prep work, so this was also a day without pay. I get paid only for billable hours.

Time for a shower, some supper, hopefully a good nights rest so I'll be ready to start rough milling parts tomorrow.

The complete photo-journal for this project can be found at: 01.php


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