Posts Tagged With: Blacker Sconce

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.

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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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Anticlimactic Glue-Up

I glued up the body of the first Sconce today, after sanding all of the parts to 220 grit first.  It went OK, and no drama or disasters.

I decided to do it in two stages, as trying to clamp the whole thing at once seemed dicey.  Maybe with a strap clamp, or that stretchy plastic warp they use to package goods on pallets.  I did have one small spot where the top of the mortise chipped out.  It’s not a structural problem, and won’t be visible once the top of the lantern body is in place.

My next step is to repeat what I’ve done with the parts for the second lantern body, then work out the design for the top and the wall bracket.  I have enough Mahogany for the wall bracket, but I don’t think I have a wide enough piece for the top.  I’ll have to dig though my stock and see what I can do — I’d really like to see these finished so I can move on to other projects.

Front and Back Glue Up

Front and Back Glue Up

Glue Up Phase Two

Glue Up Phase Two

Lantern Body Complete

Lantern Body Complete

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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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Sconce Progress

I really need to move this sconce project along, if for no other reason than I’m tired of thinking of catchy titles for blog posts about it.

Yesterday I cut all of the tenons, on all 16 rails (I’m making enough parts for two lamps).  Since I offset the tenon toward the outside face further than I’d originally planned in my model I discovered I don’t need to use stepped tenons.  They will fit into the intersecting mortises if I just cut a 45 degree chamfer at the tip of the tenon.  I like this a lot better, I should have spotted this in my CAD model – I’ll update the plans to reflect this change later.  A couple of the tenon shoulders got a little wonky, but I think they be okay after a little paring.

Tenons on all 16 Rails Done

Tenons on all 16 Rails Done

I started in on the mortises.  I’m using a 3/16″ router bit to hog out the material and then squaring them up with a chisel.  THis worked OK until the router bit broke.  I think I need to cut them in several passes — I was cutting them in a single pass, but slowly.  Off to Woodcraft today to pick up a new bit, and god knows what else.  It’s dangerous to walk in there.

Anyway, I read about a technique for using a stack of shims to rout deep mortises, taking out one shim with each pass.  That was you don’t have to re-set the router for each cut.  I’m going to do this on the top mortises, maybe that will keep me from blowing out the tops (and breaking another bit).

Squaring up Mortises

Squaring up Mortises

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Blacker House Blah-Blah-Blah

I managed to squeeze in a few minutes of woodworking yesterday, between familial errands and making dinner.  Dinner, by the way, was Molasses-smoked baby back ribs.  This is a new recipe from some foodie magazine I picked up at the store on one of my errands.  The ribs were pretty awesome, if I say so myself. I can see a few tiny tweaks to improve them next time, because I’m so making them again.

I printed out my plans for the lantern body, picked through my “stock” of Mahogany and started milling wood to make all the parts.  I say “stock” because I have a few scraps left over from from the Mahogany Milk Stool I made, plus two warped off-cuts from the discount bin at Global Wood Source.  Luckily the mahogany seems to be pretty consistent in color and grain because I was trying to use up all of my small pieces.

Sconce Body Plans

Sconce Body Plans (and the previous failed assembly)

No major adventures with the milling the stock, with the exception of my growing frustration with my table saw.  It has a couple of problems that are just really stupid design flaws.  It’s brand new, and though I got it for a fraction of the new price it’s still frustrating as heck.  If I’d paid the full street price of $6,000 they want for the I would be suing someone. The main frustration is that the rip fence is nearly useless.  It doesn’t have a pointer to indicate the setting, and the guide bar that it rides on isn’t straight.  It’s a round tube and I’ve adjusted it using a dial indicator so that it is within 0.001″ of parallel at several points, but in between the mounting points it’s out of parallel enough to bind the blade and stop it when ripping.  WTF.  I’ll have to replace it with an aftermarket rip fence.

Anyway, I got the stock milled up – enough to make two lantern bodies and enough scraps to help set up and make test cuts.  I don’t think I have any errands today.  I should be able to cut all the tenons, mortises and rebates and dry fit the bodies.  I’m a little afraid.  If it goes as planned it will be completely anti-climatic, and if I run into more problems it’s going to be a tad embarrassing.  I think Ralph is tired of me rambling about this silly project, time to get the show on the road.

Material Milled to Size and Cut to Length for Two Lamps

Material Milled to Size and Cut to Length for Two Lamps

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Blacker House Sconce, Again, Part 1,000

This little sconce seems to be my personal windmill to joust with. I’ve drawn it in Sketchup twice, and and again in SolidWorks twice. I updated the model this morning to better accommodate the reality of the intersecting mortises and the rebate for the glass panels.

In my previous version I’d only allowed about 1/16″ between the glass rebate and the mortises in the stiles. In retrospect, that was D-U-M-B. I scaled the thickness of the rails and stiles by 1/16″ of an inch, so I have 1/8″ between the glass rebate and the mortise. It’s still not much, and I’ll need to be really careful not to blow out the wall where they come close. Wish me luck, I’m going to head out to the shop in a bit and mill up some more Mahogany and have another go at making the lantern body.

I updated my PDF plans, you can download a copy of the plans if you’re interested in trying this out yourself.  Once I get past this part (which I believe is the hardest part of the project) I’ll update the plans with the rest of the sconce.  You can look at some of the earlier posts on this same subject to see where it’s headed.

Scaled Up Lantern Body

Scaled Up Lantern Body

Exploded View

Exploded View

 

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Blacker Sconce…almost

I cut the mortises, but ran into a problem.  The mortises for the rails and rebates for the glass channel are really close together.  On several of the stiles they broke right there.  Dang.

The dry fit is OK, and the rails are all in good shape. I could probably make this work with some epoxy and filler pieces, but I’m going to re-make the stiles a little more carefully — leaving more clearance between the rebate and mortise.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back...

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back…

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Back in Blacker

OK, the new shop is more or less operational, and I’m tired of working ON the shop and wanted to work IN the shop today.

I’ve been wanting to make a sconce like one I’ve seen from the Blacker House.  I drew it in Sketchup, then re-drew it in Solidworks.  Earlier this morning I scaled it up a little.  Originally I drew it with 1/2″ thick stiles, then in Solidworks I made them 5/8″ square.  This morning I scaled them up again to 3/4″, made the stiles an inch longer and lengthened the rails to match.  Then I spilled half of cup of cold coffee, which went everywhere, and swore loudly.  I guess that’s how I roll.

Out in the shop I milled up some Mahogany I picked up a couple of months ago.  It took no time at all to true it up (it had a whopper twist too) and rip/cross cut all of the parts.  I cut all of the tenons on the table saw.  Now I need to decide how I want to cut the grooves and mortises.  I cut a few extra parts so I have some allowance for errors and experiments.

Time to go practice chopping mortises I think.  Or set up my Dremel tool in a little router table.

Long Rails - Front and Back

Long Rails – Front and Back

Short Rails - Sides

Short Rails – Sides

Stiles

Stiles

Mockup

Mockup – Stiles on Top of Tenons

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