Thursday, April 3

Spreaders & Stretcher

Today I cut the dadoes in the spreaders that house the ends of the stretcher and mounted this assembly to the Nanny Rocker’s base.

The dadoes were made by carefully nibbling away the waste material with a standard A.T.B.R. saw blade. This stands for Alternate Top Bevel with Raker and means that in each grouping of teeth the blade will have at least one tooth with a left hand bevel ( \ ), one with a right hand bevel ( / ) and one with a flat top, or ‘raker’. Most saw blades are standard A.T.B. blades having just the left and right hand beveled teeth which slice through hard wood efficiently, making it especially good at cutting through a piece of wood leaving nice clean edges but it leaves a small triangular ridge down the center of each saw kerf on partial thickness cuts. The raker on the A.T.B.R. blade comes along and cleans up that ridge leaving a nice flat bottomed kerf, thus making it especially useful for flat bottomed grooves or “nibbling” out a dado like this.

Since the dado is centered, I measured the required distance from each end of the spreader and made mu first cut, flipped the piece around and made an identical cut on the other end, then set the fence stop back 1/8” and repeated. This was I make half as many fence adjustments. This A.T.B.R. is a thin kerf blade, 3/32 thick, so making 1/8” cuts left thin fins between each cut, I’ll use a chisel to clean out the fins, they just snap off with no trouble at all.

Then I glue the stretcher/spreaders together and position it on the rockers legs. I’ll let the glue set up for a bit before I do any more with this. When set I’ll remove it for sanding and routing over critical edges.

In the mean time, I round-over the edges of the posts. This is another modification, the plan doesn’t call for this, but I have never liked the look or feel of square edges. And this is especially important to me where the cradle’s corner posts are concerned. For safety’s sake I want as much as possible as “soft” as possible in this area.

When the glue is set up I route the legs and stretchers. Where parts join together I must route those parts together so I don’t end up with goofy looking joints. Where they meet must remain square and the round-overs flow around the corners. To get into the tight spots I have to remove parts and route them individually. All this takes a while.

When it’s all done I take the unit apart yet again, one leg post at a time, and re-assemble it with glue and screws. I use clamps to make sure the parts align perfectly as I tighten the screws, then plug the screw holes.

A little time spent cleaning up and putting away my toys and I’m ready to head home for some supper.

Check in again tomorrow,


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