Tuesday, January 8

Starting at the Bottom

Today we begin actual construction on Gary’s cradles. We will begin with the rockers.

I start by pulling out the blanks I selected for the rockers and cut to rough size. These pieces were selected because of the way the grain arches along the length of the board, following the curve of the rockers. This looks nice and makes them stronger that if they were cut from a straight grained piece of lumber.

I surface plane the boards to the required thickness, then trim the long edges. The lower edge wouldn’t need to be trimmed because we will cut it away later anyway, but to get a good straight cut for the top – where the rocker will join the base, I need to establish a reasonably straight edge to run along the fence, so I trim the lower edge first, then the upper edge.

Next I go to the band saw and cut out the rockers. Not that on the walnut I’ve used masking tape to provide a light background against which the pencil marks are clearly visible. Someday I’ll locate a source for white pencils, until then I’ll use this. IU cut just a hair outside of the lines.

Then the parts accompany me to my sanding area. The inside curves are faired to the lines using a drum sander, the outside curves are done on a stationary belt sander. The final task here is to tape the two rockers together and smooth the lower edges again to be sure they have exactly the same curvature so the will rock smoothly; no bumps or wobbles.

Then, still taped together, they go to the table saw where I nibble out the notch for the rocker brace. I could use a dado head to speed this job along, but setting up the head takes more time than just doing it this way when this will be the only use I have for the dado head. After most of the waste has been removed, I clean it up with a wide chisel.

The rest of the afternoon is spent sanding and fitting the rocker assembly. No glue yet.

Time to clean up and head for home before the big thunderstorm that’s heading this way arrives.

More tomorrow.


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