Thursday, December 6

Change of Plans

I was planning to start on the tray panels today, but decided this morning to make the latch mechanism instead, while the router table is set up with the proper round-over bit.

To start, I select pieces of wood in the species I need, cross cut them to rough length and surface plane them to the finished thickness. Then I use the table saw to rip these billets into strips the proper thickness. By using a good blade that doesn’t leave swirls I won’t need to plane them again, just a little sanding.

While the blanks still have square corners I set up to cut the dadoes in the center of the latch block. The sacrificial fence behind the block prevents tear-out as the blade exits the back side of the wood. I nibble away the stock between the two outer cuts to complete the dado.

Then I take the blocks to the router to do the final shaping. I round over all edges except the bottom, which will glue to the underside of the table tray, and leave a turn-out where the latch block will mount to transition between the two parts. This is purely an aesthetic thing; I like the way it looks.

Next I mill out some strips for the latch tabs, shape the tricky curves on one end and glue the tabs into the dadoes. This involves a lot of very close tolerance fitting and precise hand work. That takes time. It took me all day to get the latch mechanisms for 16 tray tables made. But, that’s done now and I’m ready to head for home.

See you next time,

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