Friday, March 12

Tapering the Sides

Today we put the tapering sled to work for a little bit, then I can take it apart and relegate the parts back to the scrap bin. I start by taking measurements off the mock-up I built out of crateboard, I need the distance from back to front at the very bottom and at the very top of the base cabinet. I stick tabs of masking tape on the sides where I expect the lay-out marks to go, then lay them out on the tape – much easier to see than on the walnut. Then I lay the side panel on the tapering sled, line the lay-out marks up with the edge of the sled and use spring clamps to hold it in place temporarily. Then I carefully place the stop blocks against the back edge of the side panel and screw them to the sled. This is a low-tech solution, the woodworking magazines would be installing aluminum channel track and toggle clamps on sliding blocks that run on the track. But like I said, this is a single use piece of equipment so there’s no point in going to all that trouble and expense. Two of the blocks have a second block screwed to them as hold-downs. I also use masking tape to secure the side panel to the stop blocks to keep it from walking out away from the blocks and causing the side to be cut too narrow. That would be very bad. Now I raise the blade as high as it will go. It won’t be quite high enough because I increased the width of the octagonal belly from the original design after test fitting the clock parts into the mock-up and feeling that it might be too narrow to allow the huge pendulum to swing properly. Ready? Here we go! The sled tracks well and I have no side to side play at all. That’s a good thing. When the pass is complete you can see where the blade did not cut all the way through. We will have to deal with that another way. And that would be with the band saw. I use a straight edge to play “connect the kerfs” inside the side, then cut to the outside edge of the table saw kerf. That leaves a slight ridge of wood that will have to be removed, but I’d rather do that than risk something going awry and leaving me with a divot or depression in the front edge of the case. I work the ridge down with a hand plane, using a long straight edge to check for high spots and shaving them just a little more until I get a good, flat edge again. I then spend a couple of hours in quality time with my sanding blocks as I smooth out the filler over the nail heads, remove any glue squeeze-out and prepare the sides for the next step… Which is to glue them to the back panel. This goes well despite a shortage of hands. Having an abundance of clamps helps. This will sit overnight before I try to do anything more, but I will spend the rest of the afternoon making the next parts I’ll be needing. See you Monday!

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