Tuesday, December 20

Building the base plate was my assignment for the day.  I had planned to get it completed today, but things popped up that needed attention and I did not get quite as far as I had planned.
 I started out by making up a mess of screw hole plugs using a scrap of lumber from the rockers.  This will result in a good color match and these will be face grain plugs, not end grain like nearly all commercially made plugs.  Besides, have you tried buying screw hole plugs in Ash lately?  Forget about it!
 Then I selected a couple of boards, cut them into rough-length chunks on the chop saw then used the jointer to flatten one face and one edge.  Doing this also makes sure the edge is square to the face.  This will be important in making glue joints.
 Then I run them through the surface planer, jointed faces down, to smooth the rough face.  This also makes the two faces parallel to one another.

Finally I trim the rough edge off on the table saw.  This makes the final edge parallel to the jointed edge and, if I have my saw set up properly, square to the two faces.  I'll joint this edge in a bit just to be sure.
 I lay the boards out and play with them to get the best match in color and graining.  These are all center-cut boards (quarter-sawn) so the grain runs almost perfectly vertically.  This type of board will have very little tendency to warp over time, making it great for this base plate.

When I'm happy with it, I mark the joints to keep the alignment and run the sawn edges that are involved in glue joints through the jointer just to remove what little saw-swirl is there.
 I have found over the years that if I start with dry wood and superior glue joints, dowels or fancy edges are not needed.  For a long time I doweled every glue joint, then I tried a glue-joint bit that makes tongue & groove type edges to increase gluing surface, but abandoned them both after I got my big jointer because they were no longer necessary and added labor and time to the project.

Because this plate is 15½" wide (or will be when I trim it) and my planer is 15" wide I'll glue up just one joint now, then surface plane the pieces to nearly the finished thickness (making one perfect joint) glue up the second joint, and smooth the whole panel with the wide drum sander. 
 I put all three boards into the clamps so the clamps will press against the outside edges, not edges that have been jointed for gluing.  The outside edges will get trimmed anyway, so light dents won't matter.  Ash is almost as hard and dense as hickory, but I'm protective of those glue joints.

I'm about out of time now so I'll pick this up again tomorrow.  Thanks for popping in!

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