Saturday, December 31

Today (Friday) I intended to complete construction of Gary's Heritage Cradle.  The final step is to make and mount the three roof panels.  Knowing today would be a short day - Marie and I have plans to attend gospel concert featuring two of our most favorite groups this evening (Greater Vision and The Booth Brothers) - I was in early and got right to work.

First up was to shoot the final coat of lacquer on the base plate.
 All day yesterday I worked on filling and sanding (and re-filling and sanding more) the worm tracks: filler shrinks as it dries so I have to fill deeper tracks with multiple applications.  For some reason the filler seemed to be drying aggravatingly slowly.  I could understand this if it were raining, but it has not seemed that humid over the past couple of days.

But I keep at it until all the tracks have a good, tight, solid fill and the board is sanded smooth and to finished thickness.
 The thickness sanding opened a new pocket in which I needed to dig out the worm poo and fill, But I decide to forge ahead while I wait for this last bit of filler to dry so I can sand it.

I lay out the cuts so that the center roof piece is exactly the size needed, the two side panels are a bit long.  I want the grain to flow across the roof in an uninterrupted pattern, cutting the center piece long and trimming it down (by very much) would cause a disruption in the grain.  This has to be done right the first time.
 With the panel cut into sections (and marked for alignment) I set the saw blade to 75° to make the bevel cuts where the three pieces join to one another.

It may be of interest to note that this Wixey angle gauge measures the angle on the opposite side of the blade.  If I had it attached to the right side of the blade it would read 105°, which is great if you like doing math and figuring complimentary angles.  If not, just pop into place on the left side of the blade.
 A little sanding with a block to get the fuzzy bits out of the way of the new joints and I line the parts up, fasten the joints together with masking tape on the upper surface (works like hinges) and set the roof into place to check the fit.   Not bad.  I need to trim the center piece by just a smidge to make it perfect.  A smidge in this case is about 1/32 of an inch.  Translating that makes it easier to set it up on the saw's fence scale.
 Trimmed, re-taped, re-fitted and approved, I bore pilot holes in the roof panels for the finish nails that will hold the roof in place.  Then I measure out the 1" overhang on the front and clamp blocks in place as make alignment quick and easy.

I can lift each joint to open it up and apply glue, then apply glue to the upper edges of headboard, sides and crown.  Lay the roof in place and tap in a few nails to hold it securely.
Yeah, right: "tap in".  I had forgotten how much I hate using nails in hardwood.  And ash is indeed a very hard wood, similar to hickory.  The ailing did not go well and I quickly decided to switch to screws for the rest of my attachment points.

I was already running late - I needed to get the roof fastened down securely before I left so the glue could set up properly - so I'll plug and trim the screw holes and fill the nail holes tomorrow.  Then I'll be ready to do the finish sanding and lacquering of the upper body on my next woodworking session.

I need to begin preparing lumber for my next project: at least one two-table set of TV Tray Tables (with stand), but I've been delaying that until a new set of planer knives arrives.  The set that are in the machine now are getting dull and need to come out and sent in for sharpening.  Those should arrive this evening while we're in Morristown for the concert.  I will try to get those installed and adjusted tomorrow as well.  The little Delta planer had self-setting knives, making replacing them a snap, but they were also single use, disposable blades which proved costly and wasteful when used heavily and long term.  The Grizzly has heavier knives that can be sharpened many times.  Having two sets means I can swap them out as needed and not have to take the machine off line for a few days to a week because the knives have been sent out.

We're almost done with this project.  Please stop in again next week as we finish it up and begin the next, and I hope you have a happy (and SAFE) New Years Eve.

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