Monthly Archives: July 2013

Woodwork for Blacker Sconce Done!

I finished up all of the wood fabrication and detailing for the first of the sconces yesterday.  The second sconce isn’t far behind, I just need to sand it and fit the Ebony pegs.

I started with a trip to the hardware store and found the “keyhole hangers” I needed and a router bit to cut the recess.  This was pretty easy stuff.  There is some weird trick of light that makes it look like they stick up above the surface in the picture below, but they don’t.

Keyhole Hangers Installed On Back

Keyhole Hangers Installed On Back

Then I laid out the locations for the ebony details and chiseled out the waste.  This wasn’t too bad, although it’s not as even as I’d like.  I want to buy a set of those square punches from Lee Valley before I have to do more stuff like this.  Like when I re-do my kitchen someday.  There are 12 ebony plugs in these sconces (there should be more, the originals had tiny 1/8″ plugs in the lantern body.  Maybe I’ll go back and add those…)  I just chopped them like shallow mortises, but all the edges show so any little inaccuracy shows up.

Layout for Ebony Inserts

Layout for Ebony Inserts

There are s bunch of little detailed steps here, routing a groove in the back for the sires, cutting the “dog ear” notches, rounding over the edges, gluing up and fitting the pegs.  I used a rasp and 100 grit paper to shape the ends after running around the outside of the part with a 1/4″ round over bit.  I was trying to give it a slightly worn, slightly organic look as I’ve seen on some of the original Greene & Greene stuff.

I need to finish up the last bits of fabrication on the bracket for the second sconce, then I can start laying on finish.  Wow!  Now I need to figure out how to do the stained glass.  I’ll update my plans for this sconce based on what I’ve found while making these — I missed putting in a few dimensions and I think the wall bracket should be a tad longer, maybe as much as 1″, so it hange a little more below the lantern body.  And I need to add in patterns for the stained glass.

Drilling for Wiring

Drilling for Wiring

Socket Test Fit

Socket Test Fit

Finished Support Arm

Finished Support Arm

Parts for One Sconce

Parts for One Sconce

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Wall Brackets for the Blacker House Sconces

I processed some more Mahogany stock to make the wall brackets for the pair of Greene & Greene sconces I’m working on.  I have no idea how the originals were constructed, but this is what I came up with — twin tenons.  The hole in between is for the wiring.

Wall Bracket for Sconces

Wall Bracket for Sconces

I chopped the mortises first, so I’d have something to gauge the tenon size from.  I was really pleased with how well this process went, I chopped the mortises using a regular bevel edge chisel the way I’ve seen Paul Sellers do it in his videos.  I laid out the location in pencil then scribed the exact location with a mortise gauge and knifed in the top and bottoms.  Then I transferred the location to the backside using knife nicks at the corners and did the same layout on the back.

Layout for Mortising

Layout for Mortising

I chopped half way through from each side and ended up with nice, true mortises.  I;m really enjoying using my Lie-Nielsen chisels, they hold an edge much better than my old chisels.  And this Mahogany chisels nicely.

First Pair of Mortises Chopped

First Pair of Mortises Chopped

Once I had the mortises chopped I cut the shoulders for the tenons with a dado blade, then transferred the width of the tenons directly from the mortises to the tenon piece, and sawed them with a back saw.  I stayed off of the line and pared to the line, checked the fit, pared a little more and viola!

First Part Fit

First Part Fit

Lather, rinse, repeat and I have the second part fit up.  When I glue these up I’m going to wedge the tenons to make sure they won’t some loose or sag.  The lantern and wiring won’n weigh much even with the glass installed, but I want to make sure it’s nice and sturdy.

Both Done

Both Done

Notch cut for Sconce Top (with room for expansion)

Notch cut for Sconce Top

There are a lot of little details to take care of still.  I have to shape the back pieces, inset the Ebony accents, drill for wiring and figure out how to mount these on the wall.  That last one I’m still not 100% clear on as I haven’t found the hardware I want to use.  I want to inset some brackets in the back to be able to hook these over some protruding screws, and I’m thinking that mounting the hardware should probably be one of the very next steps.  Rats!

I just did some quick research, apparently these are called “keyhole hangers”, and Woodcraft carries a size that will probably work.  Maybe the local hardware store has something similar.  I like the ramped slot in this which will tend to draw the lamp tighter to the wall as it slides on.  Time to go shopping!

Key Hole Hanger

Key Hole Hanger

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Table Saw Surgery

I wanted to use a dado blade to cut the shoulders for a tenon on my sconce, so it’s finally time to bite the bullet and install the “dado kit” on my table saw.

In case you missed it, I’m in the middle of a love/hate relationship with my table saw.  I love the sliding table (although getting it adjusted to slide exactly parallel to the blade is frustrating).  I hate the rip fence.  It’s really hard to adjust, and each change affects not only the trueness of the rip fence to the blade, but also the squareness of the face of the rip fence to the top of the table.  It also deflects way too much in my opinion (~.030″ with firm finger pressure).

I’ve written and called General about my concerns, and I’ll give them a few more days to respond and make this right so I won’t go deeply into my complaints right now.  I’m hopeful they will offer some aid here.  The guy in their parts department has been great shipping out the pieces that were missing, so it’s really down to correcting the engineering flaws at this point.

Rip Fence Deflection

Rip Fence Deflection

To use a dado blade on the saw the sliding table needs to be moved to the left.  Why didn’t they just design this in originally?  No idea.  The “kit” includes two spacers that bolt to the side of the cast iron table and a wider insert.  Unfortunately the normal insert will no longer work — this is one of my open questions for General.  I can likely make a wider insert that will accommodate a normal 10″ blade, the scoring blade and the splitter (and not have a giant gap to the left of the blade).

Dado Kit, Bolt-on Spacers and a Wider Insert

Dado Kit, Bolt-on Spacers and a Wider Insert

Unfortunately, the adjustment slots for the sliding table didn’t have enough space to allow for installing the spacers, so I had to disassemble the saw to lengthen the slots.  Are we having fun yet?

Disassembling the saw

Disassembling the saw

Here is the problem, this slot is 1/8″ too short, and the support plate that goes inside also hits the inside wall of the cabinet.  I filed the slot longer and ground the black plate for clearance.

Parts need to be "clearanced"

Parts need to be “clearanced”

When I went to bolt the spacer bars onto the side of the table I realized the bolts were too short, they just barely protrude through the bar.  I have to wonder if they ever tried to install this themselves?

Really?

Really?

There were a number of other details that needed to be attended to, which I won’t bore you with.  Once it was all said and one, of course the dado blade works fine.  I need to re-adjust the slider some more, there is still some “run out” where it ins’t exactly parallel to the blade.  I’ll go do that now.  And I need to e-adjust the rip fence as the leveling of the side table affects the squareness of the face of the fence to the table top.

I made some good progress on my sconce though, I’m pretty close to having the wall brackets made.

Dado Blade Installed

Dado Blade Installed

 

 

 

 

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Top for Sconce Finished

Happy Fourth of July.  I have a day off work and no family activities until later this evening, so I got several hours to work in the shop.  It’s amazing how much faster things progress when you’re actually spending time in the shop rather than just thinking about it.

I re-sawed a scrap of figured Mahogany for the main part of the sconce tops, and cut a shoulder on the ends for the breadboard end caps according to the plans I drew up.  Having dimensions already figured out turns out to be useful too!

Exploded View of Top Assembly

Exploded View of Top Assembly

I used my little router table to machine the stopped slot in the end caps, then squared the ends up with a chisel.  Then I dropped the chisel, nicked the end and spent half an hour moving my sharpening bench from the metalworking shop to my wood shop, and re-establishing the edge and honing it sharp.

Slots in End Caps

Slots in End Caps

Then a dry assembly to make sure everything fits nicely.  I had to take a few shavings off of the tenons to get a nice press fit in the end caps.  The stock is all smoothed with a plane, but I’ll go over it with 220 to ease the edges before the final assembly.  Now on to the Ebony Plugs.

Test Fit of the Top

Test Fit of the Top

I made up a little story stick for the layout of the Ebony plugs and used it to set up the stop blocks on the router table.  I cut extra parts on every step in case I ruin one.  I use them to make test cuts, and when I screw up I’m always glad to have the backup parts.

Story Stick for End Caps

Story Stick for End Caps

Test Cut, Looks Right on the Money

Test Cut, Looks Right on the Money

After routing the slots I squared up the ends with a chisel.  By the time I got through I was doing a reasonably accurate job, but the first few were a little sloppy.  It’s easier to square the ends with a smaller chisel I find, rather than using one that matches the width of the slot.  I used the four best parts and threw the last one away.

Working on the Ebony Pegs

Working on the Ebony Pegs

I sanded a pillow shape on the end of the square plugs with 220,. 400, 600 and 1,000, then cut it off with a bench hook and a stop.  I figured out all of my dimensions do that the plugs all sit at the same height, but in retrospect I wish I’d set them a skosh lower.  To my eye they sit just a little too high compared to original Greene & Greene stuff I’ve seen.

Cutting off a plug after shaping the face

Cutting off a plug after shaping the face

I sanded all the Mahogany parts with 220, and rounded over the edges on the breadboard ends.  The plugs are glued in, and the breadboard ends are glued only in the middle one inch of the tenon so the rest of the top can expand and contract.  I still need to drill the hole in the middle for the lamp socket, make the wall bracket and figure out a few assembly details, but the end is in sight.

IMG_0839

Both Sconce Tops Sanded and Glued Up

Two Sconces

Two Sconces

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Updated Plans for Blacker House Sconce

I worked out a few of the design issues I mentioned in my last post and adjusted the scale on all of the parts as necessary to match the body.

These aren’t the final plans, at the very least I expect I’ll find some mistakes as I build the rest of the sconce.  I may need to slightly lengthen the wall bracket – I need to see it in real life to make sure the scale is right.  I know I need to update the layout for the stained glass panels and add them to the plans.  And I still need to devise a way to actually mount this to the wall.  To figure out the mounting I want to take a look at what kind of commercial hardware is available.

Anyway, the plans are here, please let me know if you see any serious errors and I’ll update them.

Wall Mount Joinery

Wall Bracket Joinery

Updated Blacker House Sconce Model

Updated Blacker House Sconce Model

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Second Sconce Glued Up

Things continue to move at a snail’s pace here.

I squared the mortises, beveled the ends of the tenons, test fit and sanded the parts for the second sconce body.  And glued it up.  And didn’t stress out or ruin it. All in all, a success.

I’ve been thinking through the details on the other parts.  The big design questions I have are:

  1. How to attach the “lid” to the body and the support arm from the wall bracket?  My thinking is a sheet metal bracket the attaches to the top rails and has screws through the lid into the support arm.
  2. What kind of joint between the wall bracket and the support arm?  Mortise and tenon almost certainly, but I need to allow for wiring to run through the arm.
  3. How will the wall bracket attach to the wall?  I could hide screws under the ebony pegs and screw it directly to the wall.  Or I could use some sort of clips that slide over protruding screws in the wall.
Paring Tenon Ends

Paring Tenon Ends

Second Body Clamped

Second Body Clamped

Two Bodies Glued Up

Two Bodies Glued Up

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