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Glass all cut

I managed to sneak in an hour of shop time today, and finished cutting and grinding all of the pieces for the stained glass panels for the Thorsen cabinet door.  Remember the Thorsen cabinet?  I swear, I’m going to finish it soon and stop writing blog posts about it.  It really hasn’t been that complicated a project, although the door had it’s share of challenges.

Where I left off, I’d finished the top panel and the three right hand panels for the door, leaving just the large main panel.  I was a little worried as this glass has been a little fussy to cut.  It has a rough texture with some bubbles, inclusions and significant differences in thickness across the sheet — all of which adds to it’s beauty in my view.  I really like this particular clear glass, both the texture and the iodized coating.  I’m bummed they aren’t making more of it, the factory changed to using a texturing roller to produce it, which gives it a pebbled appearance like a shower door.  Ick!!

Anyway, my point is that it’s tricky to cut, especially big pieces and large cuts.  I got the large clear panel blanked out, but had two cuts get away from me as I was removing the cut out sections where other colors will go.  I was on the verge of starting with a fresh sheet, but I really, really liked the large wave or undulation in this glass.

Clear glass cut and fit to the pattern -- the score ran off in a couple of spots unfortunately

Clear glass cut and fit to the pattern — the score ran off in a couple of spots unfortunately

To make this piece of glass work I had to change the pattern to account for the extra bits of glass that cracked off.  I traced the clear onto my pattern in red sharpie.


Updated pattern to account for the reality of the glass

You can see my annotation for the colors on the pattern.  I traced the pattern onto the three different colors of glass I’m using, and cut them as close to the line as my skills would allow, then ground them to fit.  The gaps are all perfectly acceptable, and will help the solder joint have a more organic feel.

The next time I get a little time in the shop I’ll clean all of the pieces, add copper foil, and solder them.  This is the last major task for the cabinet, the rest is just a light rub out of the finish, and assembly.

All of the glass cut for the door to the Thorsen house cabinet

All of the glass cut for the door to the Thorsen house cabinet

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Snap, Crackle, Pop

I got a couple of hours in the shop before it got too hot to work today (when is the weather going to break anyway?), and made good progress on the stained glass for the Thorsen cabinet door.  If I could get a solid day in the shop I’d be long since done I think.

Anyway, I started by re-making two pieces of the top pane with a different color for more contrast.  I think it will look better this way.  So it changes from this:



To this:



Once the seams were soldered the first one would have looked less uniform, but I like having the purple there.  It’s hard to get the final effect looking at just the pieces, so I’m going on faith a little .  If it looks horrible when I’m done I can always hurl it across the shop after all.

Then I started on the small panels on the right, I laid out the clear, cut and found all there panels.  I followed the same sequence as I showed in my last post, I cut and ground the full sized pane to fit the opening in my copper framework, then I cut and ground the areas the needed to be removed for the colored areas.  With some nice music on the stereo this goes really quickly.

Clear panels cut for the three right hand panes

Clear panels cut for the three right hand panes

Then I started cutting and fitting the colored glass.  I laid out which colors I wanted to use in which spots on my master pattern to keep it straight.  Where I cloud shape should span two panes I made them the same color.  Again, that effect is lost when you’re just looking at the pieces, so it important to have a master pattern with this information.

Purple and pinkish/clear colored glass added to two of the small panes

Purple, White opalescent and pinkish/clear opalescent colored glass added to two of the small panes

And finally the larger pane at the bottom right

And finally the larger pane at the bottom right

So that just leaves the large pane on the bottom left.  The larger panes are trickier for me, especially with glass glass like this that has inclusions and irregularities.  It’s really prone to having the crack propagate away from the scored line, but I have three sheets, so I should be able to get it done.

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Stained Glass for the Thorsen Cabinet

Before it got too hot yesterday and I abandoned ship to go buy a new TV (and ultimately returned to the shop to knock together a kludge to hold the TV and related paraphernalia) I made a credible start on the stained glass for the door of the Thorsen Cabinet.

I started by setting up a wood frame to hold the two copper surrounds I made earlier.  The intent with the pattern board is to hold the two copper frames in orientation as they will be in the door, and to keep from springing the sides and messing up the fit.

Wood base set up, 3/4" MDF, and 1/8" hardboard strips to hold the copper frames in position

Wood base set up, 3/4″ MDF, and 1/8″ hardboard strips to hold the copper frames in position

I fit some paper into the wood frame, and started developing the pattern for the glass.  I traces the inside edge of the copper frame, then sketched the “cloud” design in pencil, tweaking it until I was happy with it, then I inked in with a fine point sharpie.

Pattern for the class developed

Pattern for the class developed

The process for cutting the glass is pretty simple in concept, score and snap, but the reality is that curves add complexity.  And the uneven texture of the glass gives it a mind of it’s own.  I cut the pieces of glass for the left side first, but got a crack in the big one.  That’s life, I bought extra expecting that nibbling out little pieces in a big sheet was going to be tricky.

First cuts on the textured, iridized clear.  Note the unfortunate crack on the bottom right.

First cuts on the textured, iridized clear. Note the unfortunate crack on the bottom right.

I really love this clear glass.  It has a few bubbles and an irregular hand-made appearance.  It’s “iridized”, which means it has a thin metallic coating that gives it a purplish cast.  Part of why this piece got away from me is that I scored it on the front instead of the back.  The back is smoother.  Also the glass needs to be well-supported when scoring, otherwise the pressure from scoring will start a crack.

Part of this errant crack is my fault...

Part of this errant crack is my fault…

So I ignored the bottom section and focused on finishing the top section first.  I used grozing pliers to snap off any little pieces that didn’t come off and the score, then I ground the edge so it was a slightly loose fit in the opening in the copper.

Top piece fit in the frame

Top piece fit in the frame

Then I laid it over my pattern and traced the cut lines for the cloud design.  I flipped the glass face down and scored it in stages.  First a straight or sweeping cut to get close to the layout line.  This can be snapped by hand or with “running pliers”.  I’ll have to do a separate post on the tools as I don’t have pictures handy.

Pattern traced onto the clear

Pattern traced onto the clear

First cut scored on the back of the glass.  Note that I tried to hit the high points and keep the sweep of the cut gentle

First cut scored on the back of the glass. Note that I tried to hit the high points and keep the sweep of the cut gentle

Once the first cut is snapped, I scored a service of shallow arcs into the inside curves.  These will be snapped off using the grozing pliers.  I’m not really very good at this, but it seems to work.  If I can get within a 1/16″ of my line I’m happy.

Cuts scored for the inside curves

Cuts scored for the inside curves

After snapping all the little bits, and repeating the cuts on the other end of this piece, I’m ready to take it to the glass grinder.

Cuts all made

Cuts all made

After grinding, it's not perfect relative to the original pattern, but it's close enough for this design

After grinding, it’s not perfect relative to the original pattern, but it’s close enough for this design

These are the three pieces of glass I got to use for the cloud shapes.  I’m starting out with the one on the bottom left, which is spear, white, pink and champagne.  I suspect I’ll make a few pieces in more than one color as I go through this and decide what looks best.   All of these have an iridized coating like the clear that I’m using.

Glass for the clouds

Glass for the clouds

Same process for the little pieces, with a slight twist.  Since the glass isn’t clear I have to use a light box to see the pattern through the glass.  I ink it onto the front of the glass, then flip the glass over on the light box and ink it onto the back.  The difference in color between the two sides is surprising.

Pattern traced onto the front of the colored glass

Pattern traced onto the front of the colored glass

...and then traced onto the back of the glass for scoring.

…and then traced onto the back of the glass for scoring.

I score and break from the back, and grind from the front.  I am aiming for a slightly loose fit between the pieces — not gaps (there will be some, and that’s OK) — but enough clearance for the copper foil that will wrap all the bits.  Without the lead boarder the design looks a little anemic at this point.  I’m also going to re-make one or two of the parts in different colors for more variety.  But this is where I left off before my son convinced me to stop so we could go TV shopping.

Parts cut and fit for the first panel.

Parts cut and fit for the first panel.


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A funny thing happened on the way home from the electronics store

We splurged today and replaced our 20 year old, 28″ CRT TV with a modern HD setup.  But of course the new behemoth won’t fit on the existing stand, and to keep things interesting no place in town had an base that was big enough for it.  Honestly, I’m glad.  The ones they wanted to order for me were UG-LY, and cost almost as much as the TV did.

So I poped over to Home Despot and picked up a box of screws and two sheets of 3/4″ plywood and decided to make a simple stand.  It took me about two and a half hours to reduce the two sheets of plywood to the cabinet you see here.  It’s not fine furniture.  It isn’t even medium furniture, it’s just this side of coarse.  But it’s cheap and functional and will serve until I can design and build something nice.

The two hour tv stand

The two hour tv stand (that’s part of a video game my adolescent is playing)

I didn’t sand this or put any finish on it, the whole family was eager to watch a couple of episodes of Dr. Who.  In fact I forgot to drill the holed in the back to pass the cables through, so the X-ox and Satellite Receiver are still sitting on top.  I’ll drill the holes and get it set up properly.  The top is rock solid, the middle shelf could use a brace (or a face frame), but it’s not critical.  This is stopgap at best (which probably means I’ll be using this for the next 5 years).

Plain, unfinished (un sanded, even!) Birch "SandePly".  And loads of screws.

Plain, unfinished (un sanded, even!) Birch “SandePly”. And loads of screws.

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Inlay Post-Mortem

So I finished my first experiment with inlay yesterday, the end result was OK — not a good enough effort for an actual furniture project, but then my first dovetails weren’t ready for prime time either. (no snarky comments about my dovetails please!)

First inlay attempt completed

First inlay attempt completed

Thinking about the effort, there were some ergonomic problems that made this more of a struggle than it could/should have been.  For both the sawing out and the excavating steps, some means of clearing the dust is a must so I can see the layout line I’m trying to work to.  When I was sawing I got by with puffing the dust away, doing my Thomas the Tank Engine imitation (“I think I can…”).  That worked, but I was on the verge of hyperventilating, to say nothing of it stretching my ability to do more than one thing at a time.

Another problem was working height.  I had that sorted out OK for the sawing with the v-block setup I made, but I didn’t really have anything worked out for the routing step.

Saw support

Saw support

And finally the lighting was an issue, especially when routing out the cavity although it was an issue with sawing too.  My eyesight has never been what you would call good, and as I’ve gotten older my prescription won’t work up close.  I wear multi-focal contacts, which lets me get by for most things, but I still end up needing reading glass for detail work in the shop.  And a 5X Optivisor for this kind of work.  Sigh.  I remember painting the buttons on cast lead Napoleonic solders that were only 3/4″ tall in high school.

So here is what I’m doodling as a solution, a bench riser that incorporates solutions for most of these problems.

Concept doodle for a bench riser

Concept doodle for a bench riser

Figuring in the height of my workbench and stool, I need a 12″ lift to get the work to the right height.  The v-block for sawing will be removable, with a steel sub plate to attach it to the underside of the riser top and a fixture to hook up a shop vac.  I haven’t figured out dust collection for the excavation part yet, although I have a couple of ideas about that.  The choices are either a different base for the Foredom that includes dust collection (like the MicroFence Micro Plunge base), or if I can get the kinks worked out on the base I have I’ll make up a positionable hose holder.

The lighting I know what I want to do, but I haven’t found an affordable solution.  What I want is a pair of gooseneck lights that attach to the sides of the riser, like the ones below from MSC.  They have screw bases, a 30″ flex arm and a 700 lumen halogen bulb.  But they are $130 each too.  I want a $20 solution.


I think something like this would solve most of the ergonomic problems and make the inlay process go a lot smoother.  I don’t plan to pursue this immediately, but certainly before I do anything with inlay again.  In fact, the next time I try to do inlay it will be on a real project, so I’ll want to make sure it comes out as nicely as I can possibly do.  Probably fairly soon, but today I have a box of glass that arrived that I need to turn into the panels for the Thorsen cabinet.


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Inlay Experiment – Finished

After the aborted first attempt at excavating the inlay cavity, I decided to try again.  I applied a couple of coats of shellac to seal the wood, hoping that it would make the layout lines more visible — it didn’t.  Or at least not by much.  I followed the same process as last time — glue the inlay down with Duco cement, trace around it with a fresh Xacto knife, pop the inlay off and excavate with the mini router.

The hardest part of the whole inlay process was accurately excavating the cavity to fit the inlay into.  I expected it would be sawing the parts, but I was wrong.  What made the inletting difficult (aside from the fact that it’s 100 degrees in the shop) is a combination of tool problems and ergonomics.

I’m having issues with the mini router base not holding it’s position and a few other small issues.  I’ve been emailing with William Ng, and I’m sure he’ll get it sorted out for me.

The ergonomics are a little more of a problem.  I didn’t have a good way to get hold the part at the right height, I didn’t have a good solution for clearing the chips so I could see the line, and the lighting was bad.  I made do, and I have an idea for how to make that better next time.  In fact, I think between getting the tool and ergonomics dialed in I’ll have a much better result and more relaxing time of it overall.

The actual process of inletting was a matter of “hogging” the bulk of the waste out with a 1/8″ bit (if you can consider it “hogging” with a tiny router bit).  I tried to stay about 1/16 off the line as I was hogging out.  Then I switched to a 1/16″ bit and snuck up on the walls, watching for my scribed line to disappear.  Sometimes the line would disappear, but when I looked closely the surface where the wood was scored would come off, but lower in the cavity the wall would still be sticking out.  So the process included a lot of fine tuning until the inlay seemed like it would snap in.

Beginning to "hog out".  It's not a great picture, but when I'm working I can't see the line any more clearly than this (sometimes less)

Beginning to “hog out”. It’s not a great picture, but when I’m working I can’t see the line any more clearly than this (sometimes less)

After a couple of rounds of back-and-forth fine tuning (and the requisite amount of overshooting the line, and only a moderate amount of swearing) I had an inlay-shaped cavity I thought would work.

Cavity ready for the inlay

Cavity ready for the inlay

I filled the bottom of the cavity with Superglue and pressed the inlay in.  The little base had broken loose from the main part, which wasn’t a problem.

Super glue in, now add the inlay pieces which I previously glued together)

Superglue in, now add the inlay pieces which I previously glued together)

I put a sheet of waxed paper over the inlay, added a caul and clamped it in my leg vise for two hours.  It was with a fair amount of trepidation that I pulled it out to check.  I was surprised at how deep the inlay was in the wood.  I’d sawn the veneer about .125″ thick, and only routed the cavity .075″ deep, but it was almost flush.  I think this was from sanding the back of the inlay assembly to remove glue, I’ll have to watch that in the future.

After glue up

After glue up

I started flattening this with 100 grit glued to some plywood scraps.  60 grit would be better, the 100 loaded up pretty quickly.  I had to sand the inlay flush, sand off the glue, shellac and paper.

Flattening the surface

Flattening the surface

Once that was done I checked for any pinholes and gaps and filled those with Superglue.

Fill any gaps with glue

Fill any gaps with glue

Finish sand to 180

Finish sand to 180

Done!  Finished with a light coat of Linseed oil.

Done! Finished with a light coat of Linseed oil.

So I’ll give myself a C+ for effort on this.  It’s obviously got some problems when you look at it up close, although it isn’t a complete disaster.  The problems I see are almost exclusively with the excavating of the cavity.  A little neater job on that, and this would be presentable.  I can see some problems with the sawing too, but surprisingly then almost disappear in the finished piece.  And I’d I’d inlayed this into a dark wood the gaps around the edge would be nearly invisible.

Before I do this again I need to get the router base sorted out, and set up better ergonomics for the process.  Tomorrow if it isn’t too hot I might finish the Thorsen cabinet…


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Ecole San Diego

Last year I went to a meeting of the local chapter of the SAPFM, which was fun even though I’m not heavily into period furniture forms.  There was a Marquetry demonstration involving a Chevalet, which is a specialized tool for cutting marquetry developed and popularized in France.  The presented mentioned having taken several classes at the American School of French Marquetry in San Diego…and the seed was planted.

Traditional chevalet de marqueterie

Traditional chevalet de marqueterie

I’ve been poking around for an interesting woodworking class to take lately, and I came across the “Stage I Boulle Marquetry” class at ASFM and I just signed up for it.  I’m looking forward to spending a week learning a new technique.  I’m sure I’ll post updates on this class, which will be the first week of October.


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Inlay Experiments II

Yesterday I continued with my inlay experiment.  I sawed out the rest of the pieces of the Stickley design I’m using.  The part of the process I was most worried about was the sawing, which turned out not to be that big a deal.  I’m not saying that my cuts are great — they aren’t — but I can see where with a little practice I will be able to get the hang of sawing with a jeweler’s saw.

I was using a 3/0 64 TPI jeweler’s saw blade made by Flying Dutchman.  It’s .009″ thick and .017″ wide.  It cuts nicely, but I snapped bunches of blades, mostly trying to get the tension in my Knew Concepts saw frame right.  I have to say, I think the quick release mechanism needs a little more design work on that saw.  The tension adjustment also affects how much of the blade the saw will clamp — if you can’t repeatedly clamp that same amount of blade every time you can’t repeat the tension mechanism.  And the difference between “enough” and “too much” tension with the 3/0 blade is zero.

So I switched over to a #3 45tpi Olsen blade I had on hand — it doesn’t cut nearly as well.  I could tell the difference, it seemed to “catch” or “bind” much more easily.  I was surprised I could tell so much difference.  I did order a half gross of the #3 Flying Dutchman blades from Mike’s Workshop so I’ll have them on hand to try next time.

After sawing out all of the pieces I did a bit of filing to improve the fit between adjacent pieces.  Then I laid out a copy of my pattern, covered it with waxed paper and started super gluing the pieces together.  The glue I have is a little too thick — I need a lower viscosity superglue, something else for the shopping list.

Assembled inlay, pieces superglued together on top of waxed paper layered over a copy of the pattern.

Assembled inlay, pieces superglued together on top of waxed paper layered over a copy of the pattern.

Then I peeled the inlay off of the waxed paper and cleaned up the back with a razor blade.  It doesn’t look too bad.

Back of the inlay after gluing up and scraping off the bits of stuck waxed paper.

Back of the inlay after gluing up and scraping off the bits of stuck waxed paper.

I put a coat of shellac on the board I’m inlaying into, this was a suggestion from one of the videos I watched.  I glued the inlay to the base with Duco cement, scribed around it and then popped it loose.  I worked some blue child dust into the cut line.  But it’s not really clear enough — in part because the grain of the wood is picking up a lot of the chalk dust too.  Next time I’m going to put more shellac down to try to close up the pores in the wood.  It will get sanded off (or washed off) later in the process – it’s not the final finish, just part of the process.  I’ll try it without the shellac some time too, but the Sapele I’m using has a pretty distinctive texture that grabs the dust.

Then I started routing the cavity with my new tool from William Ng.  My first impression of the tool is mixed.  It’s beautiful and nicely made, but one of the two lights on it doesn’t work.  In fact, I don’t care for how the lights are designed, the internal mechanism seem pretty fragile.  The one that works isn’t very bright either, and they don’t stay positioned.

My other complaint is that trying to route to .100″ depth causes enough vibration that the depth screws come loose and the cut drifts deeper.  Routing to a shallower depth – say .080″ – seems to solve this.  I guess inlay is only set in about .060″ normally, so maybe I’m trying to do too much with the tool.  If I absolutely need to go to a deeper depth I’ll have to use my trim router to hog out the waste and use this just for sneaking up to the lines.

(I did email William, hopefully he’ll have some suggestions on the tool)

Starting to clear the waste with a 1/8" router bit.

Starting to clear the waste with a 1/8″ router bit.

The router base has a setup to connect an air line to clear the chips away — I need to get that set up before I do this again because it was impossible to see what I was doing.  My work height was wrong, the lighting was bad, the cut kept drifting deeper and the chips were in the way.  In short, excavating the cavity gave me problems.

The theory is that you should excavate the majority of the waste, leaving a small bit next to the scribed line, then go back (maybe with a smaller bit) and sneak up to the line using tiny passes.  Needles to say, I overshot the line in one spot and decided to scrap this part and re-do the inletting.  But even with the disadvantages above, in most places the edge was coming out nicely.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to do this part of the process next time, I already prepared another base with a couple of coats of clean shellac and will glue the inlay down before I head over the hill for work.  Maybe I can try excavating again one night this week – but first I need to work out the lighting problems and set up some sort of raised work area so I can see what I’m doing.

I messed up the excavating, and will do that part over on a new blank

I messed up the excavating, and will do that part over on a new blank.

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Inlay Experiments

So I’ve blogged several time recently about my interest in learning to do inlay, and especially “bolection inlay” or “Greene & Greene style inlay”.  Given that I recently added a bandsaw to the lineup of finger-chewing devices in the shop I thought it was time I gave inlay a try.

I’m starting with a traditional “flat” inlay, where it will be finished flush with the surface.  The raised and carved style that the Greene’s used has some extra steps and I want to get the basics down first.  The design I’m using is a Stickley pattern, if you click on the image below you can download a full size pattern sheet as a JPEG image.


Stickley Inlay

To begin, I needed some different materials for the inlay itself.  I fitted the scary resaw blade into my new bandsaw and tried it out. It certainly cuts through anything I threw at it without any hesitation, but the surface it leaves isn’t nearly as nice as the “Woodslicer” blades from Highland Woodworking — I’m going to order one of those this week.  In some materials (like the White Oak) the cut was reasonably smooth.  In others it was very rough.  I think it’s a factor of both the hardness of the wood and the width of the blank I’m cutting.  This cut in a piece of ~8″ wide eastern walnut was typical.  After slicing a number of samples I realized I really needed to surface it after each cut so that I always had a smooth face in each slice.

Resawn Eastern Walnut

Resawn Eastern Walnut

I ended up cutting up a bunch of odd bits.  Some were interesting samples I’d picked out of the discount bins at the lumberyards, a couple were turning blocks I’d had sitting around for years, and a couple were offcuts that were too interesting to pitch.

One, the Camphor Burl, smells so wonderful when it’s cut that it makes me smile to think about it.  It’s somewhere between licorice and root beer, and almost medicinal.  Back in my previous woodworking phase I made a Krenov-ish cabinet in Canary wood and Spalted Maple for my parents, I fitted it with a drawer in Camphor wood which I left raw on the interior.  When I milled that bit I was up to my knees in Camphor chips and it was nearly a religious experience.

Various "veneers" sliced on the bandsaw at about .110" thick.  From the left: White Oak

Various “veneers” sliced on the bandsaw at about .110″ thick. From the left: White Oak on top of Walnut, Birdseye Maple just above the long strips of Paduk, Camphor above Mesquite above Zebra wood, Macassar Ebony and Rosewood,

I decided to use the White Oak, Birdseye Maple, Mesquite and Macassar Ebony for the inlay.  I cut individual pieces out of my patterns — cutting outside of the layout lines for each piece.

Cut up several patterns to get individual patterns for each piece

Cut up several patterns to get individual patterns for each piece

Each individual pattern is then super-glued to a piece of wood.  I used one pattern to map out which section of the inlay gets which species of wood as a cheat sheet.  As I was gluing the pattern pieces I tried to orient them in an interesting way relative to the grain or figure in the wood.

Pattern pieces glued to my inlay materials

Pattern pieces glued to my inlay materials

Everything up to now was pretty simple, this next step is what I’ve been most concerned about: Sawing Out!

I tried using a scroll saw to cut these pieces, even with a fine blade and a slow speed I wasn’t getting good results.  I couldn’t follow the line accurately.  The articles I’ve read and the videos I’be watched say that you should saw half the line away.  OMG, really?  I can barely follow the line, much less split a line that fine.

Abandoning the scroll saw, I made up a saw support that I can clamp in my face vise.  It’s tall enough to position about chest high (when I’m sitting) or a little higher.  In the Larry Robinson inlay video I watched he has a vacuum attached to the saw support so he doesn’t breathe the Pearl dust.  I need to rig something like that up, because the wood dust covers the line with each stroke of the saw, and I’m hyperventilating from puffing the dust away so I can see the line.  I’m also using a #5 Optivisor so I can see the line (in fact, I can see the pixels from the printer).

Saw support

Saw support

I’m sawing the pieces out with a 3/0 (“three-aught”) jewelers saw in a Knew Concepts saw frame.  It’s a 64tpi blade, and it’s unbelievably fragile.  I snapped about 4 blades in a row trying to get the tension right.  The only other blades I have are too coarse (15tpi), so I’ll order some other blades this week.  I’m going to try a #3, 45tpi blade, and see how that works.  It is actually pretty fact to saw out a part by hand, it’s just the accuracy that I’m struggling with.

Sawing out tiny pieces in Mesquite

Sawing out tiny pieces in Mesquite (trying to hold the saw, wood and camera to take this picture all at the same time was a bit of a stretch!)

I can almost follow the line, as long as I can see it.  The saw isn’t as hard to steer as I remembered from when I’ve tried to saw parts like this in the past. But I still get a lot of little wiggles along the cut, and I expect that this inlay, when finished, will look a little sloppy.  Maybe a lot sloppy.  I’m deciding right now that I’m OK with that — this is a practice piece to start learning the technique.

Sawing out the "flame" from Macassar Ebony

Sawing out the “flame” from Macassar Ebony

I’ve had to re-saw several pieces already.  A couple of pieces broke as I was filing off some of the hiccups in my sawing.  One of the thing mesquite pieces flipped off the saw support and disappeared (I suspect it was actually an alien abduction), and a couple were just too sloppy.  So, cut more patterns, glue them down to more bits of wood and saw again.

I’ve started fitting the bits together, but I have a few more pieces to saw out.  I’m going to head out to the shop in a few minutes to finish sawing out the parts and move on to the next steps.  I’d like to see this done today so I can get a feel for what I need to work on (besides sawing).

Starting to fit the cut pieces together

Starting to fit the cut pieces together.  It doesn’t look very interesting with the paper still on it, but that is four different species of wood.




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Boards for the Blacker Serving Table

I drove down to Watsonville today, to Jackel Enterprises, which it the local specialty lumberyard.  I picked up three 7′ 4/4 Sapele boards.  All were at least 12″ wide — this is a great thing about Sapele, you can get nice wide quarter sawn boards.  Most boards in the stack were around 9″, but in the top 3 layers there were these three nice wide boards.  One will cover the skirts and stretchers, one should make up the top, which leaves one to take care of any screwups.  If it all goes smoothly, I’ll make a batch of cutting boards or something.

Wide Sapele - the one on the left was 13" I think, the one on the right was over 15"

Wide Sapele – the one on the left was a bit over  13″, the one on the right was over 15″

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