Tuesday, August 24

Tray Tables: Tray Parts

I’m back in the shop today, going to skip the radio program again today, may work on that later this evening. I’m feeling the aftermath of yesterday’s extra physical labor (feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck!) so I’m not moving quite as spryly as normal. I start of the morning by cleaning a stripe off the sanding drum of the wide drum sander. I burnt this stripe in Friday while sanding parts – cherry is particularly bad about doing this. But I clean it off and we’re ready to go again. Friday evening I bundled up all the ribbon panels I’d made to help prevent them from curling or twisting from changing humidity over the weekend. So now I unbundled them and get ready to sand the panels smooth. This is done on the aforementioned wide drum sander. I have to take very light passes, just a few thousandths of an inch per pass so it takes many times of running each panel through, turning it end for end and running it again to sand the full width of the panel. When all panels are fully sanded I drop the head down 1/16 of a turn and run them all again. I have to open the lid and use an abrasive cleaner bar to pull the sanding dust out of the belt before running another panel through. Then I trim the ribbon panels to finished width and cut the backer panels to finished width (1/8” wider than the ribbon panels to allow room for expansion) and glue the ribbon panels and backer panels together with a stripe of glue just down the center so the ribbon panels can expand and contract freely. While the glue sets up I mill our the tray edge rails. Each pair of rails was cut from one square of wood which was re-sawn, jointed and planed smooth. The each pair is turned inside out so the most closely matching grain will be to the outside. Then I use the table saw to mill the groove where the tray panel (ribbon panel and backer panel together) will live. I will cut these pairs of rails into the four pieces needed to frame on one tray. By cutting them sequentially; long, short, long, short, I’ll be able to wrap the grain around the tray in a wonderfully flowing manner. Something mass production techniques can not manage. But It is time to quit for the day, so I’ll wrap it up for now and get back at it in the morning.

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