The Ongoing Saga of the Blacker House Sconce

I’ve been on vacation in Portland for the past week, so no woodworking — or any shop time — lately.  But I’m back now and was able to sneak out for a couple of hours this afternoon.

I’d already cut all of the tenons for the rails, and the bottom mortises last week – when my router bit broke.  I picked up another bit, and also tried a technique I’d read about for routing mortises.  I cut a stack of 1/8″ MDF shims so I could have the bit set to full depth, but plow out just 1/8″ or so in each pass.  This was particularly important because these mortises are at the very top of the stiles.  I had problems with blowing out the tops on my previous attempt.

MDF Shims

MDF Shims

With three (nominal) 1/8″ shims the first cut would be 1/8″ for a 1/2″ deep mortise.  The MDF is undersized of course , so the first cut comes in around 3/16″ deep.

Shims in Place

Shims in Place

I stopped the mortises about 1/8″ shy of the correct length to avoid breaking out the top.  Then I used a 3/16: chisel to square the ends and pare out the top end to the correct length.  You can see there isn’t a lot of material left there.  You definitely don’t want to pry against it!  A better approach would be to leave the stiles long, lay our and cut the mortises to the correct length and then cut the excess material off of the tops.  Live and learn.

Mortises Pared Square

Mortises Pared Square

I beveled the ends of the tenons and dry fit everything.  One tenon is a little loose, but the rest are a snug fit.  I may glue a thin shim of veneer to the loose tenon on general principles, although I’m not sure it’s necessary.

Dry Fit

Dry Fit

With a good fit up up verified I started sanding all of the parts.  I also shaped the bottoms of the stiles with a rasp.  I have everything to 150 grit right now, but then it was time to make dinner.  I’ll sand everything to 220 tomorrow and glue it up with Old Brown Glue.  The finish will probably be oil and shellac.

Rough Sanded

Rough Sanded

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2 thoughts on “The Ongoing Saga of the Blacker House Sconce

  1. Lookin’ really good! Guess you got the router table up an running in the new shop.

  2. Thanks Marilyn. I don’t think I could have shopped all16 (32 if you count both sconces) of those tiny mortises by hand, the router table made it do-able and precise.

    I’ve noticed that I don’t have the same feel for the work with power tools as I do with hand tools. I really prefer/enjoy doing more with hand tools. I used my paring chisel to cut the bevels on the ends of the tenons and used my #4 to take off the tool marks on the rails and stiles before sanding.

    I need to update my plans to reflect the changes in this part of the assembly, and to figure out the joinery for the top of the lantern and the wall bracket. Both the top and the bracket should be considerably easier than the lantern body. Then on to the stained glass

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