Wednesday, November 28

Rounding the Stick and Making Legs

I started off this morning by marking up Mikes stick to find the center of each end and punching the center to make a dimple for the spur on the drive center and the tail stock center.

Hickory is one of the toughest woods around. They use it for things like axe handles because it is so tough. Part of this toughness comes from the fact that the fibers in the wood are interlocked. Think of a bundle of drinking straws; in most woods the straws lay neatly next to one another. In hickory the straws are all twisted around one another, making it difficult to separate one or a group from the rest.

Because of this locked together grain, hickory can be difficult to turn; it doesn’t shear away real well… especially at the very beginning when I’d be turning it from a square piece to a round piece. As those corners come flying around and slamming into the chisel, it will want to tear chunks off. To reduce this, I cheat. I first round the blank down by running it through the router table a couple of times to take most of the corner off.

I find that a hidden knot that came to light when I cut this piece of hickory from the larger piece is not going to hold together, so I dig it out and fill the void with Epoxy putty that I color with black universal tint powder. This will make a very solid, durable patch that will still look like a small pin knot. Most of it will be turned away as I round the blank and add the taper toward the bottom.

Then I tap the drive spur into the upper end and mount the piece on the lathe. I have to wait for the epoxy to harden, so I turn my attention to Sheryl’s and Scotts tables. Today I’ll make the legs.

It is decided that since I’m making tables anyway, I may as well make a couple of extra sets… Christmas draws neigh.

The first step is to get out my template set. This collection of patterns contains all the information I need to make a set of tray tables, no paper plan is needed.

Making the legs means I sort through the lumber and find good straight boards, cut them into lengths, rip them into 1”x1” blanks, surface plane these to the proper thickness and bore 6 counter bored screw holes in each pair of legs. I spend the afternoon working on the walnut legs for Cheryl’s and Scotts tables, these I make from scratch. After supper I finish up making the legs for an oak set and a cherry set. These legs I had cut long ago when we made a large batch of tray table sets – I think we made six or seven sets that time, and I cut some extra legs and rails thinking that it would give me a jump on the next order we got. Unfortunately all the orders we’ve gotten since have been for walnut. So I’ll use them now.

That’s enough for today.

See you tomorrow!


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