Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Coming along...

tall cabinet drawer detail
A little late, but the cabinet is almost done now. I just finished fitting the drawer and I'm please with how it is coming along. Still left to do: Make 2 shelves, the door catches, attached the top, and add door handle. I hope to have all of that done by next Wednesday (when I'll be going home for Christmas).

This week we've been making veneered table tops with Darryl Keil (President of VacuPress Systems). It's been a fast paced couple of days packed with a ton of information, and lots of tips and tricks on using and pressing commercial veneers onto man-made substrates. The practice tops we're making are shaping up nicely and many of the students are so please with them that they are talking about building tables to take them (me included).
Veneering class
One more day of this class left and I'm of the mind that we could have used another week to cover all of the material.

Next week we're on to marquetry and turning (although I'll miss two days of it as I'll be flying home on Thursday).

As always, there are many more photos posted to flickr

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Review of the Festool Domino


Twin Domino tenons
Originally uploaded by Mark Juliana

My case piece project in the 9 month program here at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship has been largely assembled using dominoes.


After using the Domino system for a bit of time, here are a few points I'd like to share:

1. The quality of the Domino screams Festool--it is a precision tool that's well built with all of the bits and bobs you'd expect on such a tool and none of the plastic, turbo, neon-BS that the marketing guys talk everyone into including on so many of today's handheld power tools.

2. The speed of using the Domino is truly amazing. You can cut a mortise in the two mating pieces, spread some glue, slip in a domino all in just a few seconds.

3. Putting in two or more dominoes into a rail that meets a leg can be tricky if the spacing doesn't allow you to use the built-in registration pins. You need to make a registration jig to use on both parts.

4. Twisting has been an issue--pieces don't always line up exactly as you'd like. I've had to smooth over several parts to get the surfaces flush. I think this is more to do with my inexperience with the machine rather than an idiosyncrasy of the Domino system. I'm going to do more experimentation to figure it out.

5. The Domino cutters cut very clean mortises. In fact I've used it to cut through mortises with great success. They were cleanly cut, both front and back with no break-out whatsoever.

6. The Domino has other uses! I drilled hinge screw holes in the wrong location and needed to plug them. Rather than stuff a small piece of wood in the hole and hope the end grain would hold up, I cut a mortise using the Domino, rounded the ends of a domino, slipped it in the mortise, let the glue dry and then pared it with a chisel. Worked great and I had nice long-grain beech to drill into for my hinges.

7. Work in metric. It will make things much easier--every little thing about the Domino is measured out in metric. It makes laying out joints so much easier to just give in and use the metric system. I did and after this one project I can say I'm staying with metric--it's much easier than fractional inches!



After building several minor projects and now this one big project here at school with the Domino I feel I have a pretty good understanding of what it can do. First I have to reiterate that working in metric makes working with the Domino system much easier. The speed of laying out and cutting simple single mortise joints can't be beat. Using the Domino on a panel instead of biscuits is also very easy and fast. Laying out and cutting complex joints requires a bit of planing and often some creative jigging--but no more than cutting a traditional M&T or to use a slot mortiser.


So, is it worth the price? If you are planning on making a lot of M&T joints it's definitely worth the price.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The sides of the tall cabinet being finished with an oil finish


I'm using an oil finish for the cabinet. Here are the side after a couple of coats. The finish is 1 part tung oil, 1 part mineral spirits, 1 part Waterlox (around here they call this, Korn oil as it's what Peter Korn uses as an oil finish). This picture was taken in the drawing/finishing room of the Satterlee building (9 month program @ Center for Furniture Craftsmanship)


Edge gluing veneer to a rebate


This is what it looks like when you rebate a panel too deeply and have to glue a bit of veneer onto the edge so it doesn't rattle in the door. About 3-4 hours worth of work that I couldn't really afford in the last week of this project--but I did learn a lot this last week. Like how to dovetail in a door rail to an already assembled door to take a 5 millimeter bow out of it.


Monday, December 3, 2007

A design opportunity

That's what David Upfill-Brown (our lead instructor) calls a mistake. Today I got a great design opportunity to apply veneer to my door panel. I got this opportunity by cutting the rebate on the panel too deep--yesterday when I setup the shaper, my test piece was slightly thicker than the actual panel by about 1/2 a millimeter. Now that doesn't sound like too much, but it's enough to make the panel loose enough to rattle in the door frame (and that ain't good).