Wednesday, December 6

Wednesday: A change of heart

I spent the morning cutting the boards I planed out yesterday into narrow strips. The decision to do this was a tough one. We started with beautiful, 10” wide, flat walnut boards. I planned to simply joint them and glue them together to make the upper and lower the top plates for the cabinet. But, the more I thought about this, the more it concerned me. While this plan produces beautiful panels with superb graining (even had a little quilted walnut right in the center of the upper plate) there is the possibility that these wide boards will move a little when shipped into another climate. We had that problem with Paula’s cabinet – and that was made of quarter sawn oak, which is supposed to NEVER cup.

So, although it almost brought tears to my eyes to slice up such pretty boards, I cut them into 7/8” wide strips, flipped them 90° and glued them back together into a wide board again. We loose the grain patterns this way but it will be far less likely to lift a corner on us. And since Dan wanted it to look as much like mahogany as possible, the edge grain of these panels will look much more like the graining of mahogany than the swirls of walnut.

If you click the title of this message (above) it will take you to the article I wrote while building Paula’s Sewing Cabinet. It gives lots more detail and photos of the construction of this piece of furniture.

The afternoon was spent gluing and clamping the final quarter of the panel, then surface planing and smoothing the panel. Because the panel is too wide to go through our surface planer in one piece, I made it in two parts. Surface planed them to ¾” then joined them together down the center. That way only one joint will have to be faired out by hand.

The result is a panel 20” wide by 50” long that is perfectly smooth and flat. I’m making this up first so that it will get to sit around in the shop for the coming weeks, through several cycles of humidity, to be sure it will stay flat. This is not a guarantee that it won’t misbehave when shipped into a totally different climate, but it’s all I can do to protect my customers from disappointment. Beyond this it's in God's hands.


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